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Sunday, August 18, 2013
Volume 6, No. 32
Hi again from the shores of the Salish Sea. This past week marked the 68th anniversary of the atomic bombings of both Hiroshima and Nagasaki. I visited Ground Zero in Nagasaki in 1970 when the nuclear powered aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVAN 65) was making a port call in TokyoBay.
That visit sparked student rioting all over Japan. My guide to Ground Zero was a waitress and a student herself. She worked in a restaurant where I had lunch. She enjoyed the chance to practice her English and when I told her I wanted to visit Ground Zero, she understood and offered to be my guide.
It was a mistake I have regretted ever since. There were demonstrations at Ground Zero and when the participants spotted an American sailor in uniform accompanied by one of their own, they vented their anger. We fled but they caught up with her.
Atomic energy has killed ever since Fat Boy was dropped on Hiroshima. In Japan, it continues to do so.
And that day, in Nagasaki, it took the life of a young woman who wanted me to understand.
I do. Trust me. I do.
IN OTHER NEWS
Well, hackers are apparently no longer content with stealing state secrets, personal identifies and bank accounts. They’re also ~ it seems ~ not happy with trying to disrupt Pacemakers. Now they’re exploring how to break into high security homes and cause car accidents. It will be really interesting to see what punishment our society comes up with to deal with this new class of crime. In the American Old West, you could get hung for stealing a horse or rustling cattle. We understand that there are places on the planet today where a thief has their hand lopped off at the wrist. We are certainly not in favor of hanging hackers.
Here’s yet another list and I appreciated the criteria of this one. It’s the ten nations of the world with the best reputations. I’m proud to say Canada topped that list. To see where your country ranked, please go here.
WORLD NEWS SHORTS
TOPICAL NEWS SHORTS
MIDEAST PEACE TALKS
WAR ON TERROR
As the power grid stretches tighter from coast to coast, Toronto Hydro builds first new transformer site in over 50 years.
A British Columbia man who was stupid enough to Twitter an invitation for marijuana dealers to drop by his workplace because he was looking for a “20sac” (approximately one gram) is no longer working for that employer. He’s claiming his freedom of speech has been compromised. I don’t think it’s that at all. I think his right to be a total jerk and get paid for it has been though.
Sam: Well, that was an introduction worth waking up for. These must be desperate times indeed for species homo sap.
Felina: They are not as good as they could be, no dear. But then perhaps they are not so much like Dickens’ London as your tone would suggest.
Sam:: They’re two paws and a hoofprint away from the Apocalypse, Sweetheart. And they keep skating closer to the brink all the time.
Felina: With metaphors by Mixmaster.
Sam: If it’s workin’, use it.
Felina: Aye and point well taken. But really, Samuel, it was quite exciting the last time we were here.
Sam: Before they started realizing why smoke and fire-breathing dragons died off, along with most of the landmass life on this planet. It wasn’t a meteor that killed them off. It was bad breath.
Felina: Ah, but perhaps that is the difference between the fire-spewing dragon and the human.
Sam: What’s that, Luv? I just know this is going to be good.
Felina: A little respect, Samuel.
Sam: A lot of respect, Felina. I just know where your mind goes with this stuff and I was like just expressing my joyful anticipation is all.
Felina: My darling, you are so full of it sometimes.
Sam: This is true. However, we digress.
Felina: The dragon never knew it was making things worse by belching fire. I mean, that is what ~ by their very definition ~ fire-eating dragons do.
Sam: Not anymore.
Felina: No, not anymore. But the human, the human knows now and the human is correcting for course.
Sam: What about all those climate deniers?
Felina: There are those who would repeal the Law of Gravity if they thought it would make them fly. That too is the nature of the human.
Sam: Yep, to totally not use one ounce of the brains the Creator gave them.
Felina: But unlike the fire-eating dragon?
Sam: They do have a choice. And on that note, Felina?
Felina: And on that note, Gentle Readers, may the Creator bless and keep you. Until next week then, eh?
Well, this puts a new spin on the American expression “gettin’ down with my peeps.” When Norway’s prime minister wanted to know what his constituency thought, he went to work as a taxi driver in Oslo, his country’s capital. National elections are scheduled for this September 9. So yes, this might be a campaign stunt. What gets me is that Norway has a relatively small population and some of the cab’s passenger did not at first recognize their driver. If President Obama tried that, his would be the only taxi in the world with a Secret Service person in the front passenger seat and a four car escort of them, two fore and two aft.
At a time when drone aircraft are associated with assassinations and other anti-social acts like spying on civilians, one nation uses that technology in a totally life-enhancing way.
This is certainly not what I want to hear from an elected official at his level. GOP House Science Committee Member: ‘Global Warming Is A Total Fraud’
When a clown at the Missouri State Rodeo put on an Obama mask and the announcer asked the audience if they’d like to see the president run down by a bull,” the Republican lieutenant governor Tweeted the incident as being very disrespectful to America’s national chief executive. We’ll let you decide whether this belongs here or as an example of integrity crossing party lines.
Here’s another reason I wish the use of animals for scientific experiments would stop. Based on a surge of electrical activity in the brains of lab rats after their hearts were stopped, researchers have concluded that the rodents have something comparable to a near death experience. But since white rats don’t speak English (with the exception of Pinky and the Brain), it is not known “whether the animals perceive that as a white light or tunnel of light, that’s something we can’t know,” said study researcher Jimo Borjigin, a neuroscientist at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. He concluded more study needs to be done. Lord, please sit on my tongue now.
Last week, we provided you with an opportunity to make a difference in the global war on cancer. This week, the Sierra Club needs your help saving Columbia River salmon, a staple of the natives of the Pacific Northwest, indigenous and immigrant-sourced alike.
EXPLORATION, HISTORY, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
Though electric vehicles (EVs) comprise less than .05 percent of American road transport, they are the fastest segment of the automotive industry and the Pacific Northwest is leading that particular charge. Seattle Times science reporter Sandi Doughton asks the provocative question, “What if everyone plugs in their cars at once?” This is one of the best articles of its kind I have ever read.
Well, here’s something that just may put a new spin on the expression “even a caveman can do it.” There is new evidence to suggest that Neanderthals taught Cro Magnons how to make tools.
Well, our favourite interplanetary explorer has been at it again. Check out these photos of the moons of Mars eclipsing each other that Curiosity took this past week.
OUTER SPACE SHORTS
CLOSER TO HOME SHORTS
First “Practical Jetpack” Approved For Tests
Coolest Science Stories of the Week — A sea creature caught on tape, ghost glaciers on patrol in Greenland and the exosuits of “Elysium” are just a sample of the cool science we found this week
NORTHSTAR WEEKLY READER QUIZ
Okay, gang. How much do you know about nuclear incidents?
THE GREEN AGENDA
Milk for girls and school sports for boys. That’s the finding of a recent study aimed at childhood obesity. Yep, for more, please go here.
Check out these 14 Healthy Snacks Your Kids Won’t Trade For Something Else
If you yourself want to live long and prosper, avoid these ten worst toxic food ingredients.
ON THE CANCER FRONT
Sometimes it helps to be reminded that those who are suffering from cancer can still make a difference. Like this cancer patient who helped catch a bank robber.
BEST OF THE NET
Check out these photos of lightning over the night skies of Seattle. They are stunning.
SITES WE PERSONALLY ENJOY EACH WEEK
Image of the Day — A gallery of amazing photos from around the world – and above it! Our Image of the Day archive features stunning pictures of nature and space.
BLOGS WE FOLLOW
The Tomatoman Times – Sardonic, ironic, sometimes poignantly incisive, this is also one of the longest running human interest blogs on the Net and well worth the read.
Meade’s California Coast is moving commentary and photos by one of that state’s premier photojournalists. Short, poignant and memorable, it is a tribute to both the craft and the subject.
No Camels – Weekly Israeli Innovation News is like a blend of Popular Mechanics, Scientific American and the science pages of the New York Times and the Huffington Post. I totally geek out when I read these folks.
SEATTLE SCENESAll photos used in Seattle Scenes, unless otherwise noted, were taken by the editor. For a virtual tour of the Northstar Gallery, please go here.
NEWS, WEATHER & INFORMATION
CLEAN UP SEATTLE’S DIRTY RESTAURANTS
We’ve had the dubious “honour” of sharing media coverage of the most unsanitary and disgusting restaurants in Seattle and greater KingCounty. Sarah Schact, a resident of the former, is circulating a petition which would give the County Health Department more teeth in these regards. (yes, pun intended) For more information or to sign, please go here.
SEATTLE BUS SHOOTING, REVISITED
Well, in the wake of another shooting downtown this past week, I’ve been asked several times if I still feel safe living here. As simply phrased as that question is, it is not an easy one to answer.
When I first moved here some 24 years ago, it was certainly an improvement over any place I’d lived before, except Oregon’s WillametteValley. I arrived in south KingCounty as a refugee of the timber recession in that state.
Like many immigrants, I was tough, angry, streetwise and for all practical purposes, responsible to and for only myself. Good thing, considering what I first encountered. But an earthquake and two recessions later, I’m still here and most of those who made my life complicated are not.
Seattle has a great deal to recommend it. It is among the healthiest places on the planet. It is also certainly one of the most scenic. It has a fine education system and an outstanding health care delivery matrix. It has an award-winning mass transit system; free urban gardens and a laid back/consensus driven attitude that can be extremely annoying to people east of the Mississippi.
For all of that, though, Seattle is a city of over 600,000 human beings, in a county of almost two million, the size of Rhode Island and Delaware combined. It has several microclimates, ethnically defined neighborhoods and a police department censured by the U.S. Department of Justice for racial profiling and for being “badge heavy” in general.
Like human society itself, Seattle’s people are not immune to a growing culture of violence. The reasons for it are as easy to understand as the increased proliferation of brutality-based television, films and video games; the celebrity we accord those who commit dramatic acts of violence; and the rationales we create to subvert a relatively simple process of crime and punishment.
This is also a place where tree huggers belong to the NRA, sports fishermen to the SPCA and devoted bicyclists, to the AAA. Its people pride themselves on their urban agriculture and on their ability to handle neighborhood problems as a good small town anywhere in America does.
To me, there are only two safer places to live. I was born in one of them and I’m striking real hard for the Other One.
A REMINDER TO SEAHAWKS FANS
If you want to take anything into the game with you ~ and most of us pack like Hannibal for the Alps ~ forget the knapsack. It’s all got to be in a clear plastic bag with the contents clearly visible. KING 5’s Jennifer King has the story on this one.
AND THIS IN AT PRESS TIME
There’s a Chronic Wellness Support Group (CWSG) starting up in Seattle, according to an email we just got from Leah Libow at Leah’s Sacred Kitchen. It starts in September at a location in Fremont. You need to sign up for this by August 31, though. For more information, email Leah at email@example.comSEATTLE DIRECTORY THE TODAY FILE: “The latest news from Seattle & around the Northwest” What’s Going On In Seattle? Seattle Restaurant Guide Here’s the 10 day forecast Seattle Weather Map of Seattle Seattle City Cams More Seattle Facts & Figures KOMO 4 News (ABC) KIRO 7 (CBS) KING 5 News (NBC) Seattle Times
We totally loved this one. There’s a cute little critter that has been living among some of us for a long time about as unobtrusively as any life form can. A native of Central America, one of them resided at a prominent American zoo in what has turned out to be a profoundly embarrassing case of mistaken identity.
In one home in America, when a wild critter comes into the house through the pet door, it is not cause for alarm. The little dude is just coming over to hang out with his best buddy, the family cat. There’s a bonus at the end of this one: a short slide show of other unlikely animal friendships. Nope, no Liberal and Conservative, Democrat and Republican, or Gloria Steinem and Andrew Dice Clay.
I honestly don’t know why anyone would want to do this but apparently, in Turkey, genetic scientists have engineered a litter of bunny rabbits which glow in the dark.
FROM THOSE WE SUPPORT MAKING A DIFFERENCE
YOU GUYS THINK I MAKE THIS STUFF UP
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Refuse to fall down.
If you cannot refuse to fall down, refuse to stay down.
If you cannot refuse to stay down, lift your heart toward heaven, and like a hungry beggar, ask that it be filled, and it will be filled.
You may be pushed down.
You may be kept from rising.
But no one can keep you from lifting your heart toward heaven.
~ Clarissa Pinkola Estés
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Until next week, then, take care and Godspeed. Rusty