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Sunday, September 29, 2013
Volume 6, No. 38
THE SOLUTION TO RANDOM ACTS OF VIOLENCE LIES WITHIN EACH OF US
Hi again from the shores of the Salish Sea. In one of the most provocative essays I have ever read, New York Times Op Ed columnist Joe Nocera wonders ~ in the wake of last week’s homicidal violence in America and Kenya ~ if we as a society are not becoming desensitized to these random acts of violence.
No, I do not believe we are. If an American’s house is on fire and they only have one pail of water, they’ll share that bucket of wet with a neighbor who has sparks on his roof.
What happens, I think, is that when too much occurs at once? We get overloaded. Then ~ and I think mercifully ~ our minds start deciding, “Okay, how much of this really affects me and those I love?’
Then we marshal our energy for the home front. We hope God will forgive us for not remembering everyone on the list to pray for. We try to hide the guilt we feel for being grateful that it happened to someone else and not to us. These are all normal reactions. I have them and so does everyone else I know.
I think, as well, that sometimes we despair at being able to predict such apparently random acts of violence and thereby protect ourselves and those we love. We read and listen to rational analyses of an irrational state of mind and wonder, “If the insane cannot be rational, how can the rational understand the insane?”
I think the sad reality is that we cannot. But does that mean we must constantly and perpetually be victimized by them? Nooope. In the larger sense, we can continue to work for a society which minimizes the risk of nervous breakdowns and creates a loving and supportive environment, especially for those who need it most.
We can pay more attention to one another. We can develop humane mental health protocols. We can protect ourselves from the incurably destructive and them from themselves by removing them from the social mainstream.
Can we ever be sure that we or someone we love will not fall victim? I’m sorry but no, I do not believe we can. There is no more guarantee of that than there is of not of falling prey to any other disaster, natural or human.
I personally don’t plan on buying asteroid insurance. Since my neighbors are the pride of the NRA, I don’t need firearms. My sense of adventure runs toward nature and the outdoors so I am not likely to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
I am also not a crowd person. I get claustrophobic on the 40 yard line. I’m also in a disgustingly good mood most of the time so I don’t need the enhancers which sometimes also make it easier to be a victim.
Am I living any differently than I have since, say, September 11? Or since the summer before this just past when four people died in a favourite Seattle coffee near the University of Washington?
Nope. I wasn’t living in fear then. I’m not living in fear now. That’s one satisfaction the bad guys don’t get, at least not in my house. And I hope, not in yours.
IN OTHER NEWS
With all due respect, I am glad we do not live here. Ground Gives Way, and a Louisiana Town Struggles to Find Its Footing
WORLD NEWS SHORTS
Our congratulations to Jordan Banks. The director of Facebook Canada has been appointed the company’s newly-created global head vertical strategy.
She’s Canadian. He’s American. Here’s what we look like from a puma’s perspective.
Felina: Samuel, could you come in here for a moment? Arnold and I need your help understanding this global warming programme.
Sam: Arnold the television. What happened to Fred?
Sam: Yeah, her too.
Felina: She is in that part of the Great Forest where televisions go after this life.
Sam: Creator rest her soul. Okay, what do you and your one-eyed buddy there not understand?
Felina: They are saying ~ this group of human scientists ~ that global warming is caused by their species. I am confused.
Sam: No you’re not. They are.
Felina: Who are?
Sam: Those human scientists. Everybody except them knows that global warming’s been going on (and off) since the planet’s first primordial soups started cooling off.
Felina: I did not think they were so powerful they could cause the glaciers to melt and the volcanoes to erupt. But I think we must accept that they are not the cleanest of neighbours with whom to share the proverbial “nest,” as it were.
Sam: They have the instincts of a packrat but without that disgusting little rodent’s good manners, Felina. And yes, they have most definitely contributed to the process.
Felina: To the extent that cleaning up the messes they have made would probably mitigate, to some degree ~ however minor ~ the impact of their slobbery on the rest of the life in this “nest.”
Sam: No offense, Sweetheart, but I don’t think “slobbery” is a word.
Felina: It is now, mate mine of this life and several others.
Sam: Gotcha. Slobbery. Nice ring to it.
Sam: However, I digress. Yep, Lass, they clean it up and stop messing it up and that will definitely help.
Felina: Then on that note, sun and moon of my several lives?
Sam: And on that note, folks, take care and we’ll see you next week. May the Creator bless and keep you.
Here’s a novel idea. And a good one. The solution to America’s food waste problem: Feed people
I’m a Norm Cosby fan so I totally love this example of precociosity. This amazing green blogger, activist, and speaker is only 10 years old
We totally support this effort. Victims Push Laws to End Online Revenge Posts
We found this just a bit much, even for this befuddled flipping loon. Iran’s Leader, Denouncing Holocaust, Stirs Dispute
Shame on these guys. Nine Auto Parts Makers Plead Guilty to Fixing Prices
When did we give our permission for this? N.S.A. Examines Social Networks of U.S. Citizens
EXPLORATION, HISTORY, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
I am not a bug person but this was fascinating because it reminded me ~ once again ~ that there are universes on our own planet that we have not yet begun to explore. Video: ScienceTake: Bacteria’s Private Line — The first of this new ScienceTake series takes a look at how a kind of bacteria can organize coordinated, wavelike attacks on prey using a “stealth” style communication system.
The Shifting Mandala – See how the concept of an elaborate art can be applied to the conservation of native plants.
This sounds totally cool. Singapore Looks Below for More Room — The city-state is looking at the possibility of an UndergroundScienceCity containing 40 interconnected caverns for data centers and research labs.
OUTER SPACE SHORTS
CLOSER TO HOME SHORTS
BIG ROCKS IN SPACE AND WHAT’S BEING DONE ABOUT THEM
NORTHSTAR WEEKLY QUIZ
Okay, gang. How much do you know about world geography?
THE GREEN AGENDA
Just another reminder. Health officials urge getting flu shots now
Now that our children and grandchildren are back in school, some of them are having problems catching a good night’s zzzz’s. Check out Tips to help kids get more sleep
ON THE CANCER FRONTCancer: What You Need to Know American Cancer Society Canadian Cancer Society
I’ll Have What She’s Thinking — Researchers confirm the spontaneous orgasm.
BEST OF THE NET
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.
The shores of the SalishSea fka the Greater Puget Sound welcomed autumn with torrential rain and winds which gusted to 50 kits/57 mph/92.6 kph. Here at the House of Northstar, we literally battened down the hatches and put the rain barrels out. We have clearly said good-bye to the green leaves of summer. For a video and more details, please go here.
SEATTLE RANKS FOURTH IN NATIONAL ENERGY EFFICIENCY
Here’s something of which we can all be justifiably proud. In a recent study of America’s 34 largest cities, we ranked fifth. Boston was first; Portland, Oregon, second; New York City and San Francisco, tied for third; and Seattle, after that. For more on this one, please go here. For the entire list of 34 cities, please go here.
KOMO 4 News (ABC)
KIRO 7 (CBS)
KING 5 News (NBC)
It is an America gone mad from the addiction to war and desperate for resources beyond her own borders. A military dictatorship controls the country and life is grim.
The Republic is fighting for its very survival and for decades, especially with Latin America.
This is the world of the United States Coast Guard cutter Testament, a cybernetic patrol boat, and her six-person crew. Her mission, and those of her sister craft, is simple.
Quench the rebellion and stop the flow of Americans seeking refuge in Canada. Kill when expedient. Deliver the survivors to the Bellingham Re-Education Center.
A simple operational order and one which has served America well.
Feature Magazine Articles
ALL CREATURES, GREAT AND SMALL
We totally agree with this. Beavers don’t kill people. People do
YOU GUYS THINK I MAKE THIS STUFF UP
A FINAL WORD
The Northstar Journal is entirely reader-supported. If you enjoyed this edition and would like to help out with a dollar or two towards the next, you can donate via Paypal at this website. Thank you. MS(R)M
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Until next week, then, take care and Godspeed. Rusty