A weekly ezine of news, commentary, health, humor and general interest  The Magazine With Heart

A weekly ezine of news, commentary, health, humor and general interest
The Magazine With Heart

News & Commentary, Examples Good & Bad, Our Science Section Unabridged, Health & Lifestyle, Sarah’s Fulbright Year in Taiwan, Best Of The Net, All Creatures Great & Small, Northstar Endorses, You Guys Think We Make This Stuff Up, About Us

Pacem, Libertatem, Justitiam

100% Reader Supported.  Donations Accepted Here.

December 27, 2015  Vol. 9 No. 16  430th Consecutive

Rusty Miller – Editor

Olya Bereza – European Associate Editor

Dennis Steussy – American Associate Editor



Hi again from the shores of the Salish Sea.  It’s been fashionable probably since Guttenberg for journalists to summarize the year passing and make predictions for the year ahead.

We usually don’t do the first because once an edition is put to bed, we stop thinking about the news of that week and focus on the next.  We generally refrain from forecasting because we are not very good at it.  Our crystal ball was built in 1912 and has lost some of its reliability.  The poor thing tends to occasionally veer off into other dimensions.  While that admittedly can be interesting, it is hardly appropriate for a news and commentary magazine.  Here are some examples.

Northstar’s Crystal Ball, whose name really is ~ by the way ~ Crystal Ball and yep, she’s related to that famous redhead, predicts that Russia will find involvement in Syria another Afghanistan/Vietnam, go to extreme measures that will not be well received by the Muslim world and will end up making a strategic withdrawal that will not only insure ISIL’s continued influence in the region but will also cause Russia supreme loss of face.

Donald Trump will go in for a routine physical and doctors will discover two small feet growing from the roof and floor of his mouth.  It will be determined that these have nerves leading directly to the centers of the brain which control conscious thought, judgment and speech.  In a dramatic 12-hour operation performed by a South African surgeon who perfected the technique on warthogs, these feet will be removed.  Trump will make a full recovery and become one of the most hilarious television talk show hosts in the history of the civilized world.

Hillary Clinton will become the next president of the United States and its first woman chief executive.  She will appoint her husband ambassador to the United Nations and an aging but still healthy Jimmy Carter as ambassador at large.  Contrary to some dire predictions, this will not be the damnation and ruin of the country.

Take care, stay well and have a great week, gang  Oh, we’re getting set to move so this will be an abbreviated edition.  Should be back to you by mid-January.  So Happy New Year.



Here’s a question certainly worth asking.  Is this weird plant the future of food?

This is a major breakthrough.  US rocket in historic upright landing

And this is certainly good to hear.  After Victory in Myanmar, Aung San Suu Kyi Quietly Shapes a Transition



Indonesia: Boat Disaster’s Toll Rises

Japan: Court Paves Way For Utility To Restart 2 More Nuclear Reactors

Thailand: 2 Sentenced To Death For Murders Of British Tourists

After Victory In Myanmar, Aung San Suu Kyi Quietly Shapes A Transition


Video: China Lawyer Given Suspended Sentence

How To Fire Someone The Chinese Way

China’s Obsession With British Beer

Shenzhen, Embodying China’s Growth, Falls Risk to It

Video: Inside China’s Elderly Orphanage

China’s Private Education Boom


India To Buy $7 Billion Worth Of Russian Weapons

Crash Near New Delhi Airport Leaves 10 Dead


Muslims Shield Christians In Kenya Attack


Turkey Moves To Clamp Down On Border, Long A Revolving Door


Russia To Impose Food Ban On Ukraine Starting January 1

Putin Vows To Protect Russians In Southeastern Ukraine From Nationalists

Data From Black Box Of Downed Su-24 Impossible To Retrieve — Russian Defense Ministry

Moscow’s Ukrainian Literature Library To Shut Down


EU Extends Economic Sanctions Against Russia


BBC Culture’s best of 2015

The Lethal Effects Of London Fog

Muslim Family’s US ‘Ban’ Raised With PM

Birmingham’s Ancient Koran History Revealed


Liberals Agree To Revoke Spanking Law In Response To TRC Call

Windsor Doctor Will Use Lottery To Decide Who Gets Free Fertility Treatments

‘Godzilla’ El Nino Delivers Green Christmas To Parts Of Canada

Quebec’s Right-To-Die Law Upheld By Court


US Growth Estimate Revised Down Slightly

Grand Jury Declines To Indict Anyone In Death Of Sandra Bland

F.D.A. Ends Ban, Allowing Some Blood Donations By Gay Men

Driver On Las Vegas Strip Who Hit Crowd, Killing 1, Faces Murder Charge

U.S. Muslims Reach Out to Address Questions on Islam and Violence

Virginia to Stop Recognizing Concealed Gun Permits From 25 States


Dam Disaster Death Toll Rises To 17

Video: In Bolivia, Legitimizing Child Labor



How Weather Affected Wildlife In 2015


Afghan Taliban ‘Push Further’ Into Sangin


‘Million Migrants’ Enter Europe In 2015

Video: Migrants Find Work in Germany

Ottawa Aims To Lighten Refugee Debt Load

How A Record Number Of Migrants Made Their Way To Europe


Drawing The Horror Of A Syrian Detention Centre

Russia Raids ‘Kill 200 Syria Civilians’ 


Outstanding.  France Votes To Force Big Supermarkets To Donate Unsold Food To Charities

This man really does not know when to give it a break, does he?  Trump mocks Clinton toilet break

I am struggling mightily to find some rationale for this.  ‘Daddy, what is going on? My throat is sore!’ Quebec cop pepper sprays father driving his kids to school 


This is cool.  Watch live as astronauts perform an emergency spacewalk

So is this.  Start-Up Personalizes Books for Children, With Robot as Co-Author

What Could Possibly Go Wrong On A Spacewalk?

Bubble On The Edge Of Space

What Are These Blue Splotches on Mars?

Rare Look Inside Dreamlike Underwater Caves In Albania

Think Drones Should Be Illegal? Here are 12 Amazing Pictures That May Change Your Mind


10 Ways To Increase Dopamine Levels

Brain Cancers Reveal Novel Genetic Disruption In Dna

Well: Ask Well: Is Coconut Oil A Healthy Fat?

Well: 12 Minutes Of Yoga For Bone Health

Well: Fit Body, Fit Brain And Other Fitness Trends


Monday, December 21, 2015

I will begin this post with the heads-up that it has A LOT of pictures! Schools here typically take tons of pictures, which they use when they submit lesson plans to the government and on their websites. Enjoy!

English Camp: We are now finished with English Camp for this semester. Schools here continue school through the end of January, when there is a 3-week long winter vacation before second semester starts at the beginning of February. These pictures are from the last two schools we went to, where the students were particularly sweet, engaged, and eager to learn. I have absolutely loved traveling and working with a new group of students almost every week. I will miss camp over the next two months but I am happy to have many varied experiences under my belt now that I can share here.

For photos and more of this fascinating narrative, please go here. 


WATCH: The Amazing Birth of a Beautiful Butterfly!

A Floating School In Lagos Has Helped Bring Solar Power To One Of The City

Wonderlands to Welcome Winter – National Wildlife Federation


testament cover


A super power no longer, a resource hungry and repressive America faces a Latin American armada rampaging its west coast and a strong, silent and powerful Canada manning the North Wall.  The fires of rebellion burn in the Pacific Northwest and it is into this crucible and forge that the cybernetic patrol boat Testament and her crew of three men and three women are thrust.  Individuals of duty and conscience both, when they join the other side, all Hell breaks loose.  A rollicking adventure for anyone who loves the sea, a good yarn and characters which spring to life even as Testament herself leaps the waves.  Now available in both paperback and Kindle at

THE BACK COUNTRY GALLERY’S new free monthly nature wallpaper is available here.  Lens jockey Steve Perry also has a newsletter offering a great deal of cool stuff for wildlife photographers, amateur and professional, alike. 


Whatever your editing, writing, tutoring or consulting needs, chances are I can handle them.  Negotiable rates, flexible payment plan, Paypal and from your email to me and back.  Simple, friendly, professional.  I also accept barter and trade.  International clients encouraged.  If you need it done quickly, simply and for a price tailored to your budget, shoot me a brief project description at  I’ll get back to you one way or another within 24 hours. For a list of specific services provided, please go to  My name is Merritt Scott Miller and my friends and clients call me “Rusty”.  I look forward to hearing from you. 


This is stunning.  The Great British wildlife year

This is too.  Check In With These Elephants That Were Released Into The Wild

Darwin would have loved this. The ‘Peculiar’ History Behind Science’s Race To Bring Extinct Tortoises Back To Life


Amnesty International



GritTV With Laura Flaunders

Help End World Hunger & Poverty | Heifer International® | Heifer.Org

Mother Nature Network

National Wildlife Federation

No Camels – Weekly Israeli Innovation News

Ocean Conservancy

Outside Magazine

SeaDoc Society: People & Science Healing The Sea

Showcase Magazine:  Today’s Media For Artful Living

Sierra Club

Sightline Institute

The Sun Magazine

Wildlife Extra magazine

World Wildlife Fund

Writing For Peace

YES magazine


The Most Expensive Thing Ever Built?

Patient Plays Saxophone Tunes During His Own Brain Surgery

Happy Friday, Here Are Some Mountain Goats Dangling From Helicopters


The Northstar Journal is an international news, commentary and general interest weekly Internet magazine reaching readers in North America, Europe, the Middle East, Asia, Africa and Oceana.  We also have a website linked to both Facebook and Linked-In.  While we occasionally accept classified advertising, we are otherwise entirely reader-supported. If you enjoyed this edition and would like to contribute to the next, please go here. For more information and to receive us in your email, contact us at


About minstrel312

MERRITT SCOTT MILLER Bio Wrath of the Testament Author and Northstar Journal editor Merritt Scott (Rusty) Miller is a former newspaper reporter who has published extensively in the Pacific Northwest and several times nationally. A U.S. Navy veteran of the Vietnam War, he began his career in the alternative media of the mid-Seventies. His own Sacramento-based monthly ~ Rapline ~ drew praise from Sacramento BEE metro columnist Herb Michelson in a column published that that newspaper; and from Berkeley Film Quarterly editor and author of the bestsellers Ecotopia and Ecotopia Emerging, Ernest Callenbach. A Northern California native with roots in British Columbia, Mr. Miller has written for several Northwest community newspapers, United Press International, the daily Portland Oregonian and for such Seattle publications as the Post-Intelligencer, The Seattle Press and the University Herald. As an investigative reporter for the McMinnville, Oregon News-Register ~ and in conjunction with CBS News in New York, Washington, DC and Flagstaff, Arizona ~ Mr. Miller localized a story of alleged Contra gun-running by an international air freight company headquartered in that Willamette Valley community. During the 1987 Angel Complex Fire in southern Oregon, Mr. Miller worked as the lead dispatcher for the U.S. Forest Service and covered the disaster for National Public Radio and as a special writer for the Portland, Oregonian. His 1988 series on child abuse for a rural weekly earned him praise from the Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association. In his career as a journalist, Mr. Miller has interviewed a Nobel peace laureate; an internationally renowned abstract artist; a popular folksinger and various Pacific Northwest elected officials, include a state treasurer and governor. An accomplished travel book writer, Mr. Miller has penned demographic and feature copy for the “Best Choices” series on Eastern Washington, British Columbia, Virginia, South Carolina and Atlanta. As either a contract or staff publicist, he has served a host of clients including the Olympia Music Festival, Umpqua Valley Community Hospital, the City of Canyonville, the Tiller Ranger District, The English School, the Yamhill County Board of Commissioners, Yamhill County Assessor Kim Worrell and Workers of Oregon Development. His freelance publications include: United Press International, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, the Portland Oregonian, Forest World, American Trucking, Trucks, Oregon Adventures, Oregon Education, Old Oregon, The Entertainer, the Seattle Press, the San Juan Island Sounder, Northwest Passage, Northwest Connection, Seattle Source, Seattle Forum, the University of Colorado’s Writers Forum, Clouds, The long Beach Literary Journal and the Pacific Media Group. He has worked since the age of 13 and has been a hop harvester, professional musician, civil servant, forester, convenience market clerk, lumber mill worker, temporary word processor, technical writer and editor. He has also led a social services research and development team and has six years of radio and telephone communications experience. His interests include astronomy, aviation, camping, Canada, communications, conversation, cooking, dancing, economic development, education, environmentalism, exploration, film/DVDs, fine dining, government, green technology, health. History, human rights, International community, Internet media, law, literature, marine engineering & design, medicine, music, nature, networking, outdoors, pets, photography, romance, science, sexuality, technology, travel, water, wildlife His honors and awards include: Letter of Appreciation - Amnesty International; US Senator Patti Murray Letter of Appreciation for The Northstar Journal Blog; Editors Choice, International Library of Poetry; Congressman Edward Murray Letter of Appreciation; Congressman Frank Chopp Letter of Appreciation; Hersch Best Read on the Net Award for The Northstar Journal; President Bill Clinton Letter of Appreciation; Workers Of Oregon Development Certificate of Appreciation; City of Canyonville Police Department Certificate of Appreciation; City of Canyonville Mayor’s Office Certificate of Appreciation; California Supreme Court Justice Rose Bird Letter of Appreciation; Northwest Magazine Editorial Board Letter of Appreciation for Rain; Editorial Award, Society of Professional Journalists; Sacramento Bee Metro Column; Honor Roll: California State University Long Beach; Deans List: Long Beach City; Mr. Miller currently resides in Seattle, Washington, where he continues to edit and publish The Northstar Journal. He is working on two novels concurrently and a sequel to Wrath of the Testament.
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