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; From Olya ~Northern Lights Over Iceland; Sara’s Fulbright Year In Taichung, Taiwan; Examples Good & Bad; Our Science Section Abridged; The Green Agenda; Health & Lifestyle; Thought of the Week; 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.

January 17, 2016  Vol. 9 No. 188  433rd Consecutive

Rusty Miller – Editor

Olya Bereza – European Associate Editor

Dennis Steussy – American Associate Editor

Cougar Mountain, Near My New Home

Cougar Mountain, Near My New Home


Hi again from the shores of the Salish Sea.  Well, it is now official.  The Northstar operation has moved from a small three-bedroom home shared with two other people and a floating cast of thousands, replete with pickups and yard maintenance equipment in North Seattle, into a smaller community on the southeast shores of Lake Washington known officially as Renton.  Within the city limits there is East Renton Highlands and my new home is in the Maplewood Heights section of that neighborhood.

It’s a beautiful two-story, several bedroom home owned by a real nice guy who is also a US Navy vet, like me, university educated and working in the real estate industry and who has a teenaged son at home.  They get along great and he’s a good dad.  Since I’m old enough to be his dad, I kind of fill a grandfather role around here.

That’s cool with me.  It doesn’t slow me down any more than the sable silver hair or a bit of dental work I’m getting taken care of this year.  And I’m going to be getting plenty of exercise because even though where I now live is less than 20 minutes from downtown Seattle, it is not well served by mass transit and since my rig went south a few years ago, I haven’t driven much.

However, much of Washington state is like this, though, so it is a challenge to be met, rather than an obstacle to overcome. Mountain biking to a bus stop is like Easterners driving to a commuter train station and taking that transport in.  We also have a very good online neighborhood association with ride sharing options and the people I live with also coordinate common errands.

We are on the lower western slopes of the Cascade Mountains with two national wildlife refuges within easy driving or biking distance.  The shores of Lake Washington are waterfront.  And for those who drive, the infrastructure is as reliable as can be expected of a county the size of Rhode Island and Delaware and whose population has grown like a warren of rabbits on steroids.

It’s a good move and after the last two years especially, a welcome one.  I want to take this opportunity to thank those of you who expressed understanding and emotional support for what was an admittedly interesting transition.

Take care, stay well and God Bless.  I hope you like this week’s edition.



What are the best and worst state in America to make a living?  The answers just might surprise you.

I knew this would happen.  Drivers stopped Google cars crashing

Now here’s a question that will undoubtedly decide the fate of nations.  Video: When Is It Not Ok To Use Lego?



Climate Change Is Biggest Threat To Global Economy

15 Of The Best Journals By New York Times Reporters Around The World

United Nations

UN Says 400 Starving Syrians Must Be Evacuated From Besieged Town For Urgent ‘Life-Saving’ Medical Treatment


This Date In Science: Near Discovery Of South Magnetic Pole 


Indonesia’s Central Bank Cuts Rates

Police Identify Jakarta Attackers

Iran Complies With Nuclear Deal; Sanctions Are Lifted

In Tehran, Iranians Play Down Milestone

Iran Frees Americans, Including Jason Rezaian, In Prisoner Swap

Tsai Ing-Wen Elected President Of Taiwan, First Woman To Hold Office

Suicide Attack Kills At Least 13 In Afghanistan


Taiwan’s Economic Woes And Relationship With Mainland China Are Top Of Mind For Unemployed Grads Before Election

The Face You Can’t Avoid In China

Before Debris Collapse in China, Safety Fears Were Discussed


F.R.I.E.N.D.S.Sushma Swaraj Arrives In Palestine… Holds Talks With Top Leaders

Govt Will Announce Startups-Friendly Tax Regime In The Budget

Maharashtra Cm Says Govt Will Take Steps To Make Mumbai The Startup Capital Of India

Rahul Gandhi Takes A Dig At Modi Govt, Says Startups And Intolerance Can’t Go Together

Activists Protest Rape With ‘Sleep-Ins’


West Africa Declared Ebola-Free

Al-Shabab Seizes Army Base In Somalia

American Missionary Among the Dead in Burkina Faso Siege

Four Members Of Ukrainian Family Among Dead In Burkina Faso

Middle East

Starving Syrians In Madaya Are Denied Aid Amid Political Jockeying

Evacuation Call At Starving Syrian Town

Several Dead In Istanbul Explosion

Iran’s Swift Release Of U.S. Sailors Hailed As A Sign Of Warmer Relations

Iranians Held In U.S. For Sanctions Violations Released: Lawyers

Iran’s Rouhani: Nuclear Deal Can Be Used As Model To Resolve Regional Issues

Three Freed American Prisoners Leave Iran As Rouhani Hails Nuclear Deal


Indebted Russian Drivers Could Lose Their Licenses

Russia Rearms For A New Era

New Prison Rule In Russia: No Swearing

Russian Regional College Denies Burning Books

Putin’s Aide Surkov Meets Nuland In Kaliningrad

Chinese E-Retailer To Sell Russian Brands

‘Downshifter’ Russia Is Losing Global Competition, Warns State Bank Chief

Belarus’ Alexander Lukashenko: Thank God For Snow!

2 Russian Grannies Caught In Heroin Drug Heist

Russian Domestic Tourism Up 18 Percent In 2015

Turkish Police Releases Russian Suspect In Deadly Istanbul Bombing


Spanish Princess Tried For Fraud

Inside Spain’s Secret Food Societies

Employers ‘Can Read Private Messages’

On Paper, Italy Allows Abortions, But Few Doctors Will Perform Them

To Catch A Scammer In Madrid

Thoughts On A Poland In Flux: Readers Speak Out

In New Year’s Melee In Cologne, A Migrant Was One Woman’s Savior

6 Hospitalized, One Of Them Brain-Dead, After Drug Trial In France

E.U.’S Open Borders Are In Danger, German Minister Warns

United Kingdom

The UK’s Disappearing Duck

Weather Warnings As Britain Wakes Up To Snow And Frost

Corbyn Says Trident Submarines Don’t Have To Carry Trident

In Britain, Major Parties Ensnared By Internal Strife

England Weighs Its Own Anthem To Rival ‘God Save The Queen’

Research Doesn’t Back A Link Between Migrants And Crime In U.S.


Provinces Can’t Blame Ottawa For Red Ink: Transfer Payments Have Grown Rapidly Over Past Decade, Fraser Institute Finds

Take Pride That Parliament Reflects The Face Of Canada

China Open To Free-Trade Deal With Canada Under Certain Provisos

Morning Briefing: Crippled Loonie In Free-Fall, Plunges Below 69¢

Metro BC Cities Aim For Carbon Neutrality

United States

Four Teens Held In New York Gang Rape

In State Of The Union, Obama Confronts Americans’ Fears

U.S. Will Track Secret Buyers Of Luxury Real Estate

2015 Wildfires Burned A Record-Breaking 10.1 Million Acres

Obama To Halt New Coal Mining Leases On Public Lands

Obama Calls For A Clean Energy Revolution

Anger And Scrutiny Grow Over Poisoned Water In Michigan City

Despite Boycott Calls, Chicago Mayor’s King Day Event Goes On

Three Tickets Win $1.6bn US Lottery

Standoff in Oregon Attracts Supporters Bearing Disparate Grievances

In Maine, Local Control Is a Luxury Fewer Towns Can Afford

Latin America

How El Chapo Was Finally Captured, Again

Opinion:  Why Cartels Are Killing Mexico’s Mayors

Honduras: 3 Americans Killed In Crash

Canada: Pilot Dies In Antarctica

Protests Resume In São Paulo

Mexico: Actors Who Met El Chapo Are Not Targets Of Inquiry

Venezuela: Court Held Lawmakers In Contempt


Kidnapped Australians ‘Devoted Lives To Helping Burkina Faso’

PUP Donations Made Before Queensland Nickel Financial Woes: Palmer

Man Allegedly Steals $120k Mercedes During Test Drive

Corbyn Invites Donald Trump To Visit London Mosque

Man Arrested Over Karen Chetcuti’s Disappearance After Police Pursuit

Rain In Red Centre At Orange Creek Turns Outback Into Sea Of Green


Climate Change & Weather

What To Expect From El Niño

Rethinking the Airplane, for Climate’s Sake

2015 Was Worst Us Wildfire Year On Record 

Opinion:  Cancer And Climate Change

Short Answers To Hard Questions About Climate Change

Espionage And Terrorism

Jakarta Attack A Loud Announcement Of Islamic State’s Presence In Indonesia

Gunmen Stage Deadly Siege on Burkina Faso Hotel

Refugee Crisis

Video: Syrians In ‘Grave Peril Of Losing Lives’

U.N. To Help U.S. Screen Central American Migrants

Denmark Moves to Make Refugees Hand Over Valuables


Aurora Borealis over Iceland

Aurora Borealis over Iceland


Hello Rusty:

It has been a nice snowy week with aftertaste of holidays and all its magical carols in traditional way during Nativity plays just on the streets. With everything gone white and sparkling in the city lights, that is such a wonderful time of year!

I think for lovers of winter cold beauty, there are places which are nice to be visited.  I highly recommend, for instance, this Northern Lights Holiday Guide.

And on the picture are Iceland lights, isn’t beautiful?

That’s it for this week.  Stay warm, my cousin Mishka.

Olya Bereza, European Associate Editor


Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Calligraphy Class: Recently I went to calligraphy class with our Grade 3 students! It was a wonderful experience to sit at a small desk amid the students, and to have them guide me through each stroke. They LOVED having the chance to teach Teacher Sara 🙂 The teacher, JiYen, is one of my favorite people at Chong Qing. She has been not only an interesting person who shares many of the same values, but also a great friend who is passionate about sharing culture and discussing new ideas. It was great to be a part of her class and see how she interacts with the students. It was a double period, so the students worked on their calligraphy for an hour and 20 minutes. After her introduction, which took about 20 minutes, we all got brushes and ink and set to work. The class was very free-form after that; JiYen sat at the front and students came up to her for help, and we all chatted, painted, and drank tea 🙂

For photos and more, please go here.


I am glad I live in a state whose governor’s ethics are not as flexible as these.  Alabama Governor’s Use of Oil Spill Funds for Mansion Draws Criticism

They did not deserve this and it needs to change.  Quickly.  Seventeen Canadian Soldiers Died By Suicide Last Year

This was a real enlightened move on their part, with all due respect, he sighed sarcastically.  Anglican Church leaders suspend US Church over gay marriage

This has been a long time in coming.  NIH’s big cancer database coming soon

Good.  Now we’re getting somewhere.  Iran Complies With Nuclear Deal; Sanctions Are Lifted

This cannot bode well.  Drug Overdoses Propel Rise in Mortality Rates of Young Whites


There Are Now More Solar Jobs In America Than Oil Jobs.  The down side is the oil jobs still pay more.  And on the other hand, Solar Power Emerging As A Significant Job Creator

Video: Will Self-Drive Cars Become The Norm?  If they do, I’m buying a horse.

Watch How Driverless Cars Will Change Cities  If these things change mine, I’m moving again.  Me and my horse.


Maps: Take A Look At The ‘Transit Explorer’ For Your City

To Save Its Salmon, California Calls In the Fish Matchmaker

The Biggest Atoms In The Universe Were Created Right Here On Earth

Where 80% Of People Live Underground


Seeing Black Holes In Visible Light

This Broken Space Telescope Keeps Spotting New Planets

Spacex To Try Again For Sea Landing

Milky Way Age Map Shows Growth Rings 

Follow A Live Planet Hunt At Proxima Centauri

Newest Image Of Possible Pluto Ice Volcano 

When Can I See All 5 Bright Planets Simultaneously? 


The Flight Sims That Save Lives

Tap Into 100+ Bike Share Systems Around The World With One App


Why People Get More Stupid In A Crowd


How Much Do Your Text Messages Contribute To Global Warming?

The California Gas Leak That Prompted A State Of Emergency, Explained

NASA: Green Tech Could Save US Airlines $255 Billion

Activists Take The Stand For Blocking Oil Train In Everett

Will Taxpayers Get Stuck With The Bill To Clean Up Strip Mining Coal Sites?

Clean Energy On The Rise Even As Fossil Fuel Prices Drop

Environmental Groups Back Feds In Bid To Stop Shell’s Arctic Lease Extension


Blue Light From Tech Gadgets And Digital Eye Strain: More Than 73 Percent Of Young Adults Suffer From Symptoms

Recumbent Bike Vs. Upright Bike Vs. Elliptical Machine

Health Benefits Of Red Wine Vs. Grape Juice

Tea Or Coffee: Which Is Better For You?

Does Being Single Keep You Thin?

A Personalized Diet, Better Suited To You

Do You Need A More Balanced Tech Diet?

To Better Cope With Stress, Listen To Your Body

Are Convenience Foods Worth The Energy Used To Make Them?

To Protect Against Zika Virus, Pregnant Women Are Warned About Latin American Trips



The things we take for granted as Westerners . . . and the little things that can be done that make a huge impact:  In Cambodia, ‘Lucky’ Iron Fish For The Cooking Pot Could Fight Anemia : The Salt : NPR


To subscribe and experience Thoughts in their original, please contact Ame at SpringggRain@aol.com


Video: Cold War: How Moscow Gets Rid Of Snow

Could Two People Repopulate Earth?

Video: Tim Peake Carries Out Spacewalk


testament amazon.com 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 amazon.com

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 minstrel312@aol.com  I’ll get back to you one way or another within 24 hours. For a list of specific services provided, please go to http://nstarmed.wordpress.com  My name is Merritt Scott Miller and my friends and clients call me “Rusty”.  I look forward to hearing from you.


I’m kind of glad I did not live when this dude did.  Terrifying ancient crocodile discovered in the Sahara was the size of a bus

This had me rolling on the floor laughing.  Sunk — In the western Canadian Arctic, WCS researchers launched a buoy to listen to marine mammals – but a polar bear had other ideas.

I totally loved this. The animal that loves avalanches


The Bird That Dances Like A Ballerina

Lifeform Of The Week: Puffer Fish 

Shark Nursery Discovered in Waters off New York

Folks We Follow

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology January 2016 newsletter is now online


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

The Rainforest Site

SeaDoc Society: People & Science Healing The Sea

Showcase Magazine:  Today’s Media For Artful Living

Sierra Club

Sightline Institute

The Sun Magazine

Wildlife Conservation Society

Wildlife Extra Magazine

World Wildlife Fund

Writing For Peace

YES magazine


Video: Snake Thief Hides Python In Pants

Video: Small Plane Lands In Middle Of Highway

Video: Man Jumps Through Window To Stop Thief


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 minstrel312@aol.com


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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