:  The Magazine With Heart News & Commentary; From Olya ~ A Hobbit House; Good Examples, Bad Examples, 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

The Magazine With Heart
News & Commentary; From Olya ~ A Hobbit House; Good Examples, Bad Examples, 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 31, 2016  Vol. 9 No. 190  435th Consecutive

Rusty Miller – Editor

Olya Bereza – European Editor



Hi again from the shores of the Salish Sea.  Well, this year is certainly starting out interestingly enough.  Northstar relocates next to a mountain with cougars on it and not only does China accuse Canada of espionage but the Canadian government itself finds legal umbrage with its intelligence agencies’ policies.

Espionage aka “intelligence gathering” is an intricate and “dirty” game at best.  As an entity in “free world” countries, it operates in an ubiquitous no man’s land somewhere between the laws of the land and the need to protect that same land.

It is a game of strategy and tactics waged against enemies desperate enough to kill their own children in pursuit of whatever goals they have declared, from autonomy to jihad to the purification of the race to one world religion (theirs of course.)

It is also a process which transcends relatively transient political administrations.  Politics knows many secrets and keeps very few of them.  Elected officials are also much more vulnerable to coercion than most of the vetted intelligence community because of the complex matrix of trade-offs it takes to get elected, get the job done and get re-elected.

I wonder, then, how realistic it is to hold intelligence agencies “accountable” and subject to policy review.  I believe it is, however, realistic to require said agencies to police themselves.  No, I’m not certain that would work either but at least it would keep such internal investigations inhouse.

War is, perhaps rather unfortunately, also a rather dirty business at best.  The only real rule is to win.  These cloak and dagger warriors are part of the army we put in the field.  Perhaps it is time to let them do their job, as well.

That’s it for this week, gang.  Take care, stay well and God Bless.


To comment, email us at minstrel312@aol.com  To contribute to the next edition, please go here.


Only in America, folks.  We Asked, You Answered: Your Favorite Blizzard Things

I think this is very useful information for all of us to know, just in case.  How To Become An Australian

This is long overdue and I hope it works.  U.S. Police Leaders Unveil Principles Intended to Shift Policing Practices Nationwide



Oil Prices Fall 3 Per Cent On Swelling Oversupply

Half The World Still Breathes Polluted Air


Malaysia PM Cleared Over $681m Gift

Japan Minister Quits Over Bribery Claims

Japan Surprises With Negative Rate

Unemployed, Myanmar’s Elephants Grow Antsy, And Heavier

Takata’s Faulty Airbags Still Exact Toll As Recalls Lag


China’s Motorcycle Army Sputters Along Tough Road To Middle Class

China Strongly Condemns US For Sending Warship Near Island

President Xi Jinping Of China Is All Business In Middle East Visit

Miners In China Are Rescued After 36 Days Underground

At Some Restaurants In China, A Shortcut To Addictive Food: Poppies


Video: A More Colorful Trip Around Mumbai

Indian Women Seeking Jobs Confront Taboos And Threats

Mother Of Indian Gang Rape Victim Urges Country To Use Her Daughter’s Real Name

Inside A Community’s Fierce Fight To Prevent A Nuclear Tragedy

How India’s Nuclear Industry Created A River Of Death, According To Court Case Claims


Royal Canadian Mounted Police Use Cellphone Data In Bid To Find Burkina Faso Attackers

The World Of Nigeria’s Sex-Trafficking ‘Air Lords’

Ivory Coast Ex-Leader’s Trial Opens

Dissident Ugandan General Arrested Ahead Of Elections

Middle East

U.S. Relies Heavily On Saudi Money To Support Syrian Rebels

Canada Will Lift Sanctions Against Iran, Normalize Relations

Video: Iraq’s 1000km Trench ‘To Repel Bombers’

Airbus signs $25bn Iranian plane deal

Jordan Census Counts 1.2 Million Syrians

U.N. Asks For $861 Million To Fund Iraq Humanitarian Needs


Russian Economy Contracted 3.7% In 2015

Moscow Says It Thwarted IS Terror Attacks In Russia

Freight Traffic Between Russia And Poland Faces Suspension

Peskov Says U.S. Running Putin Smear Campaign Before 2018 Elections

Oil Price Rally Gives Respite To Russian Ruble

Russian Court Releases Bolotnoye Case Prisoner On Parole

The Upside Of A Down Ruble

Muscovites Warned To Stay Inside, Avoid Treacherous Ice

Russian Toddler Burnt By Molotov Cocktail Allegedly Thrown By Debt Collector


Italy Divided Over Effort To Legalize Civil Unions For Gays

China Releases Swedish Rights Activist

French Minister Resigns Amid Terror Row

The Man Who Created Paris

Why Some Greek Pensioners May Have To Forage To Survive

German Forest Ranger Finds That Trees Have Social Networks, Too

United Kingdom

Britain Seeks Stronger ‘Emergency Brake’ From EU – Source

Almost 14,000 Attacks On NHS Scotland Staff

Tanzania Poachers Kill British Pilot

Man Arrested At Gatwick Under Terror Act


Sears Canada Races To Close More Stores Amid Cost-Cutting Efforts

One In 10 Canadian Vets Of Afghan War Diagnosed With PTSD

Burkina Faso villagers mourn their Canadian friends killed in terror attack

Price Gap Between Toronto Houses And Condos Expected To Shrink

United States

Major Cities Grind To A Halt And Face Days Of Digging Out Snow  See also stranded In The Snow, Travelers Camp In Cars And Make Do

Ammon Bundy and Seven Others Are Arrested, and One Dies, in Oregon

F.B.I. Releases Video Showing Death Of Oregon Refuge Occupier

Flint Weighs Scope Of Harm To Children Caused By Lead In Water

Students Say Racial Hostilities Simmered At Historic Boston Latin School

Remaining California Jail Escapees Are Captured In San Francisco

Latin America

Foes May Hate Hugo Chávez, But They Like His Political Playbook

Tears And Bewilderment In Brazilian City Facing Zika Crisis

A Bank Robbery? Nope, Just Buying Coffee And Groceries In Caracas

Oceana & Polynesia

Cyclone Passes Over Australia’s Northwest Mining Ports


Climate Change & Weather

Climate Deal’s First Big Hurdle: The Draw Of Cheap Oil

A Climate For Change

Video: ‘Snow Drones’ Film US Blizzard Scenes

Fast-Acting Methane From Aliso Canyon Leak Is Boosting Global Warming

Can The ‘Godzilla’ El Niño’ Solve California’s Drought Problem?

US Moves To Limit Emissions Of Planet-Warming Methane

Is El Niño At Its Peak?

Espionage And Terrorism

Video: Undercover Report Reveals IS Recruitment

Calling The New Branch Of IS – In Afghanistan

Video: New IS Video on Paris Attacks

More Is Needed to Beat IS, U.S. Military Concludes

Canada’s Spy Agencies Broke Surveillance Laws, Watchdogs Reveal

China Charges Canadian With Spying, Stealing State Secrets

Europe Training Financial Firepower On Terrorism

Refugee Crisis

Asylum Centre Stabbing Shocks Sweden

Denmark To Vote On Migrant Assets Bill

Dutch Plan Involves Ferrying Migrants To In Turkey Ferry Plan For Migrants

Zika Virus

Zika Virus ‘Spreading Explosively’ In Americas, W.H.O. Says

What You Need To Know About The Zika Virus And Its Hardy And Resourceful  Carrier

El Salvador’s Advice On Zika: Don’t Have Babies

Video: Zika: Killing The Virus At Source?

As Zika Concerns Mount, Airlines And Cruise Ship Companies Offer Refunds To Pregnant Women


 A Hobbit House Built For One Family In Lammas, Wales   photo credit.  http://www.simondale.net/hobbit.htm

A Hobbit House Built For One Family In Lammas, Wales
photo credit. http://www.simondale.net/hobbit.htm


Hello Rusty:

This week I watched a quite interesting film, “The Big Short.”  It was about how the financial crisis 2007-2008 triggered by mortgage bubble. I really appreciated how the creators of the film tried to explain some basic economic terms by simple examples.

Like “derivative,” they showed how people bet on a casino roulette winner, and then other people bet if the previous bet won.  And then a third circle of people who bet if the previous circle was right.

And if this gambling fails at first circle, then all the long queue of betting leads to a total collapse. If the first circle of betting is understandable, the question is why system allows further circles, making itself as vulnerable as a house of cards.

And with respect to this photo, Lammas is a pioneering eco-village in West Wales, United Kingdom, where they build houses by themselves in pursuit of eco-living and demonstrate that an alternative is possible. Of course not everyone can sacrifice the luxury and comfort of a city dwelling, but it’s nice to know there is another way, especially when it is supported by the government. Having sustainable households in the long run could be more efficient for a healthy economy.

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

Olya Bereza, European Associate Editor


Out-flipping-standing.  Cracking Europe’s Human Trafficking Rings

I got tears in my eyes watching this.  Aboriginal Brass Band Offers Burst of Hope in a Bleak Community

I think this is a good idea and I hope it works.  Massachusetts Chief’s Tack in Drug War: Steer Addicts to Rehab, Not Jail

Go You Guys!  Ottawa To Mandate Climate Test For Energy Projects

I am very glad to see that this is working.  In A Tiny House Village, Portland’s Homeless Find Dignity


Something really needs to be done about this and soon.  Inuit — Once Relatively Cancer-Free — Now Have Highest Lung-Cancer Rate In The World: Study

This needs to change and it is certainly possible.  Precipitous Rents in Ski Country Push Workers to Edges

This needs to change before the health system turns on those it was meant to serve.  Drug Shortages Forcing Hard Decisions On Rationing Treatments


I totally loved this.  Meet The 31mph Electric Supercar

This is reassuring, he observed sarcastically.  Study: Maybe We Can’t Find Aliens Because They’ve All Died Already

If this were ever to get into “the wrong hands…”   Why Police Have Started Scanning Brains


Meet The Welsh Dinosaur Scientists Have Dubbed The ‘Dragon Robber’

Where No Human Has Walked Before ~ The Only Sound You’ll Hear Is Dripping Ice, But It Won’t Be That Way For Long

Babylonians ‘First To Use Geometry’

How Do Snowflakes Get Their Shape?


Dazzling new Hubble photo shows off a cluster of cosmic bling

Eight Planets That Definitely Exist

A Village Made Of Moon Dust

An International Space Station Transit Of Saturn 

Loneliest Known Exoplanet And Its Star 

What’s A Safe Distance Between Us And An Exploding Star?


Video: Runaway Plane

Driverless Cars And The Future Of Parking

How Europe Protects Your Online Data Differently Than The U.S.


Why Solar And Wind Thrive Despite Cheap Oil And Gas

Tiny House Village Opens For Homeless In Seattle

WA State Attorney: Vancouver Oil Terminal Risks Are Being Underplayed

8 Quick Tips For Cutting Lunchtime Waste


Study: HIV Can Hide And Grow In ‘Sanctuaries’ In Body After It’s Undetectable In Blood

‘I Can Remember Every Day Of My Life’ ~ The Blessing And Curse Of The People Who Never Forget

This New Approach To Mental Health Care Could Save Lives


How to Raise a Creative Child.LIFESTYLE Step One: Back Off

A Woman On The $10 Bill, And Everyone Has 2 Cents To Put In

Indonesia’s Real-Life Robinson Crusoes

Venice’s Only Female Gondoliera

Photographer Documents The Haunting Journey To Auschwitz



4-Year-Old Has The Perfect Response To A Boy In Her Class Who Called Her ‘Ugly

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


Winter Fun Comes To Winnipeg As Ice Sculptures Take Shape

Mars Will Be Awesome In 2016

See all 5 planets in the morning sky


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.


Advertising Copy ~ Classified and Display

Editing ~ General and International

Online English Tutoring

“Americanization” of International Websites

Comedy ~ jokes, monologues

Ghost writing


Special Projects

Negotiable rates, flexible financing, payment via Paypal for international clients, Paypal, email or direct deposit for US.  Email me at minstrel312@aol.com and I will reply within 24 hours. For my background and other 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.


This is totally absorbing.  Swimming With Elephants And Sharks

I see a major motion picture in this discovery.  The BBC headline writer even gave it a movie title.  The Monkeys That Sailed The Atlantic

Here is a chance to wrap yourself in a quilt of totally cute.  How To Rehabilitate A Baby Otter


Falcons Can Control Their Prey’s Minds

A Handy Guide For Your Garden Birdwatch

The Shrimp That Set Phasers To Stun


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


One Man’s Odyessey For His Birth Mom And The Incredible Results Of That Search

Extraordinary Fossil Find Sheds Light On Duck-Billed Dinosaurs

Extremely Loud, Very Close Lightning Strike

New bust 012616ABOUT US

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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