Saturday, 5 April 2014


WHY ? 

Some have asked what it actually is I wish to accomplish, and why I do it.
I tried to answer one correspondent towards the end of my blog of 02 February 2013 http://cleanenergypundit.blogspot.co.uk/2013/02/snippets-questions-2-comments.htm
[bullet points extended here]

<<<<<<<<<<<
So much for my return comments.  Happy to learn of any corrective sources, which you – or anyone else reading this – could point me to. I only claim to be a still learning pundit (for want of a better word in contradistinction to expert or consultant which I don’t claim to be), and then not in any climate science but in the areas of CleanEnergy and Sustainability.

To illustrate, here is my current study and work program, briefly:

·         The global design problem:
".... to render the total chemical and energy resources of the world, which are now exclusively preoccupied in serving only 44% of humanity, adequate to the service of 100% of humanity, at higher standards of living and total enjoyment than any man has yet experienced."
Buckminster Fuller, UIA Paris, 1963
·         Its timescale (solutions must be valid for grandchildren’s grandchildren):
“Treat the earth well: it was not given to you by your parents, it was loaned to you by your children. We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors; we borrow it from our Children.”
Ancient American Indian Proverb
·         Method (democracy defined): 
“Libraries are not just depositories of books, but cornerstones of democracy. True democracy --based upon the informed consent of the governed --cannot exist without full free and public access to knowledge.”
Seattle City Librarian Deborah Jacobs, as quoted by Bruce Mau
·         Aim: Sustainability


In these respects, I wholly share your closing encouragement – “Now let’s get to work, seriously!”
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

My first blog was posted on 09 September 2009 – ,
since when I am occasionally reporting and commenting on my learning progress – 37 postings to date. 

Latest entries in the TYGER series are at
the first TYGER posting is at
The most popularly read blog postings are shown in the right margin of each posting.
The only rewards are that I learn a lot from the sources I quote, can talk and present what I learned, find readers in many countries, and to have been asked to let some of my blog postings be reproduced for wider circulation. Two recent articles, reprinted from my blog site, may illustrate some aspects I currently wrestle with:

As referred to in both of these TYGER postings I would like to quote again from Buckminster Fuller’s Foreword to his Critical Path:

“My reasons for writing this book are fourfold:
       (A)   Because I am convinced that human knowledge by others of what this book has to say is essential to human survival.
      (B)   Because of my driving conviction that all of humanity is in peril of extinction if each one of us does not dare, now and henceforth, always to tell only the truth, and all the truth, and to do so promptly – right now.
     (C)   Because I am convinced that humanity’s fitness for continuance in the cosmic scheme no longer depends on the validity of political, religious, economic, or social organizations, which altogether heretofore have been assumed to represent the many.
     (D)   Because, contrary to (C), I am convinced that human continuance now depends entirely upon:
     a.     The intuitive wisdom of each and every individual.
     b.     The individual’s comprehensive informedness.
     c.     The individual’s integrity of speaking and acting only on the individual’s own within-self-intuited and reasoned initiative.
     d.     The individual’s joining action with others, as motivated only by the individually conceived consequences of so doing.
     e.     The individual’s never-joining action with others, as motivated only by crowd- engendered emotionalism, or by a sense of the crowd’s power to overwhelm, or in fear of holding to the course indicated by one’s own intellectual convictions."


I am trying, as best I can, to follow the advice in Fuller’s point (D) above, using as much as possible of the Traffic Signs in my comment to the second TYGER posting referred to above, being

 ...my own ‘Traffic Signs’ in my ‘Whole-Earth-Sat-Nav’ through the CRITICAL PATH as a pointer to Democracy needing what appears to me like a never-ending minimum seven-voices, ricercar-like spiralling quest that might help mankind to ‘make it’ to the next interglacial.”

Following this advice, 'doing what I do' gets more exciting day by day, and that’s why I blog in order to share this excitement while quoting literature and links to sources that give rise to it.

The list of countries that are reported to have attracted readers of my blog postings comprise:


Some of today’s statistics of readers and their whereabouts might be of interest:   
[ only the top ten in each ranking category can be obtained from’ Blogger’

           
       TODAY                                                   MONTH  
                                         
   ALL-TIME TOP 10 PAGEVIEWS BY COUNTRY               ALL-TIME TOP 10 POSTS BY POPULARITY

And the Critical Path is still very long – with thanks to those who illustrated it for me: 

 http://cleanenergypundit.blogspot.co.uk/2014/01/reality-check-following-collection-of.html

and above all,  Thank You to all those ‘teachers’ whom I leant on in my various blog musings.




Wednesday, 2 April 2014

TYGER of  TYGERs continues...

...to present Reality Facts in this encyclopaedic  "...interdisciplinary text [that] will provide useful perspectives for readers  with backgrounds including resource economics, environmental studies, energy analysis, mineral geology, industrial organization, manufacturing, and material science”  as the back cover description advises.


Vaclav Smil:  Making the Modern World: Materials and Dematerialization, 
First Edition, John Wiley & Sons Ltd, 2014
.


Bound to be seen as the standard reference on how to measure and compare the world's material health&wealth - and GDP is not one of the telling metrics.


And remember Alexius Meinong: 
"TRUTH IS A PURELY HUMAN CONSTRUCT BUT FACTS ARE ETERNAL"
Here be Facts.

Go, get yourself some Tyger Nights.....

Friday, 7 March 2014

TYGER  of  TYGERs ...

                ... struck again with the force of a brain tsunami - a MustRead if ever there was one, with Vaclav Smil stating at the outset:


              "My firm belief is that looking far ahead is done most profitably by looking far back and that this approach works both for natural catastrophes and socioeconomic trends."



The MIT Press, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 2008 


                 From the back cover description:

              "Fundamental change occurs most often in one of two ways:  as a 'fatal discontinuity.' a sudden catastrophic event that is potentially world changing, or as a persistent, gradual trend. Global catastrophes include volcanic eruptions, viral pandemics, wars, and large-scale terrorist attacks; trends are demographic, environmental, economic, and political shifts that unfold over time. In this provocative book, scientist Vaclav Smil takes a wide-ranging, interdisciplinary look at the catastrophes and trends the next fifty years may bring. This is not a book of forecasts or scenarios but one that reminds us to pay attention to, and plan for, the consequences of apparently unpredictable events and the ultimate direction of long-term trends...."

              The contents pages may best describe the all-embracing topics covered:


              A small paragraph from Chapter 3 Unfolding Trends sums up the essence of trends affecting practically all of human endeavours:

              "Perhaps the most helpful way to think about globalization would be to get rid of the term, and not just because that noun has become so emotionally charged. The term interdependence describes much more accurately the realities of modern econ­omies. Once they left behind the limited autarkies of the preindustrial era, states have come to rely on more distant and more diverse sources of energy, raw materi­als, food, and manufactured products and on increasingly universal systems of communication and information processing. No country can now escape this imper­ative, and as this process advances, it will become impossible for any nation—no matter how technically adept or how militarily strong—to claim a commanding place on top."


Go, get yourself some Tyger Nights.....




Saturday, 22 February 2014

REALITY CHECK  #5

THIS GLOBAL VILLAGE


          The following world informative arrived, in German, as a PowerPoint slide show by email, without attribution, and is presented 'as received' because I think it deserves wider distribution.  Of course, if the name of author(s) and copyright owners should become available I should be pleased to add requisite acknowledgements. 

          My only contribution was translation into English, conversion into YouTube with music in compatible format.




Best watched Full Screen

Know the World in 6 minutes, and remember the job in hand:  

          "....to render the total chemical and energy resources which are now exclusively preoccupied in serving only 44% of humanity, adequate to the service of 100% of humanity at higher standards of living and total enjoyment than any man has yet experienced."  
R Buckminster Fulller, Paris, 1963


Saturday, 15 February 2014

BRAINology 101+:  The Bits

Why carbs are destroying your brain           
          blared the heading of a book review in The Times (London) of 18 January 2014

This book review brought to mind an earlier feature in the German magazine FOCUS of 18 June 2012

                              The Atkins-Revolution

          A summary of this article, which I had made for another occasion at the time, I repeated as comment on the Times article:
          According to this FOCUS article, Atkins’ theory has been confirmed by Susan Masino in Frontiers of Neuroscience: ‘A high-fat diet containing lots of carbohydrates promotes fat storage, a high-fat/low-carb diet, however, [leads to] fat burning’. In addition to further reporting on medically supervised trials, the article also mentions that high-fat/low carb diets were first developed at the Mayo Clinic in 1921 as a measure to reduce the severity of epileptic attacks (when weight loss was also observed as a ‘side effect’). Further benefits or areas of current research of high-fat/low carb diets are the avoidance or amelioration of type 2 diabetes, stroke, multiple sclerosis, depression, autism, migraine, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and cancer (study at Würzburg University).

          Mrs Ernestine Brett, commented in the Times in reply:
          The Germans have all sorts of strange obsessive ideas about health. My aunt and uncle, for instance, insisted on moving bedrooms because a water diviner found a spring under their existing (second-floor) one and it was giving them rheumatism. What I would like to know is why a half reputable paper is giving a double-page spread to this pseudo-scientific alarmist nonsense, as if we didn't have far bigger worries about unhealthy eating and obesity.

          To which I commented further:
          The essence is to maintain the highest developed intelligence system in the Universe, called brain, which to maintain needs the engine of a body powered by what we eat and drink, as well as with information as direct brain food – somewhat along the line of ut sit mens sana in corpore sano. To this end, I for one would not like to feed my maintenance engine with other than the most suitable known ‘petrol’, and my brain only with memes having best known correspondence to facts. In this respect, Dr Perlmutter’s book as reviewed by Barbara McMahon, Dr Atkins' writings, and the sources I quoted from the FOCUS article are the best I could find. If anyone thinks these sources are nothing but “pseudo-scientific alarmist nonsense” I would be pleased to learn of any better advice so that I could consider mending my ways.

And to explain my stance: I'm 'doing Atkins' now for 23 years, triggered by my weight shooting up to 95kg after putting a full stop to smoking. Adopting the Atkins diet, I lost 15kg within nine months, prompting a TV interview by the BBC at the time. Weight is now at maintenance level around 67kg, with me in best of health. My mother died at age 51 from sudden heart failure, my father died at age of 82 having both legs eventually amputated due to type 2 diabetes. Therefore, what better than a high fat/low carb diet prophylactic a la Atkins & Perlmutter could there be, especially when considering not only the physical but also the mental (I hope) health benefits?  

          To which in turn EnglishRose2 commented:
          ‘This is exactly my view too and in fact half of silicon valley some of the brightest people on the planet eat like this too. It is of course not new. It is what our species ate for 1 million years.’

          Obviously, this book had to be obtained and read:
    


Yellow Kite Books, Hodder & Stoughton Ltd, London, 2014

          For openers, some quotes from introductory pages:


          “The information that I will reveal to you is not just breathtaking; it’s undeniably conclusive….
“And the benefits don’t stop at brain health. I can promise that this program can help any of the following:
  • ·         ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder)
  • ·         anxiety and chronic stress
  • ·         chronic headaches and migraines
  • ·         depression
  • ·         diabetes
  • ·         epilepsy
  • ·         focus and concentration problems
  • ·         inflammatory conditions and diseases, including arthritis
  • ·         insomnia
  • ·         intestinal problems, including celiac disease, gluten sensitivity, and irritable bowel
  • ·         memory problems and mild cognitive impairment, frequently a precursor to      Alzheimer’s disease
  • ·         mood disorders
  • ·         overweight and obesity
  • ·         Tourette’s Syndrome
  • ·         and much more

Even if you don’t suffer from any of the above conditions, this book can help you preserve your well-being and mental acuities.  It is for both the old and the young….”

          “More than one hundred eighty-six thousand people younger than age twenty have diabetes (either type 1 or type 2) [link quoted: http://www.diabetes.webmd.com accessed May 13, 2012]. Just a decade ago, type 2 diabetes was known as ‘adult-onset diabetes’, but with so many young people being diagnosed, the term had to be dropped….”


“ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE  =  TYPE 3 DIABETES?

          Flash back to your moment with those hunters and gatherers.  Their brains are not too different from yours…… So while your brain might operate similarly, your sources of nutrition are anything but. In fact, take a look at the following graphic that depicts the main differences between our diet and that of our forebears.



          And what, exactly does this difference in dietary habits have to do with how well we age and whether or not we suffer from a neurological disorder or disease?
          Everything.

          The studies describing Alzheimer’s as a third type of diabetes began to emerge in 2005, but the link between poor diet and Alzheimer’s has only recently been brought to light with newer studies showing how this can happen. These studies are both convincingly horrifying and empowering at the same time. To think we can prevent Alzheimer’s just by changing the food we eat is, well, astonishing. This has many implications for preventing not just Alzheimer’s disease but all other brain disorders, as you’ll soon discover in the upcoming chapters….”

          These aperitif quotations from Dr. Perlmutter’s Brain Drain will, I hope, be sufficient reasons to trigger your own further exploration at source – if only for personal reasons.

          But personal reasons alone would not make it relevant to my reading and writing about global aspects of Clean Energy as defined at the top of each of my blogsite entries, which in turn arose from the three tenets which together form the self-chosen parameters for my trying to understand things:

  •          “…to render the total chemical and energy resources of the world, which are now exclusively preoccupied in serving only 44% of humanity, adequate to the service of 100% of humanity, at higher standards of living and total enjoyment than any man has yet experienced.”
Buckminster Fuller’s 1963 proposed World Design Science Decade 1965-1975

  •         “Treat the earth well: it was not given to you by your parents, it was loaned to you by your children. We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children.”
Ancient American Indian Proverb 
  •         “Libraries are not just depositories of books, but cornerstones of democracy. True democracy --based upon the informed consent of the governed --cannot exist without full free and public access to knowledge.”
Seattle City Librarian Deborah Jacobs, as quoted by Bruce Mau

          If you will, these three make a good mission statement for the global job-in-hand together with its timeframe and its working method.                               [http://www.lmhdesign.co.uk/planet.php]

          Thanks to science, technology and humanism of the Age of Reason with their increasing applications in exploration, trade, industrialisation and education, tremendous achievements were made in living standards and wealth (livingry, in Buckminster Fuller’s vocabulary) over the last five hundred years or so; not to be overlooked, however, must be the equally tremendous increase in killingry, when measured by the slaughter of some hundred million people through the two World Wars in the last century alone.  

          As a rough and ready measure of livingry progress let me take life expectancy at birth
(expectancy at birth is thought to include aspects of medicine, health and hygiene standards):



        

          The table of historical world figures shows a rough doubling of life expectancy since the early 20th Century compared to all previous human history; the graph of current life expectancies at birth shows a difference of nearly 200% between the worst and (by this measure) best locations on Earth.

          Correlations between GDP and changes other than life expectancy provide insights into further related changes in mankind’s circumstances.  The already quoted website http://filipspagnoli.wordpress.com/stats-on-human-rights/statistics-on-gross-domestic-product-correlations/   provides an extensive collection.

          One of these correlations is of further particular interest to my current topic, and that is the apparent relationship between wealth/health and fertility, quoting directly from the Filip Spagnoli website:

          “22. GDP and fertility rates
            Well, GNI, actually, not GDP:


               But the same is true for GDP:



          It seems that the richer a country the lower the average number of children, which is kind of obvious. A large number of children is typically an insurance against the risk of infant mortality and is typical for agricultural societies dependent on manual labour in family run farms.
          However, more prosperity doesn’t always equal less children. An economic downturn, for instance, can also reduce the number of children:



To sum up these graphically presented statistics collected by Filip Spagnoli:
.
WEALTH relates to HEALTH, to lengths of LIVES and to rates of BIRTHS
.
not to mention myriads of other things that are connected with Wealth.

          Time to recollect the topic of this brainhealth exercise, concisely summed up in the epigram taken from the opening line of a poem by Juvenal, as to which I would like to present a quote from an essay in Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mens_sana_in_corpore_sano as a brief interlude before going further:

          “Mens sana in corpore sano is a famous Latin quotation, often translated as, "A sound mind in a healthy body." 

          The phrase comes from Satire X of the Roman poet Juvenal (10.356). It is the first in a list of what is desirable in life:
English translation:

You should pray for a healthy mind in a healthy body.
Ask for a stout heart that has no fear of death,
and deems length of days the least of Nature's gifts
that can endure any kind of toil,
that knows neither wrath nor desire and thinks
the woes and hard labours of Hercules better than
the loves and banquets and downy cushions of Sardanapalus.
What I commend to you, you can give to yourself;
For assuredly, the only road to a life of peace is virtue.


In original Latin:

orandum est ut sit mens sana in corpore sano.
fortem posce animum mortis terrore carentem,
qui spatium vitae extremum inter munera ponat
naturae, qui ferre queat quoscumque labores,
nesciat irasci, cupiat nihil et potiores
Herculis aerumnas credat saevosque labores
et venere et cenis et pluma Sardanapalli.
monstro quod ipse tibi possis dare; semita certe
tranquillae per virtutem patet unica vitae.

—Roman poet Juvenal (10.356-64)

          Traditional commentators believe that Juvenal's intention was to teach his fellow Roman citizens that in the main, their prayers for such things as long life are misguided. That the gods had provided man with virtues  which he then lists for them.
Over time and separated from its context, the phrase has come to have a range of meanings. It can be construed to mean that only a healthy body can produce or sustain a healthy mind. Its most general usage is to express the hierarchy of needs: with physical and mental health at the root.
          An earlier, similar saying is attributed to the pre-Socratic philosopher Thales:
τίς εὐδαίμων, "ὁ τὸ μὲν σῶμα ὑγιής, τὴν δὲ ψυχὴν εὔπορος, τὴν δὲ φύσιν εὐπαίδευτος"
What man is happy? "He who has a healthy body, a resourceful mind and a docile nature."


          For probably the most comprehensive description of “…long-term dietary change and its consequences for agricultural production, trade, food consumption, environment, and health,”   [quoted from its Preface], here is a book I would suggest, as its scope appears an overview of consequences that might have to be considered globally if Dr Perlmutter’s findings were widely adopted:


MIT Press, Cambridge Mass. and London, England, 2012
 
          Japan achieved an extraordinary increase in longevity over the last Century (from male/female 43/44 years in 1900 to 75.8/80.6 years in 2010) descriptively summarized in the title of Chapter 1: Japanese Diet, 1900-2010: From Subsistence to Affluence and quoting further from  the opening description in this book’s Preface already referred to:

          “[This book’s]…scope dictates interdisciplinary coverage and precludes any simple categorization: the book draws on findings from historical and economic studies, agronomic and agricultural analyses, and the fields of nutrition, public health, demography, and environmental science. The intent has been to present a multifaceted evaluation of a process whose nature and impact can be truly appreciated only through a broad-based inquiry….”

          A book of such breadth and depth can IMHO not usefully be further recommended for reading by short quotations – it is, of course, a TYGER MustRead. A short look at the Contents page may nevertheless be helpful in reinforcing this view:


[the Series Foreword  “…presents the ninth book in the Food, Health, and the Environment series…” by Series editor Robert Gottlieb, Occidental College, MIT Press]
         
          In this history of diet change in Japan during 110 years, Smil and Kobayashi particularly only note the dietary benefits regarding diseases like cancer, cardiovascular, and coronary heart disorders (but also Mianamata with its poisonous effects from mercury contaminated fish).  Age or brain related diseases like dementia, Alzheimer’s or diabetes find no special mention.

          Obesity, however, with its very low incidence compared to the North American norm, is highlighted as a special benefit of the Japanese diet.  Adult obesity in Japan was only 3.9% in 2005, “…when the U.S. rate had surpassed 33% (the highest prevalence among the leading economies) and  the European shares ranged from 10 percent in Italy to about 23 percent in England…).  

          With that, back to diet – the obvious follow-on from mentioning obesity in any conversation.

          “No diet will remove all the fat from your body because the brain is entirely fat. Without a brain, you might look god, but all you could do is run for public office,”  commented George Bernard Shaw on the subject.

          Another often-heard comment is ‘It must be in the genes!”  - which raises an interesting further question to be asked in consequence, namely:  ‘what genes?’  One’s own, of course, but:
          “Compared to about ten trillion human cells, there are about ninety trillion cells in our body that are not actually ‘us’; and the majority reside in the gut. The Human Microbiome Project’s researchers (see p59 of The WIRED World in 2013) showed these microbes collectively contain over 100 times more genes than our own genome, and these contribute significantly to our health and well-being. In the gastrointestinal tract, for example, bacteria can provide essential nutrients and help us digest foods that we otherwise could not absorb. But they can also metabolise drugs we take, lowering their efficacy or even creating toxic byproducts. Microbiome function is believed to be so essential and pervasive that many have recently referred to it as the ‘invisible organ’ “.

[from an article in WIRED magazine 03.14 titled Smart toilets and sewer sensors are coming by Yanic J Turgeman, Eric Alm and Carlo Ratti.  Carlo Ratti is director and Yanic J Turgeman the head of research of the MIT SENSEable City Lab. Eric Alm is an associate professor in MIT’s department of biological engineering.]

          Combining this last consideration with the two earlier books referred to, puts a completely different emphasis on two quotes by ‘The Philosopher in the Kitchen’ – Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin (French lawyer who had also studied chemistry and medicine, 1755-1826),

          “Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you what you are.”
and
          “The fate of a nation depends on the way that they eat.” 

          or in grand summary on an individual basis, provided by Thomas Alva Edison,

          “The chief function of the body is to carry the brain around.”

          To do that, we need to maintain a healthy body capable of maintaining the brain equally healthy throughout life.  

          “The liver, for example, perpetually regenerates by growing new liver cells, and similar regeneration of cells occurs in virtually all other tissues, including skin, blood, bone and intestines.” [Grain Brain, p129]

It is often written that, in fact, the whole body, atom by atom, renews itself about every ten years – with the exception of brain cells – neurons – which can only die, and do so.  However….

          “In my previous book, ‘Power Up Your Brain: The Neuroscience of Enlightenment’, Dr Alberto Villoldo and I told the story of how science has come to understand the gift of neurogenesis in humans…. In 1998, the journal ‘Nature Medicine’ published a report by Swedish neurologist Peter Eriksson in which he claimed that within our brains exists a population of neural stem cells that are continually replenished and differentiate into brain neurons. And indeed, he was right: We all experience brain ‘stem cell therapy’ every minute of our lives. This has led to a new science called neuroplasticity.”  [Grain Brain, p130f].

          Wow o Wow!

          To paraphrase Edison while remembering Juvenal:

“Being alive entails maintaining a healthy body whose chief function is to maintain a healthy brain throughout life’s duration.”

          The energy for all this maintenance work including its ongoing renewal of brawn and brain can only come through what we eat, drink and breathe. If we sum these three inputs with respect to requisite availability and quality as ‘wealth’, let me recall the earlier summary of resultant effects:

 WEALTH relates to HEALTH, to lengths of LIVES and to rates of BIRTHS

          and let me consider further the effects of the dietary changes proposed in Dr Perlmutter’s Grain Brain with respect to life expectancy and attendant issues. 

          As already described, the first effect of the eradication of hunger is a remarkable increase in life expectancy, as shown in the Gapminder World Map 2010 earlier.  This and other descriptions so far have shown how we have got here and why.  Important now is, how best available forecasts of future life expectancy describe what awaits us.  Some graphical descriptions might best make these astounding figures memorable:






          The demographic shift in aging populations is of special importance for further consideration:

          Apart from the purely numerical increase in world population from the current seven billion to about nine billion in 2050 there are, for current purposes of nutritional considerations only, two qualitative aspects to consider, namely famine+thirst, and health . 

          With regard to the former duality, “the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that nearly 870 million people of the 7.1 billion people in the world, or one in eight, were suffering from chronic undernourishment in 2010-2012. Almost all the hungry people, 852 million, live in developing countries, representing 15 percent of the population of developing counties. There are 16 million people undernourished in developed countries (FAO 2012).”

and “Water scarcity already affects every continent. Around 1.2 billion people, or almost one-fifth of the world's population, live in areas of physical scarcity, and 500 million people are approaching this situation. Another 1.6 billion people, or almost one quarter of the world's population, face economic water shortage (where countries lack the necessary infrastructure to take water from rivers and aquifers).  Water scarcity is among the main problems to be faced by many societies and the World in the XXIst century. Water use has been growing at more than twice the rate of population increase in the last century.”

          A short glance at US water consumption may be opportune here.  Of note there is the high demand from thermoelectric power generation – yes, even a nuclear reactor is simply powering yet another big ‘steam engine’ while also cooling itself to avoid its own meltdown – closely followed by the high demands of agricultural irrigation.
           From the World Health Organization comes this summary, useful for a recap here:

“Are you ready? What you need to know about ageing
World Health Day 2012 - Toolkit for event organizers

Our world is changing
Key facts
  •          The number of people today aged 60 and over has doubled since 1980.
  •          The number of people aged 80 years will almost quadruple to 395 million between          now and 2050.
  •          Within the next five years, the number of adults aged 65 and over will outnumber            children under the age of 5.
  •          By 2050, these older adults will outnumber all children under the age of 14.
  •          The majority of older people live in low- or middle-income countries. By, 2050, this           number will have increased to 80%.
  •          In the 21st century, health is determined by and contributes to broad social trends. Economies are globalizing, more and more people live and work in cities, family patterns are changing and technology is evolving rapidly. One of the biggest social transformations is population ageing. Soon, the world will have more older people than children and more people of very old age than ever before.” 
          With aging populations come related diseases, like diabetes, senile dementia and Alzheimer’s, for examples.  A mention of that other disease – obesity – attracts this mention in another WHO publication:

          “Obesity  is increasing rapidly in both developed and developing countries. This reflects declining levels of physical activity and the rising consumption of diets high in sugars and fats. This trend is also obvious among young people. A generation is entering adulthood with unprecedented levels of obesity. According to the International Obesity Task Force (IOTF) and the WHO World Health Report 2002, about 58% of diabetes globally can be attributed to body mass index (BMI) above 21 kg/m2.
          Obesity and type 2 diabetes are linked. Weight gain leads to insulin resistance through several mechanisms. Insulin resistance places a greater demand on the pancreas to produce insulin. At the same time, physical inactivity, both a cause and consequence of weight gain, also contributes to insulin resistance. Diabetes occurs when the body’s need for insulin outstrips the ability of the pancreas to produce it.
          The sheer scale of the obesity and diabetes epidemics require responses at a population level, as well as by individuals. Approaches based only on personal education to promote behaviour change are unlikely to succeed in an environment where there are plentiful inducements to engage in opposing behaviours. Personal education must be supported by appropriate changes to the broader environment, such as transportation, urban design, advertising and food pricing.
          WHO and IDF support numerous strategies, worldwide, aimed at addressing issues associated with diet and physical activity. It is recognized that only through constructive partnerships, involving governments, civil society and private sector, can the necessary changes be made that will reverse current trends towards overweight and obesity and the range of chronic diseases associated with them.”

The adoption of a high-fat/low carb diet has already proved itself as an effective weight loss diet countermanding obesity practically as a side-effect.

If then the dietary recommendations of Dr Perlmutter’s Grain Brain were to be adopted, not only personally but also nationally and eventually globally, then obesity, diabetes as well as all other age related brain deteriorations could be described by the most extensively documented occurrence – Alzheimer’s disease.

Let’s have a quick look at diabetes first, as shown in Brain Grain,



before we turn to Alzheimer’s:

          “Natasha Khan and Daryl Loo of Bloomberg look at the growing problem of Alzheimer’s in China. According to one estimate, the country now has the world’s largest population of sufferers of the disease:
  • ·         ‘In China, there are only about 300 qualified physicians to treat more than 9 million dementia sufferers. The shortage is overwhelming families and threatening resources from an already stretched welfare system as the country ages. … Life expectancy in China has increased seven years to 76 since 1990. The flip side of that progress is that an aging population has combined with rapid modernization to fuel a rise in mental illness from depression to Alzheimer’s even as the nation has directed only limited resources toward the elderly.
  • ·         Between 2000 and 2010, the number of Alzheimer’s patients grew 53 percent to an estimated 5.7 million.
  • ·         This isn’t just a China story. After years of being thought of as a disease of the wealthy, Alzheimer's is increasingly proliferating in middle- and lower-income countries. A 2008 study in the Lancet found that rates of dementia “in urban Latin America (approaching 10%) resemble those in high-income countries.’

          According to the London-based Alzheimer’s Disease International, “Already 62% of people with dementia live in developing countries, but by 2050 this will rise to 71%. The fastest growth in the elderly population is taking place in China, India, and their south Asian and western Pacific neighbours.”
It is obviously something of a victory for global public health that life expectancies even in developing countries are reaching the point where conditions like Alzheimer’s or diabetes are become widespread problems. But it’s also a sign that in the next century, we may need to reframe some priorities.”


          Some further illustrations from the Alzheimer’s Disease International web site will save many words






           View the infographic 


If ?
                             It rather seems    When ?  is the question to ask. 
            Which inevitably leads to    How?  But that needs an extrapolation of
Dr Perlmutter’s concluding paragraph in his Brain Drain before any answers can be attempted:

          “Until we face a health challenge that affects our brains’ functionality, we tend to take our mental faculties for granted. We assume that our mind will travel with us wherever we go. But what if that doesn’t happen? And what if we can in fact guarantee our mental prowess and brain power just by actively nurturing the brain in the ways I’ve described? We all cherish the right to free speech, the right to privacy , and the right to vote, among others. These are fundamental to our way of life. But what about the right to a long life, free of cognitive decline and mental disease? You can claim this right today. I hope you do.”

          That’s fine by me, but here’s the real challenge:  what about the other 8,999,999,999 +/- a few hundred million or so, alive by 2050, who expect a brain-food diet a la Perlmutter as a fundamental human right?

          Martin Rees, Astronomer Royal, speaking at WIRED 2013 conference 
[WIRED magazine 03.14]:

“Post-humans will evolve from our species not via natural selection but by design. They could be silicon based, or they could be organic creatures who had won the battle with death.”

But in addition to conquering food, water and fresh air famines,
Homo Sapiens will first have to win the battle against Bedlam.