Category Archives: Uncategorized

World Population: 7.7 Billion

Click to enlarge. For the interactive version, go to Worldometers.

Source: Worldometers

According to Worldometers, the current world population is 7.7 billion.

At the dawn of agriculture, about 8000 B.C., the population of the world was approximately 5 million. Over the 8,000-year period up to 1 A.D. it grew to 200 million (some estimate 300 million or even 600, suggesting how imprecise population estimates of early historical periods can be), with a growth rate of under 0.05% per year.

A tremendous change occurred with the industrial revolution: whereas it had taken all of human history until around 1800 for world population to reach one billion, the second billion was achieved in only 130 years (1930), the third billion in 30 years (1960), the fourth billion in 15 years (1974), and the fifth billion in only 13 years (1987).


The United Nations projects world population to reach 10 billion in the year 2056.

Two Things We Can Do To Stave Off Muscle Loss As We Age: Exercise And Eat Beans

Dietary Protein And Resistance Training Effects On Muscle And Body Composition In Older Persons, Journal of the American College of Nutrition, December 2007.

The regular performance of resistance exercises and the habitual ingestion of adequate amounts of dietary protein from high-quality sources are two important ways for older persons to slow the progression of and treat sarcopenia, the age-related loss of skeletal muscle mass and function.

Resistance training can help older people gain muscle strength, hypertrophy muscle, and increase whole body fat-free mass. It can also help frail elderly people improve balance and physical functioning capabilities.

Findings from controlled feeding studies show that older persons retain the capacity to metabolically adjust to lower protein intakes by increasing the efficiency of nitrogen retention and amino acid utilization.

Most of the limited research suggests that resistance training-induced improvements in body composition, muscle strength and size, and physical functioning are not enhanced when older people who habitually consume adequate protein increase their protein intake by either increasing the ingestion of higher-protein foods or consuming protein-enriched nutritional supplements.

So, protein is important as we age. But more protein than what we’ve been eating as younger adults isn’t necessarily better. In fact, if that protein is coming from animal foods, it’s a problem, for two reasons:

  • Animal foods contain more saturated fat and saturated fat increases inflammation.
  • Animal foods push tissues to a more acidic state owing to their greater amount of sulfur-containing amino acids.

Both inflammation and mild acidosis contribute to muscle wasting.

How to get protein on a vegan diet? Eat beans.

The DRI (Dietary Reference Intake) for protein is 0.8 g/kg (grams of protein per kilogram of healthy body weight). That’s for someone who is relatively sedentary. Athletes, women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, or people with physically demanding jobs need more.

  • A 120 pound (54.4 kg) person needs about 44 grams of protein a day.
  • A 180 pound (81.6 kg) person needs about 65 grams of protein a day.

You would be hard pressed to find a non-animal food that provides the amount of protein that beans do, in typical serving sizes. (Click to enlarge. Data for the chart can be found at the bottom of this post.)

Lentils … 9 grams in a measly half-cup serving. Not even a large egg beats that (at 6 grams).

Wood Thrush This Morning

What Is This?

Navy pilots are picking things up on their radar. No one is saying, or can say, what they are.

“These things would be out there all day,” Lt. Ryan Graves said. “Keeping an aircraft in the air requires a significant amount of energy. With the speeds we observed, 12 hours in the air is 11 hours longer than we’d expect.”

‘Wow, What Is That?’ Navy Pilots Report Unexplained Flying Objects, New York Times, 26 May 2019

Here’s some of the video that was in the article.

A video shows an encounter between a Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet and an unknown object. It was released by the Defense Department’s Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program. Source: U.S. Department of Defense, published December 16, 2017.

Is it something we built, or another country built, or some private group built? Why isn’t whoever is flying it telling the Navy, the Air Force, commercial airlines, it’s out there? At the very least to avoid “near collisions”?

I don’t understand how it stays airborne without wings, with no obvious form of propulsion, no jet engine, no exhaust plume. It emits no sound. If it can stay airborne for 12 hours without refueling, why isn’t this technology being adapted to other aircraft? And why aren’t there better photographs of it? This reminds me of all the blurry photographs of Big Foot. Unless you have some artifacts, in the case of Big Foot, some feces or a corpse, something you can touch and analyze, then the notion that it exists is questionable. So, maybe it’s some kind of weather event or other natural phenomena. What thinking person would not be curious about this?

Mediterranean Diet Post 13: World Health Organization Says “The Mediterranean Diet Is Gone”

This is a nice photograph but it no longer represents a way of eating for most people. The photo accompanied the Washington Post article below, with the caption: “A woman buys produce at a market in Barcelona. Fruit and vegetables have traditionally been a large part of the diet in Mediterranean countries.” The word “traditionally” is key there.

‘The Mediterranean Diet Is Gone’: Region’s Children Are Fattest In Europe

For kids in Greece, Spain and Italy, the Mediterranean diet is dead, according to the World Health Organisation.

In Cyprus, a phenomenal 43% of boys and girls aged nine are either overweight or obese. Greece, Spain and Italy also have rates of over 40%. The Mediterranean countries which gave their name to the famous diet that is supposed to be the healthiest in the world have children with Europe’s biggest weight problem.

The data comes from the Childhood Obesity Surveillance Initiative of the WHO’s European region, which has been running since 2008 and now involves more than 40 countries that submit weight and height data for their children. The latest figures come from data collected between 2015 and 2017. “It is very high quality data.”

Mediterranean Children Stopped Eating The Mediterranean Diet, And They Now Have The Highest Obesity Rates In Europe

Surveys of adults in Spain, Italy, Greece and Cyprus, have found that younger generations tend to eat more meat and dairy and less fresh produce than older people.

“The Mediterranean diet is based on fresh, seasonal and local food,” [João Breda, program manager for nutrition, physical activity and obesity at the WHO Regional Office for Europe] told The Washington Post by email. “[Children today] eat much less fruit and vegetables, pulses and fiber-rich complex carbohydrates than their parents and grandparents.”

In some ways, this is not surprising. Most experts agree the traditional Mediterranean diet is not coming back. That diet was originally documented in the post-World War II era, when most families could not afford soda, red meat or dairy products.

Here’s my question. If people who live at ground zero for the Mediterranean Diet won’t eat food that is growing outside their window, what are the hopes that the rest of the world will eat it?

“The Mediterranean diet is based on fresh, seasonal and local food.” Where is the fresh, local food in Maine in January? Where are the olive trees in Alaska or New Hampshire? How fresh and local are are mushrooms or garlic or peas imported from China? Or Mexico? or even California? I’m not talking about the odd cabbage or tomato. I’m talking about enough fresh, local food to feed everyone everywhere. This doesn’t even take into account affordability. Fresh, local fruits and vegetables have become food for the wealthy.

I agree that the Mediterranean diet, the one that existed in the Mediterranean region prior to the turn of the last century (before 1900), was healthful. But we live in a different place, a different time. That older diet served a people who had fewer resources than we do today. It is ill-suited to our fast-paced, urban, technology-driven lifestyle. The newer Mediterranean diet? It is, as I’ve shown, a marketing gimmick promoted by industry.

People are not going to return to cooking beans from scratch, or taking several days to make a loaf of bread, or eating locally-caught, non-polluted fish (there aren’t any). People aren’t going to take a few hours to make a big pot of soup (from fresh, local ingredients, no less) when they get home from work, especially if their work was physically demanding (trash collectors, landscapers, construction workers) or involved travel (truck drivers, flight attendants). We need to provide processed and packaged food that’s healthful … canned and jarred soups, beans, fruits, sauces; frozen fruits, vegetables, and entrees; pre-made breads that are truly whole grain. We need to provide these foods without all the sugar, fat, salt, and additives that they currently contain.

If I hear someone promoting the Mediterranean Diet now I think they either don’t know what they are talking about, they’re just regurgitating something they heard, or they have a stake in the sale of a food product. The Mediterranean Diet is from a bygone era. We should let it go.

Heritage Loaf In A Loaf Pan

I’ve been making my Heritage Loaf free-form in a dutch oven but recently switched to a loaf pan. I like the bigger slices and the easier clean-up so I’ll be making it this way for a while. I didn’t like Heritage Loaf at first but it has grown on me. I always have some slices in the freezer now.

As you can see, very easy to remove from the pan and hardly any clean-up:

These slices toast up beautifully. A little jam or plain, it’s all good:

Here’s the recipe. It’s an old-fashioned, maslin-style crumbly loaf – a mixture of whole grain wheat and spelt flours, whole grain rye flour, and whole grain corn meal. The recipe is the same as the one I use for a free-standing loaf except there’s no preheating a dutch oven.


2 cups whole wheat flour (some spelt)
1/2 cup whole rye flour
1/2 cup coarse cornmeal
1 teaspoon instant yeast
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 cups water
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon sourdough starter (optional)


Combine flours, cornmeal, yeast and salt in a large bowl. Stir maple syrup and starter into water, add to flour mixture, stir until blended. Dough should be sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let rest about 4 hours at room temperature, about 70 degrees.

Nudge dough onto a lightly floured surface. With lightly floured hands and a pastry scraper, knead gently until it forms a ball. This will happen very quickly, about a minute. Form ball into a slightly oblong loaf. Lift dough with pastry scraper and place into parchment-lined loaf pan. Drape with plastic wrap, let rest about 1 hour (less on a hot day, say, over 75 degrees).

Before the hour is up, preheat oven to 360 degrees F. After the 1-hour rest, bake for 50-55 minutes or until the top begins to brown. Remove from oven and let sit in pan for 15 minutes, then remove by holding corners of parchment. Cool for several hours on a wire rack, slice and freeze.

Representative Katie Porter Describes The Difficulty Of Living On $16.50/Hour

Regarding food … $402/month is about $100/week.

That’s similar to what I figured a few years ago:

Americans earning a median income spend about $5,646/year, or $470/month, or $118/week on food. If there are 21 meals in a week, that’s about $5.62 per meal for the household.

I think my number ($118/week) is high because I considered pure income, not disposable income. I think Porter’s number is high ($100/week) but she indicated it came from the USDA so I’ll trust it. There are a lot of variables in these numbers, but I’m getting the sense that American families today spend less than $150/week on food.

Katie Porter is a law professor and attorney. She wrote the textbook Modern Consumer Law. She studied under Senator Elizabeth Warren while at Harvard. She currently represents California’s 45th congressional district in the House. I think she’s someone to watch.

David Attenborough Really Has A Way With Birds

Bird of Paradise.

I would love to experience birds like this up close. One time I had a blue jay eat from my hand, but that’s not common. This year there is a male cat bird that puffs up and struts on the deck. He swings his head from side-to-side while holding a large petal. It’s something else. His mate sits above him and watches.