Former Defense Official Says Pentagon Should Be Investigating Pilot Sightings

Remember those super-maneuverable drones I was talking about, the tic tac and the sphere-encasing-a-cube, the ones that so far defy explanation? I saw an article a few days ago that said:

The now-established data on unexplained aerial phenomena is undeniable. Since at least 2004, numerous U.S. Navy aircrews have seen hypersonic- and anti-gravity-capable unidentified aerial phenomena with their eyes and on their gun cameras. This phenomena evidences technical performance capabilities far in advance of any national military. In some cases, that data is matched by satellite tracking, sonar, and radar data sets. This issue is real and significant.

So, these craft do exist. A former Defense official, Christopher Mellon, also says they exist. Mellon was the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Intelligence (the third highest intelligence position at the Pentagon) and later for Security and Information Operations. He was also Staff Director of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. Says Mellon:

We know that UFOs exist. This is no longer an issue. The NAVY itself has publicly acknowledged the fact that they exist, and NAVY pilots ― active duty pilots ― have gone on the record in the New York Times acknowledging the fact that they exist. So the issue now is: why are they here, where are they coming from and what is the technology behind these devices that we are observing?

Before I go on, it’s important to state that UFO does not mean alien. It’s just something that hasn’t been explained. Here, again, is the government’s official stance on aliens:

In November 2011, the White House released an official response to two petitions asking the U.S. government to acknowledge formally that aliens have visited Earth and to disclose any intentional withholding of government interactions with extraterrestrial beings.

According to the response, “The U.S. government has no evidence that any life exists outside our planet, or that an extraterrestrial presence has contacted or engaged any member of the human race.” Also, according to the response, there is “no credible information to suggest that any evidence is being hidden from the public’s eye.”

The response noted “odds are pretty high” that there may be life on other planets but “the odds of us making contact with any of them — especially any intelligent ones — are extremely small, given the distances involved.”

The government wrote that in 2011. In 2012 they stopped funding research into these unexplained craft, even though sightings by pilots continued. Mellon wrote an essay for the Washington Post last year decrying that fact:

The Military Keeps Encountering UFOs. Why Doesn’t The Pentagon Care?, Washington Post, 9 March 2018

The videos, along with observations by pilots and radar operators, appear to provide evidence of the existence of aircraft far superior to anything possessed by the United States or its allies. Defense Department officials who analyze the relevant intelligence confirm more than a dozen such incidents off the East Coast alone since 2015. In another recent case, the Air Force launched F-15 fighters last October in a failed attempt to intercept an unidentified high-speed aircraft looping over the Pacific Northwest.

Is it possible that America has been technologically leap-frogged by Russia or China? … Unfortunately, we have no idea, because we aren’t even seeking answers.

(A Pentagon spokesman did not respond to requests from The Washington Post for comment, but in December, the military confirmed the existence of a program* to investigate UFOs and said it had stopped funding the research in 2012.)

On several occasions, I have met with senior Pentagon officials, and at least one followed up and obtained briefings confirming incidents such as the Nimitz case. But nobody wants to be “the alien guy” in the national security bureaucracy; nobody wants to be ridiculed or sidelined for drawing attention to the issue. This is true up and down the chain of command, and it is a serious and recurring impediment to progress.

* [That program was called the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program (AATIP), which ran from 2002 to 2012. It was first made public in 2017.]

Here’s what Mellon says in answer to the question, “Could these crafts be ours?” from May of this year:

I served in a capacity in which it was my job to conduct oversight of our black programs, and never saw anything of this kind on the books. Moreover, I was once actually specifically asked to determine whether we had a capability along these lines, in response to a query from the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Senator Bobby Byrd.

I ran that all the way up the flagpole with the Air Force and others, and believe me, everyone respected Senator Byrd. No one was going to lie to him and risk his wrath. And the answer was, “Absolutely not. We don’t have a super-secret black triangle that can go at hypersonic speeds and all that sort of thing.”

So, they probably aren’t ours. They might belong to another country or to a private enterprise. Or they could be some natural phenomenon. It’s odd that the government chooses not to investigate them.

By the way, Mellon says, “nobody wants to be “the alien guy” … nobody wants to be ridiculed or sidelined for drawing attention to the issue.” Tell me about it. I almost didn’t post this. But I’m curious. Who wouldn’t be? I don’t even believe in aliens, certainly not the ones depicted that are bipedal, oxygen-breathing, human-looking creatures, designed specifically, it seems, for Earth’s gravity. The leap is too great.

So, we’re back to the question … What are these things?

Limit Raw Ground Flaxseed To A Few Tablespoons A Day

Flaxseed is one of the best plant-based sources of omega-3 fatty acids. But:

Are Cyanide Levels in Flaxseed Safe?, Tuft’s University, August 2011

Q: I recently read that flaxseed contains cyanide. I have been consuming two to three tablespoons of ground flaxseed daily for several years. Should I be concerned? Does this quantity of flaxseed provide a clinically significant amount of cyanide?

A: Lynne M. Ausman, DSc, RD, director of the Biochemical and Molecular Nutrition Program at Tufts’ HNRCA Cardiovascular Nutrition Laboratory, says you have nothing to worry about. Many foods, including not only flax but cashews, almonds, some beans and other plant products, naturally contain very small amounts of cyanide compounds. You’re more likely to ingest these trace amounts of cyanide when such foods are consumed raw, as heat breaks down the compounds. Even when flaxseed is eaten raw, the body has a natural capacity to break down a certain amount of these cyanide compounds. A 1994 study found that, in healthy individuals, daily consumption of as much as 60 grams of raw flaxseed — more than eight tablespoons — was safe.

Study: Animal Protein Intensifies Insulin Resistance, Predisposing To Diabetes (Even During Weight Loss)

Effect Of Diet Composition On Insulin Sensitivity In Humans, Clinical Nutrition ESPEN (European Society for Clinical Nutrition and Metabolism), October 2019

Abstract

Diet composition has a marked impact on the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Prospective studies show that dietary patterns with elevated amount of animal products and low quantity of vegetable food items raise the risk of these diseases.

In healthy subjects, animal protein intake intensifies insulin resistance whereas plant-based foods enhance insulin sensitivity. Similar effects have been documented in patients with diabetes.

Accordingly, pre-pregnancy intake of meat (processed and unprocessed) has been strongly associated with a higher risk of gestational diabetes whereas greater pre-pregnancy vegetable protein consumption is associated with a lower risk of gestational diabetes.

Population groups that modify their traditional dietary habit increasing the amount of animal products while reducing plant-based foods experience a remarkable rise in the frequency of type 2 diabetes.

The association of animal protein intake with insulin resistance is independent of body mass index. In obese individuals that consume high animal protein diets, insulin sensitivity does not improve following weight loss. Diets aimed to lose weight that encourage restriction of carbohydrates and elevated consumption of animal protein intensify insulin resistance increasing the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

The effect of dietary components on insulin sensitivity may contribute to explain the striking impact of eating habits on the risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Insulin resistance predisposes to type 2 diabetes in healthy subjects and deteriorates metabolic control in patients with diabetes. In nondiabetic and diabetic individuals, insulin resistance is a major cardiovascular risk factor.

Figure 1 and Table 1 from the study. Click to enlarge, The Table on the right is something else. Every characteristic of the Metabolic Syndrome is made worse by animal protein, while vegetable protein improves these traits.

A Vegan Can Get Enough Omega-3 Without Taking A Supplement

Just 7 walnut halves contain most of the daily recommended intake of omega-3 fatty acids.

We probably need to eat between 1 to 2 grams of omega-3 fatty acids a day (as alpha-linolenic acid/ALA because ALA is the only omega-3 that is essential, EPA and DHA can be made from it). That’s a pittance. There are only 9 calories in a gram of fat. NIH: Omega-3 Fatty Acids:

Here are some non-animal foods I looked up on NutritionData. This is their total omega-3 content, most of it is probably ALA. I purposely chose smaller, more realistic serving sizes. What I learned is that ALA can be found throughout the plant kingdom. Even very low-fat foods like spinach and cauliflower contain respectable amounts. For insurance you could eat a few walnuts or a teaspoon of ground flax seed.

Walnuts, 7 halves, 1282 mg
Flaxseed, ground, 1 teaspoon, 570 mg
Chia seeds, whole, 1 teaspoon, 350 mg
Kidney Beans, boiled, 252 mg
Frozen spinach, 1/4 cup, 176 mg
Brussels sprouts, 1/2 cup, boiled, 135 mg
Cauliflower, 1/2 cup, boiled, 104 mg
Broccoli frozen, not cooked, 82 mg
Pistachios, raw, 25 nuts, 36 mg
Oatmeal, dry, 1/3 cup, 27 mg
Red sweet pepper, 1/2 cup, 19 mg
Zucchini, 1/2 cup, cooked, 12 mg

EPA and DHA are the longer-chain versions of ALA. The body converts ALA to EPA or DHA by elongating it. That conversion rate varies, but it’s enough that most people don’t need to take supplements:

There are no known cut-off concentrations of DHA or EPA below which functional endpoints, such as those for visual or neural function or for immune response, are impaired.

Several systematic reviews and meta-analyses, including a Cochrane review, have assessed the effects of omega-3 supplementation on cognitive function and dementia in healthy older adults and those with Alzheimer’s disease or cognitive impairment [126,141-143]. Overall, the findings indicate that long-chain omega-3 supplementation [e.g. EPA and DHA] does not affect cognitive function in healthy older adults or in people with Alzheimer’s disease compared to placebo.

You can get too much by supplementing:

High doses of DHA and/or EPA (900 mg/day of EPA plus 600 mg/day DHA or more for several weeks) might reduce immune function due to suppression of inflammatory responses.

Doses of 2–15 g/day EPA and/or DHA might also increase bleeding time by reducing platelet aggregation [5].

I put myself through this exercise because I take issue with Dr. Greger saying vegans require a EPA/DHA supplement, an expensive, contaminant-free, intensively-farmed, algal-based type no less. It’s not necessary. I hope he revisits this.

Is Dr. Greger Saying That Vegan Diets Are Inadequate? It Sounds Like He Is.

Algae Bioreactors for cultivation in a controlled environment. Pressing and the addition of a hexane solvent are used to extract omega-3 oils from algae. Photo Source: Vice

Vegans Should Consider Taking DHA Supplements, Dr. Michael Greger, Nutrition Facts, 27 August 2019

The problem is that people who don’t eat fish may be under 4.4. Nearly two-thirds of vegans may fall below 4.0 [an omega-3 index less than 4.4 was associated with accelerated brain loss in the Framingham study], suggesting a substantial number of vegans have an omega-3 status associated with accelerated brain aging.

I recommend everyone consider eating a plant-based diet along with contaminant-free EPA and DHA.

Here’s an algae-based, vegan, non-GMO product by Nordic Naturals that costs $30/month. For a family of 4 that’s $120/month. It does not say it is “contaminant-free.” You can shop around for a better price but when families spend less than $600/month on food, the cost for these supplements is not inconsequential.

There’s also the issue of rancidity. This is an extracted, processed product. As an unsaturated fat it is vulnerable to oxidation, that is, rancidity. Rancid fat contains free radicals that damage DNA and increase risks for cancer and atherosclerosis.

“[Rancid oils] can develop potentially toxic compounds” that have been linked to advanced aging, neurological disorders, heart disease and cancer, says lipid specialist and University of Massachusetts professor Eric Decker.

“[Rancid oils are] carcinogenic, pro-inflammatory and very toxic,” says Dr.Andrew Weil.

I’ve tried algae-based omega-3 supplements in the past and they were all rancid – and they were not bargain products.

Even if vegans experience accelerated brain loss compared to omnivores, and that’s a big if, I don’t think an expensive, refined, and likely rancid supplement is the answer.

Did some ciphering … If the body only converted 15% of the 2 grams ALA you might eat in a day to longer-chain omega-3, that’s 300 mg of EPA+DHA. That’s more EPA+DHA than you can get in one of these Nordic Naturals algal-based pills.

How Much Of What Is Sold As Organic Really Is?

Shortly after The New Food Economy posted their article about the biggest organic fraud in US history (11.5 million bushels of non-organic but sold as organic corn and soy), a USDA NOP (National Organic Program) spokesperson emailed them, coming to the defense of organics. What struck me from NOP’s email was:

Between October 2018 and March 2019, NOP received about 260 complaints and inquiries.

Complaints about uncertified businesses selling products as organic … continue to account for more than fifty percent of complaints received by NOP.

Those are only the issues that saw the light of day. How much food is being sold as organic that isn’t? You can’t tell by looking at a food whether it’s organic, you have to investigate its trail back to the farm, and even that isn’t foolproof. Foods that have many ingredients have many trails. And if those trails originate in a foreign country, I mean, all bets are off.

A “USDA Certified Organic” Label Is No Longer Sufficient? Now We Need A REAL Organic Label?

The Real Organic Project:

We are a grassroots, farmer-led movement created to distinguish soil-grown and pasture-raised products under USDA organic.

Our mission is to grow people’s understanding of foundational organic values and practices; crops grown in soil and livestock raised on pasture are fundamental to organic farming.

Our first goal is to create an add-on label to USDA certified organic to provide more transparency on organic farming practices and level the playing field right on the shelf.

I’m torn.

On the one hand, I think it’s good to shine a light on what the USDA considers organic. I already knew “organic” could mean using manure from factory farms (along with attendant pesticides and heavy metals) and using synthetic chemicals, albeit “approved for use with organic.” Now it looks like organic might also mean being grown without soil, that is, hydroponically (which would mean bringing in nutrients and other chemicals produced elsewhere. Not very renewable, is it?) and raising livestock, in part, on CAFOs (concentrated animal feeding operations) with less exposure to pasture than one would imagine organic means.

On the other hand it’s creating yet another food system with its own standards and certifications. It’s not fixing the 98% of food. This is what the original organic food system did. It went off in another direction. And what do we have to show for it? Polluted water, polluted air, polluted food, inhumane treatment of livestock, monocropping, land degradation, food fraud*, chemicals, lots of chemicals, like Roundup that has now been shown to cause cancer and since it was never dealt with continues to contaminate organic crops let alone the people whose job is to handle it. But we also have some maybe less-contaminated food, right? Still, only a limited number of people can access it. Who is this Real Organic Project for?

I also wonder … Will this new segment of food production end up demanding an even higher price for its goods because it has a certain pedigree?

So … Good: shining a light on weak organic standards. Bad: not fixing the problem for most people.

* Speaking of food fraud, the Organic Consumers Association said:

But as demand for organic grows, so grows the number of companies that want a piece of that pie — and are willing to flout organic rules to get it. That’s a problem for the “real” organic producers whose prices are undercut by the fraudsters. And it’s a problem for consumers, who get cheated.

It’s not a problem for most consumers, who eat the 98% of food that is not organic. It’s only a problem for more elite consumers. If we cared about consumers, everyone, we wouldn’t be growing food as we do.

This is a screen shot of a tool the USDA was developing in 2012 to help consumers compare the cost per serving of organic and conventional fruits and vegetables. It looks like it never got off the ground. Source: CPG Solutions

Brazil Nuts To Lower Cholesterol? Not So Fast.

Dr. Greger just posted, rather reposted (from 5 years ago) this video about Brazil nuts reducing cholesterol. It’s something else.

Transcript:

This is one of the craziest articles I saw all year. A single consumption of high amounts of Brazil nuts improves the cholesterol levels of healthy volunteers. OK, that’s interesting. They gave 10 men and women a single meal containing zero, one, four, or 8 Brazil nuts, and found that the ingestion of just that single serving almost immediately improved cholesterol levels. LDL, so-called “bad” cholesterol levels in the blood were significantly lower starting just nine hours after the ingestion of nuts, and by no insignificant amount, nearly 20 points within a day. Even drugs don’t work that fast. It takes statins like four days to have a significant effect. But that’s not even the crazy part. They went back and measured their cholesterol five days later, and then 30 days later. Now keep in mind they weren’t eating Brazil nuts this whole time. They had just that single serving of Brazil nuts a month before and their cholesterol was still down 30 days later. It went down and stayed down, after eating just four nuts… That’s nuts!

And no, the study was not funded by the Brazil nut industry.

Interestingly, four nuts actually seemed to work faster than the 8 nuts to lower bad cholesterol and boost good cholesterol. These results suggest that eating just four nuts might be enough to improve the levels of LDL-c and HDL-c for up to 30 days, and maybe longer—they didn’t even test past 30.

Now normally, when a study comes out in the medical literature showing some too-good-to-be-true result like this you want to wait to see the results replicated before you change your clinical practice, before you recommend something to your patients, particularly when the study is done on only 10 people, and especially when the findings are literally just too incredible to be believed. But when the intervention is cheap, easy, harmless, and healthy—eating four Brazil nuts a month—then in my opinion, the burden of proof is kind of reversed. I think the reasonable default position is to do it until proven otherwise, so now every month I eat four Brazil nuts. In conclusion, a single serving is sufficient, without producing liver and kidney toxicity. I should hope not, but what they’re referring to is the high selenium content of Brazil nuts, so high that four eaten every day may actually bump us up against the tolerable daily limit for selenium, but not something we have to worry about it we’re just eating four once a month.

Not funded by industry. A nearly 20-point cholesterol reduction within a day. The effect lasted for 30 days (they didn’t test longer) without additional nuts. Wow. You have to wonder what else the nuts are doing besides reducing cholesterol, because nothing with this strong an effect does just one thing.

Brazil nuts are very high in selenium. Here’s an old chart I made back in 2004:

The RDA for selenium is about 55 micrograms. The tolerable upper limit (UL) is about 400 micrograms. So these four nuts that Dr. Greger advises do, as he says, bump up againt the UL.

Here are signs you’re bumping up against the upper limit:

Early indicators of excess intake are a garlic odor in the breath and a metallic taste in the mouth. The most common clinical signs of chronically high selenium intakes, or selenosis, are hair and nail loss or brittleness. Other symptoms include lesions of the skin and nervous system, nausea, diarrhea, skin rashes, mottled teeth, fatigue, irritability, and nervous system abnormalities. … Acute selenium toxicity can cause severe gastrointestinal and neurological symptoms, acute respiratory distress syndrome, myocardial infarction, hair loss, muscle tenderness, tremors, lightheadedness, facial flushing, kidney failure, cardiac failure, and, in rare cases, death.

The NIH says, “Brazil nuts contain very high amounts of selenium (68–91 mcg per nut) and could cause selenium toxicity if consumed regularly.”

However, besides the study of 10 people Dr. Greger mentioned, there was this larger study (more people, longer time) which found a similar cholesterol-lowering effect from selenium, although this effect was a lot smaller:

Effect of Supplementation With High-Selenium Yeast on Plasma Lipids: A Randomized Trial, Annals of Internal Medicine, May 2011

From NIH:

In one randomized, placebo-controlled study, 474 healthy adults aged 60 to 74 years with a mean baseline plasma selenium concentration of 9.12 mcg/dL were supplemented with 100, 200, or 300 mcg selenium per day or placebo for 6 months. The supplements lowered levels of total plasma cholesterol and non–high-density-lipoprotein (HDL) plasma cholesterol (total cholesterol levels minus HDL levels) compared with the placebo group, whereas the 300 mcg/day dose significantly increased HDL levels.

The amounts:
100 mcg selenium reduced total cholesterol by 8.5 mg/dL
200 mcg selenium reduced total cholesterol by 9.7 mg/dL
300 mcg selenium reduced total cholesterol by 2.7 mg/dL

From the study:

Conclusion: Selenium supplementation seemed to have modestly beneficial effects on plasma lipid levels in this sample of persons with relatively low selenium status. The clinical significance of the findings is unclear and should not be used to justify the use of selenium supplementation as additional or alternative therapy for dyslipidemia. This is particularly true for persons with higher selenium status, given the limitations of the trial and the potential additional risk in other metabolic dimensions.

Did you see that downward dip at the higher 300 mcg dose? Hm. This study says that high blood levels of selenium have also been linked to high cholesterol.

You have to be careful with this. It looks like a little selenium is good but more isn’t.

My take? If you want to lower your cholesterol, change your diet. Don’t depend on a magic pill, or nut. Choose a low-fat, plant-based diet. I guarantee your cholesterol will go down and you won’t risk selenium toxicity.