Human Diet Perspective

jnwillits - carbobydrate consumption timeline

After 2.5 million years of eating minimal sugars, grains, and vegetable oils, people are addicted to (and are suffering from) a radical new diet. Sugars and grains are ubiquitous and common foods have recently begun to include unusual amounts of heat-processed vegetable oils. Food industries, governments, and medical institutions endorse and promote this way of eating and the resulting chronic diseases have caused alarming levels of pharmaceutical sales.

Our first 1.5 million years of human diet history is omitted from the graph, although it would show the same 18 percent consumption level. For time perspective, if the history of mankind were represented by a distance of 100 meters, the last 100 years would be within the final four millimeters. If the complete 2.5 million year history were shown on the graph, the recent spike of carbohydrate eating would be so thin it would be nearly invisible. A graph to illustrate consumption of heat-processed vegetable oils would appear similar to the one for carbohydrates, except the vegetable oil consumption would be depicted as a flat line on the x-axis until modern times.

The time the graph shows is enough to make the point that our switch to eating sugar, grains, and heat-processed vegetable oils is an extreme change.

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Jeff’s Art of Pi

The number pi interests me. I’m also interested in producing something that has the possibility of lasting a very long time. Reasons for pi being incredibly interesting are well documented elsewhere. Reasons for my interest in survivable artifacts are something I will describe here. This is about art and is not practical or useful – it’s just something I like.

I wanted to create something that, a million years from now, might be recognized as an artifact of intelligence. The number pi should be eternally recognizable and stone can be extremely stable so I produce natural stone sculptures marked with a pattern of holes that represent the number pi.piRelic_testThere will be a time when almost nothing we make will exist due to erosion and other forms of decomposition. Wood rots, plastics and concrete disintegrates, glass flows slowly as a liquid, and metals corrode. At some point, nothing will remain from any existing building, device, or artwork.

The question of how to record information that can be read in the distant future is not new. Messages were carefully designed to include on NASA’s Pioneer 10 and 11 spacecraft for the potential benefit of aliens, possibly millions of years from now. These crafts are now drifting toward the stars at approximately 25,000 miles per hour. They carry metal plaques with diagrams that depict generally how we appear and where we are located. The plaques will eventually be degraded by impacts from interstellar dust and larger debris, but they could remain intact for eons before they are drawn into a star.

pioneer 10 plaque

Artifacts most likely to exist 100 million years from now are those made of stone. Common stones with low intrinsic value are not likely to be reshaped and repurposed and stone is durable and chemically stable. Unlike plaques on spacecraft, it’s possible for stones on Earth to become shielded from erosion. So, a representation of pi in stone makes an unusually recognizable and potentially survivable artifact of intelligence.

artofpi piece 248

artofpi piece 265

artofpi piece 260 3

I fill the holes in the pieces I make now with strontium aluminate mixed with epoxy. The epoxy will help protect the holes for an indefinite period and the strontium aluminate glows for several hours after absorption of light.

Digits of pi are represented by holes using the type of copyrighted pattern shown below. This pattern represents the first 25 digits of pi:

3.141592653589793238462643

artofpi pattern

Use of number symbols would be a more efficient representation than a series of holes. However, simple patterns of holes will be more long lasting since the finer details of symbols are susceptible to erosion. Holes make a more pleasing pattern as well. The patterns are arranged to form a square or rectangle to contrast with geometries of nature.

You can view and purchase any pieces currently for sale at this link:

Jeff’s Art of Pi Gallery

Shipping is free via USPS Priority Mail to any of the United States of America. International shipping is not available.

Jeff’s Plate Icon

There are problems with the USDA’s MyPlate food guidelines icon. This graphic could better represent science-based nutrition by correcting the following:

1. The only essential macro-nutrient shown on the plate is protein. Considering that humans die without both dietary fat and protein, fat needs to be listed as well.

2. Grains and dairy are shown on the icon. This is a problem because grains and dairy are not needed and, among other concerns, they are typically high in unnecessary carbohydrates. For many, grains and/or dairy are not healthy and there is no scientifically demonstrated requirement to eat grains and dairy. The published guidelines could include information about grains and dairy without giving the impression that they should be eaten frequently by including them on the plate icon.

Fruits and vegetables are not necessary either, but they offer fiber and micro-nutrients and are well known to be healthy, as long as they are not processed into high-sugar foods and drinks. So fruits and vegetables might as well remain on the plate, as long as the guidelines warn against eating too much of those types that produce a high glycemic load. Also, the guidelines need to address what constitutes healthy fats and warn against heat-processed seed oils, such as soy and canola. However, the icon needs to be simple so here is my suggestion:

jeffs plate 750x1000

This will never be perfect for everyone, but the messages from Jeff’s plate icon are healthier and are better supported by science.

Aligned and Equidistant Towers on Mars

NASA’s Mars Global Surveyor and other spacecraft have provided images showing a pattern of three tower-like structures on Mars. The formations are approximately 240 meters apart and are shown below.

Tower Formations in the Terra Meridiani region of Mars

Tower Formations in the Terra Meridiani Region of Mars

Source: http://viewer.mars.asu.edu/planetview/inst/moc/M0001661#P=M0001661&T=2

The formations have unusual characteristics that are:

  1. distinct – most of the surrounding terrain is devoid of sharply contrasting features,
  2. similar in size and shape,
  3. equally distant from each other, and
  4. they are aligned.

This type of formation is not unique and appears in other locations, but these three stand out in this otherwise featureless area.

towers 1000x500 with dots and lines and numbers

I added the three pixel-sized red dots in the image above to the apex of the towers. They are aligned and spaced as shown by the pixel counts between the dots.

towers 2000x1000 with grid.png

The grid on the image above is shown to provide a framework for making simple and rough approximations of the probability that these objects are natural formations that formed equidistant and aligned.

The individual grid squares are sized to contain the formations. The formation extends over 30 grid squares from the tower on the left to the tower on the right. There are 900 grid squares in this area. To to make this simple, consider that two of the towers were randomly positioned by geological processes. First, I will consider the probability that a third tower would randomly form equidistant from the center tower within this 30 by 30 grid area.

For the third tower to be equidistant from the center tower, it will have to be positioned somewhere on the red circle’s circumference. The number of grid square possibilities are:

πD = 3.14 x 30 = 94

Probability of a randomly placed tower in the area being equidistant form the center tower is:

94/900 = 0.104

To be in alignment, the third tower must be placed within the 30 grid spaces that align with the first towers. So, probability of alignment from random placing is:

30/900 = 0.033

Probability of both equal spacing and alignment is:

0.104 x 0.033 = 0.003 (3 in 1000)

Were the distinctness and similarity of the formations factored, this result would significantly reduce. In addition, had grid squares been counted for the surrounding featureless terrain, this result would be significantly reduced more.

This is an incredible anomaly so I would be interested to see analysis and discussion from NASA scientists. I want to know exact heights of the towers and get scientific assessments of the formations. The shadows in the M0001661 image are about 18 meters long. If the sunlight incidence angle is between 10 and 45 degrees, the height of the formations is between 50 and 102 meters. The base of the formations is not as wide as the shadows so these are tall towers with a high aspect ratio. A representative of the NASA/JPL High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) did share with me via Twitter that no digital terrain mapping (DTM) information is available for this area.

The towers could be natural formations. However, while the method I used to calculate the probability that they are both equidistant and aligned is simplistic, it is a reasonable approximation. So to state that the most likely explanation is that the towers are natural would be irrational. They are more likely artificial.

No Way in Hell I’ll Take Statins

Although my other labs are in “normal” ranges, my physician informed me that the low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL) is very high at 202 mg/dl. He said I should start statin drug therapy to lower the risk of a heart attack or stroke and he issued a prescription for atorvastatin (Lipitor). This is troubling considering the known risks of these drugs and the fact that no science indicates that high cholesterol causes heart disease. Unfortunately, the doctor is probably just following his organization’s protocol. According to Mayo Clinic, LDL should be lower than 100 mg/dL (1).

Adverse effects of statins include cognitive and memory problems, muscle cramps, general weakness, impaired walking, numbness, and weakening of the immune system. Based only on these considerations, I will not take statins.

If you have a statin prescription, learn the benefits and risks yourself. Don’t blindly join the millions who spend over $30 billion per year to lower cholesterol for no benefit. Unless medical professionals you use can provide compelling evidence for you to take these drugs, their credibility, and the credibility of the organization they work for, is suspect.

You can easily find authoritative scientific evidence that support statements I make in this post. A great place to start is the following book that references many of the largest studies. All doctors and anyone given a statin prescription should read The Great Cholesterol Myth by nutritionist Dr. Jonny Bowden and cardiologist Dr. Stephen Sinatra.

A concerning aspect of my doctor’s recommendation is that it is based on LDL cholesterol level. Sure, statins lower LDL, but there is seldom reason to do so. There is no correlation between higher cholesterol levels and cardio vascular disease (CVD) risk. In fact, many studies show an inverse correlation between LDL numbers and risk. The chart below illustrates an example.

ldl-patient-distribution-3

This was a sizable study with nearly 137,000 data points. If LDL level matters at all, I would not want it to be at the average level of 116 mg/dL and I certainly would not want it to be less. In fact, risk CVD risk seems to increase as LDL decreases below 160 mg/dL.

Low LDL does correlate with dementia, which is not too surprising considering how essential cholesterol is for brain health. In fact, 25 percent of the body’s cholesterol is in the human brain. Statins lower brain cholesterol.

Factors known to cause CVD are…

1. smoking
2. excessive alcohol consumption
3. lack of exercise
4. obesity
5. sugar, omega-6 vegetable oils, and low fiber foods.

This information comes from the Nurses’ Health Study by Harvard University, where 82 percent of coronary events were attributed to these five factors (not LDL).

My triglyceride measures low at 45 mg/dl mainly because I avoid sugars and processed carbohydrates. Since I eat a low-carb diet, excessive glycation and resulting inflammation that comes from high blood sugar is unlikely. Factors such as these should be considered when statins are prescribed instead of dispensing them based only on LDL level. Medical protocols need to be supported by science, but prescriptions for statins based only on LDL level are only the result of a consensus of opinion.

You don’t have to look far back in history for examples of consensus of opinion not working well for advancement of health. Examples include the “artery-clogging” saturated fat myth, a calorie is a calorie, and the belief that trans fats are safe. Cholesterol myths are more complicated, but the idea that prescribing drugs for anyone with high LDL is good preventative medicine may someday be seen in the same category.

A metric that does correlate with CVD risk is triglyceride to HDL cholesterol ratio. My TG/HDL ratio is 45/66, which equates to 0.68 (low risk). Most people can keep this ratio low through a low-carb diet and exercise. By now, that’s mainstream health knowledge.

Here is an informative article with more about the TG/HDL ratio from Professor Grant Schofield:

THE IMPORTANCE OF THE FASTING TG/HDL RATIO

Statin drugs reduce the body’s levels of coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) – an essential nutrient found in almost every cell in the body and one that is critical for heart health. In fact, the largest concentration of CoQ10 is in heart muscle. Depletion of CoQ10 may have something to do with the adverse effects of statins that involve impaired muscles.

The physician that prescribed statins for me explicitly categorized LDL as “bad” cholesterol. That’s a common thing to do, but it makes no sense. The body makes LDL because it is essential to human life. No test was done to assess whether my LDL includes high levels of the small-particle type of LDL (LDL-B) that can be easily oxidized and cause inflammation. However, the fact that my triglyceride is low is a strong indicator that the LDL is mostly LDL-A, which is not prone to oxidation and inflammation.

From High Triglycerides – How to Lower Triglycerides by Axel F. Sigurdsson MD:

Small dense LDL particles appear more strongly associated with the risk of cardiovascular events than larger particles (2,3). In the SCRIP trial, high triglyceride levels were associated small, dense particles in 90 percent of subjects whereas lower triglyceride levels were associated with larger buoyant particles in 90 percent of subjects (4).

Other indicators of my cardiovascular health include blood pressure, which measured 120/80 and my VLDL that tested at a low 9 mg/dl. My blood tests revealed no information that scientifically indicate I have unusual risk for CVD and I have not had symptoms of heart disease. Without threatening existing symptoms (like a heart attack), drugs should not be used for a condition that can be helped with diet and lifestyle.

Statins never result in significant improvement to longevity and they are toxic. They degrade health in many ways, sometimes causing death. These drugs can be useful for middle-aged men with symptoms of low HDL cholesterol and heart disease. I am at the upper end of middle-aged (60+), my HDL is not low, and I do not have heart disease so prescribing statins for me was clearly very wrong.

The medical industry generally excels in care for acute problems, but incidence of CVD continues to worsen as use of sugar, vegetable oils, and statin drugs increase. Excessive drug use that is happening now will someday be seen as a travesty. I’m sure future generations will learn to use the information that is now easily available to reverse the modern chronic disease epidemics of dementia, diabetes, and heart disease. This will happen mostly through healthy nutrition and reduction of unnecessary drug use.

 

 

 

(1) Mayo Clinic staff article: Statins: Are these cholesterol-lowering drugs right for you?

(2) JAMA. 1996 Sep 18;276(11):882-8.
A prospective study of triglyceride level, low-density lipoprotein particle diameter, and risk of myocardial infarction. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8782637

(3) JAMA. 1998 Jun 24;279(24):1955-61.
Fasting insulin and apolipoprotein B levels and low-density lipoprotein particle size as risk factors for ischemic heart disease. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9643858

(4) Circulation. 1996 Nov 1;94(9):2146-53.
Predominance of dense low-density lipoprotein particles predicts angiographic benefit of therapy in the Stanford Coronary Risk Intervention Project. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8901665

 

Unacknowledged Objects from Mars Curiosity Rover Sol1459

The following was cropped from a raw image taken with Mars Curiosity Rover’s right mast camera of the Murray Buttes region. NASA published the image on the Mars Curiosity website without comment.

NASA did comment on the terrain in this region: Mars Rover Views Spectacular Layered Rock Formations.

nasa-curiosity-rover-image-from-sol-1459-martian-snake-650x725

Area 1 – Mars Curiosity Rover Raw Image From Sol 1459 (2016-09-13 05:35:46 UTC)

Image source: http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl-raw-images/msss/01459/mcam/1459MR0072390340703509E01_DXXX.jpg

Photos of surrounding terrain: http://mars.nasa.gov/msl/multimedia/raw/?s=1459&camera=MAST_

The location of these objects is identified as Area 1 from the gigapan image shown below.

An object is visible to the right of the large rock at the bottom of the photograph. The object is significantly different from surrounding rocks in several ways. Unlike the rocks, it is long and slender. At least two sides are curved and the curves follow each other, except the distance between the curves consistently changes, resulting in a tapered shape. Lines normal to the curves make the object appear to be segmented.

A smaller and similar object appears to the left of the main object. This is also curved, tapered, and has an unusually small aspect ratio compared to the rocks. Visibility of both objects appears to be partially obstructed by a rock so it is possible these objects are joined.

mars curiosity sol1459 snake formation - enhanced image 1000x500

Mars Curiosity Rover image from sol1452 (enhanced)

The anomalies were reported in alternative and social media after discovery in 2016. Pareidolia has led to misinterpretation of features on Mars and there isn’t much to be gained by speculating about what the objects are. Perhaps geologists will be able to attribute them to a natural formation. Because they are extraordinary, anyone with an interest in Mars and certainly scientists from NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory must be intensely curious; however, there was no press release. There must be unpublished research and other communications about this. Perhaps there is a scientist or a science journalist who will become interested and help make more information become available.

There is at least one other image of this taken on Sol1462 and it shows the same objects in the same location. The images are compared below.

Sol1459 - Sol1462 Image Comparison

Sol1459 – Sol1462 Image Comparison

Sol 1462 image source: https://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl-raw-images/msss/01462/mcam/1462MR0072970220703603E01_DXXX.jpg

Locations of Objects

Locations of Objects at Murray Buttes

Gigapan image source: http://www.gigapan.com/gigapans/191358

Area 2 includes a feature that also appears cylindrical and segmented, although it is probably more explainable as a rock formation.

NASA Curiosity Rover image from Sol 1459 AREA 2

Area 2 – Cylindrical and Segmented Object

Image source: https://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl-raw-images/msss/01459/mcam/1459MR0072390390703514E01_DXXX.jpg

So far, there are no published articles from mainstream media, scientists, or science journalists. Obviously there is otherwise much focus on Mars and thousands of people are involved in study of the planet. Although these are extremely remarkable objects, mainstream media is either censoring discussion about this finding or they are incompetently failing to give it the attention it deserves. A discovery of purple rocks on Mars received much scientific and media attention, but this formation is ignored. An important story is behind the silence and I continue to seek authoritative analysis or at least acknowledgement that curiosity exists on this subject. I want to know why this was published by NASA, yet questions regarding it are ignored, and I want to know what these objects are.

I’ve used Twitter to ask people and organizations for comment. Simple questions were directed to people with professional interest in Mars. I generally find social media users responsive to questions, but scientists and science journalist have been oddly silent or, at best, dismissive. One type of response I get is a declaration that this has been Photoshopped. I like that one – it authenticates this as obviously extraordinary. More specific and useful information is sometimes offered too. Initially, I was not aware there was another image taken of Area 1 until a Space Community Google+ user pointed me to an image from Sol1462.

I use hashtag #Sol1459 when I inquire about the objects on Twitter and I encourage anyone to include this tag in their tweets. Search on #Sol1459 with Twitter to see what conversations there are. By the way, “Sol” refers to “solar day” of the rover’s mission.

It may be helpful if people make inquiries to scientists and science journalists with connections to the exploration of Mars. Perhaps this is just some sort of amazing geological feature. Even if it is a rock formation, I expect curiosity about it – not silence.

 

August, 2017 Update:

The image of this anomaly is still available on the Mars Curiosity website at the link provided, although it remains unacknowledged by NASA. For the most part, scientists and science journalists dutifully ignore or dismiss it.

Since the Sol1462 image of this object shows no movement, it seems likely this is some artifact of a civilization, as opposed to evidence of life. There is also the possibility that the Sol1462 image was released as disinformation. See the following video for an amazing example of how NASA has tampered with data to hide an anomaly.

Regardless of what this is, it may someday be used as a textbook example of a time when some science was off-limits.

 

 

 

Polluting for Sugar

There is no way it is a good idea to burn fields for food production – especially for a nonessential food. I made the graphic below to illustrate how relatively thin our atmosphere is. I think it makes the point. Unnecessarily dumping toxins into the air we breath is just nuts.

atmosphere thickness

Atmosphere Thickness

Unfortunately, this is done for sugar production on Maui by Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Company (a Division of Alexander & Baldwin, Inc.). In addition to burning the plants, polyethylene plastics used for drip irrigation are burned. A&B contends that burning these plastics do not produce any harmful compounds.

Since the company is phasing out sugar cane as a crop, this article will probably be the extent of my activism to end this. However, A&B is working to find more economical crops. This is good, but if they continue polluting the atmosphere as part of their agricultural process, I intend to put more effort into ending this.

sugar cane field burn

Sugar Cane Field Burning on Maui

20160923-0645am-cane-burning-on-maui-2

 

An interesting lunar feature…

The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC) got the following images which are shown on the northern polar mosaic at this link:

I became interested in an area at the edge of a crater named Plaskett near Plaskett U after watching this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BoiGz4hXgb8

At about 4.5 minutes into the video, the commentator discusses what looks like a road near Plaskett U in the area of the red rectangle shown below.

This area is most likely on a slope so this “road” feature may be from rolling rock. The feature vectors away from Plaskett U and toward Plaskett. However, there’s some things that make me wonder about this…

The “road” has a geographic feature at both ends. It starts from a tall structure, which may not be too peculiar if this was caused from gravity. If it is from a rolling rock, it could have ended in countless other locations. However, it ended at a crater. A light colored object appears at the end of the feature near the small crater. Perhaps that rolled and caused this. That seems like the most likely cause, but I’m not sure so I think this is interesting.

plaskett and plaskett u with box
road

The “road” extends from the upper left of the photograph to the lower right. I don’t know how tall the feature on the lower right is, but it casts a shadows that is significantly larger than anything else in the area.

The feature appears to have received an impact after it was made.

road termination 2 650x500

Another possibility is this is collapsed lava tube, although this is straighter than examples of ballistic lava flows elsewhere on the moon.