This is Iceland

this-is-iceland
Click the image to visit the site

❝ I am one of the many people who are in love with the sparse, hypnotic and majestic landscape of Iceland and its wonderful people. In case, you need more convincing, check out this website and some stunning photographs. Then pack your bags and go visit. It might be cold in winters, but still stark and amazing. Iceland haunts me!

Om Malik

The jobs killer isn’t China — it’s automation and it ain’t going away!

❝ The first job that Sherry Johnson, 56, lost to automation was at the local newspaper in Marietta, Ga., where she fed paper into the printing machines and laid out pages. Later, she watched machines learn to do her jobs on a factory floor making breathing machines, and in inventory and filing.

“It actually kind of ticked me off because it’s like, How are we supposed to make a living?” she said. She took a computer class at Goodwill, but it was too little too late. “The 20- and 30-year-olds are more up to date on that stuff than we are because we didn’t have that when we were growing up,” said Ms. Johnson, who is now on disability and lives in a housing project in Jefferson City, Tenn.

❝ Donald J. Trump told workers like Ms. Johnson that he would bring back their jobs by clamping down on trade, offshoring and immigration. But economists say the bigger threat to their jobs has been something else: automation.

“Over the long haul, clearly automation’s been much more important — it’s not even close,” said Lawrence Katz, an economics professor at Harvard who studies labor and technological change.

❝ No candidate talked much about automation on the campaign trail. Technology is not as convenient a villain as China or Mexico, there is no clear way to stop it, and many of the technology companies are in the United States and benefit the country in many ways…

❝ When Greg Hayes, the chief executive of United Technologies, agreed to invest $16 million in one of its Carrier factories as part of a Trump deal to keep some jobs in Indiana instead of moving them to Mexico, he said the money would go toward automation.

“What that ultimately means is there will be fewer jobs,” he said…

❝ The changes are not just affecting manual labor: Computers are rapidly learning to do some white-collar and service-sector work, too. Existing technology could automate 45 percent of activities people are paid to do, according to a July report by McKinsey. Work that requires creativity, management of people or caregiving is least at risk.

❝ Ms. Johnson in Tennessee said both her favorite and highest-paying job, at $8.65 an hour, was at an animal shelter, caring for puppies.

It was also the least likely to be done by a machine, she said: “I would hope a computer couldn’t do that, unless they like changing dirty papers and giving them love and attention.”

Given time. I don’t doubt an appropriate robot will be designed to at least give the appearance of giving love and attention. The question still comes back to a society, a government, elected officials who care enough about people before profits to rearrange political economy to allow us all a share in the new automated prosperity.

Mediterranean diet can slow down brain aging and memory loss

❝ It has long been claimed that a Mediterranean diet is good for your health, but a new study suggests it may benefit the brain as well as the body – and could help slow down brain ageing.

A study by academics for the journal Neurology found that older people who followed a Mediterranean diet lost less brain volume over a three-year period than those who did not stick to the diet as closely.

❝ The Mediterranean diet includes large amounts of fruit and vegetables, olive oil, beans and cereal grains such as wheat and rice with moderate amounts of fish, dairy and wine and limited quantities of meat.

❝ Study author Dr Michelle Luciano of the University of Edinburgh in Scotland said: “As we age, the brain shrinks and we lose brain cells which can affect learning and memory.

“This study adds to the body of evidence that suggests the Mediterranean diet has a positive impact on brain health.”…

❝ The study claims dietary difference explained 0.5 per cent of the variation in total brain volume – an effect that was half the size of that due to normal ageing.

The results were the same when researchers adjusted for other factors that could affect brain volume, such as age, education and having diabetes or high blood pressure.

There was no relationship found between grey matter volume or cortical thickness and the Mediterranean diet…

The Mediterranean diet has long been lauded by experts for its apparent ability to prevent many serious illnesses, including heart disease and breast cancer.

And it is often advocated by dieticians and nutritionists as an effective way to lose weight or stay slim because it delivers higher amounts of so-called “good” fats but is relatively low in sugar and harmful trans-fats.

I’ll second that emotion.

Though I grew up within the culture of a typical Mediterranean diet there were excesses of red meat and sugar. Not surprising in a first generation American family from the period including the Great Depression.

Though I’ve been gradually losing weight gained the last couple of years before retiring – with the encouragement of my ever-patient wife, the bullying of Essey – my iPhone, the purchase of a digital scale that measures lots of stuff and talks to the iPhone – I’ve lost 20 lbs over the past 8 months. I now weigh less than I did in 1977.

Nothing excessive. The most significant modifications being [1] reducing the amount of food consumed at any one time; [2] increasing my standards for daily exercise – which means walking – a little faster, and a mile more than previous averages. Not difficult. The changes have become habit. I eat, now, a daily amount that should eventually [gradually] knock off another 30 lbs.

Living by a busy road increases your eventual risk of dementia

❝ Living near a high-traffic road may cause more mental health problems than just sleep deprivation, according to Canadian researchers.

In a population-based cohort in Ontario, dementia, but not Parkinson’s disease or multiple sclerosis was more common in people who lived close to a major road than those who lived further away from the road, reported Hong Chen, MD, of Public Health Ontario…and colleagues.

❝ According to Chen, “increasing population growth and continuing urbanization globally has placed many people close to heavy traffic. With the widespread exposure to traffic and growing population with dementia, even a modest effect from near-road exposure can pose an enormous public health burden.

“Quantitatively speaking, our study estimated that 7%-11% of dementia cases in patients who live near major roads were attributable to traffic exposure alone,” he explained…

❝ In an accompanying editorial, Lilian Calderón-Garcidueñas…of the University of Montana in Missoula, and Rodolfo Villarreal-Ríos, of the Universidad del Valle de México in Mexico City, wrote that the study “opens up a crucial global health concern for millions of people.”

❝ Additionally, the researchers concluded that exposure to nitrogen dioxide and fine particulate matter was also linked to higher dementia incidence, but did not account for the full effect…

He also suggested that changes in transportation emissions and land use policies may help to prevent dementia and improve public health.

Living in healthful surroundings with reduced pollution and noise seems like a standard easy to understand for most human beings. Perhaps our populist blather-meisters really are extra-terrestrial aliens in disguise. 🙂