mcb April 18, 2011 5:47 PM

If only we could get all the Omega-3 fatty acids we needed by simply eating fish on a regular basis…

Clive Robinson April 19, 2011 3:21 AM

@ mcb,

“If only we could get all the Omega-3 fatty acids we needed by simply eating fish on a regular basis…”

Say every friday?

Sadly we have over fished the wild fish stocks, so dramaticaly in some places it has alowed the likes of various squid species to move into those ecological niches, so it is unlikley those particular fish stocks will actually recover.

However we can go back to “fish ponds” and grow various fresh water species such as chub instead.

But there is a problem it is not just about Omega3… It is actually about the ratios of Omega3 to Omega6 in our diets.

One of the results is that Omega3 sources from grass and grains (via milk, cattle, chickens and other live stock) have steadily fallen as intensive farming has increased, so our real need for Omega3 has risen…

However there is a catch, to get the level of required food for the worlds growing population (due to cross 7billion mark around November this year) we have to make choices and intensive farming for meat etc is just one aspect that does get vaguely talked about. However the human requirments of minerals and vitamins is generaly only talked about in terms of what we need daily, not how we actually get them from the whole food available to us and still stay within other dietry constraints.

One solution voiced by certain pharma/biotech interests is GM. That is you find a suitable Omega3 producing gene and splice it into other easily intensivly grown foods that either would not produce Omega3 naturaly or nolonger produce it under intensive farming practices.

However GM is a touchy subject even though we have been doing it via cross breading for over 4000years. There is a known catch with cross breading in plants and animals, which is you reduce not just hybrid vigour but also as you “beefup” one desired trait you usually pay dearly in losing other traits. One aspect is the loss of vitamins and minerals when you “breed for speed” of production.

Another undersirable aspect is you can also increase traits that cause a percentage of the population harm. Our current wheat stocks bare little resemblance to the original grains it came from. However most of those old grains did not cause many of the side effects we see in modern wheat where something like just under 2% of the population is intolerant in one way or another, and in certain cases the allergic reaction can cause anaphylactic shock and death.

So man’s oldest GM experiment is dangerous to nearly 2% (and rising) of the population…

One of the unsaid reasons for this rise in food intolerance is the simple fact that we as humans are very closely inbred and medical science is such we have effectivly stoped certain aspects of “natural selection”…

One asspect of this is the human second stomach is actually the cooking pot. As humans we have evolved to the point where we have lost so many enzymes in our dietry system that unlike any other natural species we can now nolonger survive on a “raw food” diet…

As has been observed “you are what you eat” and “if you don’t use it you lose it”.

Oddly one solution that might work is “high tech” but not actually in food production. As countries and regions move from agrarian production to more industrialised production the population starts to fall quite naturally and their general health and life expectancy rises causing a secondary birth rate reduction. For instance in many parts of the world the birth rate in many fourth generation indigenous people has dropped bellow sustainability, and it is only the non indigenous migrants and their first and second generation decendants that are having children at above the stable birth rate…

It is without doubt a very complex subject that we are in general treating as “somebody elses problem” in the same way we were and in some respects still are treating the effects of the unrestrained use of fossil fuels and energy in general. When Bruce has finished his “human mind in security” book he might well want to look at “food production in security” as a possible follow up book.

Clive Robinson April 19, 2011 3:23 AM

@ Bruce,

I’ve just had a warning about your https certificate have you changed anything overnight?

Clive Robinson April 19, 2011 6:01 PM

@ Moderator / Bruce,

“The cert did change –”

Sadly I’m still getting the same error message about “The certificate is not from a trusted authority”, which means I’m going to have to dig a bit on this smart phone.

Clive Robinson April 21, 2011 9:13 AM

@ Bruce,

Today the BBC has been putting out a story on it’s TV, Radio and Web news about an application developed by two british researchers (Pete Warden and Alasdair Allan) who have taken a “hidden” file on the iPhone full of the users location data and put it up as a map.

What is not clear is the reason Apple did this and also hid it away so that it is difficult to get at. The Guardian Newspaper thinks there might be a clue in the End User Licence,

After digging around it appears that the original posting about the file and it’s contents was made in the autumn last yera by a French researcher (Paul Courbis),

There are also articles from the researchers on github, O’reilly and Digital ninja,,

The github FAQ gives a lot of details and the two researchers contact details.

Clive Robinson April 22, 2011 8:59 AM

@ Peter E Retep,

With regards the link to the Grauniad, I’ve just checked it and it works for me.

That said it’s not the original link I used in that it has an “m” not “www” as the first part of the URL, so it might be their re-director software is getting in the way.

Secondly I’m in the UK which is the Grauniads home country, they may have as some newspapers do have now a “country” filter on that for various reasons both contractual and legal stop people in other countries seeing content.

If all else fails try going to

And have a look on there (it was the top story just a few mins ago ie 14:53BST).

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