World Food Shortage

intensive-farming
As we make our way into the future, researchers have begun to worry about whether or not the Earth will be able to sustain the number of people expected to be alive in the middle of this century.

Startling trends in demographic and economic growth of the entire world reveals that as soon as 2050, the Earth may not be able to produce the food needed to meet the demands of the world’s growing population. Ironically in some countries some people eat to much and suffer from obesity or Type-2 Diabetes, both curable diseases.

As economic growth stabilizes poorer but developing countries, the wealthier individuals will begin eating a wealthier diet, which requires more resources to yield the same amount of food. As we spiral almost uncontrollably into the future, massive changes to how the world produces its food will be needed to support the coming generations. Whether or not these changes are adhered to will determine whether or not the Earth’s future generations will flourish – or starve.

From the 19th to the 20th century, the population of the world has grown at a near exponential rate. In 1804, when Lewis and Clark embarked upon their exploratory journey of the United States, the world’s population had reached one billion people, it wasn’t until 1927 – over a century later – that the world’s population had added another billion, totaling 2 billion people.

From then, it only took 33 years before the world had added another billion. Today that figure has more than doubled, with over seven billion people currently alive in the world today. By 2050, the world’s population is expected to reach over 9 billion people.

In addition to the increase of population putting more pressure on the Earth for its food, the increasing economic well-being of developing countries has led to an increase of incomes across a large amount of people in the world. While economic trends are much harder to pinpoint than population numbers are, there is a general consensus that the world will become more financially stable in the long run, despite recent financial problems of developed parts of the world.

Historically, as incomes rise, so does demand for meats, sugar and dairy products – foods that cost more in terms of resources and time to produce. It takes multiple pounds of grain to form a pound of meat or dairy, and that does not include the extra costs associated with meat and dairy production.

The raising of livestock for meat and for by-products such as as milk and cheese requires extra crops and extra labor to raise and slaughter or harvest the milk from the animal, as well as the costs to distribute this food, most of which requires refrigeration of some kind.

Demand for less efficient food sources will rise in tandem with populations, increasing the pressure for food consumption. If these trends prove to be correct, food production will need to ramped up by 70% overall in order to meet its demand in the middle of the century.

For the most part, food production in the past has kept up with the needs of the world. The primary means of increasing crop yields has been in increasing the amount of acreage used to farm crops. From 1965 to 2011, the amount of acreage used for staple crops increased to nearly 500 million acres. Increasing the surface area of the world used for growing crops is a tried and true method for increasing the amount of food grown for the world.

Just as important to increasing crop yields as increasing acreage is, closing yield gaps is a viable means of upping the food production of the world. A yield gap is what happens when a harvest yields a less than optimal amount of crops. This happens when the full use of modern agricultural practices and technology is not fully utilized. For the most part, this happens in poorer, developing countries where perhaps the infrastructure cannot support such technologies.

However, as stated earlier, developing countries are becoming increasingly economically stable. With more money brings a more stable infrastructure, and thus the opportunity to employ better agricultural practices and to shrink the yield gap as the population continues to grow.

Finally, there are other, more minor, but still as important factors to consider. For one, it has been estimated that 30 percent of crop yields gets wasted due to improper storage, contamination, and consumption by pests – largely due to poor agricultural infrastructure. Decreasing the waste of food in this manner by 15% could mean that only a 45% increase in agricultural production would be needed by 2050.

Improving international trade would is also a proactive step that to take in this endeavor. The vast majority of high yield crop acreage lies in Europe, Oceania, and North America – precisely the parts of the world where population growth will be of least concern. Increasing international trade will not only help benefit developing words economically, but agriculturally as well. Food will be able to reach a greater number of people that needs the food.

The problems of the world’s future are not easy problems to fix. They are complex and by their very nature span the world with many moving parts. However, no matter how difficult the challenges we face, we must address them. Our continued existence on this Earth hinges on our ability to do so.

Miso is both probiotics and enzymes

Miso is a traditional food in China and Japan. It comes in the form of a fermented dough with a very pronounced taste and very salty. Its color varies from brown to white chocolate cream. It is obtained from soybeans, sea salt and, depending on the manufacturing, barley and rice.

The seeds are first steamed, then mixed with brine and finally be inoculated with the koji. The latter is a seed mash containing the fungus Aspergillus oryzae which stimulates the fermentation. The mixture is aged for a period ranging from a few weeks to three years. It then operates a slow fermentation which produces small amounts of alcohol and lactic acid, which act as natural preservatives.

Over time, this natural yeast and its bacteria are gradually degraded to cereals and beans amino acids, fatty acids and easily digestible simple sugars. Henceforth miso makes an excellent food for improved digestion.

High in protein, miso is both a condiment and a basis for soups or sauces. It easily replaces salt in daily cooking. It enhances the taste of cereals, beans and vegetables. It is also used as brine, in the preparation of sauces and creams, spreads, as well as for seasoning food.

The virtues of miso

In addition to its good taste, miso contains all the essential amino acids, making it a source of complete protein. It is also low in fat and contains several B vitamins The unpasteurized miso helps digestion and assimilation of nutrients. Indeed, it contains probiotics and fifty different enzymes all beneficial for our human organism.

A digestive tonic

Miso is a digestive tonic and is alkaline in our system. We prefer it unpasteurized because it provides more vitamins, minerals, enzymes and basic nutrients. Miso alleviates the symptoms of most gastrointestinal disorders: gastric reflux, hyperacidity, heartburn and stomach ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome, diarrhea / constipation, flatulence, Crohn’s disease.

Good bacteria for optimum intestinal health

Good bacteria proliferates in unpasteurized miso. It is therefore an excellent source of probiotic elements such as lactobacillus which promotes regeneration of a beneficial intestinal flora, fights against harmful microorganisms andfacilitates the absorption of nutrients.

It also protects the body against pathogens (Salmonella, E. coli, Shigella, C. difficile and Staphylococcus aureus, in particular), reduces the intensity of yeast infection (candidiasis), reduces lactose and gluten intolerance.

By cons, miso is a significant source of sodium. It is therefore advisable for people who follow a low-salt diet for heart problems or high blood pressure for example, to go sparingly with miso.

The different types of miso

There are different varieties of miso whose flavor and fragrance differ depending on the quality of their components, the climate and the environment in which it was prepared, the duration of fermentation and manufacturing method. Here are some types of miso:

Shiro miso, white miso. The Shiro Miso or Miso Blanc is a variety of young miso, which is characterized by a very mild taste, almost sweet. It’s the sweetest and ideal as an introduction to this miso flavor.

Aka miso, red miso. As shiro miso is made with white rice but it tastes a little deeper and a darker color one. It still remains sweet to the taste.

Genmai miso, miso brown rice. A miso to brown rice, it has a mild nutty flavor and has more character than the shiro miso and aka.

Mugi miso, barley miso. It is obtained from barley, soy beans and sea salt. Softer, it is well suited to everyday cooking. It has a slight earthy, slightly pronounced aroma and is used throughout the year. He needs 18 months or 24 months of fermentation to mature. This is the traditional miso rural Japan.

Hatcho-Miso, soy miso. It only includes soya beans and sea salt. It is made with less water and less salt than other varieties of miso. He needs two years to mature fermentation.

Soybean miso has a rich and strong flavor, thick and dry consistency, and although that can be consumed throughout the year, it is traditionally enjoyed in soups during winter. It can also be mixed by half in soups with other varieties of miso. It is the most concentrated miso taste.

With all these virtues and possible uses, why not indulge yourself using miso in your diet. It is more natural than taking probiotics or enzymes supplements.

Real Estate in Japan

Real Estate is available in Japan for many investors. Unfortunately, the Japanese real estate market is typically not too hospitable to foreign investors. Many people who wish to invest in it find themselves up against a brick wall when it comes to investing in Japanese real estate. The reason for this is a traditional mistrust of foreigners that seems to be part of the Japanese’s ethnic makeup. There are also a number of subtle nuances involved in Japanese culture that Western’s often fail to understand.

The history of real estate in Japan seems to be a series of bubbles where investors feel confident and invest, and then prices drop and investors lose money. Thus the last bubble has been bursting since the 90′s and the market has yet to recover from that.

In regard to purchasing, the legal system in Japan seems to be the way to get a foothold of Japanes investment properties. Taking advantage of foreclosed properties is often a way to buy cheap real estate in Japan.

Much of the real estate that is available in Japan is high end properties being sold for a million dollars or more. This is particularly true in the big cities. Japan has a mixture of properties though in the super urban and the super rural. Some of the rural properties can be purchased for as little as 20,000 dollars. It is a pre tax investment that shows lots of promise for investors.

The current state of the Japanese real estate market is not healthy, but is showing signs of improvement. The first two quarters of this year have seen an upturn in property prices. They has been an increase in prices since 2011. This may be the first signs of a recovery in the Japanese real estate market. Even though this improvement of real estate in Japan has been slight, it has been enough for corporate investors like Goldman Sachs, Deutsch bank group and Fortress Holdings to begin investing in the Japanese real estate market. However properties in Japan are quite expensive and probably out of the price range of many private would be investors.

Note that the Japanese real estate has been in decline for the past several years prior to 2012. Current properties are currently only worth a fraction of what they were a decade or two ago. However the real estate market seems to be recovering if very slowly. It appears to be mirroring somewhat the trends of the American real estate market which is slow, but may be recovering a bit. If that trend continues in 2012 more and more properties in Japan will open to investors. The mix of investment opportunities continues to attract real estate investors, even though Japan has negative capital growth at the moment.

Many players are finding attractive investments in the rural areas of Japan where the property tends to be quite a bit less expensive. The right set of circumstances can make someone wealthy indeed. So the Japanese real estate varies a lot in price and circumstances. Those who want to find out about the Japanese real estate market and the cost of properties can follow it online. One of the sites that offers information about Japanese real estate is @Real_Estate_Jap on twitter. The Japanese real estate market certainly bears watching as it is ever changing and can be lucrative for savvy real estate investors.

Caffeine

coffee-on-the-beachIs there anything wrong with coffee and caffeine? Caffeine puts that extra zip into your morning cup. Nobody likes to admit it, but people all around the world are hopelessly and happily addicted to caffeine.

Whether you’re drinking your favorite cola, tea, or coffee, the chances are good that the beverage in your hand right now is caffeinated. Indeed, more and more individuals are choosing to avoid the affects of caffeine withdrawal and when asked “regular or decaf,” they’re choosing to go fully leaded with a heavily caffeinated drink!

Caffeinated or Decaffeinated – What’s in Your Cup?

As the health debates rage on as to whether or not caffeine in general, and caffeinated drinks specifically, are unhealthy, the average Joe on the street doesn’t seem to be paying any attention to the Caffeine Debate.

At this very moment, men and women are enjoying countless cups of caffeine-rich Starbucks coffee. And, while some of these caffeine-loving drinkers might be discussing the inherent merits of caffeinated versus decaffeinated beverages, the more likely scenario is the common caffeine-drinking consumer is trying to decide whether to go with Folgers or Green Mountain, or whether they prefer ground beans to instant.

Indeed, whereas caffeine research continues to uncover the addictive properties of caffeinated products and the affects of withdrawal, most caffeine drinkers are more concerned with whether to visit Maxwell House or Barrie House for their next caffeine fix.

In fact, instead of worrying about withdrawal from caffeine, workers across the globe are much more interested in the pick-me-up that a caffeinated drink gives their working day. So, the next time you’re choosing caffeinated or decaffeinated, or if you are fearing the affects of withdrawal, don’t worry-walk up to the counter and order yourself a nice, tall cup of Joe. With extra caffeine!

Caffeine Effects – Good Or Bad?

Caffeine effects can be both good and bad, depending on the time and person. The effects of caffeine differ widely between people due to our natural differences.

Effects are also somewhat dependent on the time elapsed, as caffeine’s effects generally peak after approximately thirty minutes to one hour after consumption. So, if you visit Starbuck’s at 10:00 am you will not feel the effect of the caffeine until an hour or so later.

Caffeine is a stimulant, found in many substances including coffee. The effects of caffeine intake include increased heartbeat, respiration, and basal metabolic rate, as well as a subjective “lift”. Caffeine consumption stimulates a short “lift” followed by a crash with the size of the effect depending on the amount of caffeine consumed.

How Much Caffeine Can We Swallow?

Overdoses are possible when large amounts of caffeine are consumed. Two to seven cups of coffee may result in restlessness, dizziness nausea, headache, tense muscles, sleep disturbances, and irregular heart beats.

Caffeine doses above 7 cups of coffee may over-stimulate a person’s body, resulting in the above symptoms as well as an anxiety attack, ringing ears, vomiting, difficulty breathing and convulsions. Effects will vary between people.

If caffeine, specifically that from coffee, has a negative effect on you, Folgers, Green Mountain¸ Millstone and Maxwell House produce decaf variations, both in beans and ground form.

So, if you experience any symptoms of a caffeine overdose, see your doctor and consider switching to decaffeinated coffee.

Playing Lots of Hands

philPlaying lots of hands in a month is frequently seen in the poker world as a negative thing for mental health. When someone shows off a graph of 200,000 hands played in a month on a poker forum, the responses are frequently along the lines of, “I’d stab my eyes out before playing that much poker in a month.”

I strongly disagree with that sentiment. Assuming that you are still maintaining a lifestyle that makes you happy and that playing that much doesn’t result in a large reduction in your winrate, that is. From the very beginning of my poker career I have been heavily into playing lots of tables and lots of hours per month. “Lots of hours per month” is still way less than most people work for jobs.

If I remember correctly, my hardest working month was about 220,000 hands in about 180 hours. That is a lot of poker and I would not recommend that much poker to many people. But during the times where I was really focused on poker, I could put in 100-130 hours for several months in a row without breaking a sweat, and this is certainly way above average for poker pros. Playing 4 hours a day is really not that hard for someone who has no other obligations.

It just comes down to motivation, which seems to always be in short supply for poker players. Beginner poker players with jobs, school and families won’t necessarily be able to play this much, but giving up some TV time to play some more poker is a very good decision.

So, why is playing a much as you can in a short period of time a good thing? Variance reduction. Don’t get me wrong, the cards have no idea how much you’ve played this month and if they did, they certainly wouldn’t care. The variance reduction is in your mind.

A truly rational individual would only consider sample sizes and confidences in winrates and other statistical proof and would completely ignore how well he did in a day, month, or anything else. You are not this person. Humans have a tendency to categorize performance over arbitrary time periods. This is an innate quality that everyone I have ever met has, and it isn’t going to go away anytime soon.

If you play 10,000 hands a month with a winrate of 2ptbb you will have a winrate distrubution graph showing that you have about a 30% chance of losing money that month. If you instead play 50,000 hands that month and win at the same rate, your graph will look more skewed. By upping the number of hands you played in that month, you have now reduced the chances of losing money in that month to less than 15%.

Let’s pretend that this isn’t one month and that I played 30,000 hands a month, making this graph about 7 months of my play. If that were the case I would have felt godly for three months and then would have had incredible doubt about my abilities for the next 4 months.

I would have felt like I couldn’t win and that there was something completely wrong (something might have been wrong with my game, but not necessarily). In reality, this 150,000 hand breakeven stretch was just a few weeks. Much easier to handle mentally.

Reducing the likelihood of having a losing month bolsters confidence and increases the likelihood of long term success in the poker world. Most people don’t like losing and poker players are no exception. Having four losing months in a year may not sound that bad, but what if they were four out of the first six months in the year?

Do you think you would make it to the end of the year, or would you quit? Most players would start to doubt themselves at the very least, if not become completely averse to playing. Fighting doubt and maintaining confidence while maintaining a realistic self-assessment of ability is one of the hardest parts of playing poker seriously.

There are no magic cures to this, but putting in the hours to reduce the likelihood of losing over arbitrary time periods that humans use as benchmarks for success or failure will make you feel much better. Winning feels good.