Linux, Cooperatives, General Health

I've been putting this post off for a couple of days, wanting to get a copy of Wen's great presentation to the beginners workshop at Linux Users of Victoria on Saturday on the Raspberry Pi (which I still don't have). It was a crowded room (around 35 crammed into the VPAC training room) and he gave a one hour presentation followed by a one hour tutorial and demonstration. It was really high quality. Apropos to this organisation, I will speaking at their next main meeting on "Educating People to become Linux Users: Some Key Insights from Adult Education". Less related was an unfortunate outage at work this week as our aging Lustre/DDN storage array had a interesting development with an equally aging switch. The scheduler on our cluster was pretty much paused for the better part of two working days. Friday was also the last working day for Brian M., whom I reminded the staff is a person of such talent that he has a PhD in computer security, has a pilot's license, plays the classic violin, and has a working knowledge of Mandarin. As per a previous post I am less than pleased on the loss of our direct labourers; the symbiotic relationship of direct to indirect labour can indeed be parasitic.

After the LUV meeting convened the Isocracy meeting at Trades Hall on the topic of Workers Cooperatives and Environmentalism. I gave a broad introduction to the subject, noting the definitions, history, and criticism. I am particularly interested in how workers cooperatives are meant to raise the necessary funds in complex production processes given the large capital barrier to entry. This presentation was followed by a speaker from the Earthworker Cooperative, speaking about Eureka's Future in particular. One particular effect of the meeting is that we've decided to refinance our existing home loan from MEBank (owned by superannuation funds) to BankMECU (a consumer cooperative).

I've been intrigued by a recent publication in Cell Metabolism that suggests a half-kilojoule diet five days per month leads to improved cognitive performance, reduced cancers, and multi-system regeneration. And of course weight loss, duh. The health effects of periodic fasting are well known of course, but for obvious reasons people have a great deal of difficulty following it. So this seems to be an a good point to operate from, and I've decided to give it at least a three-month trial (which was the pilot study in humans). As previously mentioned, courtesy of Ingress and a minor modification to my normal regimen I have a higher Physical Activity Level than my rather sedentary worklife would indicate.

This entry was originally posted at
  • Current Location: VPAC
  • Current Mood: complacent
  • Current Music: Flesh + Blood, Roxy Music
Yeah, fasting is tough. Good luck with your 3-month pilot! But increased cognitive performance (by how much?), if true, is worth the hassle. Overall, cognitive performance multiplied by time performed is the most important thing in my life at least...
Some rather impressive results from the paper, for mice at least. It appears, strangely, that the memory tests in humans have not been published.

Short-term cognitive performance and context-dependent memory were assessed with the novel object recognition test (Figures 3D and 3E) (Bernabeu et al., 1995). FMD mice had a higher recognition index (RI = 0.60) compared to controls (RI = 0.52; p < 0.01) (Figure 3D). An increase in exploration time was observed for the FMD mice for the new object, while the total exploration time remained the same (13.6 ± 0.9 CTRL versus 13.4 ± 0.9 FMD-RF), suggesting enhanced short-term cognitive performance...

Apparently I'll be able to find my way home easier..

As a measure of long-term memory, we measured spatial learning and memory using the Barnes maze: a hippocampus-dependent cognitive task requiring spatial reference memory to locate a unique escape box by learning and memorizing visual clues (Figures 3F–3K) (Barnes, 1988). During the 7-day training period, FMD mice performed better with regard to errors, deviation, latency, and success rate compared to controls (Figures 3F–3I). In the retention test, the FMD group displayed better memory indicated by reduced deviation at day 14 (Figure 3G). Deviation of control diet mice at day 14 was similar to that at day 1, indicating that these mice did not remember the box location they had learned by day 7. Improvements in the search strategy, including the shifting from a random and serial search strategy to spatial strategies, were observed for the FMD, but not the control diet group after days 3–4 (Figures 3J and 3K). Together, the behavioral tests suggests that FMD cycles improve motor learning and hippocampus-dependent short- and long-term memory in old animals.

Edited at 2015-06-23 01:18 am (UTC)
Sounds fascinating... Does it provide a critical overview of the different types of cooperatives? Many retailer cooperatives seem to exist just to provide bulk purchasing for already big businesses..
Hmmm... Interesting. Would you be interested in doing a review of it for the Isocracy website?