Archive for October, 2009

They’re Born Bad

Posted in Society on October 31st, 2009

Back in June, 2009, scientists discovered the “gangsta gene,” now known as the monoamine oxidase A (MAOA) gene. People with a particular form of MAOA gene are twice as likely to join a gang or engage in other violent criminal behavior, compared to those with other forms of the gene.

The MAOA gene is located on the X chromosome, and the enzyme it produces breaks down important neurotransmitters such as: serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine. This renders them inactive. These neurotransmitters control mood, aggression, and pleasure.

Scientific research into the causation of self destructive and/or violently antisocial behavior is worthwhile. It had in the past been assumed that people turned to drugs, gangs, violence, and general thuggery solely due to environmental factors.  Discovering that some of the thugs were just “born bad,” or at least with a genetic predilection for bad behavior is extremely useful data; it allows society to level set its expectations.

A lot of Liberals in America won’t like these findings or this post. Oddly and hypocritically, they’re the same one lauding any study that says homosexuality is genetically caused.

Of course some people who look to provide and/or invent excuses for thuggishness and criminal behavior have misused these findings. Recently an Italian court reduced the sentence of a convicted murderer because he had this genetic deficiency.

Abdelmalek Bayout, an Algerian citizen who has lived in Italy since 1993, admitted in 2007 to stabbing and killing Walter Felipe Novoa Perez on 10 March. Perez, a Colombian living in Italy, had, according to Bayout’s testimony, insulted him over the kohl eye make-up the Algerian was wearing. Bayout, a Muslim, claims he wore the make-up for religious reasons.

During the trial, Bayout’s lawyer, Tania Cattarossi, asked the court to take into account that her client may have been mentally ill at the time of the murder. After considering three psychiatric reports, the judge, Paolo Alessio Vernì, partially agreed that Bayout’s psychiatric illness was a mitigating factor and sentenced him to 9 years and 2 months in prison — around three years less than Bayout would have received had he been deemed to be of sound mind.

But at an appeal hearing in May this year, Pier Valerio Reinotti, a judge of the Court of Appeal in Trieste, asked forensic scientists for a new independent psychiatric report to decide whether he should commute the sentence further.

For the new report, Pietro Pietrini, a molecular neuroscientist at Italy’s University of Pisa, and Giuseppe Sartori, a cognitive neuroscientist at the University of Padova, conducted a series of tests and found abnormalities in brain-imaging scans and in five genes that have been linked to violent behaviour — including the gene encoding the neurotransmitter-metabolizing enzyme monoamine oxidase A (MAOA). A 2002 study led by Terrie Moffitt, a geneticist at the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College, London, had found low levels of MAOA expression to be associated with aggressiveness and criminal conduct of young boys raised in abusive environments.

In the report, Pietrini and Sartori concluded that Bayout’s genes would make him more prone to behaving violently if provoked. “There’s increasing evidence that some genes together with a particular environmental insult may predispose people to certain behaviour,” says Pietrini.

On the basis of the genetic tests, Judge Reinotti docked a further year off the defendant’s sentence, arguing that the defendant’s genes “would make him particularly aggressive in stressful situations”. Giving his verdict, Reinotti said he had found the MAOA evidence particularly compelling.

Thankfully, this foolishness was perpetrated by an Italian court, not an American one so the wrong-headed precedent that it sets won’t immediately have an adverse effect upon the American court system. Sadly though, it’s only a matter of time before some Liberal judge in America reaches the same dangerous conclusion, most likely somewhere on the Left Coast. 🙁

If these people are genetically deficient in such a way that they are far more prone to violent antisocial behavior, then releasing them back into society sooner is just wrong. It’s obvious to anyone with a brain that they’d be extremely prone to recidivism. Instead of using their mutation as an excuse for them, it should be grounds for lengthier incarceration and behavioral therapy.

Just Brilliant!

Posted in Humor, Politics, Society on October 31st, 2009

The Mythbusters, led by Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage, have been teaching logic and critical thinking – and doing so by blowing things up! How cool is that?

jamie hyneman and adam savage
Adding Explosives to Congress – Brilliant!

Adding the television series to America’s school curriculum may well be the best idea I’ve heard for real education reform in a long, long while.

Adding the techniques used by the Mythbusters to prove or debunk myths and assumptions to Congress might well save America. 😉

Curried Pumpkin Soup

Posted in Recipes on October 30th, 2009

While I’ve called this recipe Curried Pumpkin Soup, it is really a winter squash soup. Because this soup is not sweet just about any winter squash (acorn, butternut, kobacha, Hubbard) can be used instead of pumpkin.

Curried Pumpkin Soup
Recipe type: Soup
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4 - 6
The rich flavor combinations in this creamy soup are complex and subtle, yet the soup is neither difficult to make nor overly filling. It is a wonderful meal on any cooler and/or rainier day or evening.
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1½ teaspoons fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 teaspoon dried, smoked chiles (chipotle, cobán, and/or ancho), chopped
  • 5 cups pumpkin, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 5 cups chicken broth
  • ½ teaspoon Jamaican curry powder
  • ¾ cup heavy cream
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  1. Sauté the onion in butter in a wide 6-quart heavy pot over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until softened (3 - 5 minutes). Add the minced garlic and grated ginger allow this to cook for 1 minute longer.
  2. Add the dried, smoked chiles, pumpkin, and chicken broth. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook until pumpkin is completely tender (30 minutes).
  3. When the pumpkin is tender, add the Jamaican curry powder and heavy cream. Use a hand / stick blender to puree the soup until smooth, or transfer to a blender and blend in batches. Add salt, pepper, and additional curry powder to taste.
  4. Turn heat down to low and allow the soup to slowly come back up to heat ( 3 - 5 minutes).
For a more Caribbean flavor, substitute coconut milk for the heavy cream. This will also sweeten the soup somewhat, so you may want to adjust the levels of chiles, salt, and pepper. For a higher protein dish with a decidedly coastal flair, add some firm white fish (cod, haddock, pollack, or snapper) that has been sautéed, baked, or broiled to the soup after it has been puréed. Simply cut the fish into bite-sized pieces and fold them into the soup. Allow them to heat through and serve. For a more ancient and Native American variation, add roasted corn to soup at service. Toss 2 - 3 cups of corn kernels (fresh or frozen) with olive oil and place them in a baking dish. Season with black pepper. Broil, stirring often, until the corn begins to brown. Keep an eye on them! They burn quickly and easily. Sprinkle or mound the roasted corn onto each bowl of soup just before serving it up.

This rich and creamy soup also pairs well with Fresh Corn Salad, especially in warmer months or areas.

Serve in deep bowls with a side of cornbread, fry bread, or Johnny cakes and enjoy the autumn or winter!

Jamaican Curry Powder

Posted in Recipes on October 30th, 2009

Jamaican Curry Powder is quite different than Indian curry spice mixes, though it was inspired by it and shares the name, “curry.” It tends to be simpler in flavor and tastes more spicy and sweet as opposed to the spicy-hot and slightly sour flavors found in Indian curries. The signature difference between Jamaican and Indian curries is that Jamaicans use allspice in theirs while the Indians normally don’t.

Jamaican Curry Powder
Recipe type: Spice Mix
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 100+
Jamaican curry powder is a great addition to many, many dishes. It can, among other things, be used in soups, salad dressings, or as dry rubs on meats.
  • ¼ cup whole coriander seeds
  • 2 tablespoons whole cumin seeds
  • 2 tablespoons whole mustard seeds
  • 2 tablespoons whole anise seeds
  • 1 tablespoon whole fenugreek seeds
  • 1 tablespoon whole allspice berries
  • 5 tablespoons ground turmeric
  1. Reserve the tumeric. Combine the coriander seeds, cumin seeds, mustard seeds, anise seeds, fenugreek seeds, and allspice berries in a pan. Toast them over medium heat, stirring or shaking them gently, until the spices slightly darken and become very fragrant. This takes approximately ten (10) minutes.
  2. When the spices have been toasted, remove them from the skillet, and allow them to cool to room temperature. Grind the toasted spices with the turmeric in either a spice grinder or mortar & pestle. Store the ground spices away from direct light in an airtight container at room temperature.

Once made, it will keep for many months if stored in a cool, dark, dry place.

At that point, no matter what you put it in or on, it’s all cut and curry. Mek wi nyam!.

Obama: All Or Nothing

Posted in Humor, Politics on October 29th, 2009

President Obama, leading his Liberals in their oft-times mindless seeming charge for healthcare “reform,” is wagering everything on history’s decision on his “roll of the dice.”

President Obama's Healthcare Gamble - But It's The Taxpayers' Chips He's Wagering
It’s All Or Nothing! Wait, Those Are My Chips.

Sadly for Americans, there’s more at stake than the Liberals’ stranglehold on Congress and whatever hopes my remain for President Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign. President Obama’s wagering the economic future of America and the very lives of millions of Americans and their future children on his vision of the future.

Really! President Obama doesn’t seem to be able to help himself; he seems compelled to do this despite the evident outrage it is causing Americans. They say that the first step to overcoming these problems is admitting that you have them. I guess President Obama isn’t quite there yet. I just hope that the intervention that is surely coming isn’t more than he and his Liberals can take. 😉