December 22, 2009
Real Time (Grandfather Clock) — by Maarten Baas
Mini Keychain Speaker
Speaker cube measuring 2.5cm (1 inch) on each side includes 3.5mm headphone cable
so you can plug it into an iPod, iPhone or MP3 player.
Includes USB adapter to attach to computer if desired for music while you work
and to recharge 8-hour battery, even as music plays.
Helpful Hints from joeeze: A simple way to appear smarter than you really are
Assuming you speak English, when someone asks the source of a quotation, quickly respond, "The Bible or Shakespeare."
FunFact: You'll be right half the time.
According to Beal, "You can't be culturally literate without being biblically literate."
Beal's book connects popular popular references with biblical stories.
He noted, "These biblical stories and even images are pervasive in our language, they are all over our culture, from high culture to low culture, from Michelangelo to the Simpsons."
Given the Bible's position in the wider culture, "An atheist would just as much need to know these stories as a believer and a church goer," Beal said.
Me, I don't even have to pony up for Beal's book.
Like the old saying goes, "If you don't say anything, people may think you're stupid. Once you open your mouth, they'll know."
Harajuku Lovers 13" MacBook Pro Sleeve – Kanji Girls Print
FireWriter — very cool tool
From the king of cool himself, Joe Peach.
Multi Minute Glasses — Think outside the egg space
Excellent anti-procrastination tool.
joe, just give me one minute, one lousy minute, then you can quit.
OK, now you're on a roll, can you make it to three?
How about five?
$9.95 (eggs — and batteries — not included).
BehindTheMedspeak: Being bad to the bone may reduce your time in an Italian jail
From nature.com/news: "An Italian court has cut the sentence given to a convicted murderer by a year because he has genes linked to violent behaviour — the first time that behavioural genetics has affected a sentence passed by a European court."
More: "Scientists showed that the murderer under-expressed the gene that codes for the neurotransmitter-metabolizing enzyme monoamine oxidase A (MAOA). In 2002, a study in England found an association between low MAOA expression and violent and criminal behavior by boys raised in abusive households."
"The genetic evidence was introduced in conjunction with brain scans that showed abnormalities in the murderer's brain, along with reports from conventional psychiatrists."
From another site:
Italian Court gives lighter sentence for murderer with 'bad genes'
An Italian court has reduced the sentence given to a convicted murderer by a year because he has genes linked to violent behaviour. According to the journal Nature this is the first time that behavioural genetics has affected a sentence passed by a European Court.
Abdelmalek Bayout, an Algerian citizen who has lived in Italy since 1993, admitted in 2007 to stabbing and killing Walter Felipe Novoa Perez. Perez, a Colombian living in Italy, had, according to Bayout’s testimony, insulted him over the kohl eye make-up that he was wearing. Bayout, a Muslim, claims he wore the make-up for religious reasons.
Bayout’s lawyer, Tania Cattarossi, requested the court to take her client’s mental health into consideration, claiming he may have been mentally ill at the time of the crime. Judge Paolo Alessio Vernì considered three psychiatric reports and Bayout’s psychiatric illness as a mitigating factor before reaching his decision. Bayout was sentenced to 9 years and 2 months in prison, which is, as Nature reported, three years less than Bayout would have received had he been deemed to have been of sound mind. Consideration was then made by judge Pier Valerio Reinotti of the Court of Appeal in Trieste as to whether the sentence should be further commuted, following the commission of a new psychiatric report.
For this new commissioned 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. They found abnormalities in brain-imaging scans and in five genes that have been linked to violent behaviour — including the gene encoding the neurotransmitter MAOA. A 2002 study had found low levels of MAOA expression to be associated with aggressiveness and criminal conduct of young boys raised in abusive environments. The report concluded that if provoked, Bayout’s genes would make him ‘more prone to behaving violently’. In the light of this report and the genetic tests; Judge Reinotti reduced Bayout’s sentence by a further year.
From BioEd Online: "90% of all murders are committed by people with a Y chromosome — males. Should we always give males a shorter sentence?" says Steve Jones, a geneticist at University College London. "I have low MAOA activity but I don't go around attacking people."
And: "Since the 1994 Stephen Mobley case in the United States — the first case in the world in which the defence asked to have their client tested for MAOA deficiency — lawyers have increasingly been trying to bring MAOA deficits and similar genetic evidence into courtrooms worldwide. According to Farahany, who updates a personal database on sentences passed in the United States, in the past five years there have been at least 200 cases where lawyers have attempted to use genetic evidence to support the idea their clients' were predisposed to violent behaviour, depression or drug or alcohol abuse. In Britain, there have been at least 20 such cases in the past five years."
More: "Other genes, such as those that encode the serotonin transporter, have also been linked to different reactions to stress. But these also show a large degree of dependence on environmental factors. 'The point is that behavioural genetics is not there yet, we cannot explain individual behaviour, only large population statistics,' says Nita Farahany of Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, who specializes in the legal and ethical issues arising from behavioural genetics and neuroscience."
"Up to now most such efforts have been unsuccessful in court — although a few have influenced sentencing in the United States. Judges have tended to reject the idea that a person has no control over their choices because of their genes, says Farahany."
"Farahany points out that prosecutors could use the same genetic evidence to argue for tougher sentences by suggesting people with such genes are inherently 'bad.'"
More: "MAO-A has been the focus of interest in behavioural genetics and courtrooms for some time because of its important function in the brain, the inactivation of monoaminergic neurotransmitters. MAO inhibitors used to be a common treatment option for depression but its direct association to aggressive behaviour could only be shown when there was a total lack of the enzyme (Brunner et al.) or when an individual with low enzyme activity was maltreated as a child (Caspi et al.). Furthermore, ethnicity also plays a role in the effectiveness of the MAO-A gene (Widom et al.)."
William Saletan's provocative take on all this in Slate is here.
What is it?
Answer here this time tomorrow.