Racial Disparities

15 04 2010

On April 5, a man named John Derbyshire spoke at a panel discussion organized by the Black Law Students’ Association (BLSA) of the University of Pennsylvania Law School, April 5, 2010.

…If a species is divided into separate populations, and those populations are left in reproductive isolation from each other for many generations, they will diverge. If you return after several hundred generations have passed, you will observe that the various traits that characterize individuals of the species are now distributed at different frequencies in the various populations. After a few ten thousands of generations, the divergence of the populations will be so great they can no longer cross-breed; and that is the origin of species. This is Biology 101.

Our species separated into two parts 50, 60, or 70 thousand years ago, depending on which paleoanthropologist you ask. One part remained in Africa, the ancestral homeland. The other crossed into Southwest Asia, then split, and re-split, and re-split, until there were human populations living in near-total reproductive isolation from each other in all parts of the world. This went on for hundreds of generations, causing the divergences we see today. Different physical types, as well as differences in behavior, intelligence, and personality, are exactly what one would expect to observe when scrutinizing these divergent populations.

This sounds perfectly reasonable. Doesn’t it? The entire speech is reproduced at his blog. If you tend to agree with it, you’re a racial realist which to many, is a fancy term for racist.

The discussion was supposed to be about whether government should do more or less to eliminate racial disparities.

Charlize Theron vs Teri Hatcher

5 04 2010

From the 1996 movie, 2 Days in the Valley:

Watch that and tell me who’s hotter, not now but in that movie.

Making Salsa

1 04 2010

I’ve developed a habit of making salsa. It’s an art. I’m no expert, but I thought I’d share what I know. I use a blender for most ingredients because I’m lazy and I get favorable results. I may update this later. First, I have to go buy some stuff. Here’s what I start with:

  • Tomatoes – I buy about at least one pound of Roma tomatoes. I don’t really know if they’re better for this purpose than other tomatoes, but I know they work. One pound is about 10 or 12.
  • Onion – One red, white, or yellow onion should more than enough
  • Garlic – One bulb is more than enough. If you don’t have a garlic press and don’t like chopping garlic by hand, you can use the chopped bottled stuff or garlic powder.
  • Peppers – For my most recent batch, I used 3 jalapeno and 3 serrano peppers (all fresh). That makes for some pretty hot salsa, hotter than most people prefer. The heat mostly comes from the relatively tiny serranos. For weak salsa, you might want to use a bell pepper to get that texture without the heat.
  • Cilantro – With fresh cilantro, one bunch is plenty. You can also use dried cilantro.
  • Lemon – One should be sufficient. You can also use a lime.
  • Spices – You need three things: salt, pepper, cumin.
  • Other things (that you might like but don’t need) – Oregano, dried peppers, green onions, vinegar, chili powder, red pepper, and so on…


First, I boil water in a pot and put cold water in another pot or large bowl. Then, I cut a little ‘X’ on the bottom of each tomato and drop in about half of them in the boiling water for 30-60 seconds, and then immediately into the cold. This is done to remove the skin, which should now peel right off. Then, I split them into quarters and cut out the white guts and seeds. This process might be easier with fewer larger tomatoes, but it works for me. Once I have a pile of skinless seedless tomato quarters, I chop the ever-loving hell out of them. If I find pieces that still have the skin attached, they get dropped into the blender. Actually, I always put at least some tomato chunks in the blender. The chopped pieces get strained and go into the main bowl. At this point I usually need to wipe the tomato blood from my counter top.

Next, I chop the onion. If it’s a large onion, I might not use all of it. I try to chop into very small pieces. When a start to cry, I throw the rest in the blender. Then, I chop the peppers into large chunks and toss them into the blender as well. Fresh garlic and fresh cilantro will also go in there if I’m using them. These are strong flavor ingredients, so I’d go easy if it’s your first time. Maybe use half a bunch of cilantro and two cloves of garlic. At this point I should have everything in the blender that needs to go in there, so I fire it up. There should be some kind of liquid in there (tomatoes) to get it all to turn. I use a blender because it’s what I have and chopping is tiring. If you have a food processor, give that a try. If all you have is a knife and a cutting board, that’s fine too. So, I run the blender just enough to get everything chopped, not to make soup.

Next, I pour the blender mix into the tomato and onion chunks and mix them up. Now, it’s time to add acid and spices. I’ll start with the juice from half of the lemon, probably two tablespoons of salt and about as much black pepper and cumin (Edit: try less at first). Of course, dried cilantro, jarred garlic and any extra stuff goes in now. Now, I mix it all up. At this point, it won’t taste right yet. I put a lid on the bowl and stick in the fridge for at least a day. Initially, the fresh peppers will taste very green (because they are) and most of the heat will be on the back of the tongue, which few will enjoy. After some time, the flavors will mix together and bring the heat forward a bit. After I take it back out of the fridge, it’s time to taste it and adjust accordingly. This is the art. Adding salt helps blend the flavors, while black pepper intensifies the flavor. Cumin seems to sort of sweeten the heat, if that makes any sense. Beyond that, I’m still learning and can’t always tell when I need to add more lemon, cumin, or garlic.