Tuesday, 15 May 2012


Scientific name: Arachis hypogaea L.

The peanut originates in South America. The Portuguese found it already being cultivated in Brazil. Gabriel Soares de Sousa states that «it is something unknown expect in Brazil the (peanut) are produced underground, where they are planted by hand at a plan's breadth distance; they have leaves like those of the Spanish bean, with branches which spread along the ground. Each plant produces a large plateful of peanuts, which grow at the end of the roots and are the size of acorns». 

The Portuguese introduced them to Africa, they were known as a «tiga» in Malinke, which is a corruption of manteiga (butter), because  the oil content of the seeds in higher than that of Vigna subterranea of African origin, already know and cultivated by the Malinke people. Oddly, Friar Cristovão of Lisbon makes mention of the use of peanut in diet of the Maranhão people of Brazil, where it had «the virtue of serving for those with broken legs and arms, breaching the greens systems and placing them to the break, the bone healing very well». It was also introduced to the Orient, although there are no precise records of this. There are those who claim, although without firms basis, that peanut was introduced to Africa by slave traders.


The peanut, as a food crop, did not expand very quickly in the area of Africa. Te reason for this is because the fat content of the seeds of these two plants are noticeably different, and replacing the seeds of the African plant with those of the American one would result in higher levels of fat intake. 

Despite its enormous value as a food plant, the peanut only spread and cultivation only intensified when the seeds became the raw material for extraction oil, consumed on a large scale in industrialized countries in temperate zones. The peanut husks are used to produce flour and groundnut cake with a high protein content, and fibers for textiles. 

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Jack the Ripper.

"One day men will look back and say I gave birth to the twentieth century" - Jack the Ripper (1888)

This is the most fascinating serial-killer of all time, and one of the most mysterious one. You all know those murders occurred in London more than a hundred years ago, but still they remained popular nowadays so my post is about the immortal Jack the Ripper. 

So, why does he remain so popular? 

The Ripper killed 9 women, but there is some controversial in this matter because there were no proves and not enough evidence to accuse him, but there are five women that are accepted as his "work":

Mary Ann Nichols, murdered Friday, August 31, 1888.

Annie Chapman, murdered Saturday, September 8, 1888.

Elizabeth Stride, murdered Sunday, September 30, 1888.

Catherine Eddowes, also murdered in the same date as Elizabeth.

Mary Jane Kelly, murdered Friday, November 9, 1888. 

All of these victims were prostitutes. Some studiers think that his motivations were psychosexual in nature and also because prostitutes were easy to target. We don't know who he was, but surprisingly, nowadays we have a full understandings of hos modus operandi. He stood faced to face with his victims.When they were occupied, he would grab their throat and strangle them until they where knock off and sometimes dead. Then he would cut the throat of his victims when they were on the ground, from their right to the left side of their throat.

He never had sexual intercourse with none of his victims, but he had the pleasure to take a "trophy". He removed the genitals from the victim and then took a piece of their viscera. The incisions were very meticulous and precise, most of the surgeons who were in the case and who examined the victims believed the killer knew what he as doing, and had some kind of knowledge of anatomy of the body.

He was probably the first serial-killer to appear in a big city and the press, reporting his crimes, created the name "Ripper" and his myths. The name appeared on a letter send by someone claiming to be the killer, signing it with "Jack the Ripper". Some people think this was a fake letter but we will never know for sure. He became the "new thing" in that time. People didn't want to know about the conflict between liberals and social reformers, people wanted blood, chaos and something new. Well they had something , terrifying and quite fascinating at the same time.

There were suspects but they were never formally charged because there was no proof, and one day the killings stopped. The reason, we don't know. Some theories say that he continued to kill under a different method, another says he died (natural causes or suicide) and yet another on says that he was caught but it was never made public by the press or the police because it was a powerful man. But one thing remains for sure, we will never know who Jack the Ripper was and that's what keeps the myth and legend alive. 

Thursday, 5 April 2012


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Sunday, 1 April 2012


Scientific name: Cinnamomom verum

Cinnamon is originally from the island of Ceylon, where cultivation was concentrated until the sixteenth century. To corner the cinnamon trade, the Portuguese occupied the island in 1518, after having visited it in 1506 and seen how rich in cinnamon it was. The Dutch occupied the island in 1556, and control of the cinnamon market passed to them. 

It is thought that as early as the sixteenth century the Portuguese had already introduced cinnamon to Brazil, possibly brought by Jesuits. In 1750, Rocha Pitta states that the cinnamon tree arrived «in Brazil by royal order a few years ago», but »they are already so numerous in Brazil that they far outnumber those in Ceylon», from which one can conclude that the plant was already widely distributed. Bernardinho Gomes tells us that many of the cinnamon trees  in Brazil «seem very old, and many undoubtedly date from the days of the Jesuits». There are indications that in 1682, of the cinnamon plants brought from India, «only one survived, at Quinta do Tanque belonging to the fathers of the Companhia de Jesus».

 It was introduced to Java, possibly in 1825. It was introduced once more to Brazil, Angola and São Tomé from Ceylon at the beginning of the eighteenth century, by royal order, and was to be accomplished in the utmost secrecy, owning to the barriers of the Dutch erected to prevent the removal of cinnamon seeds or plants from the island. The aim of introducing thus and other spices into Brazil was to create a Portuguese spice-production zone to replace that which they had lost in the East. 

During my research I found this challenge on the web. The challenge was to swallow a spoon with cinnamon. Well this is kinda funny so It deserves to be here. 

Saturday, 24 March 2012


Scientific name: Camellia sinensis

Tea originated in a vast region of South-East Asia, including China, Japan, Burma, India and other areas. The tea plant and the method of preparing the drink were shrouded in a fair amount of secrecy among Oriental peoples, to such an extent that until the nineteenth century it was thought that black tea and green tea were produced from direct plants.The Portuguese probably first came across the drink in the Canton region, and used the local word (ch'a). 

As is commonly know, tea as a beverage was introduced to the English court by the Portuguese queen D. Catarina de Bragança, daughter of the king João IV, which leads one to believe that it was already known in Portugal at the time, although it was from far widespread. The same cannot be said of the plant and the method of preparing the tea. It would appear, from details dating from the nineteenth century, that at time it was not generally known in Portugal how to prepare the drink. As for the plant, there are records of tea plant's existence in Angra do Heroísmo, in the Azores, at the beginning of that century, and its introduction to Brazil at the beginning of the nineteenth century is confirmed - although the date is open to question - when King João VI travelled to Rio de Janeiro as a result of the French invasions, and received tea plant as a gift from Chinese emperor. 

From Brazil tea then reached the island of São Miguel in Azores, and continental Portugal, where attempts were made to grow it in the north, centre and south. Plants still exist to this day dating from that time, although they are now abandoned, the largest know group being that on Alto do Chá or «Tea Peak», in the Sintra mountains. 

The cultivation of Tea in Africa was set in motion by the English from India. Tea was brought from former Nyassaland (Malawi) to Mozambique in about 1914, and it underwent a certain amount of expansion there. Records exist of the plant being introduced to Angola, but growing never took off. 

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Nice guys finish last?! Really?!

When you think in a title of this post, you think...relationship, love and that stuff. Well, I do it to, but one day I was curious were did this quote come from? And what was the meaning of the quote? Curious thing, this quote came from a baseball manager called Leo Durocher in 1939 and he was talking about the opposing team rather than to male/female relationship dynamics. 

This idea isn't linear but most of the times is right. American biologist, Garret Harding used the quote "nice guys finish last" to prove the existence of a selfish gene concept of life and evolution, saying that the weakest fall, and the strongest live. This idea means that the person that does anything to survive (mostly in the wrong way) wins. Years later Richard Dawkins tried to dispute this idea and wrote The Selfish Gene, but unfortunately he was misinterpreted, confirming "the nice guys finishing last" view. But this is genetics...this is not the love vision. 
So, where did this vision come from? 

On an article in the journal Sex Roles from 1995, written by Stephan Descrochers, he claims that some nice men (sensitive men), don't believe women actually want "nice guys". It all started here. This idea began because of disbelief of man. We created this. Desrochers said "it still seems popular to believe that women in contemporary America prefer men who are sensitive, or have feminine personality traits".  Like I said this isn't a linear idea, because women and men are the same. The "nice guy" has more chances if the other person wants a relationship. It's just a matter of needs and desires. If you like adventure you don't choose a nice guy, you actually choose a jerk because you want the trill of the adventure. Well this is normally the choice of the one night stands. 

Most men are interested in a good relationship. Most of men will never give in the chance to date the woman of theirs dreams. When a man finds this kinda passion immediately thinks "this woman is a keeper. I'm going to treat her right and do all I can to make her happy". And this is the big problem with being the nice guy. You will eventually become the boring, predictable guy. That initial excitement will eventually fade for the woman because she has what she wants and begins to lose interest and before you know it, her eyes start to wander, and you know what's coming next. Nice guys will be left heartbroken and will start to wonder what he did wrong. The answer is: Nothing. This is now a matter of Ying and Yang. As long as nice guys continue to get bumed, there will always be a jerk in the horizon to provide that adventure and excitement for women. And at this moment is when nice guys realize the type of man women like. Complete douchebags. 

If  women want  nice guys, then why is that most of them are single? Why is that we constantly hear situations about women dating big jerks? The fact is that women don't want nice guys. Because women act most of the time on impulse and emotion. So tha's why you need to be a balanced guy instead of a nice guy or a jerk. Balance you attitude, a man has to be able to woo a woman, amuse her and excite her while constiounisle challenging her. 
So be nice to women but not too nice, because nice guys finish last....true story. 

Wednesday, 22 February 2012


Scientific name: Lycopersicon esculentum Mill. 

The origins of the tomato are on the American continent, possibly in places of high altitude, where some wild forms are still to be found. s far as can be ascertained, the Indians did not include tomato in their diet. It is thought that owning to the intense odour of its foliage when touched, the tomato was included among the so-called «devil's herb», which human were forbidden to use. There are indications that the Spaniards brought it to Europe in 1523, and it has been known in Italy since 1544 and in England since 1597.

 It may well first have been grown in Europe as a novelty plant. The forms introduced, at least Italy, had small yellow fruit, from which the plant derives its Italian name, po,odoro or «golden apple». The Europeans improved the tomato, particulary the size of the fruit, and made it more attractive to horticulturists. Gaspar Frutuoso emphasizes the variety of ways in which the tomato was consumed, being «at the same fruit, vegetable and dressing». It is not known exactly when the tomato was first introduced to Portugal.  

What can be concluded is that the plant was widely distributed as a vegetable in Portugal, and Rocha Pitta, referring to the tomato in Brazil, regarded it as a «European vegetable», which leads one to suppose that improved varieties had already returned to America. The tomato was probably introduced to Africa and the Orient by the Portuguese as a «vegetable», possibly from Eurpoe, and subsequently improved, as mentioned above.