If you're heading out to an Occupation today AND you're a fan of tasty, tasty chili peppers, you'll want to read Deborah Blum
's "About Pepper" essay in Scientific American
The reason pepper-spray ends up on the Scoville chart is that – you probably guessed this - it’s literally derived from pepper chemistry, the compounds that make habaneros so much more formidable than the comparatively wimpy bells. Those compounds are called capsaicins and – in fact – pepper spray is more formally called Oleoresin Capsicum or OC Spray.
But we’ve taken to calling it pepper spray, I think, because that makes it sound so much more benign than it really is, like something just a grade or so above what we might mix up in a home kitchen. The description hints maybe at that eye-stinging effect that the cook occasionally experiences when making something like a jalapeno-based salsa, a little burn, nothing too serious.
Until you look it up on the Scoville scale and remember, as toxicologists love to point out, that the dose makes the poison.
Back in April, we learned that UC Davis Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi had hired a sleazy “reputation-management” company to scrub her reputation and that of the university after the 2011 incident in which university police lieutenant John Pike hosed down peaceful protesters with pepper spray, jetting chemical irritant directly into their open mouths and eyes.
The heroin epidemic in America has a death-toll comparable to the AIDS epidemic at its peak, but this time, there’s no movement coalescing to argue for the lives of the economically sidelined, financially ruined dying thousands — while the AIDS epidemic affected a real community of mutual support, the heroin epidemic specifically strikes down people […]
Zikzak sends us, “a beautiful, six-minute vid calling for networked global resistance in the face of the many catastrophes overwhelming the world. By the Woodbine collective, a DIY media project in NYC.”
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