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.
From a distance, it's hard to understand the nuance of the mass "gilets jaunes" protests that rocked France; with one in five French people identifying as a yellow vest and more vests marching in Basra, Baghdad and Alberta (and with Egypt's autocrats pre-emptive cracking down on the sale of yellow vests ahead of elections), it's […]
Jamie Dimon is CEO of Jpmorgan Chase, the massive bank that settled a $13 billion mortgage fraud case with the DoJ in 2013 by committing more mortgage frauds to raise the cash; he has since taken the bank into some of the dirtiest business on Earth, from the loans that keep the Keystone XL pipeline […]
Anarchist anthropologist David Graeber made a landmark contribution to the debate about inequality, money, and wealth with his massive 2012 book Debt: The First 5,000 Years (a book that helped inspire my 2017 novel Walkaway).
Looking for a career in music behind the boards, either as a music producer or DJ? It’s a good bet that you’re going to be working with Ableton Live. Each new iteration of this powerful workstation gives the user more tools to create, and it’s just as well suited for the task of meticulous track […]
The graveyard of failed startups is littered with concepts that just got lost in translation. At its core, that’s what great front-end design is about: Making an app or website usable, translating its best ideas smoothly to the user. It’s a skill so broad there might be no one book or course that covers it […]
Robotics: It’s a field that used to exist only as science fiction. Now it’s science fact, and it’s not just a playground for MIT prodigies. Thanks to the ROS (Robot Operating System) framework, anyone willing to learn robotics can practice robotics. And the easiest way to learn ROS? The Complete Robotics eBook Bundle. Combined, the […]