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Archive for December, 2013

"Betcha can't eat just one!"

“The Carolina Reaper: betcha can’t eat just one!”

I like hot chiles, but 1.5 million scoville?? That’s not a chile, that’s an instrument of torture:

Ed Currie holds one of his world-record Carolina Reaper peppers by the stem, which looks like the tail of a scorpion.

On the other end is the bumpy, oily, fire-engine red fruit with a punch of heat nearly as potent as most pepper sprays used by police. It’s hot enough to leave even the most seasoned spicy food aficionado crimson-faced, flushed with sweat, trying not to lose his lunch.

Last month, The Guinness Book of World Records decided Currie’s peppers were the hottest on Earth, ending a more than four-year drive to prove no one grows a more scorching chili. The heat of Currie’s peppers was certified by students at Winthrop University who test food as part of their undergraduate classes.

But whether Currie’s peppers are truly the world’s hottest is a question that one scientist said can never be known. The heat of a pepper depends not just on the plant’s genetics, but also where it is grown, said Paul Bosland, director of the Chile Pepper Institute at New Mexico State University. And the heat of a pepper is more about being macho than seasoning.

“You have to think of chili heat like salt. A little bit improves the flavor, but a lot ruins it,” Bosland said.

This is me eating a Carolina Reaper:

chilemouth

What started as a hobby has become a business for Ed and his dozen employees, and their site is the wonderfully named Puckerbutt Pepper Company. And I am tempted by the “Extra Mean Green.”

I mean, like it hot, but I’m not suicidal.

ALSO: A handy link to the Scoville scale of chili hotness and how to cool the burn.

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Merry Christmas!

I hope Santa brought all that you could desire. 🙂

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This could induce it:

A French tourism company has suspended a glass cube with a see-through bottom from a peak in the Alps, offering a breathtaking view a kilometer down.

Billed as the tallest attraction in Europe, the structure was three years in the making. It includes five transparent sides made of three layers of tempered glass fixed with metal to a big support structure.

Here’s a shot of the view:

Glass observation booth

Yeah. Sure. I’m going out there. Not. The only question is whether agoraphobia or acrophobia would get you first.

And what do you want to bet they have a hidden camera to record visitors’ “amusing reactions?”

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My writing partner and I often joke about our characters reacting to a stressful situation by weeping hysterically while eating a tub of raw cookie dough**, but I never thought there would be a whole web site devoted to crying while eating. For example:

Aggi crying while eating

Is this some category of food porn? Performance art so ironic and hip that I can’t possibly understand it?

Regardless, it’s finding things like this that convince me we’re toast as a species.

But, if it doesn’t convince you, maybe the Butter Dance will.

**No joke. That’s what one character did on an old “Inspector Morse” episode.

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Okay, this combines three of my strong interests in one: Lord of the Rings, fantasy roleplaying games, and miniatures. And it’s effin’ gorgeous. A LEGO model of the Elven enclave of Rivendell, built with 200,000 LEGO bricks. Here’s a photo of one portion:

LEGO Rivendell

You can read about it at the last link above and see the rest of the photos at Flickr. This is Geek Heaven, truly amazing work.

h/t my friend Richard Iorio II, who’s also a purveyor of fine games.

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Volcano_q

The danged thing is even bigger than we thought:

The supervolcano that lies beneath Yellowstone National Park in the US is far larger than was previously thought, scientists report.

A study shows that the magma chamber is about 2.5 times bigger than earlier estimates suggested.

A team found the cavern stretches for more than 90km (55 miles) and contains 200-600 cubic km of molten rock.

The findings are being presented at the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting in San Francisco.

Prof Bob Smith, from the University of Utah, said: “We’ve been working there for a long time, and we’ve always thought it would be bigger… but this finding is astounding.”

If the Yellowstone supervolcano were to blow today, the consequences would be catastrophic.

The last major eruption, which occurred 640,000 years ago, sent ash across the whole of North America, affecting the planet’s climate.

I remember once visiting my late father, about ten years ago, and watching a couple of science programs on the Discovery channel after he had gone to bed. One was on asteroids smacking the Earth, the other was on supervolcanoes — including that monster under Yellowstone. Not surprisingly, I had a little trouble sleeping that night.

With this news, I may have trouble tonight, too.

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satire sports football

Well, first thing I’d do is move the kickoff line back to the 30 and then rescind the Emmitt Smith “No taking off your helmet when celebrating rule.” Things like that turn the NFL into the No Fun League.

But, my major project would be divisional realignment, trying to keep divisions as compact as possible, which is hard out West, and to take advantage of what seem to be natural rivalries. One thing I’d do is eliminate the Conferences, which are just holdovers of the NFL-AFL merger. Instead we’d have eight divisions of four teams each. The eight division winners plus the four teams with the best records that did not make the playoffs would enter the “tournament.” I’m sure some sort seeding plan could be worked out, but I’m too lazy. 🙂

Anyway, here are my suggested divisions, with their startlingly original names.

Pacific Division
Seattle
San Francisco
Oakland
San Diego

Southwest Division
Arizona
Denver
Dallas
Houston

South Central Division
New Orleans
Tennesee
St. Louis
Kansas City

North Central Division
Minnesota
Green Bay
Detroit
Chicago

North Division
Cincinatti
Cleveland
Buffalo
Indianapolis

Southeast Division
Tampa
Miami
Jacksonville
Atlanta

East Division
Charlotte
Washington
Baltimore
Pittsburgh

Northeast Division
New England
NY Giants
NY Jets
Philadelphia

I would rather have had Pittsburgh in the “North Division,” because the rivalries there feel natural, but then placing Indianapolis becomes a problem. Regardless, this is my gift to you, Commissioner Goodell.

Just make sure I get credit. 😉

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