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The Indian Army goes for teh spicy:

GAUHATI, India (AP) – The Indian military has a new weapon against terrorism: the world’s hottest chili.

After conducting tests, the military has decided to use the thumb-sized “bhut jolokia,” or “ghost chili,” to make tear gas-like hand grenades to immobilize suspects, defense officials said Tuesday.

The bhut jolokia was accepted by Guinness World Records in 2007 as the world’s spiciest chili. It is grown and eaten in India’s northeast for its taste, as a cure for stomach troubles and a way to fight the crippling summer heat.

It has more than 1,000,000 Scoville units, the scientific measurement of a chili’s spiciness. Classic Tabasco sauce ranges from 2,500 to 5,000 Scoville units, while jalapeno peppers measure anywhere from 2,500 to 8,000.

“The chili grenade has been found fit for use after trials in Indian defense laboratories, a fact confirmed by scientists at the Defense Research and Development Organization,” Col. R. Kalia, a defense spokesman in the northeastern state of Assam, told The Associated Press.

“This is definitely going to be an effective nontoxic weapon because its pungent smell can choke terrorists and force them out of their hide-outs,” R. B. Srivastava, the director of the Life Sciences Department at the New Delhi headquarters of the DRDO said.

Srivastava, who led a defense research laboratory in Assam, said trials are also on to produce bhut jolokia-based aerosol sprays to be used by women against attackers and for the police to control and disperse mobs.

I flagged this article mostly because I had not known, or else I had forgotten, about Scoville units as a basis for measuring hotness.  (I love these scales named after the fellahs who came up with them – like the Beaufort Scale and the Fujita Scale.) According to Wikipedia:

The Scoville scale measures the hotness or piquancy of a chili pepper, as defined by the amount of capsaicin it contains. Capsaicin is a chemical compound which stimulates chemoreceptor nerve endings in the skin, especially the mucous membranes. The number of Scoville heat units (SHU) indicates the amount of capsaicin present.

The scale is named after its creator, American chemist Wilbur Scoville, who developed a test for rating the pungency of chili peppers. His method, which he devised in 1912,[1] is known as the Scoville Organoleptic Test. An alternative method for quantitative analysis uses high-performance liquid chromatography, making it possible to directly measure capsaicinoid content.

Some hot sauces use their Scoville rating in advertising as a selling point. chili peppers, fruits of the Capsicum genus, contain high concentrations of capsaicin.

Now that’s science you can sink your teeth into.

Actually, according to the Scoville scale in the article, ordinary law enforcement-grade pepper spray has an even higher Capsaicim count than the bhut jolokia, so I’m not totally sure what the point of this would be.  Unless some guv’mint contractor is also looking to bolster a curry business on the side, of course.

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