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The Indian military is turning to no-tech resources to create new high tech weapons against terrorism: Hot peppers. But not just any hot pepper- Bhut Jolokia, the world's hottest chili.
The diminutive thumb-sized pepper packs such an overwhelming punch that, after enduring a litany of tests, the military has plans to put bhut jolokia, also known as "ghost chili," to use in tear gas-like hand grenades meant to immobilize suspects. Though nontoxic, the potent pepper causes people to choke, forcing them out of their hiding places. How can such a seemingly innocent pepper have such a profound effect? And why haven't the jalapeno, habanero, or Serrano been introduced to such warfare? It all comes to heat units, Scoville Heat Units (SHU) to be exact.
The Scoville scale measures the heat of a chili pepper by how much capsaicin it contains. For example, a Jalapeno is 8,000 SHU, Serrano is 22,000 SHU, Cayenne is 50,000 SHU and Habanero is 325,000 SHU. A Ghost pepper, however, tops the charts at 1 million. Well, 1,041,000 to be exact. The pepper is so potent that when cutting into it, it's advised to wear gloves. Of course some daredevil foodies decided to challenge themselves to eat the pepper using a time lapse camera to document the severity of the burn as well as how long it takes to take full tear-jerking effect. Within moments there were tears in their eyes. In minutes you could see the pain in their eyes. Now imagine that stuff being exploded via hand grenade into your eyes. It may be all-natural, but I know that I don't want to be caught on Indian enemy lines.


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