News You Can Use

In 2010, India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation unveiled a hand grenade packed with ground ghost chilli seeds. When deployed, the grenade created a dust cloud so spicy that trial subjects were left blinded and suffering breathing problems for hours. According to the lead scientist behind the chilli grenade, ghost chilli is pungent enough to choke terrorists into surrender.


4 thoughts on “News You Can Use”

  1. I think somebody set one off in a Chinese restaurant one night. Actually, we were in the restaurant when anther patron asked for their spiciest dish with extra spice to be prepared at the table. It emptied the restaurant and sent a couple of people to the ER.

  2. I once ate a heaping spoon full of freshly ground horseradish at a Passover seder. Maybe they should figure out how to put that in a grenade.

  3. “Elephants Now Think Twice About Midnight Snacks in Tanzania” by Angela Henshall in The Wall Street Journal on April 16, 2012 at page A1.

    * * *

    Said Longwa, a 52-year-old farmer and father of nine, used to face down crop-raiding elephants with nothing but a flashlight. … When the elephants visit Mr. Longwa’s cornfield these days, they screw up their long noses and trumpet in consternation. Mr. Longwa has treated his fence with chili mixed with engine oil—a preparation that adheres to the fence, even in heavy rain.

    “They will mull it over and often circle two to three times,” the farmer says of the elephants that approach his fence. “But once they get a real whiff of the chili, they snuffle and sneeze.” And leave the scene.

    * * *

    Lucas Malugu, a young expert in elephant behavior and psychology at the Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute … came up with the chili concoction after researching elephant repellents. … Following consultation with colleagues in neighboring Zambia, and talks with local farmers, Mr. Malugu hit on his chili strategy. It came to him after observing the reactions of elephants after they get the slightest whiff of the stuff.

    * * *

    The farmers themselves remained skeptical through the initial stages of the program.

    “We didn’t believe it would work,” says Mr. Longwa, the maize farmer in Mikumi. “When we looked at the size of the elephant…we thought the chili fence is just too simple.”

    Yet weary farmers in Mikumi village were ready to try alternatives to round-the-clock crop surveillance. Soon villagers began noticing elephant footprints stopping abruptly at the edge of chili fields and tracking back to other plots. One farmer says he watched an elephant pause at the fence and then try to reverse through it holding his trunk up in the air to avoid the stink.

    More than 31 villages, in at least four areas of Tanzania, are now using chili fences, according to the Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute. Most are now equipped with “an elephant toolbox” to build the fencing and instructed in maintenance, and there are hopes the strategy will be rolled out nationally.

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