Food Science Friday : Chillies!

Bite into a hot pepper and it feels a lot like you’ve taken a sip of a hot drink.

How can something that’s not hot in temperature produce the same reactions as something that is hot? Reactions like pain or sweating?

Capsaicin, you cheeky devil!

Chilli’s are abundant in this chemical known as Capsaicin.

Image source: Flickr CC user Chris Potako

This chemical stimulates both the temperature and pain receptors.

It simultaneously tells that you are experiencing an increase in temperature as well as pain!

Your Brain Is Confused

Your brain gets these confusing signals and is not quite sure if you are just being subjected to moderate warmth or being burned.

To be on the safer side of things, the nervous system responds to the more severe stimulus: pain.

Ergo, the body reacts in the same way as if its being subjected a burn, i.e pain, sweating and flushing.

You respond to the brain’s message by gulping a cool drink to quench the perceived burn. Its remarkable how the whole system cycles around.

We are a wondrous species

We have amazingly taken a response that triggers the senses to combat against a perceived burn, and have somehow made that pleasurable.

Bedazzles me every time.

Side note:

Chillies are not ‘hot’ when one is discerning about Temperature ( as this thermal image also elucidates ). Please do not be confused by the ambiguity in the usage of the term.

A Note to My Daughter

A poem I etched into my phone one late middle of the night session. 

Little girl you will grow a child of this world if I have done anything good with my life.

You will smile the sunshine of the west coast, knowing what a salty day tastes like as the shadows start to take over the waves.

Your heart will be filled with the romance of foreign lands, with tears of your first heart break birthed via foreign words and love songs that found their start in the sweetness of Paris.

Your roots though, those sturdy roots will have themselves planted deeply in the NYC streets. The inspiration peeling off those streets like a humid sticky nyc summer day seeping into your physci. 

You my child will be a child of this world in all it’s pain and glory. In it’s mess and chaos you will find a safe haven in the way the light floats and performs a bright orange dance, you’ll find solitude breathing in deeply the sweet smell of a dewy field, and cherish the feeling of soft grass under your toes. 

You my child will be a student of this world choosing to live with it rather than watch it. You will grow to be kind, you will grow to know love beyond all measures.  


Large Hadron Rap (by alpinekat