Thursday, July 10, 2014

If You Can't Stand The Heat...

...stay out of the burger joint. When you have to sign a hold harmless waiver before a restaurant will serve you their super spicy hot burger sauce - that should be warning enough not to take a bite of the burger on which it sits. That is unless you truly have a cast iron stomach that can take truly super high heat. Two reporters over in England recently learned that the hard way and both were hospitalized after only one bite apiece of just such a burger. More on the reporters here. Then again, what do most Brits know about hot food.

I guess at least the guy who owns Burger Off - the Brighton, England, burger joint that makes them - knows something and now so too do those brave but foolish souls who have dared try one. These belly bombing fireballs, called the XXX Hot Chili Burger, have been a boon to his business as people come by to try them, dare others to do so, or watch others as they writhe in pain and just about die trying. As of March 2014, 3,000 people had tried it but only 59 were able to wolf down the whole thing. That is not even 2% who were able to finish it. Several have gone to the hospital and one man, who had an ulcer, may have perforated his bowel because he ate one. Others have gone into anaphylactic shock and a local hospital has reportedly adjusted how they now treat that based on their treatments for ingestion of these burgers; patients are being treated with an adrenalin drip. On one night alone, five ambulances showed up at the eatery. The owner claims that he and his employees never call for an ambulance, they leave that to the customers. (Source and more on the XXX hot Chili Burger here.)

The burger is reportedly made from Piri-Piri peppers (aka: The African Bird's Eye Pepper). I have grown and eaten their close relatives, the Thai Bird's Eye Pepper, before; they are in the same range on the Scoville Scale at about 50K to 100K. They are very hot but not that hot. Habanero peppers, typically between 100K and 300K, have quite the more fiery punch according to the Scoville scale. Somehow though, the chili sauce they use on the XXX Hot Chili Burgers is super insanity hot at 9.2 MILLION Scoville units (source). I would think that heat enough to engulf the diner in flames because that reportedly is about 18,000 times hotter than an average chili which usually comes in at around 500 Scoville units. (I don't know how they call 500 SU the average range for a chili pepper, I would think that nowhere near as hot as average, but 9.2 million SU is still unbelievably hot for a pepper sauce). As to how the owner of the restaurant gets his chili sauce that hot, he says: 'People always ask where I get the sauce from but I always say "If I tell you I will have to kill you." I just got fed up with people saying "well it's not really that hot" (source). I think I'll just stick to fresh peppers like jalapenos, piri-piris or habaneros now and again because there is not enough beer in the galaxy to cool down that kind of heat.

All the best,
Glenn B 

Remington Model 700 Settlement Spurs Firearms Safety Reminder

Firearms safety is not merely the responsibility of someone handling a firearm. It is also most definitely the responsibility of firearms manufacturers who are obligated by ethics to produce firearms that are inherently safe. Remington Firearms has apparently finally come to that realization and reportedly filed a notice of settlement in a Missouri court, last week, in a lawsuit stemming from claim(s) that the trigger mechanism of its model 700 rifles was defective. That lawsuit was reportedly filed by Ian Pollard in 2013 and he claimed that his Remington model 700 has fired at least three times without the trigger being pulled. Although his lawsuit was filed in 2013, this was not a new problem with the model 700 and others had reported similar unintentional discharges of the model 700 for decades (source). Ultimately though, firearms safety depends greatly upon the person handling the firearm.

In 2000, a Remington model 700 fired accidentally when Barbara Barber reportedly turned the safety off on it in anticipation of unloading it (the model 700 then required that the safety be turned off to unload it but that has since been modified).  Her husband Richard Barber witnessed the alleged accidental discharge. The bullet from that shot struck and killed their 9 year old son Gus (source). Turning the safety off on a firearms should not fire the gun and Mr. Barber initiated an investigation of the model 700. He found that the Walker Fire Control mechanism in the trigger group was faulty and could cause a model 700 to fire when the safety was turned off or when the bolt of the rifle was operated - all without pulling the trigger. Remington replaced the Walker Fire Control with the X-Mark Pro in 2006 (source).

According to this source, Remington was aware of a potential problem with the trigger connector of the Walker Fire Control as early as 1948 when its inventor suggested modifications to it to prevent an accidental misalignment of parts in he trigger group. Remington seemingly came close to recalling the model 700 twice, once in 1979 and again in 1994 but reportedly abandoned that idea each time. Remington reportedly had claimed there was no defect in the model 700. It is unknown if Remington has admitted any fault in the current settlement.

While the Walker Fire Control may or may not be responsible for the unintentional discharges with Remington Model 700 rifles, one can never forget that one of the cardinal rules of firearms safety possibly was violated in the incident that led to the death of the Barbers' son. That rule - Always Keep The Muzzle Pointed In A Safe Direction - is an important one.  I do not know all of the specifics of this accidental shooting but I have to wonder, was the rifle, held and operated by Mrs. Barber, being pointed in a safe direction when their son was killed? Don't get me wrong. I am not trying to defend Remington for producing what may have been a defective firearm nor am I saying they manufactured a faulty firearm. I am saying that a design feature of the Remington Model 700 seemingly allowed the rifle to be fired without activating the trigger. Neither am I condemning the boy's mother for her actions in this tragic accident, I would guess she has suffered more than enough. The accident was the result of a culmination of various factors but I am guessing it could have been prevented had the rifle been pointed in a safe direction. So, what I am trying to do is to remind you of the importance of following firearms safety rules when handling firearms. Firearms safety is sort of like safety with fire along the lines of what Smoky The Bear used to say: "Only You Can Prevent Forest Fires". Well the same pretty much goes for accidental injuries with firearms: 'Only you can prevent unintentional injuries with firearms'. Manufacture of inherently safe firearms goes a long way to prevent such accidents but then again so too does adhering to firearms safety rules, like those suggested by the NRA, when handling firearms.

All the best,
Glenn B