Peppers and Coffee for the Heat

This article from NPR will be interesting to any chili pepper fans, and to anybody who has enjoyed drinking coffee on a hot day.

“The hot drink somehow has an effect on your systemic cooling mechanisms, which exceeds its actual effect in terms of heating your body,” says McNaughton.

It’s a look at why Indians drink hot tea, because you know, it’s hot there.  Why wouldn’t they drink cold water or a soda?  Hot drinks on a hot day seem strange to folks in the US; I like to hike with a cup of coffee, even on a hot day, and folks regularly tell me that’s strange.

These TRPV1 receptors respond to hot heat, but they also respond to chemicals in chili peppers, which is why chili peppers seem hot.

Indians also tend to be into hot foods.  I’ve heard this theory before, that chili peppers make you sweat and cool you down.  Perhaps that’s true, or perhaps once you’re already hot you’re just better at handling more heat.  Peppers have a lot of flavor (and when you eat enough they can definitely make you feel good), and I think that’s enough reason to eat them, regardless of any small cooling effect.

Middle Eastern Language Patterns

I dropped cable TV a few years ago, and when I finally got a Roku I started getting some news again.  Watching the Arab Spring on CNN International last year, and tuning into Al Jazeera English at any time, I’ve noticed that interviewees from the Middle East tend to use many more analogies than Western speakers.  These news channels interviewed folks from all walks of life all over North Africa, and out to Afghanistan, and I noticed this pattern regularly.  The speakers had some apt, colorful analogy that they could toss into their regular speech.  I was impressed, but it made me wonder what the cause of this difference was, or if I was just imagining it.

Stars and Stripes: Poetry of the Taliban

“They aren’t poets, but they have literary sensibilities, and this is part of their culture, where practically every time someone utters a sentence, there is some kind of metaphor involved,” Kuehn said.

Still no explanation, but at least I know this phenomenon exists.

PHP: The Right Way

There are a lot of pitfalls to using PHP, and they bite new users quickly. “Spot the vulnerability” is a cool site which highlights examples of these pitfalls:

Of course, PHP is a pretty speedy way to develop any type of server-side web code. Josh Lockhart has put together a list of best practices for PHP development and tailored it to new PHP developers:

If developers would follow the recommendations in the databases section it would take care of so many vulnerabilities out there today. There are parameterized database APIs available for most popular programming languages.

The section about security is informative too. I haven’t used the data filtering technique he mentions, but it seems very simple compared to the data manipulations I’ve used in PHP.

It’s a great resource…