From Schneier on Security:
October 03, 2007
Latest Terrorist False Alarm: Chili Peppers
Three streets were closed and people evacuated from the area as the search was carried out. After locating the source at about 7pm, emergency crews smashed their way into the Thai Cottage restaurant in D’Arblay Street only to emerge with a 9lb pot of smouldering dried chillies.Baffled chef Chalemchai Tangjariyapoon, who had been cooking a spicy dip, was amazed to find himself at the centre of the terror scare.
“We only cook it once a year — it’s a spicy dip with extra hot chillies that are deliberately burned,” he said.
“To us it smells like burned chilli and it is slightly unusual. I can understand why people who weren’t Thai would not know what it was but it doesn’t smell like chemicals. I’m a bit confused.”
Were this the U.S., that restaurant would be charged with terrorism, or creating a fake bomb, or anything to make the authorities feel better. On the other hand, at least the cook wasn’t shot.
EDITED TO ADD (10/4): Common sense:
The police spokesman said no arrests were made in the case.”As far as I’m aware it’s not a criminal offense to cook very strong chili,” he said.
EDITED TO ADD (10/11): The BBC has a recipe, in case you need to create your own chemical weapon scare.
After yesterdays post about stock phrases I hate, I think a special mention should be made to this morning’s Metro, reporting on the biometric scanning at Heathrow, for dragging out that old saw: “If you’ve got nothing to hide, you’ve got nothing to fear”.
We thank you Metro, for that pearl of wisdom.
One of my pet hates (other than pet hates) is whenever some commentary in the “news” refers to something or other “gone mad!”. It’s become such a stock phrase that’s wheeled out far too easily and really winds me up. It’s like stock phrases gone mad!
So when Channel 4 announced their alternative Christmas speech this year, I knew it was only a matter of time before the phrase got wheeled out again.
A brief search of BBC News articles of the last year delivers the following cases of something or other “gone mad!”
I daren’t search the archives of the Daily Mail, I’m sure there would far too many references to list!
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/north_yorkshire/6207970.stm – Bureaucracy
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/4727872.stm – Bureaucracy again
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/5326800.stm – Railway naming
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/wales/5063592.stm – World
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/edinburgh_and_east/5040970.stm – Political correctness
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/4886570.stm – Political correctness again
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/manchester/4883398.stm – PC yet again!
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/4661438.stm – Nanny state
No trace so far of anything going mad in relation to the initial story yet, though I feel quite unclean after reading through some of our tabloids’ comments boards.