As you sow, so shall you reap … Carolina Reapers, formerly the world’s hottest chilli peppers. Eating one appears to have given a man reversible cerebral vasoconstriction syndrome.
Image Credit: Photograph by Photograph: Alamy
A man who took part in a chilli pepper eating contest ended up with more than he bargained for when he took on the hottest pepper in the world.
After eating a Carolina Reaper pepper, the 34-year-old started dry heaving before developing a pain in his neck that turned into a series of thunderclap headaches: sudden and severe episodes of excruciating pain that peak within a minute.
The Carolina Reaper, which can top 2.2m on the Scoville heat scale, was the world’s hottest pepper at the time of the incident in 2016 – although new breeds called Pepper X and Dragon’s Breath have since reportedly surpassed it.
The details, published in the journal BMJ Case Reports, reveal the pain was so terrible the man went to the emergency room at Bassett Medical Center in Cooperstown, a village in New York State.
“[A thunderclap headache] lasts for a few minutes and it might be associated with dry-heaving, nausea, vomiting – and then it gets better on its own.
But it keeps coming back,” said Dr Kulothungan Gunasekaran of the Henry Ford HealthSystem in Detroit, a co-author of the report, adding that thunderclap headaches can be caused by a number of problems including bleeding inside the brain or blood clots.
CT and MRI scans of the man’s brain were taken but showed nothing out of the ordinary. What’s more, the man did not report having any speech or vision problems.
For Dennis Wojtkiewicz, who creates hyper-real paintings of cross-sectioned fruit, finding his niche was a slog, until he set about carving up lemons.
“The sun was out and the light happened to pass through the flesh,” he says. “It was a revelation.
The form came to life.”To capture the moment, he turned to his idols for influence: “Bonnard for his use of colour as energy, Vermeer for his use of light and the sense of timelessness in his paintings and Jan van Eyck for his exquisite craft.”
Beyond the pictures themselves, in which grapefruits resemble luminous stained-glass windows, Wojtkiewicz plots themes of spirituality, sexuality and reproduction. Then again, as he is quick to add: “To some, a watermelon is just a watermelon.”
Muralist Mona Caron (previously) has continued her worldwide Weeds series, with colorful renderings of humble plants growing ever taller on buildings from Portland and São Paulo to Spain and Taiwan.
The San Francisco-based artist often partners with local and international social and environmental movements for climate justice, labor rights, and water rights, and selects plants, both native and invasive, that she finds in the cities where she paints.
Several of these murals contain intricate miniature details, invisible from afar.
These typically narrate the local history, chronicle the social life of the mural’s immediate surroundings, and visualize future possibility, and are created in a process that incorporates ideas emerging through spontaneous conversations with the artwork’s hosting communities while painting.
Caron regularly shares process videos and photos of completed works on Instagram, and she delves into the narratives behind several of her murals on her website.
The Great Basin Bristlecone Pines, or Pinus longaeva, is a long-living species of tree found in the higher mountains of the southwest United States. Bristlecone pines grow in isolated groves in the arid mountain regions of six western states of America, but the oldest are found in the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest in the White Mountains of California.
These trees have a remarkable ability to survive in extremely harsh and challenging environment. In fact, they are believed to be the some of oldest living organisms in the world, with lifespans in excess of 5,000 years.
Bristlecone pines grow just below the tree line, between 5,000 and 10,000 feet of elevation. At these great heights, the wind blows almost constantly and the temperatures can dip to well below zero.
The soil is dry receiving less than a foot of rainfall a year. Because of these extreme conditions, the trees grow very slowly, and in some years don’t even add a ring of growth. Even the tree’s needles, which grow in bunches of five, can remain green for forty years.
Since 2008, Chicago-based artist Stephen Eichhorn has been making surprising cat collages, drawing inspiration from his overflowing collection of houseplant guides and books about cats. “There was a quirkiness and humour to the still life compositions of the house plants that the cat photos shared,” he says. “It made sense to combine them.”
Focusing his collages on flowers one week and succulents the next, over the past decade he has hand-crafted several hundred pieces, now collected in his debut book, Cats & Plants.
“There’s usually something about the expression or pose of the cat that dictates the direction of the collage,” says Eichhorn. “The collage-making itself is very spontaneous.”
Back Then:[Wintergreen] boiled in wine and water and given to drink to them that have any inward ulcers in their kidneys or neck of the bladder, doth wonderfully help them; it stayeth also all fluxes, whether of blood or humours, [such] as the lask, bloody flux, women’s courses, and bleeding of the womb, and taketh away any inflammation rising upon pains of the heart.
– The English Physician, Nicholas Culpeper, 1652
And Now:Oil of wintergreen, now obtained by distillation of the leaves, contains methyl salicylate, similar to aspirin, which is a longstanding treatment for cardiovascular conditions including heart attacks, acting as an anti-inflammatory and blood thinner.
These magnificent colour lithographs are to be found in Victoria Regia, or, The Great Water Lily of America:
With a Brief Account of its Discovery and Introduction into Cultivation (1854), a work by amateur botanist John Fisk Allen which documents his attempts to propagate the Amazon’s Victoria regia (now called Victoria amazonica) in the more northerly climes of his hometown of Salem, Massachusetts.
The wonderfully lavish plates accompanying the slim volume are the work of the British-born printer William Sharp, who is credited with creating the very first chromolithograph on American soil — a portrait of Reverend F. W. P. Greenwood.
These images produced for John Fisk Allen’s book are, according to Christies, the “very first colour-printed lithographs produced in America”.
Why they are ignoring the Greenwood portrait, we are not quite sure: it could be that they mean a first in the context of large scale colour printing, as opposed to a one off; or perhaps it is a reflection that some believe it likely that the Greenwood portrait was actually a lithotint with colours printed from a single rather than the multiple stones normally associated with chromolithography.
In any case, with their bold and stunning depth of colours, these water lily images by Sharp stand out as some of the finest examples of chromolithography, an art which at the time was only in its infancy.