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Hot Enought For You...Try a Naga Jolokia

Older Americans are increasing their use of chili peppers. This is probably because older people have difficulty detecting and distinguishing scents, which is associated with an inability to perceive flavor.

Over all age groups for Americans, the consumption of chil peppers is:

  • 4.7 pounds per person in 1998
  • 6.3 pounds per person in 2007
Problem 1: Assuming the situation is linear, how many pounds of chili peppers would a person eat in 2050?

Problem 2: Assuming the situation is exponential, how many pounds of chili peppers would a person eat in 2050?

Some side trivia about the "heat" of chili peppers. The key measure is SHU [Scoville heat units], which is defined to be the number of times a chili extract must be diluted in water for it to lose its heat." It is then possible to rank peppers by their hotness: Bell peppers (0 SHU), green chilis (1,500 SHU), jalapeños (3,000–6,000 SHU), habaneros chilis (300,000 SHU) and the Naga Jolokia chili (>1,000,000 SHU). Certainly not a linear situation...