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17.09.2014 admin
Subscribe or renew your subscription for the chance to win a guided walking holiday to Flinders Island worth $5000. Huw Kingston, AG Society 2015 Spirit of Adventure award winner, is touring Australia to talk about his epic 14,000km circumnavigation of the Mediterranean Sea. These historic Australian postcards dating back to the 1880s provide a nostalgic glimpse to our nation's past. We touched down in Launceston with the barest of plans, basic supplies, a tent and some sleeping bags, knowing we had eight days to get round the coast and back. There’s something magical about the Shoalhaven region – and it runs deeper than the pristine waters and unspoilt wilderness. Whether you walk, cycle or climb, there are many ways to get up, down and around South Australia's largest mountain range. The remote Flinders Ranges are a treasure trove of South Australia's geological, natural and cultural heritage, with a history dating back much further than when Matthew Flinders explored it in 1802.
Mountain biking: The 900km Mawson Trail traverses the park along fire-access trails, roads and farm tracks. Rock climbing: Moonarie is a remote, 2km section of cliff along the south-eastern side of Wilpena Pound with more than 400 routes for experienced climbers.
Location: Flinders Ranges National Park is 450km north of Adelaide between the townships of Hawker and Blinman. Aussies have made the world's hottest chilli, but what makes chilli hot, and what's the best cure for the burn?


The hottest part of a chilli is not the seeds, as many people think, but the white flesh that houses the seeds, known as the placenta. Some varieties of chilli are naturally hundreds of times hotter than others, but Mark says they all have a "maximum genetic potential" that can be achieved through clever growing techniques.Working with NSW business The Chilli Factory, Mark used liquid runoff from a worm farm to fertilise a particularly spicy chilli known as the Trinidad Scorpion Butch T.
Chillies are inherently unpleasant to humans - capsaicin is technically a neurotoxin - and yet every day, more than two billion people around the world consume them.
Capsaicin is a special case, however, in that it can fool our bodies into thinking chillies are literally 'hot'.
En route, you will pass crumbling homesteads and abandoned livestock stations, relics of European settlement following Flinders's expedition. Instinctively, you reach for the glass of cold water in front of you and slosh the liquid down your throat.
But why did chillies evolve to be hot in the first place?Most scientists believe capsaicin acts mainly as a deterrent against would-be mammal predators such as rodents.
Our obsession with chillies can be at least partly explained by the fact that our body releases endorphins in response to the burn. Venture into the ranges to discover the region's flora and fauna - including echidnas, wedge-tailed eagles and desert lizards - as well as the history of the Adnyamathanha, the Aboriginal people who have lived in the region for thousands of years. If only you'd had a glass of full-cream milk - after all, that's the common cure for chilli heat.
Curiously, humans appreciate a number of flavours that are inherently distasteful, says Professor Joel Bornstein, a neurophysiologist from the University of Melbourne.


That's why getting chilli in your eye can be unbearable, and why you should protect your hands when touching the inside of a hot chilli. Or is it?Humans have been cultivating chillies for 6000 years, but we are still learning new things about the science behind their heat and how it reacts with our body.
US scientists working in Bolivia have studied how hot and mild chillies differ in their susceptibility to a certain harmful fungus.
Handling the outer layer, however, is usually not painful.Fortunately for heat-seekers, it appears capsaicin does not cause permanent tissue damage, even in high doses. In the late 1990s, scientists identified the pain nerves that detect capsaicin: the chemical in chillies responsible for most of the burn.
It turns out that the hotter the chilli, the better its defences against the fungus, leading the researchers to propose that heat may have evolved to help chillies deal with harmful microbes, as well as hungry mammals.Birds, unlike mammals, are not bothered by capsaicin, and their digestive systems actually encourage chilli seeds to germinate.
But it's only during the last few years that scientists have also learnt why chillies evolved to be spicy in the first place, and they have managed to cultivate new varieties that are up to 300 times hotter than the common Jalapeno.What we have known for more than a century, though, is that the capsaicin compound (pronounced cap-say-sin) is hydrophobic, meaning it doesn't dissolve in water but readily dissolves in fats and oils. So when birds fly away and spread their droppings, they help the parent plant to disperse its seeds. And this explains why full-cream milk, and not water, is the traditional choice for quelling the fire. "Something with a lot of fat in it - like yogurt or milk - is going to dissolve the compound and wash it away," says Mark Peacock, a plant scientist from the University of Sydney, who this year helped to cultivate the world's hottest chilli, the Trinidad Scorpion Butch T.



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