How Much Hotter Is a Ghost Pepper than a Jalapeno?

scoville-chart-displayUntil a few months ago, I had never heard of a Ghost Pepper. This week, I saw that fast food chain Wendy’s now offers more than one menu item containing Ghost (Bhut Jolokia) Pepper. I love spicy food, but I know many people that find the jalapeno peppers I love to be far to spicy for their tastes. So if I am at the right of the ‘spiciness loving distribution curve’, how is it possible that these new peppers will become popular?

I’m updating this post in honor of Wilbur Scoville’s birthday. I talk about the Scoville Scale many times when discussing subjective measurement systems. We are used to using time, length, width, and other physical measurements; but it is more difficult to measure things that are more subjective, like the spiciness of a pepper. Wilbur was a chemist, award-winning researcher, professor of pharmacology, and today is famous for his Scovill Scale. Happy 151st Wilbur!

This is a great article from the London Telegraph


Who was Wilbur Scoville? The science behind what makes chillies so hot

The inventor of the Scoville test has been commemorated with a Google Doodle on his 151st birthday

Hot chilli peppers have been credited with helping to lose weight, inducing labour and relieving pain. But until Wilbur Scoville, there was no objective way of measuring how hot chillies really are.

Scoville, an American chemist born 151 years ago on Friday, is responsible for the “Scoville organoleptic test”, a scale of “hotness” that has been the definitive rating of how spicy a chilli is for more than 100 years.

On his birthday, Google has saluted Scoville with an interactive Doodle that asks visitors to assist his experiments by cooling the chillies’ heat.

By clicking the mouse at the correct point on a sliding bar, you can fire ice cream at the offending chilli to neutralise it, with the game getting more difficult as they get hotter.

click here to read the complete article.



How Good Are Your Data? (The Importance of Accurate and Complete Measurements)

We Can Not Improve What We Do Not Measure


People have been measuring things since the dawn of civilization. In today’s technology development world we spend a great deal of time building dashboards that seek to present meaningful data. Since corporate leaders use this data to make business decisions, it is imperative that we ensure the information we present is accurate and complete.
Problems we encounter while relating numerical values to things in the physical world are not new. William Thompson, better known as Lord Kelvin, spoke and wrote about this subject in detail. 

“… the first essential step in the direction of learning any subject is to find principles of numerical reckoning and practicable methods for measuring some quality connected with it. I often say that when you can measure what you are speaking about, and express it in numbers, you know something about it; but when you cannot measure it, when you cannot express it in numbers, your knowledge is of a meager and unsatisfactory kind; it may be the beginning of knowledge, but you have scarcely in your thoughts advanced to the state of Science, whatever the matter may be.”

William Thompson, 1st Baron Kelvin (aka Lord Kelvin)

Lecture on “Electrical Units of Measurement” (3 May 1883), published in Popular Lectures Vol. I, p. 73

Lord Kelvin was speaking about the physical sciences, but the point seems applicable to 21st century technology development as well. Many of us have heard the part of this quote that essentially says, ‘You can not improve what you do not measure.’ After reading the entire quotation, I was struck by the fact that in the business world, we seem to have overlooked the ‘first essential step’, which is to find a quality connected with a subject and a practicable method of measurement.

So how are you doing in your world? Are your measurements accurate? Are they complete? Finally, do the things that we spend time and energy measuring matter in our business? Leave a comment to get the conversation started!

Bob Hubbard, Lean Six Sigma Black Belt
AT&T | Technology Development
Send #X before you drive to pause the conversation until you arrive.
Take the pledge… It Can Wait.

Lean Learning 2010 Review

Healthy blog!
The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads: "This blog is doing awesome!"

I love these types of metrics. Without any input from me, the WordPress blog created and delivered this report. This is a great example of poke yoke. The stats helper monkeys at mulled over how my Lean Learning blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A helper monkey made this abstract painting, inspired by your stats.

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 2,500 times in 2010. That’s about 6 full 747s.

In 2010, there were 39 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 51 posts. There were 26 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 3mb. That’s about 2 pictures per month.

The busiest day of the year was October 27th with 38 views. The most popular post that day was Just Open My Mouth and Go to the Gemba.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were,,,, and

Some visitors came searching, mostly for kano model, muda mura muri, muri lean, lean kano, and kano lean.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.


Just Open My Mouth and Go to the Gemba October 2010


Muda, Mura, and Muri January 2010


Kano Model January 2010
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More on Muda, Mura, & Muri January 2010


Kano Model September 2009