What is it with geeks and spicy food? RSA, the computer security company, and Electronic Arts are engaged in a friendly eat-off competition at the Prince of Wales pub in San Mateo to see which local company can eat the most of the pub's signature hot pepper hamburgers, which are about a hundred times hotter than an average jalapeno (made with peppers two times as hot as the kind you buy in stores). Last year, EA won and RSA came in fourth.
So the rules of the competition are as follows: there's no limit to how many people can be on a team, as long as you all work for the same employer. The contest runs through Friday at 10 p.m. You must sign a waiver before you're allowed to enter, and if you actually eat a whole burger, you get a "I Survived the Habanero Burger." About 1/3 of the people who sign up can't finish even one. If you're not sure if you can stand the heat, you can try a "firecracker" (a cracker with the hot sauce on it) before exercising your "get out of the kitchen" option.
This year, no one's eaten more than six in one sitting (and the all-time record is nine, set last year by an RSA employee). They recommend you eat a few french fries before attempting the burger, and most people buy an ice cream sandwich afterwards, to wash out the pepper taste. If you make it through a burger, sign up for the Hall of Flame!