Mon, Aug
22
2005

Yes, We Have No Bananas

Mon, Aug 22, 2005

There’s something disturbing about the possibility that the banana may be heading towards extinction. Brett Lamb, known for his blogging about his almond butter and banana sandwiches, of course took note:

No, Seriously. Save the Bananas.
By PAUL B. BROWN
Published: August 13, 2005

…Popular Science reports… the Cavendish, the version of the banana that rests on top of American breakfast cereals, is “on a crash course toward extinction.”

A fungus dangerous to the Cavendish was discovered in Asia 13 years ago and has since “wiped out plantations in Indonesia, Malaysia, Australia and Taiwan and is now spreading through much of Southeast Asia,” Don Koeppel writes.

It is inevitable, the experts say, that the fungus will eventually wipe out Cavendish bananas worldwide.

(snip!)

…growers in Central America are “trying to create a replacement that looks and tastes so similar to the Cavendish that consumers won’t notice the difference.”

Up until the 1960’s, Americans ate Gros Michel bananas, “a banana that was larger and, by all accounts, tastier than the fruit we now eat.” Those plants were killed off by a different fungus, and the Cavendish replaced them.

This, incidentally, is what happens when you have a monoculture like the Cavandish banana. Something comes along that feeds on it and goes, “ooo, lunch!” Imagine, for a minute, the scale of the disaster if this was monoculture wheat, or monoculture rice.


Chuck Strahl Diagnosed With Lung Cancer

I was saddened to hear that longstanding Reform/Conservative MP Chuck Strahl has been diagnosed with lung cancer. Of the Reform Party MPs, along with Deborah Grey and Preston Manning, he was among the few that I seriously respected (or, even, knew). I may have disagreed with him in politics, but I got the sense I would be more than happy (and welcome) to attend one of his backyard barbecues. He was affable, respectful of his colleagues and his opponents, and he distinguished himself as a capable MP and an effective deputy speaker.

I wish him well, my heart goes out to his family, and I pray for a speedy recovery and a swift return to the House. Hat tip to Bound by Gravity.


The Rise and Fall of Technorati

Well, Jason Kottke has had enough. For a long while, I’ve been frustrated at the poor performance of this blog link search engine, but I suffered in silence. Kottke’s shout, already heard by an audience of thousands and taken up by dozens of other bloggers, should shake just a little bit of fear into Technorati. One hopes.

In any event, this little controversy has focused attention on two other lesser known engines that appear to do as good of a job, if not better. So, thanks, Kottke!


Okay, so how much of a surprise is this?

UN Flag

You’re the United Nations!

Most people think you’re ineffective, but you are trying to completely save the world from itself, so there’s always going to be a long way to go.  You’re always the one trying to get friends to talk to each other, enemies to talk to each other, anyone who can to just talk instead of beating each other about the head and torso.  Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t, and you get very schizophrenic as a result.  But your heart is in the right place, and sometimes also in New York.

Take the Country Quiz at the Blue Pyramid.

(Hat tip again to Bound by Gravity).


On This Day

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