AS BARREN AS A BANANA (Scott)
Despite boasting a shape guaranteed to evoke schoolboy sniggers, it turns out bananas have no sex life.
In fact, banana trees are genetically flawed because they are sterile and cannot reproduce like most other plants. Effectively bananas have been cloned for centuries by mankind – which is a blessing for our fruit bowls, but which means the curved, yellow favourite is at a distinct disadvantage in evolutionary terms.
The lack of genetic diversity means the plants can’t adapt in the biological arms race and are under constant threat from pests, blights and diseases.
Indeed the world’s current favourite variety, the Cavendish, could face a ‘banana apocalypse’, just like its predecessor, the Gros Michel. The implications for dependent economies are huge.
Who knew the sex life of bananas (or lack of it) could be so compelling?
NEW SPIDEY REVEALED AND HE’S BLACK (Laura)
When Peter Parker was killed off in June many of the comic book hero’s fans wondered who would replace the white middle classed teenager. So it came as a bit of a surprise when they found out that he is to be replaced by a half Hispanic half black American teenager Mile Morales, who dons the Spidey outfit after being inspired to do good by the original super hero. Creators Brian Michael Bendis and axel Alonso, said that by having a black man as the new Spiderman, they are showing a completely different world view and reflecting the real world in all its diversity and the presence of a high profile black super hero is long over due. Throughout comic book history there have been several Africam-American minority superheroes, the biggest and possibly most recognised of which being the Black panther which appeared way back in 1966 in the Fantastic Four. Here’s hoping that the new Spiderman will be well received and that fans don’t let his ethnic back ground get in the way of his super hero status.
TREE CLIMBING GOATS (Aimee)
I enjoyed climbing trees as a child but the old goat has put my skills to shame!
If you haven’t already seen this and don’t believe me, these pictures show you the evidence. One picture shows at least nine goats perched on branches that look barely strong enough to hold a cat! But unfortunately you can’t catch a glimpse of this oddity anywhere, it is specific to Morocco where they climb the Argan tree in search of food. To add to this unusual story the goat droppings, which contain the kernels of the seeds they eat, are used by locals to press and grind into oil. Not only that, they are eaten and smeared on themselves like body lotion.
If the pictures aren’t enough, check out the video and watch their tree climbing talent in action.
PARK IN MY TOWN AND I’LL CRUSH YOUR CAR (Adrian)
You’ve got to hand it to Eastern Europe. For a region that was kept hidden by the Iron Curtain for so many years, it’s really been working overtime in recent decades to showcase its plethora of political nutters.
The latest one to come to attention is the mayor of Lithuania’s capital city Vilnius, who has taken his duties to an impressive extreme as part of a top European TV series. Mayor Arturas Zuokas – an avid cycler -is shown crushing an illegally-parked car in his city with an armoured tank before reprimanding its driver and cycling off into the distance. Presumably cackling like a Bond villain while doing so.
The clip’s also been posted on the Vilnius City website, which begs the question of what web viewers are thinking when they see this video while they’re browsing for their next holiday. Are they concerned that the mayor has an army of parking wardens in tanks patrolling the streets looking for law-breakers to crush? Because that’s totally the impression I would get.
METAL GEEKS – ARE YOU READY TO SMELL THE (POWER) GLOVE? (Adrian)
This is the kind of thing I love about the internet. No matter how diverse your various passions or interests are, you can be rest assured that someone out there has found a way to combine them and create something brilliant.
Just one example of this is the awesome rock band Powerglove, who have found a way to delight fans of video games, nostalgic 80s cartoons and heavy metal – by releasing covers of famous theme songs full of thrashy guitars and amp-shredding solos. Their versions of the classic Transformers theme, the Tetris game music and the Super Mario Brothers music medley are particular highlights and showcase a band clearly at the top of their nerdy game.
The best bit is that these guys regularly go on tour with this kind of music in the States and have played numerous conventions and geek fests to packed crowds. That’s what I call living the dream.