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Weird News: Are bananas going extinct?

The first time I heard that banana was “going extinct,” I kind of ignored it. I mean, one paranoid lunatic screaming on the internet does not a fact make - you know what I mean? But after reading about it another dozen times over the next several years, it’s clearly NOT a paranoid lunatic screaming on the internet. It appears as if banana extinction is legit.

 

Anyway, going back to 2015 is when I came across this Huffpost article called: “Your Favorite Banana Is Facing Extinction As Deadly Fungus Spreads.” From the article:

 

“Before 1960, your grandparents and great-grandparents were eating better bananas. Called Gros Michel, they were tastier, bigger and more resilient than the bananas found in supermarkets worldwide today ... So why can’t we too enjoy the robust creaminess of the Gros Michel, once the world’s export banana? Turns out, the species went virtually extinct in the 1960s thanks to an invasive and incurable fungus that wiped out most Gros Michel plantations around the world. That explains how the Cavendish — the blander banana we now eat — grew in prominence. It tasted worse and was less hardy than the Gros Michel, but the species seemed able to resist the fungal invasion, known as “Panama disease.”

That is, it was able to.”

So, back in 1960’s they knew all about this banana killing disease but thought that they had figured it out by creating a “blander” banana that was more resilient to this Panama disease.

Okay. Sounds good. Bananas saved. But now it looks like a new disease called Tropical Race 4 (TR4) is killing the Cavendish. According to wikipedia:

This virulent form of fusarium wilt has wiped out Cavendish in several southeast Asian countries and has recently spread to Australia, India and Mozambique. It has yet to reach the Americas; however, the soil-based fungi can easily be carried on boots, clothing, or tools. This is how TR4 travels and will be its most likely route into Latin America. Cavendish is highly susceptible to TR4, and over time Cavendish will almost certainly be eliminated from commercial production by this disease.”

Okay. Sounds bad. Bananas endangered (again). The banana industry is huge. And, I mean - colossal. There are entire Latin American regions where the banana industry is so important they are literally called “banana republics,” because they are that dependant on the corporations that maintain and export from said plantations.  

The three big boys on the block are, Chiquita, Dole and Del Monte - all of which primarily have plantations in South America. So, again, while the TR4 hasn’t yet reached Latin America, if it does - that will literally mean the end of bananas as we know it.

Not necessarily 100% extinction but, obviously, no longer a fruit you would be able to find all year round. I mean, consider the fact that Gros Michel bananas are not 100% extinct, they are still grown in areas where Panama disease is not found, BUT, they export less than 1% of what they used to in the 1960’s before Panama disease devastated the crops. So, there’s that to think about.

Obviously, there are a lot of smart folks trying to solve this problem, but, as of yet nothing is working. It’s just one of those things were we can hope TR4 doesn’t reach Latin America.

But if it does, that’s pretty much banana game over.

If you want to read a more detailed version of the history of, and the potential banana apocalypse, I recommend: The Quest to Save the Banana.”

Published in World

A man in an Easter Bunny costume jumped to the defense of a woman involved in a bar brawl. It’s not clear how the fight began but, Sunday evening (on Easter) outside Orlando’s Underground Public House the unidentified man and woman started hitting each other. To me, they both look clearly drunk and so it was more of a lame drunk slap fest than an actual brawl. Which, is probably why no one was actually hurt.

Anyway, the man and woman were fighting and, typical of soulless a-holes everywhere these days - no one bothered to help her or break up the fight - instead everyone just took out their phones and recorded it!

That is - until the Easter Bunny stepped in. As you can clearly see in the linked video (on the front page) a man in an Easter Bunny costume hopped in and started throwing punches at the man involved in the brawl. Much to the delight of the crowd, who stood by and recorded the event.

The brawl doesn’t last long and within a minute a bike cop on patrol shows up and breaks everything up. No arrests were made and according to a witness or two, the cop shook the Easter Bunny’s hand and thanked him for helping.

Everyone went home.

Turns out - the man in the costume is Antoine McDonald - wanted felon. McDonald has a record a mile long (as they say) and an outstanding warrant in New Jersey.  His rap sheet is littered with armed robbery, car burglary, harassment and identity theft. After the bar he told various social media outlets that he was the person in the costume and that he, typically wasn’t a violent person.

According to cops in his former home state, McDonald fled New Jersey after the arrest warrant was issued and so never appeared in court. New Jersey police even, “thought he fled to Florida.”

Turns out - they were right! McDonald was in Florida. In an Easter Bunny costume. Breaking up brawls. As of Wednesday, his whereabouts are unknown. But it does go to show that people are complex. Someone can be a felon wanted for burglary, and armed robbery and still make good decisions to help people.

And other people, who are probably generally good - can stand around and record people helping other people while they themselves, do nothing to assist.

Weird news.

Published in News & Information

Evaldas Rimašauskas, from Lithuanian has been arrested for stealing more than $100 million dollars from tech giants Google and Facebook. In kind of a genius level scam, Evaldas simply - created a fake company and sent FB and Google fake bills for fake product they never ordered that he (obviously) never sent them! Google and Facebook responded by - promptly paying all of Evaldas’ invoices to the tune of about $100 mil from Facebook and another $20 mil from Google.

 

Wow. Who knew it would be that easy to scam $120 million dollars? But there it is.

 

On the other hand - Evaldas was caught. He even confessed to the grift, and now faces up to 30 years in jail for fraud. So, that’s not so great for him. But there it is.

 

On the other hand - he did live like a king for several years while he was worth a $100 million. So, there’s that.

 

Evaldas has agreed to, get this - pay back $50 million! WTF? Umm … well ….what happened to the other $70 million? Gone? Hidden away in multiple Swiss Bank accounts? Who knows. And what’s he plan to do with the money he’s keeping, anyway? He’s going to jail! For, like - a long time. And he’s already in his thirties. On the other hand, if he gets the maximum 30 year sentence and gets out of jail in his sixties - he’ll clearly live a very cush life until he dies and he'll have the money for great health care which means he'll probably make it into his eighties, maybe longer. 

 

This is one of those “he got caught but kind of got away with it type deals,” ain’t it?

 

And they say crime doesn’t pay.  

Published in Money