1949: Fruit Collider
Ponytail is suggesting that exotic new fruit can be created in a similar way to that in which exotic subatomic particles can, by smashing together more common varieties at high speed.
Particle accelerators are used to smash sub-atomic particles together at near-light speeds. This can result in a release of enough energy to produce massive exotic particles that do not exist under standard conditions. By examining the results, physicists can test theories in physics and, sometimes, unexpected consequences can force them to revise existing theories. When explaining particle accelerators to the general public, this kind of experiment is sometimes explained with a fruit analogy. For example, the University of Oxford's "Accelerate!" show says "It's like throwing together two apples really really hard and getting three bananas and a mango." In this comic strip, the analogy is taken literally, and claims that several interesting new types of fruit have been created.
The tough, spiny skin of pineapples makes them (almost) impossible to eat without a knife and, while high in fiber, can be a danger to the intestinal tract and is commonly considered inedible. Nevertheless, many people really like the taste of them. Creating a variety with the skin of an apple would allow them to be enjoyed without the usual inconvenience.
A pomegranate is a large berry containing a large number of seeds with fleshy coverings. Many people find the high seed-to-flesh ratio offputting when eating them. If these were replaced with grapes, this ratio would be much lower; if it were a seedless variety of grape, it could be zero.
Strawberry and banana is a popular flavor combination for yogurts and smoothies. The "massive collider" in Europe refers to the Large Hadron Collider, the largest particle accelerator in the world. However the Large Hadron Collider was built to investigate the relationship between matter and forces, and not to search for a strawberry banana.
Many fruit-based snacks and drinks will derive flavors from fruit blends. These are generally created by mixing the juice, or artificial substitute flavorings, of two separate, individual fruits, rather than by attempting to create a new fruit by smashing the constituent fruits together. Some man-made hybrid fruits have been created via cross-breeding, grafting, and genetic engineering. It is notable that fruiting plants are generally far more capable of mixing genes across species than animals are. It is often quite possible to produce a hybrid of two fairly distantly related fruits by forcing the pollen of one to fertilize the ovary of another, or even splicing the bulk of the genes together. Of course, this would be more likely to happen in a high-energy collision of their reproductive parts, rather than their fruits. Smashing two fruits together at high speeds will usually result in a sticky mess rather than a new fruit hybrid, as recognised in the title text.
It should be noted that the hypothesis presented in this strip has now been tested by The Slow Mo Guys.
- [Ponytail points with a stick at a graph hanging on the wall. It depicts a collision of two apples producing a banana, a bunch of grapes, a cherry, three strawberries, and one product which is too small to distinguish clearly but which may be a single grape or berry.]
- Ponytail: When two apples collide, they can briefly form exotic new fruit. Pineapples with apple skin. Pomegranates full of grapes. Watermelon-sized peaches.
- Ponytail: These normally decay into a shower of fruit salad, but by studying the debris, we can learn what was produced.
- Ponytail: Then, the hunt is on for a stable form.
- [Caption below the panel:]
- How new types of fruit are developed
Randall has previously indicated that he finds pineapple tasty but very hard to eat in 388: Fuck Grapefruit.
This comic was published on the Jewish holiday for the trees, Tu BiShvat (Hebrew: טו בשבט), on which it is traditional to eat exotic fruits.
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