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Going gown an enlightening slippery slope to a bananapocalypse

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The following is an actual text message sent to me by a friend on Wednesday at 5.58pm, possibly after her third sweet sherry of the evening because she's on holidays.

"The first Cavendish banana came from a man called Paxton in Chatsworth Garden district in Derbyshire, England. Obviously grown in a greenhouse. I am a wealth of knowledge."

That was it.

I texted back: "Cultivated bananas are parthenocarpic."

Thus ended that little exchange. She said later the text had been prompted by an English TV show about Chatsworth Garden and Paxton. She wants to go there. I told her to stop drinking before the sun's last rays drop beyond the horizon.

Now I had no idea the word parthenocarpic even existed until her text, which arrived as I was sitting in front of the computer working. In a couple of seconds I Googled the words banana and Paxton, came up with Wikipedia, scrolled down for something random to send in reply and settled on "Cultivated bananas are parthenocarpic".

It was a zen-enough response to stop the flow of other random text messages.

But it got me thinking, 30 minutes later, after a wild dive into the internet that began with a search for the meaning of "parthenocarpic", included an update on the existential threat facing bananas, and ended, almost inevitably, with Donald Trump.

In a world with a gazillion pieces of information at our fingerprints I think it is useful to know where to draw the line on knowledge. The ovule seems to be it for me.


© Canberra Times