1766: Apple Spectrum

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Apple Spectrum
If I were trapped on a desert island, and could have an unlimited supply of any one type of apple, I'd be like, "How did this situation happen?"
Title text: If I were trapped on a desert island, and could have an unlimited supply of any one type of apple, I'd be like, "How did this situation happen?"

[edit] Explanation

The comic shows a spectrum of different types of apples, with Red Delicious towards the bad end of the spectrum, and Honeycrisp towards the good end of the spectrum. Although most spectra are only one-dimensional, Granny Smith is on some side branch, implying that the taste is so different from the other two that it deserves its own category. (Granny Smith apples have a distinctively tart, or sour, flavor with a subtle sweetness, and is commonly used for cooking, as opposed to the other mentioned varieties that are quite sweet and primarily eaten raw.) Randall has previously shown his disdain for Red Delicious apples in footnote 1 in this what if; he also ranked green apples as tastier than red apples in 388: Fuck Grapefruit. The labeling of Red Delicious as "bad" compared to apples in general is perhaps unwarrantedly uncharitable; most apple trees produce fruit so bad that it is considered unfit for any purpose but fermentation. On the rare occasions that a tree naturally produces palatable apples, it is grafted onto other trees so that they will produce more of its apples instead of their own--all Granny Smiths are genetically identical.

In the title text, Randall observes a common type of hypothetical question designed as a creative way to inquire about a person's preferences: If he were on a desert island with an unlimited access to something they like -- in this case, unlimited supply of any one type of apple -- what would he choose? However, Randall gives an unorthodox and unexpected answer to the typically playful hypothetical by taking it literally and questioning how such a situation would occur. How did he get stuck on the island, and how did he get a literally unlimited supply of apples? In reality, a desert island is unlikely to have an unlimited supply of any food[citation needed], let alone apples.

[edit] Transcript

[A mapping, showing types of apples. Each apple is in a bubble]

Bad ⟵ Red Delicious Regular apples Honeycrisp ⟶ Good
|
Granny Smith

Doing their own thing


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Discussion

Well, I did my best on explaining this one... Not really sure I got the Granny Smith part right. --Andyd273 (talk) 14:32, 30 November 2016 (UTC)

Surely a desert island covered only in apple trees is not beyond all probabilities? Minimal (talk) 15:01, 30 November 2016 (UTC)

I believe his confusion on a desert island with one type of apple is because apples exhibit extreme heterozygosity meaning that any daughter apple tree will produce fruit extremely different from its parent; it would be difficult to have several plants in one area that are all the same that produce no differing offspring (at least on a deserted island...humans can intervene on actively managed orchards). Genetically, the apple does fall very far from the tree. 162.158.59.197 15:10, 30 November 2016 (UTC)

This is AMAZING. I had no idea. Apples --Jeff (talk) 15:16, 30 November 2016 (UTC)
here Jacky720 (talk) 17:30, 30 November 2016 (UTC)
Thanks Jack, I'm a linking idiot. --Jeff (talk) 19:58, 30 November 2016 (UTC)

What exactly does "doing their own thing" mean in this context? Drewthedude64 (talk) 15:20, 30 November 2016 (UTC)Drewthedude64

I'm assuming it means it was so different, that it couldn't be categorized by a low-high line (those 1-10 scales you see everywhere) --108.162.216.82 15:30, 30 November 2016 (UTC)
Granny Smith apples are green while the other apples in this comic are red. Also, Granny Smith apples are more tart than sweet...these two characteristics distinguish it from many other apple breeds and is probably why he says they are doing their own thing. 162.158.59.197 15:32, 30 November 2016 (UTC)
Granny Smith apples are good all of the time (unless they're mealy). All other apples should be made into pie. Except for red delicious, which shall be cast into outer compost, where there are swine gnashing their teeth. - The Opinionated One. 162.158.69.142 16:40, 30 November 2016 (UTC)

Has Randall ever explained why he doesn't like Red Delicious? Maybe not crisp enough? 162.158.69.100 15:59, 30 November 2016 (UTC)

Seriously? Have you ever eaten one? Cardboard has more apple flavor! This has to be the most misleadingly named food item ever! mwburden (talk) 03:13, 1 December 2016 (UTC)

The explanation says that "Two (apple) trees of the same variety will not pollinate each other." I am no botanist, but I'm not sure this is correct. (The linked citation seems to blur the line between apple trees and fruit trees generally.) I think they will pollinate each other, and will even produce fruit, but the resulting fruit will be 'unpredictable.' No apple tree planted from seed will produce apples like its parent (except by chance), due to the heterozygosity mentioned above. BTW, because apples will not "breed true," this also means that every store-bought apple we've ever eaten came from a cloned or grafted tree. Apples are weird. Miamiclay (talk) 16:30, 30 November 2016 (UTC)

You're right that it isn't correct. Apple tree's may self pollinate. See [1] -- Induane (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

I went ahead and deleted the offending paragraph. It was unquestionably wrong as it was, even according to it's own source. ChrisPwildcat (talk) 18:06, 30 November 2016 (UTC)

That isn't entirely accurate either, though. The first line of that page says that "unlike most apple trees, self-pollinating apple trees are naturally able to set fruit by themselves". Most apple trees can't self-pollinate, and because apples of the same variety are clones of each other, they register each other's pollen as their own. Self-pollinators are the exception, not the rule. --108.162.219.98 18:16, 30 November 2016 (UTC)
But that isn't what the paragraph I deleted stated. My comment was accurate to that paragraph. ChrisPwildcat (talk) 23:09, 1 December 2016 (UTC)

Odd that he would post a comic with such a glaringly obvious mistake. Red delicious apples are best apples. Anyone who tells you otherwise is a liar and you should not listen to that person. 172.68.79.72 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Red Delicious are the Devil... tasteless, meally... evil. Apples should be crisp and clean in flavor, that's why the misnamed 'Delicious' varieties are on the bad (evil) end and crisps and most other varieties are on the good end (edible). Maybe Granny Smiths 'do their own thing' because they are good with peanut butter.108.162.246.34 20:59, 30 November 2016 (UTC) >"Red Delicious are the Devil... tasteless, meally... evil." -Where are you buying your apples from?? Could be a mistake in picking properly ripe apples or when not in season. 108.162.215.227 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Red Delicious--Honey Crisp--Regular Apples--Granny Smith--PINK LADY! Sorry! Had to put in a plug for the greatest unknown apple on the planet! They have every great characteristic an apple can have. They're juicy, crunchy, sweet, and sour. The perfect apple! ExternalMonolog (talk) 23:37, 30 November 2016 (UTC)

Pink Lady has to be one of the worst apples around. Seriously. Apart from Golden Delicious. But it's a close call. Let's hear it for Egremont Russet and Worcester Pearmain and a whole lot of other impossible-or-hard-to-find proper varieties. Oooh apple wars, so much more fun than editor wars.162.158.2.43 13:12, 1 December 2016 (UTC)

I like Golden Delicious. -- Hkmaly (talk) 06:39, 4 December 2016 (UTC)

Just chiming in to further dis Red Delicious ... In much of the US, for decades after WWII, only a very few apple cultivars were widely available - Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, & Granny Smith mostly. Red Delicious is nearly perfect for commercial, mechanized orchards and (like tomatoes), their flavor and texture were considered secondary to commercial/logistical issues (like longevity in storage and resistance to bruising). The problem is that they are often mealy, and are always, always bland - Red Delicious are to apples what boxed Kraft mac & cheese is to pasta. These days though, even US small town chain groceries will often carry a dozen varieties, and variety is the single greatest thing about apples. (The wondrous names are a bonus.) Nowadays, when we can always get Galas and Fujis, can very often find Braeburns, Arkansas Blacks, Jonagolds, and Winesaps, and occasionally SweeTangos, Nickajacks, Green Cheese and other varieties, I imagine that the Red Delicious lives on mostly by inertia. Miamiclay (talk) 18:31, 1 December 2016 (UTC)

As far as I am concerned the most model apple that all other apples must be compared against is the McIntosh. Sure the Pink Lady and the Honey Crisp are special but in my mind, when I think "apple", I am thinking of a McIntosh. I still would rather bite into a good McIntosh than any other. Their taste is perfectly balanced. Maybe this is because I grew up around Lake Erie which is prime McIntosh country. Their only drawback is they don't have a long season and they don't last as long in the refrigerator as others do. And yes, Red Delicious is only fit to feed to the swine. Rtanenbaum (talk) 21:22, 1 December 2016 (UTC)

Granny Smiths

I don't agree that Granny Smiths apples are mainly cooking apples. Bramley are what I would consider a cooking apple, but this may be a UK/USA thing (I'm from the UK) 141.101.98.218 10:13, 1 December 2016 (UTC)

I came here to say the same thing, I'm also from the UK. 141.101.98.130 11:28, 1 December 2016 (UTC)

+1 - in the UK at least Granny Smiths are generally eating apples, whilst a bramley is for cooking. Interestingly though a Bramley is almost exclusively British, and is grown because it has great commercial benefits - able to harvested early, late, stores for months, etc

" Adrian Barlow, CEO of the English Apple and Pear Association, says: “Today, we cannot export Bramleys as the variety is almost unknown outside the UK and will not fit processing machinery overseas. So, the Bramley is more or less exclusive to the UK; elsewhere eating apples are used for cooking. We are unique in having a single-purpose culinary apple. The Bramley will continue to dominate unless a variety with even better commercial qualities is developed.”

" (link :http://www.pressreader.com/uk/gardening/20121020/281556583068563/TextView

141.101.98.253 16:31, 1 December 2016 (UTC)
The Complex Plane

I'm surprised that nobody here thought of the possible allusion to the real number line and the imaginary numbers, such that every apple could be assigned a location on the complex plane. It's not clear what the negative of a Granny Smith would be, though - something with a rough skin like the russet? Medlars? The Dolgo Crab? A quince? Redlove apples?--162.158.75.24 02:37, 2 December 2016 (UTC)

Also, you haters of Red Delicious clearly haven't picked one ripe off the tree: crisp, juicy, with sweet, slightly translucent greenish flesh and dark, tannic skin with a natural waxy bloom. I agree that the Red Delicious in the store are mealy trash, but the original variety actually earned the name.--162.158.75.24 02:51, 2 December 2016 (UTC)

I'm quite surprised at this one. I've always found Red Delicious to be very aptly named, that they're quite reliably delicious. Maybe the people (including Randall) who are bad-mouthing them just live around shitty apple growers? MY problem with them is that I find them incredibly delicate, that they easily bruise (and a bruise is hard to detect before biting into said bruise). Which is funny because someone described them as the very opposite. ???? I've always been a huge apple guy. Growing up I always considered Granny Smith my favourite, until when I was older and realized this preference was Force-Of-Habit, that it's too sour to warrant the "favourite" spot, LOL, I don't care much for sour. I think when I was little I liked that they were different, they're green and resilient against bruising. (so I quite agree with Randall's assessment there). To that end I'm also not much for the overly ubiquitous Macintosh (ubiquitous around here in Eastern Canada, anyway). I swear, everywhere I go there's more Macintosh than all others combined! And I find it to be the Russian Roulette of apples, you can take two identical looking apples, one will be sweet and delicious while the other is far-from-ripe sour. And it's always the default apple. My apple of choice is Cortland. Which I found out people classify as a cooking apple, which I don't get. It's sweet, flavourful, and RELIABLY so, I've never had a Cortland seem ripe and not be. And they're often large, giving me a lot of content in one apple. :) AND they're among a heartier apple, not bruising as easily as the Delicious series. I do heartily agree about Honey Crisp, I only buy Cortland or Honey Crisp generally. I find Pink Lady quite similar, and have enjoyed Galas and Fujis as well, such that I'll buy them on occasion. AFAIK Honey Crisp is an engineered experiment, which seems to make it harder to find. - NiceGuy1 173.245.52.117 04:19, 2 December 2016 (UTC) I finally signed up! This comment is mine. NiceGuy1 (talk) 03:36, 13 June 2017 (UTC)

I have tried RD apples at peak ripeness, straight from the tree, more than once. They were filthy, every time. They weren't quite so flavorless as from the supermarket, or quite so mealy, but that was the best that could be said for them. I would rather have no apples at all than the very best RD. All I can say about people who prefer RD is that nearly half of Americans who voted actually chose an out-and-out con man, and before that for somebody who had already lied us all into a trillion-dollar war. You are why we can't have nice things. -ncm 07:25, 2 December 2016 (UTC)07:25, 2 December 2016 (UTC)

Sinclair
  • the Sinclair Spectrum was a computer which for its time was low cost and high spec. Apple also make computers. Funny incongruity much? --141.101.98.143 12:41, 2 December 2016 (UTC)
  • I also thought the title was about a never before known cross-over computer from the 80's. Mumiemonstret (talk) 14:46, 8 December 2016 (UTC)

I have another theory: In Snow White like tales - Red apples are evil poison, Granny Smith - A mashup of discworld's Granny Weatherwax and Eskarina Smith. not good or evil but doing their own things as seems right to them. Unfortunately I can't place Honeycrisp in this theory, wonder if someone can take it from here. 141.101.104.76 20:10, 2 December 2016 (UTC)

You have the imagination of an english teacher. Or a conspiracy theorist.162.158.89.155 02:00, 3 December 2016 (UTC)


A dessert island, on the other hand... 172.68.46.36 17:51, 9 December 2016 (UTC)

I delete the alternate title text explanation, because it requires the assumption that what Randall would say is completely different from what he would mean. While that's not an unreasonable assumption in real life, it would be highly unusual for a published, written work. Besides which, the interpretation results in a joke that's really more of an antijoke.172.68.34.136 02:38, 13 December 2016 (UTC)

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