Pharyngula

Yet another panadaptationist

This one has been around for a while, but it’s still funny.

Comments

  1. #1 bobryuu
    August 30, 2007

    I would take the blue ones and find the strongest and have them use that for breeding purposes.

  2. #2 Brownian
    August 30, 2007

    Everyone knows Smarties® are the superior candy species.

  3. #3 RCP
    August 30, 2007

    If peanut M&Ms came from plain M&Ms, why are there still plain M&Ms?

  4. #4 Diego
    August 30, 2007

    “Occasionally I will get a mutation, a candy that is misshapen, or pointier, or flatter than the rest. Almost invariably this proves to be a weakness, but on very rare occasions it gives the candy extra strength.”

    There is actually a fairly profound biomechanical insight in that statement. I am reminded of Vermeij’s work on shell morphology. However, I am not convinced that the author chose characters of selection value for a wild population of M&Ms.

  5. #5 Mike P
    August 30, 2007

    Well, the green ones should have an advantage when it comes to sexual selection.

  6. #6 Steve
    August 30, 2007

    “Everyone knows Smarties® are the superior candy species.”

    You’re right. The shocking truth is out there.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/11/dining/11cand.html?pagewanted=2&ei=5070&en=9cde5112f39fba36&ex=1188619200

  7. #7 Diego
    August 30, 2007

    The author did seem to have hit on a profound biomechanical insight with his observation that slight changes could either strengthen or weaken the candy shell. I am reminded of Vermeij’s work on shell morphology.

    Now whether these traits are under selection in a wild population of M&Ms is another story…

  8. #8 Firemancarl
    August 30, 2007

    I dont care, it’s still damn funny!

  9. #9 Diego
    August 30, 2007

    Sorry for the double comment posting. Scienceblogs seemed to have eaten my first attempt and so I tried again, reassembling the comment from scratch.

  10. #10 Mike P
    August 30, 2007

    I don’t care what you weirdo Canadians and European-types say. Probably Australia, too. Smarties aren’t nearly as good as M&Ms.

  11. #11 global yokel
    August 30, 2007

    An existential quandry that continues to haunt me:

    If you offer a friend a piece of candy out of a bag of M & M’s, are you offering an M & M, or just an ‘M’?

  12. #12 Mike P
    August 30, 2007

    #11,

    Well, M&Ms are named after the initials of the last names of the people who created them, so cutting it to just “M” shortchanges one of these people. So, a single M&M is still an M&M.

  13. #13 Steve LaBonne
    August 30, 2007

    I’m with MikeP. Smarties are so over-sweet I can hardly tell there’s supposed to be chocolate in them. America[n M&Ms], fsck yeah!

  14. #14 King Aardvark
    August 30, 2007

    I’m with Steve in #13; Smarties are too sweet. And I’m Canadian to boot, so Mike P’s theory doesn’t hold for all Canadians.

  15. #15 Brownian
    August 30, 2007

    Mike P, Steve LaBonne, and King Aardvark: You know what’s also less sweet than Smarties? Lemons. You should all go suck one.

    I’m especially ashamed of you King Aardvark. You just lost your Canadian status. Turn in your toque and your ketchup chips to the nearest RCMP station, pronto.

  16. #16 King Aardvark
    August 30, 2007

    Awww, but I just bought a new Hockey Canada toque last week! It’s the end of August, so we’ll be up to our armpits in snow in a month or so, so I need that toque.

    However, I haven’t had ketchup chips for several months. Now you’ve given me a craving for them.

  17. #17 ABR
    August 30, 2007

    Then there’s the other Smarties (junior confectionary homonym). I hear they’re mainly used as pain killers by talk show hosts with wrist injuries.

  18. #18 AJ Milne
    August 30, 2007

    Turn in your toque and your ketchup chips to the nearest RCMP station, pronto.

    I would like to say, as a proud Canadian, that ketchup chips are an abomination, and should be banned. Persons consuming the same shall be reported to the nearest representative of the Northwest Mounted Police–or whatever its current sucesor might be–and forced to wash their mouths out with water from Hudson’s Bay.

    Toques are okay, tho’. Mandatory garment for sex in a canoe, word is…

    As to smarties, I dunno. Can’t call that one. Someone help me out. How do they taste with a Wellington Arkell?

  19. #19 Mena
    August 30, 2007

    I agree that Smarties are pretty bad due to sweetness, but so are M&Ms. That’s why I preferred the semi-sweet M&M Minis. I do prefer the general flavor of an M&M to a Smartie. One thing that I have noticed about most non-US produced chocolates is that they tend to have less flavor. Mmmm, Hershey’s Special Dark…
    Maybe it’s that I just don’t like milk chocolate. I’m a US citizen and resident but I do spend at least a couple months each year in Canada. What category of traitorship does that put me in? ;^)
    Oh, and an Aero bar accidentally left in a car overnight in Drumheller in June or July has a tendency to turn into something that looks like bone, smooth exterior with the bubbles still formed inside, plus it narrowed a bit. It almost looked like a tibia. Coincidence, being in Drumheller and all? Hmmm…

  20. #20 Jon
    August 30, 2007

    First one to find a creationist website claiming that “evolutionists” think M&Ms can evolve gets a cookie. A cookie with M&Ms baked in.

  21. #21 craig
    August 30, 2007

    I noticed Special Dark M&Ms the other day. Purple package.

  22. #22 Mena
    August 30, 2007

    Mmmm, thanks Craig, I’m going to check that out the next time I go shopping. I’m going through withdrawl!

  23. #23 Curt Cameron
    August 30, 2007

    I thought I was the only one who had M&M death matches. But I wasn’t smart enough to draw a metaphor for evolution. I just enjoy squishing them.

  24. #24 bPer
    August 30, 2007

    AJ Milne asked:

    As to smarties, I dunno. Can’t call that one. Someone help me out. How do they taste with a Wellington Arkell?

    Well, I just happen to have both on hand … no, I wouldn’t recommend it. Maybe with a Guinness, though? (ducks and runs)

    BTW, I notice you’re from the Glebe. So are you the one responsible for the Brewer’s Retail on Bank near 5th reliably having Wellington Arkell in stock? If so, thanks!

    As for the whole M&Ms/Smarties debate, I can’t comment. I’ve never had M&Ms. I don’t think they’re sold in Canada. Up here, “M&Ms” refers to a chain of butcher shops best known for their frozen prepared dishes.

  25. #25 David Marjanovi?
    August 30, 2007

    Smarties aren’t nearly as good as M&Ms.

    Hah! You’re just overloaded because the mighty US sugar companies put sugar into your so-called “bread”, and into the cornflakes, too.

    Smarties are way better because they don’t contain useless peanuts. Who needs peanuts? (Not an allergic like me…)

  26. #26 David Marjanovi?
    August 30, 2007

    Smarties aren’t nearly as good as M&Ms.

    Hah! You’re just overloaded because the mighty US sugar companies put sugar into your so-called “bread”, and into the cornflakes, too.

    Smarties are way better because they don’t contain useless peanuts. Who needs peanuts? (Not an allergic like me…)

  27. #27 Carlie
    August 30, 2007

    Now that the company sells specialty packages of single colors, will this affect the selection pressures on the M&Ms?

  28. #28 Spaulding
    August 30, 2007

    As a kid, I used to do the same thing with goldfish crackers – head on collision, loser gets eaten!

  29. #29 AJ Milne
    August 30, 2007

    … are you the one responsible for the Brewer’s Retail on Bank near 5th reliably having Wellington Arkell in stock? If so, thanks!

    Damn, that’s funny… and thinking about it, yeah, I might have had some influence there. Garage does tend to fill up with blue boxes between return runs… and Bank and Fifth is generally both source and destination for the same bottles.

    And you’ll get no grief from me over the Guiness. That’s usually my second order from the same location.

  30. #30 Cathy in Seattle
    August 30, 2007

    What’s a “panadaptionist”?

  31. #31 Cathy in Seattle
    August 30, 2007

    saw this somewhere – a panadaptionist believes every little thing has a purpose – is this close?

  32. #32 Jennifer A. Burdoo
    August 30, 2007

    I had no idea I wasn’t the only person in the world to stage M&M duels. Makes me feel just a touch less crazy. I do exactly the same thing, although sadly even the ultimate victor gets eaten.

    “I like you. I’ll eat you last,” I guess.

  33. #33 Interrobang
    August 30, 2007

    I can’t believe there are people on here claiming to be Canadians who say they like the taste of Hershey bars. What are you guys, smell-blind, or something? You go to the dollar store and chew on the scented candles? Ick. If I wanted to eat flavoured wax, there are better ways of doing it than eating Hershey bars. Seriously, guys, do yourselves a favour and get yourself a package of President’s Choice chocolate chips.

    Milton Hershey was a fantastic town planner, but as a chocolatier, he didn’t have a clue. (If you have never had a Ritter Sport bar, run, don’t walk.)

    I don’t like ketchup chips, either, but I don’t like ketchup, so that’s not surprising. And what’s with you Amurricans and eating french fries with ketchup?! It’s arguably worse than the odious Quebecois(e) habit of eating them with cheese curds and gravy…

  34. #34 Bee
    August 30, 2007

    No accountin’ for tastes: I’ve always found American chocolate to be waxy and rather lacking in chocolate flavour, especially the Hershey products. The only chocolate that tastes worse is the stuff they use for Kinderegg shells.

  35. #35 CalGeorge
    August 30, 2007

    Wow!

    It certainly helps to explain why there are so damned many brown M&Ms.

    They’re taking over!

  36. #36 Alan Kellogg
    August 30, 2007

    #21 Craig

    Dark chocolate M&Ms were originally released as part of the Star Wars prequel part 3 campaign. You could get either light side (milk chocolate) or dark side (dark chocolate) peanut and plain M&Ms. The M&M people apparently thought it would be a one time thing, and quickly fade away as the movie went to DVD.

    Much to their surprise…

    I’ve seen packages of dark chocolate M&Ms at my local store, both plain and peanut. I expect dulche leche and peanut butter dark chocolate M&Ms sometime soon.

    BTW, you can special order different colors of M&Ms from those sold in the stores at the M&H website (wherever that is, I’ve lost the URL). Send a special package of black and white M&Ms to Professor Steve Steve.

  37. #37 qedpro
    August 30, 2007

    if plain M&Ms evolved first and peanut M&m’s evolved from them, why do we still have plain M&Ms?

  38. #38 Grant
    August 30, 2007

    I’ve done this before, but I usually do it with Skittles. However, I never saw the last one left as the ultimate victor: I’ve never had one last for any substantial length of time, maybe like 5 rounds at the most. Over the course of the death match, the continuously winning candy gets warmer from the heat from my hands and the small amount generated as the two candies are being compressed together. Would the heat not tend to soften and therefore weaken the overall structural integrity of the candy shell? If so, the last one is more likely just the stronger of the last few candies of the bag, not of the whole bag.

    But if you were really determined, you could let the winner of each round sit and rest for 5 minutes to ensure a steady temperature throughout the whole match…

  39. #39 Kseniya
    August 30, 2007

    if plain M&Ms evolved first and peanut M&m’s evolved from them, why do we still have plain M&Ms?

    Ancient M&Ms were the size of manhole covers. If you doubt this is possible, then why are there POPROCKS+NERDS?

  40. #40 Hairy Doctor Professor
    August 30, 2007

    If you have never had a Ritter Sport bar, run, don’t walk.

    Oh, yeah. I went to Germany for two weeks in 1995. The only thing we brought back through customs was 40 marks worth of Ritter. Took more than 10 years, but now we can get some varieties of Ritter in a few local Massachusetts grocery stores. Ritter Dark is the very best, the one containing corn flakes is a bit strange but not half bad, and most of the other flavors beat equivalent domestic brands hands down, but stay away from the type containing pop rocks. That is just too weird for words…..

  41. #41 S. Fisher
    August 30, 2007

    I am no panadaptationist and refuse to believe that the brown and reds have been selected for their hard exterior and that further investigation will show that the so-called “toughness” is merely a spandrel created by the coating process and the chemical nature of the dye used.

  42. #42 Steve LaBonne
    August 30, 2007

    I noticed Special Dark M&Ms the other day. Purple package.

    Go for it. Them’s good eatin’.

  43. #43 archiearchive FCD
    August 30, 2007

    And I was yet another who thought I was the only one breeding M&M’s – – –

  44. #44 Buffybot
    August 30, 2007

    I agree with Interrobang. Don’t know what the hell is in Hershey bars, but it’s not chocolate. Whittakers is the good stuff. Used to work across the factory, and they’d drive me crazy on nightshift with the relentless scent of cocoa bean roasting.

    Also, why don’t they make raisin M&Ms? I’d really be into that.

  45. #45 DDeden
    August 31, 2007

    What are M&Ms?

    Are they the same as W&Ws?

    Sounds like the chromosomes have transposed.

  46. #46 Maronan
    August 31, 2007

    Meh, they made the silly (and maybe creationist-like) assumption that evolution always favors physical strength. Remember, M&Ms require people to enjoy them because otherwise, the Mars company will go out of business and they will go extinct. Paying customers are one of the unique resources that they demand from their environment. To that end, it makes sense that the softer ones, which are less likely to break the eater’s teeth, will be favoured. The reason for this – which is also a potential explanation for the evolution of altruism – is because the softer M&Ms, though eaten more quickly, will prompt the eater to obtain more M&Ms, leading to increased reproductive fitness for the M&Ms in question.

    Although hard M&Ms can avoid extinction by being packaged with softer M&Ms, they must remain parasitical upon the softer ones. Although they may avoid being eaten, they will still have less evolutionary fitness, since an uneaten M&M will produce fewer similar M&Ms than an M&M which is eaten and prompts the eater to buy more M&Ms, since the latter will prompt the Mars company to make more similar M&Ms.

  47. #47 Brownian
    August 31, 2007

    Maronan, wow!

    But did you consider that the harder M&M’s may play a more active role in the gene pool? For instance, perhaps the optimum fitness per bag requires that the hard-to-soft M&M ratio remain within certain thresholds. Too high, and the consumer is unlikely to buy more M&M’s due to cracked and chipped teeth. Too soft, and the user may as well buy Skittles. So the hard M&M’s do piggyback on the fitness of their softer cousins, but they also serve as genetic repositories for hardness that keep the M&M population distinct from the Skittles population, thus allowing it to exploit a particular confectionary niche.

    Where’s Pivar? I have an idea for a book he may be interested in….

  48. #48 Carlie
    August 31, 2007

    Any M&M, no matter what color, would eventually sink and drown in a jar of Nutella. Nutella wins.

  49. #49 Ben
    August 31, 2007

    To the smarties boosters in the crowd: You should not be buying smarties at all:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yoN6XfyQsr4

  50. #50 Jim
    August 31, 2007

    So whatever happened to “Melts in your mouth, not in your hand”? That was “THE SLOGAN” on TV when I was a wee lad, but it has all but disappeared, except for one mention in tiny little text on the package itself. And more importantly, it’s NOT TRUE anymore! What happened? I can remember testing it as a kid and it was true. And that was hard. I mean the self control to hold a handful of M&M’s and not eat them. Yow. But now, I shake out a handful, and pop them in my mouth and when I’m done it looks like a rainbow took a dump in my hand.

    Wouldn’t bother me so much if the slogan wasn’t still on the package.

  51. #51 arensb
    August 31, 2007

    The other day, I accidentally left a container with a mixture of large and small ice cubes on the kitchen counter. When I noticed it half an hour later, I found that there were only small ice cubes.

    Obviously, in this environment, small ice cubes have a selective advantage over large ones. Now gimme my grant money!

  52. #52 arensb
    August 31, 2007

    Jim:

    and when I’m done it looks like a rainbow took a dump in my hand.

    Evidence of ponies that fart rainbows!

  53. #53 White Smoke
    August 31, 2007

    Evidence of babies that fart white smoke! (click url)

  54. #54 Keith Douglas
    September 2, 2007

    I’m reminded of Bunge’s lecture on how phenomenal properties are just that – superficial. He had us break a few paperclips by applying standard twists to them and we counted the amount of twists for each. A simple demonstration, but an effective one.

    Cathy in Seattle: I am not sure there ever were any, but a panadaptationist is someone who thinks that every trait of an organism is a result of an adaptation in the technical sense used in biology.

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