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Acorns Disappear Across the Country

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the curiouser-and-curiouser dept.

Earth 474

Hugh Pickens writes "Botanist Rod Simmons thought he was going crazy when couldn't find any acorns near his home in Arlington County, Virginia. 'I'm used to seeing so many acorns around and out in the field, it's something I just didn't believe,' said Simmons. Then calls started coming in about crazy squirrels. Starving, skinny squirrels eating garbage, inhaling bird feed, greedily demolishing pumpkins. Squirrels boldly scampering into the road. And a lot more calls about squirrel roadkill. Simmons and Naturalist Greg Zell began to do some research and found Internet discussion groups, including one on Topix called 'No acorns this year,' reporting the same thing from as far away as the Midwest up through New England and Nova Scotia. 'We live in Glenwood Landing, N.Y., and don't have any acorns this year. Really weird,' wrote one. 'None in Kansas either! Curiouser and curiouser.' The absence of acorns could have something to do with the weather and Simmons has a theory about the wet and dry cycles. But many skeptics say oaks in other regions are producing plenty of acorns, and the acorn bust is nothing more than the extreme of a natural boom-and-bust cycle. But the bottom line is that no one really knows. 'It's sort of a mystery,' Zell said."

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Let me guess... (4, Insightful)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 4 years ago | (#25942699)

...to what the majority of comments to this article will be related, given the delicious quotes like this in the article:'

"I'm used to seeing so many acorns around and out in the field, it's something I just didn't believe. [...] But this is not just not a good year for oaks. It's a zero year. There's zero production. I've never seen anything like this before."

[...]

The absence of acorns could have something to do with the weather, Simmons thought. But he hoped it wasn't a climatic event. "Let's hope it's not something ghastly going on with the natural world."

[...]

"This is the first time I can remember in my lifetime not seeing any acorns drop in the fall and I'm 53. You have to wonder, is it global warming? Is it environmental? It makes you wonder what's going on."

Of course, these will be ignored on page two of the story:

Whatever the reason for no acorns, foresters and botanists are paying attention.

But they say they're not worried yet. "What's there to worry about?" said Alan Whittemire, a botanist at the U.S. Arboretum. "If you're a squirrel, it's a big worry. But it's no problem for the oak tree. They live a long time. They'll produce acorns again when they're ready to."

White oaks can live as long as 300 years. Faster-growing red oaks can reach 200. And it takes only one acorn to make a tree, he said, which in an urban area with little open space is often more than enough.

"This is probably just a low year, a biological event, and it'll go away," Zimmer said. "But if this were to continue another two, three, four years, you might have to ask yourself what's going on, whether it is an indication of something bigger."

I know it's not a popular sentiment here, but Beware the church of climate alarm [smh.com.au] .

[P]erhaps people are starting to wonder whether the so-called precautionary principle, which would have us accept enormous new taxes in the guise of an emissions trading scheme and curtail economic growth, is justified, based on what we actually know about climate.

One of Australia's leading enviro-sceptics, the geologist and University of Adelaide professor Ian Plimer, 62, says he has noticed audiences becoming more receptive to his message that climate change has always occurred and there is nothing we can do to stop it.

In a speech at the American Club in Sydney on Monday night for Quadrant magazine, titled Human-Induced Climate Change - A Lot Of Hot Air, Plimer debunked climate-change myths.

"Climates always change," he said. Our climate has changed in cycles over millions of years, as the orbit of the planet wobbles and our distance from the sun changes, for instance, or as the sun itself produces variable amounts of radiation. "All of this affects climate. It is impossible to stop climate change. Climates have always changed and they always will.

His two-hour presentation included more than 50 charts and graphs, as well as almost 40 pages of references. It is the basis of his new book, Heaven And Earth: The Missing Science Of Global Warming, to be published early next year.

Plimer said one of the charts, which plots atmospheric carbon dioxide and temperature over 500 million years, with seemingly little correlation, demonstrates one of the "lessons from history" to which geologists are privy: "There is no relationship between CO2 and temperature."

[...]

Plimer says creationists and climate alarmists are quite similar in that "we're dealing with dogma and people who, when challenged, become quite vicious and irrational".

Human-caused climate change is being "promoted with religious zeal ... there are fundamentalist organisations which will do anything to silence critics. They have their holy books, their prophet [is] Al Gore. And they are promoting a story which is frightening us witless [using] guilt [and urging] penance."

It is difficult for non-scientists to engage in the debate over what causes climate change and whether or not it can be stopped by new taxes and slower growth, because dissenting voices are shouted down by true believers in the scientific community who claim they alone have the authority to speak.

Quadrant is under fire for publishing articles by sceptics but, as its editor, Keith Windschuttle, said on Monday night, "People who are really confident [of their facts] relish debate."

Maybe -- and I know it's a fool's hope -- the comments on this article can actually include speculation on what may be occurring beyond climate change alarmism?

However, I expect that "vicious and irrational" will win out.

Re:Let me guess... (5, Funny)

wisty (1335733) | more than 4 years ago | (#25942765)

Or maybe the squirrels had banked them in citi?

Re:Let me guess... (2, Funny)

MikeDirnt69 (1105185) | more than 4 years ago | (#25942965)

They met Alvin, and now are trading songs for food.

Re:Let me guess... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25943229)

They met Alvin, and now are trading songs for food.

Oh <deity> no. Won't someone think of the children, and by extension, the rest of us.

The solution is obvious (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25942847)

Big Acorn needs a bailout.

Re:Let me guess... (3, Interesting)

Enter the Shoggoth (1362079) | more than 4 years ago | (#25942871)

Although I tend to side with the thesis of anthropogenic climate change I agree that there are too many alarmists who will draw an instant connection between occurances such as this and "global warming".

That said, I would have hoped that you could dig up some better references to support your post; Miranda Divine is an ignoarmus and Kieth Windshuttle has only slightly more credibility than David Irving.

...to what the majority of comments to this article will be related, given the delicious quotes like this in the article:'

"I'm used to seeing so many acorns around and out in the field, it's something I just didn't believe. [...] But this is not just not a good year for oaks. It's a zero year. There's zero production. I've never seen anything like this before."

[...]

The absence of acorns could have something to do with the weather, Simmons thought. But he hoped it wasn't a climatic event. "Let's hope it's not something ghastly going on with the natural world."

[...]

"This is the first time I can remember in my lifetime not seeing any acorns drop in the fall and I'm 53. You have to wonder, is it global warming? Is it environmental? It makes you wonder what's going on."

Of course, these will be ignored on page two of the story:

Whatever the reason for no acorns, foresters and botanists are paying attention.

But they say they're not worried yet. "What's there to worry about?" said Alan Whittemire, a botanist at the U.S. Arboretum. "If you're a squirrel, it's a big worry. But it's no problem for the oak tree. They live a long time. They'll produce acorns again when they're ready to."

White oaks can live as long as 300 years. Faster-growing red oaks can reach 200. And it takes only one acorn to make a tree, he said, which in an urban area with little open space is often more than enough.

"This is probably just a low year, a biological event, and it'll go away," Zimmer said. "But if this were to continue another two, three, four years, you might have to ask yourself what's going on, whether it is an indication of something bigger."

I know it's not a popular sentiment here, but Beware the church of climate alarm [smh.com.au] .

[P]erhaps people are starting to wonder whether the so-called precautionary principle, which would have us accept enormous new taxes in the guise of an emissions trading scheme and curtail economic growth, is justified, based on what we actually know about climate.

One of Australia's leading enviro-sceptics, the geologist and University of Adelaide professor Ian Plimer, 62, says he has noticed audiences becoming more receptive to his message that climate change has always occurred and there is nothing we can do to stop it.

In a speech at the American Club in Sydney on Monday night for Quadrant magazine, titled Human-Induced Climate Change - A Lot Of Hot Air, Plimer debunked climate-change myths.

"Climates always change," he said. Our climate has changed in cycles over millions of years, as the orbit of the planet wobbles and our distance from the sun changes, for instance, or as the sun itself produces variable amounts of radiation. "All of this affects climate. It is impossible to stop climate change. Climates have always changed and they always will.

His two-hour presentation included more than 50 charts and graphs, as well as almost 40 pages of references. It is the basis of his new book, Heaven And Earth: The Missing Science Of Global Warming, to be published early next year.

Plimer said one of the charts, which plots atmospheric carbon dioxide and temperature over 500 million years, with seemingly little correlation, demonstrates one of the "lessons from history" to which geologists are privy: "There is no relationship between CO2 and temperature."

[...]

Plimer says creationists and climate alarmists are quite similar in that "we're dealing with dogma and people who, when challenged, become quite vicious and irrational".

Human-caused climate change is being "promoted with religious zeal ... there are fundamentalist organisations which will do anything to silence critics. They have their holy books, their prophet [is] Al Gore. And they are promoting a story which is frightening us witless [using] guilt [and urging] penance."

It is difficult for non-scientists to engage in the debate over what causes climate change and whether or not it can be stopped by new taxes and slower growth, because dissenting voices are shouted down by true believers in the scientific community who claim they alone have the authority to speak.

Quadrant is under fire for publishing articles by sceptics but, as its editor, Keith Windschuttle, said on Monday night, "People who are really confident [of their facts] relish debate."

Maybe -- and I know it's a fool's hope -- the comments on this article can actually include speculation on what may be occurring beyond climate change alarmism?

However, I expect that "vicious and irrational" will win out.

Re:Let me guess... (0)

Enter the Shoggoth (1362079) | more than 4 years ago | (#25942913)

Oh, and...funnily enough I've found that climate change skepticism seems to be the prevalent sentiment here

Although I tend to side with the thesis of anthropogenic climate change I agree that there are too many alarmists who will draw an instant connection between occurances such as this and "global warming".

That said, I would have hoped that you could dig up some better references to support your post; Miranda Divine is an ignoarmus and Kieth Windshuttle has only slightly more credibility than David Irving.

...to what the majority of comments to this article will be related, given the delicious quotes like this in the article:'

"I'm used to seeing so many acorns around and out in the field, it's something I just didn't believe. [...] But this is not just not a good year for oaks. It's a zero year. There's zero production. I've never seen anything like this before."

[...]

The absence of acorns could have something to do with the weather, Simmons thought. But he hoped it wasn't a climatic event. "Let's hope it's not something ghastly going on with the natural world."

[...]

"This is the first time I can remember in my lifetime not seeing any acorns drop in the fall and I'm 53. You have to wonder, is it global warming? Is it environmental? It makes you wonder what's going on."

Of course, these will be ignored on page two of the story:

Whatever the reason for no acorns, foresters and botanists are paying attention.

But they say they're not worried yet. "What's there to worry about?" said Alan Whittemire, a botanist at the U.S. Arboretum. "If you're a squirrel, it's a big worry. But it's no problem for the oak tree. They live a long time. They'll produce acorns again when they're ready to."

White oaks can live as long as 300 years. Faster-growing red oaks can reach 200. And it takes only one acorn to make a tree, he said, which in an urban area with little open space is often more than enough.

"This is probably just a low year, a biological event, and it'll go away," Zimmer said. "But if this were to continue another two, three, four years, you might have to ask yourself what's going on, whether it is an indication of something bigger."

I know it's not a popular sentiment here, but Beware the church of climate alarm [smh.com.au] .

[P]erhaps people are starting to wonder whether the so-called precautionary principle, which would have us accept enormous new taxes in the guise of an emissions trading scheme and curtail economic growth, is justified, based on what we actually know about climate.

One of Australia's leading enviro-sceptics, the geologist and University of Adelaide professor Ian Plimer, 62, says he has noticed audiences becoming more receptive to his message that climate change has always occurred and there is nothing we can do to stop it.

In a speech at the American Club in Sydney on Monday night for Quadrant magazine, titled Human-Induced Climate Change - A Lot Of Hot Air, Plimer debunked climate-change myths.

"Climates always change," he said. Our climate has changed in cycles over millions of years, as the orbit of the planet wobbles and our distance from the sun changes, for instance, or as the sun itself produces variable amounts of radiation. "All of this affects climate. It is impossible to stop climate change. Climates have always changed and they always will.

His two-hour presentation included more than 50 charts and graphs, as well as almost 40 pages of references. It is the basis of his new book, Heaven And Earth: The Missing Science Of Global Warming, to be published early next year.

Plimer said one of the charts, which plots atmospheric carbon dioxide and temperature over 500 million years, with seemingly little correlation, demonstrates one of the "lessons from history" to which geologists are privy: "There is no relationship between CO2 and temperature."

[...]

Plimer says creationists and climate alarmists are quite similar in that "we're dealing with dogma and people who, when challenged, become quite vicious and irrational".

Human-caused climate change is being "promoted with religious zeal ... there are fundamentalist organisations which will do anything to silence critics. They have their holy books, their prophet [is] Al Gore. And they are promoting a story which is frightening us witless [using] guilt [and urging] penance."

It is difficult for non-scientists to engage in the debate over what causes climate change and whether or not it can be stopped by new taxes and slower growth, because dissenting voices are shouted down by true believers in the scientific community who claim they alone have the authority to speak.

Quadrant is under fire for publishing articles by sceptics but, as its editor, Keith Windschuttle, said on Monday night, "People who are really confident [of their facts] relish debate."

Maybe -- and I know it's a fool's hope -- the comments on this article can actually include speculation on what may be occurring beyond climate change alarmism?

However, I expect that "vicious and irrational" will win out.

Re:Let me guess... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25943061)

Oh, and...funnily enough I've found that climate change skepticism seems to be the prevalent sentiment here

SNIP, SNIP, FUCKING SNIP!! what are you an outlook user?

Re:Let me guess... (-1, Redundant)

ConanG (699649) | more than 4 years ago | (#25943063)

I just thought it would be fun to quote again... All the cool kids quote the parent when they reply!

Oh, and...funnily enough I've found that climate change skepticism seems to be the prevalent sentiment here

Although I tend to side with the thesis of anthropogenic climate change I agree that there are too many alarmists who will draw an instant connection between occurances such as this and "global warming".

That said, I would have hoped that you could dig up some better references to support your post; Miranda Divine is an ignoarmus and Kieth Windshuttle has only slightly more credibility than David Irving.

...to what the majority of comments to this article will be related, given the delicious quotes like this in the article:'

"I'm used to seeing so many acorns around and out in the field, it's something I just didn't believe. [...] But this is not just not a good year for oaks. It's a zero year. There's zero production. I've never seen anything like this before."

[...]

The absence of acorns could have something to do with the weather, Simmons thought. But he hoped it wasn't a climatic event. "Let's hope it's not something ghastly going on with the natural world."

[...]

"This is the first time I can remember in my lifetime not seeing any acorns drop in the fall and I'm 53. You have to wonder, is it global warming? Is it environmental? It makes you wonder what's going on."

Of course, these will be ignored on page two of the story:

Whatever the reason for no acorns, foresters and botanists are paying attention.

But they say they're not worried yet. "What's there to worry about?" said Alan Whittemire, a botanist at the U.S. Arboretum. "If you're a squirrel, it's a big worry. But it's no problem for the oak tree. They live a long time. They'll produce acorns again when they're ready to."

White oaks can live as long as 300 years. Faster-growing red oaks can reach 200. And it takes only one acorn to make a tree, he said, which in an urban area with little open space is often more than enough.

"This is probably just a low year, a biological event, and it'll go away," Zimmer said. "But if this were to continue another two, three, four years, you might have to ask yourself what's going on, whether it is an indication of something bigger."

I know it's not a popular sentiment here, but Beware the church of climate alarm [smh.com.au] .

[P]erhaps people are starting to wonder whether the so-called precautionary principle, which would have us accept enormous new taxes in the guise of an emissions trading scheme and curtail economic growth, is justified, based on what we actually know about climate.

One of Australia's leading enviro-sceptics, the geologist and University of Adelaide professor Ian Plimer, 62, says he has noticed audiences becoming more receptive to his message that climate change has always occurred and there is nothing we can do to stop it.

In a speech at the American Club in Sydney on Monday night for Quadrant magazine, titled Human-Induced Climate Change - A Lot Of Hot Air, Plimer debunked climate-change myths.

"Climates always change," he said. Our climate has changed in cycles over millions of years, as the orbit of the planet wobbles and our distance from the sun changes, for instance, or as the sun itself produces variable amounts of radiation. "All of this affects climate. It is impossible to stop climate change. Climates have always changed and they always will.

His two-hour presentation included more than 50 charts and graphs, as well as almost 40 pages of references. It is the basis of his new book, Heaven And Earth: The Missing Science Of Global Warming, to be published early next year.

Plimer said one of the charts, which plots atmospheric carbon dioxide and temperature over 500 million years, with seemingly little correlation, demonstrates one of the "lessons from history" to which geologists are privy: "There is no relationship between CO2 and temperature."

[...]

Plimer says creationists and climate alarmists are quite similar in that "we're dealing with dogma and people who, when challenged, become quite vicious and irrational".

Human-caused climate change is being "promoted with religious zeal ... there are fundamentalist organisations which will do anything to silence critics. They have their holy books, their prophet [is] Al Gore. And they are promoting a story which is frightening us witless [using] guilt [and urging] penance."

It is difficult for non-scientists to engage in the debate over what causes climate change and whether or not it can be stopped by new taxes and slower growth, because dissenting voices are shouted down by true believers in the scientific community who claim they alone have the authority to speak.

Quadrant is under fire for publishing articles by sceptics but, as its editor, Keith Windschuttle, said on Monday night, "People who are really confident [of their facts] relish debate."

Maybe -- and I know it's a fool's hope -- the comments on this article can actually include speculation on what may be occurring beyond climate change alarmism?

However, I expect that "vicious and irrational" will win out.

Re:Let me guess... (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25943095)

Really?

Oh, and...funnily enough I've found that climate change skepticism seems to be the prevalent sentiment here

Although I tend to side with the thesis of anthropogenic climate change I agree that there are too many alarmists who will draw an instant connection between occurances such as this and "global warming".

That said, I would have hoped that you could dig up some better references to support your post; Miranda Divine is an ignoarmus and Kieth Windshuttle has only slightly more credibility than David Irving.

...to what the majority of comments to this article will be related, given the delicious quotes like this in the article:'

"I'm used to seeing so many acorns around and out in the field, it's something I just didn't believe. [...] But this is not just not a good year for oaks. It's a zero year. There's zero production. I've never seen anything like this before."

[...]

The absence of acorns could have something to do with the weather, Simmons thought. But he hoped it wasn't a climatic event. "Let's hope it's not something ghastly going on with the natural world."

[...]

"This is the first time I can remember in my lifetime not seeing any acorns drop in the fall and I'm 53. You have to wonder, is it global warming? Is it environmental? It makes you wonder what's going on."

Of course, these will be ignored on page two of the story:

Whatever the reason for no acorns, foresters and botanists are paying attention.

But they say they're not worried yet. "What's there to worry about?" said Alan Whittemire, a botanist at the U.S. Arboretum. "If you're a squirrel, it's a big worry. But it's no problem for the oak tree. They live a long time. They'll produce acorns again when they're ready to."

White oaks can live as long as 300 years. Faster-growing red oaks can reach 200. And it takes only one acorn to make a tree, he said, which in an urban area with little open space is often more than enough.

"This is probably just a low year, a biological event, and it'll go away," Zimmer said. "But if this were to continue another two, three, four years, you might have to ask yourself what's going on, whether it is an indication of something bigger."

I know it's not a popular sentiment here, but Beware the church of climate alarm [smh.com.au] .

[P]erhaps people are starting to wonder whether the so-called precautionary principle, which would have us accept enormous new taxes in the guise of an emissions trading scheme and curtail economic growth, is justified, based on what we actually know about climate.

One of Australia's leading enviro-sceptics, the geologist and University of Adelaide professor Ian Plimer, 62, says he has noticed audiences becoming more receptive to his message that climate change has always occurred and there is nothing we can do to stop it.

In a speech at the American Club in Sydney on Monday night for Quadrant magazine, titled Human-Induced Climate Change - A Lot Of Hot Air, Plimer debunked climate-change myths.

"Climates always change," he said. Our climate has changed in cycles over millions of years, as the orbit of the planet wobbles and our distance from the sun changes, for instance, or as the sun itself produces variable amounts of radiation. "All of this affects climate. It is impossible to stop climate change. Climates have always changed and they always will.

His two-hour presentation included more than 50 charts and graphs, as well as almost 40 pages of references. It is the basis of his new book, Heaven And Earth: The Missing Science Of Global Warming, to be published early next year.

Plimer said one of the charts, which plots atmospheric carbon dioxide and temperature over 500 million years, with seemingly little correlation, demonstrates one of the "lessons from history" to which geologists are privy: "There is no relationship between CO2 and temperature."

[...]

Plimer says creationists and climate alarmists are quite similar in that "we're dealing with dogma and people who, when challenged, become quite vicious and irrational".

Human-caused climate change is being "promoted with religious zeal ... there are fundamentalist organisations which will do anything to silence critics. They have their holy books, their prophet [is] Al Gore. And they are promoting a story which is frightening us witless [using] guilt [and urging] penance."

It is difficult for non-scientists to engage in the debate over what causes climate change and whether or not it can be stopped by new taxes and slower growth, because dissenting voices are shouted down by true believers in the scientific community who claim they alone have the authority to speak.

Quadrant is under fire for publishing articles by sceptics but, as its editor, Keith Windschuttle, said on Monday night, "People who are really confident [of their facts] relish debate."

Maybe -- and I know it's a fool's hope -- the comments on this article can actually include speculation on what may be occurring beyond climate change alarmism?

However, I expect that "vicious and irrational" will win out.

Re:Let me guess... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25943397)

Gift suggestion for mods; all the above gratuitous quoting should be considered redundant.

Re:Let me guess... (2, Insightful)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 4 years ago | (#25942923)

That said, I would have hoped that you could dig up some better references to support your post; Miranda Divine is an ignoarmus and Kieth Windshuttle has only slightly more credibility than David Irving.

It was more just that it was a very recent article (November 27, 2008) from a major media outlet, and very on point.

It's the content of the article that matters, no matter who the author; "People who are really confident [of their facts] relish debate," is still true no matter whence it comes.

Re:Let me guess... (4, Insightful)

Enter the Shoggoth (1362079) | more than 4 years ago | (#25943069)

Au contraire, in an ideal world, or a close approximation (say a fully refereed journal) content can stand alone, but in any journalist outlet (especially from a so called "think tank") the content tends to be selective at best and is often down right fraudulent, now I admit that I haven't read the particular issue of Quadrant to which you refer but the journal definately sits in the former category and until I can see a fully referenced and sighted article from Mr. Windshuttle then I'm afraid his past transgressions will continue to weigh heavily.

And as for Ms. Divine, an article written by an actual journalist from the SMH could fairly be described as originating from a major media outlet, but her piece is an Editorial comment placed in the paper to stir the pot from the right, just as say a Philip Adams editorial will stir from the left, I quite enjoy Mr Adams' rantings, but I admit the fact that it is an editorial opinion and cannot be fairly called journlism

That said, I would have hoped that you could dig up some better references to support your post; Miranda Divine is an ignoarmus and Kieth Windshuttle has only slightly more credibility than David Irving.

It was more just that it was a very recent article (November 27, 2008) from a major media outlet, and very on point.

It's the content of the article that matters, no matter who the author; "People who are really confident [of their facts] relish debate," is still true no matter whence it comes.

Re:Let me guess... (1)

wisty (1335733) | more than 4 years ago | (#25943037)

Kieth Windshuttle has plenty of credibility. You don't have to agree with his interpretations, but he got the facts right. The reason he is so deeply unpopular with mainstream Australian historians is that he actually checked the facts, and found that most historians had gotten them wrong. He wasn't gracious about it either. I guess a lot of historians these days value a "correct" interpretation, over "correct" facts though.

Re:Let me guess... (5, Insightful)

Samschnooks (1415697) | more than 4 years ago | (#25942975)

...the comments on this article can actually include speculation on what may be occurring beyond climate change alarmism?

That's the thing that kind of bugs me is that Global Climate change gets all of the attention at the expense, it seems, over other issues. For example, coal fired power plants. The argument usually boils down to green house gases and maybe air quality. But the issue of coal burning releasing mercury into the environment (why do you think predator fish are contaminated with the stuff?) is hardly ever brought up and if it is, it's just ignored.

Unfortunately, global climate change has become a very politically polarizing issue and it drowns out any sort of rational discourse. Which means, regardless of what needs to be done, it won't get done because folks will spend all their time digging their heals in to be "right".

Re:Let me guess... (1, Informative)

OriginalArlen (726444) | more than 4 years ago | (#25943373)

That's the thing that kind of bugs me is that Global Climate change gets all of the attention at the expense, it seems, over other issues. For example, coal fired power plants.

Coal-fired power-stations DO contribute to global warming. The down-wind mercury levels, whilst elevated, aren't high enough cause the well-known chronic toxity effects (google 'minimata' for the gory details), but they could (collectively) lead to TEOCAWKI. Which would be bad.

Re:Let me guess... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25942993)

"However, I expect that "vicious and irrational" will win out."

Duh. You've already built the strawman you've outwitted.

It's idgits like you that poison the discussion by defining it as a contest between alarmists and anit-alarmists.

get bent.

Re:Let me guess... (1)

Planesdragon (210349) | more than 4 years ago | (#25943081)

Maybe -- and I know it's a fool's hope -- the comments on this article can actually include speculation on what may be occurring beyond climate change alarmism?

Actually, they should include "are the acorns even really disappearing?", which is the correct response to someone who questions accepted science.

Throw in a reference to the "hyrocarbon cycle" and you'll be all set.

Re:Let me guess... (1)

missvolare (1333407) | more than 4 years ago | (#25943107)

It is a tempest in a teapot. The change in the fruiting bodies of flora is regulated by planetary cycles. In Northern Cal this year there are quite alot of acorns coming off the Oaks all over.

Re:Let me guess... (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 4 years ago | (#25943235)

The "planetary cycles" are different in Northern Cal?

Re:Let me guess... (1)

elmedico27 (931070) | more than 4 years ago | (#25943147)

...to what the majority of comments to this article will be related, given the delicious quotes like this in the article:'

"I'm used to seeing so many acorns around and out in the field, it's something I just didn't believe. [...] But this is not just not a good year for oaks. It's a zero year. There's zero production. I've never seen anything like this before."

It's like, how much more acorns can there be? And the answer is none. None more acorns.

Re:Let me guess... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25943193)

The squirrels have had them all. Early in the morning, before you guys had gotten out of your beds.

Re:Let me guess... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25943287)

thanks for sounding the alarm about alarmists!

there's something alarmist (3, Insightful)

Reality Master 201 (578873) | more than 4 years ago | (#25943317)

About your apparent need to deny, out of hand, even a remote possibility that this or any other event is linked to anthropogenic climate change.

You appear to have decided a priori how things are, and seem to go into an intellectual panic when something comes up that challenges you understanding of thing. You're just as bad as you claim the global warming "alarmists" to be, worse perhaps. You're willing to cling to what a tiny fraction of people have to say about the topic because it suits what you want to hear.

Re:Let me guess... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25943337)

Well, having 2 huge oak trees in my back yard, let me preface this comment by stating that I had plenty of acorns this last season (I would guess no more or less than usual for the last 15 years).

Now on to speculation: lack of bees.

Perhaps there is a correlation between the absence of bees and the absence of acorns.

Re:Let me guess... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25943415)

Same AC as above, my CAPTCHA word was "paranoia" and I thought that was fitting.

Re:Let me guess... (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 4 years ago | (#25943341)

If it's one thing I've realized in years of working with a lot of freaky non-profits, it's that the only people on this planet more consistently and radically pessimistic than millennialist religious leaders and farmers are environmentalists. And all three believe with equal fervor that the world is about to end and the sky will fall anytime.

Actually its a normal occurence (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25943429)

Every so many years the Oak Trees cut off production of acorns. It has been documented and studied somewhat. I remember reading a scientific article about it in my bio class. The thinking is that there is a codependent relationship between Oak trees and squirrels. The oak trees depend on squirrels for new oak trees (squirrels disperse and plant seeds and forget where some of them are) and the squirrels depend largely on the acorns for food. the Acorn production increases year to year, creating a population increase for the squirrels. (stable food = more babies, more babies that survive) This goes on until there is a population boom of squirrels. At about this time the oak trees halt acorn production, producing a mass die off of squirrels. From the human point of view this seems highly ungrateful of the oak tree. After all the squirrels are busy helping the trees reproduce and now the trees repay the squirrels by making them starve. But the thinking is that if the oak trees didn't do this the squirrel population would reach an equilibrium with the oak tree population's acorn production. Each and every (or nearly every) acorn would get eaten, and next to none of the acorns would result in new oak trees. This local population of oak trees would die out. So it is only the oak trees that are "underhanded" that survive and make new trees. It shouldn't be hard to find more information on this; probably under ecology literature.

In other news... (1)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 4 years ago | (#25942707)

...Squirrels seen reading books on logistics.

Re:In other news... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25942845)

...and Obama seen giving marching orders to kommunity organizers to parade rest. The elektion is over. Operation Minnie Mouse a resounding success. Plans to register Walt Disney as a Demokrat not necessary. Oh, wait. Different type of acorn...

Re:In other news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25943285)

And where pray did they get the books ????

Anecdotal data point (4, Informative)

Muad'Dave (255648) | more than 4 years ago | (#25942739)

Here in the Hanover county north of Richmond Va, we had an early and massive acorn crop. It would be interesting to correlate some weather phenomenon to acorns (long drought in late summer = early crop, very wet spring = huge crop, etc).

Another anecdotal data point - Dallas Texas (2, Informative)

portforward (313061) | more than 4 years ago | (#25942905)

Seems like there are plenty of acorns here.

Re:Another anecdotal data point - Dallas Texas (1)

honestmonkey (819408) | more than 4 years ago | (#25943233)

You beat me to it. I was going to say they could come to my house (near Dallas) and I'd be happy to give them all they want. We got layers going back years. Squirrels around here seem happy.

Re:Anecdotal data point (1)

Double_Dark (856371) | more than 4 years ago | (#25942971)

Here in Milwaukee my oak had about 80 gallons of acorn remains that I picked up from my driveway and deck three years ago. Since then it hasn't dropped anything. I attributed it to the tree being pruned but, maybe not...

Re:Anecdotal data point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25943169)

Did you read the article? "There are at least 20 different species of oak trees in the region, and they produce acorns on different cycles: white oaks every year and red oaks every two years. Each tree, too, has its own two- to four-year cycle, producing many acorns one year and few in other years."

Re:Anecdotal data point (3, Insightful)

jav1231 (539129) | more than 4 years ago | (#25943181)

The problem is a lone observer in a single locale can muster up a climate scare like this and apparently get attention. Here in my area we too saw a large crop of at least the large variety of acorns. These are the kinds of things that we'll find Al Gore referencing if we're not careful.

acorn years (1)

MancunianMaskMan (701642) | more than 4 years ago | (#25942753)

there are good and bad acorn years. Depends on the weather when oaks are in flower (oaks are wind-pollinated). We had a really good acorn crop last year here("here" being Lancashire / England).

And good riddance to the goddamn squirrwels.

acorns going down hill for 2 years (2, Informative)

dalewj (187278) | more than 4 years ago | (#25942769)

In Boston 2 years ago we were walkign on acorns, last year was a lower year, this year barely an acorn can be found. makes walking a bit safer :)

Re:acorns going down hill for 2 years (2, Interesting)

Hao Wu (652581) | more than 4 years ago | (#25942997)

Same thing happens with hickory nuts.

I can't believe how a little farmers' knowledge sends today's kids into desperate panic.

These editors think they are smart because they can program, yet a little thing like this requires PhD climatology research to explain to them. (And some sort of political action no doubt.)

Weird... (4, Interesting)

$1uck (710826) | more than 4 years ago | (#25942775)

I remember one year growing up the Oaks in my backyard didn't produce any acorns, instead they produced these strange green globes that were soft almost like a grape except more spherical and speckled. When I split one open there was something akin to what cotton wood trees put out or dandylions, a soft fluffy thing. I wonder if the Oaks have a secondary seed production mechanism? Is that what I saw? that was probably 20 years or more ago so the memory is a little hazy. I wonder if the oaks are producing those things? or nothing at all.

Re:Weird... (5, Interesting)

gardyloo (512791) | more than 4 years ago | (#25942983)

Those were probably marble galls (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oak_marble_gall); I find them a lot, too. They are produced in addition to acorns, though.

Re:Weird... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25942987)

I'm not a biologist, but what you found sound like undried Oak Galls (aka Oak Apples) to me...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oak_marble_gall [wikipedia.org]

Re:Weird... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25943001)

Re:Weird... (1)

chri (115088) | more than 4 years ago | (#25943113)

I think what you saw are called galls. I saw this in the Attenborough documentary series "Life in the Undergrowth".

Those are an insect parisite (1)

shadowofwind (1209890) | more than 4 years ago | (#25943151)

Cut the very center open, and there is a fly inside. The fly forces the tree to grow the ball out of leaf material.

Re:Weird... (2, Funny)

Kamineko (851857) | more than 4 years ago | (#25943175)

Noo! Don't touch it!

Touch Fuzzy, Get Dizzy! :(

The sky is falling! (4, Funny)

PinkyDead (862370) | more than 4 years ago | (#25942777)

This really puts a causality twist on that old chestnut.

Nothing new (4, Interesting)

paiute (550198) | more than 4 years ago | (#25942779)

I have noticed this cycle in the Boston area over the last 20 years. The squirrel population will follow the acorn yield. Some years there are very few squirrels about, and the chipmunk population seems to boom. Then the squirrels will have a great year and have too many little ones. Some of the babies will end up on the ground, pushed out by the others.

Don't let your kids adopt them or talk you into taking them to a wildlife shelter. Believe me. All you have to do is put them back into a tree in a basket. The mommy squirrel will come find them and take them home by the scruff like a kitten.

Could be natural or something... (1)

stokessd (89903) | more than 4 years ago | (#25942783)

These sort of things go in cycles. This year was insane for the maple tree seeds (whirlybirds), they were everywhere in the midwest and Pa. Much heavier crop than usual. I know, I had to clean my gutters.

So if we had a heavy whirlybird crop, then we could just as easily have a light acorn crop that the squirrels gobbled up. Or it's aliens, one of the two...

Sheldon

Weighty (2, Funny)

symes (835608) | more than 4 years ago | (#25942797)

I bet they'll find a couple of really greedy overweight squirrels up in them woods.

you can have mine... (4, Funny)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 4 years ago | (#25942799)

I had what felt like a metric ton in my yard this year.

All over my state we have the typical ton of acorns.. Some are freaking huge compared to previous years.

Have the bees gone too? (3, Interesting)

keoghp (457883) | more than 4 years ago | (#25942805)

Hi

What has your bee popluation been like this year?

Re:Have the bees gone too? (0, Redundant)

Missing_dc (1074809) | more than 4 years ago | (#25943045)

RTFA, Oaks use wind pollination, not insects.

Re:Have the bees gone too? (2, Insightful)

Plug (14127) | more than 4 years ago | (#25943265)

Have a more open world view, moderators; the OP is referring to the arc linking all the episodes of series 4 of Doctor Who [wikipedia.org] . It's the first thing I thought of when I read the post, and is also why the article is tagged 'badwolf' and 'starsgoingout'.

Re:Have the bees gone too? (1)

sraviik (1375785) | more than 4 years ago | (#25943331)

you must be new here... he was making a reference to teh big scare about the bee population a year or two ago... but you wouldn't know that.

Colony Collapse? (1)

mkawick (190367) | more than 4 years ago | (#25942811)

Could it be related to the Colony Collapse Disorder of behives? It sounds far-fetched to me too, but it may be..

Re:Colony Collapse? (2, Informative)

Missing_dc (1074809) | more than 4 years ago | (#25943117)

Oaks have male and female plants that use airborn pollenation techniques, but they will self pollenate or clone themselves if needed. I would look at chemicals or precipitation before looking at bees.

(for the Christers: perhaps God told the trees their children are no longer needed(/sarcasm))

I have heard reports in the past of hungry packs of squirrels attacking and eating cats and small dogs. I wonder if those reports will increase this winter.

Acorn boom (3, Interesting)

ericferris (1087061) | more than 4 years ago | (#25942821)

For the record, there was an acorn boom a couple of years ago that was responsible for an increase of Lyme disease. Apparently, when you get more acorn, you get more ticks the next season.

I blame the bees (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25942827)

I blame the bees deserting earth like rats from a sinking ship.
BEESSS!!

Plenty of Acorns in Northern NJ (3, Interesting)

Crock23A (1124275) | more than 4 years ago | (#25942835)

Every Autumn, my brothers and I get into a nice acorn fight at Grandma's house in North Jersey. There was no shortage of ammunition this year.

Heh heh (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25942843)

I see now that you have noticed the first signs of my little plot.

You may notice in time that they will not be the last. /capeswirl

One positive outcome - less Lyme (1)

mother_reincarnated (1099781) | more than 4 years ago | (#25942887)

I know this sounds bat-shit nuts, but there should be a significant drop in Lyme disease cases. It has to do with the life cycle of the tick and mouse populations- it sounds wierd as hell but it was backed up by field research. I think it was at the Institute for Ecosystem Studies- I just remember making fun of my mother walking around talking about acorn masts (the opposite of this year).

They can have all of ours down here in the South.. (1)

Assmasher (456699) | more than 4 years ago | (#25942921)

Seems to be the same distribution as in years past in Georgia and South Carolina (visited in-laws in South Cack-o-lacky for the holidays...)

I know where they went.... (1)

PontifexMaximus (181529) | more than 4 years ago | (#25942929)

They are all in the woods around UNC-Asheville and all over my back yard. No lack of Acorns here.

Are you SURE you know what an acorn is?

Near Dallas Texas... (1)

azav (469988) | more than 4 years ago | (#25942939)

I have acorns. Actually, depending on the type of oak tree, there are certain years when the trees do not produce acorns as expected. If you have several species that are not producing all at once, then you have an acorn famine. If you have the same problem next year, then we've got a problem.

hazelnuts in NW Europe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25942969)

Similarly there were hardly any hazelnuts about this year in NW Europe (pity, as I'm rather fond of them)

Credit Crunch (1)

MosesJones (55544) | more than 4 years ago | (#25942991)

Remember all those adverts with an acorn that grows into an oak tree and some voice over about safe investments that flourish?

Yes folks it turns out the banks really were just investing money in acorns and have now created an "acorn bubble" which has driven all of the squirrels into poverty.

Simple explanation really.

Ravaged Pumpkins (1)

lseltzer (311306) | more than 4 years ago | (#25943007)

We had noticed that squirrels had eaten into almost every pumpkin put out on steps in my area and were stumped as to why we hadn't ever seen it before. This is an explanation.

There were plenty in Maryland (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25943031)

I live in central Maryland, right in the middle of where this story is complaining about. My oak trees all had plenty of acorns, just a bit early this year.

Acorns? As in a nut, not a computer? (2, Funny)

coofercat (719737) | more than 4 years ago | (#25943047)

Acorn is a long-forgotten, but actually tremendously influential company. Had Acorn not made the Acorn Electron [wikipedia.org] , and subsequently the BBC Micro [wikipedia.org] , I'm sure British IT would not be what it is today. Oh wait... this article is about a nut. Silly me, I thought I was on Slashdot.

Re:Acorns? As in a nut, not a computer? (2, Informative)

Ciarang (967337) | more than 4 years ago | (#25943141)

You've got your subsequently backwards. The BBC Micro came first - the Electron was a cut-down budget version.

Nah, don't worry... (5, Funny)

bhunachchicken (834243) | more than 4 years ago | (#25943059)

Panic when the dolphins decide its time to leave.

At least 1 oak tree in GA producing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25943065)

Lots of acorns buried all over my back yard by a healthy looking squirrel population. If I'd of known they were going to be so valuable I'd of fought the lil bastards for them.

Bumper crop in Southwest Michigan (1)

wren337 (182018) | more than 4 years ago | (#25943085)

We had them ankle deep in our yard, our squirrels are fat lazy and happy.

Must have skipped Indiana (1)

bwohlgemuth (182897) | more than 4 years ago | (#25943109)

Tons of acorns in rural Indiana. Couldn't walk a step in the brush without crushing a few dozen.

It's cyclical and difficult to predict (3, Interesting)

samwichse (1056268) | more than 4 years ago | (#25943125)

There are really two groups of oaks: the red and the white oaks.

The white oaks are generally preferred by most small animals (and deer!), as their acorns are lower in tannins and produced much more regularly (a good crop approximately every other year, and less difference between a good year and a bad year).

Red oaks have a less palatable acorn and can go up to 7 years between heavy mast years (with up to a 135x difference between a bad and a good year).

Oddly, with all the research done on the topic, there's little that can be done to predict a future crop, as cyclic production varies so widely and seems dependant on such a myriad of factors. In areas heavily dominated by oaks, we still even have to "wait and see" for a harvest... otherwise it's a game of roulette, and you might have such poor production you don't get a forest of oak back at all (but red maple is a whole other can of worms).

Sam

They're in my yard, dude, in Arlington County (1)

yourpusher (161612) | more than 4 years ago | (#25943137)

Feel free to come pick them up (along with all the ()*#!@!@ squirrels).

sketchy incomplete anecdotal observations (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 4 years ago | (#25943155)

leading to completely spurious hypotheses

let me throw my hat in the ring with an equally valid conclusion by saying COULD IT BE BATMAN?!

I know... (1)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 4 years ago | (#25943173)

I'd blame Secret Squirrel

need some? (1)

usacoder (816957) | more than 4 years ago | (#25943177)

ya want acorns. come down to raleigh, i raked 4 trash cans worth from just 3 trees.

No shortage in DC (1)

john82 (68332) | more than 4 years ago | (#25943179)

Complete BS. I live in the DC area too. Front of my yard was covered in acorns from just one 30' tree. The squirrels were having a field day. So were the deer.

Give them a few days (1)

will_die (586523) | more than 4 years ago | (#25943225)

They are probably off celibrating the voting win. Give them a few days and things will be back to normal. [lvrj.com]

Same in Eagan, MN (1)

Icculus (33027) | more than 4 years ago | (#25943237)

No acorns here in the Twin Cities area either. I attributed it to stress induced by a leaf-stripping hail storm that rolled through toward the end of May, but apparently it's not just my yard.

I have three of them hanging over my roof so it was kinda nice not to have the 2 weeks of acorn mortar shelling we usually get every summer. I'll start worrying if the same thing happens next year...

Wha? (1)

PhoenixFlare (319467) | more than 4 years ago | (#25943241)

I live in the Fairfax area of NoVA, and while I haven't seen the massive piles of acorns like last year, there's no shortage of squirrels running around....And they all look large, bushy-tailed, and energetic.

If They Were WAMU Acorns (1)

Skeetskeetskeet (906997) | more than 4 years ago | (#25943255)

They are now under the JP Morgan Chase oaks.

Pay attention, Hollywood (3, Funny)

AdmiralXyz (1378985) | more than 4 years ago | (#25943281)

This sounds like the beginning of an M. Night Shyamalan movie.

Its all with the Bees (1)

Shivinski (1053538) | more than 4 years ago | (#25943293)

Find where the bees have gone, and you'll know where the acorns are

No acorns near Minneapolis (1)

Phishcast (673016) | more than 4 years ago | (#25943327)

I'm in an inner ring suburb of Minneapolis, and I have 4 white oaks in my yard. A couple of these hang over my story and a half home, and every fall my wife and I are used to hearing them drop on our roof at night, tumble down the slope and then *tink* hit the gutter. It keeps you up some nights. Ever since we bought the house 5 years ago I've had to collect all these off the patio and out of the gutters.

This year -- Zero. Not a one.

Plenty of Acorns in North Central Mass. (1)

bruceg (14365) | more than 4 years ago | (#25943393)

I have plenty of acorns in my yard, and if someone really wants them, they can come and rake them up for free. :-)

Plenty of acorns in SW Connecticut (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25943395)

Had to sweep the damn things out my driveway every few days before the leaves started falling.

die squirrels die! (0)

h4x354x0r (1367733) | more than 4 years ago | (#25943413)

I've killed several that have gotten into my attic. Pests.

more than enough (1)

dlavie (1421127) | more than 4 years ago | (#25943423)

I have more of my fill from 1 oak tree in central VT. It wasn't safe to go on the deck when they were falling. Deer also eat acorns. If my tree is any indication the acorn harvest is cyclical.

OK, natural science geek here (5, Interesting)

hey! (33014) | more than 4 years ago | (#25943433)

I chose trees as my area of natural science geekdom, because I couldn't stand those snotty birders who take a glance at a streak through the trees that an ordinary mortal couldn't narrow down to "bird" then say something like, "Ah, a Stimpson's downy breasted tit." Trees stand still long enough to put an identification to an objective test.

Oak species often display yearly variations in acorn production. This may be helpful in that you want surplus acorns from the point of view of squirrels; producing lots of acorns every year means you get lots of squirrels. Producing a bumper crop every three or four years and a small crop otherwise maximizes the number of surplus acorns you make.

I've heard some say that White Oaks (with smoothly rounded leaf lobes) have three to four year cycles and Red Oaks (with pointy veins that stick out past the end of the leaf lobes) are acyclic. I've also heard the opposite, that White Oaks produce acorns every year and Red Oaks have longer cycles of five or even six years. My own experience is that the White Oaks I know produce bumper crops ever several years, and the Red Oaks seem to produce reliably every year. However, individual trees often vary considerably from the normal habit of their species. In my experience the yearly variations in the Red Oaks I know are small, and the acorns produced are always extremely bitter, however some Red Oaks seem to produce acorns like White Oaks: sweet, and in bumper crops.

That said, the Red Oaks in my yard have for the last fourteen years produced healthy crops of extremely bitter acorns every year. I've lived in this house fifteen years and every year, like clockwork, there has been a night in early November where I've woken up to a continual refrain of "pok-pok-pok-tumble", as the oaks shed the bulk of their acorns in one day.

It didn't happen this year. This article made me go out an look, and the tree is completely bare and there is very little acorn debris around the tree or the gutters.

Weird.

Still, the Northern Red Oak species is reported by some as having long annual crop cycles, and nobody really knows what might trigger a good or bad year. It stands to reason that trees in an area ought to have some kind of climatic trigger for coordinating their production variations. Otherwise, the winner would be a tree that produces lots of acorns every year.

This could be a situation where a meme gains steam because somebody reports a mysterious lack of acorns, and then others (like me) run out and look at their tree and say, "good lord, there aren't any acorns." Chance are if we'd been paying attention, we'd have noticed that there is occasionally a year in which the trees don't produce many acorns.

It's still a weird feeling, though, to read this story and realize that my trees produced hardly any acorns this year.

If this is real, it may be trees responding to a common climatic cue, a cue which is not necessarily a sign of a widespread disaster (unless you are a squirrel). I'd hypothesize that they ought to have some kind of cue that helps keep the squirrel population in check.

it was me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25943445)

i ate them all. sorry.

Squirrels with PICs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25943447)

Right up the road from this story...as it says, no acorns this year from any of our large oaks. Last year we had so many that we had to use a snow shovel to remove them. I always assumed that fluctuation between years was simply the oaks' method of overwhelming the squirrels and such...produce many, many acorns some years, so the squirrels can't keep up and more survive, and not so much other years to keep the squirrel population down in preparation of the "boom" years.

In any case, all I know is that the squirrels around here (Silver Spring, MD) are so hungry that a) >noclean yogurt containers and such are being eating out of the recycling bins, and they are now eating the Rubbermaid trash cans...not the trash...the cans.

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