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3,500 Year Old Florida Tree Dies of Natural Causes

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the post-primary-burning-bush dept.

Earth 206

hondo77 writes with an excerpt from The Daily "'Mother Nature claimed one of her oldest living specimens (Monday) in a freak fire that destroyed a 3,500-year-old bald cypress tree towering over central Florida. Known as "The Senator," or simply "The Big Tree," the hollowed-out majestic timber, standing at 118 feet tall, ignited before dawn. Firefighters watched helplessly as the oldest tree east of the Mississippi — and the fifth oldest in the world — blazed and then collapsed in a heap of flaming embers.' The fire likely started by 'either a weeks- old lightning strike that smoldered until combustion occured, or friction caused by buffeting winds that ignited a spark and erupted in flames.'"

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If only trees could talk (5, Funny)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 2 years ago | (#38901901)

This one would have had a TON of boring stories about animals walking by.

Mixed feelings (5, Funny)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#38902009)

On one hand one of the oldest trees in the world is no more, but on the other hand a Senator died in a fire...

Re:Mixed feelings (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38902141)

My kingdom for a mod point...

Re:If only trees could talk (2)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 2 years ago | (#38902481)

Well, I've found that there are no boring stories, only boring writers. How well did that old tree write, anyway?

Re:If only trees could talk (4, Funny)

hvm2hvm (1208954) | more than 2 years ago | (#38902917)

Depends on how you process the wood to turn into paper.

Re:If only trees could talk (1)

fredrated (639554) | more than 2 years ago | (#38902485)

Wow, you sure get a lot of first posts. Are you retired?

Re:If only trees could talk (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 2 years ago | (#38902825)

My theory is that it's a very small shell script. We should use it to replace one of the legacy "editor" scripts, it's not even remotely credible that they're really humans.

Re:If only trees could talk (1)

uigrad_2000 (398500) | more than 2 years ago | (#38902965)

Stories appear on the firehose [slashdot.org] before making it to the first page. You can actually post to the slashdot article before it goes live on the first page, using that method.

For example, here's an example of someone making a first post before the article goes live:
http://slashdot.org/journal/277269/couple-links-that-dont-appear-to-work-any-more [slashdot.org]

Snakes alive! (1)

Zharr (879496) | more than 2 years ago | (#38901923)

Damn those pythons!

Sigh (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38901935)

Ok, I’m not normally one of the guy’s who says this... but

The hell is this doing on Slashdot?

It’s not tech related, it’s not significantly world changing to fall into the “stuff that matters” side of things, and it’s not even related to a topic that frequently interests this demographic (anyone here know off-hand where the other 4 older trees are?).

Regardless, this is a (sorta) discussion site, not a news aggregator. What is there to discuss here? Potential open source solutions to prevent this kind of thing from happening? Did the tree infringe anyone’s copyright? Can this be used as more evidence that Google is turning evil?

Lets discuss the bus strike that just started here in Halifax, Nova Scotia (Canada) instead! Huge pain in the ass traffic backed up, people scrambling to get to work, lots of people who are just plain screwed. Also, bus drivers make way more than I thought they did! I mean it’s a shitty job and all, but I figured it was a crappy paying shitty job.

Which side are you on? I kind of suspect HRM only wanted to change the rostering thing.. and threw the contracting stuff in there as something they could then take out and make the union look petty. On the other hand, the union is coming across as somewhat unreasonable. Opinions?

Re:Sigh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38901995)

I did find the story interesting (and my google reader feed lumps all my BB and /. posts together) but you're right; this story would be more appropriate for BB or an aggregator. No sarcasm; I legit agree with you.

Clarification please (1)

justthinkit (954982) | more than 2 years ago | (#38902195)

Does BB mean this [internetslang.com] or this [musingsofamuse.com] ? Google wasn't sure.
.

Whatever happened to using the full form, with the abbreviation in brackets before using the abbreviated form?

Re:Clarification please (5, Funny)

somersault (912633) | more than 2 years ago | (#38902379)

I'm guessing he means BoingBoing [boingboing.net] .

When I hear "boing boing" I just think "TITS!", but apparently it's a new aggregator..

Re:Clarification please (4, Funny)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#38902461)

When I hear "boing boing" I just think "TITS!", but apparently it's a new aggregator..

The two concepts are not mutually exclusive. In fact ....

Re:Clarification please (1)

Bitch-Face Jones (588723) | more than 2 years ago | (#38902813)

Boing-boing has been around for a while, now. I think it actually started out as a 'zine in the early 90's (remember those?)

Re:Sigh (5, Funny)

sideslash (1865434) | more than 2 years ago | (#38902001)

Actually, there's a good answer for that: One of the really fulfilling and profounding affirming activities for nerds to engage in on a tech / "news for nerds" site is to complain about articles that don't fit that profile. But the problem is that if there never were any irrelevant articles, nobody would have anything to complain about, and thus we would have a compromised experience. It's paradoxical, but everything seems to be going according to plan.

Re:Sigh (1)

sideslash (1865434) | more than 2 years ago | (#38902003)

Er, "profounding" --> "profoundly"

Re:Sigh (2)

somersault (912633) | more than 2 years ago | (#38902475)

You need to leave something to profounding fulfil the Grammar Nazis, dude.

Re:Sigh (5, Insightful)

penguinchris (1020961) | more than 2 years ago | (#38902039)

(anyone here know off-hand where the other 4 older trees are?)

This is Slashdot, so I don't expect anyone here to know this, but TFA helpfully provides information about the other oldest trees :)

Re:Sigh (3, Interesting)

Anrego (830717) | more than 2 years ago | (#38902091)

Wow.

I read the article, and totally missed that. Kind of an interesting example of conditioning. As soon as I saw the blue email link after the conclusive paragraph, my brain basically said "ok, article is over" and stopped reading. My brain probably assumed the rest of the text was the usual "other thigns you may be interested in" cruft you tend to find.

global warming! (1)

Thud457 (234763) | more than 2 years ago | (#38902355)

wow, that's not carbon-neutral...

Re:Sigh (5, Informative)

smitty777 (1612557) | more than 2 years ago | (#38902521)

There is an interesting article on the oldest trees in the world in this article [planetoddity.com] . It also has a good picture of The Senator before the fire.

Re:Sigh (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38902599)

There was an article in Mental Floss providing the information: http://www.mentalfloss.com/blogs/archives/115470

Re:Sigh (5, Insightful)

Mitchell314 (1576581) | more than 2 years ago | (#38902047)

I figured this is science/biology related, and - I know, it seems impossible - but there is nerd stuff out there that isn't just IT stuff.

Re:Sigh (0)

rwa2 (4391) | more than 2 years ago | (#38902851)

Word. I also found this infinitely more interesting than most of the legal proceedings and politics threads that parade through, even if those are somewhat more tech related.

/Had thought the oldest trees were only around ~1000 years old, and that's even after visiting Gen. Sherman.

Re:Sigh (5, Insightful)

Archimagus (978734) | more than 2 years ago | (#38902095)

While I agree it maybe doesn't belong on Slashdot, I actually live about 5 minutes from the park where this tree was and would take my kids there to see this tree. Pretty magnificent. So, I at least find it cool to see it on /. even if it doesn't "really" belong here. Also, disappointed to see it go. I don't know if my kids were old enough to really remember seeing it from the last time we went there. I had been meaning to get back there, but, you know, who expect a 3500 year old tree to be suddenly gone. Also, they now suspect arson and not natural causes as originally thought.

Re:Sigh (2)

mark-t (151149) | more than 2 years ago | (#38902513)

You live 5 minutes from the park and you don't know if your kids were old enough to remember seeing it from the last time you went there?

How is this even possible? Did they, like, never go outside or something?

Re:Sigh (3, Insightful)

Anrego (830717) | more than 2 years ago | (#38902595)

I saw lots of amazing perspective shifting stuff while getting dragged around on vacation by my parents as a kid .. and I don't remember most of it. At a certain age, stuff like this means nothing to most people.

Kinda like how stuff that put me to sleep in school has turned into a serious interest many years later. Sounds really stupid, but it was actually a jaw dropping realization that I could actually go to a museum on my own accord.. no bus or permission slips or anything required..

I think that's what was meant.

Re:Sigh (1)

mark-t (151149) | more than 2 years ago | (#38902723)

Yeah... but this tree only burned down a couple of weeks ago.

Re:Sigh (1)

squidflakes (905524) | more than 2 years ago | (#38902717)

I remember going on a school field trip to see this tree. There was a lot of grumbling and horsing around by most of the other kids, but the tree fascinated me.

Also, it gave me the chance to piss off one of my extremely religious teachers when I said "Wow, that thing is so old, it was around when they created the Jesus mythos!"

Re:Sigh (1)

WyerByter (727074) | more than 2 years ago | (#38902101)

I think the real question is what is it doing on Slashdot again. I seem to remember this story coming up when it was first published almost a month ago.

Re:Sigh (1)

Splodgey (951669) | more than 2 years ago | (#38902127)

Apparently the tree has been involved with Tweets for thousands of years.......

Re:Sigh (5, Informative)

SJHillman (1966756) | more than 2 years ago | (#38902131)

"(anyone here know off-hand where the other 4 older trees are?)"

Methuselah, believed to be about 4,800 years old. It's a species of pine tree somewhere in California. The exact location is kept a secret. This is believed to be the oldest tree still alive.
Most of the other oldest trees still living are giant sequoia scattered around California. I think Canada, Australia and Chile also have a few trees that were centuries old when Greek democracy was new.

Re:Sigh (3, Interesting)

Anrego (830717) | more than 2 years ago | (#38902173)

(tree) NERD!!!

Sorry, couldn't resist!

Also, someone just pointed out to me that they article actually lists the other 4 trees.. cleverly disguised as "further reading" cruft after the authors email. The thing about the one in California being kept secret is kinda neat though (and not mentioned in the article)! Canada isn't mentioned, but I've seen some _huge_ trees in BC .. wouldn't surprise me if one of them was comparable.

Re:Sigh (5, Informative)

jc42 (318812) | more than 2 years ago | (#38902689)

Methuselah, believed to be about 4,800 years old. It's a species of pine tree somewhere in California. The exact location is kept a secret. This is believed to be the oldest tree still alive.

Methuselah is a bristlecone pine. And there's a pretty good reason for the secrecy. The article mentions the fear of vandalism. But in the case of the bristlecones, something worse happened. In 1964, there was another one nicknamed Prometheus that was believed to be the oldest tree. The US Forest Service sent a guy in with a chainsaw to cut it down so they could verify its age. It turned out to be over 4900 years old. No older bristlecones have been found. Other forestry people were sufficiently outraged by this that it turned into a standard textbook-level warning, and people who study the oldest bristlecones refuse to report their locations, to protect them from the Forest Service as well as from common vandals.

Actually, there are a number of plants that aren't trees that are known to be older, but their living parts are all young. The textbook example is the creosote bush, which sends up offshoots around its edges, and then the central parts die off. This produces "creosote rings" that spread out across the landscape. A few have been found whose oldest remnants are dated to over 11,000 years. But the living parts are only a few centuries old.

The question "What's the oldest living thing?" turns out to be trickier to answer than you might expect. There are more than one way to define a "living thing", and there are several ways to measure age.

Re:Sigh (2)

Smivs (1197859) | more than 2 years ago | (#38902267)

Why shouldn't it be on /. ? This is a 'nerdy' item, and a rather sad one as well. Rather this than the endless, tedious and (to me and many others) redundant posts relating to US politics.

Re:Sigh (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38902331)

"The hell is this doing on Slashdot?"

There's one less tree to hug.

Re:Sigh (1)

gsgriffin (1195771) | more than 2 years ago | (#38902359)

Ditto

Re:Sigh (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38902429)

Really? An organism that's 3500 years old doesn't spark your curiosity about the natural world? How come we don't live as long? You're more intrigued by the 75 millionth language that does the same thing as before? Really? Maybe you'd be interested in the 10th story this week about an asteroid? Or maybe another delusional fantasy about colonizing the Moon? That more your speed?

hey idiot. (1, Informative)

unity100 (970058) | more than 2 years ago | (#38902447)

a 3500 year old tree is a major scientific item. a more exciting tree would be a 4500 year old tree. or a 5500 year old tree. there's one in some american desert.

Re:Sigh (1)

tompaulco (629533) | more than 2 years ago | (#38902541)

The hell is this doing on Slashdot? Selling advertising, just like all the other articles.

Re:Sigh (1)

wjcofkc (964165) | more than 2 years ago | (#38902547)

While there have certainly been a couple "WTF is this doing on Slashdot" stories over the past couple weeks, I would say this falls in well with nerd news. If a 3,500 year old tree had been discovered an article would rightfully make it's way here. 3,500 year old tree burns down deserves the same. It is scientifically interesting. I also find it ironic that your post is really just flamebait.

Re:Sigh (4, Funny)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 2 years ago | (#38902669)

Ok, I'm not normally one of the guy's who says this... but

Guy's what? Guy's sockpuppet? And which guy?

Slashdot isn't a tech site, it's a nerd site. The environmental and bioligical sciences are as interesting to us nerds as astronomy, physics, chemistry, any of the other sciences, OR technology.

What is there to discuss here?

If you hadn't tried so hard to make first post you would have been able to see for yourself.

Re:Sigh (1)

ChrisMaple (607946) | more than 2 years ago | (#38902701)

Mentioned near the bottom of the article's page is a group of 8000 year old trees discovered in Sweden in 2008. This makes them well older than the religious nutcase claim that the universe is about 6000 years old. Thus the article is well within Slashdot's flamebait threshhold, and belongs here.

Re:Sigh (1)

DarkOx (621550) | more than 2 years ago | (#38902753)

Its "news for nerds" transportation strikes happen all the time, unless there is something really unusual about yours in Halifax, its not news for nerds and outside of Halifax were people might be effected its not even news.

A tree catching fire would not be news either except this one is among the oldest in the world! That makes it pretty unusual and therefore news worthy. So it meets the news part of the criteria. Lets see how it does on the nerd part!

Well nerds/geeks are curious about the world around them sometimes to a fault. There are lots of uninteresting trees but this one is really really old, so anyone interested in botany would be fascinated, I am sure. Oh and there is both fire and possibly lightning evolved so there is something for your physics and chemistry folks. Seems like lots of room for nerd interest to me.

My recommendation is navigate away from Slashdot and check out Google news, they can probably link you to some articles about that that Bus strike in Halifax which might be more your speed.

Re:Sigh (2)

jomama717 (779243) | more than 2 years ago | (#38902783)

I have never understood these complaints. If a story generates a lot of comments and discussion, then whether or not you or some other people feel that it "belongs" on slashdot is irrelevant - it has been found interesting by enough people in the slashdot community to warrant further discussion. Stories about some really niche piece of technology that you would probably say are the heart and soul of slashdot are the ones that generate ~30 comments and quickly fade into oblivion. Interestingly you can usually spot these stories because they have a lot of acronyms in the title. I'm not saying that those stories shouldn't be posted at all, I'm just saying your criteria for what *belongs* or doesn't belong on slashdot is off base. Let the market decide.

For the record I think a story about a 3,500 year old living organism dying is incredibly interesting!

It's an omen! (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | more than 2 years ago | (#38901943)

What's the year again? (Observe confirmation bias to have a smash year this year.)

Re:It's an omen! (1)

Anrego (830717) | more than 2 years ago | (#38901981)

A good omen? :(

I guess omens are rarely good.. especially when they involve things burning :(

If only (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38901947)

If only Obamacare had come sooner!

Errr (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38901959)

Mother Nature claimed one of her oldest living specimens

Anthropomorphize much?

Too little too late (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38901969)

I live right by the park, I could have thrown a rock at the tree. It happened January 16th, this story is old.

Natural Causes (2)

batquux (323697) | more than 2 years ago | (#38901971)

Natural causes? Freak fire? Which is it?

Re:Natural Causes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38902015)

You don't think fires are natural?

Re:Natural Causes (1)

Prefader (1072814) | more than 2 years ago | (#38902019)

Are you suggesting that a fire is not natural?

Re:Natural Causes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38902055)

Sure, but a human that burns in a fire did not die of natural causes.

Re:Natural Causes (2)

batquux (323697) | more than 2 years ago | (#38902099)

Nah, it's just that "freak" fire kinda suggests otherwise to me.

Re:Natural Causes (5, Funny)

SJHillman (1966756) | more than 2 years ago | (#38902151)

If a person were to die in a naturally caused forest fire, it's generally not attributed to natural causes. It's attributed to burning in a fire.

Re:Natural Causes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38902245)

Are you suggesting that a knife, made from materials that came from the earth, is not natural?
What about bullets?

Re:Natural Causes (1)

tompaulco (629533) | more than 2 years ago | (#38902567)

Are you suggesting that a knife, made from materials that came from the earth, is not natural? What about bullets?
it's all a line-drawing game. In reality, there is no such thing as "unnatural", unless you are a believer in the supernatural. However, human beings and their inventions, processes, and affects are considered to be either a part of nature or apart from nature depending on the current agenda at hand.

Re:Natural Causes (3, Insightful)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#38902027)

To a tree a freak fire IS "natural causes." Just as being eaten by lions is "natural causes" to a zebra.

Re:Natural Causes (5, Insightful)

multisync (218450) | more than 2 years ago | (#38902223)

To a tree a freak fire IS "natural causes." Just as being eaten by lions is "natural causes" to a zebra

I suppose any death is by "natural causes," unless one dies at the hands of some supernatural entity.

Re:Natural Causes (1)

Riceballsan (816702) | more than 2 years ago | (#38902483)

Heroin is a natural plant, so an OD is natural causes by that logic. I believe natural causes is supposed to imply the body just wearing out on it's own and not caused by outside stimulants. Getting struck by lightning is pretty equally lethal for trees and humans alike. But I've never seen a death certificate attribute being struck by lightning a natural cause.

Re:Natural Causes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38902967)

Yes, and all the people in the last aircraft accident died of natural causes, because gravity is a natural cause.

Re:Natural Causes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38902035)

Isn't fire natural?

Re:Natural Causes (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38902041)

Agree. Better title would have been "oldest tree dies of smoking related causes.".

Re:Natural Causes (3, Funny)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 2 years ago | (#38902085)

Damn you, Phillip Morris!!!

Re:Natural Causes (4, Funny)

kungfugleek (1314949) | more than 2 years ago | (#38902451)

Yes. Trees need to keep the smoke inside. If you let the smoke out, they die.

Re:Natural Causes (1)

Zharr (879496) | more than 2 years ago | (#38902853)

Trees and electroic device are alike in that regard.

Re:Natural Causes (1)

hedleyroos (817147) | more than 2 years ago | (#38902803)

It was so old it was bald.

The wind caused a fire? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38901977)

More proof of global warming. Pretty soon we'll need one of these [50.28.12.208] just to step outside!

Friction Caused by Buffeting Winds?! (4, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 2 years ago | (#38901979)

In Florida? Are you serious? Does anyone else realize that unless there's a hurricane Florida (especially central Florida) is basically a dead zone for winds [anl.gov] . That's not to say a freak wind storm couldn't occur but I've lived in some pretty windy places and never heard of a fire started by buffeting winds. Lightning, yes. I've googled for it, can someone point me to evidence of this phenomena actually happening? Having tried to get a spark or start fire by rubbing two sticks together, I can tell you that it would indeed by a freak occurrence if wind did just that.

Got that right! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38902063)

First:

Seminole County investigators first pronounced the Big Tree Park fire suspicious. But as the day wore on, state arson inspectors determined the inferno was not deliberately set but rather was caused by a curious confluence of natural events described as being either a weeks- old lightning strike that smoldered until combustion occured, or friction caused by buffeting winds that ignited a spark and erupted in flames.

Then they said:

The national landmark burned yesterday from the inside out, ...

Alrighty then.

Out of curiousity, if I lit some dry grass on fire and chucked it into the hollow of the tree, I'm real curious how they could tell if it was arson?

Re:Got that right! (2)

Inda (580031) | more than 2 years ago | (#38902145)

I wondered the same.

They can normally tell if a fire was started by an arsonist by finding accelerant residue, such as petrol.

Re:Got that right! (3, Funny)

batquux (323697) | more than 2 years ago | (#38902249)

I think it was the light from Venus that was focused through a lens of marsh gas that started the fire.

Re:Friction Caused by Buffeting Winds?! (1)

SJHillman (1966756) | more than 2 years ago | (#38902197)

My best guess is that it would be a localized wind pattern caused by a hill, valley, etc or even buildings if its anywhere near a city. it doesn't take much. Combine it with exceptionally dry air and it wouldn't take much for static electricity to start arcing. If there's any source of flammable gases such as hydrogen or methane beign stuck in the tree, it would take that much less of a spark to ignite.

However, I'm still betting on lighting or a stray cigarette.

Re:Friction Caused by Buffeting Winds?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38902207)

However, I'm still betting on lighting or a stray cigarette.

But wouldn't they have found remenance of the butt?

Re:Friction Caused by Buffeting Winds?! (2)

Anne_Nonymous (313852) | more than 2 years ago | (#38902277)

>> hydrogen or methane beign stuck in the tree

So you're saying flatulent possums are responsible then?

Re:Friction Caused by Buffeting Winds?! (1)

LastGunslinger (1976776) | more than 2 years ago | (#38902367)

Not saying this couldn't happen, but central Florida is flat and humid and the closest tall buildings to that park are in Orlando, many miles away.

Re:Friction Caused by Buffeting Winds?! (1)

hedpe2003 (1735078) | more than 2 years ago | (#38902479)

My best guess is that it would be a localized wind pattern caused by a hill, valley, etc or even buildings if its anywhere near a city. it doesn't take much. Combine it with exceptionally dry air and it wouldn't take much for static electricity to start arcing. If there's any source of flammable gases such as hydrogen or methane beign stuck in the tree, it would take that much less of a spark to ignite.

However, I'm still betting on lighting or a stray cigarette.

We've had dry conditions lately here in central Florida - with the respective fire warnings given with the weather, so this sounds reasonable.

Personally my best guess at the cause is the Copenhagen Interpretation [wikipedia.org] of quantum mechanics. In absense of an observer - there both was a fire, and was not. Then add in dry conditions... and some lady's observation... and BAM. Wind waves collapse and cause a fire.

Ok, I’m not normally one of the guy’s who says this... but The hell is this doing on Slashdot?.

Does that satisfy your news for nerds desire?

Re:Friction Caused by Buffeting Winds?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38902651)

My best guess is that it would be a localized wind pattern caused by a hill, valley, etc or even buildings if its anywhere near a city. it doesn't take much. Combine it with exceptionally dry air and it wouldn't take much for static electricity to start arcing.

As somebody who lives in Florida, I will point out that an 'exceptionally dry day' is still 60% humidity here. And the thing lived in a swamp... dry winds are not in the cards.

I had seen it several times. It was an amazing tree, sad to see it go.

Re:Friction Caused by Buffeting Winds?! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38902219)

It's so improbable. Such a freak occurrence might only happen once every three and a half thousand years...

Re:Friction Caused by Buffeting Winds?! (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38902333)

I live within 30 minutes of the tree, and we hadn't had any type of lightning for well over a month or two. The whole thing comes off as a bid odd here..

Sad (2)

eternaldoctorwho (2563923) | more than 2 years ago | (#38902079)

I for one am sorry to see a living monument such as this go. I have grown up seeing the forests around my home killed due to a massive slash-and-burn, all in the name of "progress," when in fact we did not need another warehouse doomed to be shut down in 5 years. The result is that there is rarely to be seen any tree older than 25 or 30 years old. I don't know, mod me down if you want, but I believe that any currently living being that was around before the printing press was invented certainly deserves a degree of respect and a chance to keep living.

that tree (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38902157)

Dude, that tree was smoking hot.

No WAY! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38902163)

There's gotta be some way that we can tie this to global warming.. Right? Obviously this is the fault of conservatives of USA politics. Ain't no sucha a thing as "natural causes." Not as long as we got hybrid cars to sell.

Old Story (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38902167)

I live in central Florida and this happened about 3 weeks ago.

Something really old died in Florida? (5, Funny)

rbrander (73222) | more than 2 years ago | (#38902171)

Wow. I wonder if that ever happened before.

I'll miss you Treebeard (4, Funny)

StoutFiles (2471680) | more than 2 years ago | (#38902271)

You decided I wasn't an orc. I'll never forget you.

and? (-1, Flamebait)

Muramas95 (2459776) | more than 2 years ago | (#38902293)

Why the hell is it posted on slashdot...or even made the front page.

Incorrect department (0)

cadeon (977561) | more than 2 years ago | (#38902371)

This story should be coming from the pre-primary-bush-burning dept., as it's old news and therefore occurred before Florida's closed primary.

Paper ballot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38902403)

This is how nature voted in the Republican primaries.

Greenpeace explaination: Not natural causes (1)

Nidi62 (1525137) | more than 2 years ago | (#38902467)

This tree clearly self-immolated to protest deforestation and global warming. Maybe this will start a general protest among the trees and instead of an Arab Spring we will have an Arbor Spring.

wasn't natural causes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38902503)

IT WAS A FIRE
if no fire it would live , its like saying you died cause the electrical outlet blew and your home caught fire, thus it was electricity that killed you , when in facts it was improper wiring or whatever....

Fire Prevention (1)

Oswald McWeany (2428506) | more than 2 years ago | (#38902549)

If only Florida had imported elephants to prevent wild fires this tree would still be alive today.

half-life of an immortal human is 400 years (4, Interesting)

peter303 (12292) | more than 2 years ago | (#38902711)

15% of us die of accidents, violence or suicide in our 80 year lifespans. Eliminating all natural causes of death would only extend our lives so much, unless we practiced a culture of extreme safety. (This has been the theme of many scifi stories about immortals.)
Some trees may essentially immortal, but suffer from weather or animal trauma etc. Almost nothing is alive older than 10K years.

Moses (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38902751)

"That means it sprouted about the same time that biblical history has Moses talking to God via a burning bush, and when Greece was in its pre-Homeric Bronze Age."

And note, that this was merely 1000 years after Noah put all biological life (except the poor the dinosaurs) on the Ark.

It's the drought (2)

FridayBob (619244) | more than 2 years ago | (#38902867)

Florida is supposed to be subtropical with a relatively wet climate, but at the moment the place seems bone dry. Many wetlands have simply dried up and people fear that even most 'gator holes will not be deep enough for the reptiles to survive any significant frosts (the poor critters look pretty skinny as it is). Therefore, I guess it's not totally surprising that parts of the forest seem to be going up in flames spontaneously. When I lived there as a kid in the 60s and 70s, drought was never an issue, but now it has been for more than the past decade. To me, this is yet another strong sign that, climatologically, we live in a changing world.

Weeks Old Story, I mean Weeks old (2)

realsilly (186931) | more than 2 years ago | (#38902893)

This story happened weeks ago, and originally it was suspected as arson, and that it was in too dense of an area for Firefighters to reach. Here is a link to the NPR story.

http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2012/01/17/145342304/one-of-worlds-oldest-cypress-trees-the-senator-burns-in-florida [npr.org] .

This happened in mid-January. "On Monday (Jan. 16, 2012) Seminole County firefighter Al Caballero applied water to the smoldering base of The Senator. "

New York City Tree (2)

PPH (736903) | more than 2 years ago | (#38902907)

It just spent winters in Florida.

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