h1

why my friends are awesome, part 245013

August 18, 2010

On a camping trip this summer (the one to the Never Summer Range), I pointed out one of the things that makes aspen so cool: the “eyes” most of them have on their trunks.

They're watching you.

Naturally, after pointing this out, the logical next step is to move on to the fact that they clone themselves, and from there to the fact that the aspen groves are considered single organisms.  Aspens are pretty cool trees.  There’s one colony somewhere that’s estimated to be 80,000 years old, and weigh about 6,000 tons, which officially makes it the oldest, biggest living thing on the planet.

Now imagine that you were hiking, were unfamiliar with all of these facts, and then have just been informed that the entire tree population bordering your current trail for hundreds of yards in either direction is in fact a single organism.  A single organism with eyes on all of their trunks.  Creepy, no?  My companion thought so, too.  So when the news picked up this study yesterday on aspen reproduction, I got this email:

Date: Tue, Aug 17, 2010 at 8:58 PM
Subject: DANGER

ALIEN DOOM-TREE WILL EVENTUALLY TURN TO RAPE
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-11003684

Like I said, why my friends are awesome, part 245013.

[P.S. It was also picked up by my favorite sci-fi blog, io9 Seeing that in concert with the alien doom-tree bit made me extra happy.]

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