Hacker News new | comments | show | ask | jobs | submit login
RIP the Broccoli Tree (kottke.org)
417 points by panic 9 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 131 comments

There's so many examples of this it's just so sad.

Joshua Tree on U2 album cover destroyed: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2971368/U2-fan-pilgr...

Kids knock down 16 million year old rock formation: https://military.id.me/news/idiots-ruin-18-million-year-old-...

One man accidentally killed the oldest tree ever: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/how-one-man-accide...

World's most isolated tree knocked down by drunk driver: https://www.treehugger.com/natural-sciences/earths-most-isol...

So sad how an act of stupidity by as few as one person can eliminate something of beauty that's been around longer than tens, hundreds, thousands of their lifetimes.


> Kiidk'yaas (meaning "ancient tree" in the Haida language[1]), also known as the Golden Spruce, was a Sitka Spruce tree (Picea sitchensis 'Aurea') that grew on the banks of the Yakoun River on the Haida Gwaii archipelago, in British Columbia Canada. It had a rare genetic mutation that caused its needles to be golden in colour (rather than the usual green). Kiidk'yaas was considered sacred by the Haida people

> Kiidk'yaas was felled in January 1997 by Grant Hadwin as an act of protest against the logging industry.

> an act of protest against the logging industry

That makes zero sense. He killed an awesome, special tree to protest killing of trees. What a loser.

" I didn't enjoy butchering, this magnificent old plant, but you apparently need a message and wake-up call, that even a university trained professional, should be able to understand. . . . I mean this action, to be an expression, of my rage and hatred, towards university trained professionals and their extremist supporters, whose ideas, ethics, denials, part truths, attitudes, etc., appear to be responsible, for most of the abominations, towards amateur life on this planet."

Fighting fire with fire

A couple of those are not the same. When it happens by genuine accident it is not the same as vandalism.

I didn't call it vandalism. I consider it to be an equivalent loss whether it happened with intent, by accident, or a freak of nature. It's all sad to me.

Does it really make sense to apply the perception of loss for something that nature gives and takes without human influence?

For example, all those interesting formations and places that disappeared 1000 years ago - so we've never seen those in the first place - are those also losses?

By that logic, wouldn't be any form of natural change be huge tragedy, an endless sequence of losses?

Actually, it took 2 acts of stupidity. The vandalism, and the bureaucratic decision to help the vandal to finish the job.

How do we arrive at either of those conclusions?

I, for one, know nothing of this tree other than what I have seen just now. It's entirely possible that a trained arborist (which most cities and counties employ) looked at the tree and decided it needed to be taken down or coppiced. In fact I would argue that it's much more likely that happened than anything else.

I'm actually a little disappointed that the article jumps to weird conclusions in an attempt to be insightful.

I didn't know what the verb "coppice" means, but it turns out to mean cutting off the top of a tree so that new growth will occur: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coppicing

The 'oldest tree ever' is still alive, probably because its location is undisclosed publicly:


The “oldest tree ever” is always alive!

That's not true.

You mean "the oldest tree now" is always alive.

Waiting for the day some space-bound joy-rider flies through the Rings of Saturn and leaves big gaping holes. How many years will it take the custodian moons to clean up?

The rings are comfortably larger than Earth: http://www.arcadiastreet.com/cgvistas/images/saturn_&_earth_...

To do any damage at any speed you'd notice would be a self-correcting problem as whoever tried it would be destroyed. It's definitely not a problem you're going to see within your lifetime.

Until someone uses a gravity well projector to write "BURMA SHAVE".

The lesson here, clearly, is: tall poppies get mowed. It is known. :-/

Who would mow their poppies? Other than the Dutch?

I learned it from an Australian. Go figure. :-)

The nail that sticks up will get hammered in.

white house allows mining company to destroy this: http://www.cnn.com/2017/10/10/politics/bristol-bay-salmon-in...

That hasn't passed yet, nor has the mining company 'destroyed' it.

> Pebble still would have to apply for permits before building a mine in Bristol Bay. Two public hearings will be held in Alaska on the topic this week. And the public has until October 17 to comment on Pruitt's proposed policy reversal before it could be finalized.

I'd call that a lesson on the impermanence of beauty.

If it were ended by time or natural cause, then so be it. It's sad but it's unavoidable. Idiots are avoidable, they're just often determined and why we can't have nice things.

Or knocking over a goblin rock formation, for "safety"


Damn. I sure hope nothing happens to this famous tree that I grew up with in New Zealand:


You’re aware of the irony in posting this, right?

> That year, a well was dug near the tree, offering a hint to how it had managed to survive in the sand. The tree, only around 10 feet tall, had roots that stretched down more than 100 feet to the water table.


Note that it's a willow tree, so the vandal and workers may have "just" unintentionally coppiced it. Far from killing the tree, some of the oldest trees in the world are coppiced. Coppicing is supposed to happen in winter, but it's possible this tree could survive.

Looking at the "before" picture, the tree might itself be a spray formed when an older tree was cut.


I am not sure that it is unintentional. The observers may just have not asked what was going on. The reason I'm unsure of intent is the height of the stumps. That's rather abnormal as trees are usually cut much closer to the ground.

Also, the tree could probably have been saved. It didn't look like a cut that would have destroyed the entire tree. A good arborist could have removed that without overly damaging the rest of the tree.

The stumps are all left at unusual angles. Those aren't the result of typical notching and felling techniques. Those were cut intentionally. My guess is they were notched above that and then cut down to that height.

It may be intentional coppicing?

Yeah, the partially severed limb needed to be fully cut off for the best interest of the tree. I'm guessing the work crew saw some rot or disease or other damage, and went ahead and coppiced the whole tree.

The vandals don't care whether the tree lives or dies; they care that nobody enjoys the tree while they have to be aware of it.

I believe the OP was referencing the city workers who coppiced the tree, not the vandals who forced them to do so...

"Coppicing is a traditional method of woodland management which takes advantage of the fact that many trees make new growth from the stump or roots if cut down. In a coppiced wood, which is called a copse,"

I finally find out why the "copse of trees" at Gettysburg is called that. Thank you.

"Copse" comes from "coppice", but today means any small group of trees (not necessarily any that have been coppiced).

Can confirm. A couple of years ago the ornamental plum in my front yard died and I cut it off near the base. Almost immediately about a hundred new trunks sprouted from the stump and roots, and it was what I considered a handsome shrubbery for a year or so before my wife made me coppice the whole thing out of the ground with axe and pickup truck.

More likely the scion died and the root stock took over. It wouldn't have grown the same plum or flower.

You didn't coppice it when you removed it. Coppice is when a tree is "topped" like a haircut and then it grows back.

Not all trees are suitable for coppicing, but the ones that do grow back vigorously and are great for firewood / lumber.

I was using the word "coppice" in jest, by juxtaposing the image of complete removal-by-force with the real meaning.

You can safely coppice a willow tree any time of year and it will vigorously re-sprout. This tree will certainly come back to life.

This is tangentially related to something I've been struggling with for the last year. I began getting into photography about a year and as an attempt to surround myself with inspiration, I followed many of the top landscape photographers on Instagram. While their images are beautiful and they tend to position their photographs from the perspective of "environmentalism", I can't help but feel like they've done as much damage as anything else.

Two examples come to mind. Last year, the USFS extended the lottery permit season in the Enchantments by six weeks due to increasing popularity, no doubt fueled by the incredible pictures of it littered across Instagram. Iceland is a top destination for photographers (for good reason) and I traveled there two months ago, no doubt influenced by the pictures I've seen. But it felt like the country was beginning to get ruined by me and my fellow tourists.

It feels like we're beginning to lose the hidden gems as more and more photographers rush to be the first. But even the non-hidden gems are beginning to get exposed more and more often. But I see the same spots being visited by all photographers and I don't see how they'll handle the continued influx of people:

  * Banff NP
  * Dolomites
  * Iceland
  * Lofoten
  * Greenland
It's great that people are interested in seeing the world, but I'd say the set of people that love photographing amazing locations and preserving them is much smaller than the set of people that only care about the former. That said, I'm probably more of a contributor to this than I'd care to admit.

The key, as a photographer, is then to find the beauty elsewhere, preferably in the everyday.

I maintain an active mountain images account, but when I post from somewhere untouched, I'm deliberately vague as to the location.

I'm watching the same thing happen with a tarn on Mt. Rainier. People are figuring out its location, and soon it will be highly trafficked. Most of these places look untouched precisely because people have gone to some trouble not to touch them.

Some overuse is a worthy trade, if, when at the ballot box and the cash register, nature-aware humans make the deliberate choice to sacrifice in order to preserve that which remains.

I've had this exact discussion with my friends a several times recently. We regularly go hiking and backpacking in the mountains of upstate NY and New England, and have independently noticed the trend of people 'peak bagging' instagram hotspots over the past couple of years.

It's tough because I'm a big fan of getting people outside, and this renewed interest in visiting national parks could in theory drive more funding and interest in wildlands preservation, but in the meantime has drawn hordes of people who don't always respect the place they're visiting.

There are microcosms of the instagram top spots phenomenon you've listed all over the place as well. This past summer I went to visit a backcountry waterfall in my hometown where locals used to cool off, and could not believe how many people there were there, some clearly from far away, taking pictures of themselves in front of it. The instagram location tag for it has thousands of posts, for a place that is pretty but not really spectacular.

Here's a story about a similar location that blew up on the internet and suffered for it: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/20/nyregion/blue-hole-swimmi...

If you really like something, tell nobody. If you find beautiful waterfalls, don't tell anyone. A great fishing hole? Keep it to yourself. A great diner? Nary a soul should you tell.

I'm only slightly exaggerating.

In defiance of my above statement, I own this tree and it is my favorite tree. The forestry service cored it and it's at least 220 years old.


Living somewhere that's increasingly being overrun with disrespectful tourists, I've been making a point of keeping my travels a secret as well. I've found loads of beautiful spots and I take plenty of pictures, but those pictures are all for my own memories. I don't show them to anyone since I know I'd come back to a trashed location later. I recently went back to a small town that had almost zero tourism not long ago, only to find hordes of tourists and "X ︎LOVES Y" messages carved into walls and trees everywhere.

I can relate. I live in Vacationland. The nearest village largely exists because of tourism. I'm a bit more remote.

There's a reason the photos on my site generally aren't geotagged. (Well, aside from the fact that my DSLR's GPS isn't any good.)

Oh! That's brilliant. I usually carry a cheap camera instead of my expensive DSLR and it doesn't geotag as it has no GPS. It's disabled on my cell phone - usually. It re-enabled itself (that's my excuse and I'm sticking with it) at one point, so I manually edited the exif data.

I'm not a hugely private person (I've had countless internet friends visit me over the years) but I'm not giving up coordinates to my favorite fishing hole. As near as I can tell, only three people know about it.

I really am partially serious about telling nobody. That's how things get ruined - from your favorite diner to your favorite hidden beach. Pretty soon your favorite diner is always full and there's trash on your once secluded beach.

I'm not entirely kidding around myself. A lot of the places where I enjoy taking photos, you'd need to be a Baltimore native or a long-time resident to find, and I have no desire to change that. But when it comes to photography, I'm more about making the most out of the everyday.

I mind me of a fellow who briefly set up, on the Fourth of July, directly alongside me on the north brow of Federal Hill - he unlimbered a pair of tripods, a sack full of lenses, and a setup based on a D7100 that cost more for just the body than I paid for my entire kit. Then, after five minutes, he tore everything down again and strode purposefully off, leaving behind only a vague complaint about how "the atmosphere was wrong". I'm not sure what he meant, and since those few words were the only ones he said to me throughout his time on the hill, I have no idea how his shots might compare to my own [1] [2]. No doubt they are much better, though.

Come to think about it, I haven't posted a new gallery since before the train wreck. I'll have to make some time this weekend and fix that!

[1] https://aaron-m.com/2017/07/05/inner-harbor-july-4

[2] https://aaron-m.com/2017/07/08/bonus-shots-july-4

Those are fantastic. I don't want to derail the thread by going too far off-topic, so email is uninvolved@outlook.com (if you're interested in showing more specific examples of your work or galleries).

Thanks so much! I wasn't totally displeased with them. At risk of further derailing - everything I have that's worth showing, I put up there, albeit sometimes very belatedly. Contact info's there, or in my profile here.

I believe there's a counteracting mechanism at work that compensates (and then some) for the possible damages from tourism.

Look at Yellowstone, or the country of Guatemala, where it's the interest by visitors that provides the necessary incentives to protect the natural beauty.

The same has (somewhat) worked to reduce the risk of extinction for many species of African mammals as well.

I began getting into photography as well, around the first of the year, and the trick to me seems to be finding what's amazing in the places where you are every day. I mean, if I had the spare time to travel to places where the landscape is already amazing, I suspect I would, too. But I think it might feel like easy mode to me, if I did.

People who fly on a whim definitely can't call themselves "evironmentalists" or pretend to be versed into preserving our planet.

So many things about that are depressing, like, why would someone cut into a tree like that, and why would they decide that, if one of the trunks is gone, the whole thing needs to be decimated? Both are completely absurd.

There is an Arabic story about Hatim al-Tai’s brother. Hatim al-Tai was a great man, maybe the most generous person that has ever lived. He was a legend even when he was alive.

One day people saw his brother peeing in the holy Well of Zamzam. This is the most sacred water in Islam. They asked him why he was doing such a thing. “My brother is famous and will be remembered forever in the history,” he said. “I can never be as wise or as generous as him, so this is how I make sure I will be remembered forever.”

So am I wrong to think that by retelling this story, we make him right, thus pushing people who similarly want to be remembered forever without being "wise" to do the same?

Or maybe we're remembering him for giving us a pithy example with an even more pithy punchline that explains in some small way a fundamental part of the human mind? In that way, Hatim al-Tai’s brother was wrong. He was remembered for his wisdom, so much so that I only know of Hatim al-Tai as a way to express this story about his brother.

Whatever the reason might be for us remembering, my point still stands that by retelling the story we make it so that disrespecting others and their belief was indeed the right thing to do for him to be remembered, that is what lead to his goal being reached.

If the same thing happened but the story wasn't passed on, then it would not have been the right path to reach his goal.

For a modern reference, that is why I'm a strong supporter of not propagating the names of people committing things like mass killings for glory, like we've seen quite a few times.

No, human nature makes that so, retelling this story just communicates that knowledge of human nature.

You can still learn from misdeeds. That's a rather clever parable.

His name isn't mentioned here, only that of his brother. Which is, I suppose, exactly what he wouldn't have wanted.

I've seen this trope be used so much on TV/movies that it's doubtful that this retelling would make much difference.

> This is the most sacred water in Islam.

It was also sacred in the religions practiced in the region before Islam, which is important because Hatim died before the birth of Islam.

See the picture of the cut limb? (https://kottke.org/plus/misc/images/broccoli-tree-vandal-01....) How it looks like there's a vertical crack in the limb, and kind of black in the middle? And if you look real close at the vertical cut, it looks black inside. Other parts of the tree seem to have large black spots too.

Well limbs don't just crack vertically when they're cut horizontally. Either someone hacked at it vertically (no real reason), or that black spot is the mark of black canker, a willow disease. The only fix is to cut off the diseased limb in the dormant season. And it's almost the dormant season.

Why did all the limbs get cut off? Dunno, maybe it had to do with canker too. But remember, plants are not here for humans' amusement - they often require trimming, chopping, replanting, large culls to prevent disease spread, and all kinds of other treatment to care for them. The end result may be an ugly tree, but a tree that lives.

I could be wrong. But it's best not to dwell on the worst of things if you don't know what really happened.

since this entire topic seems philosophical, I'll go down this path --

someone is sitting at home, feeling worthless, like their life is pointless and they could disappear without anyone noticing.

but there's this tree everyone likes. people notice this tree. because you see lots of pictures of it, people must visit it often. it's a confluence.

if you were to, say, scratch your name into the bark, people would notice. you would have made some difference on the world, for better or worse.

if you were to cut a branch down, people would DEFINITELY notice. people would think about you, when no one would before. even if the thoughts aren't positive.

in other words, to not feel so small and meaningless.

Or rather 3 teenagers got drunk, and wanted to do something whats "breaking the law" or "pissing off hipsters" or "really punk". and cut the tree.

Which is really the same thing, if you think about it.

Actually, yes. Some friends tend to magnify the insecurities that a lonely/insecure person might feel.

What is doing something on a dare besides a play to battle the insecurity of being labeled a "coward"?

> No, you do it for the lulz - because you'll be amused when you see people whining about it on the internet.

Which is the same as "knock, knock, ginger" or as:

> if you were to cut a branch down, people would DEFINITELY notice. people would think about you, when no one would before. even if the thoughts aren't positive.

>in other words, to not feel so small and meaningless.

Aka negative attention, trolling, NS (narcissistic supply). Its all more or less the same league, explained by what I quoted from user 2bitencryption. 2bitencryption's entire quote explains the full process in detail. Kudos.

I agree, kids (and teens) are immature and don't have the tools to make correct choices.

Too many adults are no better

The same reason people assassinate famous actors and political figures: because doing so means you'll be famous too.

I think it's close to, but not quite, that. Rather than wanting to be famous per se, I imagine they want to be able to observe their own impact on the wider world. A thrill that it's even possible - most life for most people sees little observable impact on most of the world. Such acts are a (terrifying, tragic) shortcut.

This is, of course, speculation. But this is a philosophical thread.

Please consider not doing that.

Indeed. You could also pick a right with North Korea (or the US) for just the same kinds of 'reasons'.

It's hardly clear from this particular blog post but if you look at what's been reported in newspapers almost all the trunks had been sawed in.

As for why, who knows, but my guess is we're looking at a physical world manifestation of the same personality that drives many (non-professional) internet trolls. Sadistic and attention seeking.

It's less trolling and more griefing [1]. Some people just want to watch the world burn.

I personally know a real-life griefer who spends his time disrupting discussion boards. He's an intelligent and creative guy, but he sees his mission as being a counterweight to all the positive, friendly discourse that is going on. I'm glad he limits himself to online activities.

In some venues -- the multiple infamous flying penis attacks in Second Life, for example -- griefing can be fun and even beautiful. Rarely in real life.

[1] https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Griefer

I get it, a tree that has had a limb artificially removed is ugly - in my eyes at least. Even trees that are managed can look rough around the edges, whereas the natural shape of trees can be absolutely beautiful. I've tried to tame some large trees that I am stewarding, and to be honest they'd probably look better cut right back to the ground. Thin limb cuts you can get away with, but a severed fat limb looks pretty dreadful.

See the top comment above yours, cutting down the whole thing once damaged seems to have been the proper way to care for the tree long term.

I honestly thought this was going to be about some sort of sorting algorithm I hadn't heard about until it was already outdated.

Last year, in Death Valley National Park, in a place called the Racetrack Playa (home to the moving rocks), some excrement-brained jackasses, drove their vehicle onto the playa while it was wet from a recent storm. The tire tracks they left will be visible now for possibly centuries ruining for visitors what was a pristine environment. Staking their naked, honey-coated bodies on top of an army ant anthole might not be enough punishment.

My most favorite hobby is taking long-distance off-road trips in my old Land Rover Defender with my buddies. We go to places far off the beaten path, taking the smallest and least-used doubletrack trails that we can find. I've written [1][2] about these on some of the popular forums for this stuff and post a lot of photos. People often ask for GPS coordinates of the great campsites that we discover but I never, ever give them out and I'm purposefully vague and sometimes deceptive about their actual location.

This story is why.

Like the saying goes, call something paradise and kiss it goodbye. I blame the people who publicize these places as much as I blame the people who fuck them up. The assholes of the world cannot be trusted with beauty. They will always defile it or love it to death.

[1] http://forum.expeditionportal.com/threads/146545-The-Owyhee [2] http://forum.expeditionportal.com/threads/112686-Northwest-b...

> I blame the people who publicize these places as much as I blame the people who fuck them up

I think that's a questionable apportionment of blame.

Lest we blame the internet, attacking beloved trees is nothing new:


And in fiction, there is Bilbo's Party Tree:


I agree that the perpetrator needs a punishment, but nine years is a very, very long time. Around here few first-time murderers need to sit that long.

Agreed that nine years is probably (not knowing all the details) disproportionate.

But the Wikipedia article mentions the tree is sacred to the Comanche. Compared to what he would have endured at their hands hundreds of years ago, had he been caught by them, he's lucky :)

It can even be done as a form of political protest: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/One_Tree_Hill_(New_Zealand)#Ne...

The article brought this tree attack to mind https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Auburn_Tigers#Toomer.27s_Trees...

The vandal was sentenced to 9 years in prison? That seems quite high to me. Do tree vandals normally get such harsh punishments?

The article mentions that he used Velpar. A large part of his sentence may stem from him having contaminated ground water (in centuries past, a crime only punishable by death most cruel).

The thesis of the article seems to be summed up in the last paragraph:

> our collective attention and obsession, amplified by the speed and intensity of the internet & social media, tends to ruin the things we love: authors, musicians, restaurants, actors, beloved movies, vacation spots, artists, democracies and even a tree that became too famous to live.

I think this is an important point. Yes public attention and mass media existed before the internet but we all know that modern social media has changed the way notoriety and reputation work. I agree with the author because I think that, for example, in the world we had during the 80's or early 90's Justine Sacco would still have a job and the US Presidential campaign would have been different.

This is only tangentially related, but the story of Kiidk'yaas, the Golden Spruce, cut down in 1997 as an act of protest, is fascinating:



This is an apt metaphor over how, when hegemonic, the cultural forces of Globalism cut away the branches of local culture, leaving a stump representing what the local culture once was.

Of course, if this were an act of coppicing, it's a renewal of sorts, and the tree will once again grow, more robust than ever, as the Phoenix rises from it's ashes.

If you're bummed about Broccoli Tree, you might want to make some quality time to spend with your favorite (extant) tree.

Nothing lasts forever, folks. It's all going to be over before you know it.

Most trees last far longer than people. But of course that's only on average.

Does anyone look at this from an economic standpoint? I think this is just an (unfair) form of taxation for being famous. Someone or something became too famous. People want a "cut" of the fame (in this case, it was literally the cut, ha ha). It's interesting to think how we can redistribute this type of "wealth" among people. I can think of Twitter replies or blog trackbacks as a primitive way to achieve it, but what can the society/government do?

edit: economical -> economic

That's an interesting question, and plays into some things I've been thinking about across a number of domains.

There's the role of fame itself, which is related to, but not the same so far as I see, as power. Both are ordinal -- it's a lot better to be the most famous vs, say, the 10th most famous, in ways that having only, say, $90 rather than $100 isn't. But there's something you're giving up for fame -- particularly privacy and autonomy. There's a risk to it (and there are numerous artists, politicians, and businesspeople who've been attacked, kidnapped, or murdered).

In biological evolution, there was a stage at which the first carnivorous organisms appeared. Before that, it was pretty much OK to let it all hang out, and just sort of slime around on the seafloor, munching on plants. Afterward, defences (and some offences) like shells and pincers and teeth emerged. You needed to protect yourself.

And while such defenses still exist, most animals now don't have heavy body armor. It's too heavy, and too cumbersome. There's hide and fur, tails to swat away annoying things. But also social habits -- the grooming behaviours of primates and other animals in particular. "I'll pick parasites off your back if you'll pick them off of mine." Standards and norms of behaviour.

The problem of too much fame, especially for lifeforms which aren't aware of the problem or cannot defend themselves (or move or hide, as with trees, hell, even rock formations), is one that's been around for a while. It definitely pre-dates the Internet as mulitiple posts here note. I've run across items about geotagged images of rhinoceroses, or of rare plants, or other treasures.

There's this item from a few days ago:


As for how to deal with the problem socially, I think that may be the role of taboo. That's taking the matter beyond economics to an extent, as taboo puts an infinite cost or price to doing a thing.

"Very soon after, it was decided by some authority that the vandalism meant the entire tree had to come down." Huh? Why?

Just like The Giving Tree from Shel Silverstein realized. Sometimes we take things too far.

Why would they bring down the whole tree if it's just vandalized?

This looks to be intentional. I hope those vandals get caught.

Prime example of the observer effect.

Mother fucker.


Emotionally troubled male, check. Probably also wears an eye patch and rides a motorcycle, lonely child, 5’2”?

That flavor of case cracking only works reliably for Sherlock Holmes.

I’m worried you might be creating a totem of your adversaries. In-group talks about their imagined version of the out-group, furthers polarization, prevents dialogue.

> he (because it's probably a male)


Yes. It was most likely a male who took a saw to that tree. Is that a shocking statement?

For all the down voters I offer 10 to 1 odds if you are willing to bet that the person who did this was female.

This will be buried but in case you see it -- here's a better methodology for thinking about confidence in something and betting on it;



Why is this on Hacker News?

One of the definitions of hack is "cut with rough or heavy blows".

Also, "anything that gratifies one's intellectual curiosity" is on-topic here. I'd qualify this as that, especially since the philosophical discussion in a thread further up.

It's on Hacker News not because of the tree itself. It's on Hacker News because the Internet coverage of the tree is what made it notable enough to vandalize. Many of us build the tools of an online society. We live largely within that online society, but not exclusively.

Why wouldn't we care about the acts carried out offline being influenced by our activities online?

> because the Internet coverage of the tree is what made it notable enough to vandalize.

Interesting speculation, but trees have been vandalized for centuries...

That's true, but the article was about a particular tree, a famous tree, that was famous from online exposure. There's plausible speculation that this fame is why it was vandalized, but that speculation was made in the article. It doesn't require speculation about that vandalism on my part to reason about why that makes the story quite fit for HN.

Why do people insist on using this line to criticize the relevance of submissions to the community? You're presumably arguing submissions like this degrade the quality of discussion, but won't submit any reason it isn't relevant to the board. If all you're looking to do is shit in the punchbowl there's other boards for that, and if you think it's completely and blatantly obvious the submission is unsuitable there's a "flag" button available to call a discussion to the attention of the moderators.

My 2 cents, I believe it belongs here because the question of whether social media is a net benefit to society is frequently debated here, and this article uses the tree as an example to argue that it is a net negative. There's some interesting discussion in this thread about attention-seeking vandalism in the context of the internet.

Because someone submitted it.

lol I see what you did :)

Why not? If it wasn't interesting people wouldn't have up voted it. We each have our own interests.

Before clicking I expected the link to be about a data structure.

.. and someone else thought hacker news was about the lumber industry.

Seriously though, even though not related, this was a good article. I guess it goes without saying that if you care about something then don't obsess over it publicly too much, since the ruiners /will/ come.

Now we know what the "B" in B-tree stands for! ;)

Wikipedia has a section on the etymology of the B-tree name. One of the original inventors says "B" stands for "Boeing", "Bayer" (another inventor), and "balanced".


ditto. Haha. It was a good read though.

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact