Anyways, it's a new and strange idea to me that this organism, covering a mountainside, is really more properly thought of as an absolutely massive underground body that sends shoots above ground to breed and collect energy. Makes me feel weird when I consider the quantity and variety of life below my feet.
Secondly, it's 80,000 years old. That made me consider the variety of timescales that life exists in. I wonder if this is considered in the search for extraterrestrial life. Would we even be able to detect an organism whose life spans more than ten thousand years, and what about a million?
I wish we could see a timelapse of the above and below ground growth of this magnificent life form. I wonder if it has "moved" in that time, expanding and shifting into more fertile areas and atrophying in others.
Our lives (and civilization) are incredibly short on a universal time frame. This is very cool - we are the fastest creators of complexity and order we know of. We are a piece of the universe that has become sentient; (arguably) the only part capable of choosing whether to grow or die.
Our understanding of life is inherently limited by our context; an enormous tree is nearly alien yet it is very closely related to us. At a philosophical level we can begin to assess the basic requirements for life: an infrastructure that can store, propagate, modify, and execute code to alter itself and the world around it.
I like that definition. I also tend to define humans as having a large spectrum of scale interactions. We explored and sensed from nanoscopic to cosmic.
This surprised me: " The plant is estimated to weigh collectively 6,000,000 kg (6,600 short tons)"
I always tought that one ton was equal to 1,000kg. So this could be a typing mistake on wikipedia, but then I followed the link to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ton and found out that is quite a mess its definition:
"In the United Kingdom the ton is defined as 2,240 pounds (1,016 kg) (avoirdupois pounds). From 1965 the UK embarked upon a programme of metrication and gradually introduced metric units, including the tonne (metric ton), defined as 1000 kg (2,204.6 lbs). The UK Weights and Measures Act 1985 explicitly excluded from use for trade many units and terms, including the ton and the term "metric ton" for "tonne".
In the United States and formerly Canada a ton is defined to be 2,000 pounds (907 kg)."
Any case, for me, living in a country using the metric system, appears that I should use the word "tonne" as translation for "tonelada" (metric ton in portuguese). This means that I am thinking the wrong quantity whenever I read "ton" on a american text. Quite a discovery!
Generally when things are different between English and American English, the English one is more widely used due to colonialism.
I was wrong, but not disappointed.
Also in the article it mentions other clonal groups in Utah and elsewhere.