Category Archives: Perception

Methuselah – The World’s Oldest Tree

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Methuselah – The World’s Oldest Tree

 

Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Bernd das Brot Team
N 37° 22.724 W 118° 09.942
11S E 396795 N 4137524
Quick Description: Earth’s oldest living inhabitant “Methuselah” has reached the age of 4,768 years.
Location: California, United States
Date Posted: 9/14/2006 3:20:05 PM
Waymark Code: WMQDF
Published By: Groundspeak Regular Member jcak1979
Views: 1068
Long Description:

Of the many scenic wonders found within the Inyo National Forest, one of the most amazing is the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest, located between 10,000 and 11,000 ft. in the White Mountains, east of the Sierra Nevada. These trees are the oldest known living trees on earth. Here in the White Mountains, the ancient trees have survived more than 40 centuries, exceeding the age of the oldest Giant Sequoia by 1,500 years.For trees that old, one would expect giants, but Bristlecone pines look more like weathered dwarfs than like old giants. They add no more than an inch per century to their girth. The harsh climate above 10,000 ft elevation and very poor soil conditions don’t let things grow too big. As a matter of fact, Bristlecone pines are the only trees to have adapted to these conditions. That gives them a competitive edge allowing for a long and undisturbed life. For more on their survival skills, read
A Tree’s Secret to Living Long.

The above coordinates refer to “point 15” of the self-guided tour of the Methuselah Loop Trail. This point is called
The Ancient Forest. Each Bristlecone pine, from young seedling to ancient relic, has an individual character. And in the Ancient Forest, where trees had more than four and a half millennia to develop their character, each tree is a true individual. Every single tree in the Ancient Forest is at least 4,000 years old, many reach 4,500 years and the oldest one – Methuselah – has a confirmed age of 4,768 years which secured its place in the Guinness Book of World Records. In order to protect Methuselah from souvenir hunters and people who would just “love it to death,” the forest service does not disclose its location. It only hints that Methuselah is on of the trees right along the trail in the Ancient Forest. So, we took pictures of the most magnificent trees along that trail. Rest assured that each and every one of them is older than any other tree you have ever seen and that one of them is Methuselah.
(Click on the thumbnails to get larger pictures).

It could be any one of theese truly old guys . . . . . . but we think this one is the most likely candidate.

If these trees could talk they would tell us what it means to be 4,600 years old:

“The oldest of us started growing at around the time when the Great Pyramid of Giza was completed (2600 BC). We were 600 years old when Stonehenge was completed (2000 BC) and 800 years at the beginning of the Bronze Age (1800 BC). When we were 1,100 years old (1500 BC) the Maya Civilization rose in Central America and when we were 1,300 years old (1300 BC), Moses lead the Hebrews from Eygpt to the land of Israel. Most of us were already 1,400 years old when the ancient Pueblo civilization rose in North America while at the same time, at the other end of the world, the Greeks fought in the Trojan War (1194 BC). We were 1,800 years old at the beginning of the Iron Age (800 BC) and some of us reached already 1,900 years when the city of Rome was founded (753 BC). We were close to 2,100 years old when Gautama Buddha achieved enlightenment and founded Buddhism in India. When we were 2,100 years old, China’s first emperor built the Great Wall of China (528 BC) and when we were 2,500 years old, Julius Caesar was born. We were 2,600 years old when Jesus Christ was born and 3,200 years old when Muhammad founded Islam (610). King William conquered England when we were 3,760 years old (1066) and Christoph Columbus crossed the Atlantic Ocean when we were 4,370 years old (1492). We were almost 4,400 years old when the United States declared independence and had reached the age of 4,450 when California joined the Union. And we keep getting older still!

To see the largest Bristlecone Pine tree, visit Patriarch Grove, 12 miles down the road.

There are also two geocaches in the area. Check here and here.

Date the Record Happened: Ongoing

Where did this record happen: White Mountains, California

Who Broke this record: pinus longaeva

Is there something to see here?: Yes

What is there to see here: The oldest trees in the world

Website that Shows record happening or area now: [Web Link]
Visit Instructions:
To record this as a waymark you must take a picture of yourself or your GPS in front of the location where the record happened and give a short description of your visit to this location

Extreme Political Attitudes May Stem from an Illusion of Understanding

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Extreme Political Attitudes May Stem from an Illusion of Understanding

Apr. 29, 2013 — Having to explain how a political policy works leads people to express less extreme attitudes toward the policy, according to new research published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.


The research suggests that people may hold extreme policy positions because they are under an illusion of understanding — attempting to explain the nuts and bolts of how a policy works forces them to acknowledge that they don’t know as much about the policy as they initially thought.

Psychological scientist Philip Fernbach of the Leeds School of Business at the University of Colorado, Boulder and his co-authors were interested in exploring some of the factors that could contribute to what they see as increasing political polarization in the United States.

“We wanted to know how it’s possible that people can maintain such strong positions on issues that are so complex — such as macroeconomics, health care, foreign relations — and yet seem to be so ill-informed about those issues,” says Fernbach.

Drawing on previous research on the illusion of understanding, Fernbach and colleagues speculated that one reason for the apparent paradox may be that voters think they understand how policies work better than they actually do.

In their first study, the researchers asked participants taking an online survey to rate how well they understood six political policies, including raising the retirement age for Social Security, instituting a national flat tax, and implementing merit-based pay for teachers. The participants were randomly assigned to explain two of the policies and then asked to re-rate how well they understood the policies.

As the researchers predicted, people reported lower understanding of all six policies after they had to explain them, and their positions on the policies were less extreme. In fact, the data showed that the more people’s understanding decreased, the more uncertain they were about the position, and the less extreme their position was in the end.

The act of explaining also affected participants’ behavior. People who initially held a strong position softened their position after having to explain it, making them less likely to donate bonus money to a related organization when they were given the opportunity to do so.

Importantly, the results affected people along the whole political spectrum, from self-identified Democrats to Republicans to Independents.

According to the researchers, these findings shed light on a psychological process that may help people to open the lines of communication in the context of a heated debate or negotiation.

“This research is important because political polarization is hard to combat,” says Fernbach. “There are many psychological processes that act to create greater extremism and polarization, but this is a rare case where asking people to attempt to explain makes them back off their extreme positions.”

In addition to Fernbach, co-authors include Todd Rogers of the Harvard Kennedy School; Craig R. Fox of the University of California, Los Angeles; and Steven A. Sloman of Brown University.

How Color Can Confuse Consumers Into Buying Junk Food

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How Color Can Confuse Consumers Into Buying Junk Food

The food industry doesn’t want you to have simplified food labels—so they’re using every trick in the book to keep you uninformed.
March 21, 2013
How Color Can Confuse Consumers Into Buying Junk Food

Is that a food label or hieroglyphics? (Photo: Getty Images). 

There’s a kind of turf war going on over the real estate that is the front of the box of your breakfast cereal. And your snack crackers. And your candy bars. Really, over what you see when you first look at pretty much any packaged food head on.
 
If (like me) you’re a get-in-and-get-out sort of supermarket shopper, you may not have even noticed the neat little labels that have started appearing on the front of lots of foods. They seem utterly benign, taking nutrition info that’s typically relegated to the back or side of the package and bringing it up front: how many calories per serving, say, how much saturated fat, sodium and sugar—maybe how much calcium, iron or fiber, too.
 
But, as they say, the devil is in the details.
 
Despite calls by public health advocates and nutrition experts for more consumer-friendly labels (in the face of an American obesity epidemic where lots of people seem to think Froot Loops constitute a serving of fruit), the Food and Drug Administration has been moving at a snail’s pace toward regulation of “front-of-package” (FOP) labels.

Both Mark Bittman and Marion Nestle (a.k.a. perpetual thorns in the side of big food makers) have called for radical new labeling, with Bittman proposing a super easy-to-read label last fall in The New York Times that would, in a glance, communicate to consumers how nutritious a product is, as well as how natural and its social/environmental impact. The label is color coded like a traffic light: red, yellow, green. (No real guessing about the meaning of those colors.)
 
And, you know, the likelihood of food makers going for Bittman’s scheme is about the same as Cap’n Crunch being named to the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
 
A couple years ago, the Institutes of Medicine recommended that the FDA allow just four items on FOP labels: calories, saturated and trans fats, sodium and sugars. Then the food industry jumped in with its own “Facts Up Front” labeling plan.
 
You still get the four, but food makers then can add whatever they think you might like to hear, too. You pause because you see a product has, say, 500 mg of sodium per serving—but then you look to the right and see it has 10 percent of the daily value of calcium, so you toss it in your cart.
 
Critics of these relatively new labels say they confuse consumers—and now, it seems, it’s not just what the labels say that might be arguably deceptive. It’s what color they are.
 
Remember Bittman’s red, yellow and green proposal. Easy to understand, right? But what if there were no red or yellow. What if everything was just good, “all-natural,” “green-means-go” green?
 
As The Atlantic reports, Cornell researcher Jonathon Schuldt put FOP labels to the test. He asked a group of almost a hundred students to imagine themselves hungry and standing in line in the grocery store, then showed them one of two pictures of a candy bar. The images were the same, except the FOP calorie label (which said the candy bar was 250 calories) was colored either red or green.
 
We like to think we’re smart enough to outwit those wily marketers, but the joke may be on us, as Schuldt’s simple test reveals. Participants in the study were more likely to think the candy bar—the same darn candy bar—with the green label was healthier than the one with the red label.
 
Schuldt devised a similar experiment online, asking participants to rate how much they took the idea of healthiness into account when deciding what food to buy, then showing them candy bars with either green or white nutrition labels. Participants who had said healthiness was important to them ranked the candy bars with white labels as less healthy—but not the green-labeled candy bars.
 
Kermit was wrong: It may be too easy being green.