The tree that inspired Dr. Seuss's The Lorax has fallen

The tree thought to have inspired Theodor Seuss Geisel's 1971 book The Lorax has fallen down. The Monterey Cypress tree stood for 80 to 100 years at Ellen Browning Scripps Park in La Jolla, California, Geisel's home for almost 50 years. From CNN:

Tim Graham (of the San Diego Parks and Recreation Department) said there is "no definitive cause on why it fell..."

The city plans to salvage the large trunk section in hopes of repurposing it, Graham said.

image: Bryan Fernandez/Flickr (CC) Read the rest

Dr Seuss estate has crushed a kickstarter for a Seuss/Trek mashup

An all-star team of comics and science fiction people -- impressario Glenn Hauman, writer David "Tribbles" Gerrold, and illustrator Ty Templeton -- had their kickstarter for a Seuss/Trek parody "Oh, The Places You'll Boldly Go" unceremoniously shut down when the Seuss estate's notorious attack-lawyers threatened legal action, without any regard for the clear fair use at play. Read the rest

New original Dr. Seuss book out today!

The first original Dr. Seuss book to be published in 25 years, "What Pet Should I Get?," is finally out today! Theodor Geisel, aka Dr. Seuss, wrote the book sometime between 1958 and 1962 and his wife, Audrey Geisel, found the text and drawings in a pile shortly after he died in 1991. Read the rest

TOM THE DANCING BUG: The Lorax Speaks for the Trees, and Now the SUVs


I Am The WiMax and I Speak for the Trees

A breathless report from IDG News yesterday spread like a forest fire: Wi-Fi kills trees! Kills 'em dead! Oh n03s!!

Radiation from Wi-Fi networks is harmful to trees, causing significant variations in growth, as well as bleeding and fissures in the bark, according to a recent study in the Netherlands. All deciduous trees in the Western world are affected, according to the study by Wageningen University.

Hurray for credulity! Thousands of media sites and blogs picked up the story, adding new details, and rarely questioning the bizarre claim, despite the statement later in the same news item that only 20 trees were tested in one city, that researchers were not named, and it wasn't noted whether or not the study was published or peer reviewed.

I turned, as I always do, to Gawker's Valleywag to bring sense and perspective to an issue. Wait. What? No, seriously. Valleywag's Adrian Chen found a public statement from the Dutch spectrum regulator (translation). The study took place indoors for three months with a variety of plants exposed to six Wi-Fi devices. Previous studies showed no harm. The work hasn't yet been published.

I suppose BoingBoing readers are used to hearing sensational claims based on small-cadre studies issued in advance of peer review. Nonetheless, this one seemed particularly strange. Perhaps it was the combination of environmental harm, the fear of radiation (electromagnetic or otherwise), and the imprimatur of a university. Urban trees, which were apparently part of the focus of this study, are under tremendous stress, and tree cover in cities worldwide has been drastically reduced, although efforts in many places are underway to counter this. Read the rest