world's largest living organism

In the Fishlake National Forest in Utah, a giant has lived quietly for the past 80,000 years. The Trembling Giant, or Pando, is a enormous grove of quaking aspens that takes the “forest as a single organism” metaphor and literalizes it: the grove really is a single organism. Each of the approximately 47,000 or so trees in the grove is genetically identical and all the trees share a single root system. While many trees spread through flowering and sexual reproduction, quaking aspens usually reproduce asexually, by sprouting new trees from the expansive lateral root of the parent. The individual trees aren’t individuals, but stems of a massive single clone, and this clone is truly massive. Spanning 107 acres and weighing 6,615 tons, Pando was once thought to be the world’s largest organism (now usurped by thousand-acre fungal mats in Oregon), and is almost certainly the most massive. In terms of other superlatives, the more optimistic estimates of Pando’s age have it as over one million years old, which would easily make it the world’s oldest living organism.

Unfortunately, the future of the giant appears grim. According to Paul Rogers, an ecologist at Utah State University in a October 2010 article in the Deseret News, the Trembling Giant is in danger. While the mature stems of Pando routinely die from the eternal problems of pests and drought, the regenerative roots of the organism that are responsible for Pando’s resilience are under attack as well. Rogers reported a marked absence of juvenile and young stems to replace the older trunks, blaming overgrazing by deer and elk. Without new growth, to replace the old, the Trembling Giant is vulnerable to a catastrophic, sudden withering and shrinking. Rogers confessed, “It’s slipping away very quickly.”

The quaking aspen is named for its leaves, which stir easily in even a gentle breeze and produce a fluttering sound with only the slightest provocation. The effect of this in Pando, multiplied over the tens of thousands of trees and hundred acres, can be unnerving, giving a real sense of life to the ancient, dying, trembling giant.

abcnews.go.com
Michelle Obama honors late Eunice Kennedy Shriver at 2017 ESPYs
One of the most emotional moments at the 2017 ESPYs was when former First Lady Michelle Obama honored the late Eunice Kennedy Shriver with the Arthur Ashe Courage Award.
By ABC News

Michael Rothman at ABC News: 

One of the most emotional moments at the 2017 ESPYs was when former First Lady Michelle Obama honored the late Eunice Kennedy Shriver with the Arthur Ashe Courage Award.

Shriver founded the Special Olympics in 1968 and the organization now stands as the world’s largest sports organization for millions of children and adults living with intellectual disabilities in more than 100 countries.

Obama came out to a standing ovation and then said, “I am here tonight to honor a remarkable woman.”

“Through her passionate service, she made the world more welcoming and fair,” she said. “Alongside heroes like Jackie Robinson … Muhammad Ali and Arthur Ashe, there’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver.”

A heartfelt video then played, featuring children sharing their first-person stories of how their intellectual disabilities negatively affected their lives. Children spoke about “getting shoved in lockers” at school, just because they were different.

Shriver, who died in 2009, was also mother to Maria Shriver and sister of the late President John F. Kennedy. She was inspired to start the Special Olympics because her sister Rosemary was born with intellectual disabilities.

The video explained how at the time when she began her crusade for acceptance, those with intellectual disabilities were institutionalized and marginalized. First, she began Camp Shriver in 1960 as a place for all types of children to compete, then as it grew, she dreamed of something bigger – the Special Olympics.

  • Chowder: *tears up* guys, they're out of my size in the new sharks merch
  • Holster: FINE
  • Chowder: guys, I just read that people eat sharks *sobs* WHO WOULD DO THAT
  • Dex: Another one in the sin bin
  • Chowder: Omg guys did you see that Sharks game it was so great *crys tears of joy*
  • Lardo: Dex is getting real close to that washing machine
  • Chowder: *runs in sobbing* GUYS DID YOU SEE THAT GREAT BARRIER REEF IS DEAD
  • Ransom: Actually it's not totally dead yet but it will be sOON IF PEOPLE DONT SHAPE UP AND CARE ABOUT THE ENVIRONMENT, I MEAN SERIOUSLY THIS REEF IS HOST TO 600 TYPES OF CORAL AND IS THE WORLDS LARGEST LIVING ORGANISM, ITS SICK THAT THE ENVIRONMENT IS GOING TO WASTE BECAU-
  • Dex: Ummm, fine?