unfortunate

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http://www.ananova.com/news/story/sm_892690.html?menu=news.quirkies.quirkygaffes
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"We were just following orders!"
How sad.
djb
--
"I'm a man, but I can change... If I have to... I guess." -- Red Green

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How do you mistake a 500 year old Oak tree for a 5 year old Ash?
I understand that another group came the next day and only found the 500 year Oak as the 5 year old Ash was taken down the previous day and the Oak was the only one left. BUT the first sentence said that, German council employees mistakenly felled one of the country's most famous trees after mistaking it for a five-year-old ash.
Again I ask, how do you mistake a 500 year old tree for a 5 year old tree?

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Easy. You just equip a few high school dropouts with a chainsaw.
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Florida voters?

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George responds:

In Germany?
Charlie Self "If the misery of the poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin." Charles Darwin
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ash" that they were to remove
The work order quite likely read something along the lines of "go to [location] and remove the marked tree."
They get there, and there is _only_one_ tree -- well it's "obvious" that that's the right tree, isn't it? <wry grin>
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You are making an assumption here. It was specifically stated that the they mistook it as a 5 year old Ash.
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They abviously don't know their ash from a hole in the ground...
djb
--
"I'm a man, but I can change... If I have to... I guess." -- Red Green

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Leon wrote:

Robert is, I think, quite correct that they *probably* weren't actually told what we've heard they were told. Note the emphasis, because this is all just about probabilities, and opinions, unless one of us was there...
(And thinking it's more likely that it happened exactly as stated is putting much more credibility and accuracy into the media than is reasonable.)
-Peter
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And I being a reasonable thinker would agree that they went to cut a tree down and there was only one to cut down. But then again, this was a one of the country's most "FAMOUS" trees and one would also assume that it would be a good idea to double check before cutting down a Famous tree.
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If it was a famous tree and it was cordned off or marked with a sign, I might agree. Take a couple of numbsculls with a chainsaw any any tree is fair game. Especially if it is the only tree.
Leon, I can assure you that there are many people in this world that would have cut that tree down with no hesitation and no forethought. I have a couple of people at work that would do it. If you told them to go out back and take a big pile of dirt and fill in the hole, they would start digging at Mount McKinley to fill in the Grand Canyon with no thought of the consequences. Ed snipped-for-privacy@snet.net http://pages.cthome.net/edhome
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It was indeed described as a Famous tree.
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at minimum wage you are not payed to think:-) but seriously, in a job like that I highly doubt they are encouraged to ask questions.
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Time you revisited your qualifications as a human being. These include respect for work itself, not the paycheck, and the obligation to do it right, above all.
Come to think, you're anything but unique....

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http://pages.cthome.net/edhome
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I can honestly say that I have been fortunate enough to have never worked with anyone that dumb.
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The reportage looked entirely credible to me. As long as you read it _carefully_. A description of 'what happened' is not indicative of _how_ it came to happen. Tree 'A' _was_ mistaken for tree 'B' (which was no longer there). *HOW* the mis-identification happened, and _what_ identification information was available to those who made the mistake is *NOT* specified.
It's easy to 'read into' the "description" of trees A and B, that _that_ *was* the identifying information available to those who made the mistake; but such an 'assumption' is *unjustified*.
If the removal crew _had_ been given the description of a '5 year old ash', *and* the reporter knew that for a fact, the story line would have been much more along the lines of "the crew, having been told to remove a 5 year old ash, removed a 400 year old oak instead".
The actual language in the story conveys the reporter's _lack_of_knowledge_ of the *causative* events, while accurately describing the _results_ of the actions.
The story _is_ lacking in 'depth', as far as "how" the screw-up came to pass -- _why_ did the 2nd crew get sent? _what_ were they told? etc., etc.
However, what _is_ there, looks to be an *accurate* description of the facts of the occurrence. Far higher quality reportage than is the norm in the U.S., today. <wry grin>
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On Sat, 17 Apr 2004 22:57:28 +0000, snipped-for-privacy@host122.r-bonomi.com (Robert Bonomi) wrote:

If one peruses the other stories on that web site, the content is similarly concise, lacking in detail in a manner similar to the oak story.
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Of course I am. I even *said*so*. That's what the word "probably" means, when used in the context of supposed causative events.

FALSE TO FACT. It was _not_ so stated.
The lead paragraph of the story constitutes an 'editorial comment' by the author of the story. It is 'descriptive' of the events that occurred, it is _not_ a 'statement of fact' regarding HOW THINGS HAPPENED.
Tree A was, effectively, "mistaken" for tree B, yes. Although tree B was no longer present at the time of the mistake.
Absent seeing the *ACTUAL*INSTRUCTIONS* given to the workers, one cannot know what information they had to identify the tree they were supposed to remove.
You have to read the story a little more critically.
The _facts_ one can glean from the reportage: 1) the 'famous' 500-year old oak tree existed 2) an "five year old ash" tree growing nearby was getting in the way 3) a decision was made by the council to have the 'offending' tree removed 4) a crew was dispatched to do just that. And they did so. 5) a second crew was dispatched, the next day -- presumably the result of a scheduling error -- and removed the *ONLY*TREE* to be found. 6) This second tree was *not* supposed to be removed. 7) The oak, after being felled, was cut into firewood-size pieces. END OF FACTS
_What_ the instructions to the crews were, is *not* specified. HOW they were to identify the tree to be removed is *NOT* specified.
Tree removal crews -- if this _was_ a crew 'dedicated' to that purpose, and if it was just a 'general maintenance' crew, the lack of 'relevant' knowledge is even more likely -- are *NOT* trained in identifying the age, or the species of a tree. They're told "thus-and-such tree is in the way, remove it". Usually all they have is a location, and *MAYBE* a 'mark' that _somebody_else_ put there to identify the particular tree as 'the one to be removed', *IF* there is ambiguity (i.e. if there is more than one tree there. You look for the mark if there is any question about "which tree" is to be removed. when there is _only_one_ tree at the specified location,
In this case, when the 2nd crew showed up, there was _only_one_tree_, there was little reason for them to suspect that there 'had been' more than one tree at the location, or that they should have been looking for a 'marked' tree among multiple trees.
I have, myself, seen a *LOT* (easily 500+) of similar work-orders -- admittedly *not* from this town in Germany. Of the ones I _have_ seen, none of them specified the age, nor species of the tree to be removed. The orders to the removal crew read: "Go to _such-and-such location_, remove the _N_ marked tree(s)."
Note: You'd think anybody with half-a-brain would be able to recognize a dying Elm tree, but they still spray-painted a 2-foot plus 'mark' on the tree to identify it to the crews. And, on occasion, even -that- was insufficient. In one case, a dying (but *unmarked*) ironwood was removed, while the (early stages, *marked) diseased elm was left standing.
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