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Beautiful Words

I read The Book of Eels by Patrik Svensson this past weekend and enjoyed every page. It has the perfect mix of quirky natural history and personal narrative that makes a highly engaging linear story. I strongly recommend it. In addition to learning about the fascinating and mysterious life cycle of the eel, I also came across a handful of other shiny new things:

1. New words!

Gossamer: (noun) the fine film of cobwebs seen floating in the air or caught on trees/bushes; (adj) sheer, light, delicate, or tenuous.

What a beautiful word. Fun side fact: it's also the name of a Looney Tunes character, one of the minor ones - a large, red, hairy thing that wears tennis shoes. Wikipedia says its name was meant ironically.

Moire: (noun) silk fabric that's been treated to give it a rippled appearance; (adj) having a rippled, lustrous finish

I saw this word used to describe the surface of a body of water. It's French and pronounced "mwar" which in my opinion further adds to its allure.

Check out some serouis moire behind the kayak on a lake in PA

2. Location of the Sargasso Sea

I've always (mistakenly) thought the Sargasso Sea was just another name for the Caribbean Sea. WRONG. It's an area in the Atlantic Ocean and the only sea without any land boundaries. Instead it's defined by ocean currents: the Gulf Stream, the North Atlantic Current, the Canary Current, and the North Atlantic Equatorial Current. This means that its boundaries also vary due to the dynamic nature of these large currents.

Source: Wikipedia public domain

3. Terminology!

I'm a sucker for terminology, particularly if it's biology, zoology, or geology-based. Check out this pair: anadromous versus catadromous.

Anadromous refers to an animal migrating from the sea then up rivers in order to spawn, like the salmon. Compare this to:

Catadromous which instead refers to an animal migrating the opposite direction: from rivers down to the sea in order to spawn, like eels.

Want more fun? Add in diadromous which is a general term meaning migratory between sea and fresh water.

That's all for now. Happy curio collecting!

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