Two extremes, one of excess and the other of deficiency

…. and what was reserved for the future? – Jules Vern

For so long I forgot about this book. It was a book of my childhood that perhaps paved way to my wonder of the depths of the ocean. Making that trip to the library growing up, my attention was always directed to the sea as it continues to. I still visit the library often and at any given time have at least three books out. I put aside the “kindle” as I missed the smell and feel of a good book and  going to book stores and libraries. A  book recommendation is always appreciated but to note, I have not read much fiction since I was as kid. I am not a “fifty shades of grey kinda lady” so often I don’t get to discuss what I am reading much. At the present time I can tell you I have  books out or purchased recently on the following:

  • The historical account of the shark attacks in NJ in 1916
  • A book on Leatherback Turtles and their journey/ history (yes, because of what happened)
  • In the Heart of the Sea – the incredible story of the wreck of the whaleship Essex
  • A book about a Commercial Fishermen and his family and legacy
  • A (very old) shell book

For the past year I keep running across these amazing pictures of nautilus’. It’s made its way back from my childhood curiosity to full-fledged wonder lately. So keeping with the theme of learning everyday :


During prehistoric times, there were about 10,000 different species of nautilus, but only a small handful are known to survive today. The nautilus is a mollusk and a member of the cephalopod family. It is closely related to other cephalopods such as the squid, cuttlefish, and octopus. Like most cephalopods, it can use jet propulsion to attain speeds of over two knots. A small tube near the animal’s tentacles, known as a siphon, expels water under pressure. This propels the nautilus in the opposite direction at high speeds.

The shell of the nautilus is composed of many individual chambers. Each chamber is individually sealed and contains an amount of gas. This provides the animal with buoyancy. The nautilus can regulate its density by injecting or removing fluid into these chambers through a system of tubes. This strong shell also provides protection for the animal’s soft body.

Nautiluses are active predators, but since their siphon system uses very little energy while swimming, they only need to eat about once a month. Their eyesight is very poor because their eyes contains no lenses. Instead, there is only a tiny hole to allow light into the eye. This system operates much like a pinhole camera. The nautilus is thought to rely mainly on its sense of smell when searching for food or looking for a mate. An adult nautilus can grow to about eight inches (20 centimeters) in length.

The Nautilus reproduces by laying eggs. The eggs are usually attached to rocks in shallow water, hidden away from curious predators. These eggs require between eight and twelve months to fully develop. When a young nautilus first hatches from its egg, it is about an inch in diameter and has a shell with seven chambers. The young animal will drift and feed on plankton and other small prey as it grows. As it gets larger, it will add new chambers to its shell. Each new chamber will be a little larger that the last, allowing the opening of the shell to continually grow larger. The average life span of the nautilus is believed to be about 20 years, which is unusually long for a member of the cephalopod family.

Nautiluses are found throughout the Pacific and Indian oceans, where they spend their daylight hours at depths of about 1,800 feet (550 meters). At night they migrate to shallower waters to feed among the coral reefs. Unfortunately, nautilus populations are on the decline due to the harvesting of their beautiful shells.

* info and pics via wiki

Nautilus shell and Phi

Dating back to Hindu myth, the Nautilus Shell was mentioned as a symbol of many things in the creation. It is also a symbol for the inner beauty of nature. The Nautilus shell is one of the known shapes that represent the golden mean number. The golden mean number is also known as PHI – 1.6180339… The PHI is a number without an arithmetic solution, the digits simply continue for eternity without repeating themselves. The uniqueness of the golden mean is that it can be found in all living forms such as the human skeleton, the shell and the sunflowers seeds order. Plato called this value – “The key for the universe physics”.

The Golden Mean number is widely used in art, architecture and religious symbols. Artists like Da Vinci and Kandinsky have used the golden mean in their paintings. The Guggenheim museum, planned by Frank Lloyd Wright, is shaped like the shell.Researchers found that humans will consider beautiful an art work, architecture and even a face that have the golden mean proportions.

Phi (golden mean) – “The key to the physics of the cosmos” (plato)

Phi is a constant value which is even more mysterious and profound in its implications than pi. Like pi, phi is a number with no arithmetical solution. The decimals just keep on going into infinity without ever repeating themselves. The unique thing about this number is that it can be found incorporated in all known organic structures. From the bone structure of human beings to the seed pattern of a sunflower to the spiral of a sea shell, the phi proportion is there, underlying all biological structures, seeming to be a geometrical blueprint for life itself.

The sea is everything. It covers seven tenths of the terrestrial globe. Its breath is pure and healthy. It is an immense desert, where man is never lonely, for he feels life stirring on all sides. -Jules Verne


2 thoughts on “Two extremes, one of excess and the other of deficiency

  1. Donna, I have a friend who has been studying leatherback turtles for years. He is a marine biologist at Drexel and goes to Costa Rica each year, which I beleive is their primary breeding territory. Email me and I will send you his name if you want more info on them. Lost your email when my PC blew up. Twenty Thousand was one of my favorite books years ago. I need to pick up a copy and revisit it. thanks for the reminder.

    1. Thanks Michael, I will email you. 🙂 I think I am going to try and look for an old copy of the book myself.

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