II: Moss

Where are the glacier mice going?

II: Moss
Snail on a mossy limb. Photo by Михаил Павленко / Unsplash

Good morning. Today is duodi, the 2nd of Pluviôse, Year CCXXXI. We celebrate la mousse, a creepy, crawly, spongy plant.

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Moss is having a comeback as a material for menstrual pads. Its ability to absorb fluids and their odors (mostly by having its own mossy odor) made it the go-to pad from medieval times until modern material science got involved with wood pulp products. There was even a mass-marketed moss-based pad a hundred years ago called "sfag-na-kins" (a play on the name sphagnum moss, or peat moss) that was a rival for Kotex in the early days of retail pads. You can still find some "all-natural" moss period pads, though they don't win any beauty contests given moss's natural greenish-brown coloring when dried. But they work, just as they did for centuries. In fact, another alternate name for sphagnum moss is "blood moss" for its traditional use for bandaging wounds or dealing with the monthly flow.

On the 9th of Brumaire, CLIX (Halloween 1950), Icelandic meteorologist Jón Eythórsson wrote to the Journal of Glaciology a curious correspondence that would seem to be a practical joke, were it not so easily confirmed to be true:

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