Richard – fool of the year 2008

Direct quote from Wikipedia:

“There is considerable uncertainty about defining the difference between lakes and ponds. For example, limnologists have defined lakes as waterbodies which are simply a larger version of a pond, or which have wave action on the shoreline, or where wind induced turbulence plays a major role in mixing the water column. None of these definitions completely excludes ponds and all are difficult to measure. For this reason there has been increasing use made of simple size-based definitions to separate ponds and lakes. In the United Kingdom, for example, the charity Pond Conservation – which works to protect all types of freshwater ecosystem – has defined lakes as waterbodies of 2 hectares (5 acres) or more in area. Elsewhere, other workers have treated lakes as waterbodies of 5 hectares (12 acres) and above, or 8 hectares (20 acres) and above (see definitions of pond). Charles Elton, one of the founders of ecology, regarded lakes as waterbodies of 40 hectares (99 acres) or more, a value somewhat larger than modern studies would suggest appropriate. The term “lake” is also used to describe a feature such as Lake Eyre, which is a dry basin most of the time but may become filled under seasonal conditions of heavy rainfall.

“Further, in common usage, many lakes bear names ending with the word “pond”, and a lesser number of names ending with “lake” are in quasi-technical fact, ponds. In short, there is no current internationally accepted definition of either term across scientific disciplines or political boundaries. Within disciplines, authors are careful to define environmental geographic circumstances, and obviates the need for artificially imposed definitions when most of the worlds’ people speak different languages.

“In ecology the environment of a lake is referred to as lacustrine. Large lakes are occasionally referred to as “inland seas”, and small seas are occasionally referred to as lakes. Smaller lakes tend to put the word “lake” after the name, as in Green Lake, while larger lakes often invert the word order, as in Lake Ontario, at least in North America. In some places, the word “lake” does not correctly appear in the name at all (e.g., Windermere in Cumbria).

“Only one lake in the English Lake District is actually called a lake; other than Bassenthwaite Lake, the others are all “meres” or “waters”. Only six bodies of water in Scotland are known as lakes (the others are lochs): the Lake of Menteith, the Lake of the Hirsel, Pressmennan Lake, Cally Lake near Gatehouse of Fleet, the saltwater Manxman’s Lake at Kirkcudbright Bay, and The Lake at Fochabers. Of these only the Lake of Menteith and Cally Lake are natural bodies of fresh water.”


8 thoughts on “Richard – fool of the year 2008

  1. I know, you probably don’t understand this.

    Why not comment and tell me I am boring, I enjoyed this post!

  2. Huzzah!

    But, will he admit to being wrong…?

    After all, if it’s on the internet, it must be true. (Note: this is not true.)

  3. I can’t be bothered to read this, but I’m thinking this probably means that the definition of a lake is not when it’s deep enough that the light can’t penetrate it.


    For those who are not members of my family, you can only imagine the fun we have when we get together

  4. I am proud to place my trust in the grand community of humankind.

    You will notice, Captain (if that is your real name), that all the other particulars discussed this weekend are confirmed in said Wikipedia article, and only your ridiculous fact about puddles is refuted!

  5. Now …
    you, of course, noted, Chris, that that particular wikipedia article has been edited a huge number of times recently (throwing, surely, some doubt on the “finality” of the facts contained therein)?
    And that some of the recent (last few months) edits have made fairly significant changes?
    You will, I have no doubt, have noted that a previous version of the article backed up my claim?
    You will also have noticed that elsewhere lakes are often defined a being a body of water deeper than a pond, and that the wikipedia article for pond defines a pond as a body of water where light can penetrate its entire depth?

    Moving away from wikipedia, other t’interweb searches show that a body of water with sufficient depth such that light cannot penetrate to its depth is a common definition among fresh water (and other) scientists, and that a pond is shallow enough that light penetrates to its depth all over is also common.

    Now, there are problems with the definition and so, yes, other definitions do exist. But the one I gave is among the commonly accepted definitions. So there!

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