Deadly lake turns animals into statues

ACCORDING to Dante, the Styx is not just a river but a vast, deathly swamp filling the entire fifth circle of hell. Perhaps the staff of New Scientist will see it when our time comes but, until then, Lake Natron in northern Tanzania does a pretty good job of illustrating Dante’s vision.

Unless you are an alkaline tilapia (Alcolapia alcalica) – an extremophile fish adapted to the harsh conditions – it is not the best place to live. Temperatures in the lake can reach 60 °C, and its alkalinity is between pH 9 and pH 10.5.

The lake takes its name from natron, a naturally occurring compound made mainly of sodium carbonate, with a bit of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) thrown in. Here, this has come from volcanic ash, accumulated from the Great Rift valley. Animals that become immersed in the water die and are calcified. 

(Read more: New Scientist)

We’re not going to sit here and listen to what makes y’all think you’re different from Dylann Roof anymore. Your cowardice is the same as his, and that cowardice trickles down and calcifies into a bedrock of systemic racism that destroys black communities, whether it’s a tiny white girl tear, a 10-gallon-full cowboy hat or the self-satisfied, faux-liberal killer mist of racism a la The Hunger Games.

You either care enough to do what’s hard and what’s right, or you are the same as him, you really are. Two sides, same coin.

To The Ends of The Earth (6/?)

A/N: Prepare yourselves, this ones a doozy. (Oops?)

Prev: Ch 1 | Ch 2 | Ch 3 | Ch 4 | Ch 5Extra | AO3 | FF

I miss the days my mind would just rest quiet
My imagination hadn’t turned on me yet
I used to let my words wax poetic
But it melted a puddle at my feet now
It is a calcifying crime, it’s tragic
I’ve turned to petrified past life baggage
I want to disappear and just start over

It’s never just the visions that haunt her. While they are instrumental in her emotional, and in turn physical destruction, the other elements are just as detrimental. The least of these is the dogs, or three headed dog if she had her mythology correct, growling and gnashing its teeth like a distant hungry thunder. There’s a constant wailing of lost forgotten souls, a high pitched screech from those who are newly entering into the abyss. She’s learned to differentiate between the two: the cries of those who have forfeited all hope and roamed here longer and those who have recently fallen. Those souls sob more desperately, bargaining for the life that’s already gone.

The Underworld is the epitome of darkness. Her pupils have grown adjusted to the lack of lighting, even if her ears will never get used to the noises that surround her. There is an absence of temperature that heightens her senses to the pain: the scrapes encompassing her wrists, stiffness of her muscles, and burn in her heart. She longs to feel the softness of the duvet that lies on her bed, the warmth that follows when she hugs her son (or her pirate - she always feels warmth when he has his arms securely around her), the cool breeze that filters off the ocean on a sunny day, the feeling of home. But now all she can discern is a numbness to everything but pain.

Henry’s words from whatever magic Hades practices rings in her ears. She’s selfish. After being given up as a baby, how could she think my outcome would be any better? As always, Killian had come to her defense, countering that he did turn out okay, possibly even happy, and has more family than most. Yeah, I got lucky. It’s the risk involved. The fact that she was able to gamble with my life like that - she never even wanted to see me or hold me. I was just another mistake to her, a chip put on the table to be chanced away. You don’t do that to someone you love.

It was her worst nightmare. She, of all people, knew how much truth hung around his statement. (After all, she was sent off alone in a magical wardrobe to a land that no one knew.) For Henry to feel that way hurt, knowing that the time they’ve spent together now wouldn’t be enough to heal the scars of her absence in his first ten years. She’s reminded of nights curled up in her cell, crying to herself that she couldn’t be a mother, that she couldn’t be enough for him. Never has that felt more true. The visions of her parents have taught her that. All she will ever be is someone else’s game piece. Never wanted. Barely needed. Easily replaceable.

But then there is Killian. 

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Do Not Speak of the Dead

“They tried to bury us. They didn’t know we were seeds.”
Mexican Proverb

I was born among the bodies. I was hurried
forward, and sealed a thin life for myself.

I have shortened my name, and walk with
a limp. I place pebbles in milk and offer

them to my children when there is nothing
else. We can not live on cold blood alone.

In a dream, I am ungendered, and the moon
is just the moon having a thought of itself.

I am a wolf masked in the scent of its prey
and I am driven—hawk like—to the dark

center of things. I have grasped my eager
heart in my own talons. I am made of fire,

and all fire passes through me. I am made
of smoke and all smoke passes through me.

Now the bodies are just calcified gravity,
built up and broken down over the years.

Somewhere there are phantoms having their
own funerals over and over again. The same

scene for centuries. The same moon rolling
down the gutter of the same sky. Somewhere

they place a door at the beginning of a field
and call it property. Somewhere, a tired man

won’t let go of his dead wife’s hand. God
is a performing artist working only with

light and stone. Death is just a child come to
take us by the hand, and lead us gently away.

Fear is the paralyzing agent, the viper that
swallows us living and whole. And the devil,

wears a crooked badge, multiplies everything
by three. You—my dark friend. And me.

Cecilia Llompart


I figured this post would be fitting considering this is October, a time for creepy and scary stuff to come out in full force. These pictures were taken by Nick Brandt on the shorelone of Lake Natron in Tanzania. The lake, which reaches temperatures as high as 60 C(140F), also has a basic pH between 9 and pH 10.5 and can calcify any animals that die in the lake. Supposedly, the reflective nature of the lake’s surface confuses the birds and they dive into it, much like how birds in some areas crash into windows. These pictures are downright haunting, but very beautiful. Pretty much showing both the beauty, and cruelty of nature.

you were born eyes closed, blinking back billions of neurons that ricocheted behind calcifying tenderness
they outnumber the stars in your galaxy

ten fingers probed the air around you already searching for a reason
if left empty handed,
heart learning to beat on its own,
you would begin the lifelong process of shrinking into yourself

years later you cried when you read the words “you deserve to take up space”

you began painting against your skin until you saw sunset
every day for two years you waited for the sun to set
but the darker the nights the brighter the stars burn
and, my god, you learned to burn

sick of choking on ebony, you lit a match
flares from your soul licked their way up the wicks of your veins
into eyes that erupted
they could no longer thrive without light
hands shaking turned into hands shattering, hands creating, hands playing god
they will not rest again
you will never feel sorry for this

you are the aftermath of the big bang
the child of becoming
dont let anyone lie and call you stardust
you are not the ashes of what once was
you are the sun

—  May 21st, 2015

Though I can’t read academic writing on an e-reader (I like to hold the actual book, underline passages, and write in the margins), when summer rolls around I love to read mindless historical mysteries and other works of fiction on them. I just read Matthew Pearl’s The Technologists, a historical thriller about a series of strange crimes in Boston right after the end of the Civil War, and as the first class readies to graduate from MIT. The crimes all involve dimensions of science and technology that Bostonians of the time found themselves suspicious of, and it falls upon the shoulders of a small group of MIT students to discredit local naysayers (among them, many stuffy Harvard swells who think the criminal plot must be centered at MIT), and prove that what they do is the vision of the future, unlike the calcified traditionalism to be found in the classrooms of the big H. The old guard is represented comically in the retrograde–but much celebrated by conservative contemporaries–Louis Agassiz. I say it’s worth a read, but it does pale in comparison to Pearl’s debut novel, The Dante Club.

Melanated beings

The actual dollar amount of melanin is about 7x the amount of gold… Gold theoretically derived from cosmic crashes. The more melanin you have the less calcified and larger your pineal gland, the less calcified your pineal gland the longer you live. The sun stimulates that gland… All things melanated needs sun to survive. All things mutated die from sun exposure. This is how we are apart of the universe in a literal sense; and there’s always dots for me to connect because us as melanated beings have such a deep, lost history beyond the physically tangible. But its all finally starting to make sense, and thats exciting. Food for thought, love your skin, its beautiful, and literally richer than gold.