The beekeeper focused his eyes to confirm what he was seeing: each cell within the honeycomb before him was octagonal in shape. As far as he knew, this was impossible. Hexagons were supposedly the most complex shape which could be tessellated, yet somehow, the edges of each octagon were perfectly aligned with those of eight others. He looked at them from multiple angles, wondering if a difference in perspective might cause the anomaly to go away, but the impossibility yet persisted.

Later that night, the beekeeper tried to draw the pattern that he had seen in his hive. He could easily make hexagons tesselate- each edge was shared with another as his pen’s tip slid from place to place- but octagons refused to obey him. He could see the pattern they made in his mind’s eye as a honey-colored phosphene, but no matter how many times he tried, their shapes simply could not be traced in ink. He went to sleep, concluding that what he saw had been some form of illusion, or a temporary madness.

In the morning, the eight-sided cells were still there.

He called another beekeeper, hoping to reestablishing his sense of sanity. “Eight-sided cells?”

“Yeah. That’s what I’m seeing.”

“Well, you’re in luck, then.”

“Oh? And why might that be?”

“Because eight-sided combs should be able to hold more honey than six-sided ones.”

“But, what does it mean?”

“What does what mean?”

“Aren’t you bothered by the fact that eight-sided honeycombs are mathematically impossible?”

“Maybe if you had asked me that ten years ago, but now? Not really,” the other beekeeper began. “Listen, man: I’ve seen bees do some really weird stuff. When it comes to building hives, they’ll abandon the laws of geometry themselves if they’re getting in the way of productivity. The bees don’t have to play by our rules, because they don’t actually have to think individually. Surround one with mirrors, for instance, and it will become a hive all on its own. That’s the evolutionary advantage of a hive mind: it allows for the simulation of intelligence without any need for the species to obey reason.”

“Wait, what? So, it’s not impossible?”

“Afraid not. You’re just going to have to accept it, you know? Use your middle brain for once.”

Bees in octagonal hives require modifications to their traditional funeral rites .

There are more confusing brain geometries than merely having a middle lobe.

Bees and ants have similar dreams.

North of Reality is an explorable fiction space written by Uel Aramchek. You can receive these pieces overnight via email by signing up here. This is entry #213. Learn how you can receive secret stories via physical mail here.

Lufton Roman villa dig: heated room uncovered by Newcastle University team

Archaeologists taking part in a dig to find out what life was like in Somerset after the Roman Empire collapsed have unearthed a heated room with its own underfloor heating system.

The extraordinary find was discovered by the team of 25 students and volunteers led by University of Newcastle lecturer Dr James Gerrard at the remains of a villa at Lufton near Yeovil.

The complex is thought to have been a comfortable country retreat for an official at the nearby Roman town of Ilchester and several generations of his descendants.

Earlier digs at the site revealed an octagonal plunge bath surrounded by ornate mosaics, and also discovered possible evidence of “squatters” taking over the villa after the Romans left. Read more.

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108 Dagobas of Qingtong, China.

As it’s name suggests, is one hundred and eight Lamaist dagobas scattered on a slope west of Qingtong Dam.

These dagobas are in a regular formation forming an equilateral triangle in an odd number in 12 rows with the largest one on the top.

It is the only group of towers that has such a large scale and is distributed in such a regular way.

The white brick dagobas are made up of three parts: the octagonal Sumeru pedestal, the main body and the bead on the top.

They are arranged in a well-proportioned way following the curve of the mountain slope. Its unique layout is a mystery that remains unsolved till this day and makes it stand out from other Buddhist architecture.

In my mind this structure has hidden language embedded… Language of Sacred Geometry…

Admission of Guilt

I need help designing the Cranid race for my tabletop system. I’m running into issues building a culture that is this alien.

I have their rough physical description; 

One of the tallest races, an adult Cranid stands at around 1.8m tall on average, with long, lean limbs and a compact torso only accentuating their alien, somewhat disturbing appearance. Unique among their race, their hands have two opposable thumbs on each hand, one on either side of three normal fingers. Their digitigrade legs end in a similar fashion, with semi-opposed digits lending themselves to gripping the treacherous terrain of their homeland. Their body is mostly covered in a remarkably pliable skin which is velvet-like and very hydrophobic, save for the pads of their palms, fingers and feet which are coated in a much tougher, fleshier, thicker skin. Their skin comes in a variety of colorations, often based in black with lobed fractal patterns of grey, brown, orange, green or even an electric blue. Their face is roughly octagonal in shape; caused by a bony crest which protrudes from their skull and houses their 6 iridescent, lozenge-shaped, compound eyes. The eyes are arranged in two sets of three, facing mostly forward. These unique eyes are incredibly effective at detecting motion, and work in concert to build a composite image of the world. Their nose is mostly internal, 4 nostrils below the eye-clusters are the only external parts. Large, fleshy bulges of tissue and muscle connect the compact torso to the head, inside these masses lie what is possibly the secret to the Cranid’s survival, silk glands. These glands can produce, in the right conditions and the right diet, great quantities of  very strong silk. Their hair is wiry and straight, and mane-like in configuration, covering the head, neck, lower face, and sometimes chest, back, and shoulders. Similar to the velvety covering of their skin, but often more brilliant in coloration, their hair ranges in similar colors and occasionally has a lobed, fractal pattern to its coloration.

And a vague idea that, being arachnid in nature they should probably be relatively individualistic, but I’m missing huge scads fo fluff for them.

What I do know culturally/historitcally;

  • They were engaged, until recently in a war with the Nafrin Empire (think Roman Empire) and were fighting to a stalemate.
  • Their military doctrine is incredibly flexible and reminiscent of guerilla warfare, and relies on ambush, assassination, and fighting retreats over rough, almost impassable terrain. Their main weapon is a light crossbow; I haven;’t worked out their usual melee weapon or anything armor-wise yet.
  • They were not strictly organized until the Nafrin became a real threat, and a sort of “war council” was created to direct efforts to defending their homeland. 
  • They do have access to metalworking; but were not as advanced as the Nafrin were at this until the Elemeis (a subject race of the Nafrin) rebelled and stole the technology. 
  • They are traditionally bordered by the Mortei (isolationist race of tough, camoflaged peoples) to the south, and the Terrans (think Mongol horse archers) to the east. 
  • They prize individualism, and are by their nature, fairly anti authoritarian. 
  • Their justice system is very loose/flexible and is more about arbitration instead of “Justice” in the traditional sense; revenge killings/duels and such are a big no-no.

I was thinking shit about the xmas special here i go:

- i want the bee to be hinted at the very right end. like how cool would it be if the episode closed with someone receveing the bee miraculous as a xmas gift? all wrapped and all. when you see that octagonal box wrapped up in presents paper, boom you know shit is going down

- i want to know how adrien used to spend christmas before her mother disappeared. does he miss it? did they do something in particular? was chloe involved since she was her only friend?

- i’m thinking about the effective possibility of adrien getting invited by the dupain-chengs. I mean… I think it could happen only if Gabriel was somewhat busy? If he wasn’t I honestly think…Adrien would refuse the invite. Not because he wouldn’t enjoy spending the day with Marinette, but because he wouldn’t want to leave his dad alone. Or better can you imagine Adrien dragging him along to the bakery? Lol it would be hilarious

- Christmas is the time when we’re supposed to be “better” who knows what this can mean to certain people…

- the kids setting up mistletoe in the class and adrien and marinette ending up under it. oh oh OH