site bay


skara brae ▴ bay of skaill, orkney, scotland

consisting of eight clustered houses, this neolithic village – europe’s “most complete” – was occupied from roughly 3180 bc to about 2500 bc. it has been called the “scottish pompeii” because of its excellent preservation.
Octlantis: the underwater city built by octopuses
The discovery of aquatic architecture has led scientists to compare the behaviour of cephalopods to humans – but octopus city life is no utopia
By Philip Hoare

If animals are our other, there is nothing quite so other as the octopus. It is the alien with whom we share our planet, a coeval evolutionary life form whose slithery slipperiness and more than the requisite number of limbs (each of which contains its own “brain”) symbolise the dark mystery and fear of the deep. Now comes news that octopuses have been building their own cities down there. In a story straight out of James Cameron’s The Abyss, scientists have discovered that the wonderfully named “gloomy octopus”, octopus tetricus, are not the loners we once thought them to be. In Australia, the species has been seen to congregate, communicate and even evict one another at a site marine biologists call Octlantis, at Jervis Bay, south of Sydney. Professor David Scheel, who led the research, draws direct comparisons with our own communities in his new report: “These behaviours are the product of natural selection, and may be remarkably similar to vertebrate complex social behaviour.” The discovery is important in that it confirms scientists’ suspicions about the culture of cephalopods. Another nearby site in Jervis Bay, found 50ft below the surface in 2009 and named Octopolis, was thought to be an anomaly, formed around a large, human-made metal object. Peter Godfrey-Smith, author of Other Minds: The Octopus and the Evolution of Intelligent Life, who dived the site, saw it as a kind of “artificial reef”, an underwater island of safety in a dangerous area, a defence against predators such as sharks, seals and dolphins. But the discovery proves that Octopolis is not a one-off. Lacking any human object at its heart, its aquatic architects have constructed walls from clam and scallop shells, the remains of their former meals. Not only that, but the report’s co-author, Stephanie Chancellor, notes that these piles “were further sculpted to create dens, making these octopuses true environmental engineers”.

Mine: Part Three


Leaning down to Bay’s ear, Azriel motioned to the waiting room chairs. “Why don’t you go have a seat? I’ll get us signed in.” Bay’s eyes went to the waiting room and he frowned. Azriel could smell the distrust on the child; it hurt his heart. “Go on.”

As Bay went to find a seat, Azriel went up to the service desk and splayed his scarred hands atop the wood. The secretary, a small wrinkled thing, looked up at him with a small smile. “Ah, Officer Verrum. What can I do for the city’s finest?”

“I have a young man who needs to be put on Suppressants and to have a full body work up.” He slid a piece of paper onto the counter. “Here’s my court order. I’ll be acting as his Guardian Ad Litem until further notice.”

The woman clicked her tongue and took the paper and examine it. He had brought in enough court orders over the years the woman would be able to recognize it within a few seconds.  While waiting, Azriel glanced back to where the child is sitting.

Bay was looking through magazines and swinging his legs. The boy was so small his feet didn’t touch the floor. He didn’t miss Bay looking around himself every few seconds, as if he were keeping an eye out for the first sign of trouble. Bay’s eyes snapped to his and his feet stopped swinging.

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Two Wars Two Babies (9)

The dragon, circling Aegon’s High Hill of King’s Landing, drew the attention of Cirsei’s armed men, first. They lined the perimeters of their Queen’s hold, prepared to protect her against the beast. It wore Gendry’s specially-made armor, which blinded the men, as it dipped and dove, catching the sunlight. But they were prepared. They wheeled out the great scorpions, and prepared to launch.

Circei’s ships readied for an attack at the southern spot of Blackwater Bay, the site of the famous battle which shared its name. Armed sailors waited, squinting at the watery horizon, and back to the dragon in the sky.

In truth, everyone’s attention was drawn by the dragon. Men stopped their working in smith shops, covering weary brows with their forearms to shield their eyes, so they could see what no one thought possible. Women hung out out of windows, calling to children who ran into the streets to see the pretty dragon, turning lazy circles in the sky. The women’s voices caught in their throats in sheer awe.

And so, when Dany, Jon, the Unsullied, the Dothraki, and the Northerners never approached Aegon’s Hill, no one was wary until it was too late.

Rather, Jon and Dany and the rest disembarked their ships, at the north end of the Bay. The Unsullied posted up, surrounding Rhaeny’s Hill instead. No one was there, of course. The Dragon Pit was just a ruin. But Dany and Jon took their places in the center and waited.

Jon tried to decipher the look on Dany’s face. “Are you afraid?” he asked.

She had been watching her child in the sky. “No. I just wish I was up there right now.”

“It’s for the best.”

Dany turned her gaze back to Jon. “I know. Today we unite the Seven Kingdoms once and for all.”

While they finished setting up their Dragon Pit location, the Northern Lords and their men, walked the streets of Flea Bottom.

“You see that dragon?” Glover shouted. “That’s Daenerys Targeryan’s dragon!”

A woman shrieked in fear, snatching a child from the gutter and hiding in a doorway.

Glover continued, shouting as he went. “The Dragon Queen hates what has been done to you. You shouldn’t be hungry. You shouldn’t be afraid. Come to the Pit and eat and hear from the Freer of Slaves.”

A man, a head taller than Glover, stepped out from a giant pot, boiling leather. “Or come to the Pit and get roasted alive. Why should we trust this foreigner?”

Glover never flinched. “Who was it blew up the Sept of Baelor? Burned up her own daughter in law? You’ve got the fires of damnation in the castle over there. Let’s go talk about freedom.”

Slowly, surely, residents of all sorts followed the men to the Pit, where, once they made it through the Unsullied, were greeted with huge stores of food.

Jon mumbled to his queen, “this is a gamble, letting them eat up our stores. If we lose, our armies will starve. It’s a ship’s load of food.”

“When we win,” Dany responded, unflinchingly, “we will have the Seven Kingdoms from which we can seed, sow, and reap.”

Nervous laughter filled the Pit, while folks from the poorer parts of King’s Landing ate their fill. Dany climbed atop the highest, most central portion of the ruin, and all attention turned toward her.

“You have lived under the tyranny of a woman with no right to the iron throne. You have starved for her, bled for her, and many have died for her. In return, she curses you and brings you destruction.” Her voice rose into the authoritative cadence used in moments such as these. “Today, I offer you an alternative. I am Daenerys Stormborn of House Targaryen.” She gestured to Jon, who she beckoned to her side. “This is Jon Snow of House Stark. But our houses do not matter. Your houses matter.”

The people looked amongst themselves, confused. Every single one of them was low-born.

Dany continued. “You are fathers, mothers, sons, daughters. You have daily lives, trials, and loves. We know this. And we respect this.”

It was shocking. But the ripples of energy, of straightened spines, and of nodding heads, was palpable.

“I came through fire, chosen to be Khaleesi, the first to bring the Dothraki across the Narrow Sea. I freed the Unsullied, and yet they follow me. Jon Snow was named Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch. He then conquered death, united The Wildlings with The Northerners, and brought down the Army of the Dead.”

A woman shouted from the crowd, “Are you going to kill a pregnant queen?”

Dany grabbed Jon’s hand. “Cirsei’s reign is built on lies, including an unborn child.”

A dull roar broke out. This seemed too much - they had seen the ample belly as she stood at her window.

“But!” shouted Dany over the crowd. “But … the life within me is real.” She placed a hand on her belly and with the other, raised her clasped hand with Jon’s.

The crowd stirred further, and a disturbance at the back of the amphitheater caught Dany’s attention. She could see now the smoke rising from Aegon’s Hill. Inwardly, she wondered at the damage: what was destroyed? The Red Keep? The Tower of the Hand? The Throne Room? How many Queen’s guard had been killed? She concentrated at the task before her.

The crowd parted, and dozens of Dothraki escorted Cirsei and Tyrion on a path to Jon and Dany. Cirsei was bound and gagged; Tyrion led her by a chain.

The crowd, restless and confused, turned their angst to their current monarch. They spat and swore, angry that she had never fed them. That it should come to this.

Dany raised her hands and hushed the crowds. Jon handed her a dagger. “Approach, Cirsei Lannister.”

Shoved up the disheveled stones, Cirsei stood with Dany and Jon. Dany placed the blade against Cirsei’s cheek, cutting the gag free.

“This is your last opportunity,” said Dany. “Bend the knee, admit your sins against these people, and you will be exiled. Refuse and you will die.”

Pure hatred dripped from Cirsei’s words. “I shall never bend.”

Two Unsullied provided further restraint as Dany poised the blade high. She placed a hand on Cirsei’s belly. Underneath her fingers, she detected the slightest hint of movement. Panic rippled up Dany’s spine and shortened her breath. She looked to Tyrion, pleading for truth with her large, violet eyes.

He nodded solemnly in response. Trust me, his stare told her. Do it.

With all her might, Dany swung down the blade, tearing the golden gown of the Lannister queen and slicing down her swollen abdomen.

Cirsei sent a yell into the air so sharp, it silenced all who heard it. But Dany did not falter. She pushed Cirsei to her knees, and rather than spilling blood or anything else remotely embryonic, a green gush burst forth from Cirsei. No child came forth, only something that looked like great pale maggots.

“Seven hells - what is it?” Jon cursed.

Tyrion climbed to stand near his sister. “Another monstrosity made by Qyburn, no doubt.” Cirsei herself grew green in pallor, and spat in her brothers face in her final moments of life. She finally collapsed in a green, crawling mess.

It wasn’t the burning of Cirsei’s remains, nor the parade through the city, nor the chants of Dany’s name on the lips of her people that brought her to tears. But that moment she finally ascended the Iron Throne - charted a bit, though it may be - she wept in sweet relief.

Jon stood knelt in front of her. “My Queen.”

She smiled through glassy tears, shameless in her joy. “Arise, My King, and take your place.”

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Rose made her way across the dunes, heading for the brightly painted house on the edge of the beach. She stumbled in the deep sand, glancing at the boardwalk that ran from the house into the water where a small pier was set up. Rose could see Sorey’s small boat there, the skiff beached since the tide was out. She gave the whole thing a good look over, wanting to check if Sorey was down there at all.

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Herb of the Week-Bay Laurel

Common names

Bay Laurel
Sweet Bay

The herb known as the bay laurel or the sweet bay is native to Asia Minor and the Mediterranean region in general - it is a small evergreen shrub or tree. The early Greeks and Romans admired the bay laurel for its beauty and used the aromatic leaves in many different ways. Bay laurel possesses leathery leaves that are lanceolate and pointed in shape. The leaves also have the maximum oil content during early and mid-summer and this oil content tends to decreases in other seasons. The name “bay” is used to refer to several botanicals - for example the West Indian bay - botanical name Pimenta racemosa, and the California bay - botanical name Umbellularia californica. Therefore, any of these plants can be called by the name “bay” in the existing herb literature; what is more, some other plants are also called ‘Bay’.

The solution made from the bay laurel is a very potent anti-dandruff rinse and can help a person suffering from excess dandruff in the hair. To prepare this herbal rinse, bring a quart of water to boil, to the boiled water add about three level teaspoons of crumpled bay leaves and let the leaves steep in the covered pot for about twenty five minutes. The herbal tea can be strained and then refrigerated for later use. This herbal tea can be used to wash the hair, when doing this, it is necessary to first rinse all the soap out of the hair using plain water. Once hair has been washed with water and soap, some of the liquid bay laurel tea can be poured on to the head and can be used to massage the scalp thoroughly. This initial massage with the herbal tea can be followed with similar rinses using few more ounces of the herbal tea; the tea must be worked well on to the scalp using the fingertips. The hair so treated can be left as such for about an hour; it must then be rinse thoroughly using plain water. This treatment will be sufficient to keep dandruff from recurring if it is used faithfully every day on a long term basis.

Disorders such as bronchitis and a hacking cough or other related chest complaints can be relieved by applications of a poultice made from the boiled bay leaves; the poultice must be rubbed into the chest and covered with a cloth.

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Ancient Egyptian underwater treasures to be exhibited for the first time

Spectacular ancient Egyptian treasures are to be exhibited for the first time having been discovered underwater in the submerged ruins of the near-legendary cities of Thonis-Heracleion and Canopus.

A finely sculpted statuette of a pharaoh and a golden-eyed depiction of god Osiris are among antiquities to be unveiled in a major exhibition in Paris from next month.

The cities were almost erased from mankind’s memory after sinking beneath the waves in the eighth century AD following cataclysmic natural disasters including an earthquake and tidal waves.

Across a vast site in Aboukir Bay near Alexandria, the seabed has been giving up secrets from a lost world in an excavation led by Franck Goddio, a French marine archaeologist. Read more.

“I checked The Shallow Bay today and instead of the usual site, this message was on the screen. This has got to mean things are happening in camp BB, and I am so excited!”

I’m not sure if the logo is supposed to cover the words a bit or not, but that’s how it looked when I checked the site for the screencap. In any case, “The tide is out, the bay is low. We will be back soon!” :D -K