The Tundra Wurm
The beasts they rode on were weighed fifty times more than them, but they beast they sought was much larger. The blowing snow had covered them from the toes of their furry mounts to their hoods covering their heads. These six beasts, carrying the twenty of them, three to a back, four on two of them.
They carried spears in their hands, but these weapons were not to hunt the beast they sought, but to fend off the ice drakes that sometimes prowled the mammoth herds. Their shaman had fortified them with the essence of storms and their weaponmaster forged the tips from the bones of the largest drake to ever be brought down by their village.
They sought a creature even larger than these drakes. They sought a beast that dwarfed even those mighty drakes. They sought the beast that lives under the permafrost. A great wurm of unbelievable proportion.
They would be leaving the mammoths behind, soon. The risk of the great beast coming to devour such a meal when they weren’t prepared was too much. They approached the rocky outcropping they know would be there.
Six of the men went back to the mammoths, and led them away the way they came. Eight spread out at the edges of the rocks. Their spears stowed on their backs for now. Instead, they now held the daggers their forefathers had passed down to them. Daggers made of ice that does not melt and does not break. They held them high as they removed their hoods and began their chant. The wind stopped as if there were a shield around the outcropping. The snow that covered the stone melted in a moment.
In the center of the flat stone, their weaponmaster drew the largest sword known to their kind. An ancient weapon, imbued with great power by the sorcerers of old. He raised it aloft with both hands and drove it into the hard stone. The shaman removed a pouch from his belt, and began drawing lines from the sword in spices. His four assistants stood around them, chanting and spilling from their own pouches.
The weaponmaster raised his blade, and drove it into the ground again, and again. The sword did not bend or break or show any wear. The stone beneath it wore away, where it had been worn away before.
A creaking, groaning noise began. It seemed to come from all around at once. As loud as it was, it only got louder. The sound of their chanting was overwhelmed, yet they continued.
Shards of ice and snow began to fly all around. A void like a sinkhole formed where it was, as the head of a wurm rose from the tundra. It’s maw surrounded by mandibles covered in spikes. It’s jaws covered in jagged teeth. It’s body was covered in spines, unlike the smooth scaled wurms in the southern sands or that rise from ocean waves. Its head was covered in eyes that aren’t truly eyes. Stalks that tell the beast where to go but don’t truly see anything.
The beast reared its head above and made as if to swallow them wholesale from the rocky precipice they stood on, but stopped just back from it. It’s head hovered over them as the weaponmaster continued to smash the ancient sword down into the stone.
The beast lowered its head, laying next to the outcropping. The shaman and his aides walked forward as the sword continued pounding into the ground, and the circle continued their chanting. The circle and the weaponmaster moved quickly together, following the shaman. The chanting continued with their icy daggers held above them, until they had all made their way just to the back of the head of the beast.
The weaponmaster, standing the farthest forward, raised the ancient blade, and drove it deep into the wurm’s scales. Again the shamans raised their chants, and the men raised their daggers.
Their journey had only just begun. They sought the North in another part of the world. The shaman channeled through the weaponmaster’s blade. The wurm followed the turn of the blade. The news brought from the soft southern men was troublesome. It had to be brought to the oldest city of men. It had to be known. This was the only way to return, just as they had come here in the ancient times.
from The Tundra Wurm
I sit motionless in a room with a bed, a chair, and a desk. There is white sheets on the bed, and a small machine on the desk. This machine is connected to the back of my head.
I am in Iceland. The heat from the Eyjafjallajökull is brutal. A tap of my finger and my sweat disappears. A flick of the wrist and the heat from the mountain no longer affects me. The mountain is erupting. A lava flow is moving past me. I raise my hand and turn my open palm. The flow turns towards me. I tap my fingers some more, my hand still raised. The molten rock spreads around me. It does not stick to me, nor scrape me. Perhaps in the future I’ll be able to experience the full sensation of being washed in a lava flow but for now this is the best that can be done.
I am surrounded by pitch black. I am floating. I swipe my hand sideways. I can see around me. I realize quickly, as a fish begins swimming towards me, that my light is visible to those around me. I swipe my hand upwards and the fish stops. It swims in a circle, it’s eyes spinning. I had hoped I’d found an uninhabited darkness. I wanted to experience nothing.
I am in a crater. I do not know it’s name. The crater is on the dark side of the moon. It’s cold. I feel some of the cold, letting some of it in, but certainly not all. I wish I could experience what it was like to suffocate on an astral body such as this.
I am in the Sahara. There are mounds of sand in all direction. I find myself questioning why I came here. The wind blows the sand across my eyes. I allow myself to feel some of the grit in my eye socket. It does nothing for me.
I sit on my chair in my room. I reach my hand up and pull the cable from its socket. I sit in my chair, looking at my blank walls. I move to the window and open it. People outside are moving along. A man plays guitar on the corner singing in a dead language, perhaps one of the romance languages that died out in the last century. Some obscure practitioner thinking he knows how to speak the tongue but is likely bastardizing it. I close the window, and lay in bed. I likely won’t sleep. I reconnect the machine from my desk, laying with my head the wrong way in bed. Perhaps I’ll dream.
from Inert Itinerant
Dawn Suggests Special Delivery of Hydrated Material to Vesta |
The mechanism by which water is incorporated into the terrestrial planets is a matter of extensive debate for planetary scientists. Now, observations of Vesta by NASA’s Dawn mission suggest that hydrous materials were delivered to the giant asteroid mainly through a build-up of small particles during an epoch when the Solar System was rich in dust.
This is a radically different process from the way in which hydrous materials are deposited on the moon and may have implications for the formation of terrestrial planets, including the delivery of the water that forms Earth’s oceans. Maria Cristina De Sanctis and the Dawn team will present the scenarios at the European Planetary Science Congress in Madrid on Sept. 26.
De Sanctis, of the Institute of Astrophysics and Space Planetology in Rome, said, “Vesta’s surface shows distinct areas enriched with hydrated materials. These regions are not dependent on solar illumination or temperature, as we find in the case of the Moon. The uneven distribution is unexpected and indicates ancient processes that differ from those believed to be responsible for delivering water to other airless bodies, like the Moon.”
A team led by De Sanctis studied data from Dawn’s visible and infrared (VIR) mapping spectrometer. Analysis showed large regional concentrations of hydroxyl — a hydrogen and an oxygen atom bound together — clearly associated with geological features including ancient, highly-cratered terrains and the Oppia crater. continue reading
I loved this exchange so much, I just spent a stupid amount of time turning it into a mediocre graphic. Neil, you complete me.
I love living in a world where I write something on Tumblr and the following day it’s an excellent graphic. Thank you!
Zhou Shuren, better known as Lu Xun, was one of the giants of contemporary Chinese literature, considered by many to be a leading figure in modern Chinese writing, who wrote in both vernacular and Classical Chinese. He was a novelist, a poet, an essayist, and a translator who is still revered in China today.
Born 1881 in Zhejiang Province to a well-educated, prominent family (who later lost their fortunes after his grandfather was found out for bribery), Lu Xun was brought up by a family servant named Ah Chang. Because of his father’s death (presumably of TB) sometime in his adolescence, Lu Xun grew up mistrustful of traditional Chinese medicine and decided to pursue a degree in Western medicine.
In 1904, after a marriage with Zhu An (it’s uncertain that he ever consummated the marriage, though he provided for her all his life), he left for the Sendai Medical Academy (Tohoku University) in Japan, where he met his mentor, Fujino Genkurou.
He left the college in 1906, when he decided to “cure his compatriot’s spiritual ills rather than their physical diseases” (Wiki).
In 1918, 9 years after his return to China, he wrote the novel “A Madman’s Diary” (Kuangren Riji), a condemnation of Chinese feudalism, and thus began a flourishing career. He gained influence after the May Fourth Movement (an anti-imperialist, anti-Western protest led by students at the Beijing University — Bei Da — after the Treaty of Versailles gave Shandong to Japan; the movement gave rise to the Chinese Communist Party, and Lao Mao was a lifelong fan of Lu Xun’s). His best known work is probably The True Story of Ah-Q (A Q Zhengzhuan).
From 1927 to his death in 1936, he lived in Shanghai, where he founded the League of Left-Wing Writers. He was also the Editor of Sprouts and New Youth, left-wing magazines, and because of the role his writing played in the history of the PRC, he was banned in the RoC until the 1980s.
He died October 19, 1936, ironically of tuberculosis.
(Source: , via asianhistory)
“Found poetry” (or “blackout poetry”) is a type of poetry created by taking words, phrases, and sometimes whole passages from other sources and reframing them as poetry by making changes in spacing and/or lines (and consequently meaning), or by altering the text by additions and/or deletions.
unlock the moonlight,
forge a chain,
bring your candle to glitter again.
This one was a bit different. Once I’d thought of “unlock the moonlight, forge a chain”, for some reason the cadence of what I had so far made me want to look for a rhyme. And then I had to make it go round in a circle
I think this is my favourite so far. I like that it could be metaphorical or literal (obviously not real-world literal, but fantasy literal) and I like the way the rhythm (and rhyme) makes it sound like a spell or a chant of some kind.