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There’s definitely a formula at play here.

A grizzly bear reigning over the Tongass, Anan Creek, Alaska, by Mark Kelley Photography.

Making a Hand Mold

Apparently, it’s a romantic thing to do?

A pine bonsai in the Ishizuki style by artist Rudy Siedlecki.

Octobass

Composers and orchestras like to use their lowest instruments sparingly, for maximum impact. Few instruments go lower and are used more sparingly than the huge and strange octobass, one of the rarest classic instruments in existence.

Invented in 1850 by Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume, the octobass was intended to bring an extremely deep rumble to the orchestra sound. The three-stringed instrument stands between 11 and 12 feet tall, about twice the height of a double bass. This giant bass produces sound so low, some of the notes fall outside the range of human hearing—these vibrations can only be felt.

The rare instrument is almost too large to play. The strings are too big to press with your fingers, so fretting them requires operating pedals and levers that control capo-like mechanisms to press down the strings. In fact, the octobass originally required two people to play: one on the bow (which, though shorter that the bow of a double bass, is extra heavy) and one working the lever system.

Vuillaume originally built three octobasses, two of which are still around. Including contemporary, playable replicas, there are only seven known examples of the instrument in the world, mostly kept in museums, including one at the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix, Arizona. The octobass in Phoenix is tuned C0, G0, D1, a range that’s two octaves below the cello and one octave below the modern double bass. Its low C note is lower than the lowest note on an 88-key piano, and beyond what most people can hear.

The Montreal Symphony Orchestra is the only orchestra that owns one of these unusual instruments, and composers still write music for it on occasion. When played today, it is usually by a single person.

A great white egret.

YouTuber Pall Sigurdsson says, “We spent a whole dive and most of our air saving this octopus from what was bound to be a cruel fate. The coconut octopus, also known as veined octopus, is born with the instinct to protect itself by creating a mobile home out of coconut or clam shells. This particular individual however has been trapped by their instincts and have made a home out of a plastic cup they found underwater. While a shell is a sturdy protection, a passing eel or flounder would probably swallow the cup with the octopus in it, most likely also killing the predator or weakening it to a point where it will be soon eaten by an even bigger fish. We found this particular octopus at about 20 meters under the water, we tried for a long time to give it shells hoping that it would trade the shell. Coconut octopus are famous for being very picky about which shells they keep so we had to try with many different shells before it found one to be acceptable.” Filmed in Lembeh, Indonesia in December 2018.

A pink robin (aka Petroica rodinogaster) in Tasmania by photographer Nikki Long.

Will it break? Let’s see:

A grape bonsai in fall by artist Eric Sin.

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