An AI machine given 8,000 cats’ names…

An AI machine given 8,000 cats’ names and then instructed to come up with its own suggested the following: Cheesemonger, Lilith the Vamp, Mr. Sinister, This Guy, Funky Moe and You’re Telling A Lie. For more AI Weirdness, head over to

The Octobass Is Nearly Too Big to Play – or Hear

Get a load of this instrument.

You might never have seen an octobass in person – but if you have, there’s no way you’ll ever forget it.

The wooden instrument is 12 feet tall and capable of producing sounds so low the human ear has trouble detecting them. And even though it otherwise resembles its smaller cousins (a bass, cello, violin, or viola), even a professional basketball player would need to stand on something to reach its neck.

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Throughout history human society have created thousands of various music instruments – and some of them are rather strange. One of such instruments, the Octobass, was constructed in 1850 by certifiable genius and fan of massive string instruments Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume. The Octobass is a chuffing massive double bass that stands at 3.5 meters tall. Which is ridiculous, really, seeing as it's too big to play with the hands – there are elaborate foot-pedals to make it possible. Apparently Berlioz was a fan, and wrote about it in his treatise on orchestration. What weird and bizarre music instruments do you know? Share with us! За свою истортю человечество создало тысячи различных видов музыкальных инструментов, и некоторые из них оказались довольно странными. Одним из таких стал октобас (или субконтрабас), созданный в 1850 году французским скрипичным мастером и поклонником больших струнных инструментов Жаном Батистом Вийомом, и представляющий из себя массивный контрабас высотой около трех с половиной метров. Это смешно, но инструмент слишком большой, чтобы играть на нем руками – для этого был применен сложный механизм с использованием педалей. Видимо, Берлиоз был впечатлен октобасом и написал о нем в своем трактате об оркестровке. О каких странных инструментах знаете вы? Расскажите нам! #interestingfacts #musicfacts #musichistory #classicalmusic #history #octobass #huge #doublebass #bizarre #weird #musicinstrument #invention #why #how #интересно #фактыомузыке #историямузыки #октобас #огромный #контрабас #странно #инструмент #изобретение #как #зачем #почему

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The octobass produces sound in the same manner as other string instruments: the player holds down certain strings in specific patterns, drawing out or shortening the sounds by plucking, strumming, or bowing the strings. In addition to knowing which strings to push, though, someone learning the octobass must also become familiar with a series of levels used to press down the strings.

Then they handle a (very heavy and large) bow, drawing it across the strings.

The instrument was designed and constructed by French luthier Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume in 1850, and for a long time, two musicians worked together to play it. Modern uses are few and far between, partly because there are only three playable replicas in the world – one in Phoenix, one in Paris, and another in Oslo.

Nico Abondolo, principal bass player with the LA Chamber Orchestra had the opportunity to play one, and called it “a surreal experience.”

It tunes to two full octaves below a cello and one octave below a double bass (or the lowest note on a piano), extending to a C note pitched at 16 hertz – lower than the normal range of human hearing, which ends around 20 hertz.

Colin Pearson, curator of the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix, explains why he’s so excited to have one nearby.

“It’s wonderful for demonstrating how sound waves work, and how a string vibrates. These strings are so large and so massive that the vibrations are slow enough for us to actually see them.”

Science project or not, there’s one thing the octobass can do that nothing else can in quite the same way – play the theme song from Jaws.

So even if you’re not a science or music buff, there’s still a good reason to keep one around.

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10 Tips on Reading from President Teddy Roosevelt

This might be news to you, but Teddy Roosevelt was a voracious reader. He reportedly read around a book a day, and was often reading more than one book at a time.

Setting aside the fact that the piece he wrote for Ladies Home Journal smacks of a dude imparting knowledge to a bunch of daft ladies, he does gift humanity with some pretty great tips about books and reading.

So here we go!

10. Start reading young.

“Fathers and mothers who are wise can train their children first to practice, and soon to like, the sustained mental application necessary to enjoy good books.”

9. Take a big book on your journeys.

“Railway and steamboat journeys were, of course, predestined through the ages as aids to the enjoyment of reading. I have always taken books with me when on hunting and exploring trips.”

“In such cases the literature should be reasonably heavy, in order that it may last.”

8. Read what you love.

“The reader’s personal and individual taste must be the guiding factor when choosing a book. I like hunting books and books of exploration and adventure. I do not ask anyone else to like them.”

“…the equation of personal taste is as powerful in reading as in eating; and within certain broad limits the matter is merely one of individual preference, having nothing to do with the quality either of the book or of the reader’s mind.”

7. Even when the recommendation comes from someone respected.

“If a man or woman is fond of books he or she will naturally seek the books that the mind and soul demand. Suggestions of a possibly helpful character can be made by outsiders, but only suggestions; and they will probably be helpful about in proportion to the outsider’s knowledge of the mind and soul of the person to be helped.”

6. But the classics are always worth a go.

“Let man or woman, young man or girl, read some good author, say Gibbon or Macaulay, until sustained mental effort brings power to enjoy the books worth enjoying.”

5. There’s nothing wrong with using books to escape the real world.

“There are enough horror and grimness and sordid squalor in real life with which an active man has to grapple; and when I turn to the world of literature …I do not care to study suffering unless for some sufficient purpose. It is only a very exceptional novel which I will read if He does not marry Her; and even in exceptional novels I much prefer this consummation. I am not defending my attitude. I am merely stating it.”

4. Read to learn – on the topics that interest you.

“Even in pure literature, having nothing to do with history, philosophy, sociology, or economy, one book will often suggest another, so that one finds one has unconsciously followed a regular course of reading.”

3. Don’t pigeonhole yourself.

“A man with a real fondness for books of various kinds will find that his varying moods determine which of these books he at the moment needs.”

“A book must be interesting to the particular reader at that particular time.”

2. Read every day.

“All kinds of odd moments turn up during even a busy day, in which it is possible to enjoy a book. And then there are rainy afternoons in the country in autumn, and stormy days in winter, when one’s work outdoors is finished and after wet clothes have been changed for dry, the rocking chair in front of the open wood fire simply demands an accompanying book.”

1. Ignore those “must-read” lists.

“There remain enormous masses of books, of which no one man can read more than a limited number, and among which each reader should choose those which meet his own particular needs. There is no such things as a list of ‘the 100 best books’ or the ‘best 5-foot library.’ …To attempt to create such a library that shall be of universal value is foreordained to futility.”

“It is all right for a man to amuse himself by composing a list of a hundred very good books; and it he is to go off for a year or so where he cannot get many books, it is an excellent thing to choose a 5-foot library of particular books which in that particular year and on that particular trip he would like to read. But there is no such thing as a 5-foot library which will satisfy the needs of even one particular man on different occasions extending over a number of years.”

I love reading, and anyone who reads as much as Teddy is a-ok in my book!

See what I did there? Ha!

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7 Cute Facts About the Mouse Deer

Not too long ago, a species of Chevrotain that had not been seen for over 30 years was spotted in Vietnam, and no one can get over how little and adorable these creatures are.

Rightfully so.

If the mouse deer is your new obsession and you’re curious to know more, well, we’ve got you covered.

7. They have super fierce fangs.

They have two front teeth that are super long and sharp like needles – they use them to stab each other during combat.

6. They’re not deer, nor are they mice.

They do share a suborder with deer (Ruminantia), but have their own family, called Tragulidae.

5. Swimming is a defense mechanism.

The water chevrotain swims underwater to avoid predators – they can even walk on the riverbed in order to avoid being swept along by the current, grabbing hold of reeds to assist.

They can hold their breath for about 4 minutes, but tire easily while swimming.

4. The species vary by weight.

Species can vary in weight from 4 to around 33 pounds, though none get larger than a medium-sized dog.

3. They’re very shy.

They are prey animals, and with nothing but their sharp teeth for protection, all of the species lead fairly secluded, quiet lives. Some are nocturnal, and most graze alone, only hanging out together to mate.

2. There are many variations.

The family has two genera (Hyemoschus and Tragulus), and the spotted mouse deer have their own, Moshiola. All look very similar, however.

1. Their hooves are quite loud.

The males of some species can angrily beat their hooves on the ground four to seven times a second to warn off predators, or to warn their fellow chevrotains to take cover.


I just love that these little guys are back in the spotlight, and I hope they don’t go back into hiding for another three decades!

What’s your favorite forgotten and/or little known animal? We’d love to hear about it in the comments!

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Magnetars: A Magnet so Strong, They Could Tear Your Body Apart

This is kinda crazy…

Some magnets are so weak they can barely keep a photo on the refrigerator. Meanwhile, there are magnetars: the strongest known magnets in the universe. Sadly, you can’t buy these at your local grocery store.

A magnetar is a type of neutron star with an unbelievably powerful magnetic field. Though they have the strongest magnetic pull of any known object in the universe, they are surprisingly small. They’re also very mysterious.

So, where do magnetars come from? Curiosity explains: When a star dies, it explodes into a supernova, collapsing in on itself in a giant extravagant display of light before fading away. If the star was large enough, it will then create a neutron star in its place. A neutron star is so small that it’s often just the size of a small city (for a star, that’s tiny!). However, it’s also incredibly dense. Just one teaspoon weighs at least one billion tons. All this matter spins around hundreds of times per second, creating a magnetic field that is a trillion times stronger than the Earth’s own.

And then there are magnetars. Magnetars are an especially magnetic type of neutron star. Nobody really knows why they’re so magnetic, but they are. They’re roughly 1000 trillion times more magnetic than Earth.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

This magnetic field is so strong that just coming within 600 miles of it would destroy your nervous system and even change your molecular structure. If you came closer, the gravitational force would destroy you at the atomic level. These stars can also wreak havoc on planets like the Earth.

Thankfully, the closest magnetar to us is much too far to do such damage, and they’re also incredibly rare. Scientists have been on the lookout for magnetars since 1979, but while they’ve found over 2000 neutron stars, fewer than 25 have been confirmed as magnetars.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Still, it’s fascinating to know that they’re out there somewhere!

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See If You Can Figure out These 6 Tricky Riddles

Ready to work out that brain?

Riddles are a great way to challenge yourself, hone your mind, or just pass the time – and we’ve borrowed these 6 tricky ones from @BRAINTWISTER on Twitter.

Can you solve them all?

6. What delights the ladies you know?

5. So many melons.

4. Real and true?

3. Four cars at a four-way stop.

2. Hint: not an egg!

1. The queen is disappointed to hear it.

Continue reading when you’re ready to check your answers!

Prehistoric Mammoth Traps Were Discovered Outside Mexico City

This is big news.

The National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) has revealed at a press conference that ancient traps containing the remains of 14 woolly mammoths were uncovered in Mexico.

At least 15,000 years old, the traps were discovered in Tultepec, a city approximately 25 miles north of Mexico City.

Named “Tultepec II,” the site has been under excavation for about 10 months, and archaeologists working there have discovered around 824 bones from 14 mammoths, including skulls, jaws and ribs. The site has been named a “Mammoth Megasite.”

At the press conference, Pedro Francisco Sánchez Nava, the national archeology coordinator at the INAH, said, “It represents a watershed, a touchstone for how we previously imagined groups of hunter-gatherers interacted with these enormous herbivores.”

Photo Credit: Wikimedia

Researchers think they now have a better understanding of how the beasts were hunted and used by hunter-gatherers in the Mexico Basin. Twenty or thirty hunters would separate one from the herd and, using torches, lure it into the trap. Once there, the animal would be killed, with most of the body either eaten or used in other ways.

One of the skeletons was laid out in a ceremonial way with evidence that indicated it took several hunts to bring it down completely. The arrangement of the bones points to a level of reverence the hunters had for such a fierce kill.

A Mammoth Museum is already open in Tultepec with a nearly complete wooly mammoth skeleton, discovered there in 2016, on display.

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A Tumblr User Takes Us to School About Why Older Cars Are Definitely Not Better

How many times have you heard this?

“They don’t make them like they used to!”

It’s a refrain we hear often from the older generation around us, and about pretty much everything – cars, washing machines, people  – and even though most of us may just roll our eyes and mutter “OK, Boomer,” one Tumblr user was on the same page:

Yeah. That old car acted like my grandpa used to when a bee stung him in the garden – he grunted, swiped it away, and went about his business.

Luckily for all of us younguns, though, someone else on Tumblr was there to tell us exactly why (at least when it comes to cars) it’s a really, really good thing they don’t make them like they used to.

While there are legitimate criticisms about the throwaway mentality that capitalism has engendered in American society, vehicle safety has improved dramatically over the last several decades. This is one area where government regulation has made a huge difference, and it is quite literally life or death.

Seems like the government isn’t always out to get us, y’all – they’re actually trying to help!

Who knew?!

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