Tucked away in the mountainous region of Siberia is Lake Baikal, the deepest lake in the world.

The water is regarded as some of the most pristine on Earth, crisp and clear. On a good day, you can see more than 120 feet into the water. That's like peering from the roof of a 12-story building.

But this prehistoric lake, which is 20-25 million years old, is more than 5,300 feet deep at its deepest point. Don't drop your goggles.


Lake Baikal and the village of Bolshaya Rechka. Photo by Alexander Nemenov/AFP/Getty Images.

While many journey to Baikal to take in the majestic landscape, some make the trip for a very different reason: the music.

After his wife slipped and fell on the ice on Lake Baikal, percussionist Sergei Purtyan asked her to re-create the delightful hollow boom that her fall made. They laughed but discovered the ice had a remarkable tone to it.

They recorded it on their phones and brought it back home to Irkutsk, where Sergei invited percussion group Ethnobeat to return to the spot for a purposeful performance.

Image via Natalia Vlasevskaya-Ethnobeat/YouTube.

Like the lake itself, the tones are deep and clear, resonating with each thud, slap, and smash.

Ethnobeat held their ice jam session for hours in sub-zero temperatures, experimenting with different techniques and methods to create unique sounds.

All GIFs via Natalia Vlasevskaya-Ethnobeat/YouTube.

Oddly enough, many of the tones seem to work in harmony, as if arranged on a keyboard or xylophone.

"All we had to do was to discover that place, get there, and start playing," Natalya Vlasevskaya, one of the members of Etnobit, told The Siberian Times. "Everything else was ready, arranged for the most perfect harmonious sound — as if by some magical conductor."

Lake Baikal stands alone as a freshwater treasure — at least, for now.

Baikal contains 20% of the Earth's freshwater. More than 1,500 animals species live in and around the massive lake, and 80% of those animals aren't found anywhere else.

That's why it was named an UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996.


Animals like the Baikal seal, one of the only species of freshwater seal, are found only in Lake Baikal. Photo by Alexander Nemenov /AFP/Getty Images.

But like many of Earth's natural wonders, Lake Baikal is under siege from industrial and human threats.

Despite UNESCO protections, in 2006, a potential oil pipeline to Asia threatened the pristine waters and put the ecosystem and animals at risk. Thankfully, after extensive protests, Russian President Vladimir Putin diverted the line.

Activists from the Russian branch of Greenpeace hold banners reading "Keep Baikal alive" during a 2006 protest. Photo by Denis Sinyakov/AFP/Getty Images.

However, barely four years later, Putin allowed a large, rundown paper mill to resume operations near the lake. The outdated factory dumps waste into Baikal, but Putin gave it three years to clean up its act (or, three years to dump pollutants into the lake without consequence).

Just last fall, National Geographic reported multiple cases of green slime disrupting the lake's ecosystem. Though scientists have yet to confirm a cause, they suspect nutrients are flowing into the water from fertilizer or human waste.

Photo by Alexander Nemenov/AFP/Getty Images.

Baikal can remain of the world's most majestic, isolated, beautiful places, but only if we protect it.

Surrounded by lush hiking paths, home to thousands of animals and native plants, and a major source of freshwater, Lake Baikal is a place we can't afford to lose. Whether they're close by or a world away, we all need to speak up and protect these natural wonders.

If not for the plants and animals that call it home, do it for the beautiful music. Because there's truly nothing else like it on Earth.

Image via Natalia Vlasevskaya-Ethnobeat/YouTube.

Hear it for yourself with this video from Ethnobeat.


Moricz was banned from speaking up about LGBTQ topics. He found a brilliant workaround.

Senior class president Zander Moricz was given a fair warning: If he used his graduation speech to criticize the “Don’t Say Gay” law, then his microphone would be shut off immediately.

Moricz had been receiving a lot of attention for his LGBTQ activism prior to the ceremony. Moricz, an openly gay student at Pine View School for the Gifted in Florida, also organized student walkouts in protest and is the youngest public plaintiff in the state suing over the law formally known as the Parental Rights in Education law, which prohibits the discussion of sexual orientation or gender identity in grades K-3.

Though well beyond third grade, Moricz nevertheless was also banned from speaking up about the law, gender or sexuality. The 18-year-old tweeted, “I am the first openly-gay Class President in my school’s history–this censorship seems to show that they want me to be the last.”

However, during his speech, Moricz still delivered a powerful message about identity. Even if he did have to use a clever metaphor to do it.

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Matthew McConaughey in 2019.

Oscar-winning actor Matthew McConaughey made a heartfelt plea for Americans to “do better” on Tuesday after a gunman murdered 19 children and 2 adults at Robb Elementary School in his hometown of Uvalde, Texas.

Uvalde is a small town of about 16,000 residents approximately 85 miles west of San Antonio. The actor grew up in Uvalde until he was 11 years old when his family moved to Longview, 430 miles away.

The suspected murderer, 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, was killed by law enforcement at the scene of the crime. Before the rampage, Ramos allegedly shot his grandmother after a disagreement.

“As you all are aware there was another mass shooting today, this time in my home town of Uvalde, Texas,” McConaughey wrote in a statement shared on Twitter. “Once again, we have tragically proven that we are failing to be responsible for the rights our freedoms grant us.”

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50-years ago they trade a grilled cheese for a painting. Now it's worth a small fortune.

Irene and Tony Demas regularly traded food at their restaurant in exchange for crafts. It paid off big time.

Photo by Gio Bartlett on Unsplash

Painting traded for grilled cheese worth thousands.

The grilled cheese at Irene and Tony Demas’ restaurant was truly something special. The combination of freshly baked artisan bread and 5-year-old cheddar was enough to make anyone’s mouth water, but no one was nearly as devoted to the item as the restaurant’s regular, John Kinnear.

Kinnear loved the London, Ontario restaurant's grilled cheese so much that he ordered it every single day, though he wouldn’t always pay for it in cash. The Demases were well known for bartering their food in exchange for odds and ends from local craftspeople and merchants.

“Everyone supported everyone back then,” Irene told the Guardian, saying that the couple would often trade free soup and a sandwich for fresh flowers. Two different kinds of nourishment, you might say.

And so, in the 1970s the Demases made a deal with Kinnear that he could pay them for his grilled cheese sandwiches with artwork. Being a painter himself and part of an art community, Kinnear would never run out of that currency.

Little did Kinnear—or anyone—know, eventually he would give the Demases a painting worth an entire lifetime's supply of grilled cheeses. And then some.

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