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Morning Cup of Links: Helping Out

Bruce Springsteen and Billy Joel are headlining a concert tonight to benefit hurricane victims. Here are some suggestions for their set list.
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Amidst the carnage left by the hurricane, people stepped up to help each other. Here are 26 Truly Inspiring Images From Hurricane Sandy.
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Do power outages after a bad storm have to last this long? A little pre-planning for communities could speed up recovery efforts next time.
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If you're not crawling out from under the rubble of hurricane Sandy, things are looking up. The economy is doing better now than it has in years.
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Vintage Illustrations from a Midcentury Soviet Dictionary. That title sounds grim, but these retro designs are anything but.
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The suckiest day in presidential history was that day when president-elect Franklin Pierce and his wife saw their young son die in a train crash. The family's grief and belief in omens showered sadness over his entire term in office.
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The new Denzel Washington movie Flight brings the actor back to a worthy psychological role as a drug-abusing pilot. Robert Zemeckis' first live-action film in a dozen years may just be Oscar material.
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Mondegreens are misheard lyrics, which tend to stick with you for a lifetime. Here are some misheard lyrics that will infect your brain once you see them in subtitles.
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Who should direct Star Wars: Episode VII? Seven possibilities each have their pros and cons.
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Angels of Death: 8 Medical Murderers. Caregivers are rarely suspected, so they can get away with multiple crimes.

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Big Questions
What's the Difference Between Vanilla and French Vanilla Ice Cream?
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While you’re browsing the ice cream aisle, you may find yourself wondering, “What’s so French about French vanilla?” The name may sound a little fancier than just plain ol’ “vanilla,” but it has nothing to do with the origin of the vanilla itself. (Vanilla is a tropical plant that grows near the equator.)

The difference comes down to eggs, as The Kitchn explains. You may have already noticed that French vanilla ice cream tends to have a slightly yellow coloring, while plain vanilla ice cream is more white. That’s because the base of French vanilla ice cream has egg yolks added to it.

The eggs give French vanilla ice cream both a smoother consistency and that subtle yellow color. The taste is a little richer and a little more complex than a regular vanilla, which is made with just milk and cream and is sometimes called “Philadelphia-style vanilla” ice cream.

In an interview with NPR’s All Things Considered in 2010—when Baskin-Robbins decided to eliminate French Vanilla from its ice cream lineup—ice cream industry consultant Bruce Tharp noted that French vanilla ice cream may date back to at least colonial times, when Thomas Jefferson and George Washington both used ice cream recipes that included egg yolks.

Jefferson likely acquired his taste for ice cream during the time he spent in France, and served it to his White House guests several times. His family’s ice cream recipe—which calls for six egg yolks per quart of cream—seems to have originated with his French butler.

But everyone already knew to trust the French with their dairy products, right?

Have you got a Big Question you'd like us to answer? If so, let us know by emailing us at bigquestions@mentalfloss.com.

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science
Belly Flop Physics 101: The Science Behind the Sting
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Belly flops are the least-dignified—yet most painful—way of making a serious splash at the pool. Rarely do they result in serious physical injury, but if you’re wondering why an elegant swan dive feels better for your body than falling stomach-first into the water, you can learn the laws of physics that turn your soft torso a tender pink by watching the SciShow’s video below.

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