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It's not easy being green, especially if you're French

According to Time's European edition, the Frogs are taking on the frogs -- armed men are slipping through the night, hunting the not-nearly- elusive-enough North American bullfrog:

[The species was] introduced to France in 1968 by a French aviator who liked the idea of the critters croaking in his garden. They're now an ecological menace. ... Weighing up to a kilo, these voracious predators gorge on crustaceans, fish, other frogs, salamanders and even the occasional bird.

... The park service has already killed thousands of the frogs, their tadpoles and eggs, and residents nearby are praying this eradication mission succeeds: "Thousands of bullfrogs croaking all night is unbearable," Dejean says.

Here's the question the story doesn't answer -- are these frogs just being trapped, slaughtered, and dumped? Or are they being served with tomato garlic butter? Maybe it's an animal rights thing, but if they're already being killed... Perhaps they don't taste as good as their imported Indonesian counterparts? Could they at least be sold to hungry gourmands in Namibia?

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Stradivarius Violins Get Their Distinctive Sound By Mimicking the Human Voice
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Italian violinist Francesco Geminiani once wrote that a violin's tone should "rival the most perfect human voice." Nearly three centuries later, scientists have confirmed that some of the world's oldest violins do in fact mimic aspects of the human singing voice, a finding which scientists believe proves "the characteristic brilliance of Stradivari violins."

Using speech analysis software, scientists in Taiwan compared the sound produced by 15 antique instruments with recordings of 16 male and female vocalists singing English vowel sounds, The Guardian reports. They discovered that violins made by Andrea Amati and Antonio Stradivari, the pioneers of the instrument, produce similar "formant features" as the singers. The resonance frequencies were similar between Amati violins and bass and baritone singers, while the higher-frequency tones produced by Stradivari instruments were comparable to tenors and contraltos.

Andrea Amati, born in 1505, was the first known violin maker. His design was improved over 100 years later by Antonio Stradivari, whose instruments now sell for several million dollars. "Some Stradivari violins clearly possess female singing qualities, which may contribute to their perceived sweetness and brilliance," Hwan-Ching Tai, an author of the study, told The Guardian.

Their findings were published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. A 2013 study by Dr. Joseph Nagyvary, a professor emeritus at Texas A&M University, also pointed to a link between the sounds produced by 250-year-old violins and those of a female soprano singer.

According to Vox, a blind test revealed that professional violinists couldn't reliably tell the difference between old violins like "Strads" and modern ones, with most even expressing a preference for the newer instruments. However, the value of these antique instruments can be chalked up to their rarity and history, and many violinists still swear by their exceptional quality.

[h/t The Guardian]

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