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Emmitt Smith vs. A.C. Slater

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When I was 13, Emmitt Smith was the greatest player in the NFL. The biggest name in high school football that year was Albert Clifford "A.C." Slater. Tonight the three-time Super Bowl champ faces off against the pride of Bayside High in the Dancing with the Stars finale, and the stakes couldn't be higher. The World's Greatest Celebreality Show Dancer trophy has room for only one name.

As a Giants fan, I can't root for Emmitt. And while I always loved Zack and his Crock Pot-sized phone, that's no reason to root against Slater (see the first bullet below). Here's some Mario Lopez/A.C. Slater trivia to tell your friends at tonight's viewing parties.

From IMDb:

+Originally, Zack and Slater were written as bitter rivals for Kelly's romantic affections. Off screen however, Mario Lopez and Mark Paul Gosselaar were (and continue to be) very close friends. The writers, sensing the obvious chemistry between the two actors, had the characters re-written as best friends, and the characters remained that way for the rest of the show.

+Mario Lopez was a state placewinner in California at 189 pounds in 1990. Contrary to popular belief, he was not a state champion. He ended up taking 7th Place at the California State High School tournament as a senior.

+His marriage to Ali Landry was annulled.

+Has a younger sister, Marissa, who is married to Houston Texans linebacker Kailee Wong.

+Other actors considered for the original Saved by the Bell included Jaleel White, Jennie Garth and Brian Austin Green (not exactly Mario Lopez trivia, but if you're still reading you probably don't mind).

+Is the subject of a phenomenal web series called 28 Day Slater.

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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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