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Carpe diem? Caveat emptor.

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Live for the moment, or save for the future? According to a new study published in the Journal of Consumer Research, party while you still can: you'll be glad you did. Ran Kivetz, a professor of business at Columbia U, conducted a series of interviews to gain insight into a condition he calls "hyperopia," or excessive farsightedness.

One set of interviews asked people about a time in the previous week when they chose between work and pleasure, and had them rank how they now felt about that decision. Another asked people the same question, but in reference to an event five years in the past. The results were polarizing: most of those who had forgone pleasure and worked hard a week prior were glad they did, but wished they had chosen to party five years prior. "In the long run," Kivetz says, "we inevitably regret being virtuous and wish we'd been bigger hedonists."

Of course, one thing the study doesn't take into account is how work performed in the past effects current happiness. Sure, it's easy for dad to say now that he wished he'd gone to Woodstock instead of studying for the bar exam -- but then again, the Jag in the driveway might not be there if he hadn't.

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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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