CLOSE

We'll B.C.-ing you later, Johnny

When you spend nine seconds of every morning for much of your childhood and adolescence reading a comic strip by the same guy -- or two strips, in Hart's case -- you kinda feel like you know him, just a little bit. But now that he's gone to that big inkwell in the sky, it's time to take stock, mental_floss-style, and see how Johnny Hart trivia matches up with the picture of him we've created in our minds.

"¢ Hart created both B.C. and The Wizard of Id. Okay, we knew that. So far, so good.
"¢ Hart stirred up some controversy on Easter, 2001 by publishing an overtly religious strip portraying a menorah with seven candles progressively burning out as the strip captions ran the final words of Jesus Christ. At the end, the outer arms of the candelabra broke away, leaving a Christian cross, with the final panel portraying the opened and empty tomb of Christ. Hmm, that one was a surprise, though the Sunday comics page does occasionally dip into the devotional. But isn't the title of his strip B.C.?
"¢ Another B.C. strip, which ran November 10, 2003, showed an outhouse with a traditional crescent, which a character entered with a vertical graphic "SLAM", only to ask, "Is it just me, or does it stink in here?" Critics including the Council on American-Islamic Relations claimed that the combination of the vertical bar and the "SLAM", as well as the crescent moons both in the sky and on the outhouse, made the strip a slur on Islam. Hart denied that it was anything but an outhouse joke. More outrageous, perhaps, is the idea that cavemen used outhouses.
"¢ A short-lived B.C. video game appeared in arcades in 1983, called B.C.'s Quest for Tires. The concept, as per IMDB, is this: "You are B.C., traveling up the mountain and through caves on your unicycle. Try to avoid rocks and Grog to reach the top of the mountain." Ah, the infancy of video games. I'd like to see them try to adapt The Wizard of Id into a gory first-person shooter!

nextArticle.image_alt|e
iStock
arrow
music
Stradivarius Violins Get Their Distinctive Sound By Mimicking the Human Voice
iStock
iStock

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]

nextArticle.image_alt|e
iStock
arrow
quiz
Orange-Themed Trivia
iStock
iStock

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios