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Fried Coke (and other fried things inspired by Texas)

CNN is reporting that deep fried lattes, fried chili pie, fried banana pudding and fried guacamole are all highlights set to premier at this year's third annual Big Tex Choice Awards contest. The event, which "tests the fair grub ingenuity of State Fair concessionaires," is interesting not just because it's the first time I've seen the word concessionaires, but also because I had no clue people wanted their lattes deep fried. Of course, the really interesting thing is that all of these ingenious foods come with a bit of a complex: They're all trying to emerge from the shadow of 2006's show stopper, the fried coke. The darling of the deep fried dough world, the dish combines 1 part ingenuity with several parts coca cola syrup (included both in the batter, and in the sauce). In fact, the dish was so popular that it sold over 16,000 servings in its first two weeks—a pretty stunning figure according to vendors.
As for just how many calories come in the new New Coke, that figure's been estimated at a good 820+ calories... and yet no one seems to be working on the diet follow-up. In any case, as of now it sounds like fried coke is going to reign without any sort of Pepsi challenge, as the other colas seem happy to let their foe bask in the Texas limelight. Click here to read more at CNN.

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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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Orange-Themed Trivia
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