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Declare Yourself a Saint (And Win a Book About Your Peers)

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[We'll start the judging at 8am Eastern Time Friday morning. Get in those last-minute entries overnight.]

Last month, the fine folks at Quirk sent us a copy of Thomas J. Craughwell's This Saint's For You! 300 Heavenly Allies for Architects, Athletes, Brides, Bachelors, Babies, Librarians, Murderers, Whales, Widows, and You. After being assured holding this giveaway didn't mean parting with my copy, Mangesh and I came up with these contest rules:

1) Declare Yourself a Saint. Tell us in the comments about the obscure area over which you'll preside and hover. The more obscure "“ and the more funny "“ the better. But remember, patron saints already exist for all sorts of random topics, including advertising professionals, beekeepers, lost objects, poets, rabbits, riots, makers of playing cards, the falsely accused, and the physically unattractive.

2) We'll pick our favorite on Thursday and send you the book. Two runners-up will get free mental_floss t-shirts. It's that easy. Well, winning the book is that easy. Recognition as an official patron saint may require additional paperwork.

Here's a little more about information, excerpted from the back cover:

"This Saint's for You! describes the real-life histories of more than 300 saints and explains how they have become associated with certain people, places, and professions. Also included are images of 300 gorgeous full-color holy cards that depict these heavenly allies in all their glory. Whether you're a flight attendant or a stenographer (or an ice skater or a motorcyclist or a Girl Scout...), we guarantee these saints will save your life!"

Let your campaigns for sainthood begin.

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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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