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The Quick 10: 10 Famous Military Brats

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My dad was a military brat - my grandpa was in the Navy so my dad found himself uprooted a few times. He was born in Virginia but ended up in Iowa where he decided to stay put. Although he doesn't quite make the list of famous people (sorry, dad), these brats do:

10 Famous Military Brats

1. Photographer Annie Leibovitz's father was a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Air Force.

2. R.E.M. frontman Michael Stipe's dad was in the U.S. Army.

3. Actor Tim Curry (one of my favorites) traveled quite a bit with his dad, who was a Chaplain in the Royal Navy.

4. Xuxa, a Brazilian Icon who is sometimes called "The Madonna from South America", was quite worldly at a young age. Her father, who was in the Brazilian military, wasn't stationed in one place (Rio de Janiero) until Xuxa was seven.

5. Michael J. Fox was born in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, and didn't settle in one place until his dad retired from the Canadian Forces in 1971.

6. Elton John comes by his musical talents honestly - his dad was a trumpter with the Royal Air Force Band.

7. Bruce Willis was born in Iber-Oberstein, West Germany. His father was a soldier in the U.S. Army and met his mother while stationed there.

8. Emmylou Harris's dad was a Marine Corps pilot who went missing in action in Korea in 1951. He was a prisoner of war for for somewhere between 10 and 16 months (different reports say different things) before he was released and sent home.

9. Michelle Bachelet, the President of Chile, was born to an archaeologist mother and a father who was a Chilean Air Force Brigadier General. She moved all around Chile, and spent two years in Maryland while her father was serving at the Chilean Embassy in Washington, D.C. They then moved back to Chile where Michelle graduated high school.

10. Luke Skywalker himself, Mark Hamill, moved numerous times because of his dad's career with the U.S. Navy. Although he started high school in Annandale, Virginia, he graduated from Nile C. Kinnick High School in Japan. And then he went on to save the world from his evil father. No, wait, I'm confusing fantasy and reality again...

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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

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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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