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Morning Cup of Links: Geek Pranks

Watch this body builder flex his muscles! Just one example of a large collection of James Kuhn's moving face paintings.
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Why it took 17 years and $13 million to bring Chinese Democracy, the new Guns N' Roses album to the public. Personally, I think Axl Rose was going for the world record in procrastination.
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The Greatest Pranks in Geek History. The Cal Tech Prank Club and the MIT Hacks have spent years trying to outdo each other. (via Neatorama)
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Depression 2009: What would it look like? For starters, it would be completely different from what our grandparents experienced in the 1930s.
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The future is green in architecture. Here are 24 buildings, homes, and complexes that incorporate the latest in environmental design.
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Remember the Choose Your Own Adventure books from the 80s and 90s? Take a look at the top twenty adventures, from a field of around 200 books.
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Brilliant Meteor Caught On Video In Canada. After that eye-popping video, read the story.
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Would you like to celebrate Thanksgiving the way the Pilgrims did? Then be ready for a departure from your traditional turkey, dressing, gravy, potatoes, and pie menu!

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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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