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The Weekend Links

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Here's an update on the pandas that survived the China earthquake In May 2008. Cuteness factor is a little too much to handle.
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7 Architectural Wonders of the Natural World. The spider one ... do not want. Also 4000 miles of ants but ... mostly just the spiders.
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As you sit back in wonder at the cinema, ever think about those sometimes mystifying Hollywood studio logos? Read their stories here.
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And now for the news: Woman Offers Ovary For Inaugural Ball Ticket. The jokes are more or less endless.
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The perks of being a wallpaper

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Another piece of unusual art: Louis XIV made from candies and other things potentially found in your pantry. Also, people sculptures under the sea.
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Never say die! If it irritates you when pro teams give up when trailing in the fourth, watch this astounding video of a 1994 high school football game in Texas. Plano East is down 41-17 with 3 minutes to go ... the outcome may surprise you. Favorite quotes: "If they score, I'm gonna jump out of this booth!" "I done wet my britches!"
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From Jan, unusual animal assistants that include ducks, monkeys and miniature horses, oh my!

When the Weekend Links first began, I called for pictures, shameless plugs, etc. At first we had some rousing submissions, but they seem to have tapered off. I think we should bring that back, so I will start. First, from my friend Tracy, whose very talented aunt makes these tiny figurines (the root beer can is there to compare size):
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And secondly, a picture I took of the skyline:
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See? Not so hard. Send 'em in!
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Now for a stockpiling of quizzes:

(1) Match the Hangover Cure to the Country Quiz

(2) Are you a Yankee? A Southern Accent Test will tell you. No one ever says I have an accent, but I done scored 100% Dixie y'all!

(3) For more random quiz fun, try this Dog Breed Quiz, or for those who prefer animals whose affection you must earn but who will still forever ignore you, a Cat Breed Quiz.
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IBM has announced it will lead a US government-funded collaboration to make electronic circuits that mimic brains. Will they only use 10% of their power?
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How did I miss this? Obama busting some moves on Ellen from before the election. I'm sure you all have seen this, but it still makes me giggle.
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"I may be in the gutter, but I'm looking up at the stars!" Here's something to look for: 7 Major Meteor Showers You Can Expect in 2009.
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And finally, the 15 Most Unfortunate Haircuts for a Mugshot. I would say most of these are unfortunate always.

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Thanks as always to those who have sent in links - keep it up! Send all links, pictures and shameless plugs to FlossyLinks@gmail.com

[Last Weekend's Links]

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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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