CLOSE
Original image

The Weekend Links

Original image

Everyone is getting tired of year-end lists I know, but this one is worth it. Truly stunning, and mostly heartbreaking, Boston.com has compiled some of its very best photos from 2009 into a 3-part post that reminds you of the good and bad of this past year, and best of all ... no Jon and Kate.
*
If all these year-end lists have you thinking you know just about everything there is to know about 2009, take this quiz and find out! (much harder than I was expecting!)
*
From Hannah, a video of an improv group that holds a quick bell choir performance with a Salvation Army bell ringer. Isn't that better than just the high-pitched tinkling?
*
You may be familiar with the phrases "snafu" or "son of a gun," but did you know that these and other phrases originated on the battlefield? That's the scuttlebutt, anyway!
*

I should have only picked one, but I just couldn't. I found several related links full of amazing pictures, so in the spirit of giving, I am giving you all three! The first showcases 8 Showy Snow Sculptures, followed by some Extreme Christmas Decorations, and then rounding out the list are 9 Gorgeous Gingerbread Creations. May this motivate someone to achieve holiday greatness this year in one of these categories (if you do, send a pic!)
*
Have yourself a ... creepy little Christmas? Revisiting some of the lyrics of popular Christmas songs.
*
10 notable mustaches and the men behind them. My trusted mustache connoisseur friend Pat says of this list, "well there are a lot of fantastic mustaches left out, but this list does include Nietzsche, so I feel it's legit."
*
A recent Vanity Fair article explored our growing cultural addiction toward the cute, and its downsides. I'm sure website like this one of tiny cute baby animals doesn't help, BUT ...

*
If you need to learn how to communicate with your tween cousin during family time during the holidays, you may need the aid of this English-to-12-Year-Old-AOLer Translator. To give you an example, I put in the Shakespeare quote, "A fool thinks himself to be wise, but a wise man knows himself to be a fool," which translated to "A FOL THINKS HIMS3LF 2 B WIES BUT A WIES MAN KNOWS HIMS3LF 2 B A FOL!!!1111" Scary, no?
*
In other translation news and views, check out this "English" song sung by Italians. It's complete gibberish (but then again, so are so many songs), but it's meant to convey our phonetic sounds. The results are intriguing to say the least!
*
If you are suddenly filled with patriotic pride, check out this very cool USA heart featuring all the states (they're all there, right? Did anyone count?)
*
You may be dreaming of a white Christmas, but maybe not a white bridal gown. Here are some inspired weddings full of color to prove that not all successful bridal gowns must be white. (I would however avoid the scarlet red ones ... that just seems to send such a wrong message ...!)
*
For those looking for motivation to exercise more regularly in the winter months, see how you measure up to Modern Fitness Standards for jobs like firefighters and police officers, and even on up in difficulty to marines (if you dare!)
*
Forget Not Where Thy Petrol Floweth From! A funny and somewhat though provoking cartoon.
*
Twitter is occasionally used for good, but more often than not it's used for nonsense. In one of the most ultimate examples, a best man at a wedding pulls a prank that rigs up his friend's honeymoon mattress to tweet the, er, consummation. Pretty funny stuff, although undoubtedly horrifying for the couple!
*
I am a big fan of re-purposing, so I particularly like this simple tutorial on how to turn a shirt into a skirt (this is also handy for the Walk of Shame crowd).
*
Some of those images of the Google logo on the Google homepage don't always look a lot like, well, Google. Here's a gallery of some of the most obscure drawings of the logo to date.
*
Finally, from Flossy reader Doug, "this is a Christmas related musical I made for my family last year. I do one every year." I'm not exactly sure what to make of this, so I give it all to you. It clearly took a lot of time, this I know for sure!
***
Thanks to everyone who sent in links this week - in the spirit of giving, give me some links! Send them along to FlossyLinks@gmail.com. Stay warm!

[Last Weekend's Links]

Original image
iStock
arrow
Big Questions
What's the Difference Between Vanilla and French Vanilla Ice Cream?
Original image
iStock

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.

Original image
iStock
arrow
science
Belly Flop Physics 101: The Science Behind the Sting
Original image
iStock

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.

SECTIONS

More from mental floss studios