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The Late Movies: Holiday Spirit

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The holiday season can turn into a stress-fest with the drop of Santa's hat. The planning, the family, and particularly the shopping and spending money part can really take it out of a person. Should you be ready to drop-kick an elf, here are a few videos to get you back into that holiday spirit.

Silent Monks Singing "Hallelujah"

A group of creative high school students perform a unique "silent" rendition of "Hallelujah!"

Christmas Lights Gone Wild

Most people have seen this colorful light show programmed to "Wizards In Winter" by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. Why not watch it again? It's so mesmerizing and merry—unless you're the guy's neighbor. Find out how you
can make your own light show on Miss Cellania's Gadget Report.

Podsafe Christmas Song

World of Warcraft has taken over the lives of countless boys and girls aged 14-40. Have you ever dated someone addicted to WoW? USELESS! However, some pretty good videos come out of Azeroth. These little elves (gnomes, technically) practice an off-beat carol to the tune of "The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don't Be Late)." (What? I didn't say I never played.)

The Twilight Before Christmas

Ah, Twilight... exploiting the angst of an adolescent girl in serious need of some therapy (and new friends.) The hype got old a while ago, but the spoofs just keep getting better!



If the videos don't do it for you, spend your lunch break playing this snowy holiday game. If the music doesn't make you smile, the adorable bunny will!

Leslie Threlkeld is a mental_floss intern. She helps out the gang in the Birmingham office.


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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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