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Morning Cup of Links: Martian Forest

Author Jack London's real life was every bit as interesting as the characters in his books. From writing to prospecting to his own children, he was never afraid to take a chance on something new and different.
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25 Famous Thinkers and Their Inspiring Daily Rituals. Do you reckon a little bit of OCD is required to be considered a famous thinker?
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Internet Bridge Troll. Something you should worry about only if you are a billy goatse gruff.
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What is that weird forest on Mars? It sure looks liek there's something growing up there!
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Facts about farts. An infographic perfect for printing out to hang on the wall of your office classroom bathroom.
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This Too Shall Pass, from OkGo with the Notre Dame Marching band. Drumlines and swamp creatures and when have you ever seen a  marching band with an accordion?
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10 Cool College Landmarks. I bet your college has a noteworthy site even if it didn't make this list.

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Stradivarius Violins Get Their Distinctive Sound By Mimicking the Human Voice
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Italian violinist Francesco Geminiani once wrote that a violin's tone should "rival the most perfect human voice." Nearly three centuries later, scientists have confirmed that some of the world's oldest violins do in fact mimic aspects of the human singing voice, a finding which scientists believe proves "the characteristic brilliance of Stradivari violins."

Using speech analysis software, scientists in Taiwan compared the sound produced by 15 antique instruments with recordings of 16 male and female vocalists singing English vowel sounds, The Guardian reports. They discovered that violins made by Andrea Amati and Antonio Stradivari, the pioneers of the instrument, produce similar "formant features" as the singers. The resonance frequencies were similar between Amati violins and bass and baritone singers, while the higher-frequency tones produced by Stradivari instruments were comparable to tenors and contraltos.

Andrea Amati, born in 1505, was the first known violin maker. His design was improved over 100 years later by Antonio Stradivari, whose instruments now sell for several million dollars. "Some Stradivari violins clearly possess female singing qualities, which may contribute to their perceived sweetness and brilliance," Hwan-Ching Tai, an author of the study, told The Guardian.

Their findings were published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. A 2013 study by Dr. Joseph Nagyvary, a professor emeritus at Texas A&M University, also pointed to a link between the sounds produced by 250-year-old violins and those of a female soprano singer.

According to Vox, a blind test revealed that professional violinists couldn't reliably tell the difference between old violins like "Strads" and modern ones, with most even expressing a preference for the newer instruments. However, the value of these antique instruments can be chalked up to their rarity and history, and many violinists still swear by their exceptional quality.

[h/t The Guardian]

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Orange-Themed Trivia
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