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Morning Cup of Links: Bluegrass Beyonce

Scientists have floated the theory that life may have begun on earth in more than one instance. A biochemist did the math and says if it happened more than once, there's no evidence surviving in our current genes.
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Why It Costs Twice as Much to Fly Half as Far. The economics of air travel is somewhat akin to alchemy.
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You think kids are tired of school by this time of year? The faculty of Bloomingdale High School have had it up to here!
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Why I Hate 3-D (and You Should Too). Roger Ebert explains the many reasons, which are summed up quickly in this poster.
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Our 11 Favorite Bluegrass Covers on YouTube. You haven't lived until you've heard "Single Ladies" on banjo and jaw harp. (via Gorilla Mask)
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How to Save the News. Journalism won't die because the all-powerful Google is working to save it. Really.
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You knew your flip flops went away for the winter, you just weren't exactly sure where. Don't worry, if they're not already back home, they will be soon.
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10 Jobs You Didn't Hear About on Career Day. Mainly because they are obsolete, but would it help our unemployment rate if we still used knocker-uppers?

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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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