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If You Only Knew Then What You Know Now...

As the old adage says: youth is wasted on the young.

NPR recently shared the tale of a 22-year old blogger named Cassie Boorn, who posed an interesting question to the women of the world via her blog. The NPR story explains the intriguing premise:

Say you're in your 30s or 40s and you could write a letter to your 20-year-old self. What would you say?

So far, she's received some extremely varied and wise thoughts. Among them:

  • "Speaking of money, way to not have a credit card yet, that is a good move. Although, seriously: you have no concept of managing money in any kind of real way. That's going to suck in a few years when you do get a credit card, and aren't as good as you should be about paying off the balance."
  • "You look like a damn model. Enjoy that concave stomach and stop being self-conscious about your body."
  • "As for prince charming, thanks for believing that he exists. When you meet him, don't be surprised if he doesn't appear to be much more than a friend at first."
  • "You didn't develop your character because you did everything right.  As that rickety old woman told once you, flowers grow in the valley, not the mountaintop. And you have to walk through the valley to get back up there."

So, the question is: what would you say? Give us a few of your own pearls of wisdom before you send your full letter to her blog.

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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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