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Rare Portraits from the Civil War

As many of you know, I'm an old photo nerd. (By which I mean, I'm a nerd for old photos, not ... oh, never mind.) So naturally I was excited to learn that the Liljenquist family, collectors of rare tintypes and ambrotypes, just donated more than 700 Civil War-era portraits of Union and Confederate soldiers to the Library of Congress. That means we all get to see them! Many are available right now on Flickr. From the Flickr set notes:

These fascinating photographs represent the impact of the war, which involved many young enlisted men and the deaths of more than 600,000 soldiers. The photos feature details that enhance their interest, including horses, drums, muskets, rifles, revolvers, hats and caps, canteens, and a guitar. Among the rarest images are African Americans in uniform, sailors, a Lincoln campaign button, and portraits with families, women, and girls and boys.

Kudos to the Liljenquists for their passion in collecting them, and their generosity in donating them. Here's a picture of Brandon Liljenquist with the whole collection:

The Library of Congress and Flickr are asking for help in identifying any of the soldiers pictured, as many are unknown. So if anyone looks like your great-great-(great?)-grandfather, leave a tag or a comment on the photo!

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Bone Broth 101
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Whether you drink it on its own or use it as stock, bone broth is the perfect recipe to master this winter. Special thanks to the Institute of Culinary Education

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Why Can Parrots Talk and Other Birds Can't?
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If you've ever seen a pirate movie (or had the privilege of listening to this avian-fronted metal band), you're aware that parrots have the gift of human-sounding gab. Their brains—not their beaks—might be behind the birds' ability to produce mock-human voices, the Sci Show's latest video explains below.

While parrots do have articulate tongues, they also appear to be hardwired to mimic other species, and to create new vocalizations. The only other birds that are capable of vocal learning are hummingbirds and songbirds. While examining the brains of these avians, researchers noted that their brains contain clusters of neurons, which they've dubbed song nuclei. Since other birds don't possess song nuclei, they think that these structures probably play a key role in vocal learning.

Parrots might be better at mimicry than hummingbirds and songbirds thanks to a variation in these neurons: a special shell layer that surrounds each one. Birds with larger shell regions appear to be better at imitating other creatures, although it's still unclear why.

Learn more about parrot speech below (after you're done jamming out to Hatebeak).

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