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Morning Cup of Links: the Real Lois Lane

What’s the difference between animals we can domesticate and animals we can’t? It’s in the genes, and it turns out that when we selectively breed friendly animals, we also get cute and smart animals.
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The Soviets always wanted to build ever bigger, better, and more modern buildings. Some of those projects look downright freakish to 21st century eyes. (via Metafilter)
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Watch a 3D video mapping experiment called Living Room. A white room and furniture is assigned different colors and textures and sent through quick changes.
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“Let me show you why you would not want to be shot by a .357 Magnum.” Not that I ever did, but this guy drove the point home convincingly. NSFW language.
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Joanne Siegel was the real-life inspiration behind the character of Lois Lane. She auditioned for a modeling job as a teenager and ended up married to Superman’s co-creator.
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The Evolution of Ghosts. Weren’t they invented to scare us? What happened?
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What to Do (and Not Do) In A Fistfight. Asking for a three-step head start toward the door isn’t a bad idea, either.

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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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