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Weekend Links: The Ghost Boat Has Finally Come To Shore

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From my friend Dekalb, a solar storm makes for a fantastic European light show.
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Ahoy mateys, thar be the ghost boat, come to shore at last! After three years and 3,500 miles, the driverless "Nantucket" finally washed up in Spain. (Thanks Holly!)
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Are you tired of the ‘Sh*t People Say’ videos? Mashable has 15 of the best ones to help you say goodbye to this fun-while-it-lasted meme.
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From Neatorama, "the Antikythera Mechanism: Quest to Decode the Secret of the 2,000 Year Old Computer" (and how it would work today).
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Looking like something from MYST (remember that game?!) or maybe "Lost," the mysterious and beguiling Sea Forts, located in The Thames Estuary off the North Kent coast, are photographed and explained.
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Check out this amazing video "by Spacecraft Films shows the July 16, 1969 launch of the Apollo 11 mission that landed the first humans on the moon. The camera was rolling at a whopping 500 frames per second, allowing the first 30 seconds of the launch to be slowed down into this 8-minute narrated video of pure awesomeness." You can also mute it and play Sigur Ros over it and it is, predictably, epic.
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A little GIF that goes a long way: some perspective on just how huge certain stars really are. Still essentially incomprehensible, but it's a start!
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A very … interactive? bathroom. Not sure I would feel comfortable in here, honestly!
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Stay tuned - more links on the way tomorrow! In the meantime, send your submissions to FlossyLinks@gmail.com, or Tweet me.

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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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