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Morning Cup of Links: Five Fast Years

Nancy Brinker, founder of the Susan G. Komen Foundation, defended the defunding of Planned Parenthood by saying the charity “would never bow to pressure.” That was just before they reversed course under pressure from all sides.
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A new theme park in Ilsan, just outside Seoul, South Korea features interactive adventures using Kinect technology. That's way cheaper than building rides, exhibits, and a fantasy world.
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Comedian GloZell takes the cinnamon challenge with a spoon that's too big. It's not so much that she fails, but how spectacularly she fails.
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Catwoman Pepper Sprays Fake Ozzy Osbourne On Hollywood Boulevard. Other strange characters backed up Catwoman's side of the story.
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A Sulcata tortoise enjoys a salad, which probably took hours in real time. With time-lapse photography and a dramatic soundtrack, he's an unstoppable eating machine.
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Iceland's Historic Turf Houses: The Eco-Homes of the Future? There's no warmer, greener, or cheaper building material than Mother Earth.
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As the police department suffers cutbacks, citizens of Detroit are resigned to defending themselves by any means necessary. Justifiable homicide is up 79% over last year, and it was already higher than the rest of the nation.
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OK Go's new video for the song "Needing/Getting" took four months of planning and four days to shoot before debuting at the Super Bowl. The car plays the music, but the real trick was singing and driving.
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Why we'll never find another planet like Earth. It has something very unique and important, and it's not people.
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Periodic Tableware. This was my very first post on mental_floss, published five years ago today!

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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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