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Weekend Links: Schrodinger's Ant

From Abe Lincoln To Donald Duck, the history of the income tax. I kind of love the beginning of the Donald video.
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McSweeneys breaks down semantics: the meaning of being implicated as an eater of prawn sandwiches. (Thanks to David for this one!)
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From the Department of Procrastination: a hand drawn game of pinball (I spent way too much time playing this - report your scores! I forgot to track mine, but the latest one was 41300).
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Even though I love Pinterest, I do admit that Funny or Die has basically summed up what 80%+ of the posts on there look like!
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There's been some controversy over the reality of these amazing ant photographs (whether they are alive or dead, hence this week's heading!), but I will quote the Telegraph, a paper I choose to trust, on the matter: "The photographs in this picture gallery may look like they been Photoshopped or assembled with dead insects, but the ants in these images are very much alive. Russian photographer Andrey Pavlov spends hours setting up fairytale scenes. He studied ants, and saw that they all follow a very specific path when they’re working. So he put his props on their trail, and photographed the insects interacting with his miniature 'stage sets'."
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Universal Pictures is celebrating its 100th anniversary with an updated logo, and in this video you can see the evolution of the studio's branding over the years (some of which brings back viewing memories for me!)
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Piggybacking another Titanic link I posted recently, check out Seven Famous People Who Missed the Titanic, which prompts the question: why does the Titanic still fascinate us?
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A giant cache of documentaries featured on YouTube. Perfect for a rainy day!
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Parting Shot: construction of the Manhattan Bridge.
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Stay tuned - more links tomorrow! In the meantime, send your submissions to FlossyLinks@gmail.com.

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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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Orange-Themed Trivia
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