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The Missing Links: Thriller Turns Thirty

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November 30, 1982: Thriller Is Released

Michael Jackson’s grand opus, and the biggest selling album of all time, Thriller was released 30 years ago today.


Rolling Stone has obviously covered the album quite a bit. Here is their original album review done after its release. I find it rather shocking—and incorrect—that the reviewer makes the claim that Thriller isn’t as good as Prince’s 1999. (They must have changed their minds on this. Thriller was later listed as number 20 on their 500 Greatest Albums of All Time List, while 1999 was number 163.)

Here Billboard talks about how Thriller changed the music industry.

If that’s not enough of an indication of how iconic the album is, then take the fact that MJ’s red Thriller jacket sold last year for $1.8 million.

Lastly: I’m a gigantic Michael Jackson fan, but I never realized until reading through all of this just now that one of the indecipherable lyrics from his song "Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’" was actually him saying “You’re a vegetable” over and over. That’s interesting and it makes for fun singalongs, I suppose.

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The Million Dollar Laptop
This musician promised (probably jokingly) to give a million bucks to the person that turned in his missing laptop. Well, it was found and turned in, and now a judge is forcing him to pay the million dollar reward.

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One Final Bite
What did some famous, or infamous, people have at their last meal?

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A Calvin & Hobbes Search Engine
This thing is awesome, but might not be long for this world.

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She Probably Didn’t Imagine These People Naked
Although that's a good and time-tested method of curing stage fright, it's not a great one when your only audience is your parents. The brilliant Maria Bamford—who you may only know as the lady from the Target ads—has a new comedy special, and the concept for it is just as loveably sweet and offbeat as you’d expect from her.

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Hey
Wow, that really is an effective headline. After all, you are reading this right now.

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Planned Communities Look So Planned
Check out the pictures of these carefully clustered colonies taken from above.

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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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