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Morning Cup of Links: Duck Crossing

A Very Brony Hannukah. The characters from My Little Pony celebrate the Festival of Lights through a collection of fan art.
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You'll need nerves of steel to watch this traffic camera account of a mother duck and her ducklings crossing a busy highway in Toronto. No gore, but a few really close calls.
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What Do We Really Know About Jesus? There are accounts of his life outside the canonical Gospels, with varying degrees of plausibility.
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Hilarious Vintage Celebrity Tintypes. The celebrities are modern, but the photographs are not.
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Actor Gérard Depardieu reportedly has moved to Belgium to avoid paying French taxes. The move will damage his reputation among the French, but will protect his fat wallet.
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This supercut has clips from the best videos of cats dealing with treadmills. And making cat videos is the only thing a treadmill is good for.
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10 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About A Charlie Brown Christmas.
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The 10 worst-reviewed movies of 2012. The fun critics had writing about them almost makes up for the misery of having to sit through them.
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That Tattoo Doesn’t Mean What You Think It Means. If you can't read it yourself, think before you ink.

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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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