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Brain Game: Not 'digit'

First off, I should share the news that a T-shirt design that I suggested a while back is now available at the mental_floss store. Get yours today, and tell 'em that Sandy sent you.

You can solve today's Brain Game by just looking at it. Having said that, the answer might be a bit esoteric - but I have to keep you smart readers on your toes!

Here are 12 terms that I pulled from a computer book. As they're shown, each of these 12 terms has something very specific in common (other than being computer-related terms, of course). You may notice that every vowel except "i" is used in the list - but that's not the answer we're looking for. Can you figure it out? Good luck!

screen saver - common - errors
access - camera - erase
secure - macro - amazon.com
consumer - recover - mouse-over

Here is the SOLUTION.

THE SOLUTION:

None of these terms contain any letters that have ascenders or descenders - parts that rise above or below the baseline of the text.

When written in lower case, half the letters of the alphabet either rise above the baseline (b, d, f, h, i, k, l, t), sink below it (g, p, q, y), or both ( j).

The other 13 letters (a, c, e, m, n, o, r, s, u, v, w, x, z) do not. And each 12 of the terms in the list are comprised of ONLY these letters.

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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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