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10 Memorable Moments From Our Trivia Show

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Note: We're coming to San Francisco next! Get your tickets now!

While I generally think of myself as a polite person, I am THE WORST at writing thank you notes. This is embarrassingly true: Sometimes I’ll write a thank you note in my head after opening a gift, obsessing over it for a few days, but then, for one reason or another, I’ll never actually commit it to paper. Worse, when I do write up a thank you note (like the note I wrote Jason English when he sent my kids a bunch of bedtime reading books and a collection of Richard Nixon paper dolls), I’ll often forget to mail it. And when I finally remember to drop it in the mail, I feel like it needs an accompanying apology note because now it’s so belated, so then I never send anything out.

See? I told you I’m the worst.

But today, I’m doing the unthinkable (for me). I’m writing you, the 150 or so people who came out to the Mental Floss Trivia Show in New York’s Flat Iron Room last week, to thank you for making it such a super fun night.

Here are some of the things I didn’t expect to happen, but really made me happy:

1. We raised over $2000 for John and Hank Green's Project4Awesome charity! (All the ticket sales from our 3-city tour are being donated, and we might even add some more locations as we go.) Thank you for helping us use our Trivia Powers for good!

2. We ran out of space! It was so packed that even NY1’s Pat Kiernan had to patiently waiting in line. (Also: thank you for coming Pat Kiernan! You’re the best!)

3. Some of you are very talented dancers. Specifically, I did not expect this Flosser to get on stage and do The Spongebob, a dance I only learned about a few weeks ago.

4. This guy won some delicious cupcake flavored toothpaste, and shared it with his table after indulging in the free apps. He shared it with me too! (It tastes suspiciously like icing. I had seconds.)

5. Not only have several of you seen Space Jam, you actually remember specific quotes from it. (For updates on the Space Jam movie, you can visit the official site here.)

6. For some reason, this painting was on the wall. (If I had the option, I would have this painting travel with us so each of you could bask in its genius as well.)

7. The Roving Typist, who I’d actually wanted to commission a story on because I love what he does so much (he totes his typewriter around the city and writes stories for people he meets), came to the event and ended up on stage! I only realized he was there when I was looking back at pics from the event today.

The Roving Typist from Mark on Vimeo.

8. We gave out a lot of prizes. (And food and drinks, too!)

9. Mike Rugnetta from PBS’ Idea Channel was there. He is terrific. You should subscribe!

10. I think a generally good time was had by all. Thank you to everyone who came out to support the show and the Project4Awesome. If you enjoyed it, and you’ve got pals in San Francisco or Chicago, we’ll be in those cities on June 18th and July 30th respectively. Tell them to come see the show so we can ply them with bad jokes, booze, oh, and some really great trivia.

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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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