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6 Facts About the Name Charlotte

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Britain got a new princess this weekend, and her parents, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, named her Charlotte Elizabeth Diana. Many people were thrilled at the news, but bookmakers took it hard. Charlotte had been a late favorite in betting, and the announcement left them confronted with a million pound payout.

Nearly everyone else, however, loves the name, proclaiming it beautiful and perfect for a princess. Here are six facts, besides its prettiness, about the name Charlotte.

1. IT’S MORE POPULAR THAN IT’S EVER BEEN.

In the U.S., at least. In 2013, the most recent year for name data available from the Social Security Administration, Charlotte ranked No. 11 in most popular girls’ names. It had never been that high before, hovering between 50 and 150 for most of the last century, and declining throughout the '70s to a low of No. 309 in 1982. But it’s come back strong, hitting No. 1 in Australia and No. 17 in the UK last year. It’s bound to get even more popular now.

2. CHARLOTTE, N.C. AND CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA. WERE NAMED FOR A PREVIOUS PRINCESS CHARLOTTE.

Charlotte of Mecklenberg-Strelitz was a German princess who became Queen consort when George III married her in 1761. The towns Charlottesville, Va. and Charlotte, N.C., founded shortly after the marriage, were named in her honor, as were various towns in Canada.

3. IT HAS THE SAME ENDING AS "BALLOT."

The –otte or –ot ending is a diminutive, akin to –ette and –et, in French. It attaches to Charles, making “little Charles,” for the name Charlotte. Male names with the same ending are Pierrot (“little Pierre”), Jeannot (“Johnny”), and Lancelot. The word ballot, or “little ball,” came from the practice of casting votes by dropping a small ball into a container.

4. IT’S THE NAME OF A DELICIOUS DESSERT.

There’s the fruit Charlotte, a mold of buttered bread filled with apple or other fruit filling, and the Charlotte Russe, a cream-filled ladyfinger-breaded concoction. Some say the Charlotte was named for the wife of George III, or possibly her granddaughter, the child of George IV. Whatever the origin of the name, you can’t beat the taste.

5. IT’S ONE OF MANY GIRL NAMES CORRESPONDING TO "CHARLES."

Charlotte is a French, female counterpart to Charles, a name popular throughout Europe in various forms since the time of Charlemagne. Some other female versions of Charles are Charlene, Carlotta, Carol, Caroline, Carla, Charlize, and Karolina.

6. IT HAS CUTE NICKNAMES.

Charlottes can be called Char, Carly, Charlie, Lottie, Lotte, or Tottie. What do you think her nursery name will be?

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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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