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How to Use Your Face to Tell When Your Steak is Done

With grilling season just getting underway, you'll want to brush up on your ability to deliver whatever level of meat-doneness is requested. The best and most accurate way to make sure your steak is always cooked to perfection is to use an instant-read thermometer: Grill 'til 125 degrees Fahrenheit for rare steaks, 155 degrees for well-done, and somewhere in between for all the other preferences (see specifics here). But maybe you forgot to bring your thermometer to the party, or you don't have one, or you do have one but can't quite remember where you had it last. For those cases, Food52 has developed a system of determining when your steak is ready that doesn't require cutting into it too soon—and all you need is your own face.

With one hand, feel the firmness of the steak and with the other compare it to different points on your face that translate to different levels of doneness: cheeks for rare, chin for medium and forehead for well-done. Just remember not to switch hands halfway through.

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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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