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Teddy Roosevelt's Historic Losing Streak Is Over

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After more than 500 losses, Teddy Roosevelt has finally won his first Presidents Race. (Yes, the Rough Rider won the 1904 presidential election, but until today, he had never won the Washington Nationals’ mid-game Presidents Race.)

On the final day of baseball’s regular season, Teddy came from behind to beat his fellow Rushmores – George (Washington), Tom (Jefferson) and Abe (Lincoln) – to the finish line, much to the delight of the near-sellout crowd at Nationals Park.

Teddy fell behind early in the race, which is run along the warning track from the centerfield gate to the home dugout, but he received some help from an unlikely source. A green character designed to look like the Phillie Phanatic emerged from the right-field corner and took out Teddy’s competition. Perhaps the phony Phanatic empathized with Teddy’s plight; the Phillies became the first professional team to lose 10,000 games in 2007.

Teddy’s win capped a joyous week for baseball fans in Washington DC, where fans celebrated the team’s first National League East division title on Monday.

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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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