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Who's Jonny? I think we found him!

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So Jonny seems to have disappeared again, but I'm still pondering what to do about him. Reader Jason (who actually leaves his name as "Jason!", love that) suggested we do things the proper way, by filling out the legal forms, which he helpfully provided. The problem is, these seem to apply only to email, not comment spam, and I don't know if they'd matter to a huge company like Layered Technologies. We could write a filthy parody song about Jonny (as these folks did), but that seems like too much work and we suspect Jonny wouldn't appreciate the humor.

I did find out three more crucial pieces of information about Jonny, though. One: He has an interest in books and education, as is evidenced by his appearance here and on the American Library Association website, but he's a well-rounded fellow who also likes car racing. (Indeed, his interests are legion.) Two: why he's doing this:

The answer, oddly enough, is that the spammers weren't trying to win the attention of the bloggers or their readerships. They were trying to win the attention of Google, like the high school bully beating up the class nerd to impress the homecoming queen. The nerd feels violated, but the truth is that it isn't really about him at all.

The spammers were exploiting the fact that open comment forums on the Web let bloggers post HTML for free. And not just any Web pages: These are heavily valued by Google's PageRank algorithm, thanks to the chronic interlinking of the blogosphere. If you could convince one of those bloggers to link to your new site, you'd have instant credibility. And if you could persuade dozens of bloggers to place links, you'd be an overnight PageRank sensation. Because so much of the Web's traffic now funnels through Google's search engine, that higher ranking translates directly into more "customers" for the spammer.

Three: I can not believe this, but I have found a name, location, email address, and cell phone number associated with the domain name who is a REAL PERSON NAMED JON.

But if you want to hear about that you'll have to check in tomorrow for the next installment in our continuing saga.

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FRED TANNEAU/AFP/Getty Images
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Animals
Fisherman Catches Rare Blue Lobster, Donates It to Science
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FRED TANNEAU/AFP/Getty Images

Live lobsters caught off the New England coast are typically brown, olive-green, or gray—which is why one New Hampshire fisherman was stunned when he snagged a blue one in mid-July.

As The Independent reports, Greg Ward, from Rye, New Hampshire, discovered the unusual lobster while examining his catch near the New Hampshire-Maine border. Ward initially thought the pale crustacean was an albino lobster, which some experts estimate to be a one-in-100-million discovery. However, a closer inspection revealed that the lobster's hard shell was blue and cream.

"This one was not all the way white and not all the way blue," Ward told The Portsmouth Herald. "I've never seen anything like it."

While not as rare as an albino lobster, blue lobsters are still a famously elusive catch: It's said that the odds of their occurrence are an estimated one in two million, although nobody knows the exact numbers.

Instead of eating the blue lobster, Ward decided to donate it to the Seacoast Science Center in Rye. There, it will be studied and displayed in a lobster tank with other unusually colored critters, including a second blue lobster, a bright orange lobster, and a calico-spotted lobster.

[h/t The Telegraph]

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Courtesy Murdoch University
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Animals
Australian Scientists Discover First New Species of Sunfish in 125 Years
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Courtesy Murdoch University

Scientists have pinpointed a whole new species of the largest bony fish in the world, the massive sunfish, as we learned from Smithsonian magazine. It's the first new species of sunfish proposed in more than 125 years.

As the researchers report in the Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, the genetic differences between the newly named hoodwinker sunfish (Mola tecta) and its other sunfish brethren was confirmed by data on 27 different samples of the species collected over the course of three years. Since sunfish are so massive—the biggest can weigh as much as 5000 pounds—they pose a challenge to preserve and store, even for museums with large research collections. Lead author Marianne Nyegaard of Murdoch University in Australia traveled thousands of miles to find and collected genetic data on sunfish stranded on beaches. At one point, she was asked if she would be bringing her own crane to collect one.

Nyegaard also went back through scientific literature dating back to the 1500s, sorting through descriptions of sea monsters and mermen to see if any of the documentation sounded like observations of the hoodwinker. "We retraced the steps of early naturalists and taxonomists to understand how such a large fish could have evaded discovery all this time," she said in a press statement. "Overall, we felt science had been repeatedly tricked by this cheeky species, which is why we named it the 'hoodwinker.'"

Japanese researchers first detected genetic differences between previously known sunfish and a new, unknown species 10 years ago, and this confirms the existence of a whole different type from species like the Mola mola or Mola ramsayi.

Mola tecta looks a little different from other sunfish, with a more slender body. As it grows, it doesn't develop the protruding snout or bumps that other sunfish exhibit. Similarly to the others, though, it can reach a length of 8 feet or more. 

Based on the stomach contents of some of the specimens studied, the hoodwinker likely feeds on salps, a jellyfish-like creature that it probably chomps on (yes, sunfish have teeth) during deep dives. The species has been found near New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, and southern Chile.

[h/t Smithsonian]

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