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It could happen to you: caffeine shock

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As if in response to my recent post about the caffeination of almost everything imaginable, from water to bars of soap and beyond, last week a British girl went into shock and nearly killed herself by slamming 7 double espressos in just a few short hours. She worked in a coffee shop and, like an alcoholic bartender, was making herself drinks along with those for her customers. According to the BBC:

"She developed a fever and began struggling to breathe after being sent home by her father. 'I was drenched. I was burning up and hyperventilating. I was having palpitations, my heart was beating so fast and I thought I was going into shock.'"

In which case, it should be no surprise to learn that recently an otherwise healthy 28-year-old Australian man's heart stopped after he consumed eight Red Bulls in short order -- luckily, paramedics were able to get it going again, and he was okay. According to Energy Fiend's "death by caffeine" calculator, it should take about 80 double espressos or 153 cans of Red Bull to kill you -- pick your poison -- though that doesn't take into account factors such as lack of sleep (as in the espresso girl's case) or drinking on an empty stomach (as in Red Bull man's).

As for the above photo, I took this while on vacation in Maine, and I think it pretty much speaks for itself. (I wonder if "Shock Coffee" would've picked another name had they known in advance about people going into shock and cardiac arrest from caffeine.) Anyway, if coffee's not caffeinated enough for you -- and you're not a soldier on an 18-hour patrol in a war zone -- there's clearly something wrong! As for sleep being "overrated," I think it's quite the opposite.

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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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