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What's the coolest dream you've ever had?

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Looking over our archives, I'm noticing we like to post about sleep and sleep-related habits. Last winter, Higgins wrote a fabulous post about lucid dreams, or dreams you can control. Ransom has had a few cool posts on dream-related topics, including an exceptional one asking readers whether it's smart to wake a sleepwalker or not.

I've long been fascinated by dreams and even used to keep a dream journal when I was going through a Freudian phase, obsessed with his writings in The Interpretation of Dreams. Freud thought dreams were full of symbolism tied to our deepest desires—things repressed by the super-ego during our waking life. But asleep, the more primitive id is free to frolic and work out wish fulltime through two separate layers: manifest content, which is what the dream seems to be about on the surface, and latent content, or the hidden meaning of the dream.

Of course, Freud was hardly the first to place great importance on dream-states. In ancient Egypt and Greece, dreams were thought of as the most direct means of communication with the Gods. I've also read that in ancient Rome, some physicians even used dreams to help them diagnose illnesses.

Lately, my dreams have been seriously supersized. Not sure if it's the new vitamins I'm taking or what, but last week, for instance, I had the wildest dream in which I was playing the viola! Mind you, I don't know the first thing about playing a string instrument. As you saw in monday's On Music post, it's quite difficult. But in the dream I had full mastery of the instrument and was producing the most glorious, richest tone I'd ever heard. Don't exactly remember what music I was playing, but I woke from the dream thinking I should call a violist friend, borrow his axe, and see if, in fact, I really COULD play the viola. That's how vivid the dream was. As of this posting, I'm still trying to figure out the latent content (though I'm sure I know what old Freud would say about that viola bow).

What about you guys? What's the coolest, most vivid dream you've ever had? Or the scariest? The most surreal? If you're not certain what it meant, maybe another _floss reader can help you out with her/his own interpretation.

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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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