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Shorts That Don't Suck, Vol. III: Arty Edition

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For those of you who've been waiting breathlessly for my third installment of "Shorts" (the first two are here and here), sorry it's been so long! (It takes us awhile to find enough non-sucky shorts to fill a whole post!) This time we'll be featuring films of a different breed: a foreign film, some music-based work and some concentrated weirdness by David Lynch, all of which is awesome.

And hey, before we get started (speaking of awesome!), I wanted to draw your attention to the still above: it's a sneak-preview of the eponymous, geeky hero from my latest in-the-works floss short! Why am I so excited? Because it's entirely new territory for me -- not only is it fully animated, but we're making it using cutting-edge performance capture technology! (You know, like Beowulf. But with a slightly lower budget.) Anyway, we'll keep you up to date as it nears completion; we're working hard on it even as I type. (Well, maybe not as I type. But in all likelihood, after I type.)

Now, without further ado, some awesome shorts that aren't still works-in-progress.

I'll Wait for the Next One (J'Attendrai Le Suivant)
In this Oscar-nominated short, a lonely woman finds love on the subway ... or does she? (It's arty 'cause it's French!)

Hyperactive
Ever since this Scandinavian kid got featured on YouTube a few weeks ago (when Michel Gondry was guest-curating the front page -- quite an honor!), he's been blowing up! He can play neither the drums nor the piano, but with the magic of editing, he makes himself sound like a pro.

Lost Book Found
Normally I abhor that genre of filmmaking known as "video art" (it feels too academic; it doesn't move me), but I find this excerpt from video art master Jem Cohen's film Lost Book Found totally engrossing, hypnotic and mysterious. (And it has a story, which sets it apart from video art.) At ten minutes, it's the longest clip here, but if you've got the time I think you'll find it rewarding and fascinating.

Radiohead: Faust Arp
I don't know if you've heard Radiohead's new album In Rainbows (it's amazing), but this is more or less a home movie of singer Thom Yorke and multi-instrumentalist Johnny Greenwood (who was ROBBED for not getting an Oscar nomination for the There Will Be Blood score, by the way) playing the strange, haunting track "Faust Arp" on a Scottish hilltop at dusk. A unique, intimate way to experience the song -- even with the sound of whipping wind getting in the microphone as they play. I can't believe this can only been watched 50,000 times on YouTube! (PS, ignore the nonsensical first 40 seconds of this clip, which includes one NSFW swear word.)

Insane David Lynch Cigarette Commercial
A nice palate-cleanser. Interpretations are welcome; your guess is as good as mine!

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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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