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The World's Most Annoying Alarm Clocks

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I'm not one of those people that needs bombs dropping outside my window to wake up. Depending on various factors I have yet to understand, some nights a sound as gentle as the air-conditioning clicking on or the gentle smell of my cat using the litter box, wafting past my nose from the next room, is enough to wake me. Unfortunately for me and all those like me, I am frequently gifted with roommates who sleep like they're in comas, and are nearly unwakeable come morning. (I usually end up turning their alarms off for them, then poking them rudely in the head until they stir.)

That's why I fear the alarm clocks on this list like the plague -- not because I need them, but because it's very likely that people near me will. Recently, my wife and I came into the possession of the most annoying alarm clock I've ever personally encountered, which is of Japanese vintage. I don't understand what it says, but it sounds a little something like this:

Seriously, just kill me. Kitsch value aside, however, it's not nearly as irritating as the skin-crawlers on our list. For instance:

The climbing clock
Certainly the work of evil geniuses, the climbing clock hangs above your head and starts climbing while it rings. Don't wake up fast enough, and you won't be able to shut it up without a ladder.

The anemone clock
From the Anemone Clock's product literature: "The Anemone Clock is designed to rumble, tremble, and literally bounce away from your beside when the alarm sounds forcing any sleeping beauty out of bed to wrestle it down, pick it up, get shaken awake, and finally turning it off." I can't think of a worse way to wake up.product_anemoneclock1.jpg

Puzzle alarm
It wakes you up by firing four puzzle pieces up in the air, and then it is your task to get the pieces and put them back in the alarm clock - it won't turn off until then. (If you ask me, anyone who can complete puzzles first thing in the morning -- even simple ones -- never went to sleep in the first place.)puzzle.jpg

Chicken and egg problem clock
Which came first, the chicken or the egg? (At 6:15 in the morning, I guarantee you won't care.) To shut this baby off, you have to put all the expelled eggs back in the chicken's hollow body. Perfect for those animal gynecology students who have trouble making early classes. (Also, who ever suggested I needed a problem first thing in the morning? It being super early in the morning is already a problem. So as Jay-Z said, I may have 99 problems -- but this clock ain't one.)egg.jpg

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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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