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Speedy Facts About Speeding Tickets

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It always amazes me when I hear someone say they've never been pulled over for speeding. My reaction is usually wow, I'd never want to be stuck behind you in traffic. As for me, I've gotten all manner of them: the 20mph-over on the interstate, the 2mph-over hick town speed trap, the stern warning (becoming rarer as I get older), but recently I got a totally new and unexpected kind, and I'm not quite sure what to do about it -- the international speeding ticket.

I spent a few weeks driving around New Zealand last month, where the roads are long and open, sheep outnumber people (and cars) 4-to-1, and the maximum speed limit is 100km/h. That's about 62mp/h, which is about as fast as we back out of our driveways here in LA. But I was very conscientious about not speeding in towns or around other cars, and I never attracted the attention of any Kiwi cops. Good on yer, I thought. Until I got a letter from New Zealand in the mail yesterday. Apparently they have robot cameras staged in remote areas of the country, and can zap you anytime, anywhere. Which raises a thorny new question for me: do I really have to pay this? I mean, what are they going to do, extradite me? I did a fair amount of Googling to help answer that question, but I couldn't come up with any firm answers. Also, they got my name wrong on the ticket, though they clearly have my address. (Any knowledge or ideas from our readers would be much appreciated.) What I did find, however, were lots of fun facts about speeding tickets:

The first speeding ticket was issued to Harry Myers of Dayton, Ohio in 1904, for going twelve miles per hour. I'm assuming they didn't use a radar to figure out his speed.

The ticket for the fastest speeder was given to a man going 272mph in a 75 zone. Apparently he was part of a San Francisco-to-Miami rally called the Gumball 3000, and he was driving an exotic, Swedish-built Koenigsegg. The fastest motorcycle caught speeding was going 205 in a 65, and was ticketed not only for reckless driving, but riding without a motorcycle license. Ouch. The officer who caught him said "I had to double-check my watch because in 27 years I'd never seen anything move that fast.''

A possibly apocryphal story about boxer Jack Johnson getting a speeding ticket has him giving the officer $100 for a $50 fine, because "I'll be coming back through just as fast."

The fastest speeder in the UK was Timothy Brady, caught driving his Porsche at 172mph in 2007. He was jailed for 10 weeks and banned from driving for 3 years.

Sharing time! What's the worst ticket you've ever gotten?

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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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