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What to Do (and Not Do) In A Fistfight

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I have never really been in a fistfight. I've had some schoolyard scuffles, sure, but never had to launch or dodge a closed-fist punch. I was reminded of this rather abruptly the other day, when I saw a friend of mine nearly get in a fistfight in a parking lot. I was trying to back out of a space, but had been parked in by someone who'd rudely left their car directly behind mine. My friend said he'd "take care of it," which I assumed meant he would go inside the business we were parked in front of and see whose car it was. Instead, the next thing I know I see my friend getting into the offending car, which was apparently unlocked, and searching around for keys -- as if he were going to move it himself. Just as I was about to tell him I didn't think this was such a hot idea, the screaming began. A very large, very angry man was running toward him, yelling all sorts of things I can't type in polite company, so I ran over, thinking my friend was in need of a little backup.

Luckily, he wasn't -- the guy never threw a punch, though he looked like he was about to -- and the huge serrated scar along his neck made me think he had thrown (and received) plenty before. But I began to wonder what I would've done if he had -- and here's what I found out.

Don't get in one

This may seem obvious, but if you can use diplomacy rather than your fists, do it. There are around 16,000 murders in the US every year, and a not-insignificant proportion of those are committed with fists rather than guns. So if you don't want to kill someone or go to jail, do your level best to stay out of fistfights. Of course, we recognize that that's not always possible, especially among people of certain age groups; a survey reported that 8% of high school students get into fights every month that require treatment by a doctor or nurse. So it happens.

Don't use your fists

Unless you happen to have a roll of quarters handy to wrap your fist around, closed-fist punching is a recipe for compound-fracture disaster. Instead, use the heel of your hand or your elbow.

Find an escape route

Real fights are nothing like movie fights -- they're messy, they rarely end in someone being knocked out cold and they're usually over before you know it. The really dangerous fights, though, are the ones that don't end quickly, so increase your chances of a speedy end by making sure you've got a clear shot at the exit and beelining toward it at your first opportunity. Run, and swallow your pride ... not your teeth.

Don't kick 'em while they're down

Homer Simpson's famous advice on how to fight goes something like this: "First you gotta shriek like a woman, then keep sobbing till he turns away in disgust -- and that's when it's time to kick some back!" We'd like to officially discourage this technique, or really the kicking of any backs, spleens, faces etc. Spleens get ruptured, backs get broken, people go to the hospital and to jail. This ain't Mortal Kombat, and no fancy pile-driver or stomach-kick is needed to "finish him!"

Go for the soft spots

In the interest of ending the fight quickly, aim your attack(s) at one of your aggressor's "soft spots" -- the gut, the groin, the throat. The eyes are another soft spot, but we recommend a handful of sand in the face rather than anything pointy. You don't want to blind anyone, just incapacitate them for long enough to get out of there.

Bite!

Take a lesson from Tyson: the bite may be one of the most underestimated tools in the fighter's arsenal. It's effective, it hurts like the devil and if it's done through the clothes, it doesn't leave much of a mark. (The same can't be said for a punch in the face; giving someone a black eye will land you in jail much faster.)

The ol' steak-on-the-black-eye trick

If you wind taking a punch to the face, get something cold on it right away to stop the swelling. In the old days, Real Men used to lay a tenderized steak over their bruised ocular cavity with a bag of frozen vegetables on the other side -- and as it turns out, this isn't such a bad idea. (Just make sure you rinse off the meat to reduce the risk of some bacterial infection spreading to your tender new wound.) The meat form-fits to your eye/check perfectly, it distributes the cold of the frozen peas/ice pack very evenly over your face, and a nice piece of tri-tip draped over your face tends to make you feel like a badass. All good things.

Learn the Moves

Esquire has some great tips on how to move your body:

How to take down a bigger dude:
1. Knock his hands to one side.
2. When his body turns, put your head outside his front knee and your shoulders into his hips. Wrap your arms just above the back of his knees.
3. Pull in and to the side.

How to Escape a Headlock: Turn your head into the crook of his elbow and push it up over your head.

How You Should Stand: Crouch low, knees bent and with your hands up, like you're defending someone in basketball.

Decide if you're willing to throw a sucker punch

You're in a fistfight -- the rules of gentlemanly conduct are more or less out the window already. Some people might be too proud for this move, but I saw a friend pull it once, and it was surprisingly effective: his pretended to stop the fight and reconcile, went to shake hands with his opponent, and then -- bam, straight to the chin. Then he ran away like a little girl. Pathetic, yes, but effective.

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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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