CLOSE
Original image

The Quick 10: 10 Bizarre Contests at the Iowa State Fair

Original image

It's that time of year again"¦ State Fair time. I know; I'm overdosing you guys on Iowa today, what with the Iowa-80 truck stop and everything. But I think you'll find strange and interesting contests at all state fairs, not just the Iowa State Fair. So this is just to make you think about what odd competitions you could enter at your own fair this summer.

10 Bizarre Competitions at the Iowa State Fair

1. Outhouse Races. This is exactly what it sounds like a "pilot" in an outhouse, running for a finish line (no wheels, people). My favorite rule: Outhouses must weigh at least 200 pounds unoccupied. If outhouse fails to make the weight limit, 50 lb bags of steer manure will be provided to help you make the weight limit.
2. Mullet Contest. Sponsored by the Iowa School of Beauty, prizes go to those who have the top two female and top two male mullets. If you've ever been to the state fair, you know there is no shortage of mullets.
3. The Senior Spelldown. It's a spelling bee for people ages 60 and over, sponsored by the AARP. Go figure.
4. Beard Growing Contest. It's really a beard measuring contest, as I don't think contestants are actually judged on how much they grow while at the fair. I could be wrong. It wouldn't be the weirdest thing at the fair.
5. Rubber Chicken Throwing Contest. Better than real chickens, I suppose.
6. 21st Annual Best Grocery Bagger Contest.. Paper? Plastic? Both? Neither?
7. Weed Identification Contest. I have to assume this is more along the lines of, "Dandelion, ragweed, Creeping Charlie," and not "Maui Wowie, MILF Weed, Super Skunk."
8. Cow Chip Throwing. Real cow chips. Not rubber ones. For those of you not familiar with cow chips, they are also called cow pies. If that doesn't help, well, imagine the size of the excrement that comes out of cows. It's pretty big. And it usually gets stepped on, which flattens it out. Then it dries in the sun of the pasture, and, voila! Cow chip.
9. Husband Calling Contest. From what I understand, you're more likely to hear, "Hey, dumbass!" than "Honey, can you come here?"
10. Ladies' Nail Driving Contest. I feel like I should be insulted by this one. They probably give them pink hammers.

Original image
FRED TANNEAU/AFP/Getty Images
arrow
Animals
Fisherman Catches Rare Blue Lobster, Donates It to Science
Original image
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]

Original image
Courtesy Murdoch University
arrow
Animals
Australian Scientists Discover First New Species of Sunfish in 125 Years
Original image
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]

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios