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The Weekend Links

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Would the world be a better place if we had jetpacks? There's a strong possibility.

If you have a soft spot for potentially exploitative black and white movies with dogs dressed as humans and dubbed with voices from 1928, then this completely weird but awesome video from Jill will be just your cup of tea.

I've posted several origami links in the past, because my own inadequacies in the field make me exceedingly impressed by anyone who can do it. Here's another example - a guy who can do complex origami blindfolded in under two minutes, with a lovely cello accompaniment.

Of course, another round up of the Craziest Shoes in the World (part deux)

A pretty cool interactive Olympic map that tallies up medals won by countries. Play around with the timeline feature, and notice how countries who are hosting the Olympics do significantly better with the home-field advantage (no big surprise there I suppose)

Speaking of the Olympics (warning: nerd alert! nerd alert!) - a video from Meg with World of Warcraft characters singing the Olympic song. Yes it's in Chinese, but yes it's still ridiculous and funny (but not as jaw dropping and astounding as the opening ceremonies last night!!)

Have you ever noticed simple items in your household bearing a tag such as "Patent No. 2938402394"? Have you ever wondered what some of those other 2938402393 patents are? Here's a website with some very strange (and in some cases, wonderful) patents. (Thanks Paul!)

Another set of great musical links from Rachel - first, lots of musicians, one note each, followed by one instrument and several people playing it, and finally, one man, one cello, and plenty of different sounds. (Side note one this last link - the guy is brilliant, but that video could use some upgrades ...)

It's hard finding a job these days, so perhaps your best bet is to not take no for an answer.

This one goes out to the bibliophiles - a collection of stunning, beautiful photos of yes, libraries.

Here's a way to floss the gray matter this weekend - attempt to name these countries on a map (Harder than it looks!)

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Since I seem to have Olympic fever, I managed to find pictures of an amazing Beijing garden, which definitely puts a great many crafted foliage exhibits to shame.

A note on writing style from the peerless Kurt Vonnegut.

A few more Picassoheads this week from your fellow Flossers:
"wind curse" by catastrophic
"advice" by Mikey
"a tribute to doisneau" also by Mikey, who is rather talented in the MrPicassoHead ways

Last but not least ... lil laugh of the week

Keep sending in great links, pictures and whatnot to FlossyLinks@gmail.com. Have a fantastic weekend!

[Last Week's Links]

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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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