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The Weekend Links

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A sundry of spooky links this week: we begin with the curious case of Mary Roff and Lurancy Vennum. From Merinda, "Short version is ... Mary Roff was crazy and died. Fifteen years after she died Lurancy Vennum went into a trance and when she woke up she claimed she was Mary Roff and was so convincing everyone believed it. She stayed 'Mary Roff' for a few months until Lurancy came back and went on to live a normal life."
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Last week I featured a link to some terrible Halloween costumes - but here are some that might actually be fun ideas (Thanks Andi), and a few more that are definitely topical!
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So there's this guy who shoots anvils 100 feet into the air. Yeah. I am not one of those women he mentions who asks why he does it, I'm one who exclaims "THAT'S. AWESOME."
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Local (and national news) at its finest: a fabulous list of Caption Fails.
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Say hello to flu season in style with these 10 Swanky Swine Flu Masks
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Wikipedia does many things right (probably not as many as we would like to think), but it does a few things wrong ... in particular, 5 searches that, for populist reasons, should reconsider the first source you are directed to!
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Celebrity yearbook photos remind us that before all the plastic surgery and money for hair and clothes that deep down, they're just like us (right?). Well the same goes for these political figures, too.
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In case you were wondering what kind of space exploration we've done in the past 50 years, here's a handy (and beautiful) map. Speaking of maps, here's another unusual but fantastic rendering of Europe, 1914.

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It's raining cats and dogs as I am preparing the Weekend Links, so here are two apropos offerings about each: First, cats in wigs (yes, seriously, this is probably why the internet was invented), and dogs with the best in home architecture.
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From the Annals of Too Much Time: "This is a video montage of every single Cosmo Kramer entrance in Seinfeld history, and it will hypnotize you into a dream-like state within 1 minute. It's really quite impressive how his slide/twitch move progressed over the years."
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More spooky fun: 10 of the Creepiest Art Toys
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From Jan, "I know Mental Floss mentioned this last week, but don't remember if there was a link to these great pictures." So without further ado ... here they are: Celebration of the Reunification of Berlin (how freaking creepy are those gigantic marionettes??)
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I see you, gecko! Though admittedly, not at first. "A mossy leaf-tailed gecko is almost invisible while resting on a lichen-covered sapling in the eastern forests of Madagascar. This is one of the most dramatic examples of crypsis that we have ever photographed."
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Don Draper would be proud (perhaps) at the staying power of these 10 Food Mascots.
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From top-notch links-finder Sarah (this is but one of her many contributions this week) comes an interesting and uplifting tale of a Cub Scout who saved his teacher from choking.
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Great Photoshop skills can do more than just create silly pictures or make you look not SO disastrous from that one wild night, but it can also do great things like helping to find missing kids.
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And if all this wasn't enough for you, here are 50 Kick-Ass Websites You Need to Know About.

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Thanks as always to everyone who sent in links this week - keep it up! Send all finds to FlossyLinks@gmail.com, and have a great weekend!

[Last Weekend'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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