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If You Could Keep One Thing

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If you could only keep one thing, what would it be? In a touching photo essay titled "What I Keep," photographer Susan Mullally asks homeless people in Waco, Texas that very question. Their answers, and portraits, are powerful. Here are a few of my favorites -- the rest are here.

And let us know in the comments: what would you keep?

Charles Rose - carpenter"¨, homeless

I was a librarian, I read more books than you can fit under the bridge. I like Chess and backgammon, they're intelligent games. I keep cards too and I don't play traditional games, I play pinochle. I play with another homeless person who's probably as well rounded as I am.
 
What it is, I'm 51 years old, I have four college degrees and I've been a carpenter for thirty years. I don't know, I just got to a point where I couldn't find anyone worth working for. This life becomes addicting because we're our own people. We got no boss hollering at us and we go where we want to go and we do what we want to do. All I have to do is eat and find a place to sleep. I got my cans and copper wire; granted, it's not the ideal life.
 
If someone gave me a million dollars I'd open another home for the homeless. I helped build My Brother's Keeper (Waco homeless shelter for men) but never spent a night there. With all my degrees, even though I don't use them, it's nice to have the knowledge.

James Royce Smith - disabled

This is a picture of me and my wife and this is what I keep. I lost her about a year ago. She stayed at Green View Manor. I always keep this. I'll keep it 'till something happens.

Tindall Herndon"¨ - homeless veteran

 
I keep my hat. I'm a Viet Nam Vet and I wear it to remember my brothers that died over there. It's a part of me. I wear it all the time. I wear it everyday.

W P Ratliff"¨ - retired engraver, homeless

I found this card and I cleaned it up and it's about new homes. It's old but it's still good. Out on Highway 59. Take this home phone and see if it's still good. New homes. It says Chris Boone. It's still good. New homes.
 
I retired; I don't work at all. I have to stay in Waco. I have to come back each month to get my money.

(In case you didn't quite get that -- it was a bit muddled -- Mr. Ratliff keeps a real estate agent's business card. Wow.)

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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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