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Greatest Facts Contest: The Winners!

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We've just been handed an envelope that contains the results of our Greatest Facts contest that coincided with the release of our new American History book. The winners are...

1) The U.S. Army suffered its worst defeat in 1791 on the Wabash River to a confederation of Eastern Woodlands tribes under Miami Chief Little Turtle. General Arthur St. Clair's force suffered nearly 900 casualties out of 1400 men, effectively wiping out 25% of the standing army at the time. (Submitted by Ross G. Shaw)
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2) Martha Washington is the only woman whose portrait has appeared on U.S. paper currency. It appeared on $1 Silver Certificates, Series 1886, 1891, and 1896. (Submitted by Darrin Ambrose)
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3) Alexander Hamilton was involved in America's first sex scandal. He had an affair with Maria Reynolds and paid nearly $1000 to her husband, who had been demanding blackmail money from Hamilton in exchange for sleeping with his wife. When Maria finally divorced her husband, her lawyer was Aaron Burr. (Submitted by Erica Ma)
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4) Jimmy Carter was the first US President born in a hospital. (Submitted by Abhinav Praneet)
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5) At 53 square miles, the Denver airport is larger than the land area of Boston (48 square miles). (Submitted by Danny Groner)

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6) Smokey the Bear is the only fictional character to have his own ZIP code - 20252. (Submitted by Brian A. Henegar)
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7) The inventor of Lincoln Logs, John Lloyd Wright, is the son of famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright. John was also an architect, and was inspired by the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo, which his father designed. (Submitted by Jana Warner)
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8) Ben Franklin composed his own epitaph when he was 22 years old. (It wasn't used on his tombstone, though.) (Submitted by Kanika Wahi)
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9) During Lincoln's campaign for the presidency, a Democrat named Valentine Tapley from Missouri swore that he would never shave again if Abe was elected. He didn't shave from November 1860 until he died in 1910. His beard reached a length of 12 feet 6 inches. (Submitted by Haley Jackson)
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10) Jimmy Carter is the only president to serve a full term without nominating a Supreme Court justice. (Submitted by Kimberly Campbell)

Congrats, everyone! We'll be in touch shortly about how to claim your prizes. If this has inspired you to go on an American History binge, check out our new book!

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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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