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We're Coming To Durham (and we're bringing Prizes!)

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We're loading up the RV and taking the Mental Floss Trivia Show on the road to beautiful Durham, North Carolina! It's true. This Monday, Feb. 7th, we'll be doing a charity show at Cuban Revolution, with all proceeds being donated to charity. Here are just a few of the reasons you should come and hang out with us: a) Tickets are just $10 when you buy them online, b) 100% of the proceeds go to the Emily K Center-- a wonderful local charity, and c) we've got TONS of loot and prizes that we're itching to give away! Oh, and if that isn't enough: if you bring 50 of your closest friends, we'll give you an autograph and a hug (estimated resale value: not very much.) But that's how serious we are about getting you to this event. Still need convincing? We've got details below.

The Details: Attention Nerds, Knowledge Junkies, and most importantly, people who like to leave their house to drink and win stuff! The mental_floss Trivia Show is coming to a bar near you (if you live near Durham*), and you're pretty much guaranteed to win something. In fact, our tagline is "[Almost] No one leaves empty-handed!" and we promise to [almost] live up to that.

But what exactly is The mental_floss Trivia Show? Well, it's part bar quiz, part game show, and part lots of really bad jokes! We promise it'll be a blast. So, go ahead and tell your secretary to get his secretary to mark your calendar. We can't wait to see you there.

Date: Monday, Feb. 7th

Show starts at 7 p.m.

Location: Cuban Revolution

318 Blackwell St, Durham, NC

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Still not convinced? Here are a few scenes from the last New York show where we gave out a Hannspree net book, and tons of other prizes...

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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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