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9 Essential Facts for the Crustacean Enthusiast

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1. Let them eat lobster! In colonial America, lobster wasn’t the delicacy it is today. In fact, it was so cheap and plentiful, it was a staple for prisoners and servants. One group of servants from Massachusetts actually grew so tired of eating lobster that they took their employers to court, where a judge ruled that lobster was to be served to them no more than three times a week.


2. Judge them not by the color of their skin. In their ocean habitat, lobsters are brown. (They turn red when you cook them.) However, there are a few notable exceptions. About one in every 4 million lobsters is born with a rare genetic defect that turns it blue. Sadly, these prized critters rarely survive to adulthood. After all, a bright blue crustacean crawling around the ocean floor is simply easier for predators to spot. Yellow lobsters are even more uncommon, making up only one in every 30 million. But if you end up with a yellow or blue one on your plate, don’t worry; lobsters of all hues are equally delicious.

3. A century of meat. Most lobsters weigh between 1.5 and 2 lbs., but one lumbering beast caught off the coast of Nova Scotia in 1977 measured 3.5 feet from claw to tail and weighed 44 lbs. How does a lobster put on that sort of weight? With age. He was 100 years old.

4. Showing too much leg. In 2003, the seafood chain Red Lobster ran a promotion offering customers $20 all-you-can-eat snow crab legs. The gimmick was both incredibly successful and a mistake. Hungry seafood lovers flocked to the restaurants, where most of them plowed through a lot more crab than the company anticipated. Even when Red Lobster raised the price to $25 per person, it still lost money on the deal.

5. Everything you ever wanted to know about seafood, but were afraid to ask. In 2010, Red Lobster restaurants across America began equipping their wait staff with computer-based “Seafood Expert Encyclopedias.” The technology allows waiters to look up the answer to any seafood-related question posed to them. So ask away.

6. The silent treatment. In Disney’s 1940 animated film Pinocchio, Mel Blanc played the character of Gideon the Cat, one of the scoundrels who introduces Pinocchio to the world of vice. Blanc, who famously voiced Bugs Bunny, recorded an entire movie’s worth of dialogue for Gideon. But during post-production, Disney decided that the character would be cuter if he was mute. All of Blanc’s lines were cut, except for three burps, which you can hear during the brief scene at the Red Lobster Inn.

7. A parent’s job is never done. Red Lobster and Olive Garden are both owned by Darden Restaurants, a parent company that’s pretty overprotective. In 2010, Darden filed suit against a San Diego T.G.I. Friday’s for running a “never ending shrimp” promotion. Darden argued that the campaign combined Olive Garden’s “never ending pasta bowl” with Red Lobster’s “endless shrimp” in a way that “willfully attempted to confuse and mislead consumers.” The case is still tied up in court, where lawyers are dealing with “never ending paperwork.”

8. Out of the pot and into the fire. In October 2010, British inventor Simon Buckhaven introduced the world to a lethal device known as The Crustastun. It might look like a harmless computer scanner, but it’s designed to zap a lobster with an electric shock, killing it in less than two seconds. Animal-rights groups have praised the invention as a more humane method of killing lobsters—at least more humane than boiling them alive.

9. Imagine all the lobsters. In 1979, The B-52s song “Rock Lobster” became the band’s first to hit the Billboard Top 100. At the time, former Beatle John Lennon had been away from music for about three years, but after hearing “Rock Lobster,” he was supposedly inspired to start writing music again. Lennon said the song moved him because it “sounds just like Yoko’s music.” It’s unclear whether or not that was a compliment.

This article originally appeared in mental_floss magazine. If you're in a subscribing mood, here are the details. Got an iPad or another tablet device? We also offer digital subscriptions through Zinio.

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Opening Ceremony
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These $425 Jeans Can Turn Into Jorts
May 19, 2017
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Opening Ceremony

Modular clothing used to consist of something simple, like a reversible jacket. Today, it’s a $425 pair of detachable jeans.

Apparel retailer Opening Ceremony recently debuted a pair of “2 in 1 Y/Project” trousers that look fairly peculiar. The legs are held to the crotch by a pair of loops, creating a disjointed C-3PO effect. Undo the loops and you can now remove the legs entirely, leaving a pair of jean shorts in their wake. The result goes from this:

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Opening Ceremony

To this:

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Opening Ceremony

The company also offers a slightly different cut with button tabs in black for $460. If these aren’t audacious enough for you, the Y/Project line includes jumpsuits with removable legs and garter-equipped jeans.

[h/t Mashable]

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This First-Grade Math Problem Is Stumping the Internet
May 17, 2017
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If you’ve ever fantasized about how much easier life would be if you could go back to elementary school, this math problem may give you second thoughts. The question first appeared on a web forum, Mashable reports, and after recently resurfacing, it’s been perplexing adults across social media.

According to the original poster AlmondShell, the bonus question was given to primary one, or first grade students, in Singapore. It instructs readers to “study the number pattern” and “fill in the missing numbers.” The puzzle, which comprises five numbers and four empty circles waiting to be filled in, comes with no further explanation.

Some forum members commented with their best guesses, while others expressed disbelief that this was a question on a kid’s exam. Commenter karrotguy illustrates one possible answer: Instead of looking for complex math equations, they saw that the figure in the middle circle (three) equals the amount of double-digit numbers in the surrounding quadrants (18, 10, 12). They filled out the puzzle accordingly.

A similar problem can be found on the blog of math enthusiast G.R. Burgin. His solution, which uses simple algebra, gets a little more complicated.

The math tests given to 6- and 7-year-olds in other parts of the world aren’t much easier. If your brain isn’t too worn out after the last one, check out this maddening problem involving trains assigned to students in the UK.

[h/t Mashable]

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