CLOSE
Original image

The Late Movies: Songs About Flying

Original image

On this day in 1906, the Wright brothers were granted U.S. patent number 821,393 for their "Flying-Machine." Me? I'm a terrible flyer. I get anxiety sweats and headaches and I hold my neighbor's hand so tightly that everyone's knuckles turn white. But when I need to get across the country, I sure do appreciate that I can hop on an airplane for a few hours instead of driving my car for a week. Here, six songs about flying. Did your favorite make the list? Tell us in the comments.

Fly Me to the Moon

Though Frank Sinatra popularized this song, it was also sung by Marvin Gaye, Johnny Mathis, Nat King Cole, Anita O'Day and many others.

Leaving on a Jet Plane

Written by John Denver, this song was Peter, Paul & Mary's biggest hit. Coincidentally, John Denver died in a plane crash in 1997.

I Believe I Can Fly

Because I am from Philadelphia, I find this fact especially interesting: Philly Mayor Michael Nutter has an entire CD of remixes of "I Believe I Can Fly" that he plays in his car. If for some bizarre reason you could only listen to different versions of one song, what song it be?

Rocket Man

This popular Elton John song describes the inner monologue of an astronaut headed for Mars and his mixed feelings at leaving his family.

Airplane

This song is off the Beach Boys' 1977 album Love You.

Learn to Fly

Due to the nature of this Foo Fighters' song's music video, it is was deemed inappropriate after the 9/11 attacks on America.

Original image
FRED TANNEAU/AFP/Getty Images
arrow
Animals
Fisherman Catches Rare Blue Lobster, Donates It to Science
Original image
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]

Original image
Courtesy Murdoch University
arrow
Animals
Australian Scientists Discover First New Species of Sunfish in 125 Years
Original image
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]

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios