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Yippee Pi Day! And a Happy B-Day to Our Favorite Genius!

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It’s been a mighty fine two weeks for the mental_floss store as we’ve celebrated the Life of Pi with Pi Products of the Day and daily Slice of Pi tidbits from the very exciting and fulfilling life of this mathematical constant.

Here is What We've Learned:

That a talented, pun-loving artist named Kate Gabrielle can turn a Dean Martin croon into a mathemagical Floss-Exclusive tote.

That it’s easy to wear your love of pi in close proximity to your sleeve with handmade pi cuff bracelets.

That folks continue to enjoy a good ole edible pi—in both pizza and actual pie varieties.

That, while we may remember that, like pi, the need to shower is a constant, we may need to be reminded that so is the need to attractively display cheese.

That the aforementioned pun-loving artist also managed to turn “Life of Pi” into a sweet vision of a life filled with infinite happiness—what’s more, you can adorn either your wall (Floss-Exclusive Life of Pi Print) or yourself (Floss-Exclusive Life of Pi Tee) with it!

And Let's Not Forget The Birthday Boy!

We’ve added new Einsteinery to our already-respectable collection of super geniussy stuff in honor of our fave super genius.

You can wear Einstein socks (even though the man himself preferred not to wear socks at all). You can cuddle with Einstein. Or you can sport a presumably-Einstein-approved bow tie and spin under your new DJ pseudonym, MC Squared.

So, with many lessons learned, we bid you Yippee Pi Day, Mental Flossers!

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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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