TIME animals

11 Lobster Facts That Will Leave You Shell-Shocked

Meghan LaPlante—AP A blue lobster caught by Jay LaPlante off Pine Point in Scarborough, Maine.

Yes, they can naturally be blue.

Earlier this week, a Maine lobsterman and his 14-year-old daughter made headlines because they caught a blue lobster. Turns out chances of finding one are 1 in 2 million, and the blue color is caused by a genetic defect that produces “an excessive amount of a particular protein.”

We thought that tidbit was as good a time as ever to consider the lobster. Herewith, 11 totally essential facts:

1. They keep growing forever.

Or so research suggests. But scientists won’t be able to tell how long lobsters really live because traps aren’t designed to catch the largest lobsters. “When we catch one that is 20-30 pounds, it’s because a claw got caught in the entrance of the trap, not inside,” says Robert C. Bayer, executive director of The Lobster Institute at the University of Maine.

2. They eat each other.

“They’re looking for fresh food and what’s around, and if that happens to be another lobster, then it’s dinner,” says Bayer. “One of the reasons lobster culture is not profitable is because they are cannibalistic, and there are lot of expenses that go along with that.”

3. Females are players—and they make the first move.

Not much courtship precedes lobster love-making. Females that have just shed their shells send out a pheromone to let the males know they’re in the mood. Usually, lobsters that shed their shells are vulnerable and could be eaten by other lobsters, but when a female says she’s ready to get it on, the male lobster will usually opt to have sex with her over killing her.

How do they do it? “I would describe it as the missionary position,” Bayer says. Six to nine months later, eggs appear on her tail, and after another six to 9 months, they hatch. A one-pound-and-a-half female lobster can have between 8,000 to 12,000 eggs, each about the size of a raspberry segment. And they could be from multiple fathers. Females are not monogamous.

4. They taste with their legs.

Chemosensory leg and feet hairs identify food. Small antennae in front of their eyes are used for tracking down food that’s farther away. “If you watch a lobster in a tank in a market, you’ll see they’re flipping, looking for food, dissolved substances in the water,” says Bayer.

5. They chew with their stomachs.

The grinding structure for breaking up food is called the gastric mill, kind of like a set of teeth on their stomachs, which are right behind the eyes and the size of a walnut in a one-pound lobster.

6. The green in cooked lobsters is liver.

Well technically, it’s the tomalley—a digestive gland that’s the intestine, liver, and pancreas. And any red things are eggs.

7. They don’t scream in pain when you cook them.

The noise you hear is “air that has been trapped in the stomach and forced through the mouth after being out of water for short periods of time,” says Bayer. Lobsters don’t have vocal chords, and they can’t process pain.

8. One of their claws can exert pressure of up to 100 pounds per square inch.

So they may not feel pain, but they can cause some serious pain. Researchers discovered that after having the lobster’s larger claw, the crusher claw, clamp down on a load cell, a pressure-measuring device. This claw looks like it has molars because it’s used to break up anything hard like crabs, clams, mussels. The other, called the ripper claw or the quick claw, tears softer food like fish or worms.

9. They can regenerate limbs.

“It’s going to take probably a good five years for a one-pound lobster to regenerate a claw that’s about the same size of one that was lost,” says Bayer. But they can do it.

Robert F. Bukaty – APIn this March 31, 2011, photo, a lobster is posed next to a golf ball made from ground lobster shells in Orono, Maine.

10. Their shells were once used to make golf balls.

Shells left over after lobster processing are usually tossed into landfills. So in an effort to make them worth something and keep the money in the lobster industry, a University of Maine professor created golf balls with a core made out of lobster shells. They’re also biodegradable, designed for golfing on cruise ships or courses near oceans and lakes.

The problem is they only go about 70 percent of the distance of a regular golf ball, so you won’t see them at the U.S. Open anytime soon.

11. Once upon a time, they were the go-to prison food.

In the colonial era, only the poor, indentured servants, and prisoners ate lobsters because they were cheap, too plentiful, and considered “tasteless.” After prisoners in one Massachusetts town got sick of eating them all the time, a new rule said they only had to eat them three times a week.

 

TIME Gadgets

You Can Now Buy a GoPro Camera Harness For Your Dog

GoPro Inc GoPro's new Fetch Dog Mount.

The video camera maker has launched a new product for pet lovers

Now you can feel even closer to your dog by seeing the world from a more canine point of view.

GoPro, which makes tiny cameras popular with adventurers and travelers, has launched a new camera mount for dogs called Fetch. The dog harness is adjustable to accommodate dogs of all sizes, and GoPro cameras can be attached in two different locations: on the dog’s back and underneath its chest. With Fetch, you can watch your dog chew its bone close-up or frolic through a dog park.

GoPro's new Fetch Dog Mount in action.
GoPro Inc GoPro’s new Fetch Dog Mount in action.

The harness is washable and includes a tether to make sure the camera stays in place. The harness is by no means cheap, costing $60 (camera not included), and as of Wednesday afternoon, the product was already out of stock. You can check it out here.

The other dogs at the dog park will be so jealous.

TIME viral

David Lynch Plays Trumpet in Ice Bucket Challenge, Nominates Putin

Exactly what you'd expect from the director

As the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge makes its way around the globe, it was only a matter of time until it eventually came around to director David Lynch. Naturally, the man who brought us Blue Velvet, Eraserhead and Elephant Man interpreted the fundraising and awareness-raising exercise in a very David Lynchian way.

Challenged by Laura Dern (who starred in his film Wild at Heart) to dump iced coffee over his head, the director dumped a double shot of espresso into a bucket of ice water and proceeded to play “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” on the trumpet until someone drenched him with the jumbo iced Americano. It was an odd cinematic moment that still managed to makes more sense than Mulholland Drive.

Lynch made the video a two-for-one deal, as he was also nominated for the stunt by The Leftovers star Justin Theroux. Still soaking from the original dousing, Lynch had another bucket dumped on him, disappointingly with just plain old ice water.

As water dripped down his face, Lynch passed the nomination forward. To Vladimir Putin.

MORE: Matt Damon Uses Toilet Water for His Ice Bucket Challenge

MORE: Superman Proves He’s Superman By Hardly Wincing During The Ice Bucket Challenge

TIME Food

Mozzarella Is the Best Pizza Cheese, According to Science

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Fabio Sabatini—Getty Images/Flickr Open

No word yet on the best topping

Mozzarella is the best pizza cheese because it melts, bubbles and browns better than any other cheese, according to a new study published in the August issue of the Journal of Food Science, titled “Qualification of Pizza Baking Properties of Difference Cheese and Their Correlation with Cheese Functionality.”

Researchers in New Zealand compared pizzas using mozzarella, cheddar, Edam and Gruyere cheese using software specifically designed to measure browning, blistering and oil. Mozzarella, they found, was stretchier than other cheese, which allowed bigger bubbles to form when water evaporated from the pizza. And since mozzarella isn’t as oily or as filled with moisture as, say, Gruyere, it browned more easily.

The scientists concluded that these factors make mozzarella the most appealing to both the eye and the taste buds.

 

TIME Food & Drink

Texas Brewery Unveils 99-Pack of Beer

99 Pack Beer
Helms Workshop

The 7-foot-long monster is all yours for $99.99

Don’t mess with Texas, especially when it comes to beer.

Austin Beerworks has partnered with Helms Workshop to launch “the world’s first and only 99-pack” of its Peacemaker Anytime Ale.

Moving it will take a few friends because the 99-pack is over 7 ft long (2.13 m) and weighs 82 pounds (37 kg), according to the brewery. Inside the box are three rows of 33 cans of the pale ale, which, if you drank them all, would amount to over 15,000 calories.

“What started out as a joke became very real when we realized how much people love the idea of 99 beers for $99.99!” Austin Beerworks co-founder Michael Graham said in a press release.

A limited supply of 99-packs are expected to hit selected stores this week.

“Good luck and remember,” the 99-pack creators warn on the website, “lift with your legs, not your back.”

 

TIME animals

Happy 29th Birthday to What Is Believed to Be The Oldest Wombat in Captivity

He may be "the oldest living wombat virgin" as well

Patrick, the oldest wombat in captivity, according to Ballarat Wildlife Park, turned the ripe old age of 29 on August 25.

His longevity is not the norm. In the wild, wombats tend to live only five years, while those in captivity average a lifespan of around 20 years.

Patrick — who was named the “3rd best city mascot” by CNN — is an Australian legend who has been greeting visitors to the wildlife park for decades. He was hand-raised by zookeepers after he was orphaned as a joey, as marsupial babies are called. According to Tourism Australia, “the team at the park tried releasing Patrick back into the wild a couple of times but he couldn’t defend himself against other wombats.”

The plus-sized Common Wombat may also be the world’s largest, tipping the scale at 88 lbs (40kg). He’s so big that Ballarat Wildlife Park curator Julia Leonard used to push the lovable wombat around in a wheelbarrow just “to keep a check on what is going on,” according to the organization’s website. He’s now been retired from active park duty, preferring to hang (and eat) in his pen.

Oldest and largest aren’t the only titles that Patrick has earned during his long life. According to Australia.com’s Facebook post, he may have earned another slightly more ignominious title as well. “Given that Patrick has never had children, or any partners in general, probably makes him the oldest living wombat virgin as well!,” said the post. “Congrats mate!”

MORE: Little Girl and Tibetan Mastiff Are Best Friends

MORE: Lil Bub Stars in a Summer Version of the Yule Log

TIME celebrity

6 Farm Dates We Need To See on Chris Soules’ Season of The Bachelor

Chris Soules was on the tenth edition of "The Bachelorette"
Craig Sjodin—ABC Chris Soules was on the tenth edition of "The Bachelorette"

Let's get hog wild, and other terrible puns.

Chris Soules, a stable and successful farmer from quite possibly the smallest town in the world, begins his reign on ABC’s The Bachelor Monday night. Let’s just call this season Farmer Gets a Wife.

Last season, Soules’ mother assured Bachelorette Andi that “there’s no limit for a woman on a farm nowadays.” And we are sure that Bachelor producers, never shying away from a theme-date or pun, (pilot Jake Pavleka’s season was called On the Wings of Love, complete with its own eponymous song and everything), will be sure to teach us exactly what life on the Iowa farm would be like in the form of ridiculous date cards. This season on the Bachelor, expect the “surprise concerts” to be country, the strategically placed couches in the middle of the wilderness to be replaced with haystacks, and helicopters to be swapped out for tractors.

These are the farming dates we are the least, and by that I mean most, excited for:

Find a needle in a haystack
The winner of this group date is rewarded with one-on-one time and the promise of love everlasting, of course. The losers go home to cry and pick the hay out of each others’ hair. (Or, if there’s a hairdresser this season, learn how to incorporate them into elaborate braids for the Rose Ceremony).
Pun potential: I mean, implied

Catch a greased pig
Where mud wrestling meets Babe.
Pun potential: “Let’s get hog wild!” “I want to be his prize pig.”

Cook Chris a farm fresh breakfast using only products found on the farm
Chris told Andi that his wife doesn’t have to be a homemaker. The “big” city of Cedar Rapids is only an hour away. But let’s face it, knowing your way around a hen house and kitchen is going to be a plus.
Pun alert: “I am putting all of my eggs in this basket. Apart from the ones I’ve frozen. I really want to get married.”

A corn maze race
Especially appropriate considering that Chris grows corn.
Pun alert from the loser: “Shucks!”

Shear a sheep
The wise contestant will hoard her wool throughout the competition and give Chris a hand-knitted sweater toward the end of the season, shouting from the barn rooftops, “I choose ewe!”
Pun alert: “I’m in sheer disbelief that such a manly, gentle, gentleman farmer exists.”

Assist with the birthing of an animal
Just as contestants in past seasons have compared rappelling off the side of a building to rappelling into their potential mate’s heart, this date will be all about the metaphors. Like, “As I watched Chris pull a calf out of that cow’s vaginal canal, I realized, wow this guy has real fatherhood potential.”

TIME viral

Toddler Completes Ice Bucket Challenge, Nominates Dora the Explorer

Your move, Dora.

By now, it seems just about everyone – celebrities, politicians, dogs — has participated in the Ice Bucket Challenge, the massively viral phenomenon raising money for ALS research. (The ALS Association says it has now raised more than $90 million to combat the disease.)

You might be a little sick of watching videos of people dumping water over their heads, but we recommend taking 45 seconds to watch the one above, uploaded by YouTuber Mike Weber. It features an adorable 2-year-old named Ashley who dons a pair of goggles and gamely completes the challenge. She nominates a few members of her family, and then also nominates Barbie and Dora the Explorer.

Your move, Dora.

TIME celebrities

Watch Laverne Cox Dance Like Nobody’s Watching During Beyoncé’s VMAs Performance

She really needs to be in Bey's next video

While Blue Ivy was doing some tasteful head-bobbing during Beyoncé’s VMAs performance, actress Laverne Cox was just rocking out.

While everyone around her sat quietly enjoying the show (including Kim Kardashian), the Orange Is the New Black star was on the next level. Up on her feet, waving her arms, wiggling her hips and singing along to “Blow,” it’s clear that she was having a better time than pretty much anyone in the audience.

Best. Ever. Cox is basically saying: All hail Queen Bey.

We hope Cox and Beyoncé become besties really soon (if they aren’t already) so Cox can star in Bey’s next music video and so Bey can make an appearance in an OITNB episode. Bey, if you’re out there, make it happen.

TIME Food & Drink

There’s a $10 Secret Menu Item at Arby’s Called the Meat Mountain

And it's quite literally a mountain made of ALL the meats

Well, this is truly the stuff of Ron Swanson’s wildest dreams. Arby’s has a secret menu item (meaning it’s not on the official menu but you can request it and they’ll make it for you) called the Meat Mountain. It’s a truly formidable tower of meats, and it all started because of this promotional photo:

Arby’s created that poster to remind consumers that the chain sells plenty of meats besides its famous roast beef, the Washington Post explains. This marketing strategy worked, apparently, because people started coming in asking if they could order that entire stack o’ meats. And lo, the Meat Mountain was born. Here’s what the $10 monstrosity-on-a-bun includes, from the bottom up:

  • 2 chicken tenders
  • 1.5 oz. of roast turkey
  • 1.5 oz. of ham
  • 1 slice of Swiss cheese
  • 1.5 oz. of corned beef
  • 1.5 oz. brisket
  • 1.5 oz. of Angus steak
  • 1 slice of cheddar cheese
  • 1.5 oz. roast beef
  • 3 half-strips of bacon

A few people have been brave enough to try it:

Unfortunately, the Meat Mountain doesn’t seem to be something all Arby’s employees know about just yet. The Wire’s Adam Chandler ventured to an Arby’s in Queens in search of this elusive meat monster and was met with blank stares. A manager told him the request was impossible. So he ordered everything required to assemble the Meat Mountain himself, spending $29 instead of the expected $10.

But can you really put a price on the incredible feat of scaling the formidable Meat Mountain?

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