Mad Minute

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. (AP) — A 7-foot (215-centimeter) sea creature that washed ashore in Southern California has been identified as a hoodwinker sunfish, a recently identified rare species thought to live in the Southern Hemisphere.

The University of California, Santa Barbara, said an intern spotted the stranded fish last week at Sands Beach in the university's Coal Oil Point Natural Reserve.

The intern alerted Jessica Nielsen, a conservation specialist at Coal Oil Point who initially thought it was a type of local sunfish and posted photos to the reserve's Facebook page.

That drew the attention of Thomas Turner, an associate professor in UCSB's ecology, evolution and marine biology department who examined the fish and posted photos to the iNaturalist online community.

That caught the eye of Marianne Nyegaard of Murdoch University in Australia, who identified the species in 2017 and formally named it Mola tecta but gave it the hoodwinker moniker because it had somehow escaped scientific recognition.

Nyegaard told UCSB in an email that she discussed the images with ichthyologist Ralph Foster of the South Australian Museum but was reluctant to identify the fish as a hoodwinker because the photos didn't clearly show distinctive features and because it had turned up so far out of its known range.

Nyegaard sent specific instructions to California about what to photograph and tissue samples that should be taken.

Turner and Nielsen were glad to help, but first they had to find the fish, which had been moved by the tide, according to UCSB.

They walked from opposite ends of the beach and found it several hundred yards from its original position.

Nyegaard said she ended up with a large number of extremely clear photos "and there was just no doubt of the ID."

Sunfish are odd-looking, flat and somewhat oval with fins that resemble little wings.

According to Thomas, the fish was just over 7 feet (215 centimeters) long and slightly wider (227 centimeters) from fin tip to fin tip. Its dorsal fin was just under 2½ feet (75 centimeters) long. He did not measure the weight.


Now there's a sneaker for millennials.

Saucony has started selling avocado toast-inspired running shoes .

The "Saucony Originals Shadow 6000" also known as the "Suacamole" is made of toasted leather, avocado-textured suede, and features a green tongue with avocado-shaped logos.

There are also red pepper "flakes" on the collar lining to add some kick.

The cost: $130 dollars.


ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - An Orange County man is under arrest after allegedly throwing Molotov cocktails at his own vehicle inside of an impound lot, according to an arrest report.

"He came back and started throwing gas cocktail bombs over the fence on his own car," said car lot owner Darnell Adams.

An arrest report says the suspect, Ayub Abdulrahman, came to get his car back after it was impounded and set it on fire instead.

Adams said he was going to hand over the keys because Abdulrahman had already paid almost $300 to get this car out of the impound lot, but instead of it going home the burned-out car was stuck behind crime scene tape.

Adams said he was bringing Abdulrahman his keys when surveillance cameras caught him throwing several fire bombs at the vehicle.

"Everything is on camera and I showed it to the cops," Adams said. "I mean it's just clear as day, throwing like three, four, five gas bombs over the fence."

Deputies asked WFTV not to show the rest of this video while they're in the early stages of the investigation. But the surveillance video shows exactly what Adams described.

"I didn't even own it anymore. He was getting it out," Adams said. "20 minutes. If he had waited twenty minutes, he would've been able to drive away in his car."

Adams said he was coming around the corner with the keys and saw Abdulrahman running away. He chased after him until deputies to made an arrest.

Adams said his mechanic was able to put the fire out with an extinguisher.

"What if he would've came back later and tried to finish the job and all my cars catch on fire?" Adams said.

Adams said he's especially grateful the scene is just contained to the one car.

"We got a paint shop in the back so it's a lot of flammable materials and he could've harmed a lot of people over here," Adams said.

Deputies said the State Fire Marshal's Office is investigating the incident.


MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Philippine authorities said Monday that they found more than 1,500 live exotic turtles stuffed inside luggage at Manila's airport.

The various types of turtles were found Sunday inside four pieces of left-behind luggage of a Filipino passenger arriving at Ninoy Aquino International Airport on a Philippine Airlines flight from Hong Kong, Customs officials said in a statement.

The 1,529 turtles were turned over to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources' Wildlife Traffic Monitoring Unit, the statement said.

Convictions for the illegal trading of wildlife are punishable by a prison sentence of up to two years and a fine of up to 200,000 pesos ($3,861).

In 2018, Philippine authorities turned over to the DENR a total of 560 wildlife and endangered species, including 250 geckos and 254 corals smuggled through air parcels, baggage and shipments, according to the statement.


ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — A Florida travel insurance company has awarded a Georgia high school teacher $10,000 for reading the fine print in a policy she recently purchased.

A Squaremouth statement says Donelan Andrews claimed the prize 23 hours after the contest began.

The St. Petersburg-based company says it launched the secret contest Feb. 11. Buried in the fine print was a promise of $10,000 for the first person to send an email to a specific address.

Besides the $10,000 for Andrews, Squaremouth says it's giving another $10,000 to a children's literacy charity, plus $5,000 each to the two schools where Andrews teaches consumer economics.

Andrews says she applied for retirement a week before winning the contest. The prize will fund a trip to Scotland with her husband to celebrate their 35th wedding anniversary.


ALLENTOWN, Pa. (AP) — A Florida man's plans to bring a military rocket-propelled grenade launcher back home were shot down after security screeners at a Pennsylvania airport spotted the non-functioning weapon in his checked bag.

The Transportation and Security Administration says the unassembled parts of the launcher and a replica grenade were found on Monday when an alarm went off as the bag passed through security equipment at Lehigh Valley International Airport in Allentown, about 60 miles (96 kilometers ) north of Philadelphia.

The man, from St. Augustine, was stopped by police and told officials he thought he could bring the non-functioning launcher onboard in a checked bag.

The items were confiscated and he was able to catch his flight to Orlando.

TSA says no realistic or replica weapons of a military nature are allowed onto airplanes.


HACKENSACK, N.J. (AP) — Police in New Jersey say footprints in the snow led them from a crashed stolen car to the man suspected of stealing the car.

Hackensack Police Capt. Peter Busciglio says the 23-year-old suspect was arrested on motor vehicle theft and resisting arrest charges Saturday. reports the victim told police he left his car running with the keys in the ignition when it was stolen.

Authorities say the victim got into a company car and pursued the suspect until he crashed and fled on foot. Responding officers tracked down the suspect by following his footprints in the snow.

The suspect has been released on a summons and no court date has been scheduled.


WILMINGTON, N.C. (AP) — Police say a woman is accused of smashing a mirror at the sight of her own reflection while dancing at a North Carolina nightclub and then posing as a law enforcement officer.

Wilmington police spokeswoman Jennifer Dandron tells news outlets 28-year-old Christa Anstett was dancing early Sunday at Ibiza Nightclub when she bumped into a mirror and "began punching it when she saw her reflection." Dandron said the South Carolina woman caused around $1,600 in damage.

When police and New Hanover County sheriff's deputies arrived, Anstett displayed a badge from Coastal Carolina University's public safety department. Dandron says officers determined she wasn't supposed to have that badge. When they seized it, police say she became aggressive.

She's charged with damaging property, impersonating an officer and resisting an officer.


CINCINNATI (AP) — An Ohio zoo has become the repository for the world's largest collection of polar bear poop as researchers work to create a pregnancy test to aid the survival of this threatened species.

WLWT-TV reports the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens is storing 30,000 samples of fecal matter from the U.S. and Canada. It's being studied by researchers at the zoo's Center for Conservation and Research of Endangered Wildlife.

Scientist Erin Curry says researchers are comparing compounds in fecal matter from females that are pregnant with those that aren't in the hope of finding specific compounds that will help develop a pregnancy test.

Some poop mailed to Cincinnati can be downright flashy. Zoos with multiple females sprinkle glitter and dye on the samples to help identify whose poop is whose.

A loss of sea ice habitat has threatened the species. Fewer than 25,000 polar bears remain in the wild.

Zoo spokesman Michelle Curley says there are only 11 breeding pairs in North American zoos. She says Cincinnati's breeding pair has been together for two years but has yet to produce cubs.


It's a survival story with a spicy twist.

An Oregon man was stranded in the snow for five days after his car became stuck on a remote road — and all he had with him was his dog and a handful of Taco Bell's Border Fire hot sauce packets.

Snowmobilers in the area discovered Jeremy Taylor, 36, of Sunriver, Oregon, on Friday after the Deschutes County Sheriff's Office issued a missing person's report on Feb. 27. The sheriff's office then sent a rescue SnowCat to the area to evacuate Taylor and his dog, Ally.

The officers reported that Taylor was in good condition, but very, very hungry after being stuck for so long without any real food. Though tasty, Taco Bell's hot sauces are calorie free.

The sheriff's department added that staying warm would have been the biggest challenge for Taylor and his dog, but he was able to keep warm by periodically starting up his vehicle. Taylor also told law enforcement officials that he cuddled up with his faith furry companion, too.

Initially, Taylor tried to hike away from the car, using the ski rack on the top of his car as snowshoes, but he soon abandoned that effort after realizing that his dog wouldn't be able to make it through the deep snow.

The Taco Bell Fire Sauce packets, which have ingredients like tomato puree, vinegar and jalapeno peppers, contain 65 milligrams of sodium and 2 percent of the recommended dietary allowance of Vitamin A, according to NBC News health and nutrition editor Madelyn Fernstrom. "From a metabolic point of view, five days is not life-threatening for calories," she told TODAY Food, noting that humans can live between three to eight weeks without eating anything.

"And while 'hot' sauce sounds like it could somehow raise his body temperature, this is not true," she added. "But these packets might have provided a mental boost for him, to maintain a positive attitude."

In a response to a post on Facebook where Taylor shared that he and his dog were safe and that they "got lucky," he also commented that "Taco Bell fire sauce saves lives."

When reached via email, a rep for Taco Bell told TODAY that the chain is looking forward to sending him some goodies ... and that includes plenty of sauce. "I can confirm that we've been in contact with Jeremy. We're happy to hear both him and Ally are safe and well," the rep said. "In addition to the care package in route to Jeremy, we're also providing him Taco Bell for a full year — and of course all the Fire Sauce that comes along with it. "

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