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First Caption Contest Finalists!

[note: This post is a repeat from earlier in the week. Just wanted to make sure everyone had a chance to get ballots in before the end of the weekend.]

As promised, we're back with the finalists for our first caption contest. It was hard to whittle your 100+ sparkling entries down to six, but we tried our best. So now the fun really begins. We're going to let YOU pick the winner. Here's how it'll work: Each finalist is labeled with a letter. All you have to do is decide which is the best (whatever your definition of "best" is), and drop your ballot in the comments below.

A couple more rules: obviously you can only vote once. Any tricksters trying to enter multiple ballots will be disqualified from the voting process. (Not that we expect such nefarious behavior from our readers, but y'know, we have to put it out there just in case.)

Lastly: in the event of a tie, Mangesh will be the arbiter of taste and pick one winner out of those tied for the top spot. He hasn't told me he'll do this, mind you. But hey, it's his site, so who else should we trust?

Now then, on with the 6 finalists!

A "“ Josh entered: ""¦..Well all I'm saying is I don't see any rain"

B "“ Scott entered: "I thought it said all geniuses welcome. That says genuses!"

C "“ Cas entered: "I read the Bible and I am not liking where this is going..."

D "“ Ed Hands entered: "And THIS is why you never put your business card in the "˜free cruise giveaway' bowl at the Chinese buffet"¦"

E "“ Dennis entered: "This is not what was advertised in the brochure when we booked our cruise to the mountains of Ararat."

F "“ Sally entered: "Hey, when Noah asked for two asses to come aboard, do you think maybe he meant the two-legged kind instead of us?"

And remember, you can always click on the cartoon if you want to enlarge the image. We'll leave the voting open through the weekend and roll out the winner next week.

Note to finalists: start browsing our store now to pick out a t-shirt in case it's yours to claim next week!

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iStock
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travel
How to Win a Year of Free Flights From JetBlue
iStock
iStock

JetBlue has an enticing offer for anyone resolving to travel more in 2018: Customers who book a non-refundable flight before December 15 will be automatically entered to win the airline's All You Can Jet Pass, Thrillist reports. That means a full year of free unlimited flights to 100 destinations in the U.S. and beyond.

If you already have, or are planning to, purchase a flight in the first half of December, no further steps are required: You're automatically in the running to receive one of the three available passes. And if you have no upcoming flights to book but a bad case of wanderlust, you’re also invited to enter. To do so, just mail a letter with your full printed name, address, phone numbers, and email address to: All You Can Jet Sweepstakes, Centra 360, 1400 Old Country Road, Suite 417, Westbury, NY 11590.

The randomly selected winner can start flying for free as soon as February 1, 2018.

All You Can Jet Pass flyers won’t be able to book multiple flights departing from the same city on the same day, and change and cancellation fees will still apply. Other than that, they can travel without limitations. Travelers get a complimentary plus-one for each flight they book, and they’re free to change their travel companion from trip to trip. There are zero blackout dates, so even on the busiest travel days of the year, winners can fly without paying a cent.

The free year of travel ends January 31, 2019. If they’re smart with their time, it’s possible for winners to visit every one of JetBlue's 100 destinations, including Jamaica, Los Angeles, and the Dominican Republic, by the time their pass expires. The only thing they'll need to worry about is finding the energy for all that travel.

[h/t Thrillist]

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NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI/Carlos Hernandez
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Space
Help NASA Name the Farthest Object We've Ever Tried to Reach in Space
NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI/Carlos Hernandez
NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI/Carlos Hernandez

More than two years after NASA's New Horizons probe whisked by Pluto, the robotic spacecraft continues to zip toward the furthest edges of the solar system in pursuit of history's farthest planetary encounter. It's heading toward the Kuiper Belt, a ring-shaped region beyond Neptune's orbit that contains dwarf planets like Pluto and perhaps several hundred thousand other icy bodies. The target is a tiny world that New Horizons is scheduled to pass on New Year's Day 2019. As of now, it's simply called MU69—but NASA and the New Horizons team want you to help them come up with a more memorable moniker, the Associated Press reports.

You can cast your vote for MU69's new title in an online naming contest, which opened up to the public in November and closes on December 1, 2017, at 3 p.m. Eastern time. There's no limit to the number of votes you submit, although contest organizers request that you do so no more than once per day.

Names to chose from include Año Nuevo ("New Year" in Spanish), Pluck & Persistence, and Peanut, Almond, or Cashew, the last three of which could describe MU69's potential shape. So far, Mjölnir, a.k.a. Thor's Hammer, is in the lead, according to the latest vote tally.

Participants can also suggest new names via this form. All languages are fair game, so long as they're written using the Latin alphabet, but researchers do say they're "particularly interested in nicknames that are appropriate for the first exploration of a cold, distant, ancient world at the outer frontier of the solar system." (Religious, political, and commercial names aren't allowed.)

NASA also recommends submitting two or more names that go together, since preliminary observations have indicated that MU69 might be a binary, or two astronomical bodies harnessed together by their mutual gravitational forces. If they're a "contact binary"—meaning they're touching—only one name will be needed, but a separated pair will call for two.

Once New Horizons flies by MU69, the mission team will propose a formal name for the body to the International Astronomical Union (IAU). That said, NASA still has final say over MU69's forever title—so even if a certain submission receives the most votes, it still needs to be vetted by officials. In short, you probably can't name it Planet McPlanetface.

Still, researchers say they're excited to involve the public in the naming process and hope to land on a name "that captures the excitement of the flyby and awe and inspiration of exploring this new and record-distant body in space," said Alan Stern, principal investigator for the New Horizons team, in a statement.

[h/t Associated Press]

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