Weekend Genius Challenge #13: Nifty, Nifty, Look What's Fifty!

2008 is nearly upon us, which means we'll again have to pay attention when filling out forms, writing checks, and referencing dates. A pain, yes, but there's at least one good thing about 2008 before it even begins: it's the 50th anniversary of the year 1958.

And what's so special about 1958? Why, it was the year that Explorer I, the first U.S. satellite, reached space. It was the year that Ian Fleming published Dr. No. It was the year the first Grammy Awards were presented. It was the year that baseball moved to California, as the Giants and Dodgers headed west. It was the year the first Pizza Hut opened. The Boeing 707 went into service. The American Express Card made its debut. Elvis Presley entered the military. The ruckus behind the TV game show "Twenty-One" was revealed.

We could go on and on, but that would defeat the purpose of this weekend's Genius Challenge. And that's for you to come up with the oddest, coolest, most anniversary-worthy event that occurred back in 1958. If we're going to celebrate the New Year, we need to know what we're celebrating. So offer your submissions by commenting to this post.

The winner will receive a T-shirt of his or her choice from the mental_floss store. As always, please include the style and size of T-shirt you'd like along with your entry. We must approve comments before they appear, so don't worry if your entry doesn't show up right away. We'll get to it as soon as we can. We'll vote on a winner Monday, and if we're conscious on Tuesday, we'll post the winner. If not, we'll post it Wednesday, and you'll know that we spent the morning of January 1 toasting the fact that 2008 is the 50th anniversary of Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo by having a glass of champagne and spinning around wildly in our swivel chairs.

Good luck!

(Cleanup, aisle three.)

Gasp... Is This the End of the Weekend Genius Challenge?

It's been a struggle to come up with mental exercises that are difficult enough for the many, many brilliant folks who read mental_floss and visit mentalfloss.com. It's difficult to develop puzzles that are (1) safe from Web searches, but (2) not impossible to solve. After seeing many difficult contests won in a matter of minutes, I'm taking this weekend off to reassess the Weekend Genius Challenge.

We get the most entries in creative-type challenges... having you write haikus using the two words from the ReCaptcha service, asking you to tell us where the "lost" hour went during Daylight Saving Time, and so forth. So we're considering going that route for future WGCs. What do you think? Ideas, suggestions, and comments are more than welcome. In fact, if you'll kindly take the time to chime in, we'll pick a random comment and send the responsible party the mental_floss T-shirt of his or her choice. Thanks in advance.

In the meantime, we'll continue to do Brain Games on a daily basis, with puzzles of varying description each weekday. And we'll have results for the last two WGCs in a day or two. Have a great weekend, everyone!

Weekend Genius Challenge #30: Unwritten Rules

We got SO many entries for last week's WGC that it may take us the rest of the weekend to sort through all the responses... but we'll choose a winner before Monday arrives. In the meantime, since you all seem to enjoy being creative, let's give away another T-shirt by unleashing Weekend Genius Challenge #30!

Many "unwritten rules" guide our planet. Here are a few I've jotted down over the years:

1. All really good architects must go by three names.

2. The number of leaves that end up in your yard in the fall has more to do with your neighbor's trees than your own.

3. During trip to a restaurant with someone else, when you ask for two orders of fries, both orders will be incredibly large and too much to eat. But the next time you go to that restaurant with someone else and ask for only a single order of fries -- thinking it will be enough to share -- the order will be incredibly small.

Your job is to fill us in on the "unwritten rules" that you've experienced in life. The mind behind the one we vote best will win a T-shirt of his or her choice from our online store. REALLY, REALLY IMPORTANT: To be absolutely clear, your entries should have nothing to do with identity, race, color, religion, sexual preference, political preference, physical or mental issues, or anything bordering that. In other words, don't direct them towards any person or group of people who might possibly take offense. So be smart. Play nice. Sit up straight. And tell your sister you love her.

Also, please remember that all comments will be moderated before they're released, so it may take a while for them to appear on the site. Enter as many times as you like, but please put each entry in a separate comment. Good luck!


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