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Contest: Rube Goldberg Devices

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In conjunction with our two "Feel Art Again" posts on Rube Goldberg (Jan. 10 and today), we're offering mental_floss's first drawing contest!

What To Do:

Invent and draw a Rube Goldberg-esque device, with an explanation.

What does that mean? Draw as complex a device as you can think of for a very simple task. The more complex the device or the funnier the device/task/situation, the better. For ideas, refer to the collection of Goldberg's cartoons on the official Rube Goldberg site.

The Goldberg cartoon above shows the "Simplified Pencil Sharpener":
Open window (A) and fly kite (B). String (C) lifts small door (D) allowing moths (E) to escape and eat red flannel shirt (F). As weight of shirt becomes less, shoe (G) steps on switch (H) which heats electric iron (I) and burns hole in pants (J). Smoke (K) enters hole in tree (L), smoking out opossum (M) which jumps into basket (N), pulling rope (O) and lifting cage (P), allowing woodpecker (Q) to chew wood from pencil (R), exposing lead. Emergency knife (S) is always handy in case opossum or the woodpecker gets sick and can't work.

You can draw the device on your computer or by hand. If you draw it by hand, please scan or photograph it so that you can"¦

E-mail your drawing to feelartagain@gmail.com by Thursday, January 22, 2009.

The Prize:

One winner will receive a copy of Secret Lives of Great Artists: What Your Teachers Never Told You About Master Painters and Sculptors by Elizabeth Lunday.

ThePrize.jpgWith outrageous anecdotes about everyone from Leonardo (accused sodomist) to Caravaggio (convicted murderer) to Edward Hopper (alleged wife beater), Secret Lives of Great Artists is an art history lesson you'll never forget!

Elizabeth Lunday is a journalist specializing in architecture and art. She writes the "Masterpieces" column for mental_ floss magazine and lives in Fort Worth, Texas.

The winner will be announced on Saturday, January 24, 2009, at 12:30 p.m.

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Owe Money to the IRS? You Could Score a Free One-Way Trip with JetBlue
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April 18—Tax Day—is fast approaching. Not expecting a fat refund check? Here’s some consolation: Travel + Leisure reports that JetBlue is giving away 1000 free one-way flights to taxpayers who owe money to Uncle Sam.

The airline launched its Tax Return Return Flight giveaway on April 11. The giveaway runs until April 25, and you’re eligible to enter once a day. Just visit JetBlueTaxReturnFlight.com and fill out the required fields (name, email, age, and whether you owe money to the IRS on your 2016 return).

JetBlue will select 66 winners each day during the promotion’s first 14 days, and on the last day, they’ll choose 76 winners. These lucky individuals—who will receive the good news via email—will score a one-way flight certificate, which they can use to book trips anywhere in the contiguous United States or Alaska. That said, the certificate is only valid between May 1 and June 15, 2017, so consider whether or not you’re up for a spur-of-the-moment spring break trip before throwing your hat in the ring.

The promotion is open to adults ages 18 or older. All must be legal residents of one of the contiguous 48 United States, Washington, DC, or Alaska. (Sorry, Hawaii.) Winners probably won’t be required to show JetBlue their tax forms, but in the name of honesty (and karma), don't lie about owing money just to snag a discount trip.

[h/t Travel + Leisure]

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Megabus Wants to Throw You a Free Wedding (on a Megabus)
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Marriage can be a bumpy road, but Megabus wants to give one lucky couple a smooth start by awarding them a free wedding. The discount travel company's new “Marry Me On A Megabus” sweepstakes provides winners with an all-expenses-paid ceremony aboard a bus, along with two round-trip tickets for the honeymoon and $2500 in cash.

For most people, buses don’t exactly scream “romance.” But according to Sean Hughes, Megabus's director of public affairs, they often serve as a vehicle for lasting love.

"Over the past 10 years, we have loved hearing about couples that have met on a Megabus or used megabus.com to travel to see their long-distance loves," Hughes said in a news release. "It's a pleasure to play Cupid and be a part of so many people's love life."

Touching anecdotes aside, all couples—not just far-flung sweethearts—are invited to enter Megabus’s giveaway until February 21, either through the company's Facebook page or an online form. Submit the story of how you met, and why exactly you want to be married on a Megabus. (The giveaway’s perks—which, in addition to a paid honeymoon, include free music, flowers, and an officiant; and complimentary transportation to and from the ceremony—probably don’t count toward your answer.)

The winning duo will be announced on social media on March 15, 2017; they can select a wedding destination from more than 100 cities. Interested couples can view the official sweepstakes rules online.

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