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Goldberg Contest Winner

Last Saturday, we announced our first-ever "Feel Art Again" contest, challenging our readers to design Rube Goldberg devices. Entrants were asked to "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." And the winner is....

The Winner: Victor

"My design is for a cheese powered well. The clock has a knife as the minute hand so that every hour it cuts a slice of cheese off that falls into the basket in front of the hampster. The hampster then runs in his cage which has a wedge wrapped around it so that it pumps the bellows for the fire under the tea kettle. The fire makes the water boil and the steam goes through a pipe outside to push against a paddle wheel. As the steam turns the paddle wheel the gears on the wheel turn another gear which in turn turns another gear that turns a spindle the raises and lowers a bucket into a well."

ThePrize.jpgVictor wins a copy of Secret Lives of Great Artists: What Your Teachers Never Told You About Master Painters and Sculptors by Elizabeth Lunday, who writes the "Masterpieces" column for mental_floss magazine. You can pick up your own copy from Quirk Books.

Honorable Mention: Therese

GoldbergHonorableMention.jpg"This is a Wind-Powered Page-Turner. The user sits in the comfortable armchair. He can either place his copy of mental_floss magazine (or other reading material) into the holder that attaches to the sides of the chair or hold it in his hand. When he is ready to turn the page, he simply pedals with his feet on the pedals that extend out from the bottom of the chair. The pedals are attached to a bar that rises and falls as he pedals, in turn powering a gear that, in turn, powers a fan. The wind from the fan is directed, by means of an attached funnel, toward the magazine. The burst of air coming through the properly adjusted funnel will turn the page. This enables the reader to keep his hands free for drinking and snacking... and may even help prevent carpal tunnel syndrome that could result from repeated page-turning."

Thanks go out to everyone who entered! If you'd like to see more "Feel Art Again" contests (or just drawing contests in general), let us know in the comments.

To learn more about Rube Goldberg, read our two Saturday posts: The Incomparable Rube Goldberg and Rube Goldberg, part 2. To watch some Rube Goldberg devices in action, head to Jason English's video-packed post.

"Feel Art Again" appears every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. You can e-mail us at feelartagain@gmail.com with details of current exhibitions, for sources or further reading, or to suggest artists.

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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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