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$50 Challenge: March/April

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The Challenge:

Using the current issue (March/April) of mental_floss magazine, submit the answers to all 10 of the following questions to flossychallenge@gmail.com.

The Prize:

The first person to submit the correct answers for all 10 questions to flossychallenge@gmail.com wins a $50 gift certificate to the mental_floss store.

The Questions:

01. According to Alexander Exquemelin's memoir, what compensation could a pirate expect after losing his right arm?

02. An emergency surgery in 1917 prompted the creation of the Royal Flying Doctor Service 12 years later. What tools were used in that surgery?

03. What frightening experience inspired the design of the car that became the original TV Batmobile?

04. A man was arrested and charged with DWI in 2008 while using one of "the world's laziest inventions." Which invention was he using?

05. Paulo Coelho pioneered a surprising new way to sell books. What American author used his technique on Oprah's Web site with successful results?

06. In the 1970s, dot patterns were added to Aboriginal painting. Why?

07. What, according to Toni Morrison, serves as a tribute or memorial to the millions of African-American slaves?

08. The transportation system of the Mafeking Cadet Corps (forerunners of the Boy Scouts) was eaten. What happened?

09. In 1802 Jean-Baptiste Lamark left his mark on the future of high school science curricula. How?

10. Who sent in this month's Six Degrees challenge?

Now submit your answers to flossychallenge@gmail.com!

Major thanks go to loyal reader and sometimes contributor Terry Fernandes (quizzes and article) for help crafting this challenge.

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NASA
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Space
NASA Could Send Your Tweet Into Deep Space
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NASA

The inventors of Twitter could never have imagined how their creation would change the world. The social media platform has become the stage upon which some of the most important dramas—and pettiest comedies—of the last few years have played out. And now it'll help beam one lucky person's message into interstellar space, thanks to NASA's #MessageToVoyager contest.

The Voyager 2 and Voyager 1 spacecrafts launched on August 20 and September 5, of 1977. The probes set sail in opposite directions, bound for the outer reaches of space, each bearing a golden record imprinted with messages of peace and welcome from Earth to whomever else the spacecraft might encounter along the way.

The decades since have seen years of astonishing firsts from the two little probes. Voyager 2 has cruised past and sent back images from Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. Just five years ago, Voyager 1 became the first craft to enter interstellar space.

In celebration of the 40th anniversary of the missions, NASA wants to give the people of Earth the opportunity to send a new message. The agency will transmit the single winning tweet into the area of deep space Voyager 1 now occupies.

To participate, compose a message of up to 60 characters. That includes letters, numbers, spaces, and punctuation. Tag your submission with #MessageToVoyager and post it to Twitter by August 15. You can also share it on Instagram, Facebook, Google+, or Tumblr.

Representatives from NASA, JPL, and the Voyager team will narrow down the entries, and then hold a public vote for the winner.

For full contest rules, check out NASA's #MessageToVoyager website.

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Airbnb
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Space
You Could Be One of the First People to See the Upcoming Solar Eclipse With New Airbnb Contest
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Airbnb

Airbnb is going to help two lucky people become some of the first in the nation to see the cross-continental total solar eclipse when it journeys across the U.S. on August 21. As Travel + Leisure reports, the company is holding a contest to send two guests on a deluxe eclipse-viewing mini-vacation in Oregon.

First, the winner and their guest will head to Bend, Oregon on August 20 to stay in a geodesic dome under the stars, looking up at the night sky from the observation deck with multiple telescopes, according to the press release. They’ll hang out and chat about the stars with with astrophysicist Jedidah Isler, who studies black holes, and learn how to shoot great nighttime photos with Babak Tafreshi, a National Geographic photographer.

An interior view of the Airbnb geodesic dome.
Airbnb

The next day, Isler will accompany the winners on a private jet for a two-hour flight over the Pacific Ocean. The plane will fly along the path of totality, potentially extending the amount of time the guests have to view the Moon completely covering the Sun by up to a minute compared to what people will see from the ground.

Even if you don’t win, plenty of people are trekking out to the path of totality, and you can probably find another place to crash. Airbnb estimates that it has around 3800 listed houses along the path of totality. (This one in Oregon is going for $10,000 a night that weekend.) But you might have more trouble finding a private plane to fly you to a viewing spot atop the clouds. The next total solar eclipse won't be visible from the U.S. until 2024, so this is your last chance for a while.

You have until August 10 to send Airbnb your best argument for why you should get to go on a great eclipse adventure.

[h/t Travel + Leisure]

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