$50 Challenge Winner!

On May 2, we announced a $50 challenge. We made up a 10-question challenge based on information in the May/June 2009 issue of mental_floss magazine; the goal was to be the first reader to submit the correct (as found in the magazine) answers for all 10 questions.

28 entries were submitted, but there can only be one winner...

The Winner

Courtney Simpson was the first to answer all 10 of the questions correctly. Congratulations! (We'll be in touch via e-mail about your prize.)

Check out the winning answers after the jump.

The Answers

01. The marine biologist (and fluid dynamics expert) who discovered the "tubercle effect" has a name befitting his field of study. What is his name?
A. Frank Fish (page 58)

02. Edgecomb, Maine, has the honor of hosting the jewels—and ghost—of what European royal?
A. Marie Antoinette (page 72)

03. Strippers average almost twice as much in tips per shift when ovulating than when their time of peak fertility has passed, according to a recent study. How much did the strippers in the study average per shift when they were ovulating?
A. $335 (page 32)

04. When they became unable to eat solid foods, which two famed American businessmen (who also share a first name) added wet nurses to their staffs?
A. John Jacob Astor and John Rockefeller (page 70)

05. After being bombarded by 400 Molotov cocktails, pirates retreated—with one asking for footwear to protect his feet from the broken glass—from what Chinese ship?
A. Zhenhua 4 (page 50)

06. Vatican City's crime rate is the highest crime rate in the world. How many crimes per citizen occur in the tiny country?
A. 1.5 crimes per citizen (page 36)

07. Known as "the rocket to the rooftop of the world," what train provides personal oxygen canisters to every passenger?
A. The Lhasa Express (page 16)

08. In 1924, who served as Harry Houdini's ghostwriter for a short story published in Weird Tales magazine?
A. H.P. Lovecraft (page 67)

09. What event involved grown men running 50 meters while clenching raw bull testicles in their teeth?
A. The 2008 Shepherd's Shemozzle (page 29)

10. Only one contributor in the magazine sports a hat. Who is it and what does her/his hat say?
A. David Goldenberg, "'Bama for Obama" (page 7)

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Scandal! 12 Camels Were Disqualified from a Saudi Arabia Beauty Contest Over Botox Allegations
FAYEZ NURELDINE/AFP/Getty Images
FAYEZ NURELDINE/AFP/Getty Images

Saudi Arabia’s central Riyadh Region has been roiled by an animal show scandal straight from a Christopher Guest film. As NPR reports, around a dozen camels were disqualified from a beauty contest at the annual King Abdulaziz Camel Festival because their handlers illegally plumped their features with Botox injections.

The month-long Camel Festival in Al Dhana, Saudi Arabia, runs through February 1, 2018, and features around 30,000 camels. The animals participate in races, an obedience competition, and a beauty contest. Nearly $57 million in prize money rides on these high-stakes events, and owners preen their prized steeds accordingly with massages, hairspray, and—as it turns out—banned cosmetic surgery procedures, according to The Telegraph.

Camels in the ungulate pageant are judged on whether they have long necks, enlarged lips and noses, a big head, and defined humps. The criteria evidently drove some owners to desperate measures: Shortly before the Camel Festival kicked off, officials discovered that a vet had been injecting some participating camels with botulism.

The vet is receiving heat, but he’s by no means the only competitor to use illegal tactics, according to United Arab Emirates-based newspaper The National. In addition to Botox injections and collagen fillers, some sneaky handlers darken their animals’ coats with oil, rely on hormone injections for enhanced muscularity, and stretch the camels' lips by hand to elongate their appearance. And while large facial features are considered desirable, large lobes aren’t, so the guilty vet’s humped charges also received ear reductions.

Officials can ban enhanced camels from entering future beauty competitions, and owners can face possible legal recourse for violating animal welfare laws. Some breeders have called for cheaters to face stronger punishments, like a fine, which is already applied to drug-enhanced racing camels. As for now, the 12 camels who went under the needle are now under the microscope.

[h/t NPR]

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LEGO Wants to Turn Your Space-Themed Design Into a New Set
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LEGO wants to turn your out-of-this-world brick design into a reality as part of a new contest calling for space exploration-themed concepts. The winning entry in the LEGO Moments in Space competition will be transformed into a real-life LEGO set that the company will give away as a promotional "gift with purchase" product.

As part of the contest, LEGO is inviting designers ages 13 and up to create what the company describes as “the ultimate space model." The design can be realistic or based on science fiction, as long as it follows a few important guidelines. The final assembled product must be made from around 300 basic pieces, and it can't be too big. It has to be able to fit on a 16-stud-by-16-stud LEGO baseplate inside one of the smaller LEGO boxes. The designs can feature stickers, but they have to be decals from old LEGO sets.

Participants can submit entries for the “LEGO Moments in Space” contest either in the form of digital renderings or photos of real-life projects through February 9, 2018. Fans can vote for the top 25 builds on the LEGO Ideas site, and then a special panel will select the grand-prize winner and 10 runner-ups. The results will be revealed to the public on March 2, 2018.

The winner will not only have the opportunity to see their design made into a real product in 2019, but will also receive a $250 online LEGO shopping spree and a curated collection of LEGO's previous "gift with purchase" sets. Get more information about entering the contest on the LEGO Ideas website.

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