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Would You Do Squats for a Free Subway Ticket?

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Youtube

To whip up Olympic cheer and promote physical fitness, Moscow officials installed a subway ticket machine at Vystavochnaya station that doubles as a personal trainer. The scheme? Do 30 squats in two minutes, and the machine will spit out a free metro ticket.

“We wanted to show that the Olympic Games is not just an international competition that people watch on TV, but that it is also about getting everyone involved in a sport lifestyle,” said Alexander Zhukov, Russia’s Olympic Committee president.

A ride on the Moscow metro costs 30 rubles (about $0.93), so each squat counts for one ruble. (If the same rate existed in New York City, commuters would have to do 80 squats! Ouch.) However, it’s all or nothing. If riders don’t finish in two minutes, they have to pay full price—and then walk to the train with wobbly legs of shame.

The machine was removed earlier this month, but Russia’s Olympic Committee may be offering more fun exercises soon. They plan to convert some public bus handles into exercise bands, while also introducing bicycles that can charge your phone. (If you can’t make the trip to Russia, you can always attach this doodad to your bike to charge your phone.)

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Don't Have Space For a Christmas Tree? Decorate a Pineapple Instead
iStock
iStock

Christmas trees aren't for everyone. Some people can't fit a fir inside their cramped abodes, while others are turned off by the expense, or by the idea of bugs hitchhiking their way inside. Fake trees are always an option, but a new trend sweeping Instagram—pineapples as mini-Christmas "trees"—might convince you to forego the forest vibe for a more tropical aesthetic.

As Thrillist reports, the pineapple-as-Christmas-tree idea appears to have originated on Pinterest before it, uh, ripened into a social media sensation. Transforming a pineapple into a Halloween “pumpkin” requires carving and tea lights, but to make the fruit festive for Christmas all one needs are lights, ornaments, swaths of garland, and any other tiny tchotchkes that remind you of the holidays. The final result is a tabletop decoration that's equal parts Blue Hawaii and Miracle on 34th Street.

In need of some decorating inspiration? Check out a variety of “Christmas tree” pineapples below.

[h/t Thrillist]

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Kohske Takahashi, i-Perception (2017)
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Can You Figure Out This Newly Discovered Optical Illusion?
Kohske Takahashi, i-Perception (2017)
Kohske Takahashi, i-Perception (2017)

Ready to have your mind boggled? Take a look at the image above. What shape are the lines? Do they look like curves, or zigzags?

The image, spotted by Digg, is a new type of optical illusion published in the aptly named journal i-Perception. Discovered by Japanese psychologist Kohske Takahashi, it’s called the “curvature blindness illusion,” because—spoiler—the contrast of the lines against the gray background makes our eye see some of the lines as zigzags when, in fact, they’re all smooth curves.

The illusion relies on a few different factors, according to the three experiments Takahashi conducted. For it to work, the lines have to change contrast just at or after the peak of the curve, reversing the contrast against the background. You’ll notice that the zigzags only appear against the gray section of the background, and even against that gray background, not every line looks angled. The lines that look curvy change contrast midway between the peaks and the valleys of the line, whereas the lines that look like they contain sharp angles change contrast right at the peak and valley. The curve has to be relatively gentle, too.

Go ahead, stare at it for a while.

[h/t Digg]

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