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Would You Do Squats for a Free Subway Ticket?

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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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The Playhouse Theatre
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The World’s First Minecraft Play Debuts in Northern Ireland
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The Playhouse Theatre

There are a lot of replicas of real-world locations in Minecraft, but there are few replicas of real-life performances. The latest show to premiere at the Playhouse Theatre in Derry/Londonderry, Northern Ireland, though, takes place both on stage and online. In what the theater is billing as the world’s first live play inside Minecraft, actors will perform both in real life and through digital avatars.

Playcraft Live is adapted from a series of young adult sci-fi novels called TimeRiders, which follows a group of teens as they work to stop future time travelers from changing history—in the case of this story, in the Neolithic Age. While the play was written by TimeRiders author Alex Scarrow, Minecraft users were involved in producing it, helping professional video game designers build out one of the virtual sets as part of a Minecraft buildathon in late September.

Three Minecraft renderings of Times Square
The Playhouse Theatre

The performance will be split between the actors live on stage and puppeteers controlling the avatars in the game. “Audiences within the theater, and online, will experience the production as a single live-stream, and neither audience needs to own Minecraft in order to view the stream,” according to a press release from the theater.

The play debuts on October 14 in Northern Ireland, and you can also watch it online via livestream.

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The Seemingly Simple ‘Math’ Problem That Stumped the Internet
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If you’re a regular Mental Floss reader, you know that we love a good brain teaser. And the one below, which originated on Facebook and has been shared more than 150,000 times, is a great one to test just how sharp you are on a Friday evening at the end of a long workweek.

It’s a seemingly simple enough task: spot the error. Your time starts now…

We’ll give you a minute …

And a little space for you to scroll down to find the answer …

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Did you figure it out?

The “mistake” is that the word “mistake” is misspelled on the instruction sheet on the left. If you missed that completely, you’re not alone: the grid of numbers is what immediately grabs your attention.

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