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This Theme Park Is Getting a Space-Themed, Virtual Reality Roller Coaster

With the upcoming releases of cutting edge headsets like the PlayStation VR and Oculus Rift, 2016 is expected to be a breakthrough year for virtual reality. Now it looks like one of the year’s most memorable VR experiences might happen not at home, but at a theme park, where thrill-seekers will have the chance to strap in for the ride of their lives. 

The British amusement park Alton Towers has just unveiled a new ride called “Galactica” that brings the roller coaster ride experience to virtual reality. After strapping into the ride, riders don the Gear VR headsets that will lead them through their intergalactic adventure. For three minutes, passengers will soar through a virtual space landscape as their bodies—lying face-down in the physical world—are sent around a track. The ride’s narrative centers around a fictional space tourism company called Galactica, taking each rider on their first trip through space, starting with a thrilling launch through a warp tunnel into the unknown. 

Motion sickness is a concern with any type of VR, and was a major consideration when figuring out how to apply the technology to a thrill ride. To tackle the issue, the coaster was outfitted with shoulder straps that will make it difficult for passengers to look left or right. This limits the rider’s individual movements and leaves the motion to the ride, which is something the park can control. The passengers' heads will be free to move up or down however, and the park claims that sensors on the gear will ensure the visuals are always perfectly matched up to the rider’s point of view. And to prevent any expensive equipment from falling off mid-ride and raining down on unsuspecting parkgoers, an advanced tethering system has been developed to keep the headsets in place. Galactica will be ready for takeoff when the theme park reopens this April. 

[h/t: Engadget]

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© 2017 USPS
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Pop Culture
Speedy Delivery: Mister Rogers Will Get His Own Stamp in 2018
© 2017 USPS
© 2017 USPS

USPS 2018 Mister Rogers stamp
© 2017 USPS

After weeks of mailing out this year’s holiday cards, postage might be the last thing you want to think about. But the U.S. Postal Service has just given us a sneak peek at the many iconic people, places, and things that will be commemorated with their own stamps in 2018, and one in particular has us excited to send out a few birthday cards: Mister Rogers.

In celebration of the 50th anniversary of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, Fred Rogers’s groundbreaking PBS series that the USPS says “inspired and educated young viewers with warmth, sensitivity, and honesty,” the mail service shared a mockup of what the final stamp may look like. On it, Rogers—decked out in one of his trademark colorful cardigans (all of which were hand-knitted by his mom, by the way)—smiles for the camera alongside King Friday XIII, ruler of the Neighborhood of Make-Believe.

Though no official release date for Fred’s forever stamp has been given, Mister Rogers is just one of many legendary figures whose visages will grace a piece of postage in 2018. Singer/activist Lena Horne will be the 41st figure to appear as part of the USPS’s Black Heritage series, while former Beatle John Lennon will be the face of the newest Music Icons collection. Sally Ride, the first American woman in space, will also be honored.

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Can You Spot the Christmas Pudding?

Whether it’s a sheep hanging out with Santa Claus or a panda bear hiding among some snowmen, regular Mental Floss readers know that hidden picture brainteasers are one of our favorite things. And the optical experts at Lenstore.co.uk have released a delicious one, just in time for Christmas. Somewhere in the midst of all these holiday-themed goodies above, there’s a holiday pudding just waiting to be discovered. Can you spot it? Your time starts … now.

If you give up, or are the kind of person who reads the last page of a book before the first one and just wants to know the answer, scroll down to see where it’s hiding.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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