You Can Win Two Free Nights in Austin’s Human-Sized Birdhouse

Finding a place to stay in Austin during the South by Southwest (SXSW) festival is easier said than done. Nightly rental rates spike by hundreds of dollars, and empty rooms get booked fast. HomeAway is looking to make planning a little easier for two groups of SXSW visitors this year. As inhabitat reports, the vacation rental site is offering four free nights in their giant birdhouse to a handful of contest winners.

The so-called "World’s Largest Human Birdhouse" is located at the company’s headquarters in downtown Austin, Texas. On the outside, guests will find a round window and a massive blue perch extending over the back patio. With help from West Elm, the interior has been renovated into a cozy, two-bedroom space. Two groups of up to six guests are eligible for the chance to stay. To be considered for the prize, contestants need to answer the question "Why do you want to stay in the Birdhouse during SXSW?" and specify whether they wish to stay from March 10 to March 12, or March 17 to March 19. HomeAway will also provide an additional two nights stay elsewhere in Austin to each of the winning groups.

Every March, tens of thousands of people flock to Texas’s capital for the film, music, and interactive media events of SXSW. Visitors looking to honor the city’s “Keep Austin Weird” philosophy can enter to win the birdhouse vacation at HomeAway.com.

[h/t inhabitat]

All images courtesy of HomeAway.

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ESA/ATG
The European Space Agency Needs Help Naming Its New Mars Rover
ESA/ATG
ESA/ATG

The European Space Agency is hosting a competition to find a snazzy new name for its ExoMars rover, Sky News reports. The rover will be deployed to Mars in 2020, so the winner would be playing a small role in the progress of space exploration.

At the contest's launch, British astronaut Tim Peake described Mars as a place where humans and robots will someday work together to search for evidence of life in our solar system. To this end, the ExoMars rover, which will land on Mars in 2021, will drill up to two meters into the planet’s soil and collect samples, the ESA notes. "The ExoMars rover is a vital part of this journey of exploration, and we're asking you to become part of this exciting mission and name the rover that will scout the Martian surface,” Peake said.

However, the agency is well aware of past public naming contests that have gone horribly wrong (we’re looking at you, Boaty McBoatface), so it’s rigged the rules to prevent such a spectacle. Instead of a public poll, suggestions will be submitted privately to the agency, which has created a panel of judges to choose the winning name.

The winner of the contest will also receive a trip to Stevenage, England, where they’ll get to see the Airbus facility where the rover is being pieced together. The contest is only open to citizens of the two dozen European countries that are partners in the ESA.

To enter, submit your name suggestion online before October 10, 2018, along with a brief explanation (under 150 words) of why your name should be chosen. Click the following PDF link to see the full terms and conditions [PDF].

[h/t Sky News]

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iStock
Fearless Man Slices 26 Watermelons on His Stomach in 60 Seconds, Setting New Record
iStock
iStock

Ashrita Furman, a 63-year-old New Yorker who holds the world record for setting the most Guinness World Records, just achieved another one. This time, it was for the most watermelons sliced on top of his stomach in 60 seconds, Nerdist reports.

Furman came up with the idea for the record himself, and while he didn’t have any competition, Guinness stipulated that he had to slice at least 20 watermelons to be recognized. He managed to cut through 26 melons with his tool of choice, a katana, in less than a minute. (He walked away without a scratch.)

Check out this spectacle (and serious ab workout) for yourself:

“I’m really thrilled,” Furman told Reuters after pulling off the feat. “My first reaction is I’m relieved that I didn’t kill myself and the second is that I’m exhilarated because it is not only a skillful record, but also it’s something that I invented and now it’s out there and other people can challenge it.”

Furman, who has been called “Mr. Versatility,” currently holds more than 200 Guinness records. He set his very first record in 1979 after completing 27,000 jumping jacks, and he hasn’t slowed down since. In the past near-40 years he has set the record for—among other feats—the most knives caught in a minute (54); the greatest distance traveled while juggling on a pogo stick (4 miles, 30 feet); and most grapes caught in his mouth in one minute (86).

[h/t Nerdist]

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