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Putnam 2013

“I wanted to use the intermediate value theorem but it just wasn’t happening.” MIT undergrad Zach Wener-Fligner reports from this year's William Lowell Putnam Mathematical Competition, the nation's premier math contest for college students, a test so hard that the median score is often zero.
posted by escabeche on Apr 27, 2014 - 38 comments

Lisa Sauermann is the world's best high school math competitor

Lisa Sauermann of Germany has won her fourth gold medal at the International Mathematical Olympiad, making her the top performer in the high school math competition's history. The IMO has been has been run continuously since 1959. Sauermann scored a perfect 42 on this year's exam, the only contestant in the world to do so. Not impressed yet? Here are this year's problems: day 1 and day 2. Watch a bunch of mathematicians wrestle with problem 2 in real time at the polymath blog.
posted by escabeche on Jul 30, 2011 - 64 comments

Smug liberal bigots

After Daily Beast columnist Andrew Sullivan lambasted The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence's Hunky Jesus Contest in San Francisco's Dolores Park with a short post flamingly titled "The Tired, Lame Bigotry Of Some Homosexuals," the Sisters responded. Sullivan reacted to the responses with an escalation, calling the Sisters "smug liberal bigots." Is the Hunky Jesus Contest "everyone's favorite blasphemous hoot" or a "profane and shockingly insensitive spectacle" that "illustrates the secular, pro-'gay' Left's hypocrisy in demanding 'respect' for homosexuals and transsexuals"? (previously)
posted by mrgrimm on Apr 29, 2011 - 148 comments

Advance Market Commitments

Inducement Prizes -- Best known for the Ansari X Prize, the DARPA Grand Challenge and the Clay Mathematics Millennium Problems, inducement prizes have a long history, but their recent successes have led to increased government interest, viz. challenge.gov, and resulted in the development of vaccines, thanks in large part to the work of Michael Kremer.* [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Jan 6, 2011 - 8 comments

Three-day weekend? Write a three-day novel.

Labor Day Weekend is coming up. You could have a barbecue. Or you could write a novel. Previous winners of the International 3-Day Novel Contest, which has been running since 1977.
posted by escabeche on Aug 27, 2010 - 21 comments

Deep Throat

The depravity of Major League Eating. "Every Fourth of July, Nathan's Famous, the frankfurter chain, hosts a hot-dog eating contest in Coney Island, N.Y. Tragically, this year's contest was marred. Six-time champion Takeru Kobayashi was hauled away by police after storming the stage. He had been barred from the contest for refusing to sign a contract with Major League Eating. Contracts? Major League Eating? Is this some kind of joke? Nope. It's worse. It's a joke that has turned serious."
posted by Fizz on Jul 10, 2010 - 52 comments

Gold Medal

Colin - no relation to Conor - Oberst won the Hockey Night in Canada new anthem challenge with his entry Canadian Gold, beating out 13-year-old Robert Fraser Burke's Sticks to the Ice and (somehow) Logan Aube's Hockey Scores. (previously)
posted by mannequito on Oct 12, 2008 - 35 comments

Wrecked & Abandoned Sci-Fi Models

The winners of StarshipModeler.com's "Wrecks" challenge are a mixed bag, with some absolutely incredible destroyed sci-fi models, both kit-built & free modeled, and dioramas. And then others that are less impressive.
posted by jonson on Dec 13, 2007 - 22 comments

Must See TV?

Wanna sell your TV show idea? There is no shortage of advice out there, or contests. Here are the winning pilots picked from this year's New York TV Festival, sort of a Sundance for TV newbies.
posted by CameraObscura on Oct 24, 2007 - 8 comments

How To Cook The World's Greatest Hamburgers

With a grand prize of $50,000, the Build a Better Burger Contest is the biggest hamburger recipe contest in the world; with the upcoming contest being judged on Sept 29th, you can take a moment to stroll through hamburger history, with recipes for all 17 years worth of prizewinners. Not enough burger for you? Then try making any of the 10 runner ups from 2005 & 2006. Still more, you demand? Peruse the database of over 5,000 contest entries broken out by category, even the most jaded burgermeister is sure to find something original & delicious to try.
posted by jonson on Sep 4, 2007 - 77 comments

A little rorschach with your breakfast

Art on a napkin: Before ketchup art, before Esquire Napkin Fiction, there was the Mama's Royal Café (checks and credit cards are cheerfully not accepted) napkin decorating contest. Enter now, (or, maybe don't. I don't want anyone to hurt my chances here!)
posted by serazin on Mar 8, 2007 - 7 comments

It's that time again

The Twelfth Annual Interactive Fiction Competition begins today. Non-contestants can take part in the proceedings by grabbing a torrent of the competing games and judging them over the next six weeks. If you're new to interactive fiction, Emily Short's "How to Play" will acquaint you with its conventions. And if you're enough of an I.F. expert that even a full slate of Comp games won't satisfy you, you can find every competition entry since 1995 archived at Baf's Guide.
posted by Iridic on Oct 1, 2006 - 3 comments

Ugly things

There are plenty of contests whose purpose is to pick out the best looking dog, or flowers or various other things. But what about the ugliest? These sites and contests bring you the ugliest cars, dogs, celebrities (YMMV), buildings in Ann Arbor, MI, and those bastions of cuteness, babies.
posted by darsh on Apr 25, 2006 - 16 comments

the crew that never sleeps

Rube Goldberg, former mining engineer, Godfather to Mad Magazine’s “Snappy Answers to Stupid Questions,” cartoonist for Boob McNutt and Mike & Ike (they look alike), is best known for the now eponymous machines he started cartooning back in 1914 such as: how to not forget to mail a letter. Or the reminder to take out the garbage. Or the local government efficiency machine. Or the oversleeping cure. Or the German webserver wakeup device (it’s got sound). There are amateurs making ‘Rube Goldberg machines,’ but there are also serious contests, sponsored by serious engineers. (There are even do it yourself plans - y’know, for kids). Goldberg’s influence can be seen in a variety of media, but by the time he turned 80 he’d tired of cartooning and decided to begin sculpting. Needless to say he excelled and of course, influenced humorous kinetic sculpture.
posted by Smedleyman on Mar 15, 2006 - 13 comments

Vintage High-Tech

Oooh, I want one. Or all of them. Vintage high-tech, from the good folks at Worth1000. (Great idea, but I feel like even more could be done with this meme. Pointers?) [Via BoingBoing.]
posted by digaman on Feb 22, 2006 - 21 comments

the circle jerk of good intentions

Crisis in SinceSlicedBread land. Some of you may remember this from some months back. Service Employees International (SEIU), the union, announced a contest several months ago, looking for ideas that might 'save the country' by putting the U.S. on a corrective course with respect to growing the economy and creating good-paying jobs. [more inside]
posted by vhsiv on Jan 15, 2006 - 15 comments

Exercise your music muscle

Exercise your music muscle Someone marked a Day in Green ink. Then I eyed a Queen holding Sex Pistols. There are 71 other bands hidden in this street scene: you can download a higher-res version at Virgin's Web site. (Via Bifurcated Rivets). By the way, this is a contest (you can win a new computer and a year's worth of free music), but the site's interface is obnoxious and ad-strewn, so I moved the contest linkage down here.
posted by Lord Kinbote on Nov 29, 2005 - 62 comments

Computer Graphics Contests

CG Challenges - the largest online art contests of their kind, where artists are challenged to create outstanding artworks based upon set themes, while working under restrictions. For CG students, an additional bonus is the view of the creation process.
posted by Gyan on May 23, 2005 - 8 comments

The Bulwer-Lytton Contest

The worst opening lines to the worst novels never written. An international literary parody contest, the competition honors the memory (if not the reputation) of Victorian novelist Edward George Earl Bulwer-Lytton (1803-1873). The goal of the contest is childishly simple: entrants are challenged to submit bad opening sentences to imaginary novels.

The original bad opening sentence and inspiration for the contest? From Bulwer-Lytton's novel Paul Clifford, and made famous by Snoopy: ""It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents--except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the streets (for it is in London that our scene lies), rattling along the housetops, and fiercely agitating the scanty flame of the lamps that struggled against the darkness."
posted by zardoz on Dec 16, 2004 - 37 comments

Blogging for charity is like screwing for virginity. No wait, it isn't.

So the Blogathon is taking a year off to come back bigger and better than ever before, but for all of you just itching to stay awake for 24 hours raising money for charity, there is Project-Blog, a Blogathon-style event happening July 24th. See previous Blogathon discussion here.
posted by Orange Goblin on May 31, 2004 - 2 comments

Metafilter wins!

Hey, remember, back in January, when Metafilter got nominated for best community weblog? Well, we won.
posted by Lynsey on Mar 15, 2004 - 48 comments

Lego Master Builder search

Lego Master Builder search
"After kicking off at The Art Institute of California – San Diego on Thursday, Oct. 30, the official LEGO Master Model Builder Search will head to Art Institutes in Washington D.C., Boston, Charlotte, Las Vegas, Phoenix, and Los Angeles before its final stop in Orange County, California. Winners from each city will be invited to travel to the LEGOLAND theme park in Carlsbad in 2004 to interview for the ultimate job – and the chance for the coveted spot as the seventh LEGO Master Model Builder." Ladies and gentlemen, start your brick building!
posted by Irontom on Oct 15, 2003 - 6 comments

Escher in 2003!

The results are in! the MeFi guesses weren't too far off, and Escher wins the domokun, while ook wins the booby prize.
posted by mathowie on Oct 8, 2003 - 18 comments

Tache and Go

Tacheback? (via The Presurfer)
Another web widget I have to add to my blog to stay cool? No, it's another moustache-growing contest, organized to support "The Institute of Cancer Research's national campaign to raise awareness and funding for male cancers". What do moustaches have to do with "male cancers"? Don't ask. Why did I say "another"? Because the biennial World Beard and Moustache Championships are coming to Carson City, Nevada, November 1st. Of course some media have already given this man the title of "World's Longest Moustache" (at least those who paid him $5 to take his picture).
posted by wendell on Sep 21, 2003 - 13 comments

American literary idol star survivor search

The Quest announced by LitKicks marries sudden fiction (and poetry, and nonfiction) workshop dynamics to a survivor-like competitive format, starting October 1, with six winners to be published in a book featuring the best work from the Quest. It's open to all, costs $20 to enter, and requires a free membership in the LitKicks site, which is a thriving online literary community as it is. More info in the FAQ. I think this may work better for me than NaNoWriMo would.
posted by xian on Sep 16, 2003 - 4 comments

The Best Sandwich

The BBC Is Looking For The Best Sandwich In The World: Can you help? Sandwiches are supposedly easy but, come to think of it, perfect sandwiches are actually quite difficult to invent and produce. Bread gets wet; lettuce wilts; flavours and textures clash. Personally, I like English tea sandwiches best; though the Mediterranean versions are a meal in themselves. But if you had to stake your life and reputation on one fulfilling and tastebud-enticing sandwich, which one would it be? To go.
posted by MiguelCardoso on Sep 6, 2003 - 63 comments

Anagrammatical

Ars Magna hosts The Anagrammy Awards, a monthly anagram competition. This got me thinking that we could "rearrange" the big acronym thread from a few weeks ago so that the first word or phrase of a comment would be an anagram of the last word or phrase of the previous comment. Sort of like this.
posted by coudal on Aug 22, 2003 - 25 comments

CANstruction, get it? Ha!

If you're the type who gets creative when you drink a lot, the folks at Canstruction have a few ideas about what you can do with the discarded empties. Here's a slide show of some good examples, and here are the winners of their contests in 2002 & 2003 respectively.
posted by jonson on Jul 25, 2003 - 14 comments

Warning: Photoshop Contest Ahead

Dangerous Road Signs. Okay, so, I'm posting a link to a photoshop contest: I'm lame, that's a long established fact. That said, some of these really did amuse me - take a gander if you're up for a laugh.
posted by jonson on Jun 14, 2003 - 17 comments

google: the next gardener?

Need a job? The winner of the Google Puzzle Contest might recieve a prestigious spot in the Google engineering labs. So whip out all your old Martin Gardner books and get practicing, because the competition is on May 1st (and registration closes today).
posted by kaibutsu on May 29, 2003 - 6 comments

I don't want to know how they signed their names in the snow.

The 2003 International Snow Sculpture championships occured last week, with once again a Canadian team taking top honors. Unfortunately due to unseasonably warm weather this year's competition doesn't seem to be as impressive as the 2002 event. Of course, none of them come close to the undisputed master of snow art, Calvin.
posted by Stan Chin on Feb 11, 2003 - 8 comments

American Crossword Puzzle Tournament

The 2003 American Crossword Puzzle Tournament is coming March 14-16. You can either participate in person by going to Stamford, Connecticut for the weekend, or play at home on your own time. If you're a confirmed or aspiring cruciverbalist, you should check this out -- the puzzles are great and the competition is light-hearted. (Will Shortz (right), director of the tournament and editor of the New York Times crossword puzzle, was recently interviewed on 60 Minutes.)
posted by precipice on Jan 20, 2003 - 4 comments

Yesterday I saw a wonderful movie - Spellbound - a documentary about the annual Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee - which won the Jury Award for Best Documentary Feature at SXSW. It explores the dynamics surrounding kids and parents desire for success in the competition, reconciliation with failure and differing models of education, competition and success. When I was a kid I was on the TV show It's Academic - along with lots of other famous faces. While you may want to make fun of the show - I still remember it fondly. My parents were happy to see me compete but generally unconcerned about the outcome in any way. Now we've got Math Olympics, the Academic Decathlon and a host of other competitive ventures. Any other MeFites remember school days competitions and the drive to succeed?
posted by dhacker on Oct 21, 2002 - 29 comments

Paper Towels Go Interactive!

Paper Towels Go Interactive! Well, the contest is moving on to its next stages, but soon, Georgia-Pacific will be holding online voting for it's new "logo" or "mascot" for Brawny (tm) paper towels brand. You can sign up at the link above for a heads-up to the voting, or just check back later. What is the world coming to. And to think, I found this via the Wall St. Journal this a.m.
posted by djspicerack on Oct 4, 2002 - 9 comments

What's more fun than a Tiger Woods/Britney Spears duet at a charity event?

What's more fun than a Tiger Woods/Britney Spears duet at a charity event? Canuck radio DJs impersonating Celine Dion to invite the pop 'star' to sing at the bogus gala, that's what! Oh, but it gets even better. The song the diva was to sing? 'Let's Make a Hole in One". Maybe they should have called Courtney, too.
posted by runthegamut on Aug 23, 2002 - 9 comments

It starts with Delaware... Over at Google Answers, a Microsoft Games Studio employee has posted a most interesting puzzle to solve. Over the course of the last twenty months a list of states has been gradually revealed by his boss, but under what criteria are they listed? He's giving $200.00 to the winner; just think of what you could buy. The fine folks at the Straight Dope are already on the case. To the Googlemobile! [via Cardhouse]
posted by thewittyname on Aug 22, 2002 - 75 comments

Calling all techie designers: TiVo is throwing a wallpaper design contest, the winners to get a new second series tivo.
posted by mathowie on Jul 9, 2002 - 15 comments

Accusations hurled at hot dog contest!

Accusations hurled at hot dog contest! Takeru "The Tsunami" Kobayashi scarfed down 50.5 hot dogs in 12 minutes at Nathan's Famous Fourth of July international hot dog eating contest... but did he keep them all down for long enough? And you thought the National Spelling Bee Championships were intense!
posted by krunk on Jul 5, 2002 - 25 comments

Swear down the phone

Swear down the phone and win a prize. Not much else to say really, apart from it is puerile and the whole site is in questionable taste. It might amuse the more FARK minded amongst us though, such as myself. Found at b3ta.
posted by Fat Buddha on May 4, 2002 - 2 comments

The origin of "It's not a bug -- it's a feature."

The origin of "It's not a bug -- it's a feature."
Blame the Intellivision.
posted by NortonDC on Apr 17, 2002 - 15 comments

The Pulitzer Prizes 2002.

The Pulitzer Prizes 2002. The New York Times gets 7; Richard Russo's "Empire Falls" gets Best Fiction; and Best On-Screen Kiss goes to Britney Spears and the guy from "Crossroads" because it made jurists William Safire and Henry Louis Gates Jr. "all teary-eyed."
posted by adrober on Apr 8, 2002 - 10 comments

Hey, isn't anyone going to link to the Bloggies 2002?

Hey, isn't anyone going to link to the Bloggies 2002? Ok, I will. I nominated our genial host here for Lifetime Achievement. Who's with me?
posted by Lynsey on Jan 3, 2002 - 39 comments

Do you dream of living on a secluded island surrounded by all of the ice cream you could eat? Here is your chance! And have you ever heard of anyone actually winning one of these essay contests?
posted by Dinzie on Dec 13, 2001 - 13 comments

Vote Wil Wheaton 'Entertainer of the Year'

Vote Wil Wheaton 'Entertainer of the Year' in Entertainment Weekly's poll. As one Farkster put it, "a vote for Wil Wheaton is a vote for messing with the normals." Won't Britney Spears be crushed? At the moment "Wil" is leading, but his evil twin "Will" is coming up fast.
posted by fleener on Nov 22, 2001 - 64 comments

2001 Young Inventors Awards Program winners announced.

2001 Young Inventors Awards Program winners announced. I'm really digging this pedal lawnmover and the direct water injector for plants.
posted by skallas on Oct 22, 2001 - 13 comments

Don't register for contests at work?

Don't register for contests at work? Man wins new BMW...for his employers. While this case actually makes sense, i could see situations where employees could win prizes on company time and have a problem. I would be So bummed out.
posted by th3ph17 on Aug 30, 2001 - 12 comments

Scientists Offer Cash, Possible Immortality

Scientists Offer Cash, Possible Immortality The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists is conducting a contest for the best "Plutonium Memorial" design. Are you ready to think out of the box? Make sure to incorporate classic design elements, as the contents will have a half-life of 24,000 years. It would be a shame to have our distant descendants mock our architecture. P.S. I encourage residents of the Denver metropolitan area to enter the contest.
posted by JDC8 on Jul 6, 2001 - 5 comments

How Do The Japanese Celebrate The Fourth of July?

How Do The Japanese Celebrate The Fourth of July? They fly to New York, Eat Many, Many Hot Dogs Very Fast, and Put the Locals to Shame. Historic Shame. This is truly amazing. Or truly disgusting. A breaking story and very funny article by one of my favorite writers.
posted by ParisParamus on Jul 4, 2001 - 18 comments

Name That Tune, Mr. Spock!

Name That Tune, Mr. Spock! Finding two of the same unforeseeable thing online entirely by accident raises an eyebrow. Can you name all the tunes in Glenn McDonald's Audiotests or the equivalent faux-Survivor task by Ron Yeany et al.? (The latter links directly to an MP3 file. See contest page.) ¶ Also, Glenn (ibid.) has an hilarious photo album. And who can explain the reference in the title of this posting?
posted by joeclark on Jun 17, 2001 - 4 comments

I'll be giving $50 to some Metafilter user

I'll be giving $50 to some Metafilter user (or group of users). The winner will be the person who links to the item that I consider to be "coolest." I set the bar here: in order to win, your item must be at least as cool as this, otherwise, I will declare myself the winner.

Aside from the increased size of the prize (the result of a few users who chipped in to the collection I took up), all other rules are identical to those of last year's Metafilter $30 Giveaway.

I will make my decision at 5 pm Friday, Chicago time.
posted by jbushnell on May 17, 2001 - 122 comments


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