Taiwanese Artist Transforms City Bus Into a Roaming Forest

 SAM YEH, Staff // Getty Images
SAM YEH, Staff // Getty Images

A florist from Taipei, Taiwan, has achieved the impossible: He’s found a way to make riding the bus through a crowded city a pleasant experience. All he had to do was drape the vehicle’s interior in carpets of moss and curtains of flowers.

The Agence-France Presse reports that the “forest bus” offered toll-free rides to commuters in Taipei for one week only. The bus ferried passengers to an art museum, a popular temple, and a night market, but the fairy tale environment made it hard to step off.

SAM YEH, Staff // Getty Images

The project was intended to give riders a brief respite from the city. From their moss-covered seats, commuters were able to soak in the sights and smells of the hanging orchids, ginger lilies, and ferns surrounding them. Designer Alfie Lin told AFP, “They can smell the scent of summer on the bus and see the vibrant green plants to feel messages from nature.”

Sam Yeh, Staff // Getty Images

Lin is known around the world for his floral art—he even gave a TED talk about the power of flowers last year. His bus was taken off the road Sunday, May 28, but at least one citizen wants to see it return as a fixture in the city. Celine Wei told AFP, “I hope it can become a regular service on a double-decker. It would become something special to Taipei.”

Sam Yeh, Staff // Getty Images

[h/t Inquirer.net]

Friday’s Best Amazon Deals Include Digital Projectors, Ugly Christmas Sweaters, and Speakers

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As a recurring feature, our team combs the web and shares some amazing Amazon deals we’ve turned up. Here’s what caught our eye today, December 4. Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers, including Amazon, and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we only get commission on items you buy and don’t return, so we’re only happy if you’re happy. Good luck deal hunting!

What Did the Hubble Telescope See on Your Birthday? This NASA Website Will Show You

A 2010 Hubble-captured image of a pillar of gas and dust in a stellar nursery called Carina Nebula.
A 2010 Hubble-captured image of a pillar of gas and dust in a stellar nursery called Carina Nebula.

The Hubble Space Telescope was launched into orbit on April 24, 1990, and it has spent the last three decades enriching our understanding of the cosmos more than we ever could’ve imagined. This year, NASA is celebrating the telescope's 30th birthday with another launch: a website that shows you a photo of what the Hubble saw on your birthday.

Because the telescope is exploring space every hour of every day, the images it has captured over the years are both fascinating and varied. You could see a globular star cluster, a dust storm on Mars, or something else entirely. You only need to enter the date and month of your birthday on the site, so the image you get won’t necessarily be from the year you were born—and, if you were born before 1990, it definitely won’t be—but it’s pretty fun to juxtapose how you were spending that particular birthday with how the Hubble was spending it. While your parents were snapping a shot of you blowing out the candles at your eighth birthday party, for example, the Hubble might’ve been snapping a shot of the beautiful auroras around Jupiter’s north pole.

The telescope was first conceived all the way back in 1946 by Yale University astrophysicist Lyman Spitzer, Jr., who published a paper about the possible advantages of having what he called a “large space telescope” in orbit to help astronomers study the galaxies. The project finally got off the ground in the 1970s, and the telescope was designed so that astronauts could periodically upgrade it while still in orbit. Since it first broke through the atmosphere in 1990, the Hubble—named after astronomer Edwin Hubble, who proved the existence of other galaxies beyond the Milky Way—has taught us that the universe is 14 billion years old, that its expansion is speeding up, and so much more.

Unlock your birthday image on the Hubble website here, and check out more stellar photos taken by the Hubble here.