New App Rewards You Just for Getting Up and Going Somewhere

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iStock

In a perfect world, everything would be free. Until then, earning discounts for doing things you would probably already be doing—like driving to work—is the next best thing.

As spotted by The Daily Dot, a free iOS app called Miles lets you earn points simply by getting up and going somewhere, whether it's by foot, car, bus, or plane. Rack up enough points and you'll be able to redeem gift cards and discounts for retailers like Amazon, Starbucks, Target, and Whole Foods, to name a few.

The app is designed to encourage eco-friendly travel, so the amount of reward miles, or points, you earn depends on your mode of transport. One mile in a car translates to one mile earned through the app, but a ride in an Uber or Lyft will get you double the points. Public transportation yields three points per mile, biking is five points per mile, and walking is 10 points per mile.

Flying, on the other hand, will only accrue 0.1 points per mile. You won't have to log your trips either because they're recorded automatically in the app. Of course, for this to work, users have to allow the app to track their location at all times, which might make some people squeamish for privacy reasons. The app's CEO told The Verge that raw data collected from the app isn't shared with the company's partners—only abstract insights about your movement patterns.

To contextualize how much you'd need to travel to reap the rewards, something like a $5 Starbucks or Amazon gift card requires 2500 reward miles (or 250 miles of walking, for instance). Still, if you're OK with sharing your travel patterns with companies, it's a passive way to cut costs on items you'd already be buying (like groceries, or your go-to morning latte).

The app isn't currently available on Android but it should be coming soon, according to The Daily Dot.

[h/t The Daily Dot]

The Mental Floss Store Is Back!

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America's Top 25 Colleges and Universities for 2021

Harvard University's Memorial Hall.
Harvard University's Memorial Hall.

Deciding what makes a certain college more desirable than another is highly subjective. Some prospective students might think a championship-winning football team and a massive student body are major selling points, while others prize a small, tightly knit community above all else.

To try to come as close as possible to identifying objectively great colleges and universities around the country, WalletHub analyzed a whopping 30 factors in seven categories, from student selectivity and cost to campus experience and career outcomes. These encompass basic metrics—admissions rate and average class size, for example—as well as more specific considerations, like study abroad programs, on-campus employment opportunities, and the median salaries of recent graduates.

Of all 1008 schools included in the study, the Ivy League ones continue to reign supreme. Harvard University ranked first, with a score of 78.6 across all 30 metrics, edging out Yale by just .03 points. Princeton, the University of Pennsylvania, Columbia, Dartmouth, and Brown also made the top 25. With low acceptance rates and high graduation rates—not to mention huge endowments—these stately old institutions are rather difficult to compete with, but they’re definitely not the only esteemed places to get a four-year education.

As a testament to the continuing success of the tech industry, three technology institutes made WalletHub’s list: Massachusetts in third place, California in fifth, and Georgia in 11th. Those three schools ranked in the top five for return on educational investment, meaning that graduates make high starting salaries compared to how much their education actually cost.

Geographically, New England (and the East coast in general) is home to a majority of the top schools, though five from California alone did chart, too: Stanford University; University of California, Berkeley; Pomona College; and Claremont McKenna College, in addition to the aforementioned California Institute of Technology.

Check out the top 25 below, and see where your alma mater ranks on WalletHub’s full list here.

  1. Harvard University // 78.6
  1. Yale University // 78.57
  1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology // 78.44
  1. Princeton University // 78.41
  1. California Institute of Technology // 77.65
  1. Stanford University // 77.12
  1. Rice University // 76.96
  1. Northwestern University // 75.4
  1. Duke University // 75.18
  1. University of Pennsylvania // 74.95
  1. Georgia Institute of Technology // 74.92
  1. Vanderbilt University // 74.66
  1. University of California, Berkeley // 74.54
  1. Columbia University // 74.51
  1. Johns Hopkins University // 74.37
  1. University of Chicago // 73.59
  1. Dartmouth College // 73.43
  1. Williams College // 73.19
  1. Brown University // 73.17
  1. Carnegie Mellon University // 73.11
  1. Washington and Lee University // 73.08
  1. Swarthmore College // 73.08
  1. Pomona College // 72.92
  1. Claremont McKenna College // 72.84
  1. Amherst College // 72.83