This contest ends at midnight-sharp GMT this coming Sunday, four days from now. I know our contests and games usually run longer than that, but the Sunday deadline is necessary if we're going to have enough time for Shapeways to turn the winning poem (declaration, formula, epigraph, cryptogram, etc.) into a 3-D object -- a light poem, suitable for holding candles -- and express-mail it to you or your sweetie in time for Valentine's Day.
What's the catch?
First, you only get 150 characters total. This is a contest where speed and cleverness beat diligence, so start channeling your inner small mammal, and remember that spaces and punctuation count.
Second, you have to register an account at Shapeways, and download their Creator Java applet. Yes, that's slightly troublesome. Look upon it as an investment in someday being able to tell your grandmutants how hard you had it, back in the dawn of desktop 3-D fabrication.
Third, if anyone other than Randall Monroe tries to submit 0 1 1 2 3 5 8 13 21 34 55 89 144 233 377 610 987 1597 2584 4181 6765 10946 17711 28657 46368 75025 121393 196418 317811 514229 832040 1346269 2178309, there's going to be some splainin' to do.
And that's all. Try not to wait until the last minute to post your entries. Posting them earlier gives others a chance to admire them, and reduces the chances that someone else will have the same idea and publish it first. If you've posted an entry, make sure you've sent your contact information and desired shipping address to email@example.com before the deadline. If you make "contact information" the subject line, we won't look at it unless you win.
(While you're over at the Shapeways site, you might want to take a look at their gallery and shops. It's full of people doing exactly what you'd think they'd do: putting new hats on minifigs, visualizing infectious microorganisms, prototyping models and materials, making art, printing out remote-controlled helicopters, building finely detailed instruments and artifacts, playing "Oh yeah? Then top this" with their fellow topologists, and finally getting that Legion Flight Ring they've always wanted. Also, making valentines.)
If you have an idea for a game, or would like to donate a prize, let us know! One doesn't find good games hanging on every bush. As for donating prizes, I know it's often viewed as a good way to do a little genteel promotion, but you could also try thinking of it as a way to pass along nifty old objects which you no longer wish to own, but are unwilling to throw away. Again, send suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We're adding more goodies. Kevin Jackson-Mead of A K Peters, an independent mathematics and computer science publisher, is donating three copies of Strange Attractors: Poems of Love and Mathematics as prizes for entries of a romantically scientific or mathematical nature.
Further note: if you're having trouble getting registered at Shapeways, or making the Light Poem option on Creator work, let us know. In the meantime, post your entry here anyway. We can work it out.
Jessica Hasson at Shapeways says that If anyone is having technical problems, they can email her directly at email@example.com and she'll help you resolve your problem.