"Doctor Who" Fan Builds TARDIS-Inspired Free Library in Detroit

Courtesy of Dan Zemke
Courtesy of Dan Zemke

Just like the TARDIS from British TV show Doctor Who, books transport readers through time and space. So it’s fitting that a fan of the series constructed a free community library that looks like the Doctor’s fictional time machine/spacecraft.

As The Verge reports, Detroit resident Dan Zemke wanted to make use of an empty lot that sits across the street from his house. Inspired by his workplace, which runs a reading program that distributes free books to kids, Zemke—who had already planned on building a replica TARDIS—decided to turn the blue police telephone box into a mini-library for his neighborhood.

Zemke teamed up with his father and Tardis Builders, an online forum for hobbyist Dr. Who prop-makers, to construct his TARDIS library. "I thought this was going to be a weekend project at first, but it quickly ballooned into this massive, awesome adventure," Zemke told Mental Floss. "We spent just about every weekend working on the TARDIS since last Labor Day weekend."

The final product stands nearly 10 feet tall and weighs close to a ton. "When you open the doors of the TARDIS, it reveals a large mural [painted by local artist Jennifer Maiseloff] that shows the inside of the TARDIS from the TV show," Zemke explains. "It looks like the inside of a large spaceship, more or less. I wanted to give the person coming to the library a sense that they're looking inside the TARDIS. When you slide open the mural panels, it reveals a collection of books that anyone from the neighborhood can take or leave a book of their own."

Just in time for summer, Zemke’s TARDIS library is now open. If you live in Detroit, you can swing by the corner of Vermont Street and Warren West Avenue to browse its book selection.

"It's been awesome to see an empty lot in the city transform into a place where kids and families want to spend time," Zemke says. "I love that we're getting more books in the hands of our neighbors and the schools nearby. Plus, we get to see just how many Whovians are in Metro Detroit too!"

[h/t The Verge]

Turn Your LEGO Bricks Into a Drone With the Flybrix Drone Kit


Now more than ever, it’s important to have a good hobby. Of course, a lot of people—maybe even you—have been obsessed with learning TikTok dances and baking sourdough bread for the last few months, but those hobbies can wear out their welcome pretty fast. So if you or someone you love is looking for something that’s a little more intellectually stimulating, you need to check out the Flybrix LEGO drone kit from Fat Brain Toys.

What is a Flybrix LEGO Drone Kit?

The Flybrix drone kit lets you build your own drones out of LEGO bricks and fly them around your house using your smartphone as a remote control (via Bluetooth). The kit itself comes with absolutely everything you need to start flying almost immediately, including a bag of 56-plus LEGO bricks, a LEGO figure pilot, eight quick-connect motors, eight propellers, a propeller wrench, a pre-programmed Flybrix flight board PCB, a USB data cord, a LiPo battery, and a USB LiPo battery charger. All you’ll have to do is download the Flybrix Configuration Software, the Bluetooth Flight Control App, and access online instructions and tutorials.

Experiment with your own designs.

The Flybrix LEGO drone kit is specifically designed to promote exploration and experimentation. All the components are tough and can totally withstand a few crash landings, so you can build and rebuild your own drones until you come up with the perfect design. Then you can do it all again. Try different motor arrangements, add your own LEGO bricks, experiment with different shapes—this kit is a wannabe engineer’s dream.

For the more advanced STEM learners out there, Flybrix lets you experiment with coding and block-based coding. It uses an arduino-based hackable circuit board, and the Flybrix app has advanced features that let you try your hand at software design.

Who is the Flybrix LEGO Drone Kit for?

Flybrix is a really fun way to introduce a number of core STEM concepts, which makes it ideal for kids—and technically, that’s who it was designed for. But because engineering and coding can get a little complicated, the recommended age for independent experimentation is 13 and up. However, kids younger than 13 can certainly work on Flybrix drones with the help of their parents. In fact, it actually makes a fantastic family hobby.

Ready to start building your own LEGO drones? Click here to order your Flybrix kit today for $198.

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How to Brew Your Own Fluorescent Beer at Home

The Odin
The Odin

If you're one of the many people who made their own sourdough starter in quarantine, you already know yeast is a living thing. That means its biological makeup can be tweaked using genetic engineering. As Gizmodo reports, that's exactly what a former NASA biologist has done to create his new fluorescent yeast kits.

A few years ago, Josiah Zayner left his job as a synthetic biologist for NASA to found The Odin, a company that lets anyone experiment with genetic science at home. His recently launched yeast kit accomplishes this in an eye-catching way. Thanks to a fluorescent protein from jellyfish, yeast that's been genetically modified with the kit glows green under a black or blue light.

Despite looking like a prop from a sci-fi film, the yeast is still yeast. That means it can be used in home-brewing projects if you want to take the science experiment a step further. According to Eater, yeast made with the kit ferments and fluoresces when added to honey and water. If you brew a batch of beer with the right amount of yeast, the final product will emit an otherworldly glow when viewed under a blacklight. The kit hasn't been FDA approved, but the company states the materials are nontoxic and nonallergenic, and beer made with it will still taste like beer.

You can purchase a fluorescent yeast kit from The Odin's online shop for $169. If you're looking for more ways to experiment with genetic technology at home, the company also sells kits that let you play with frog and bacteria DNA.

[h/t Gizmodo]