The Reason There's Over a Hundred Abandoned Giant Arrows Across the U.S.

Being an airmail pilot in the 1920s was a dangerous occupation—according to Half as Interesting, the average person in that profession died after just 900 hours of flying. One of the biggest dangers had to do with navigating at night; once darkness fell, pilots often had no idea where they were going. Aviation maps didn't exist yet, and this was decades before the days of GPS. For a while, pilots had to rely on giant bonfires next to landing strips. But eventually the U.S. government hit on a solution: thousands of giant glowing arrows, known as airway beacons, showing the way across the country. The arrows, accompanied by lighted towers and erected every 10-15 miles from New York to San Francisco, made airmail faster, cheaper—and most importantly, much safer for pilots.

By World War II, most of the arrows were scrapped as advances in radar and radio communications made them obsolete, but at least 121 still remain across the country. (CityLab notes that Montana still uses about 19 of them for pilots flying through the mountains.) And they haven't been entirely forgotten: The site Arrows Across America is devoted to photos and details of the remaining arrows.

You can learn more about how the arrows worked, and where they are now, in the Half as Interesting video below.

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

Amazon
Amazon
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!

Love the Smell of Soda? Make Your Whole House Smell Like it With These Recycled Can Candles

716 Candle Co.
716 Candle Co.

You won't find candles made to smell like balsam fir, ocean breezes, or fresh linen from 716 Candle Co. Instead, the Etsy store specializes in scented candles reminiscent of newly opened cans of soda, and each product comes in a clever recycled can holder to match its fragrance.

As Delish reports, 716 Candle Co. sells candles inspired by dozen of soda brands. Whether you're a Coke or Pepsi person, the shop has a candle for you in both diet and regular varieties. Other sodas that have been transformed into kitschy decor include Sprite, Orange Crush, and 7Up.

716 Candle Co.

Every candle from the Etsy shop contains 100 percent soy wax made from American-grown soybeans. The holders are real recycled soda cans that have been hand-cut and smoothed around the edges.

Whether you need a gift for the soda fanatic in your life or you like to unwind to the scent of Wild Cherry Pepsi at the end of the day, you'll find what you're looking for from 716 Candle Co. You can browse their candle offerings today, with prices ranging from $10 to $15.

[h/t Delish]