A 19th-Century Lighthouse With Prime Views of Key West Could Be Yours

United States Navy, James Brooks, Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain
United States Navy, James Brooks, Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

As GPS made their original purpose obsolete, many lighthouses took on new lives as vacation homes in the 21st century. Old lighthouses around the world are available to rent on a nightly basis, and if you're looking for a more permanent situation, it's not too difficult to find lighthouses for sale in the United States. As Atlas Obscura reports, one 19th-century structure currently being auctioned off by the U.S. government offers stunning views of Key West, Florida, and a level of isolation usually limited to private islands.

The Sand Key lighthouse doesn't look like most American's quintessential idea of a lighthouse. Instead of a brick pillar, its body consists of a lattice, iron legs propped up on piles screwed into the reef beneath it. The 132-foot tower stands in five feet of water and is located several miles from the seashore. The bare-bones design isn't the product of an unfinished blueprint: So-called "screw-pile" lighthouses were designed to weather the hurricanes that regularly batter southern Florida. Instead of toppling the structure over, fierce winds simply pass through the gaps in its skeleton.

Though it's no longer functional, the Sand Key lighthouse would make a spectacular secluded getaway for a lighthouse enthusiast with money to spend. The government opened it up for auction in March 2019 with a starting bid of $15,000. The closing date for the auction has not yet been specified, and the bid currently stands at $24,000. Anyone can anonymously participate online by putting down a $5000 deposit that will go towards their final offer.

The property isn't ready for the new owner to start living out their nautical hermit fantasies right away. The keepers' quarters were destroyed in a fire in 1989, and the spiral staircase is missing as well. Work will also need to be done to the deck and some iron columns before it's ready for human residents. The government states that it's selling the lighthouse "as is," so anyone who bids on it should take the additional refurbishment costs into consideration. If it's not used as an out-of-the-way vacation spot, the Sand Key lighthouse could also be transformed into a museum.

Defunct lighthouses on lakes and seashores around the country are constantly being auctioned off by the U.S. government. If you can't commit to buying one outright, some are even in need of caretakers.

[h/t Atlas Obscura]

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

Flyxbrix/FatBrain
Flyxbrix/FatBrain

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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Instead of Taco Tuesday, Sweden Celebrates Taco Friday (or Taco Fredag)

ptpower, iStock via Getty Images
ptpower, iStock via Getty Images

If you think Swedish cuisine is limited to meatballs and herring, you've never celebrated Fredagsmys—the Swedish version of Taco Tuesday. The day, which translates to "cozy Fridays," is a chance for Swedes to get together with loved ones and eat comfort food at the end of a long week. And instead of indulging in more traditional Swedish fare, the Fredagsmys cuisine of choice is Tex-Mex.

Fredagsmys takes the already-Americanized taco and puts a Swedish spin on it. On Taco Fredag (Taco Friday), ingredients like tortillas, ground meat, peppers, and tomatoes are laid out smörgåsbord-style. The spread may also include some toppings that are rarely served with tacos outside of Scandinavia, such as yogurt, cucumber, peanuts, and pineapple. After assembling their meal, diners enjoy it in a cozy spot in front of the TV, ideally surrounded by pillows and candles.

The Swedish tradition of starting the weekend with a taco feast has only been around for a couple of decades. In the 1990s, the Swedish potato chip company OLW introduced the slogan “Now it’s cozy Friday time” into the national lexicon. Old El Paso capitalized on this concept with its own ad campaign showing Swedes how to assemble tacos at home. The Swedish spice company Santa Maria noticed the emerging trend and further popularized the idea of eating tacos on Fridays in its TV advertisements.

Tacos may be the food that's most closely associated with Fredagsmys today, but any quick junk food is appropriate for the occasion. Burgers and pizza are also popular items, as are candy, chips, and popcorn. The meal makes up just one part of the night: Settling in on the couch in pajamas to watch TV with loved ones is just as important as the food.

Making time for comforting indoor activities is a necessity in Sweden, where the weather is harsh and daylight is scarce for much of the year. The Danish do something similar with hygge, although tacos aren't an explicit part of that tradition.