You Could Win an Inn on Swan’s Island, Maine, for Just $99 and an Original Essay

A lighthouse in Swan's Island, Maine.
A lighthouse in Swan's Island, Maine.
Timothy Krause via Flickr // CC BY 2.0

For just $99 and a short, well-crafted essay, you could live out all your Gilmore Girls-inspired dreams and own a quaint New England inn.

The Harbor Watch Inn, located six miles off the coast of Maine on Swan’s Island, has two regular motel rooms with basic appliances, two rooms with full kitchens and balconies overlooking Burnt Coat Harbor, and a furnished one-bedroom apartment that the owner could either live in or rent out.

The island itself is pretty much the epitome of a sleepy New England town. It’s only accessible by ferry, 350 people live there all year, and the website specifies that “there are no McDonald’s, no strip malls, and no movie theaters.” There is, however, a lighthouse, a marine museum, hiking trails, and quiet, uncrowded beaches that might make you want to become the 351st permanent resident.

If owning your own piece of the tiny, water-locked paradise sounds like heaven, you can enter for a chance to win the Harbor Watch Inn here through March 31. In addition to answering a few questions about your experience, skills, and feelings about the small-town atmosphere, you’ll have to explain in 350 words or fewer why you believe you’ll succeed as an innkeeper and what you’d change about the inn.

For anyone willing to pen multiple essays and pay the $99 application fee several times over, go for it: According to a press release, there’s no limit to the number of applications one person can submit. They’ll all be evaluated by a panel of judges—led by retired school teachers—and the winner will be announced by mid-May. Not only will that winner get the property, they’ll also be awarded $25,000 to help them improve the inn and establish their business.

Contests like this one have gained popularity in recent years as a way to sell businesses to people who wouldn’t be able to afford them otherwise, but they don’t always go exactly according to plan—find out about the Humble Heart Farm, The Hardwick Gazette, and five other property prize stories here.

NASA Opens Astronaut Applications to the Public

If you hold a master's degree in a STEM field, are comfortable with tight spaces, and need a new job, NASA has an opportunity for you. As reports, the space agency recently posted an ad seeking astronauts on USAJobs, and anyone can apply—as long as you meet the basic requirements.

Astronauts make between $104,898 to $161,141 a year performing such duties as conducting operations on the International Space Station and testing new spacecraft. To land the prestigious gig, candidates must first complete a painstaking application process.

NASA asks anyone interested in becoming an astronaut to make sure they meet the basic qualifications before they apply. Candidates should carry a master's degree in a discipline of science, technology, engineering, or mathematics. Exceptions can be made for people who lack a master's degree but can show two years of work toward a STEM Ph.D. program, completion of a doctor of medicine degree, or completion of a nationally or internationally recognized test pilot school program (for this last one, a bachelor's degree in STEM may also be required).

Candidates should also have real-world experience beyond their academic career. For people with degrees in STEM or flight testing, NASA is looking for at least two years of professional work, and for pilots, it wants at least 1000 hours command-piloting high-performance aircraft.

Meeting these standards is just the first hurdle candidates must clear. If they make it through the initial round, potential astronauts will be asked to pass a NASA long-duration spaceflight physical, undergo a psychiatric examination, and be assessed on their leadership and problem-solving skills. After about a year of this, NASA will announce its final hiring decisions sometime in mid-2021. Fair warning, the competition will be tough: The last time NASA opened its astronaut applications to the public, it selected just 12 people out of 18,300 candidates.

The online application went live on USAJobs on March 2, and it will be open through March 31. If you're not sure if you're right for the job, try taking this astronaut aptitude test before applying for the real thing.


You Can Get Paid $1000 to Watch 15 Hours of The Office in Nine Days

Oscar Nuñez, Brian Baumgartner, Jake Lacy, Paul Lieberstein, Angela Kinsey, Phyllis Smith, Craig Robinson, Ellie Kemper, Kate Flannery, Ed Helms, and Leslie David Baker in The Office.
Oscar Nuñez, Brian Baumgartner, Jake Lacy, Paul Lieberstein, Angela Kinsey, Phyllis Smith, Craig Robinson, Ellie Kemper, Kate Flannery, Ed Helms, and Leslie David Baker in The Office.
NBCUniversal Media, LLC

If you're anything like millions of people around the world, you probably watch at least a season of The Office a week. After a long day at your own office, few things are as relaxing as witnessing the hilarious antics of the Dunder Mifflin crew, who you can always rely on to make you laugh—and perhaps appreciate your own job just a little bit more. Nearly 15 years after its original NBC premiere, The Office is still one of the most binge-watched TV shows around. And now one company wants to pay you for the time you already spend lounging on the couch waiting for the moment where Jim and Pam finally get together.

USDish, an authorized DISH Network retailer, wants to pay one lucky fan $1000 to simply watch 15 hours of The Office in nine days. Easy, right? Some of us already do more than that for free—but there's a bit of a catch, As the rules explain, the selected individual must take copious notes on the many popular tropes that pop up as they watch 45 episodes of the classic sitcom. The guidelines read:

"For instance, how many times does Stanley roll his eyes at the camera? How often does Phyllis talk about Bob Vance from Vance Refrigeration? The goal is to help us understand how often sitcoms repeat popular tropes. We’ll provide you with general guidelines to track your experience, but in true Kelly Kapoor fashion, we also want you to share your unfiltered opinions and reactions on social media."

So you basically you have to do a little work while watching and document it on social media, too. In addition to the $1000 stipend, the selected binge-watcher will receive some sweet Dunder Mifflin swag, including a Dundie Award, along with a Netflix gift card.

To apply for this no-brainer of an opportunity, click here. You have until Monday, March 16 to submit your information.