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Two Zand Hotels, constructed out of sand, opened for tourists in two Dutch cities—Oss and Sneek—to commemorate the Brabant and Friesland sand sculpture festivals.
The two hotels had fully furnished suites, hidden inside eight-meter-tall sand sculptures. They also featured a bathroom with running water, glass windows, carpets, electricity, Wi-Fi and intricate sand carvings.
The hotel in Oss had a Chinese theme, with Chinese dragons, the Great Wall and the Terracotta Army as decorations, while the hotel in Sneek was modeled after the homes from famous American animated show “The Flintstones”. Each hotel was decorated with more than 30 large sand sculptures, and was inspired by the ice hotels in Sweden and Finland.
The two hotels aimed to attract the holidaymakers and artists of the festivals. Each suite was priced at $168 a night. They were just temporary structures, which closed when the festivals ended. However, they planned to reopen for this year’s festivals.
Dutch visual artist Gijs van Bon has designed a little “robot” that can write on the ground by using sand as its ink.
When the computer-controlled device—called Skryf—moves forward, it leaves in its wake a stream of letters made from carefully measured piles of sand. It is not a meaningless mess of letters, but poetry or prose that has been programmed into Skryf’s onboard computer beforehand. Skryf can print out entire stories or sonnets at a pace of 40 meters of text per hour.
Gijs types a text into the onboard laptop and then uses a code to control three engines regulating the stream of sand.The sand falls through a small opening onto the ground at a very precise and regular pace, letter after letter. Skryf can write in different fonts and the sand can even be tinted to create multi-colored texts.
Gijs has taken Skryf for various public performances across several countries.
A photo, showing a red fox clasping the corpse of an Arctic fox between its teeth in Canada’s Wapusk National Park, took top spot in the Natural History Museum’s Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition, beating 42,000 entries from around the world.
Canadian photographer Don Gutoski described his snap, called “A tale of two foxes”, as the “best picture I’ve ever taken in my life”. The photo also captured the first prize in the mammal category.
Kathy Moran,National Geographic magazine’s senior editor, said, “The image sent out a message about climate change.As it gets warmer in the Arctic and sub-Arctic and the red fox can move further north into the territory occupied by the Arctic fox, you are going to get increasingly these kinds of tensions.”
Pictures that took top spot in other categories included a giant Bryde’s whale ripping through a ball of sardines off the coast of Australia and three red-footed falcons on a tree in Beit Shemesh, Israel.