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 © Renaud Philippe
© Renaud Philippe

Chill Out With a Look Inside North America's Only Ice Hotel

 © Renaud Philippe
© Renaud Philippe

If the idea of spending the winter months all cozied up indoors seems a bit boring to you, consider the Hotel de Glace in Quebec—the only ice hotel in North America.

The hotel was first built in 2001 and has been reconstructed every winter since then. The lodgings last only a few months a year when the weather turns cold enough. This winter, the hotel will accept guests from January 4 to March 28.

Construction on the Hotel de Glace begins in December, and takes about 50 people roughly six weeks to complete. The primary building material—snow—is man-made and churned to be particularly dense and humid (snowman and snowball enthusiasts know that this makes for the best packing snow).

It takes a whopping 500 tons of ice and 30,000 tons of snow to complete the structure, which contains 44 rooms and themed suites, a restaurant, hot tubs, a sauna, an ice bar, and an ice shelf.

The unique experience doesn’t come cheap, with rooms starting at $199 per person. It’s also not exactly the lap of luxury: The rooms are kept at around 25 degrees Fahrenheit, so you have to bundle up and seal your sleeping bag tight if you expect to get any quality slumber. (For those who might be wondering, the bathrooms are heated.) For a less intimate experience, guided tours are available, or you can just gaze at the stunning photos below.

© Renaud Philippe, courtesy of Hotel de Glace


© Renaud Philippe, courtesy of Hotel deGlace


© Renaud Philippe, courtesy of Hotel deGlace


© Clermont Poliquin, courtesy of Hotel de Glace


© Xdachez.com, courtesy of Hotel de Glace


© Luc Rousseau, courtesy of Hotel de Glace


© Renaud Philippe, courtesy of Hotel de Glace


© Renaud Philippe, courtesy of Hotel de Glace


© Renaud Philippe, courtesy of Hotel de Glace


© Xdachez.com, courtesy of Hotel de Glace


© Renaud Philippe, courtesy of Hotel de Glace


© Renaud Philippe, courtesy of Hotel de Glace


© Xdachez.com, courtesy of Hotel de Glace


© Xdachez.com, courtesy of Hotel de Glace


© Luc Rousseau, courtesy of Hotel de Glace

[h/t The Real Deal]

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Stones, Bones, and Wrecks
Buckingham Palace Was Built With Jurassic Fossils, Scientists Find
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iStock

The UK's Buckingham Palace is a vestige from another era, and not just because it was built in the early 18th century. According to a new study, the limestone used to construct it is filled with the fossilized remains of microbes from the Jurassic period of 200 million years ago, as The Telegraph reports.

The palace is made of oolitic limestone, which consists of individual balls of carbonate sediment called ooids. The material is strong but lightweight, and is found worldwide. Jurassic oolite has been used to construct numerous famous buildings, from those in the British city of Bath to the Empire State Building and the Pentagon.

A new study from Australian National University published in Scientific Reports found that the spherical ooids in Buckingham Palace's walls are made up of layers and layers of mineralized microbes. Inspired by a mathematical model from the 1970s for predicting the growth of brain tumors, the researchers created a model that explains how ooids are created and predicts the factors that limit their ultimate size.

A hand holding a chunk of oolite limestone
Australian National University

They found that the mineralization of the microbes forms the central core of the ooid, and the layers of sediment that gather around that core feed those microbes until the nutrients can no longer reach the core from the outermost layer.

This contrasts with previous research on how ooids form, which hypothesized that they are the result of sediment gathered from rolling on the ocean floor. It also reshapes how we think about the buildings made out of oolitic limestone from this period. Next time you look up at the Empire State Building or Buckingham Palace, thank the ancient microbes.

[h/t The Telegraph]

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architecture
5 Scrapped Designs for the World's Most Famous Buildings
Ker Robertson, Getty Images
Ker Robertson, Getty Images

When an architect gets commissioned to build a skyscraper or a memorial, they’re usually not the only applicant for the job. Other teams of designers submit their own ideas for how it should look, too, but these are eventually passed over in favor of the final design. This is the case for some of the world’s most recognizable landmarks—in an alternate world, the Arc de Triomphe might have been a three-story-tall elephant statue, and the Lincoln Memorial a step pyramid.

GoCompare, a comparison site for financial services, dug into these could-have-been designs for Alternate Architecture, an illustrated collection of scrapped designs for some of the most famous structures in the world, from Chicago's Tribune Tower to the Sydney Opera House.

Click through the interactive graphic below to explore rejected designs for all five landmarks.

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