Okay, now I totally want to go to Las Vegas and visit the Vdara Hotel. I know they’re a little worried about the problem, but really, if they play it right this could bring in crowds. Maybe not the crowds they want, but think of the possibility. “Buy a drink and challenge the death ray to melt your glass!” or for the environmentally conscious “dispose of your plastic bags with the help of the Vdara Death Ray!” Though I’m not sure the “set fire to your hair with the Vdara Death Ray” is going to be a big draw.
What am I talking about? Well, the Vdara Hotel would prefer to call it a “hot spot” or a “solar convergence,” but guys, that’s not going to sell tickets. People aren’t going to line up to experience the solar convergence near the pool at the Vdara. Besides “Vdara Death Ray” just sounds like something from a 1950 science fiction flick. Except this death ray is real. Okay, it hasn’t actually killed anyone yet, but it did scorch a lawyer’s scalp and burn some of his hair.
Here’s the basics. The Vdara is a beautiful piece of architecture. It’s tall, sleek, shiny and slightly curved. The result is that at certain times of the day, the hotel directs the sun’s rays down to the pool area in such a focused manner that it has been known to melt plastic bags and plastic drink cups. Keep in mind, the plastic in the drink cups melts at about 160 degrees. So we’re talking hot, not warm. A lawyer from Chicago found out just how hot it can get when he was relaxing by the pool with his eyes closed. He became uncomfortably hot and fled from his chair to the shade where he smelled burning and realized that the sun had scorched his hair. Returning to his chair, he discovered that the plastic bag on his newspaper had melted.
Being the inquisitive sort, he investigated and discovered that the Vdara Death Ray was a well known phenomenon to the hotel staff and regular guests. He’s not suing the hotel over the scorching, but is working to get them to fix the problem. The hotel faces a bit of a problem. They thought they solved the problem by installing high tech film on the exterior of the hotel. The film has cut the reflection problem by 70 percent. But apparently the remainder of the, umm, solar convergence is still enough to scorch a guest. But solutions that might seem obvious, like building a big sun shade, don’t work because the ray moves around the area depending on the time of year and the position of the sun. I think the best solution would be to just call it an attraction and sell tickets.
Coffee Quote: Coffee? No thanks, one more cup & *I’ll* jump to warp. - Captain Janeway, Star Trek: Voyager