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Las Vegas Hotel Vdara an Accidental Death Ray 218

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the staying-there-next dept.
evanism writes "A hotel in Las Vegas is accidentally designed to be a massive parabolic dish that focuses the suns rays into a death ray! Burns hair, plastic and causes pain." It apparently lasts for several minutes during afternoons of bright sunlight, but if you need to perform science on it, you better hurry since they plan to ruin/fix it.
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Las Vegas Hotel Vdara an Accidental Death Ray

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  • by grub (11606) * <slashdot@grub.net> on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @11:50AM (#33736110) Homepage Journal

    you better hurry since they plan to ruin/fix it.

    Rather than paying the incredible expense of re-engineering the hotel's windows they should just rename. Simply change the stationary and signage to "L'Hotel du Auschwitz".

    Hey, they could offer free tatoos, too. Tell people that they're lucky numbers.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    They just haven't gotten around to installing the Sterling motors and generators yet.

  • by crow (16139) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @11:56AM (#33736196) Homepage Journal

    Wouldn't the simplest solution be to post a warning? They could set up an infrared camera to monitor where the hot spot is, and have a monitor displaying it, so people could avoid it.

    • by red_dragon (1761) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @12:07PM (#33736376) Homepage

      They could set up an infrared camera...

      Damn engineers and their overcomplicated solutions. Why can't people just look for where the smoke and smell of charred human flesh is coming from?

    • by krnpimpsta (906084) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @12:10PM (#33736424)

      Wouldn't the simplest solution be to post a warning?

      "Do not look into hotel with remaining eye."

    • by curunir (98273) *

      The simplest thing is to dull the reflective surfaces of the offending parts of the building. This problem isn't unique, it's happened before [wikipedia.org] elsewhere.

      • Re:Post a warning? (Score:4, Informative)

        by Facegarden (967477) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @02:50PM (#33739064)

        The simplest thing is to dull the reflective surfaces of the offending parts of the building. This problem isn't unique, it's happened before [wikipedia.org] elsewhere.

        They did that. When they designed it, they thought of this and added a film over the windows that reduces reflected energy by 70%, according to TFA.

        It still manages to raise temperatures by 20-30 degrees in the affected zone, and on a 110 degree day thats enough to melt plastics and people.
        -Taylor

    • If you're stupid enough to want to be there, you're going to have to put some effort into it.

    • They could set up an infrared camera to monitor where the hot spot is, and have a monitor displaying it, so people could avoid it.

      Exactly, that way everyone in the hotel will know where it is. That doesn't help the girl who's sunbathing very much, though.

  • Images (Score:5, Interesting)

    by cosm (1072588) <thecosm3 AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @11:58AM (#33736210)
    Interesting story. Dumbass images. Besides the burned newspaper bag and perhaps one obscure image of the parabolic hotel in question, every other image is just scenery or people partying in a pool. The fact that there are so many of them on the ABC website touts the true journalistic intent (or perhaps marketing, scantily clad women abound).
  • Map view (Score:3, Informative)

    by eamonman (567383) <`moc.liamtoh' `ta' `2namnomae'> on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @11:59AM (#33736240) Journal

    http://goo.gl/maps/ZpTd [goo.gl]

    So it looks like if the sun is high up in the sky, from probably a S or SSE angle, you'd get some good ant burning action..

    So how would they fix that? Put up one of those porous billboard/shade deals that Flamingo does?

  • The fix is to rotate the windows a few degrees to remove any convergence. The possible damage from this phenomenon is significant: increased chance of skin cancer; burned retinas; severe skin burns; fire; etc.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by sconeu (64226)

      You forgot what is the most important thing from the hotel's POV.

      Significantly increased chance of lawsuit.

  • The end of the article basically has an employee going "maybe we could get some plants to put in there or something", that doesn't sound like fixing it to me.
    • by ebuck (585470)

      Sounds like a good fix to me. Plants have been absorbing the sun's rays for millennium, and they take up sufficient space that a patron won't be able to displace the plant. Of course, you might need to plant quite a few plants to handle migration of the focal point, but that's a lot cheaper than attempting to redesign / retrofit the building.

  • by Magnus Pym (237274) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @12:06PM (#33736364)

    The architect thought it would be cool to have a massive dish-like glass structure on the side of the building, shaped like an enormous microwave antenna. Unfortunately, the thing focused the suns rays like a magnifying glass. The insides got really hot, especially near the security desk! Dont' know if anyone got burned, though.

    • by default luser (529332) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @12:13PM (#33736476) Journal

      This is hardly a unique event [wikipedia.org]. If you let an architect go nuts trying to make a "modern" and "unique" building, he will inevitably build a magnifying glass.

      Architects are rarely versed in function, and are almost always about the form.

      • Architects are rarely versed in function, and are almost always about the form.

        My sample size is small, but all three architects I know were required to take a statics class and do load calculations before they got their degrees. This wasn't sufficient for doing engineering for building design, and wasn't intended as such, but they were required to know enough to not hand engineers unbuildable designs.

        • by blair1q (305137)

          but they were required to know enough to not hand engineers a raft of shit for kicking back their unbuildable designs.

          i made that better for you.

        • they were required to know enough to not hand engineers unbuildable designs.

          Unbuildable designs and designs that sacrifice function for form are two entirely different problems. The former will get you fired, while the latter can be spun as "art," depending on who you are and what you're building.

          Architects make all these buildings with strange forms without taking into consideration things like solar effects, the climate around the building, and cost of maintenance. Cities flock to these idiots because t

      • by hcdejong (561314)

        And it's not limited to buildings. Along a nearby highway, glass screens were placed as a sound barrier. The angle of the screens is such that at certain times of day, the sun is reflected right into the motorists' eyes.

      • by theIsovist (1348209) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @04:08PM (#33740096)
        You've given one example, which is a building by Frank Gehry. He's an architect who made his millions by converting software made to develop jet fighters into "architecture". Is it any wonder his buildings attack people?

        I am a practicing architect, so please, let me fill you in. Architects take classes on sun angles and reflected light. Understanding how to make use of and control natural sunlight is a major part of modern architecture. I counter your example with a modern building designed by Steven Holl [stevenholl.com] (a much more impressive architect IMHO). If you note on one of the diagrams, the building has been designed to strategicly filter light into different areas of the school based on certain landmark days. No death rays here.
  • The focal area would get hot enough to melt traffic cones an the free way.

    I drove through it once, and temperature in my car became uncomfortable. I don't know what would happen had I beens stopped in traffic.

    They eventualy brushed the surface.

  • by zero_out (1705074) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @12:13PM (#33736474)
    There was a news story several years ago about a fire that destroyed a family's patio, and damaged their house. The fire department couldn't figure out how it started, but then they discovered the dog's glass water bowl about ten feet from where the fire started. They tested their theory, and sure enough, the owners were filling the glass bowl with water at just the right time, and putting it in just the right place, that it magnified the afternoon sunlight into a spot that set fire to weather-treated wood boards.
    • This has happened in the Atlanta, GA. area. Apparently a builder of cluster homes had oriented a few just the right way so that the sun would reflect and focus off the windows of one house and melt the vinyl siding on the adjacent one. There were about 4-5 homes like this in the subdivision IIRC. Big debate with the stupid builder doing many warranty repairs on the siding of house B but refusing to do anything with the windows on house A. What a maroon.

      • I'm curious why you think the builder should be doing anything to the windows? Arguably this is either a problem with the manufacturer of the windows (deforming and causing a focussing effect) or else with the vinyl siding (being unable to handle reflections).

        The only real solutions are to replace the windows with ones that don't cause the focussing effect, or else to use siding that's more durable (but more expensive) than vinyl.

  • apparently leaves a mark!
  • Actually the Walt Disney Concert hall had a similar issue when they built it. It would direct the heat into cars at the stop lights and cause the people to get way too hot. Of course, it didnt melt plastic, but still!
    They needed to scuff the finish a bit to kill the effect .

  • Fish bowls or glass vases placed next to windows can spontaneously start fires.

  • For once there are direct consequences for modern Architectures obsession with full glass facades. But the other fail is of course putting a glass box in the desert
  • Hooray! (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anne_Nonymous (313852) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @12:48PM (#33736984) Homepage Journal

    S'mores for everyone!

  • Sounds like they found an environmentally friendly way to cook bacon. Just stick it on the pool deck and wait! Side effects may include cooking the chef.

    Seriously though, this was probably done deliberately by some architect, who is now cackling with glee over the massive parabolic dish. This would be rather difficult to call an accidental design flaw.

  • No, mister Bond, I expect you to die!
  • by DoofusOfDeath (636671) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @01:06PM (#33737350)

    What lies in Vegas, fries in Vegas.

  • Someone tell the Mythbusters, they tried to build something like that once.

  • Yeah, I have melted vinyl siding on my own house from the sliding glass door.
    it turns out that two panes of glass with a "vacuum" between makes a kind of curved mirror.

    Architects should know this stuff.

  • by Cyclloid (948776) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @01:24PM (#33737652)

    In order to circumvent the treaty to not weaponize space, the USA plans to build "Hotels" in space.

  • According to the last paragraph of TFA, the "fix" is to put additional umbrellas and plants in the area to provide shade. So the effect should still be demonstrable, but executive's toupes will be less likely to burst into flames.

  • At a bank, they put in gold-tinted reflective panels as exterior decoration. Shortly afterward they realized that the reflection was roasting their vehicles. So they called in a contractor and they lightly blasted the panels, making them opaque. I forgot what material they used, probably something soft to keep from knocking too much of the gold coating off, just to soften the mirror finish.

  • FTA: "It was as bright as outside," said Pintas, a Chicago lawyer

    Does that count as a thing that make you go "hmmm?"

  • Couldn't they just pinpoint the area, put some sort of device that concentrates it to cook some steaks?

    "Come and enjoy our aged kobe beef, seared to perfection by the deadly rays of our parabolic hotel in a pool side setting."
  • Luckily in Vega$, that's almost never going to be a problem.
  • by pjwhite (18503) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @02:38PM (#33738840) Homepage

    I remember reading a story many years ago which was probably published in the late 1950s or 1960s. It was about an architect who murdered a rival by designing and having built a skyscraper with reflective widows controlled by a computer, ostensibly to maintain the interior environment of the building, but in reality as a way to focus the light of the sun on the rival's house, some miles away. The rival and his house were destroyed by a "mysterious" fire.
    I wish I could remember the name of the author and the the story title.

  • Am I the only one who clicked the video and realized that it wasn't about the death ray two minutes into it?

I've never been canoeing before, but I imagine there must be just a few simple heuristics you have to remember... Yes, don't fall out, and don't hit rocks.

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