Friday, July 12, 2013

Q: How far to Asgard?

Best dressed guy in the park
A: Just through the line to Stormrunner. I spent the day at Hersheypark. Most of us were on the bus by 8:00, ready to leave. Unfortunately, it took one person an extra 45 minutes to make it. After this delay, and about a two hour bus ride, we got to Hersheypark. We strapped on our sexy vests with accelerometers in them. The first order of business was collecting data. We had signed up for Stormrunner. It goes to, according to the website, 0 to 72 mph in 2 seconds, making about 81m/s2. This seems rather high, and I would imagine the actual acceleration is closer to about 5gs. None of us really wanted to go on the ride that early in the day, except for Connor. Unfortunately, they did not let him take the accelerometer on the ride. They did let us take it on Frontier Flyers, a much lower paced ride. In it, a bunch of cars are on cables. A center pillar rotates, and the cars rise up. You can also adjust a flap on the front of the car to change the aerodynamics. It should be interesting to investigate psuedo-forces (like centrifugal forces).

After this, we had lunch. We then went to chocolate world. Chocolate world reminded me of the M&M store in Times Square. I had a "special dark" milkshake. It was not dark at all. It tasted like milk with sugar added to it, and perhaps trace amounts of cocoa powder. After this, we returned to the amusement park. Andrew and I were convinced by Connor to ride Stormrunner. Jun, however, did not join us, even though he was the one we had initially designated to ride all the extreme rides. Andrew and I waited in line for a while, for maybe an hour. We boarded the roller coaster. As we were about to take off, I told Andrew that I would see him in Valhalla. The acceleration was incredible (though not 8gs). It launched us 18 stories straight up, then right down again. We went through cobra loops, barrel rolls, and things that made me long to surgically remove my stomach. They sometimes tell you to close your eyes at the dentist's when they do x-rays. They should really do x-rays on Stormrunner -- I had my eyes open for perhaps 12 picoseconds. The ride is only about a minute long, but it covers just under a kilometer. After the ride, my neck was sore from holding it rigid (it still whipped around a lot) against the forces.

After this, we rode back on the bus. During the ride, I reflected on how much I liked Hersheypark. I definitely had fun. It was pretty enjoyable, and I would certainly ride Stormrunner and other coasters again. However, I would not want to pay very much for the experience. I like going fast under my own control much better, because then at least I am exercising more than just my adrenal gland. I also like being outdoors in the wilderness. Hersheypark had a bit too much consumerism for my tastes. On the ride back, there was lots of traffic, so I had the opportunity to read and think about the upper bounds of index times for quadtrees. It was an exciting day.

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