Las Vegas Hotel Knew of Pool 'Death Ray' Back in 2008

Share
Copy

"I used to live in Miami and I've sat in the sun in Las Vegas 100 times. I know what a hot sun feels like and this was not it," he said. "My first inclination was thinking: Jesus we've destroyed the ozone layer because I am burning."


Bill Pintas' melted plastic newspaper bag.

Pintas learned he wasn't the first person to experience the magnified sunlight. At the bar, he explained the intense heat to some employees.

"They're kind of giggling and say: 'Yeah, we know. We call it the death ray,'" Pintas said.

They told him it even melts plastic cups. A plastic Vdara bag holding Pintas' newspaper also was burned through by the sun. The black letters bearing the name Vdara had entirely melted away.

Pintas isn't the only one to experience the so-called death ray at the City Center hotel.

A reporter from the Las Vegas Review-Journal made two trips to the pool and saw the 10-foot-by-15-foot hot zone.

As the Earth rotates, the hot spot shifts across the pool area. During the summer, it was noticeable for about 90 minutes before and after noon, the reporter discovered from pool employee interviews. The ray can increase temperatures 20 degrees in the zone.

Vdara Tries to Fix Pool Problem

Pintas said that polyethylene newspaper bags melt at between 120 and 130 degrees. A plastic cup melts at around 160 degrees.

"Because of the curved, concave shape of that hotel, they sometimes get isolated pockets of high temperatures," said Absher, the MGM Mirage spokesman.

Apparently, there is a more scientific name for the "death ray," a name that the hotel's management prefers: "solar convergence phenomenon."

The idea of a blinding light being magnified by a glass hotel in the middle of the desert shouldn't surprise anyone. That's why MGM Mirage hired consultants to evaluate the problem and find a solution.

In the end, they chose a competing film that Ashton said was cheaper and inferior.

With that film, the hotel acknowledged, "when folks are out on the pool deck, on some days people will feel this reflection and the heat associated with it."

Fixing the problem isn't going to be easy. As the Earth spins, the sun moves across the horizon. But as the seasons change, the angle of the Earth to the sun changes too, meaning shadows -- and in this case the hot spot -- move in a different way. Putting in one row of thick umbrellas won't solve the problem because each day they would have to be a few feet back or a few feet forward from their prior day's position.

"This is quite literally an astronomical challenge," Absher said. "We are dealing with a moving target."

Right now, the hotel is looking at getting some larger, thicker umbrellas, maybe some large plants and a few other, more high-tech options, Absher said.

Since the summer heat is on its way out, the hotel has a few months to find a solution. Until then, add some extra sunscreen and beware of the strong light.

-- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 11760093. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 11760093. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 11760093. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 11760093. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 11760093. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 11760093. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 11760093. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 11760093.
Page
  • 1
  • |
  • 2
Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...