While we suffer through an unusual fall heat wave here in the Bay Area, I was sent this toasty story from Las Vegas. It seems yet another glass tower is turning people on the ground into sizzling strips of human bacon. This is not the first time this has happened in Vegas, they are known for buildings that double as solar reflectors. Today it is the brand new City Center on the Strip, more specifically the Vdara towers. Perhaps appropriately the focus of the heat wave hits the pool at Vdara, meaning the people are already bare and basted.
The curvature of the South Tower is the problem. It forms a really nice parabola that focuses the sun's rays into about a 10'x15' patch of sizzle that moves with the rotation of the earth. Pool goers have reported melted drink cups, scorched hair and many medium rare humans. You see these people are already laying out by a pool in the 100+ degree Las Vegas sun. Estimates are that the death ray reaches temperatures about 20 degrees higher than the surrounding safe zones, so we are looking at 130 even 140 degrees at times. By the way, management prefers "hot spot" or "solar convergence" to the more off-putting "Vdara death ray."
What is more interesting is that such solar problems were anticipated and a special film was placed on the glass surfaces of the Vdara towers which disperses 70% of the reflected energy. One has to wonder why the entire City Center isn't tapping this solar power to run the place instead of dispersing it below fatal levels. This is not the first time hotels towers have created hot spots, the golden towers of Mandalay Bay still do create a moveable baking spot, which pool staff note is often sought out by bathers in the early spring and late fall cooler days. In the summer apparently they simply avoid the spot, apparently there is a better early warning system at the Mandalay Bay pool.
artwork: Las Vegas Review Journal