Diberdayakan oleh Blogger.

Popular Posts Today

‘Flying saucer’ splashes down

Written By komlim puldel on Minggu, 29 Juni 2014 | 23.08

Mars-bound ... NASA video shows the launch of the high-altitude balloon carrying a "flying saucer" to test technology that could be used to land on Mars. Picture: AP Photo/NASA Source: AP

A SAUCER-shaped NASA vehicle launched by balloon high into Earth's atmosphere has splashed down in the Pacific Ocean, completing a successful test of technology that could be used to land on Mars.

Since the twin Viking spacecraft landed on the red planet in 1976, NASA has relied on the same parachute design to slow landers and rovers after piercing through the thin Martian atmosphere.

The $US150 million ($162.29 million) experimental flight tested a novel vehicle and a giant parachute designed to deliver heavier spacecraft and eventually astronauts.

Despite small problems like the giant parachute not deploying fully, NASA deemed the mission a success.

"What we just saw was a really good test," said NASA engineer Dan Coatta with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

High above ... The experimental parachute flight high in Earth's atmosphere is designed to deliver heavier spacecraft and eventually astronauts to Mars. (AP Photo/NASA) Source: AP

Viewers around the world followed portions of the mission online in real time thanks to cameras on board the vehicle that beamed back low-resolution footage.

After taking off at 11:40am local time from the Pacific Missile Range Facility on the Hawaiian island of Kauai, the balloon boosted the disc-shaped vehicle over the Pacific.

Its rocket motor then ignited, carrying the vehicle to 55km high at supersonic speeds.

The environment that high up is similar to the thin Martian atmosphere.

As the vehicle prepared to drop back the Earth, a tube around it expanded like a Hawaiian puffer fish, creating atmospheric drag to dramatically slow it down from Mach 4, or four times the speed of sound.

Then the parachute unfurled and guided the vehicle to an ocean splashdown about three hours later.

Flying saucer ... The NASA high-altitude balloon carries the saucer-shaped vehicle above Hawaii. Picture: AP/NASA Source: AP

At 33 metres in diameter, the parachute is twice as big as the one that carried the 1-ton Curiosity rover through the Martian atmosphere in 2011.

The test was postponed six times because of high winds. Winds need to be calm so that the balloon doesn't stray into no-fly zones.

Engineers planned to analyse the data and conduct several more flights next year before deciding whether to fly the vehicle and parachute on a future Mars mission.

"We want to test them here where it's cheaper before we send it to Mars to make sure that it's going to work there," project manager Mark Adler of the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory said during a pre-launch news conference in Kauai in early June.

The technology envelope needs to be pushed or else humanity won't be able to fly beyond the International Space Station in low-Earth orbit, said Michael Gazarik, head of space technology at NASA headquarters.

Technology development "is the surest path to Mars," Mr Gazarik said at the briefing.

Originally published as 'Flying saucer' splashes down
23.08 | 0 komentar | Read More

Ned Kelly played centre-half back

Historians believe that Ned Kelly played between June 1873 and January 1874. Source: HeraldSun

Williamstown FC president, city barrister and Ned Kelly historian Trevor Monti says the bushranger played 11 games with the squad in 1873. Picture: David Caird. Source: News Limited

AUSTRALIA'S most notorious bushranger may have been a gun centre-half back.

A keen Kelly historian has drawn fire over suggestions convicted cop killer Ned Kelly played a season of footy for Williamstown.

Seagulls president and city barrister Trevor Monti, QC, says the convicted criminal was even on track to win the club's best and fairest — only to get reported for headbutting an umpire in his last game.

"He was a tough centre-half back with unconventional tactics," Mr Monti said.

It's understood Kelly played 11 games for the squad in 1873 — seven years before the infamous Glenrowan shoot-out that earned him a page in the history books — and a spot at the gallows.

Ned Kelly was apparently on track to win the best and fairest at Williamstown Football Club. Source: News Limited

READ THE FULL STORY ON HERALDSUN.COM.AU

Originally published as Ned Kelly played centre-half back

23.08 | 0 komentar | Read More

John has hand on his heart for Voice final

Kylie Minogue with her Voice team member John Lingard who will be singing a unique version of her hit Hand on Your Heart for this week's final. Picture: Channel Nine. Source: Channel 9

IMITATION may be the sincerest form of flattery, but for Team Kylie artist John Lingard it could also prove his last throw of the dice to be spared elimination on the live final of The Voice.

FINE BROMANCE: TEAM WILL RECRUITS ADAM GOODES

VOICE POWERHOUSES HAVE SHARED HISTORY

DELTA'S AWKWARD STRIPTEASE

While coach Minogue challenged the indie balladeer to perform Chris Isaak's Wicked Games during this week's rehearsals, Lingard blindsided the pop princess with his own reworking of her pop hit, Hand On Your Heart.

Singing 'This is what it feels like', Victoria's Jackson Thomas powers through his performance. Courtesy: The Voice

For the 26-year-old Bendigo singer, it was a risk worth taking, as team rivals Kat Jade and Robbie Balmer beat him on this week's iTunes chart.

Singing 'Happy', Victorian Johnny Rollins goes from back of the band to front man with ease. Courtesy: The Voice

"He's doing a new take on a classic and he sounds fantastic," Minogue said.

Originally published as John has hand on his heart for Voice final

23.08 | 0 komentar | Read More

Blockhead Steve happy to kick on for Dad

Steve O'Donnell, winner of The Block, with his father Kevin who had prostate cancer and is now in remission. Picture: Mitch Bear Source: News Limited

THE Block winner Steve O'Donnell won't be able to wipe the smile off his face this week.

O'Donnell fulfils a dream Tuesday night when he plays in the EJ Whitten Legends game, and the moment is even more special being 15 years since his father Kevin was diagnosed with prostate cancer.

KARL STEFANOVIC: 'I want to kick three or four goals'

"Dad's pretty excited I get to do this and Mum (Mary) is pretty excited too,'' O'Donnell said. "It will be quite a special night for all of us. Dad went through the wars with it and I don't know too many blokes who could tolerate the pain he's been through."

While his father was fighting his cancer battle O'Donnell took over his chimney-sweep work in Geelong. He said they were now all fighting fit.

"Dad was lucky he got checked when he did and he's always been quite good with analysis,'' O'Donnell said.

"It is super important for blokes to do it and a lot have that old mentality about it but we're getting better. This game really opens a platform of discussion for men's health and makes the community aware."

O'Donnell, a Geelong supporter, is hoping to get a kick at Etihad Stadium in front of family and partner Chantelle Ford. "Of all the things I've ever wanted to do ... this is just surreal,'' he said. "It hasn't quite sunk in yet. I'm so grateful to everyone to be involved."

Originally published as Blockhead Steve happy to kick on for Dad

23.08 | 0 komentar | Read More

Kyrgios: I’m ready to take on Rafa

Nick Kyrgios has charged into the fourth round of a Grand Slam tournament for the first time, after he beat Jiri Vesely in his third-round clash at Wimbledon over four sets.

Nick Kyrgios is happy he's already met two left-handed players as preparation to face Rafael Nadal. Source: AFP

PLAYING Rafael Nadal on Tuesday night on a Wimbledon show court is the biggest match of my career and you can't get any better than taking on the world No. 1 at the world's most prestigious tournament.

It's a massive task but I'm going out there to embrace it and enjoy it knowing that if I execute my game I can win — or at the very least make things as difficult as possible for Rafa.

Hopefully nerves will not play a part but if I feel nervous I will embrace it and deal with it as it happens.

It's only natural to feel tension and as an athlete something I have to deal with.

I don't know Rafa at all, he's one of the very few guys I've never had any dealings with but he seems like a great guy. Whenever I hear him talking English it's usually about soccer.

Nick Kyrgios lies prone on the grass and holding his head in his hand after his third-round victory. Source: Getty Images

It's going to be massive going out to play him in a fourth-round match at Wimbledon.

I couldn't have asked for better preparation playing two lefties in a row after my third-round match with Jiri Vesely.

Jiri and Rafa have slightly different qualities but my coach Simon Rea and the team will scout out Rafa and pick some plays for me to exploit.

Winning on Sunday was a dream really.

I warmed up great and felt awesome going in to the match although the weather didn't look to great and in all honesty I'm not a fan of playing in poor weather — which I'll obviously need to get used to at Wimbledon.

Aussie Nick Kyrgios may end his Wimbledon tournament on a sour note picking up a hamstring injury early in his second round clash

I started a bit nervously and felt a twinge in my hamstring in the second game although I think it was just a reaction to the colder conditions and also the long grind against Richard Gasquet

When the rain came I got some great treatment and felt great going back out.

I knew I had more gears to move through and felt that Jiri was already pretty much at full throttle so that have me huge confidence going back out and I was fired up a lot more than when we first went out.

The last two sets were probably some of the best tennis I've ever played.

This is the first time I've reached the fourth round at a slam and to do it at Wimbledon is just surreal, this place means so much to me as an Australian and to play such a great champion like Rafa will be a dream.

Originally published as Kyrgios: I'm ready to take on Rafa

23.08 | 0 komentar | Read More

Carney flushes away NRL career

Daily Telegraph Editor at Large Phil 'Buzz' Rothfield breaks down Todd Carney's sacking from the Cronulla Sharks.

Todd Carney is in hot water again after he posted an offensive picture on social media. Source: News Corp Australia

CRONULLA Sharks NRL star Todd Carney had two warnings about poor behaviour this year before the embattled club sacked him over a social media photo scandal.

A vulgar picture of Carney urinating in his own mouth at a Cronulla nightspot went viral over the weekend — forcing Sharks directors to tear up his $3 million contract in a phone hook-up on Sunday.

The photo was taken two Saturdays ago in the men's toilets at Northies after the team's thrashing by Manly. The photo will not be printed because of its lewd nature.

COMMENT: THE SHARKS HAD NO CHOICE BUT TO SACK CARNEY

MONDAY BUZZ: BLOG WITH PHIL ROTHFIELD ALL DAY MONDAY

TIMELINE: STRIFE AND TIMES OF TODD CARNEY

It has emerged the wayward five-eighth had been hauled before club management twice this year over drink-related behaviour incidents. In one case he had been with another man who was charged with assaulting two teenagers in Cronulla mall.

Cronulla Sharks CEO Steve Noyce says Todd Carney's behvaiour was not up to the high standards set by the club.

A senior club official confirmed the Sharks had tried so hard to sign former Tigers superstar Benji Marshall because Carney was unlikely to see out his contract.

It was the second time Cronulla boss Steve Noyce, the former Roosters chief executive, has had to sack Carney.

The Daily Telegraph understands club chairman Damian Keogh consulted Blues State of Origin skipper Paul Gallen and coaching staff.

NRL 360 host Paul Kent weighs in on Todd Carney's sacking, stating the fallen star may have no other option than playing overseas.

We're trying to improve the club commercially and the culture is very important," Mr Keogh said.

"We've made a decision to only sign players in future who can contribute to that.

"Unfortunately Toddy can be a really lovely young bloke but he has well-documented issues with alcohol that have led to a number of problems."

On Sunday evening the Sharks released a statement saying Carney did not meet "the values and standards the club is looking to uphold and take into the future."

The club has promised to implement appropriate counselling and support to Carney and his family.

Did Todd Carney deserve to be sacked?

Jim Doyle, the head of the NRL integrity unit, supported the Sharks' decision to dump the troubled Carney and said that he had tarnished the image of the game.

"The overwhelming majority of NRL players are great role models who do such good work on and off the field," Doyle said.

"But those who want to bring the game into disrepute are on notice that their behaviour will not be tolerated and the Sharks should be commended for taking such a strong stand in this instance."

Todd Carney arrives back in Sydney on Saturday after the Sharks victory on Friday night. Picture: Adam Taylor Source: News Corp Australia

Carney still had three years left to run on his $650,000-a-year contract meaning he is almost $2 million out of pocket.

The shocking image of Carney at the urinal in the toilets at local Cronulla nightclub Northies

emerged on social media on Saturday night and went viral with Todd Carney trending on Twitter.

Carney in action for the Blues. Source: News Limited

STATEMENT FROM THE CRONULLA SHARKS

"The Cronulla Shark Football Club has today after careful consideration and lengthy deliberation, including discussions with senior NRL management, made a decision to terminate Todd Carney's NRL playing contract effective immediately.

At the Sharks we are committed to building a successful club, a club with strong values and a club which sets and respects high standards in all aspects of its operations and activities.

When Todd was first signed to the Sharks he was made well aware of his responsibilities both on and off the field, to himself, the club and to the game in general, however the photograph that appeared last night on social media does not meet the values and standards the club is looking to uphold and take into the future.

As with any difficult decision, whilst you can't change the past, it is important to put measures in place that can deliver positive outcomes both in the present and into the future.

The club and the NRL will be committed to working with Todd, his family and his management in implementing appropriate counseling and support, with the start of this process to begin tonight."

Todd Carney was one of the stars in the Sharks win over the Broncos. Source: Getty Images

THE CROWD: FOX SPORTS NRL commentator Warren Smith says if the Sharks had not sacked Carney they may as well have shut up shop.

Even Carney's biggest supporter, suspended coach Shane Flanagan, refused to stand by the troubled five-eighth this time.

Todd Carney spent a year in Atherton after being banned by the NRL. Source: News Limited

Rugby league immortal Andrew Johns told Channel Nine's Sunday Footy Show that Carney should not be sacked over the latest incident.

"Surely they couldn't sack him for that," Johns said.

"It's silly ... it's stupid (but) he is only doing it to himself."

Todd Carney in training with the Kangaroos. Source: News Limited

The Sharks had only just found some on-field joy, coming back from a club-record 22-point deficit to defeat the Broncos 24-22 in Brisbane on Friday night.

The Sharks had gone the previous three games without scoring a point and Carney was awarded three Dally M points as best on ground.

This is the latest incident to impact Carney's career.

The 2010 Dally M medallist was banned from playing in the NRL in 2009 after repeated alcohol-related incidents while playing for Canberra.

Cronulla's Todd Carney scores a try. Source: News Limited

That year he played with the Atherton Roosters in the Cairns competition before joining the Roosters in 2010.

After two seasons with the Tricolours, Carney was released from the final year of his contract after he broke a team-imposed alcohol ban.

Carney joined the Sharks in 2012 — the same year he made his State of Origin debut for New South Wales.

Todd Carney

Age: 28

Rep honours: 1 Test for Australia (2010), 3 games for NSW (2012)

- Makes NRL debut for Canberra Raiders in 2004 where he spent five seasons before having his contract torn up and was de-registered by the NRL after repeated offences involving alcohol.

- Spent the 2009 season playing with the Atherton Roosters in the Cairns competition before joining the Roosters the following year.

- In 2010 won the Dally M Medal for Player of the Year and led the Roosters to a grand final appearance against St George Illawarra.

- Roosters release Carney from the final year of his contract in 2011 following a string of alcohol related incidents which included a drink-driving charge and breaking a team imposed drinking ban.

- Joined the Sharks in 2012, the same year he made his State of Origin debut for New South Wales.

- In late 2013 agreed to a five-year deal that would keep him at Cronulla until the end of the 2018 season.

Originally published as Carney flushes away NRL career
23.08 | 0 komentar | Read More

Dangerous theme park returns

Pushing the limits ... the new amusement park will include a Zero G water slide, which will be the world's tallest of its kind. Picture: Supplied Source: Supplied

ON April Fool's Day this year, the owners of Mountain Creek ski resort and watermark in New Jersey pulled what seemed like a great prank: They replaced the resort's sign with one for the old Action Park, the notorious "extreme" amusement park that operated on the site from 1978 to 1996.

Six visitors died there, and its seemingly anything-goes approach to summer fun earned it the nicknames "Class Action Park" and "Traction Park."

"At Action Park, it felt like you were in some crazy guy's backyard," says Dave Schlussman, a 30-year-old from New York, who in elementary school belly-flopped so hard out of a failed backflip off the park's Tarzan Swing — just a swing over a freezing cold pool — that his eyeballs felt bruised. "The rides defied any kind of procedure."

Infamous ... a water slide with a full vertical loop was open for just a month before knocking around too many kids and shutting down for good. Picture: 'The Most Insane Amusement Park Ever' Source: Supplied

The place was as packed with urban legends as it was with lawsuits, the New York Post reports: Some — snakes in the rapids ride — were most likely fiction; others — tales of the owner bribing employees with cash to test drive some of the rides for safety or starting his own insurance company — were real.

But the sign was no joke: Action Park was actually coming back this summer from the original owners.

What's now open at the 14-hectare site in Vernon, NJ, is an amalgam of the old and the new — gone are the race cars with shoddy brakes and the park's most infamous attraction, a water slide with a full vertical loop, which was open for just a month before knocking around too many kids and shutting down for good.

Which isn't to say Action Park is tame now. Far from it.

The original owners, who had sold the park in 1998 — to a group that changed the name to Mountain Creek — bought it back in 2010 and started restoring old rides such as a river rapids, which they say the previous owners had dulled down. They're adding a US$1 million ($1.04 million) new Zero G water slide, which they say will be the world's tallest of its kind when it opens later this summer pending inspection. Riders stand in a capsule, where a trapdoor drops them into the 30-metre-tall slide.

But it wasn't until an online documentary about the old Action Park — titled The Most Insane Amusement Park Ever — went viral last year that the owners realised: Not only do people remember the old park, which drew a million visitors annually at its prime; they miss it.

"The overall conclusion that the people who went to Action Park have is that it was a phenomenal place," says Andy Mulvihill, who now owns the resort and is the son of the park's founder Gene Mulvihill, who died in 2012. "I don't get approached by people telling me what a terrible place it was. The strength of that passion far outweighed the negative things."

"Negative things" is putting it lightly. One report claimed that in 1987 five to ten people per day were being brought into the emergency room from the park. The New Jersey Herald reported the park actually bought the town of Vernon additional ambulances to keep up with demand.

Deaths were caused by, among other things, electrocution in a kayak ride, drowning in the wave pool and a heart attack in ice-cold water.

The old Alpine Slide seemed to be the biggest culprit for mishaps, frequently shredding skin on its concrete track. People reportedly also hit their heads on the floor of shallow pools, got caught in the terrifying suction of the wave pool and suffered abrasions on their legs after having to crawl out of a water slide tunnel. Broken or fractured bones were common, as were busted teeth.

But nostalgia is a potent drug, and the new Action Park is sticking itself right in the main vein: The name and original retro rainbow-coloured signs are back. On Saturday, former employees gathered for a reunion. The gift shop is selling tongue-in-cheek "I Survived Action Park" T-shirts.

It might seem like a risky move in the age of helicopter parents and endless litigation. Or it might be great branding.

"It was the time before insurance companies had their hands in everything, before everything is tested and rubber coated within an inch of its life," says Seth Porges, 30, who co-produced the documentary. "You might get hurt, but if you walked away, you have a great story."

New Jersey Senator Cory Booker tweeted that he still had scars from the old park, but said: "I so want to go again."

Can the new Action Park recapture the old magic? A handful of the old attractions never left: The seven-metre cliff jump is still there, as are a few water slides. The Tarzan Swing got a safety upgrade, with pads protecting swingers. Eleonora Walczak, showing off her leg scars from the old park while climbing out of the Cannonball Falls pool on Tuesday, said she was surprised to see the Colorado River ride now required helmets with face masks.

"There were some really zany things that went on back then," park president Bill Benneyan says. "In three decades, the industry is different, the regulations are different, the safety training is different."

Zany ... the Tarzan Swing, seen here in an earlier incarnation, got a safety upgrade, with pads protecting swingers. Source: Supplied

The park's original owner, Gene Mulvihill, has been described alternately as a folksy industrialist in the vein of John Rockefeller, a mad scientist with an over-size toy set or a canny, sometimes pushy businessman who kept politicians in his pocket. The decision to unveil the name on April Fool's Day was a nod to his mischievous streak.

Mulvihill's company, Great American Recreation, owned the Vernon Valley/ Great Gorge ski area, and started to add rides in 1978 to expand summer business. The first was the Alpine Slide, which sent people down a concrete track built into a hill in a car controlled only by a hand brake.

Henry Winnik, a 29-year-old filmmaker, watched a friend make a hard turn and skid down the concrete. The friction ripped off the skin on his right arm from the elbow to the shoulder: "It was raw," he recalls.

Another rider died in 1980 after being thrown from the slide and suffering a head injury.

Now, the park calls its Alpine Mountain Coaster a "cousin" of the fatal slide. A car glides down a metal track around twists and turns. You control the speed with a hand brake, and spills are nearly impossible because it's locked onto the track.

Still, the new version of the park isn't passive, like competitor Six Flags Great Adventure, where every visitor has basically the same strap-in-and-ride experience. Flop the wrong way off the Cliff Jump, and you could end up with bruises all over your legs. The Colorado River ride tossed our raft so close to the cave walls, we were thankful we were wearing those goofy helmets. Oh, and they serve booze to patrons, which creates its own sense of adventure for older park goers.

"Great Adventure is Bon Jovi, safe and corporate," Mr Winnik says. "Action Park was the Ramones."

Gene Mulvihill made money in a series of businesses: real estate, early mobile lphones, MRI technology and cancer research, his son says, and seemed to have created the park out of sheer force of personality.

"He just didn't accept that you couldn't try something or do something," Andy Mulvihill, one of Gene's six kids, says. "He was not a big believer in government control."

Gene told the Newark Star-Ledger Action Park was almost a labour of love: "I never made any money up there," he told the paper in 1996. "All that place did was cost me money."

Mulvihill set up an insurance company based in the Cayman Islands to cover the park, a move which caught the attention of state investigators. In 1984, he pleaded guilty to charges for setting up an insurance fraud scheme, and was slapped with tens of thousands of dollars in fines, according to court records.

For a long time, Mulvihill deftly outmanoeuvred would-be litigants, Mr Porges says. He refused to settle out of court and used his wealth to exhaust claimants. Action Park was reportedly fined just once for not following procedure.

But by 1996, it was facing mounting lawsuits and declining attendance as bad headlines spread. It filed for bankruptcy, US$40 million in debt.

Visitors say they remember the park as a lawless Neverland where staff never yelled at anyone.

"Even as a kid you're like, 'They should probably be taking this a little more seriously,'" says Andy Fiori, 35, a stand-up comedian and radio producer in Astoria.

Was anyone actually inebriated during work, as rumours say?

"I think that was mostly confined to after-hours stuff," says Therese Mahler, 41, of Jersey City, who worked at the park through college.

The site weirdnj.com, a repository of urban legends, reported the park used crash test dummies to test rides. Andy Mulvihill says his dad would have him test the rides decked out in hockey pads.

Mr Mahler says the bosses often asked for staff volunteers to test the rides each day. On the rare occasions no one would volunteer, the boss would offer a cash bribe.

The new park has attentive lifeguards with whistles at the ready, and omnipresent safety signage.

"The world's changed," Mr Mulvihill says. "I refuse to be involved in any rides where anybody can get hurt."

Still, if there's a chance to push the envelope, Demetri Kringas, 24, is seizing it.

"We push the limits on this park every day," says Mr Kringas, visiting the park with friends on a Tuesday. He's gone headfirst on almost every slide, which is against the rules. "They're always yelling at us."

Originally published as Dangerous theme park returns
23.08 | 0 komentar | Read More

Dangerous theme park returns

Pushing the limits ... the new amusement park will include a Zero G water slide, which will be the world's tallest of its kind. Picture: Supplied Source: Supplied

ON April Fool's Day this year, the owners of Mountain Creek ski resort and watermark in New Jersey pulled what seemed like a great prank: They replaced the resort's sign with one for the old Action Park, the notorious "extreme" amusement park that operated on the site from 1978 to 1996.

Six visitors died there, and its seemingly anything-goes approach to summer fun earned it the nicknames "Class Action Park" and "Traction Park."

"At Action Park, it felt like you were in some crazy guy's backyard," says Dave Schlussman, a 30-year-old from New York, who in elementary school belly-flopped so hard out of a failed backflip off the park's Tarzan Swing — just a swing over a freezing cold pool — that his eyeballs felt bruised. "The rides defied any kind of procedure."

Infamous ... a water slide with a full vertical loop was open for just a month before knocking around too many kids and shutting down for good. Picture: 'The Most Insane Amusement Park Ever' Source: Supplied

The place was as packed with urban legends as it was with lawsuits, the New York Post reports: Some — snakes in the rapids ride — were most likely fiction; others — tales of the owner bribing employees with cash to test drive some of the rides for safety or starting his own insurance company — were real.

But the sign was no joke: Action Park was actually coming back this summer from the original owners.

What's now open at the 14-hectare site in Vernon, NJ, is an amalgam of the old and the new — gone are the race cars with shoddy brakes and the park's most infamous attraction, a water slide with a full vertical loop, which was open for just a month before knocking around too many kids and shutting down for good.

Which isn't to say Action Park is tame now. Far from it.

The original owners, who had sold the park in 1998 — to a group that changed the name to Mountain Creek — bought it back in 2010 and started restoring old rides such as a river rapids, which they say the previous owners had dulled down. They're adding a US$1 million ($1.04 million) new Zero G water slide, which they say will be the world's tallest of its kind when it opens later this summer pending inspection. Riders stand in a capsule, where a trapdoor drops them into the 30-metre-tall slide.

But it wasn't until an online documentary about the old Action Park — titled The Most Insane Amusement Park Ever — went viral last year that the owners realised: Not only do people remember the old park, which drew a million visitors annually at its prime; they miss it.

"The overall conclusion that the people who went to Action Park have is that it was a phenomenal place," says Andy Mulvihill, who now owns the resort and is the son of the park's founder Gene Mulvihill, who died in 2012. "I don't get approached by people telling me what a terrible place it was. The strength of that passion far outweighed the negative things."

"Negative things" is putting it lightly. One report claimed that in 1987 five to ten people per day were being brought into the emergency room from the park. The New Jersey Herald reported the park actually bought the town of Vernon additional ambulances to keep up with demand.

Deaths were caused by, among other things, electrocution in a kayak ride, drowning in the wave pool and a heart attack in ice-cold water.

The old Alpine Slide seemed to be the biggest culprit for mishaps, frequently shredding skin on its concrete track. People reportedly also hit their heads on the floor of shallow pools, got caught in the terrifying suction of the wave pool and suffered abrasions on their legs after having to crawl out of a water slide tunnel. Broken or fractured bones were common, as were busted teeth.

But nostalgia is a potent drug, and the new Action Park is sticking itself right in the main vein: The name and original retro rainbow-coloured signs are back. On Saturday, former employees gathered for a reunion. The gift shop is selling tongue-in-cheek "I Survived Action Park" T-shirts.

It might seem like a risky move in the age of helicopter parents and endless litigation. Or it might be great branding.

"It was the time before insurance companies had their hands in everything, before everything is tested and rubber coated within an inch of its life," says Seth Porges, 30, who co-produced the documentary. "You might get hurt, but if you walked away, you have a great story."

New Jersey Senator Cory Booker tweeted that he still had scars from the old park, but said: "I so want to go again."

Can the new Action Park recapture the old magic? A handful of the old attractions never left: The seven-metre cliff jump is still there, as are a few water slides. The Tarzan Swing got a safety upgrade, with pads protecting swingers. Eleonora Walczak, showing off her leg scars from the old park while climbing out of the Cannonball Falls pool on Tuesday, said she was surprised to see the Colorado River ride now required helmets with face masks.

"There were some really zany things that went on back then," park president Bill Benneyan says. "In three decades, the industry is different, the regulations are different, the safety training is different."

Zany ... the Tarzan Swing, seen here in an earlier incarnation, got a safety upgrade, with pads protecting swingers. Source: Supplied

The park's original owner, Gene Mulvihill, has been described alternately as a folksy industrialist in the vein of John Rockefeller, a mad scientist with an over-size toy set or a canny, sometimes pushy businessman who kept politicians in his pocket. The decision to unveil the name on April Fool's Day was a nod to his mischievous streak.

Mulvihill's company, Great American Recreation, owned the Vernon Valley/ Great Gorge ski area, and started to add rides in 1978 to expand summer business. The first was the Alpine Slide, which sent people down a concrete track built into a hill in a car controlled only by a hand brake.

Henry Winnik, a 29-year-old filmmaker, watched a friend make a hard turn and skid down the concrete. The friction ripped off the skin on his right arm from the elbow to the shoulder: "It was raw," he recalls.

Another rider died in 1980 after being thrown from the slide and suffering a head injury.

Now, the park calls its Alpine Mountain Coaster a "cousin" of the fatal slide. A car glides down a metal track around twists and turns. You control the speed with a hand brake, and spills are nearly impossible because it's locked onto the track.

Still, the new version of the park isn't passive, like competitor Six Flags Great Adventure, where every visitor has basically the same strap-in-and-ride experience. Flop the wrong way off the Cliff Jump, and you could end up with bruises all over your legs. The Colorado River ride tossed our raft so close to the cave walls, we were thankful we were wearing those goofy helmets. Oh, and they serve booze to patrons, which creates its own sense of adventure for older park goers.

"Great Adventure is Bon Jovi, safe and corporate," Mr Winnik says. "Action Park was the Ramones."

Gene Mulvihill made money in a series of businesses: real estate, early mobile lphones, MRI technology and cancer research, his son says, and seemed to have created the park out of sheer force of personality.

"He just didn't accept that you couldn't try something or do something," Andy Mulvihill, one of Gene's six kids, says. "He was not a big believer in government control."

Gene told the Newark Star-Ledger Action Park was almost a labour of love: "I never made any money up there," he told the paper in 1996. "All that place did was cost me money."

Mulvihill set up an insurance company based in the Cayman Islands to cover the park, a move which caught the attention of state investigators. In 1984, he pleaded guilty to charges for setting up an insurance fraud scheme, and was slapped with tens of thousands of dollars in fines, according to court records.

For a long time, Mulvihill deftly outmanoeuvred would-be litigants, Mr Porges says. He refused to settle out of court and used his wealth to exhaust claimants. Action Park was reportedly fined just once for not following procedure.

But by 1996, it was facing mounting lawsuits and declining attendance as bad headlines spread. It filed for bankruptcy, US$40 million in debt.

Visitors say they remember the park as a lawless Neverland where staff never yelled at anyone.

"Even as a kid you're like, 'They should probably be taking this a little more seriously,'" says Andy Fiori, 35, a stand-up comedian and radio producer in Astoria.

Was anyone actually inebriated during work, as rumours say?

"I think that was mostly confined to after-hours stuff," says Therese Mahler, 41, of Jersey City, who worked at the park through college.

The site weirdnj.com, a repository of urban legends, reported the park used crash test dummies to test rides. Andy Mulvihill says his dad would have him test the rides decked out in hockey pads.

Mr Mahler says the bosses often asked for staff volunteers to test the rides each day. On the rare occasions no one would volunteer, the boss would offer a cash bribe.

The new park has attentive lifeguards with whistles at the ready, and omnipresent safety signage.

"The world's changed," Mr Mulvihill says. "I refuse to be involved in any rides where anybody can get hurt."

Still, if there's a chance to push the envelope, Demetri Kringas, 24, is seizing it.

"We push the limits on this park every day," says Mr Kringas, visiting the park with friends on a Tuesday. He's gone headfirst on almost every slide, which is against the rules. "They're always yelling at us."

Originally published as Dangerous theme park returns
23.08 | 0 komentar | Read More
techieblogger.com Techie Blogger Techie Blogger