Logic & Roller Coasters

Monday, July 14, 2003 7:04 AM
I know, it's quite the oxymoron. My question is: Why?

Let me explain.
I work in the IT field, specifically at a help desk fixing and troubleshooting users' computer problems. It's not uncommon to receive a call from a user complaining about something like, say, their computer won't turn on. Now, I realize that it's not this person's job to know anything about computers, and that's fine. But I would think that by applying simple logic, one could figure out that their computer won't turn on if the power cord isn't plugged in or the switch on their power strip is in the 'off' position, which is often the case. It seems that when certain people are faced with something they know little about, such as a computer, all logic flies straight out the window.

This same scenario applies to roller coasters, and it often seems to be even worse. Here you have folks, who can be one of about four different things: having booksmarts (education), but lacking in common sense; being blessed with good common sense, but lacking in booksmarts; possessing both; or lacking both (poor souls). It seems that any of these types of people, when presented with the subject of roller coasters, lose all forms of logic they may have had (except those lacking both common sense and booksmarts, who had nothing to lose in the first place). For example, how many times have you been in line for a coaster, of which the entire layout is completely visible from your place in the queue, and you overhear someone ask, 'does this go upside-down?' Or perhaps you've overheard someone say (referring to an average-sized woodie or something similar), 'this thing goes over 100 miles per hour,' or 'this one is over 200 feet tall.' Now, I'm not talking about children here, or teens with an overactive imagination or willingness to brag or show off to their friends just how much they 'know.' I'm speaking of full-grown adults, most of whom are probably well-educated. It's not a big deal in the grand scheme of things, but why is it that a roller coaster, something of which I don't believe is all too difficult to grasp the concept, is...erm...so difficult to grasp the concept? Let me clarify, before the attacks begin, that I certainly don't expect anyone to know as much as most of us do. I feel the amount of knowledge I have far exceeds anything I should know about any single subject, and I'm constantly wary of supplying 'too much information' to non-enthusiasts who may have an innocent question or two. However, the scenarios I'm referring to in this thread are based on simple common sense.

Another example is this: Liz and I were at a get-together yesterday for my friend's 30th birthday. Several of his friends were there, as well as his parents. When they started asking me about my track record and such, the whole safety issue came up--his mother mentioned the Two-Face incident last Tuesday, repeating what she probably heard on the news, that riders were stranded 'upside-down' for a couple of hours. When I explained what really happened, and that it's not an exceptionally uncommon--nor unsafe--occurrence, I think she was surprised. The conversation continued, and most everyone there (except for Liz and myself) was claiming that they don't ride coasters because if the ride crashed or malfunctioned, they would have no control of it. My friend's father even called them 'deathtraps.' I explained to all of them that the odds of dying in a car are astronomical in comparison to being a statistic at an amusement park, and I don't think any of them believed me. His dad even said, 'Yeah, right,' and rolled his eyes. What's the deal? At that point, feeling slightly insulted, I didn't offer any more info and just let the subject gradually change to something else.

Yikes...sorry for the novel, but again I ask, why do you think logic completely escapes so many people when it comes to roller coasters?

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-Mike B.
Son of Hulk
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*** This post was edited by Vater 7/14/2003 11:08:56 AM ***

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Monday, July 14, 2003 7:40 AM

Vater said:
...claiming that they don't ride coasters because if the ride crashed or malfunctioned, they would have no control of it....I explained to all of them that the odds of dying in a car are astronomical in comparison

I think this is the same way that people feel about flying. At least, it's how I feel about flying. Not being in control is the key. I KNOW that flying is much safer than driving, but not really knowing HOW the dang thing works and whether or not the pilot is drunk make me nervous. Plus when you start to think about it...flying seems completely rediculous...ever notice that there's only about 4 inches of 'plane' between your window seat and the big blue sky?

So I imagine it's the same to those people who are afraid of coasters, they don't feel like they know enough to feel safe. And the concept in general is crazy...

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Monday, July 14, 2003 7:40 AM
I've had the opposite experience as far as people believing me when I tell them that their impressions are wrong - their ideas die hard, but they do believe me, as everyone just assumes that because I know why TTD is down and that WT, MF and TTD are all made by the same company that I know everything there is to know.

But as far as logic going out the window, I think that you have to appreciate that the people that don't believe it are the ones who are probably just intimidated by it, but don't know why. They've probably been scared all their life, but see flocks of people from all walks of life (even kids whom they're supposed to be "tougher" than) going on coasters and waiting in humongous lines just to get on them. They need an explaination to make themselves seem less "chicken", so they set their minds that they're unsafe, and they know better than all these people and no one, especially one of the "leaders" of this crowd are going to convince them differently. Those are the ones that I've found are the hardest to convince, the ones that have never ridden in their lives and still won't to this day.

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Formerly PittDesigner (graduating soon!)
Lifelong fan of all Impulses!
--Brett

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Monday, July 14, 2003 7:52 AM
And when you think about it, some people have the mentality that "we weren't ment to fly." or "We weren't ment to go that fast and/or upside down.", etc... People think (and I've heard this alot from slackjawed yokles and rednecks that are big on the bible here in the thickest part of the bible belt that is West by god Virginia) that just because God didn't give us the ability from creation to do something, that we shouldn't. The same people that use electricity, plumming, and cars, which, by the way, God did not provide for us right when he created us. People use any excuse to bash what they don't understand, not realizing that we were given the rights and priveledges to make our own decisions on how we had to have fun, travel, eat, etc....

Not trying to get all "Reverend Tekno" on ya'll, but these are some of my observations.

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Beaver, The other White meat.

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Monday, July 14, 2003 8:21 AM
This is several weeks' worth of a psychology course here.

People are like that. Hafta take it with a grain of salt.

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Is that a Q-bot in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?

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Monday, July 14, 2003 8:38 AM
Part of the problem is perception vs reality. For instance, 35mph through structure can feel far faster than 60mph in the open. Is it? No. But it feels faster.

Most people have gone 75mph before. Very few have done it w/ their upper torso in the air. Thus, it feels *really fast*.

I think this is part of the problem.

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Monday, July 14, 2003 9:07 AM
I think people also use it as a conversation piece. If they talk that TTD is 600 feet tall and they rode it, the other people in the conversation will be jealous and look upon the people who rode it.

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2002/2003
KWTM

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Monday, July 14, 2003 9:28 AM
I think all of you are right in your own ways and I agree with everything you said.

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If Milli Vanilli fell in the woods, would someone else make a sound ?

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Monday, July 14, 2003 12:22 PM
I don't think that our educational system is geared towards teaching kids to think critically.

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"SOME people have NO class!" - Mom from the Whizzer queue

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Monday, July 14, 2003 12:34 PM
Wolf, I completely agree with your speed vs. implied speed theory. I was undoubtedly surprised to learn that Space Mountain's top speed was 29mph many years after riding it. However, I'm referring to the extreme exaggerations of height and speed that people often claim as the correct stats (that they probably heard from some kid and believed). Why is it that people will believe something so outlandish, though? Why are folks so ready to take unreal rumors and statistics as fact when simple, plain common sense should tell them otherwise? It seems like the same people are the ones who are so quick to call you a liar when you actually throw believable (read: TRUE) statistics at them.

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-Mike B.
Son of Hulk
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Monday, July 14, 2003 12:40 PM
Well, if we understood *logically* how safe they really ARE, then there wouldn't be much thrill in riding, would there...;)

"I don't wanna ride Wonder Wheel, it's been operating nearly 80 years without a fatality"...

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Monday, July 14, 2003 12:53 PM
In general, people don't have a good "feel" for distance or speed. Look across your office and guess how far it is to the opposite wall, then measure it... odds are that your guess was wrong. Or guess the height of a tall building.

People don't know what 50' or 100' or 400' really looks like - so if they dont know that Dragster is 420' tall, they will probably believe just about anything they hear.

As for safety, I bet it has alot to do with sensationalism in the media... Three people dying in a car wreck might make a 10 second segment on the evening news, but a boomerang getting stuck on the lift gets national coverage.

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Monday, July 14, 2003 1:33 PM
Actually, I think that a lot of people know the old 10' per story estimate. But it's probably true that not a lot of people are good with estimating measurements.

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"SOME people have NO class!" - Mom from the Whizzer queue

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Monday, July 14, 2003 1:36 PM
Kip, please don't insult my homepark. We don't have a boomerang, we have an Invertigo:)
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If you have a problem with clones, the solution is real simple—Stop traveling.
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Monday, July 14, 2003 1:39 PM
Hey, so does that mean that you think YOUR homepark is better than mine because MINE has a boomerang??? ;)

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"SOME people have NO class!" - Mom from the Whizzer queue

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Monday, July 14, 2003 1:48 PM
I've run into people like this, too. While in line for Riddle at SFMM I had a man tell me that he was from Idaho and that there was a park near him [Silverwood] that had a wooden coaster taller and faster than Riddler. I just did what I always do: smile and nod.

The last thing I want people in line to know is that I'm an enthusiast. I rarely bring it up. Not that there's any negative connotation to it, but rather because I have to deal with such stories as have been detailed in this thread.

mOOSH

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A random Mooshter's Dawntionary listing: Flabbergasted [adj.] Appalled over how much weight you've gained.


*** This post was edited by Mamoosh 7/14/2003 5:50:24 PM ***

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Monday, July 14, 2003 3:08 PM

dawnmarie313 said:


I think this is the same way that people feel about flying. At least, it's how I feel about flying. Not being in control is the key. I KNOW that flying is much safer than driving, but not really knowing HOW the dang thing works and whether or not the pilot is drunk make me nervous. So I imagine it's the same to those people who are afraid of coasters, they don't feel like they know enough to feel safe. And the concept in general is crazy...


Well, if you think about it..How many people really know how a car works? Yet they drive their cars all the time. And no one is in control when behind the wheel of a car. You are always at the mercy of other drivers. To me, that is scarier than any coaster. As far as a drunk pilot is concerned, I am much more worried about drunk drivers. A drunk pilot has to get past steward(esses) and other airline employees before getting to the controls of a plane. A drunk driver can easily slip behind the wheel of a car without a soul knowing.

I am wondering if the fear of coasters that some experience is not necessarily that they are not in control, but that no one is in control (ie-no one is really "driving" the coaster train). We all know that there are operators and many safety mechanisms that "drive" the coasters, but Joe Average probably doesn't realize that.

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"Ever hear of Plato, Aristotle, Socrates...Morons!"

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Tuesday, July 15, 2003 1:50 AM
Standing in line is boring, especially for non-enthusiasts. If you're talking with someone you know only because you're standing in line next to them then it's just empty conversation. People just need something to say (kind of like everyone who has posted here). Since you're an enthusiast you can just call them on this (if you really want to go there, I tend to nod like moosh mentioned.)
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paul ruben
ran lube up
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Tuesday, July 15, 2003 4:12 AM
I can think of about a hundred times I heard morons in line provide misinformation about a ride, once was last year during halloweekends at CP we were in line for the Mean Streak (biggest waist of space) this guy first of all was telling his family that this was the tallest and fastest coaster in the world, along with saying it goes in excess of 80mph, along with some other BS, now sometimes I correct the morons but in most cases I just keep quiet, due to the fact you can't argue with an idiot because you could argue with them that 2+2=4 and even show them on a calculator and they will still insist it = 5, Another one was in either late 2000 or early 2001 one i got in an argument in MF's line this guy didn't believe me that Japan had a coaster that just beats out the MF and puts it in 2nd. secondly its kinda fun listening to idiots and their great stories. But my all time favorite is when your sitting right by a certain coaster for example Millennium Force when someone comes by and asks wheres the Millennium, now when idiots ask idiot questions I tend to point them in the totally wrong direction, esp when your sitting right by the MF sign. Now I wouldn't exactly call myself an enthusiest but I know the dimensions and all the available facts of about 99% of the coaster I've ridden, but I am use to being the only one around that has a clue, that goes for everything I've had the habbit for a long time of reading almanacs and other statistical books and reference books as well as history books, But I love it when you come across a self proclaimed genious that probably at some point read a small newspaper arcticle or saw a short story on the news about a coaster and all the sudden is a complete expert, I also like riding certain coaster with 1st timers either in fron or behind me esp on the MF tell them to look back on the lift hill and some people just about turn white. but as far as arguments with idiots I get in them everywhere in bars, work, golf courses , queue lines, and even with history teachers back in highschool where id even prove them wrong by showing them in a book and they would still deny being wrong.
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Tuesday, July 15, 2003 5:49 AM
I've just gotten sick of correcting obvious mistakes of GP in line. I just try to ignore GP. Just this weekend I was riding B:TR at SFNO and the train stopped right at the top of the lift. (My first time being stuck!) I was aware of the simple mechanism that was stopping the train from falling back to the station. The three kids sitting next to me were freaking out, so I tried to explain to them that it's probably just a computer error, we are very safe, and that we will probably start moving again in a matter of minutes. They would not listen to me at all. Most people on the train felt that they were in some sort of danger. Sure enough, five minutes later the train started moving again and I enjoyed a nice smooth ride.

It's such a shame that people think that they are in some sort of danger while riding a coaster. I can understand why a child or even one of my peers can not understand the simple workings of a roller coaster, but when educated adults ask "Does this go upside down?", while staring right at the train go upside down, or while watching the B:TR fly over it's first loop, "I hope we don't get stuck in the loop!" (These statements were actually said.) We as coaster enthusiasts can correct people all we want, but they'll still believe that coasters are dangerous, and some BS story about some guy last year who fell out of (insert ride name here) and died.

People are stupid.

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"Life is like a roller coaster...enjoy it."

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