20 September 2002
I admit up front that this is not my area of expertise; the only thought I've given to this sort of thing up to now has been wondering what it's like to stop at the top of the Ferris wheel when Freddy Cannon or Chuck Barris or somebody fell in love down at Palisades Park. On the other hand, I can't let this go by without comment, either.
So here's the story: beginning October first, amusement-park rides in New Jersey will be subject to statutory limits on gravitational forces sort of. Under the new rules, amusement-park rides must not exceed a force of 5.6g for more than one second. The law was devised after the death of two women at Ocean City in 1999 who were thrown from a malfunctioning roller-coaster car. Had the coaster been working properly, the riders would not have been subjected to forces exceeding 5.6g no ride in New Jersey is designed for forces over 5.0g but the state evidently felt that outlawing malfunctions themselves was not a viable option.
Do high g-forces cause brain damage? The medical profession is divided. On the other hand, extensive brain damage among New Jersey residents could be just what ethically-challenged Senator Robert Torricelli needs for his reelection effort.
(Muchas gracias: Bo Cowgill.)