Obviously, as a logophile, I'm going to first look at the name 'roller coaster', but, this time, not in English. The French and Spanish name for rollercoaster give a hint to the roots of this form of 'entertainment'. In French, they are called montagnes russes and Spanish, montañas rusas, which both mean 'Russian Mountain'. Russian Mountains were winter sled rides that were constructed out of special made hills of ice. This idea took of and went through various stages until the complete loop track was finally born.
A lot of people think that rollercoasters are unsafe. Although some studies have claimed that the more extreme rides may cause brain damage in rare cases, or trigger previously undetected heart conditions, death or serious injury by rollercoasters is unlikely. Only one in about 90 million guests to theme parks die, and often it is due to the negligence of the guest (i.e. jumping from a moving vehicle, climbing onto a track or going in prehibited areas) or a previous medical condition. When about one in a thousand die whilst riding horse in the US every year, it sort of puts it in perspective.
Kingda Ka, despite it's rubbish name, holds the record for being the tallest and the fastest ride and having the biggest drop in the world. The longest rollercoaster is Steel Dragon 2000, which is 2479m long. It was the Ultimate, in Yorkshire (which I have ridden on), and it is the only UK rollercoaster to rank in the top ten of anything rollercoaster wise.
- Do you like rollercoasters?
- Which is you favourite/ least favourite rollercoaster?
- What topic should I cover in my next 'Factual Friday'?