Art Appreciation #3: Euthanasia Coaster

Who says roller coasters aren’t art?
Here at Dead Pond, We’re above the labels and the elitist attitudes of the art world, if somebody thinks that what they’ve created is art, was a labor of love, blood, sweat and tears – and usually has a disgustingly twisted message –   then sure, its Art.

And the Euthanasia Coaster definitely has a dark purpose, it’s all in the name really.

Designed by Julijonas Urbonas, a PHD candidate at the Royal College of Art in London, the roller coaster is an art concept piece and his entry in the 2010 HUMAN+ expo where he stated that the goal of his concept coaster is to take lives “with elegance and euphoria”.

The idea came to Urbonas when he met the president of Tobbagon Coasters, America’s leading roller coaster designers. He was inspired by there vision of the ideal roller coaster as one that “sends out 24 people and they all come back dead”, a hypothetical machine engineered to end a life humanely; and with the thrill of a roller coaster ride. No more “drink the blue cup of heart stopping liquid” and wait for death, as is in vogue for modern euthanasia.

The design starts with a steep-angled crawl to the 510-metre top, which would take two minutes for the 24-passenger to reach, allowing time to take in the supposed breath taking views. From there, a 500-metre  drop would take the train/cart to 360 kilometres per hour (220 mph), close to its terminal velocity, before flattening out and speeding into the first of its seven slightly clothoid inversions (Big loop-de-loops). Each inversion would have a smaller diameter than the one before in order to maintain a staggering 10 Gs on the passengers while the train loses speed. After a sharp right-hand turn the train would enter a straight, where unloading of bodies and loading of passengers could take place.


A 150:000 scale model of the coaster

These sudden turns and accelerated speeds would would kill the coasters passengers through prolonged cerebral hypoxia, or insufficient supply of oxygen to the brain. Taking 60 seconds, 10 Gs of force would cause g-force related symptoms starting with “Grey outs” and tunnel vision, to black out and eventually loss of consciousness.
Everyone has a different tolerance to G forces, so the first two inversions are designed to render the passengers brain dead.
5 inversions follow, serving as insurance against “unintentional survival of particularly robust passengers”. The term over kill comes to mind.


The coaster is still only a concept, with construction going as far as a 150:000 scale model, Urbonas doesn’t see it being built in full until “…the future where the politics of technologies are much less centralized and more creative, diversified and democratic.”

I want to stay away from the whole assisted suicide debate, and look at this concept personally. It’s such a novel, adrenaline fulled  way to exit this world, that captures that communal experience of intensity you share with your fellow passengers on a regular roller coaster; to go from 220 miles per hour to eternal nothingness in less than sixty seconds with no pain. Urbonas has put the “fun” back in EuFUNasia.

Check out Urbonas explaining his design.


Also, this bizarre Japanese CGI video shows a 3D ride of the roller coaster…



No, not another rehash of Farmville.

Like many European countries, Switzerland is facing the dynamic of an aging population, There are 107,000 elderly people afflicted with mental illness – it’s expected to almost double in the next 20 years.

Wiedlisbach, Dubbed “Dementiaville”,  a €20 (£17 ) million project currently under construction , is a ‘care town’, specializing exclusively for elderly sufferers of Alzheimer’s and other debilitating mental illnesses. It is set for completion in 2016.
The town consists of 23 buildings styled in mock 1950’s era wall paper. furniture, electronics, even garden furniture.
The Retro 50’s theme is supposed to help create an atmosphere of ‘Past Times’, helping the residents relax in a once  familiar atmosphere and hopefully make them feel at ease.
The town will be home to 150 patients, all suffering from advanced mental illness. The scheme’s promoters said there will be no closed doors and residents will be free to move about. To reinforce an atmosphere of normality, the carers will dress as gardeners, hairdressers and shop assistants. The only catch is that Wiedlisbach’s inhabitants will not be allowed to leave the village.

This ‘Big Brother’ approach has obviously been a topic of controversy for some,

Michael Schmieder, director of Switzerland’s Sonnweid home that caters to 150 resident dementia patients, said he strongly opposed the idea of creating an illusory 1950s-era atmosphere.

“The very notion is an attempt to fake the normality that people with dementia don’t have,” he said.

Mr Schmieder’s care home offers complete freedom of movement for its residents. “We offer wellness, just like a four-star hotel,” Mr Schmieder said. “Our patients are living in the here and now, not back then.”

Markus Vögtlin, the Swiss entrepreneur behind the Wiedlisbach scheme, believes that his invented world is perfect for advance elderly Alzheimer patients, giving them an environment reminiscent to their childhoods, which tests have indicated that many patients have rekindled some memories from decades previously when being introduced into an environment that may be they were once accustomed to.

But this isn’t the first time a care town has been set up in Europe to help care for mentally ill adults.The Hogewey nursing home for dementia sufferers was set up in an Amsterdam suburb in 2009. Its residents pay €5,000 a month to live in a world of carefully staged illusion.

Now for my ‘2 Cents’ piece – I do believe that these people should have the best of care, and that they should be helped to resurface some of those lost and dying memories; but these towns are set up for elderly, very advance suffers who will not see a cure in there life time. Maybe a state of induced relaxation and fake existence is not such a bad thing for your final dies? After all, ignorance is bliss.

Credit to Fortean times and The Independent for stats and pictures.

The Alternative: Temple of the Jedi Order

As today is international Star Wars day, it seems only appropriate that I file Temple of the Jedi Order into The Alternative series; Showing you that there is more to the humdrum existence of our modern 21st century problematic world. That beneath the veil of mainstream society, some have chosen to follow an alternative route.

In this case, become Jedi.

Now, to explain exactly what a Jedi and Jediism is to those who maybe have not seen the Star Wars movies (A fact I find so hard to believe in 2012, but these people do exist).  The Jedi are major characters in the Star Wars universe, acting as protectors of the ‘Galactic Repbulic’. They wield powerful weapons known as ‘Light sabers’, beams of energy shaped in swords, and use a power called the ‘Force’ which they channel to master and unleash abilities. These different abilities give the Jedi strong powers such as mind tricks and being able to ‘Force Push’ objects and people like a sort of telekinesis; with much more hand waving.
Sometimes, the Jedi mediate peace negotiations among planets and other factions and, if necessary, use their formidable fighting skills to quickly end unrest or neutralize dangerous individuals.

So, now we are all up to speed.
If you have seen the films, then chances are at some point of your life you have wished you were a Jedi.
Well you don’t have to be a 10 year old kid with a toy light saber or a role play enthusiast to live the dream,
all thanks to this guy:

Daniel Jones, 23 — also known by his Jedi name ‘Morda Hehol’

Daniel Jones is the self-proclaimed founder of the first UK Jedi church. In 2001 the Jedi census phenomenon movement was initiated as a grassroots attempt to get all english speaking citizens to recognise Jediism as a viable religion chose on the census.

File:Jedi census phenomenon 2001.pdf

The Jedi Census Phenomenon

The feed back was massive, with 390,127 UK citizens acknowledging and choosing to be documented as part of the order – making it the 4th largest ‘religion’ in the country. Still, it was not granted the title as a state recognized religion.
Jones now heads the church which has a following of over 500,000 members world wide.

He was made famous for a short time in 2009 when he was told to leave a local Tesco for wearing his Jedi robes hood up. Jones took his case to the papers, citing religious discrimination against the super market; claiming that-

““I walked past a Muslim lady in a veil. Surely the same rules should apply to everyone.”

Daniel Jones Cites Racial Discrimination Against Tesco For Telling Him To Remove His Jedi Robe Hood

The handbook of the UK Jedi Church, founded by Daniel last year, states: “Jedis must wear a hood up in any public place of a large audience.”


Hooded Daniel Jones (right) with his brother Barney at a meeting of their Jedi church

   The Jedi church is growing. The members claim that the films popularity is obviously a big part of the churches attraction, but they also believe that Jediism is very relatable and appropriate for the 21st century.
Incorporating beliefs from religions such as Buddhism, Taoism, Christianity and Stoicism, and using the art of meditation, the state that Jediism is a great way to let of steam and find your inner ‘Jedi’.
Aligning themselves with a moral code based on the Jedi code used in the fictional universe, and undergoing the journey to understand the way of the ‘Force’, the connection between all living things, these  Jedi are the real deal.

The Jedi code dictates:

There is no emotion, there is peace.

There is no ignorance, there is knowledge.
There is no passion, there is serenity.

There is no death, there is the Force.

Like any religious text its vague enough to be taken however you please.
If you are interested in joining the global phenomenon, and becoming a Jedi Knight yourself then check out
Here you will be greeted with the message-

‘We believe in Peace, Justice, Love, Learning and using our abilities for Good. We are not fictional Jedi, nor are we role playing. We live our lives according to the principles of Jediism and work together as a community to both cultivate and celebrate.’

Knowing you have the right place, you can from here begin your path to Jedi Knighthood by undergoing ‘Jedi training’ and receiving a degree in Jediism.

And so I end another The Alternative. Be sure to check out last months issue about Dudeism here.



Invented Their Own Deaths: Flying Machines

History is littered with failed inventions and experiments; But most of the time the only damage done is to lab equipment, basements and bruised egos followed by the exclamation of ‘Back to the drawing board’.

But it’s the inventors who give the ultimate sacrifice, who lay down their lives for an idea, process, product or innovation  they believed so strongly in, it’s these would-be pioneers I pay tribute in this ongoing series of articles, and share their hair brained demises with you each week.

I’ll start with my favorite genre of inventions, the flying machine.  For eons man has watched birds with envy, as they dance on the wind with ease, mocking gravity and humanity’s short comings. Until the Wright brothers got it right, there were many contenders for the title of first man to fly.

Here’s a few that didn’t work out.

Ismail ibn Hammad al-Jawhari (died 1010 AD), a Muslim Kazakh Turkic scholar attempted to fly using two wooden wings and a rope. He leapt from the roof of a mosque in Nijabur and fell to his death.

An Sketch of Ismail ibn Hammad al-Jawhari’s ‘wing suit’

Jean-François Pilâtre de Rozier was the first known fatality in an air crash when his Rozière balloon (an early design of a hot air ballon) crashed on 15 June 1785 while he attempted to cross the English Channel.

The ‘ Rozière balloon ‘

Otto Lilienthal, the “Glider King”, was a German aviator who perfected the design, and repeated flight of the worlds first hang glider. He produced a number of different designs, each test flown by him self, some more eccentric than others; For example, the White Stalk the resembled a … White stalk.

Otto Lilienthal’s “White Stalk” Glider.

Lilienthal was also the first to attach a small motor to the rear of his glider, inventing the first “Micro lite”.
It was this design that would be his downfall; in 1896 his lost control of his glider mid air and fall 17 meters to the ground He was later announced dead with sever spinal injuries.

The ‘Glider King’

Franz Reichelt was a French tailor, who fancied him self an inventor and ‘Parachute pioneer’. He custom made a parachute suit, almost resembling modern day wing suits, but with much weaker material. Reichelt had tested the design on dummys, throwing them from heights of up to 5 floors, with many successes.
In fact he was so confident with his invention that in February 1912  he volunteered to test it himself by parachuting off of the Eiffel Tower .

Unfortunately Reichelt’s suit failed, and he died on impact.

Below is the actual cinematography taken of his jump, showing the moment he hit the ground and the after math of officials measuring his ‘impact crater’.

Henry Smolinski (died 1973) was killed during a test flight of the AVE Mizar, a flying car he designed.
The front half of the aircraft was modeled on a Ford Pinto, and the back half consisting of a Cessna Skymaster light airplane. To generate enough power to take off, both the car and plane engines would be used, and once in the air the car half of the hybrid would be switched off.

Henry Smolinski’s Flying Car

 Originally scheduled for mass production in 1974, the idea was scrapped after one of the models got in an accident during a test flight. The right wing detached and the Pinto was separated from the wings, resulting in a fiery crash that killed Smolinski and the pilot. 

Thanks for paying your respects to the great men who may of helped pioneer modern day flight as we know it, for we only truly learn through the acts of trial and error.

Daily Gorm: Worlds Most Expensive Dog

Meet the worlds most expensive dog.

Big Splash, The Worlds Most Expensive Dog.

Big Splash, or “Hong Dong” in Chinese, is an 11-month-old Red Tibetan Mastiff. He already stands nearly three-feet-high at the shoulder and weighs more than 180lbs.
He was recently purchased by a Chinese coal baron for a barking mad $1.6 million!


– via

Wonderland: China’s Lost Theme Park

20 miles Northwest of Beijing, surrounded by farm houses and rice fields sits Wonderland.

Originally designed to be the  largest amusement park in all of Asia, the park was only partially built until local government officials and farmers fell into disagreement with the developers about property prices, forcing construction to cease.
Developers briefly tried to restart construction in 2008, but without success. The abandoned structures are now a draw for local children and a few photographers, who encounter signs telling them to proceed at their own risk.
The park itself seems to represent a western style medieval castle, with huge walls, gate houses and turrets. The skeletal remains of half built structures inside the parks perimeters would not look out of place in horror B movie.

China’s Lost ‘Wonderland’

In the slide show below you can find more photos of the would-be Wonderland, taken by Reuters photographer David Gray. The early morning mist adds to the already high level of creepiness that the forgotten theme park boasts.

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thanks to and David Gray.