Current Weather
The Spy FM

‘Death Ray II?’ London Building Reportedly Roasts Cars

Filed by KOSU News in World News.
September 3, 2013

A skyscraper under construction “melted my Jag,” reads the headline from London’s City A.M.

“Beam of light from Walkie Talkie skyscraper ‘melts man’s Jaguar,’ ” says London’s Metro.

“Who, what, why: How does a skyscraper melt a car?” asks the BBC.

It seems, as the BBC reports, that a 37-story London skyscraper “dubbed the Walkie-Talkie” because of its unusual shape may be acting something like a parabolic mirror:

” ‘Fundamentally it’s reflection. If a building creates enough of a curve with a series of flat windows, which act like mirrors, the reflections all converge at one point, focusing and concentrating the light,’ says Chris Shepherd, from the Institute of Physics.”

London businessman Martin Lindsay’s Jaguar just happened to be parked right where the rays were focused last Thursday. He returned to the Jag, the BBC says, to find “parts of his car — including the wing mirror and badge — had melted.” City A.M. says panels along the side of the car were warped by the heat.

Other vehicles parked near the Walkie-Talkie have also been damaged, according to local news outlets. What’s more, a “beam of hot light set the carpet of a nearby barber shop on fire,” City A.M. adds. (The publication, by the way, has taken to calling the building the “Walkie Scorchie.”)

“Land Securities, which is developing the tower with the Canary Wharf Group, says it is working on a solution and has taken the emergency measure of suspending the parking bays beneath the glare,” the BBC writes. “They have described the problem as a phenomenon caused by the current elevation of the sun in the sky. It is thought it can last for two hours a day and might only be a problem for the next two or three weeks.”

This isn’t the first time that a building designed by architect Rafael Vinoly has been the focus of such heated attention. In 2010 there were reports of melted cups, singed hair and other unusual events near the Vdara Hotel in Las Vegas — another Vinoly building. Local news outlets took to calling it the “death ray.” Film added to the building’s windows reportedly eased the problem. [Copyright 2013 NPR]

Leave a Reply

12PM to 1PM Fresh Air

Fresh Air

This one-hour program features Terry Gross' in-depth interviews with prominent cultural and entertainment figures, as well as distinguished experts on current affairs and news.

Listen Live Now!

1PM to 2PM Talk of the Nation

Talk of the Nation

Journalist Neal Conan leads a productive exchange of ideas and opinions on the issues that dominate the news landscape.

View the program guide!

2PM to 3PM PRI's The World

PRI's The World

Get a fresh perspective of people, events and trends that shape our world. Host Lisa Mullins covers a wide range of topics, including science, business, technology, sports, art and music.

View the program guide!

Upcoming Events in your area (Submit your event today!)

Streaming audio and podcasts

Stream KOSU on your smartphone

Phone Streaming

SmartPhone listening options on this page are intended for many iPhones, Blackberries, etc. with low-cost software applications available to listen to our full-time web streams, both News on KOSU-1 and Classical on KOSU-2.

Learn more about our complete range of streaming services

We're perfecting the patient experience - Stillwater Medical Center