Archive for the ‘England’ Category

London has recently been suffering on the receiving end of a powerful “death ray”, but in this case you don’t need James Bond, you need an architect. A new 37 story skyscraper at 20 Fenchurch street in London is the culprit that has been melting cars and starting fires with a laser of concentrated sunlight. The problem has arisen thanks to the concave design of the glass covered building combined with the position of the sun for the past few weeks. For about a two-hour window every day, the light reflected off the building becomes so concentrated and intense that it reaches temperatures above 92 degrees Celsius (that’s about 200 degrees Fahrenheit for those of you who don’t do metric).

So far, the “death ray” has been responsible for blistering paint, cracking tiles, even starting a fire on the carpet in the entryway of one of the nearby stores. The worst so far is the damage that was done to one Londoner’s Jaguar, warping and distorting pieces of the cars body. You can see the damage being pointed out by owner Martin Lindsay in this clip, and it’s pretty astounding:

Lindsay was surprised by the damage, but explained that he’s worked in construction and understands that sometimes things go wrong in completely unpredictable ways, and that the management companies for the building stepped forward and took care of repairs right away.

Land Securities and Canary Wharf, the companies responsible for building and managing the skyscraper, are taking care of all the damages to cars and buildings and have been quick to try to find a solution to the problem. According to their engineers, they predict that the sun will be in position to continue to create the “death ray” for another two weeks, and in the meantime they have erected scaffolding to block the light on that part of the building. Still, a long-term solution will need to be found or this will become an annual event. Just to be safe, the city has also shut down three parking spaces in the line of fire until the sun is in a safer position, because most insurance companies don’t cover “naturally occurring laser damage”. And with more and more glass-covered skyscrapers being built all over the world, calculating and anticipating the sun’s interaction with them is going to be an important part of the design process, though just to be safe you might want to think of a reflective chrome paint job for your next car.


Well I shouldn’t be surprised, but once again we are looking at an intersection of British Royalty and parking lots, this time at least involving the living instead of the long dead. Thanks to ABC News and Lauren Sher for the original story below:

Preparations are underway for the imminent arrival of Prince William and Kate Middleton‘s royal baby, from press camped outside the Lindo Wing of St. Mary’s hospital in London, where Middleton is expected to give birth, to baby-name betting, and even special parking at a local grocery store.

The Asda grocery store in Llangefni, near the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s home in Anglesey, Wales, has reserved a special parking space for the royal mom-and-dad-to-be. The parking spot, which is designated for customers with children, was given a royal makeover and painted with an icon of a couple in crowns holding onto a little one’s hand and “HRH RESERVED.”

“The Duchess of Cambridge has graced the store with her regal presence several times before and we hope that the addition of her own parking space will entice her and her little Prince or Princess of Cambridge back to Asda,” store manager Peter Ellis said in a statement on the company’s website.

The supermarket even has an employee dressed as a member of the queen’s guard standing by to keep an eye on it, and direct traffic it seems from the photo above, taken July 11.

“As Kate’s often busy with official duties, customers that fancy their own bit of royal treatment can park their carriages there,” Ellis’ statement continued.

Customers love the space, an Asda spokesperson told ABC News.