Clarifying Ripley: The Singapore Flyer

It’s been a while since I did one of these, so I figured I’d get my restart perhaps on something a little easier. The most recent Ripley’s Believe-It-Or-Not feature comic panel notes that the Signapore Flyer is the tallest/widest ferris wheel and takes half an hour to make one complete revolution.

Singapore Flyer Official Website

Manufactured by Mitsubishi’s Heavy Industries, “the final capsule (each air conditioned and holds 28 people) was installed on October 2, 2007. The wheel started rotating on February 11, 2008 and officially opened to the public on March 1, 2008. Tickets for rides on the first 3 nights were sold out for US$6,271 (which comes to $8,888 in Singapore currency, number that predicts prosperity in Chinese culture). The grand opening for the Flyer was held on 15 April 2008,” notes the wiki article (paraphrased by me).

The wheel itself is 42 stories high, and perches atop a 3-story transportation terminal. It initially rotated one particular direction, but at the advice of Feng-Shui masters, the direction was reversed.

The following is a slightly-corny promotional video from YouTube, about the Singapore Flyer:

The Singapore Flyer was the subject of some worldwide news articles again when it suffered a power loss and trapped quite a number of people in their capsules, according to this Goldsea article. It had lost power for an hour or so at least twice since it first opened, but this particular time was a 6-hour ordeal as people waited patiently for the ride to begin moving again. Some people closer to the ground had to be lowered by ropes for rescue, while others were delivered sandwiches and soft drinks by delivery harnesses as they waited out the repairs. The ABC article for the same story has a photograph of a closeup of one of the capsules.

Flickr Pool of Singapore Flyer Photographs

A February 23, 2002 announcement published on Emporis.com notes plans for a 170-meter-tall ferris wheel to be built in Moscow, which would trump the Signapore Flyer by 20 meters, with an appx opening date of 2004, in hopes of attracting 70 million riders per year — but I can’t find any other reference to the wheel in Moscow beyond that article.

Another, larger ferris wheel is being constructed in the middle east called the Great Dubai Wheel to open in 2009, reaching 185 meters. Even still, another Chinese wheel is to be opened in 2010 reaching 208 meters, called the Great Observation Wheel according to China’s Great Wheel Corporation website.

Clarifying Ripley: David Byrne’s “Instrument” Building

A recent Ripley’s Believe It Or Not feature panel caught my eye, about a musician by the name of David Byrne who created an installation in which the building itself became a musical instrument. After doing a few searches for more details, here’s what I came up with:

Official Site

As much as I try not to fiddle with anything squished between the fingers of BoingBoing blogger Xeni Jardin, I couldn’t resist. Brings a slightly more visual element to “industrial” music, no? An old organ is attatched somehow to motors that have a lopsided wheel (like the vibration on game controllers) that are attatched to various pieces of the structure of an abandoned building. The video and the site above is just about all else you’d need to know ^_^

Clarifying Ripley’s: Iwo Jima Forces Attack Tank Sculpture

I had a really hard time trying to locate more than one source for the idea that American forces attacked a fake tank (actually being a sculpture) only do discover the ruse, as mentioned by this one Ripley’s Believe It Or Not comic page panel.

The only reference for this I could find was a wikipedia entry about Dummy Tanks, which itself referenced another book citing the fact: “On Iwo Jima, American forces surrounded a Japanese tank that had been drawing fire from U.S. guns — and found it was actually a tank-sculpture carved out of the island’s volcanic ash.” (The Library of Congress World War II Companion, Simon and Schuster, p.355, ISBN 0743252195)

Clarifying Ripley: Ivanhoe Reservoir goes Balls-To-The-Water

According to a recent Ripley’s Believe It Or Not newspaper feature panel, “Thousands of black plastic balls float atop the 58-million-gallon Ivanhoe Reservoir in Los Angeles, Calif., to provide shade for the water and to prevent carcinogens from forming!” Hoping to at least find a better picture than their typical hand sketch version, I thought I’d look it up.

The Los Angeles Times covers the incident, where the Department of Water and Power there dropped 400,000 large black plastic balls. More like rolled, perhaps.

As is typical RBION style, the hand-drawn illustration is actually a re-creation of an actual photograph, this one, and here are a few others. This article has a picture of the approximate size of one of them, as held in the hand. And still, yet more pictures.

The idea in doing so, was to prevent chlorine (cleansing agent), bromide (naturally found in groundwater) and sunlight mixing to create a poisonous combination — by mostly eliminating the effects of sunlight on the water. Looks cool, at least.

Clarifying Ripley: Smallest Gal Jyoti Amge

I was doing my regular rounds on the comics page features and such, coming across this entry for Ripley’s Believe It Or Not, featuring quite the small gal named Jyoti Amge who, per the panel, is 15 years old, but only 23 inches tall. Google time!

There’s actually a wikipedia entry for her, not to mention a Fox News article and a brief YouTube clip scrolling some of the pictures. We seriously need a video interview, I think. In lieu of that, we’ll have to settle for the photo essay.

Clarifying Ripley: Federal Hill in Bardstown KY

The May 22 Ripley’s Believe It Or Not comic panel had a blurb about “Federal Hill”, a mansion in Bardstown Kentucky that has 13 windows in the front, 13-inch thick walls, 13-foot high ceilings, 13 mantels and 13 stair steps.

I tried looking it up and found all sorts of picture galleries and such, including a wiki entry for it, but no particular mention of the business of 13 in those.

A visit to the official page, however, (or more specifically, the site’s History section) uncovers the truth:

Federal Hill is a Georgian style mansion that originally had 13 rooms. The number 13 is repeated throughout the house, supposedly to honor the 13 colonies at the time of America’s independence from Great Britain. The front of the home has 13 windows, and there are 13 steps to each floor of the house. Completed in 1796, the rear wing of the house contains a kitchen, two bedrooms, and a smokehouse. The first floor has a dining room, parlor, and library. The second floor has bedrooms, and the third floor contained the nursery. The house is built of brick and has six large rooms that are twenty-two feet square. Ceilings are 13-1/2 feet high. The floors are made of yellow poplar and the walls are 13 inches thick.

Federal Hill also happens to be the structure depicted on the tails-side of the United States Quarter that commemorates Kentucky.

Clarifying Ripley: A Three-Fer-One Deal

An lighthearted argument with a friend of mine revealed to me that he does not believe that most of the Ripley’s Comic-page feature panel are false. I disagree, in that most, if not all of them, are completely true. That is the reason I publish this eensy column that I should update more frequently.

That being said, let’s clarify (that is, provide more true facts about the truth portrayed in the feature panel, “Ripley’s Believe It Or Not” .. and we’ll take today’s (found here) that notes: a 94-year old has opted to stop driving after a 82-year spree of no citations or accidents; someone from the Philippines has created a 5.7 ton flag of Israel; and a particular nightclub in London holds only 14 people.

Now, I’m not sure which papers in the UK are the tabloid variety, but at least three sources (one, two, three) are carrying the story — the first of which carries the picture from which the RBIOR panel makes its illustration. Also pictured is apparently some ancient driving license.

According to Ripley’s feature panel, Grace Galindez-Gupana created a very large, 5.7 ton flag of Israel. While the sources aren’t necessarily of the utmost credibility being blogs (what am I saying?) the first two are almost redundant, but the third actually has a photo of the award certificate from Guiness as being the largest. So there ya go.

And thirdly, Ripley’s reports that The Miniscule of Sound (a pun on the Ministry of Sound perhaps, which in itself is a play on words, considering what American government would call a “department of”, the UK declares a “ministry of”, whereas the Ministry of Sound is a UK rock band). It was reported on BoingBoing as far back as 2004. Wikipedia confirms my suspicion of a pun. Perhaps if not equally entertaining to know that a nightclub can only fit 14 people — is that their official website (the little pop-up window when you click something) is equally cute and minute.

And there you have it! Ha!