The World’s Fastest Roller Coaster Travels Nearly 150 mph

On November 4, 2010, Formula Rossa, the world’s fastest roller coaster, opened in Abu Dhabi’s Ferrari World—the first Ferrari-themed amusement park in the world to be dedicated to the Italian sports car. The steel coaster hits 4.8 Gs (for context, NASA astronauts experienced up to 3Gs during launch in the space shuttle), stands at 170.6 feet (52 meters), and stretches to 1.4 miles in length.

Once launched, Formula Rossa goes from 0 to 149 mph—the top speed—in 4.9 seconds. It’s so fast that riders must wear safety goggles during the one-minute long ride.

Formula Rossa is what’s known as a launched coaster; it uses a hydraulic launch method similar to an aircraft carrier. According to ESFStream.com, “Engineers had to develop and produce its motors, pistons, and pumps in every train to pump the speed up by a lot. There is a deflecting roller on the bottom of the train inside the train track that gives the train better curve control at extreme speed.”

The coaster car itself looks like a red Ferrari Formula 1 vehicle, and in 2014, actual Formula One drivers Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso tested the coaster. While Alonso seemed to enjoy it, the Daily Mail reported Raikkonen appeared bored.

Though Formula Rossa has held the world’s fastest title for almost a decade, it faces stiff competition. In 2023, Six Flags plans to open an amusement park in Saudi Arabia, and if all goes well, its coaster, Falcon’s Flight will not only be the “world’s most extreme roller coaster in the world” but also the world's longest, tallest, and fastest roller coaster ride.

Party Like a Hobbit at Chicago’s Lord of the Rings Pop-Up Bar

Gollum and a Ringwraith loom near Bilbo's hobbit hole at Replay Lincoln Park's Lord of the Rings pop-up bar.
Gollum and a Ringwraith loom near Bilbo's hobbit hole at Replay Lincoln Park's Lord of the Rings pop-up bar.
Replay Lincoln Park

One does not simply walk into Mordor, but one does simply walk into The Lord of the Rings pop-up bar in Chicago—as long as you’re at least 21 years old, of course.

Replay Lincoln Park, known for elaborate themed pop-ups for Game of Thrones, South Park, and other entertainment franchises, has transformed its premises into a magical reproduction of Middle-earth aptly called “The One Pop-Up to Rule Them All,” open now through March 23.

Inside, you’ll be able to crouch under an outcropping of tangled tree roots while one of the dreaded Nazgûl lurks above you, high-five a grimacing Gollum, and snap photos with all your favorite Lord of the Rings characters.

nazgul at the lord of the rings pop-up bar at chicago's replay lincoln park
The Nazgûl like to party, too.
Replay Lincoln Park

You might want to skip elevenses to make sure you have plenty of room for a Hobbit-approved feast during your visit. The menu, catered by Zizi’s Cafe, features items like Fried Po-tay-toes, Lord of the Wings, Beef Lembas, and Pippen’s Popcorn.

ent replica at chicago's replay lincoln park pop-up bar
Say hello to a friendly Ent while you munch on "Pippen's Popcorn."
Replay Lincoln Park

According to Thrillist, there will be three different counters in the bar, each with its own specialty drinks. Head to The Prancing Pony for a second breakfast shot (maple whiskey, bacon, and orange juice), or take a trip to Minas Tirith to toss back a palantir shot, made of silver tequila and passion fruit purée. If you’re in the mood for a little dark magic, you can trek over to Mordor and try a “my precious” shot, a fusion of dark rum, orange liquor, and Cajun seasoning.

lord of the rings pop-up bar at chicago's replay lincoln park
The Eye of Sauron is watching you order another round of Mordor shots.
Replay Lincoln Park

For those of you who are happy to accompany your Tolkien-obsessed friends to the pop-up but aren’t exactly tickled at the sight of a moss-covered Ent replica yourselves, take heart in this added bonus: Replay Lincoln Park also boasts more than 60 free arcade games and pinball machines.

[h/t Thrillist]

23 Weird Laws You Might Have Broken

Mental Floss editor-in-chief Erin McCarthy hosts "The List Show."
Mental Floss editor-in-chief Erin McCarthy hosts "The List Show."
Mental Floss via YouTube

If you've ever played a game of bingo in North Carolina, you may have been a party to a crime without even knowing it. And if you've ever eavesdropped on a neighbor in Oklahoma and shared any of that juicy gossip, you might just want to go ahead and turn yourself into the police.

From coast to coast, America is full of bizarre laws that you've probably broken at one time or another. Join Mental Floss editor-in-chief Erin McCarthy as she digs into the history of 23 of the strangest of them—like why you can't eat fried chicken with a knife and fork in Gainesville, Georgia. You can watch the full episode below.

For more episodes like this one, be sure to subscribe here!

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