How to embrace fear

January 07, 2010

Good news for thrill-seekers. Scientists are adapting rollercoaster technology to bring us the ultimate ride

For seven mesmerising tenths of a second, the summit of the Eejanaika rollercoaster affords an unrivalled vista of the northeastern face of Mount Fuji — snow-capped, majestic…and upside-down. Then the screaming starts.

I am riding in the foremost “seat” (a sort of free-wheeling iron maiden) of the coaster, but the shrieks come from all quarters: from behind, from the side and, after we perform a second demented somersault, from in front.

My synapses crackle with the ransacked logic of inversion, but soon abandon the job to work on a more pressing problem. Most of my nerves have made an emergency return to jungle principles and seem fairly convinced their owner is about to die. That, I suspect, is the point.

The orderly Japanese screaming subsides, leaving one primal roar spiralling hopelessly in the … [more]

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