Monthly Archives: August 2016

Closing of Wildwater Kingdom in Aurora

I wrote about how Maria and I went to Wildwater Kingdom in Aurora, OH a couple weeks ago. Go read the post.

Now, Cedar Fair has decided to close the park at the end of this season.

Cedar Fair bought the property in 2004 from financially strapped Six Flags, a Texas-based entertainment company that had seriously overextended itself. Six Flags had acquired both Geauga Lake and Sea World Ohio several years earlier, and combined them into one park in 2001.

Renamed Six Flags Worlds of Adventure, the park, at 700 acres, claimed to be the largest amusement park in the world.

In 2007, three years after its purchase, Cedar Fair announced it was closing Geauga Lake for good. Wildwater Kingdom, the outdoor waterpark it had developed on the site of the old Sea World, would remain open.

The waterpark survived on its own for nine years. And then, earlier this month, Cedar Fair announced that the waterpark too, would shut down. Wildwater Kingdom’s last day of operation is Labor Day, Sept. 5.

Sad end to a sad story. They’re looking to sell the lakefront property to develop multi-family housing, a job center (such as a medical facility, college campus, or movie production site), restaurants, and retail offerings.

Book Review- Future Perfect

Future Perfect
by Steven Johnson, 2012

Future Perfect

Read How We Got to Now last year, enjoyed it. This one, not so much.

The premise of the book is that peer progressive networks, such as Wikipedia and Kickstarter, are the way of the future. Authoritarian, top-down regimes can easily be surpassed by handing control to networked individuals. Yes, I agree that peer networks have their uses. But the book goes too far. I found myself shaking my head at some of the claims. I’ll mention one issue toward the end: Johnson claims that peer progressive ideals will lead to a more egalitarian society. However, many/most networks follow a power law distribution, where connections are exponentially more likely to go to those with lots of previous connections. That won’t be more equal.

We listened to this book on tape.

Links 20160825: Writing and Teaching Posts

Elements of Style for Writing Scientific Journal Articles. Funny because I’m also re-reading Strunk and White right now.
How to write a paper. One.
How to write a paper. Two.
Prototyping mathematical papers.

Defining the relationship between professor and student.
Where are we heading? Asked in an academic job interview.
Probabilistic true-false questions.

Book Review- Murder on the Orient Express

Murder on the Orient Express
by Agatha Christie, 1934

murder on the orient express

Fun murder mystery. Maria and I listened to the book on tape, with the narrator switching accents with the characters very well. Without giving too much away (on an 80 year old book?), the story ends with the detective giving two alternative explanations to the murder. The owner/executive of the train is then allowed to choose between them. Intrigued?

Book Review- When to Rob a Bank

When to Rob a Bank: …And 131 More Warped Suggestions and Well-Intended Rants
by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner, 2015

when to rob a bank

Collection of posts from the Freakonomic’s website. Maria and I listened together. Definitely less refined than the Freakonomics/Super Freakonomics duo. Still funny, though. I used to read the Freakonomics blog, so much of the content was familiar to me.

INFORMS 2016 Presentations

Nov. 14, 2016, 1:30 – 3:00 PM
Mind The Gap: Coordinating Energy Efficiency And Demand Response
Eric Webb, Owen Wu, Kyle D. Cattani, Kelley School of Business, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN

Nov. 15, 2016, 1:30 – 3:00 PM
Predicting Nurse Turnover And Its Impact On Staffing Decisions
Eric Webb, Kurt Bretthauer, Kelley School of Business, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN

Nov. 16, 2016, 12:45 – 2:15 PM
Linking Customer Behavior And Delay Announcements: Are Customers Really Rational?
Eric Webb, Qiuping Yu, Kurt M. Bretthauer, Kelley School of Business, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN

Nov. 16, 2016, 4:30 – 6:00 PM
Using Past Scores And Regularization To Create A Winning Nfl Betting Model
Eric Webb1, Wayne L. Winston2, 1Kelley School of Business, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN, 2Bauer College of Business, University of Houston, Houston, TX

Amusement Park Rankings


Here is a summary of the roller coaster parks we visited on our crazy road trip:

We visited Michigan’s Adventure, in Muskegon, MI, on Sunday, July 17. We rode 6 roller coasters and 0 other rides. In descending order, my coaster ratings were 6, 5, 4, 2, 2, and 1 out of 10.

We visited Canada’s Wonderland, in Vaughan, ON, on Monday, July 18. We rode 11 roller coasters and 2 other rides. In descending order, my coaster ratings were 9, 8, 6, 5, 4, 4, 4, 4, 3, 2, and 2. My ratings for other rides were 7 and 6.

We visited Hersheypark, in Hershey, PA, on Tuesday, July 19. We rode 9 roller coasters and 2 other rides. In descending order, my coaster ratings were 9.5, 8, 8, 8, 7, 7, 6, 5, and 2. My ratings for other rides were 5 and 3.

We visited Dorney Park, in Allentown, PA, on Wednesday, July 20. We rode 6 roller coasters and 4 other rides. In descending order, my coaster ratings were 7, 6, 6, 6, 5, and 3. My ratings for other rides were 6, 3, 3, and 2.

We visited Cedar Point, in Sandusky, OH, on Monday, July 25. We rode 12 roller coasters and 3 other rides. In descending order, my coaster ratings were 10, 10, 9, 8, 7.5, 7, 7, 5, 5, 5, 4, and 3. My ratings for other rides were 4, 4, and 2.

44 coasters in 9 days. Whew.

It is safe to say that Cedar Point reigns supreme among the other amusement parks. Hersheypark was a pleasant surprise though. Here are the final park rankings:
1. Cedar Point, with 7 coasters scoring 7 or higher out of 10.
2. Hersheypark, with 6 coasters scoring 7 or higher.
3. Canada’s Wonderland, with 2 coasters scoring 7 or higher.
4. Dorney Park, with 1 coaster scoring 7 or higher.
5. Michigan’s Adventure, with 0 coasters scoring 7 or higher.

Including other parks I have been to in the last 10 years, I think the rankings would be something like this (weighting roller coasters most heavily):
1. Cedar Point
2. Six Flags Magic Mountain
3. Hersheypark
4. Kings Island
5. Kings Dominion
6. Canada’s Wonderland
7A. Dollywood
7B. Holiday World
9. Dorney Park
10. Michigan’s Adventure


Cedar Point Rides


The fifth coaster park stop on our whirlwind amusement park tour was Cedar Point, in Sandusky, Ohio, on Monday, July 25, 2016. We were joined at this park by our friends Telesilla and Serge. We arrived at the park around 11:15am. Cedar Point has 71 total rides and 17 roller coasters (2nd most in the world behind Six Flags Magic Mountain). Park map (click to expand):


Cedar Point has an unfortunate policy about backpacks being stored on ride platforms, so we had to store our backpack (with phones/cameras) for extended periods. As such, we don’t have our own pictures of all the rides. It should be obvious which ones below are ours and which aren’t.


1. Magnum XL200
Steel coaster with a big first hill. 205 ft, 72 mph, tallest and fastest in world when it opened in 1989. We sat in the back car and felt a lot of “whip” effect as the back car tries to keep up with the train on the ride. Pretty smooth.
Eric: 7/10
Maria: 8/10
Telesilla: 7/10
Serge: 7/10


2. Maverick
Steel looping coaster. Launch at start of ride and in the middle. 105 ft, 70 mph. Very smooth and twisting.
Eric: 9/10
Maria: 9/10
Telesilla: 8/10
Serge: 8/10

3. Antique Cars
Antique car ride as a break after such a fast start. Toward the end of the ride, there was a tunnel over water and birds were going crazy flying under the tunnel back and forth for some reason.
Eric: 2/10
Maria: 5/10
Telesilla: 10/10
Serge: 5/10

cedar creek mine ride

4. Cedar Creek Mine Ride
Steel track on a wooden frame. Smooth. 2 lift hills. 48 ft, 42 mph. Pretty cool ride for how old it is (1969).
Eric: 3/10
Maria: 5/10
Telesilla: 5/10
Serge: 6/10


5. Skyhawk
High swinging ride. 125 ft, 65 mph. Ride should be just a bit longer.
Eric: 4/10
Serge: 4/10


6. Millennium Force
Still my favorite coaster in the world. 310 ft, 93 mph, 80 degree first drop, 6595 ft long. Excellent at everything (except inversions, I guess). Our second ride on it was at night, and my arms got plastered with bugs, which was interesting.
Eric: 10/10, 10/10
Maria: 10/10, 10/10
Telesilla: 9/10
Serge: 9/10, 10/10


7. Rougarou
Steel floorless coaster on the same track that used to hold Mantis, which was a stand-up coaster. Looping. 145 ft, 60 mph. So basically, same track, new train. Bumps your head quite a bit. Somewhat average.
Eric: 5/10
Maria: 6/10
Telesilla: 6/10
Serge: 3/10



8. Valravn
New in 2016. Steel dive coaster. You sit 8 across in 3 rows. Ride takes you out over the first drop and holds you there for a few seconds. Great experience in the front row (1st rating below), only okay in the back row (2nd rating below). 223 ft, 75 mph, 90 degree drop. Smooth. Cool view at the top.
Eric: 8/10, 7/10
Maria: 10/10, 8/10
Telesilla: 10/10, 8/10
Serge: 10/10, 9/10


9. Blue Streak
Oldest coaster in park (1964), wooden. 78 ft, 40 mph. Out and back track. Smooth for a wooden coaster.
Eric: 4/10
Telesilla: 3/10
Serge: 5/10


10. Raptor
Steel coaster with 6 inversions (feels like more). Floorless, so your feet hang. 137 ft, 57 mph, 3790 ft long. Tallest/fastest/longest inverted coaster in the world when it opened (1994).
Eric: 7/10
Maria: 7/10
Telesilla: 7/10
Serge: 7/10


11. Gatekeeper
Steel coaster with a winged floorless train design. Has the highest inversion of any coaster in the world (at 170 ft). Cool track design takes you through multiple keyhole structures. 170 ft, 67 mph.
Eric: 8/10
Maria: 7/10
Telesilla: 7/10
Serge: 7/10

wicked twister

12. Wicked Twister
Steel U-shaped launch coaster that takes you forward/backward up the two towers. Unlike Possessed at Dorney Park, both towers have twists. Currently the tallest (215 ft) and fastest (72 mph) inverted (track above train) coaster in the world.
Eric: 5/10
Telesilla: 8/10
Serge: 6/10


13. Windseeker
High (301 ft) swing ride. Equivalent to the same ride at many other Cedar Fair parks. My mom says that it is relatively unusual for it to be able to run, as it is so windy in Sandusky. The Windseeker in Canada’s Wonderland wasn’t running due to wind while we there.
Eric: 4/10
Maria: 5/10
Telesilla: 6/10
Serge: 7/10


14. Gemini
Racing wooden coaster. 125 ft, 60 mph. Tracks are asynchronous, so sometimes you feel like you are winning and sometimes not. Maria and my train beat Telesilla and Serge’s.
Eric: 5/10
Maria: 4/10
Telesilla: 8/10
Serge: 7/10


15. Top Thrill Dragster
We got to ride it! It was closed all day, until opening around 10:15pm. Awesome experience to ride it at night. Launching steel coaster that goes 0 to 120 mph in 3.8 seconds. Then you go up straight up 420 feet (2nd tallest coaster in the world) before falling straight back down. Ride is only 17 seconds, but so awesome.
Eric: 10/10
Maria: 10/10
Serge: 10/10

(Me, Maria, Serge, and Telesilla on Cedar Point’s beach)