World Records

Mighty_Emperor

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#1
I suppose this could turn into a bit of a rant but it has been niggling me for a bit (and I have mentioned it in passing). On Challenge TV in the UK they are showing the US show "Guinness World Records" which has genuine feats of people pushing the limit of their abilities (as the book and the British series did) they also have other records that are purely on for their freakshow value and tend to be:

1. Potentially dangerous - the Guinness Book of Records wouldn't have records that were potential dangerous or would encourage people to get themselves killed in the process.

2. Silly and made up purely to have someone come on and do something daft.

3. Almost definitely some kind of trick.

Some examples:

Now world's fastest wheelie seems like a legitimate endeavour.

The regurgitator doing 'the most coins regurgitated to order' is really pushing the limits of what is human endeavour and what is a trick (see another thread on him) as well as being silly and made up.

'holding molten lead in the mouth for the longest time' is clearly a trick dating back many years and was exposed by Houdini (see the same thread mentioned above).

The most shrimp (prawns) eaten by a duck from a human mouth (the point I gave up watching tonight) just seems utterly pointless.

'The most scorpions held in mouth' and 'the largest scorpion held in the mouth' seem very unwise.

This might seem nitpicking (and in some ways there has never been any hard and fast rules and some stunts have been dangerous or a bit silly but this has really pushed things beyond what I'd find acceptable) but the Guiness Book of Records has been the arbiter of the extremes of human endeavour - there were always very old people but if Guiness didn't find the documentary evidence convincing they were out of the running. This kind of made up stunts and fakery are clearly going to hose away their reputation and where exactly do we stand then? What is the authority on these matters that we can defer to?

Are there alternative organisations? Should their been a Fortean Commission for Extreme Human Endeavour? Should I not really worry about these things as there are more important things happening in the world?

;)

Emps
 

Mighty_Emperor

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#3
DD: My concern is that the US versions descent into a freak show (not that I'd really mind that kind of show but I just don't think it can be fitted into the Guiness format) territory will cheapen the whole Guiness name and by extension Norris the Nazi.

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A

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#4
"Norris the Nazi"? Is this another childhood allusion shattered?

I'd think the use of Guinness is trademarked, so there must be some kind of endorsement (and an enormous wedge of greenbacks stuffed into the Guinness family pockets). And yes, they've tightly regulated against encouraging acts which are dangerous to themselves or others, gluttony, .etc.
The authority, as I'm sure you know if you've been kicking around these shores for a while, is completely subjective. I don't know of anyone outside Guinness, or even how Guinness itself conducts its "official" work.
Commerce is at the heart of this one - attract the punters with a sub-par Jackass with a pinch of X-Files and Ripley's Believe it or Not. The acts they do and the freaks they exhibit are, I'm sure, just for entertainment purposes and will in no way appear in the book. Unless a record attempt has Norris there with a stopwatch or Roy egging them on it'll never be official in my book. :p
 

ogopogo3

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#5
Norris hasn't even been listed as the author on the newer books for quite some time.
 
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#6
As far as I can remember Norris McWhirter was involved in a very dodgy right-wing organisation. I'm not too sure of the veracity of this but the story was certainly doing the rounds in the 1980's.
 

Rrose_Selavy

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#7
He was once Chairman of the Freedom Associaition,
http://www.tfa.net/
it's a mixture of right wing , so-called Libertarian, anti EU campaigners -


The book doesn't allow dangerous records now but you get those on the TV shows.
 

Jerry_B

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#8
His brother had alot of ties with Loyalist groups in Northern Ireland.
 

Mighty_Emperor

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#10
Sorry Norris the Nazi was our 'affectionate' name for him in our house when I was growing up. Just to continue the information but when his twin brother was assassinated he knew at that moment which gets him into the annals of twin telepathy (I believe one of the recent books on this subject reviewed in FT mentions this incident.

See:
http://www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ross_McWhirter

On to the legitimacy of the US show 'Guiness World Records' a search for:

guinness book of records

bring up:

http://www.guinnessworldrecords.com

which is in the Google/DMOZ directory:

Kids and Teens > Entertainment > Television > Reality Shows

Although so is Junkyard Wars (the US Scrapheap Challenege) so that might not be significant.

And this redirects to the above domain:

http://www.guinnessrecords.com

The latest version of the Guinness Book of Records is called:

Guinness World Records 2004 (Guinness Book of Records)

see:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/1892051206/

and this has been the case since at least 2000

Technically the website carries on the old tradition of the Guiness Book of records with things like the longest female beard:

http://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/index.asp?id=54276

But as the TV show of the same name is syndicated all over the world and appears to be the only televisual mouthpiece then I must assume it is legit and that when they declare people the Guinness world record holder for X then that is official (althoug whether it makes it into th book is another thing).

I suppose this comes back to the question of their authority:

The authority, as I'm sure you know if you've been kicking around these shores for a while, is completely subjective. I don't know of anyone outside Guinness, or even how Guinness itself conducts its "official" work.
And I suppose they have only been the authority on this because they say so and there is no independent assessment of how they condust their work they could really do anything they like. It might just be some kind of childhood susceptibility to authoritarian figures but if Norris didn' give it the thumbs up then they could whistle. I sort of thought that FT relied on Guinness for things like establishing the oldest person, etc? Might have to check that.

I suppose I might be getting concerned over nothing but I have always considered Norris and the other Guinness Book of Records 'officials' to be, essentially, like the Olympic Committee of extreme endeavour. I suppose I just bought their hype :(

Ahhhhhhhh the FAQ shows why not all records go in the book:

"Why is my record not in the book? "

Each year we receive approximately 65,000 enquiries from around the world from people who want to set or break records. Many are successful and their details are added to our database of records.

However, we can only publish around 4,000 records in the book each year, as it would be impossible to publish entries on all records and record-holders. An editorial decision therefore has to be made as to which records will be included.

If your record hasn't been selected for publication on this occasion, there's a chance that it may be included in future editions, dependent upon the requirements of the book-buying public and the managing editor’s discretion. It may also appear in this website.
http://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/faqs/FAQ_Answer.asp?ID=7

Emps
 
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#11
My point gets a mention at the start of the Simpsons episode "Take My Wife, Sleaze"

Episode guide:

http://www.snpp.com/episodes/BABF05

>> And the record for least amount of taste in a TV special is ...
Richard E. Green: "The Guinness Book of World Records" show seemed to be parodying this book-turned-into-TV show that was on FOX last year, except the actual show was hosted by some random sports announcer looking for off- season work (see "The World's Funniest" and some of those clip shows for more of them). The TV show actually had the largest tumor removed from a person, but MOST of the features on the show are not even RECORDS, just crazy stunts or first-time attempts at something, but they usually try to tact on some kind of record to make it on topic, such as "longest time that two people held together only by a curved pipe that the two people are holding in their mouths can stay balanced on top of each other".
Spoof records included:

Man with least number of faces (none)

Smelliest tumour removed from man

Emps
 

mendhak

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#12
The human obsession with the freaky, bizarre and odd.

They get ratings, ratings get them ads, ads get them money. The media loves you!
 
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#13
Published online: 20 December 2005;
| doi:10.1038/news051219-1

Man breaks world records with Antarctic swim
How can a person wearing only Speedo trunks survive the icy sea?
Michael Hopkin

British swimmer Lewis Pugh this week broke two world records, for the most southerly swim ever undertaken in the ocean, and the longest-duration polar swim ever completed. In completing the two feats, he battled temperatures that would kill you or me in minutes. So what does he have that we mortals don't?

On 14 December, Pugh swam a kilometre in the seas off the Antarctic Peninsula at a latitude of 65º South, some of the world's coldest waters, where the sea's saltiness allows temperatures to dip to just below 0 ºC without freezing. The feat, which took 18 minutes and 10 seconds, required him not only to maintain a safe body temperature throughout the ordeal, but also to stave off the crippling effects of the body's natural reaction to icy water.

Two days later, he swam a mile off the nearby Deception Island, spending 30 minutes and 30 seconds in the water - longer than any other polar swimmer. Physiologist Tim Noakes of the University of Cape Town, South Africa, who accompanied Pugh on the trip, said: "I did not believe it possible to swim for 30 and a half minutes in 2-3 ºC water in just Speedo trunks."

"Normal people would probably be dead within a minute because of the cold-shock reflex," says James Butcher of British medical journal The Lancet1, which profiled Pugh ahead of his record attempt. Less than a second after hitting the water, the lungs constrict, causing an untrained person to hyperventilate, taking up to 60 gasping breaths per minute. Heart rate and blood pressure also skyrocket as the heart panics in response to the shock. Pugh says he felt "screaming pain" all over his body as soon as he dived in.

"It's an exaggerated fight-or-flight response," explains exercise physiologist Michael Tipton of the University of Portsmouth, UK. The paralysing effect of this response means that, in icy water, the body becomes its own worst enemy; not that this is typically a problem. "In our normal day-to-day experience, we don't tend to fall into cold water," Tipton points out.

Cold shower

Fortunately for Pugh, overcoming the response is fairly easy. "Anybody can develop a habituation to the cold," says Tipton. "You can do it with as little as five or six 5-minute immersions."

Tipton and his colleagues have found that, with enough exposure to cold water, volunteers can even be trained not to shiver, allowing muscles to work more effectively. In the weeks leading up to his swim, Pugh took frequent cold showers as well as training in icy water.

Of course, preventing the body from shutting down is just half the battle - Pugh and his support team also had to ensure that his body temperature remained above 35 ºC, which is generally regarded as the cut-off point for hypothermia. "The thing that keeps him going is the ability to produce large amounts of heat," Tipton says.

The thing that keeps him going is the ability to produce large amounts of heat.

Michael Tipton
University of Portsmouth



Pugh is aided in this by what Noakes calls 'anticipatory thermogenesis'. Just the sight of icy water is enough to send his body temperature ratcheting up to 38 ºC, giving him a head-start against the ravages to come.

"Mental imagery can have a profound effect on physical responses," says Tipton. The same thing happens on a smaller scale when the average person anticipates giving a speech, for example, as their body releases stress hormones and ups its metabolic rate.

Fit or fat

Once in the water, the best way to maintain body heat is to produce a lot of it through frantic swimming, and to stay well insulated. The best long-distance swimmers tend to have a combination of these "fitness and fatness" factors, Tipton says.

Women tend to be relatively better than men at outdoor swimming, because their tendency to have more fat over their leg and arm muscles keeps them better insulated. This is important during active swimming, when blood is pumped into the arms and legs and so can accelerate heat loss. The previous record-holder for polar swimming is US female Lynne Cox, who has attributed her success in part to her 36% body fat (most women have a percentage in the 20s).

But thinner men and women can gain back an advantage by being fit. "If you see a thin outdoor swimmer, the chances are they're really fast," says Tipton. Pugh falls into this category. Besides his record as the only person to have swum at both ends of the Earth, he is also the fastest man to swim around South Africa's Robben Island, completing the circuit in just three hours and 42 minutes in 2004.

References
Butcher J., et al. Lancet, 366. S23 - S24 (2005).


Story from [email protected]:
http://news.nature.com//news/2005/051219/051219-1.html
 
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#15
That Titon chappie seems to suggest it is a matter of training but other reports say it is down to his rather unique physiology:

23 December 2005 14:24


The 5-Minute Interview: Lewis Gordon Pugh

Long-distance swimmer and world record breaker
Published: 23 December 2005

Lewis Gordon Pugh, 36, is the first person to have completed a long-distance swim in both the Arctic and Antarctic. During his swims, which both broke world records for the longest polar swim, he faced temperatures of between 2 and 3C - in his Speedo trunks.

Right now I am feeling...

Very, very happy. It took a lot of hard work, planning and preparation.

I would say the difficulty level...

On a scale of one to ten was 100! The swim at Deception Island was by far the hardest swim I've ever done. Antarctica is a very unforgiving environment. If you don't train properly you'll die.

I first found out I was able to take the cold...

About two years ago. I saw the sports scientist Professor Noakes. He confirmed my core body temperature is a lot higher then other people. Normal temperature is 37C, but mine is 38.4C. It doesn't sound like a difference, but it is enormous.
http://news.independent.co.uk/people/pr ... 334815.ece

Arctic Swim Sets New Record, Swimmer Astounds Scientists

December 21, 2005 8:00 a.m. EST

Christina Ficara - All Headline News Staff Reporter

Cape Town, South Africa (AHN) - Extreme swimmer Lewis Pugh sets a new world record for the most southerly long-distance swim, after swimming the icy Antarctic waters at 65 degrees south. The record was set with a 0.6-mile swim, making Pugh the first person to accomplish such a feat in the world's coldest seas.

Pugh explains, "As soon as I dived in, I had a screaming pain all over my body."

With only a swimsuit, cap and goggles, Pugh took less than 19 minutes to complete the swim near Vernadsky, the Ukrainian scientific base on Antarctica, in 32-degree water and heavy snow.

Pugh admits, "I am not sure how I kept on going for so long. I had to concentrate all the time and swim as fast as I could to keep the cold out."

Pugh, who trained for months in an icy plastic pool in Cape Town's harbor, has astounded scientists with his ability to raise his body temperature before swimming, allowing him to survive temperatures that only a few can endure.

Leading South African sports scientist Tim Noakes explains, "When he enters the water, his core body temperature is extremely high and he is able to maintain this temperature for up to 15 minutes in ice cold water. To my knowledge, this capacity has not been previously described."
www.allheadlinenews.com/articles/7001577856
 

IvanVolle

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#16
Record-breaking Mentos and coke explosions
24/04/2008
"It was to be one of the biggest science experiments ever seen yet there was not a bunson burner or test tube in sight.

Around 1,500 students kitted out in waterproof ponchos discovered exactly what happens when you drop a mint sweet into a bottle of Coca Cola, in an attempt to break a world record.

The students, from Belgium, tried to out-fizz the previous record for so-called Mentos fountains by simultaneously putting Mentos mints into bottles of the soft drink.

The resultant chemical reaction shot hundreds of streams of carbonated soda into the air.

The explosive record-breaking event was held in Ladeuzeplein square in Leuven, Belgium. "

Article:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jh ... oke123.xml

Video:
http://www.myvideo.be/watch/4019861
 
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#17
Australian sword swallower sets Guinness world record

Chayne Hultgren began practising the art of sword swallowing at the age of 16

An Australian performance artist has set a Guinness world record by swallowing 18 swords at the same time.

Chayne Hultgren, also known as the Space Cowboy, beat his own 2008 record by swallowing the swords, each 72cm (28.35in) long, at an event in Sydney.

He said that while the stunt was not dangerous, he had spent many hours training for it.

After setting the record, Mr Hultgren, 31, described it as definitely one of his greatest achievements so far.

"Wow, I did it, it feels good, thank you very much, it feels really good actually," he said.

Mr Hultgren started practising with swords at the age of 16 and says he has used different methods to perfect the art.

"I stretch my throat with hoses and use a few different techniques to basically enable me to do what, until now, has been impossible".

"I don't just straightaway grab 18 blades and shove them down my throat - you've got to practise a lot and build up to it," he says.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/8503748.stm
 

rynner2

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#18
I'm reviving this old thread, because TGBoR is still an ongoing thing, and because it might cut down the number of separate threads on The World's oldest, youngest, shortest, tallest, etc, etc...

..plus a mixed bag of new records has just shown up:

Guinness World Record for bearded woman Harnaam Kaur

A model with six-inch long facial hair has become the youngest woman in the world to have a full beard, according to the Guinness World Records.
Body positivity campaigner Harnaam Kaur, 24, from Slough, Berkshire, said it was "humbling" to be included.
She described her beard as part of her quest to overcome years of bullying to cope with her appearance.

Other record breakers added to the list include the longest pet cat and a high-jumping llama.

Ms Kaur has polycystic ovary syndrome, a hormonal condition that can result in the growth of excess facial hair.
In March 2016 she became the first female with a beard to walk the runway at London Fashion Week.

The record for longest domestic cat currently alive goes to a 3ft 10.59in (1.183m) moggy from Wakefield, West Yorkshire.
Ludo, a Maine Coon, was no bigger than other kittens in his litter when he was taken home by his owner Kelsey Gill in 2014.
Ms Gill now has to use a dog carrier for the supersized cat and a dog harness to accommodate his length.

Also making the list is Caspa, a nine-year-old high-jumping llama who can leap a bar 3ft 8.5in (1.13m) high.
The animal, which lives on a farm in Porthmadog, North Wales, has been described by his owner as a "total diva" and the envy of all the other llamas on the farm.

The record for the fastest speed achieved on a monowheel motorcycle has been set by a team at Elvington Airfield, North Yorkshire.
Kevin Scott, from Lincoln, achieved 98.464 km/h (61.18 mph) on a bike built by UK Monowheel Team.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-37305050

Photos and videos on page, and links to longer articles.
 
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#19
DUBAI: A Sikh temple in Dubai on Thursday broke the world record for serving breakfast to the maximum number of people from diverse nationalities.

The temple was awarded a Guinness World Record after serving 600 people from 101 countries an hour-long continental breakfast.

The temple broke the previous record of 55 nationalities sharing a continental breakfast, organized by Nutella at the Milan Expo in Italy in 2015.

The Khaleej Times reported that schoolchildren, government officials and diplomats attended the event while Indian Ambassador to the UAE Navdeep Singh Suri was the chief guest. ...

http://www.arabnews.com/node/1084436/offbeat
 
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#21
Is he nuts or just milking it for all its worth?

A Cook Islander has become the first ever world champion in the sport of coconut tree climbing, it's been reported.

George Iona emerged the winner in a field of 16 entrants, winning by the smallest of margins, Tahiti's Radio 1 reports. He scaled the eight-metre (26.25 feet) tree in 5.62 seconds at the event in the garden of the Tahiti Museum. His time was just one hundredth of a second ahead of American Samoa's Fiapa'i Ellio, the pre-race favourite.

The objective of the new sport is simple, Tahiti TMTV says: Climb the tree as quickly as possible, with each climber being given two attempts to post their best time. The winning tactic appears to entail wearing a loop of rough rope around the ankles, allowing better purchase on the trunk. ...

http://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-news-from-elsewhere-40629686
 

CarlosTheDJ

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#25
I'm doing a marathon DJ set for charity in a few weeks, hopefully it will all be video-streamed to the internet so you might be able to experience it for yerself!

Anyway...I've got a mate who works at Guinness World Records, so I thought I'd check it out. Longest DJ Set! It would be pretty cool to be a world holder. I was planning on doing 12 hours straight, all vinyl, how long could the current record be?

Ten days.

Ten days.

Granted, it was digital not vinyl, he was allowed a five minute break every hour, an hour break every 24 (or 12, can't remember), but the music had to be continuous, at least one person had to be dancing at all times, and he wasn't allowed to repeat a tune for at least four hours. And he wasn't allowed to sleep (he started hallucinating after day 5).

Still...

Ten days.
 

GNC

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#26
I assume by the time he reached the tenth day he had been reduced to playing The Dooleys and Liquid Gold records.
 

hunck

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#27
Shortest ever boxing match?

Heavyweight boxer Curtis Harper lost his bout against Efe Ajagba on Friday in Minnesota in unusual fashion - leaving the ring after the opening bell without a punch being thrown.

Fighting on the Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) card at the Minneapolis Armory, Harper ducked through the ropes as soon as the bell rang and walked all the way back to his dressing room. He did not return and was eventually disqualified.

Nigeria’s Ajagba improved his record to 7-0 with his one-second win.
 
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#28
Bet you didn't see this coming.

Two men have begun an attempt to set a world record for the longest time spent continuously on a see-saw.

Richard March and Michael Jones started on Saturday in Twyford, Berkshire, where an unofficial record of 80 hours on the bounce was set in 1969 by Mr Jones' father-in-law.The pair are eating, sleeping and answering calls of nature on the giant homemade machine. They aim to finish on Tuesday night after bouncing about 60,000 times.

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-berkshire-47921051
 
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