Breaking a world record is a huge accomplishment for any athlete, but 16-year-old Kayla Wheeler has managed to do it with no legs and only one arm.
A New Challenger of the Day: Iran’s New Guinness World Record for the Largest Tub of Ice Cream
The American ice cream company Baskin Robbins’s Guinness World Record of the largest tub of ice cream (8,865 pound tub of vanilla ice cream, 2005) has been reportedly beaten by the Iranian company Choopan Dairy’s five-ton tub of chocolate ice cream. Unveiled outside of Tehran earlier this week on Monday, it apparently took eight hours to fill the tub (5 ft by 7 ft) and cost more than $30,000 to make.
With their eyes turned up at the Texas night sky, NASA and 526 space fans have set a new Guinness World Record for the largest outdoor astronomy lesson in Austin.
The huge group gathered on the lawn of the Long Center for the Performing Arts at the South by Southwest (SXSW) festival on Sunday, March 10 to learn about how astronomers use light and color to understand cosmic objects, from the moon to distant galaxies.
“Astronomy awakens the natural curiosity and awe in all of us,” Frank Summers, an astrophysicist from the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore, said in a statement. “Many people think that astronomy and physics is only complicated math equations. They don’t recognize how natural it is and how much they already know.”
Ultimate Caffeine Boost: Record Setting Car Powered by Coffee
For some of us, it takes a couple of cups of coffee to wake up and hit the road. The Bean Machine, a coffee-powered pickup built by UK engineer and conservationist Martin Bacon, takes the notion of caffeine-based energy to a whole new level. Commissioned by The Co-operative Food to commemorate their 10th anniversary of converting all of their coffee to fair trade, the truck set a Guinness World Record for the highest speed ever attained by a java-powered vehicle, clocking in at 65mph.
The ingenious Bean Machine is a modified Ford F100 pickup that uses the process of gasification powered by coffee chaff pellets. The pellets, which are a byproduct of coffee production, are heated by a charcoal fire and broken down into hydrogen and carbon monoxide. The gas is cooled and filtered before hydrogen is combusted to operate the engine. Gasification was a widespread means of transportation in wartime England, where over 100,000 vehicles were powered by the process during WWII. At the beginning of the 20th century, 900,000 cars were running on gasifiers across the world and can potentially be more efficient than fossil fuels.
The caffeinated car set the Guinness World Record at the Woodford Airfield in Manchester, England. “We’re thrilled to have taken the speed record for the fastest car of this kind.” said team leader and engineer, Martin Bacon. Backed the by The Co-Operative Food, the vehicle was created to publicize their commitment to fair trade. For the past 15 years, the business has advocated for responsible retailing through animal welfare, environmentally sustainable products, and socially just production. They hope that the Bean Machine sends a jolt to the public and helps spread the world about fair trade products.
(Photo: Phil Walter / Getty Images)
People enjoy the muddy thrills and spills on a waterslide dug into a hillside in Waimauku on Feb. 23, 2013 in Auckland, New Zealand. Only 2000 people will have the honor of riding the water slides, with one measuring 650 meters long built by New Zealanders Jimi Hunt and Dan Drupstee, of the “Live more Awesome” charity this weekend. The world’s longest slide will be open for only two days to raise funds and awareness of depression.
AP: Nepalese mountaineer Chhurim entered the record book by scaling Mount Everest twice in the same climbing season. In fact, she did so a week apart.
Guinness World Records said she is the first woman to climb the world’s highest mountain twice in the same season – the brief window of good weather each year that allows climbers to reach the summit.
Nepal’s Tourism Minister Posta Bahadur Bogati handed over the Guinness World Records certificate issued to 29-year-old Chhurim on Monday.
She scaled the 8,850-meter (29,035-foot) summit on May 12, 2012, descended to the base camp for a couple of days’ rest and then scaled the peak again a week later on May 19.
Chhurim, who uses only one name like most Sherpas, said she is not ready to quit.
“Everest is the first of the highest mountains that I have climbed, but I will continue mountaineering and hope to scale more peaks,” she said.
Chhurim said there are not many women mountaineers and only a few of them have records.
“The male mountaineers have set many records but women have fallen behind. It can be difficult for women because they are considered not as strong as men and face many problems like finding toilets,” she said.
The Nepal Mountaineering Association said Everest has been climbed by nearly 4,000 people since New Zealander Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay of Nepal did so in 1953. Women are a small number of them.
The extremely harsh weather conditions that batter the highest Himalayan peaks limit the climbing season to just a few weeks every year. Spring is the most popular season on Everest when hundreds of mountaineers attempt every year. The climbers generally reach the mountain in March or April, acclimatize to the higher elevation and low oxygen and train for climbing the snowy trail to the peak. The weather usually improves for a few days in May when they line up to the summit.
World’s combined solar power capacity reaches record 101 gigawatts
The European Photovoltaic Industry Association just announced that the world’s combined solar power capacity has surpassed 100 gigawatts to hit a new high, topping out at 101 gigawatts! The news shows that renewable energy is definitely on the rise – especially considering that the record for wind power capacity was also broken in 2012.
The solar power arrays around the world, from giant farms to personal solar panels, have the capacity to generate as much power as sixteen coal burning plants or one nuclear reactor, but with clean energy. As more and more solar arrays are installed in nations across the continents, the world’s dependence on oil and other fossil fuels shrinks, helping to pave the way for continued renewable energy in the future.
Aside from starting the safeguarding process against these natural resources that will run out, the rise of solar power also helps cut back harmful emissions that pollute our atmosphere.
Last year, over 30 gigawatts of solar arrays were installed worldwide, pushing our solar capacity far forward beyond the expectations of the solar industry just ten years ago. Both the shattered records of solar power and wind energy in 2012 prove that these renewable energy sources are here to stay, and that the world has accepted a strong global market for each. At this rate, the EPIA anticipates the industry to grow even more exponentially in 2013.
Garrett McNamara bags Guinness world record riding 78ft wave off Portugal.
(Photo: Stephane Mahe / Reuters)
LES SABLES D’OLONNE, France (AP) - French sailor Francois Gabart has won the Vendee Globe round-the-world race in record time, shaving six days off the previous record held by countryman Michel Desjoyeaux.
It’s tough to be a balloon over Antarctica. Most don’t last more than a few weeks, but the Super-TIGER cosmic ray detector has been floating over the South Pole for 46 days and counting.
The Super-TIGER mission officially shattered the record for longest-running balloon-borne experiment in Antarctica on Saturday (Jan. 19), scientists said. The project launched from the southernmost continent’s Ross Ice Shelf on Dec. 9, and has already surpassed the previous record of 42 days, set by another cosmic ray detector, Cream I, which flew in the winter of 2004 to 2005.
“At 42 days of flight Super-TIGER is now the longest scientific balloon mission! We have over 50 million events!” mission scientists wrote on the project’s Facebook page Jan. 19. “Records are made to be broken!”
Before Super-TIGER’s launch, experiment principal investigator W. Robert Binns, a physicist at Washington University in St. Louis, said “he would be deliriously happy if the balloon carrying the cosmic ray detector stayed up 30 days,” according to a Washington University statement. Super-TIGER has circled the South Pole two and a half times, floating at a height of about 130,000 feet (40,000 meters), which is roughly three or four times higher than passenger jets fly.
From its high-up perch, the balloon-borne instrument can catch cosmic rays (charged particles from deep space) which are typically blocked from reaching the ground by Earth’s atmosphere. And lifting off from Antarctica is a boon, because the wind over the South Pole, called the polar vortex, tends to bring balloons back around in a circle to where they started, making them easy to retrieve after they’ve come back to the ground. Furthermore, the sun never sets during Antarctic summer, which helps balloons stay aloft.
“If you fly from northern Canada as we used to do, the helium in the balloon cools at night and the balloon starts to descend,” Binns said in a statement. “The only way you can keep it up there is by dropping about 100 pounds of ballast. So because of the day/night cycle, flights are limited to about 40 hours, or two days. In Antarctica you can stay up much longer because you don’t have that problem.”
But while Antarctica is perfect for balloons, it’s less than ideal for humans. A day when the wind chill is above minus 75 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 59 degrees Celsius) is considered pleasant.
“Wednesday we had great weather here in McMurdo — just about freezing,” team member Ryan Murphy wrote today (Jan. 23) on his blog, Super-TIGER on the Ice.
However, the close-knit group of scientists who stay at McMurdo Station, the home base for U.S. research in Antarctica, find ways to amuse themselves. The scientists have regular Wednesday night soccer games, Murphy wrote, and the Super-TIGER team even worked with researchers back at Washington University to photograph a “trophy” to commemorate their record-setting flight.
“Through the Photoshop skills of the team back at Wash U, we now have a picture of an awesome real-looking trophy for the longest Antarctic balloon flight,” Murphy wrote of a bowling trophy made to look like an official NASA commemoration of Super-TIGER’s achievement. “This trophy does not exist. But I kind of wish it did.”
Super-TIGER isn’t the only balloon-borne experiment launched this season from the South Pole. The Balloon-borne Large-Aperture Submillimeter Telescope (BLAST) experiment launched Dec. 25 to study star formation in the Milky Way, while the EBEX telescope took flight on Dec. 19 to survey the cosmic microwave background radiation left over from the Big Bang.
Japan bluefin tuna sells for record $1.76 million
(Photo: Kimimasa Mayama / EPA)
A bluefin tuna sold for a record $1.76 million at a Tokyo auction Saturday, nearly three times the previous high set last year — even as environmentalists warn that stocks of the majestic, speedy fish are being depleted worldwide amid strong demand for sushi.
Oldest living identical twins, Charlotte Eisgrou and Ann Primack, turn 103
On Monday, the world’s oldest living identical twins celebrated their 103 birthday!
Charlotte Eisgrou and Ann Primack of South Florida and Daytona Beach, Fla. are still in the best of health, despite their age. Neither uses a hearing aide or reading glasses, reported the Daily Mail.
“I feel wonderful. I have all my faculties,” Eisgrou told the Daytona Beach News-Journal.
Although the pair was unable to spend their birthday together since they are both recovering from recent falls, they still consider each other best friends. The twins were born two months premature in Chicago in 1909. They weighed a combined 7 lbs. Since they were born before incubators were invented, they were wrapped in blankets and put in the door of a stove to keep warm, reported the Daily Mail.
Eisgrou moved to Florida in 1949, and Primack followed her in 1971. There, they enjoyed the majority of their lives, outlived their husbands, and had one son each. They’re both astonished by their record-breaking age.
“I can’t believe it, that I’ve reached that age. The good thing is our minds are sharp. That’s the only good thing,” Primack told ABC.
Amazingly, the twins continue to live almost completely independently. Eisgrou started driving at age 78, and didn’t stop until four years ago, when her now 71-year-old son told her “I shouldn’t get a new car with all the hijackings,” reported the Daytona Beach News-Journal.
They both use a cane to walk, but are healthy and independent. Primack even survived ovarian cancer years ago. Their longevity may in part be due to their sense of humor. They recalled to the Daytona Journal that they often used to switch husbands when they visited each other.
“I used to visit Daytona and we’d switch husbands and walk in the temple,” Primack said, “And they’d say to me, ‘Charlotte, you look so good.’”
“Nobody ever knew the difference. And by the time they found out, they were hysterical,” Eisgrou told ABC. “We had so much fun.”
“They are very funny,” Jerry Primack, Ann’s son, added. “They bicker constantly.”
Although the sisters have always been close, they cannot agree on what has led them to live such a long life. According to the Daily Mail, Primack credits genes and “never being fat” while her twin Eisgrou says it’s because she drank lots of milk.
“Everybody asks me that. I don’t know what it was,” Primack told ABC. “I didn’t watch my food when I was young. I smoked. We all smoked.”
Eisgrou added: “I don’t know the secret to a long life. And I wouldn’t tell you if I knew it.”
“We love each other and we always will,” Primack told ABC.
Eisgrou and Primack are the second oldest twins in the world, born 39 days after non-identical twins Edith Ritchie and Evelyn Middleton from Aberdeenshire, Scotland.
China to open world’s longest high-speed rail line
China tested its 2,298-kilometer (1,428-mile) high-speed rail line, the longest in the world, as it prepares to start passenger service in two days.
Bullet-trains on the line from Beijing to southern Chinese city of Guangzhou can run at an average speed of 300 kilometers per hour, the official Xinhua news agency said. It will shorten the rail travel time from the capital to the Pearl River Delta to about eight hours from the previous 24 hours.
China is accelerating railway investment again after it introduced new safety measures following a deadly bullet-train crash in Wenzhou that killed 40 people in July 2011. Railway investment as of October rose almost 250 percent from a year earlier as the government stepped up fiscal measures to help growth.
“Government-driven investment has quick effects on boosting growth in the short term,” said Yuan Gangming, a researcher with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, a government think-tank based in Beijing. “But you can’t rely on investment to drive growth forever.”
Yuan said China had a “great leap forward” in spending on railways since 2008 and this is expected to “normalize” in coming years with the completion of major lines such as the Beijing-Guangzhou high-speed link.
More than 100 Chinese and international journalists were invited to join the Dec. 22 test run, Xinhua said.The bullet-train line will be extended to Hong Kong in the future and will add to competition for China Southern Airlines Co. (1055) A380s flying between the cities, a flight lasting about three hours with an economy class ticket costing 1,620 yuan ($260).
A second-class train ticket on the line, which winds through major inland Chinese cities, including Zhengzhou, Wuhan and Changsha, costs 865 yuan, while a first-class ticket costs 1,388 yuan, Xinhua said. Competition from the new railway line for airlines operating Beijing-Wuhan and Beijing-Zhengzhou flights will be intense, China’s state television reported today.
China Southern Airlines is offering discounts of as much as 73 percent and Air China is offering a 57 percent discount for flights between Beijing and Wuhan on Dec. 26, according to company websites.China’s Ministry of Railways didn’t publish a total investment amount for the high-speed line because it was developed in parts and then connected. The Wuhan-Guangzhou section, which extends 1,069 kilometers and began operating a year ago, cost 116.6 billion yuan.
Another landmark Chinese high-speed railway, the 1,318- kilometer Beijing to Shanghai link that started operating in June 2011, cost 220.9 billion yuan.
China’s railway ministry didn’t publish the financial performance of the high-speed railway lines.
China has boosted its railway infrastructure spending plan to 516 billion yuan in 2012 from the 406 billion yuan set at the beginning of the year, helping the share price of CSR Corp Ltd. (601766) and China CNR Corp., the nation’s two leading train makers.
Solar Impulse team to attempt first ever solar-powered cross-U.S.A flight
Flights across the U.S. have become quite commonplace since Calbraith Perry Rodgers completed the first one ever back in 1911, but now a new group of aviation pioneers wants to attempt the same feat with a decidedly more difficult twist thrown in – they can’t use any fuel except for the power of the sun. The Solar Impulse team, led by Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg, announced last night that it will be taking its solar-powered plane to the skies this summer on a transcontinental flight from San Francisco to New York. If successful, the trip would be the first solar-powered, cross-America flight in history.
The Solar Impulse has made several other successful sun-powered trips in the past but the one planned for this summer will be its first in the U.S. The logistics of the flight are still a bit fuzzy but the team has chosen San Francisco as a starting point and New York as a final destination for the trip. Washington D.C. will also be a stop but the other few cities are still – forgive the pun – up in the air.
The first-of-its-kind plane has 11,628 solar cells on its wings that are capable of powering its four 10-horsepower engines. It has the wingspan of an Airbus A340 but amazingly weighs only 1600kg – about the same as a typical sedan. It flies much slower than a regular commercial jet at 70 km/h but only uses about the same average power as a scooter. And even though the Solar Impulse gets its energy from the sun, it is capable of flying day and night without fuel.
Since the Solar Impulse cannot, as of yet, fly from Switzerland to California in one straight shot (or to be more specific, it cannot accommodate a human being comfortably for such a long trip), the plane will be taken apart and shipped to the States in many small pieces. Gregory Blatt, Solar Impulse’s head of marketing and communication explained to us that the plane will be deconstructed in Zurich in March and packed very, very carefully (as you might imagine) into containers to be loaded into a 747 for transport to California. When it arrives, it will then be reconstructed over the course of three weeks before it takes to the skies in May.
Piccard and Borschberg, both experienced pilots, will take turns flying the Solar Impulse on different legs of the cross-country trip. Each leg will span approximately 20 hours, which is considerably shorter than the Solar Impulse’s successful 26-hour straight flight, which proved it could be flown both when the sun is shining and when it’s not.
Although, if successful, the transcontinental flight will be a recordmaker, the Solar Impulse team has made it clear that they don’t intend to race across the country. They plan to take it slow and even make stops at schools to raise awareness about solar power along the way. “Our goal is to do a coast to coast flight,” Borschberg explained to us. “The goal is not to set records. The goal is to show what you can do with exploration.”
Several corporate partners have already signed on with Solar Impulse, and some of them have seemingly nothing to do with the aviation industry but could nonetheless utilize some of the cutting-edge materials and technologies used to make the plane. One example is elevator company Schindler, which has expressed interested in the lightweight carbon fiber that the Solar Impulse is made of as a way to make their product lighter as well.
This summer’s cross-U.S. trip will be a lead-up to the Solar Impulse’s 2015 attempt to fly around the world in a new, improved version of the plane that is being worked on currently.
Retired scientist hopes to make history by sailing 4ft MODEL boat 6,000 miles across the Atlantic
A retired Nato scientist is hoping to make history by sailing a four foot remote-controlled model boat across the Atlantic.
Robin Lovelock, 65, hopes to become the first person to sail an unmanned craft - named Snoopy Sloop - 6,000 miles across the ocean as part of the Microtransat Challenge, launched in 2010.
The 30lb home made boat, constructed for less than £450 and put together in Robin’s games room at his Sunninghill, Berkshire, home, will attempt to sail the seas powered by wind and a solar-powered GPS and steering system.
Although Robin was more accustomed to developing military computer systems for Nato in his day job, he has constructed a pretty resilient boat - it has already sailed 5,000 miles, albeit in the comparatively still waters of Bray Lake near Windsor, over the last seven months.
The painstaking voyage, which will see Robin given hourly updates on the boat’s progress along its pre-programmed route via satellite, could take as long as six months.He says that a miniature Snoopy figure placed on board the tiny boat is to poke fun at academics who take the challenge ‘far too seriously.’ Robin told the Telegraph: ‘I got hooked about four years ago. I didn’t even play with model boats when I was a boy. I sometimes tinker on the boat in the lounge, but am usually banished to the games room by my wife.’
Helped by a team that includes a veteran of BBC’s Robot Wars, Mr Lovelock seems to be confident that he will complete the challenge - he has already programmed the return route into the boat’s navigation system.
The first Microtransat competition took place on a lake near Toulouse, France in June 2006 with three teams taking part. A team from Aberystwyth University attempted the first transatlantic crossing in September 2010 setting sail from Valentia, County Kerry, Ireland.
But the team lost its track of the craft off the north west coast of Ireland. The challenge has been attempted three times since 2010, with all three attempts failing. Three more attempts have been registered for this year.