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8 Wacky World Records

If you're like me, when you think of world records you think of that weird guy in the Guinness Book ca. 1980 with the really really long fingernails that curled around and around. Those sort of odd records continue to intrigue me so I came up with a list of 8 that are equally, if not slightly more wacky.

1. Most Spoons Balanced on the Face

In 2004, twelve-year-old Jonathan Friedman made it into the Guinness Book of World records for balancing 13 stainless steel spoons on his face for two minutes. Tim Johnston, who balanced 15 spoons for 30 seconds, quickly shattered the record a couple months later. The current reigning champ is nine-year-old Joe Allison who managed to balance 16 spoons on his face in 2008. He continues to practice and hopes one day to break his own record, but says his face needs to grow a bit first so he has more room to rest the spoons.

2. Longest Speech

Lluis Colet holds the title for the world's longest speech, which lasted a staggering five days and four nights—124 hours in all. The epic speech was about Spanish painter Salvador Dali, Catalan culture and various other related topics. This is not the first world record title for Colet who scored the longest speech title originally in 2004 with a 48-hour speech. But the record was later broken by a man who delivered a 120-hour speech. Colet was determined to win his title back. Fittingly, he dedicated his win to all those who work to promote and preserve the Catalan language and culture.

3. Most Piercings In One Session

All world records demand stamina but some are downright, er piercing. Twenty-one year-old Matt Robinson recently walked into a piercing studio with 27 piercings and left with 1,143. He received 1,116 new piercings on his back and arms to break the world record. Kam Ma had originally set the record in 2002 with 600 in one session. Robinson had set a goal of receiving 400 more than Ma to shatter the record. However, when Ma got wind of Robinson's plan, he decided to break his own record with 1,115 piercings just days before Robinson's scheduled session. So Robinson upped his number to 1,200! However, after hours of torture, he decided to just break the record by one piercing and stopped at 1,116. And get a load of this: He had the piercings removed a few days later, all except number 1,116 which broke the world record.

4. Eating the Most Hot Peppers

Pain comes in many forms. For Anandita Dutta Tamuly, the pain of eating 51 hot peppers in 2 minutes has to be weighed with this fact: the peppers were ghost peppers known to be the hottest peppers on Earth—twice as hot as Red Savina Habaneros. In 2002, Anita Crafford set the record by eating 8 jalapeños in 1 minute. The ghost peppers that Tamuly consumed were 100 times hotter than the jalapeños in the original record. Tamuly says she developed a taste for ghost peppers as a child when the paste had been smeared on her tongue to cure a childhood illness. She would even pick and eat ghost pepper while other children in her village were busy picking berries. To prove how resilient she was to the peppers, she smeared 25 of them in her eyes before consuming them.

5. Side Wheel Driving Through Smallest Gap

Dave Ackland broke the world record for side wheel driving when he drove his Vauxhall Viva on 2 wheels through an opening that was only 67 cm wider than the car was high. The previous record had been set by Terry Grant at the Santa Pod Raceway, Wellingborough, UK on October 17 2006. Ackland is a professional stunt driver and had been practicing for a long time (first on a bicycle!) to earn himself the title. As a kid, her looked up to such daredevils as Evel Knievel and Eddie Kidd. Ackland hopes to go on tour with his own stunt show that he says will include new blindfolded stunts and audience participation. Yeah, you can count me out of the audience of that show!

6. Most Pumpkins Carved in One Hour

Schoolteacher Stephen Clarke has a special talent that has not only earned him two world records but a lot of notoriety. He held the record for fastest pumpkin carver for sculpting a Jack O'Lantern in just 54.72 seconds. However, he broke his own record in 2006 by carving a pumpkin in just 24.03 seconds. Clarke also was published in the Guinness Book of World Records for carving 42 pumpkins in one hour on CBS's The Early Show, in 2002. In 2008 as a part of Publisher Scholastic Media's promotion of Goosebumps Horrorland, the company's first interactive game system, he broke his own record, carving 50 pumpkins in 1 hour before 3,200 witnesses!

7. Oldest Bungee Jumper

Ninety-six year-old Mohr Keet became the oldest bungee jumper in the world when he jumped off of the world record highest bungee jump location, Bloukrans Bridge outside Mossel Bay, on April 7, 2010. The title had previously been help by James Talbot Guyer at 74 years 47 days old. Guyer still holds the record for oldest base jumper which he earned after parachuting off the 486ft high Perrine Bridge in 2002. These guys are proof that extreme sports are not limited to the young. Keet began bungee jumping at 88 and had actually set the record for oldest bungee jumper jumping off the highest bungee jump three times, but he didn't apply to get the feat certified as a world record until the April 7, 2010 jump.

8. Most World Records Record

In 2009, Ashrita Furman set a new world record for holding the most world records at one time: 100 simultaneously. Furman has spent the past 30 years of his life training for and breaking world records. He says his interest in breaking world records stems from childhood. As a kid, he would much rather be reading the Guinness Book of World Records than playing sports. In all, Furman has set 236 world records and currently holds 98. His records range from pogo stick jumping and peeling and eating a lemon to poetry recitation and underwater juggling. The most records anyone person has held simultaneously since Furman set his record is 20. Furman feels confident that no one is catching up to him anytime soon, but just to be safe he continues to practice for and set world records. Maybe we can convince him to set the world record for leaving the most comments on a mental_floss blog post, which shouldn't be too hard considering the present record is only about 10!

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Animals
Bizarre New Species of Crabs and a Giant Sea Cockroach Discovered in Waters Off Indonesia
One known species of isopod, or "giant sea cockroach"
One known species of isopod, or "giant sea cockroach"
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A crab with green googly eyes, another with "ears" resembling peanuts, and a species of giant sea cockroach are among the dozen new kinds of crustaceans discovered by scientists in the waters off Indonesia, Channel News Asia reports.

These finds are the result of a two-week expedition by Indonesian and Singaporean scientists with the South Java Deep Sea Biodiversity Expedition (SJADES 2018), which involved exploring deep waters in the Sunda Strait (the waterway separating the islands of Sumatra and Java in Southeast Asia) and the Indian Ocean. Using trawls, dredges, and other tools, researchers brought a huge variety of deep-sea life to the surface—some species for the very first time.

"The world down there is an alien world," Peter Ng, chief scientist of the expedition, told Channel News Asia. "You have waters that go down more than 2000 to 3000 meters [9800 feet], and we do not know … the animal life that's at the bottom."

The giant sea cockroach—technically a giant isopod, also nicknamed a Darth Vader isopod—is a new species in the genus Bathynomus, measuring almost a foot long and found more than 4000 feet deep. The isopods are occasionally seen on the ocean floor, where they scuttle around scavenging for dead fish and other animals. This marked the first time the genus has ever been recorded in Indonesia.

Another find is a spider crab nicknamed Big Ears, though it doesn't actually have ears—its peanut-shaped plates are used to protect the crab's eyes.

More than 800 species were collected during the expedition, accounting for 12,000 individual animals. Researchers say it will take up to two years to study all of them. In addition to the 12 species that are completely new to science, 40 were seen for the first time in Indonesia. Creatures that the scientists dubbed a chain-saw lobster, an ice cream cone worm, and a cock-eyed squid were among some of the rarer finds.

A "Chain-Saw Lobster"
Nicknamed the "Chain-Saw Lobster," this creature is a rare blind lobster, found only in the deep seas.

Researchers took to the giant sea cockroach quickly, with some of the crew members reportedly calling it “cute” and cradling it like a baby. Check out Channel News Asia Insider's video below for more insight into their creepy finds.

[h/t Channel News Asia]

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Weird
The Mysterious Case of the Severed Feet in British Columbia
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While walking on the beach, many people look out for a number of things: Shells, buried treasure, crabs, and dolphins among them. But if you’re on a beach in British Columbia, you might want to keep an eye out for something a little more sinister—about 15 severed feet have washed up on the shores there in the past few years. The latest was found on May 6, wedged in a mass of logs on Gabriola Island, according to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

The feet have been surprising unlucky British Columbians for over a decade. The first appeared back in 2007 on Jedediah Island; it was eventually matched to a deceased man whose family declined to provide additional information. Bizarre, but not particularly alarming—until another one showed up on Gabriola Island less than a month later. More feet followed, and though some were matched to missing persons, most remained anonymous (feet, unfortunately, don’t contain much identifying information). Instead, police focused on the fact that each foot was encased in a running shoe—though sizes, genders, and brands differed.

This seems like a real-life episode of The X-Files, but it turns out there’s a perfectly reasonable explanation for the severed feet: They’re not really “severed,” which would indicate cutting or slicing, at all. According to scientists who tested the theory, the feet likely belong to suicide, drowning, or plane crash victims. It’s common for decomposing bodies to come apart at the joint, making it natural for the foot to come apart from the leg. But if that’s the case, wouldn’t hands be similarly susceptible to washing up on beaches? Nope, that’s where the shoes come in.

While the rest of the body naturally decomposes in water, feet are surprisingly well protected inside the rubber and fabric of a shoe. The soles can be pretty buoyant, and sometimes air pockets get trapped inside the shoe, making it float to the surface. Most of the “severed” feet have been clad in jogging shoes such as Nikes and Pumas, but at least one case involves a hiking boot. In that instance, the boot (and foot) was matched to a man who went missing while fishing more than 25 years ago. The most recent case also involves a hiking boot.

That leaves the question: Why British Columbia? According to Richard Thompson, an oceanographer with the federal Institute of Ocean Sciences, it’s connected to ocean current. “There’s a lot of recirculation in the region; we’re working here with a semi-enclosed basin. Fraser River, False Creek, Burrard Inlet—all those regions around there are somewhat semi-enclosed. The tidal currents and the winds can keep things that are floating recirculating in the system." Several feet have also been found further south, in Washington state, which shares a network of coastal waterways with British Columbia.

Others aren’t so quick to accept this scientific analysis, however. Criminal lawyer and crime author Michael Slade still wonders if a serial killer is afoot. "We also have to consider that this could be a serial killer," he said. "Somebody who right now is underneath the radar. That has to be on the table."

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