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What’s the Longest Prison Sentence Ever Received?

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Late last week, Ariel Castro—who kidnapped Amanda Berry, Georgina "Gina" DeJesus and Michelle Knight and kept them prisoner in his Cleveland home and raped and abused them for years—was sentenced to life plus 1000 years in prison without the possibility of parole. How does a millennium and then some stack up against other stints in the clink?

In the grand scheme of things, Castro got a slap on the wrist. Juan Corona was given one life sentence for each of the 25 migrant farm workers he murdered between 1970 and 1971 in California. (When Corona was born in 1934, American males had a life expectancy of around 61 years, so if you wanted to quantify all those life sentences, it’s 1525 years).*

After being convicted for a long list of murders, assaults, rapes and kidnappings, Florida serial killer Bobbie Joe Long received one five-year sentence, four 99-year sentences, 28 life sentences and one death sentence in 1985/1986 (again, using Long’s life expectancy at year of birth, you can put a number on those life sentences—he’s looking at a grand total of 2305 years).

Darron Bennalford Anderson was sentenced to 2200 years for rape, robbery and kidnapping in Oklahoma in 1993. When he appealed, got a new trial and was convicted again, the court added a few thousand years to his original sentence—bringing the total just beyond 11,000 years. After another appeal, he got a measly 500 years knocked off.

The longest sentence actually handed down in court that we could find was given to Oklahoma child rapist Charles Scott Robinson in 1994 (between Anderson, Robinson and Timothy McVeigh, the Sooner State was apparently a terrifying place to be in the early 1990s). He got 30,000 years, or 5,000 for each of the six counts for which he was convicted.

Even Robinson’s sentence seems like nothing compared to the punishment Spanish prosecutors were pushing for in Gabriel Granados’ 1972 trial. The mailman was charged with failure to deliver 42,768 letters, and the state’s attorneys wanted to hit him with 9 years for each piece of mail, or 384,912 years altogether. The judge decided to give him a slightly shorter sentence of 14 years and two months, instead.

A life sentence means you stay in prison for the rest of your life or until you’re paroled. If Corona is actually a vampire or immortal, he doesn’t get released at the end of the 1525th year—this is just for the sake of comparing sentence lengths. We would love to see this plot explored in a supernatural prison drama on HBO, though.

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Big Questions
What Are Curlers Yelling About?
WANG ZHAO/AFP/Getty Images
WANG ZHAO/AFP/Getty Images

Curling is a sport that prides itself on civility—in fact, one of its key tenets is known as the “Spirit of Curling,” a term that illustrates the respect that the athletes have for both their own teammates and their opponents. But if you’re one of the millions of people who get absorbed by the sport once every four years, you probably noticed one quirk that is decidedly uncivilized: the yelling.

Watch any curling match and you’ll hear skips—or captains—on both sides barking and shouting as the 42-pound stone rumbles down the ice. This isn’t trash talk; it’s strategy. And, of course, curlers have their own jargon, so while their screams won’t make a whole lot of sense to the uninitiated, they could decide whether or not a team will have a spot on the podium once these Olympics are over.

For instance, when you hear a skip shouting “Whoa!” it means he or she needs their teammates to stop sweeping. Shouting “Hard!” means the others need to start sweeping faster. If that’s still not getting the job done, yelling “Hurry hard!” will likely drive the point home: pick up the intensity and sweep with downward pressure. A "Clean!" yell means put a brush on the ice but apply no pressure. This will clear the ice so the stone can glide more easily.

There's no regulation for the shouts, though—curler Erika Brown says she shouts “Right off!” and “Whoa!” to get her teammates to stop sweeping. And when it's time for the team to start sweeping, you might hear "Yes!" or "Sweep!" or "Get on it!" The actual terminology isn't as important as how the phrase is shouted. Curling is a sport predicated on feel, and it’s often the volume and urgency in the skip’s voice (and what shade of red they’re turning) that’s the most important aspect of the shouting.

If you need any more reason to make curling your favorite winter sport, once all that yelling is over and a winner is declared, it's not uncommon for both teams to go out for a round of drinks afterwards (with the winners picking up the tab, obviously). Find out how you can pick up a brush and learn the ins and outs of curling with our beginner's guide.

Have you got a Big Question you'd like us to answer? If so, let us know by emailing us at

Why You Should Never Take Your Shoes Off On an Airplane

What should be worn during takeoff?

Tony Luna:

If you are a frequent flyer, you may often notice that some passengers like to kick off their shoes the moment they've settled down into their seats.

As an ex-flight attendant, I'm here to tell you that it is a dangerous thing to do. Why?

Besides stinking up the whole cabin, footwear is essential during an airplane emergency, even though it is not part of the flight safety information.

During an emergency, all sorts of debris and unpleasant ground surfaces will block your way toward the exit, as well as outside the aircraft. If your feet aren't properly covered, you'll have a hard time making your way to safety.

Imagine destroying your bare feet as you run down the aisle covered with broken glass, fires, and metal shards. Kind of like John McClane in Die Hard, but worse. Ouch!

Bruce Willis stars in 'Die Hard' (1988)
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

A mere couple of seconds delay during an emergency evacuation can be a matter of life and death, especially in an enclosed environment. Not to mention the entire aircraft will likely be engulfed in panic and chaos.

So, the next time you go on a plane trip, please keep your shoes on during takeoff, even if it is uncomfortable.

You can slip on a pair of bathroom slippers if you really need to let your toes breathe. They're pretty useless in a real emergency evacuation, but at least they're better than going barefoot.

This post originally appeared on Quora. Click here to view.


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