It’s probably a safe bet that most geeks grew up as fans of the Guinness World Records books. (If you want to know if you’re a true geek, reading reference books as if they were literature is usually a sign…)
But the problem with the Guinness book is that, to maintain its long-established authority, it’s a little staid. In this Internet age, some people call for records which are a little more… well… stupid.
Enter the Universal Record Database, a site which works on the uplifting theory that everyone has the capacity to be the best in the world at something. Unlike the Guinness system, the only URDB rules are that records must be quantifiable, breakable and legal, though there’s a preference that record attempts should, where possible, have a positive rather than negative impact on mankind and the world.
Participants are encouraged to get witnesses to verify records wherever possible and provide evidence; where there’s doubt, site users can vote on whether a claim should be accepted.
I came across the site after the Guardian newspaper’s tech correspondent Jack Schofield took the crown for the most unread e-mails in an inbox with a staggering 30,422. But that’s utterly conventional by the standards of the site: recently broken records include:
- the most number of times you can get a Mattress World employee to say “mattress” in a single phone call (12);
- the most number of rows inserted into a single table in a database (10,053,958,867);
- the most number of times a relative of Sarah Palin can be punched (39); and, as I’m sure you’ve already guessed,
- the largest group of people to inhale helium and sing I Think We’re Alone Now while hogtied (18).
And then there’s this one: