World Records and Me
Ever since I was a kid I have been fascinated with record setting facts. Back in the day my parents would satisfy my curiously with old thrift shop copies of the famous Guinness Book of Records. It didn’t matter that some of the copies dated to before I was born, as long as the pictures were unique (not always the case, as I recall Robert Wadlow the world’s tallest ever man at 8 foot 11 inches, would always be featured in the human body section with some random fellow dwarfed under this living giant) I was always happy to flick through the pages in awe.
My thoughts were if Guinness had their book why can’t I? The brilliant idea came to me shortly after perusing countless pages of humans taking themselves to the limit. I managed to get a hold of a small exercise book and began a records book featuring my very own personal human achievements; it would include things like jumping the furthest from a single point in our living room, most push-ups or how long I can hold my breath. One record I remember reading about was of a man in India standing on one foot for something like 72 hours. I thought to myself now there’s a maverick when it comes to record breaking. I told myself that I must set my own one foot record, otherwise one day I will go to my grave with deep regret not knowing how long I could really stand there balancing on a single foot. From memory I got bored and my foot starting aching after a measly half an hour. After hobbling to the pages of my record diary I scribbled the new record name and personal best time and in my head was satisfied that I have ticked off another record of my young minds bucket list.
These days I don’t jump around my lounge any more setting records (after all I might knock over Levi), but I have still kept my fascination with things that are the biggest, fastest, hairiest etc. My yearly ritual whenever I am in Kmart’s book section and I see the newly printed copy of the Guinness Records is to flick through the pages and check-out the newest pictures and interesting additions to the list.
A record category I find really interesting to read up on is the world tallest buildings/structures. Wikipedia has a great article on this.
The current world record holder for the tallest building is Burj Khalifa in United Arab Emirates at 829.8 meters in height. It surpasses the second place holder (as at the time of writing this) Tokyo Sky Tree at 634 meters, by nearly 200 meters. It is an amazing structure and feat of human engineering. I would love to stand on top of it and gaze out.
But I always enjoy looking over the horizon and seeing what if anything is going to top that in the near future. The Kingdom Tower that appears to be underway is set to be over one kilometre in height. Yep that’s over 1000 meters into the air.
I am not even going to talk about the theoretical proposals such as the space elevator.
One last thing that blew my mind when I was reading the article. There is a section on how long various previous record holders help the record as the tallest structure. An example is the Eiffel tower (300 meters) that held the record for 41 years from 1889 till 1930 when it was surpassed by the Chrysler Building (319 meters).
Do you know who held the record for the longest time? Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt (146 meters) held the record as the tallest human structure for a whopping 3871 years from 2560 BC till 1311 when it was finally surpassed by Lincoln Cathedral in England (160 meters).