Neither Mexico nor India: The world's hottest chilli comes from a tiny greenhouse in Cumbria
2nd December 2010
It is so hot weapons experts plan to use a couple in a spice bomb to incapacitate enemy soldiers on the battlefield. But the world’s hottest chilli does not hail from India, Thailand or Mexico but from a small greenhouse in Cumbria. It was created by crossing three of the hottest varieties of chilli pods known to man. The result is a record breaking chilli that will make your eyes stream, throat burn, nose run and much, much worse.
The Naga Viper chilli packs an astonishing 1,359,000 on the Scoville scale, which measures heat by the presence of the chemical compound capsaicin. Experts at Warwick University carried out tests on the chilli and officially declared it the hottest. It beat competition from the ferocious Bhut Jolokia pod - the previous holder - to take the title of the world’s hottest chilli in the Guinness Book of World Records.
Creator, Gerald Fowler, a full-time chilli farmer for five years, said: ‘When they grow chilli in India or the Caribbean they’re used to the heat and the drought. When they’re grown over here I think they fight back against the harsher climate and produce even more heat.’
Dozens of customers at Mr Fowler’s village pub, the Engine Inn, signed a disclaimer stating they are of sound body and mind before sampling a curry cooked with Naga Viper. Only two managed to finish the whole dish. He sells the chilli as a tongue-blistering sauce for curries but says he is getting a lot of interest from chilly growers keen to get their hands on the seeds.
‘It’s painful to eat,’ said Mr Fowler, 52, who runs the Chilli Pepper Company, in Cark-in-Cartmel, near Grange-Over-Sands. ‘It’s hot enough to strip paint. It numbs your tongue, then burns all the way down. It can last an hour, and you just don’t want to talk to anyone or do anything. But it’s a marvellous endorphin rush. It makes you feel great.’
The most popular chilli – Jalapeno – measures a pitiful 2,500 to 5,000 on the Scoville scale. Mr Fowler’s Naga Viper is more than 270 times hotter and trumps the previous world record holder, the Bhut Jolokia, at 1,001,304. The Indian Government has been examining ways of using the very hottest chillis such as the Bhut Jolokia to produce a spice bomb that would completely incapacitate enemy soldiers without killing them.
Mr Fowler crossed the Bhut Jolokia, with two other varieties, the Naga Morich and Trinidad Scorpion, and grew the plants in his 8ft by 16ft heated greenhouse. He said: ‘The chef Heston Blumenthal gave a volunteer our chilli oil and monitored their brain activity on a CAT scan. It showed the part of the brain which registers heat was right next to the part of the brain which makes us feel happy. Some people have actually eaten the raw pods, because that’s the sort of macho thing that some people do, and posted it on YouTube. A couple were sick.’
Mr Fowler has sold chilli seeds to the Eden Project in Cornwall, to the Edinburgh Horticultural Society, and to farmers in Afghanistan, as a alternative to growing poppies for opium. ‘I’ve been growing chilli for 10 years, and doing it full-time for five,‘ he said ‘I was a website designer and just got drawn into it when my dad got a chilli plant.’
'Bored' Poles build 10m snowman with traffic cone for a nose
12th December 2010
It's Frosty, super-sized. This 31-foot behemoth - dubbed 'Milocinek' - is casting a long, frigid shadow over Trzebnica, Poland. A group of bored Poles started building him one day - and then decided they would just keep going. Six days later, they hunted down a barrel for a hat and a traffic cone for a nose, and their work was done. The resulting Goliath of a snowman stands on eye-level with surrounding two-storey homes, and dwarfs passing cars.
The snowman was completed on Friday near the town of Trzebnica in southwestern Poland. A Polish newspaper's website reported Saturday that the snowman's builders believe Milocinek is the largest snowman built in Poland since winter weather set in more than a week ago. Other observers go further - suggesting he may well be the largest snowman in the world. But with a major storm dumping two inches of snow an hour on America's mid-west last night, and thousands of children being held home from school, that record may not last for long
The largest collection of Santa Claus memorabilia: Jean-Guy Laquerre (Canada) has 25,104 different items of Santa Claus memorabilia, as of 30 November 2010, that he has been collecting since 1988. His collection includes 2,360 figurines, 2,846 cards and postcards from 33 counties, 1,312 serviettes and 241 pins and brooches.
Largest gathering of Santa Clauses: The largest gathering of Santa Clauses was achieved by 13,000 participants in the Guildhall Square in Derry City, Northern Ireland, UK, on 9 December 2007.
Largest Santa: A Santa measuring 15.6 m (51 ft) high, 11 m (36 ft) wide and 4 m (13 ft) deep stood at the entrance to the Tanglin Mall, Singapore, from November 10, 1996 to January 3, 1997. It weighed 2.5 tonnes and was constructed from polyfoam and metal.
Largest floating Christmas tree: The largest floating Christmas tree measures 85 m (278 ft 10 in) in height and was erected as an annual tradition in Rodrigo De Freitas Lagoon in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil for Christmas 2007. The tree was sponsored by Bradesco Seguros e Previdência.
Most lights on a Christmas tree: The record for the most lights lit simultaneously on a Christmas tree is 150,000 for the RTL-ChariTree 2006. The feat was achieved by RTL Television GmbH, Germany, on 22 December 2006 at the Cologne Cathedral, Cologne, Germany.
Oldest (and probably he crappiest!) Christmas tree: Every year, Janet Parker of Chippenham, Wiltshire, UK, puts up her Christmas tree, which was purchased - possibly from Woolworths - for her Great Aunt in 1886. Standing 30 cm (12 in) high in an ornate pot, it gets decorated with cherubs and the Virgin Mary.
The most Christmas trees chopped in two minutes is 27 by Erin Lavoie (USA) achieved on the set of Guinness World Records in Germany, on 19 December 2008.
Largest Christmas stocking: The largest Christmas stocking measured 32.56 m (106 ft 9 in) long and 14.97 m (49 ft 1 in) wide (heel to toe) and was made by the Children's Society (UK) in London, UK on 14 December 2007.
Largest advent calendar: The largest advent calendar is 71 m (232 ft 11 in) high and 23 m (75 ft 5 in) wide and was built at St Pancras station, London, UK, to commemorate the station's refurbishment in December 2007.
Largest Christmas star ornament: The largest Christmas star ornament measures 31.59 m (103 ft 8 in) tall and was achieved by Apple A Day Properties (India) and unveiled in Kochi, Kerala, India, on 31 December 2009.
Fastest marathon dressed as Santa Claus: The fastest marathon dressed as Santa Claus is 2 hr 55 min 50 sec and was achieved by Paul Simons (UK) at the Flora London Marathon, London, UK, on 26 April 2009.
China unveils world's longest sea bridge
31st December 2010
China has unveiled the world’s longest sea bridge, which stretches a massive 26.4 miles – five miles further than the distance between Dover and Calais and longer than a marathon. The Qingdao Haiwan Bridge, completed earlier this week, links the main urban area of Qingdao city, East China’s Shandong province, with Huangdao district, straddling the Jiaozhou Bay sea areas.
The road bridge, which took four years and cost a cool £5.5billion to build, will be open for use in the New Year and is almost three miles longer than the previous record-holder, the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway in Louisiana. That structure features two bridges running side by side and is 23.87 miles (38.42km) long.
The three-way Qingdao Haiwan Bridge is a staggering 174 times longer than London’s Tower Bridge, over the Thames River – and shaves 19 miles off the drive from Qingdao to Huangdao. Two separate groups of workers have been building the different ends of the structure since 2006. And they were relieved when all the bridges connected properly, which they managed to do on December 22. One engineer commented: ‘The computer models and calculations are all very well but you can't really relax until the two sides are bolted together. Even a few centimetres out would have been a disaster.’
With an overall length of 42.58km, the route between Qingdao and Huangdao will be shortened by 30km, cutting the travel time by about 20 minutes. However, the colossal construction is set to hold the record as the longest sea bridge only for a few years – and it will be bettered by another Chinese bridge in the next decade. Last December officials announced workers had begun constructing a bridge to link southern Guangdong province with Hong Kong and Macau. Set to be completed in 2016, officials say the £6.5billion bridge will span nearly 50km (30 miles).
- Danyang–Kunshan Grand Bridge (rail) - China - 102 miles
- Tianjin Grand Bridge (rail) - China - 71 miles
- Weinan Weihe Grand Bridge (rail) - China - 50 miles
- Bang Na Expressway (road) - Thailand - 34 miles
'Biggest Ever' Fox Caught In Britain
Sky News Online
January 02, 2011
A fox, believed to be the biggest ever found in Britain, has been caught and killed after it apparently ate a family's pet cat. The giant creature was twice the normal size of its species and weighed 26.5lb - or nearly two stone. It was 4ft long - the same length as an average seven-year-old child and about the size of a coyote, dingo or Iberian lynx.
The animal was caught on Boxing Day by vet Keith Talbot who had laid a trap with food, while he spent Christmas at his parents' home in Maidstone, Kent. The fox's capture raises fears such creatures are getting larger and bolder, as they have easy access to discarded food from suburban homes.
Mr Talbot spoke about the suspected attack by the fox on their cat. He said: "The cat was on the doormat when they (his parents) went to bed and heard some commotion. They saw a fox going up the drive later on that night, but didn't think anything of it. Later that morning, they came out and there was fur and bits of the cat everywhere."
The vet ended up catching two foxes after setting the trap. Both animals were humanely destroyed.
Meet the Midnight Rider - the world's biggest limo with room for 40 guests... and even pole dancing
13th January 2011
Any hens or stags planning on hiring a limousine to celebrate their nuptials should feast their eyes on this souped up mega monster... complete with pole for would-be dancers. The Midnight Rider is officially the world's heaviest limo according to the 2011 Guinness Book of Records and could also be the biggest. At 70ft long, the 13ft high behemoth has 22 wheels and weighs a hefty 22.7 tons. Boasting room for 40 hard-partying revellers, the Midnight Rider has also popped the champagne cork for being the tallest as well as the largest limousine for hire.
Owner Pamela Bartholomew Machado, from California, said: 'It's the world's grandest limousine, boasting 460sq ft of pure luxury, and is the only one of its kind. It's more like a travelling nightclub, even though it's classified as a limo.'
Those lucky enough to afford the £650-an-hour rental fees can expect to be served by a 'crew' of five. The interior includes three lounges, a bathroom, a full sized and fully stocked bar, sliding doors, air conditioning, heating, surround sound for its five televisions and even a laser guided satellite receiver with internet capability. But despite its modern-day amenities, Mrs Machado said the gargantuan vehicle is a homage to a generation long gone.
'The Midnight Rider was built to bring back the feel of the days of luxury railroad travel,' she said. 'With all the furnishings inside hand-picked to resemble the luxurious train travel of years ago, the Midnight Rider's attention to detail is one of the biggest draws for its customers.'
Husband Michael Machado and his wife staretd production of their dream project in 1997 and began renting out the vehicle in 2004. Refuelling the limo costs around £450 for a full tank and a full oil change is around £650. The team of five includes two drivers, a hostess, an operations specialist and a bartender.
The couple now plan to build another four of the vehicles. 'Each one will have a different theme, and we need coverage for the entire U.S. so we need more like the Midnight Rider,' Mrs Machado said.
Hot solar car fastest in the world at 54mph
15th January 2011
A car that runs on the same power used by a toaster has broken the world record for the fastest solar-powered motor. Guinness Book of Records adjudicators were on hand to witness the £175,000 vehicle race to glory on an Australian navy base airstrip in Nowra, New South Wales.
Sunswift Ivy, driven by professional racers Barton Mawer and Craig Davis of electric car firm Tesla, took the 23-year-old record by 5mph. The car - built by students at the state university - is about the same size as an average family saloon but is a tenth of the weight because of its carbon fibre frame. Four hundred silicon cells power a 55lb battery which is removed when the car is fully charged. It has the potential to hit a top speed of 75mph.
Project manager Daniel Friedman told the Sun: 'We hope this will spur a lot more interest in solar energy and the debate about renewable energy technology.' The old record of 49 mph was set in 1988 by General Motors Sunraycer.
Couple break world record for longest ever kiss Exhausted, but unbowed, this couple are pictured having just emerged from the longest kiss the world has ever seen.
Akekachai Tiranarat, 42, and his wife Raksana Taranarat, 31, locked lips for 46 hours 24 minutes and 9 seconds - a new Guinness World Record. The World's Longest Continuous Kiss event, which was organized to celebrate Valentine's Day in Thailand, started out with 14 couples on Sunday. The couples were given a space of one square metre and had to lock lips at all times. They were not allowed to sit, sleep or leave the venue, or they would be disqualified.
One woman fainted after 34 minutes of kissing. Others gave up after a few hours. But seven couples managed to last it out to break the previous record of 32 hours.
It can only hold two teaspoons of water, it can sit in the palm of your hands, and there's only room for the smallest of fish in it - it's the world's smallest aquarium. It might not be the most spacious environment but the baby fish still have all the regular aquarium home comforts of multi-coloured stones, sand and seaweed.
Measuring just 30 x 24 x14mm, the 10ml glass tank was created by Russian artist and designer Anatoly Konenko – who still found space for a water filter. Konenko has specialised in miniatures for 30 years, and has previously mastered the art of writing on rice, poppy seeds and even human hair.
Steve Stevens breaks disco world record dancing 131 hours straight
Nightclub owner Steve Stevens is nursing tired limbs after breaking a disco world record by dancing non-stop for more than five days. Steve strained his right knee but managed to keep moving for 131 hours. The 35-year-old set off on Tuesday last week and ended on Sunday at his club Angelik in Worthing, West Sussex. Under rules set by Guinness World Records he was allowed a rest of five minutes every hour.
The former Ironman triathlete kept up his energy levels with a diet consisting of protein shakes, fruit, porridge, jacket potatoes, chips and lasagne, but still managed to lose a quarter of a stone over the five-day period. Steve, who spent his time throwing shapes to dance music played by a team of 30 DJs, said: 'The hardest times were between 4am and 6am, when people were shouting at me to wake up. But as soon as the sun came up it got me going again.'
He beat the previous world record, 123 hours and 15 minutes, and raised £3,200 for hospices in Sheffield and Angmering, West Sussex.
The idea sounds good, but that has to be one of the most boring world-records ever!
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