Through RecordSetter, Everyone Can Be World Champ | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

Through RecordSetter, Everyone Can Be World Champ

Play associated audio

What's the record for squeezing open the most ketchup packets in 30 seconds? Seven. The record for the most people simultaneously flossing with the same piece of dental floss? 428.

These records are nowhere to be found in the Guinness World Records book, but rather on the website RecordSetter, where everyone can be a world champion.

Dan Rollman, co-founder and president of RecordSetter, tells weekends on All Things Considered guest host Mary Louise Kelly that as long as an action is "quantifiable and breakable" and there is media evidence of it, the website will welcome and recognize the feat as a world record. The website and its book, The RecordSetter Book of World Records, showcase thousands of just such triumphs.

The site launched in late 2008 with the help of co-founder Corey Henderson and receives more than 1,000 world record submissions each month.

Creative Beginnings

At the Burning Man festival in 2004, Rollman and his friends created a "world record camp" where people could climb onto a stage and invent their own world records.

One man came to their camp with an accordion and set the world record for the fastest accordion rendition of "The Devil Went Down to Georgia." A woman, whom Rollman says had an "extraordinary deep belly button," set the record for the most blueberries in a belly button.

Both records still stand, Rollman says.

"We started to see a lot of competition in categories, and then it just felt like people were having so much fun with the creative side of thinking what they could be a world champion at," he says. "I thought there was an opportunity to take this thing onto the Internet and invite the whole world to play along."

Rollman says his interest in record-setting began when he received his first Guinness World Records book at the age of 10.

"I think looking at us as kind of the Wikipedia to Guinness' Encyclopedia Britannica is a good analogy," he says. "It's just a much more open and democratic platform for world records."

When he was in college, Rollman looked into setting a Guinness World Record for speed-eating ravioli but found the paperwork to be difficult.

"I was also trying to impress a girl," he says. "Some guys woo women with roses and chocolate, and I said come on over and watch me speed-eat ravioli."

Rollman says nothing is too weird for him, but the site does have principles. "The primary one [is] don't hurt yourself, don't hurt others, don't hurt the planet," he says.

His most recent world record was building the world's tallest tower of clementine pieces (8), which he's challenged the world to beat.

"I welcome anyone out there to have a go at taking me down," he says.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

If Robots 'Speak,' Will We Listen? Novel Imagines A Future Changed By AI

As artificial intelligence alters human connection, Louisa Hall's characters wrestle with whether machines can truly feel. Some "feel they have to stand up for a robot's right to exist," Hall says.
NPR

Aphrodisiacs Can Spark Sexual Imagination, But Probably Not Libido

Going on a picnic with someone special? Make sure to pack watermelon, a food that lore says is an aphrodisiac. No food is actually scientifically linked to desire, but here's how some got that rep.
NPR

A Reopened Embassy In Havana Could Be A Boon For U.S. Businesses

When the U.S. reopens its embassy in Havana, it will increase its staff. That should mean more help for American businesses hoping to gain a foothold on the Communist island.
NPR

In A Twist, Tech Companies Are Outsourcing Computer Work To ... Humans

A new trend is sweeping the tech world: hiring real people. NPR's Arun Rath talks to Wired reporter Julia Greenberg about why tech giants are learning to trust human instinct instead of algorithms.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.