When Guinness World Records editor Stuart Claxton is asked about world records, he is like a father who doesn't want to be seen as favoring one child over another.
The venerable record-keeping organization has just released its list of top records for 2012 and Claxton insists all of them are important in their own way, whether it be the massive record Barack Obama set when 771,635 people retweeted his "Four more years" remark on election night or the death of Besse Cooper, who, before dying recently, was one of the 10 oldest people ever verified in history.
Claxton is also impressed that the shortest male and female in the world met each other -- the first time in history that this has happened. At the meeting, Both Jyoti Amge of India, who stands slight over two feet met her male counterpart, Chandra Bahadur Dangi of India, who is 21.5 inches tall, wore traditional outfits from their native countries.
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In this image taken from video, Kazuhiro Watanabe, 40, a fashion designer from Tokyo, shows off his 3-foot-8-point-6-inch hairdo in New York City's Washington Square Park on Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012. To make it stand upright he says it takes stylists two hours, one can of gel and three cans of hairspray. The New York appearance was to promote the newest version of the Guinness World Records book, which for the first time includes Watanabe. (AP Photo/Ted Shaffrey)
In an undated photo provided by Guinness World Records 2013 Book, Kevin Doorlag stands with his dog Zeus in Otsego, Mich. The Great Dane is now officially the worlds tallest canine according to the record book. The 3-year-old measures 44 inches from foot to shoulder. Standing on his hind legs, Zeus measures 7-foot-4. (AP Photo/Guinness World Records 2013 Book, Kevin Scott Ramos, HO)
The South Korean pop star’s video for "Gangnam Style" is not only the top music video on YouTube but also the most viewed video online of any kind. But the records won't stop there - looking further ahead, the video is poised to become the first online video to register 1 billion views, a mark likely to come before Christmas.
The tightest parallel park is 14 cm (5.51 in) and was achieved by Ronny Wechselberger aka Ronny C' Rock (Germany), at Flugplatz Kindel in Eisenach, Germany, on June 18th, 2012.
The world's oldest person, Besse Cooper, died of natural causes Tuesday at the age of 116.
Twenty-eight limber ladies from Sussex, England squeezed their way to a new record, by simultaneously stuffing themselves inside a Mini Cooper hatchback in honor of November’s eighth annual Guinness World Records Day. The organizer, Dani Maynard, had her team of gymnasts take on a training regime which included extra stretching and hula-hoop relay racing in order to prepare for the record. It took 10 minutes for all the women to get inside with all doors and windows shut for at least five seconds.
Miranda Ferguson, a 16-year-old cheerleader in Texas, gave the halftime performance of a lifetime last week. As her team and the audience cheered her on, the Texas high school junior broke the world handspring record with a series of 35 back flips. At last year's game, Ferguson completed 20 handsprings, and when she found out that the current world record was 32, she set her sights on beating it. At this year's big game, two Guinness Book of World Records officials stood by to witness and keep count as Ferguson backflipped her way from one 15-yard line on the field to the other.
The first person to perform a '1080' on a skateboard (three full rotations while airborne) is Tom Schaar, a 12-year-old from Malibu, California who achieved the feat using a "mega ramp" at Woodward West, Tehachapi, California on March 26th, 2012.
Chandra Bahadur Dangi, the world's shortest man and Jyoti Amge, the world's shortest woman met for the first time to celebrate the organisation which made them famous. The 18-year-old from India and the 72-year-old Nepalese both made headlines last winter when they were given their titles.
The most live concerts performed in 24 hours in multiple cities is eight, and was achieved by The Flaming Lips as they hit eight different cities throughout the Mississippi Delta by bus between June 27th-28th, 2012. The gig was documented by Viacom’s O Music Awards, which celebrates the world of digital music. The record was previously held by rapper Jay Z who performed concerts in seven different cities to promote the release of his new album 'Kingdom Come' in 2006.
The Austrian aeronautic pioneer’s death defying jump from near the edge of space recorded the most concurrent views of a live stream with over 8 million people tuning in to watch the milestone feat! The unprecedented feat is also being considered for three new Guinness World Records: the highest freefall parachute jump (both FAI-sanctioned and unsanctioned), the highest vertical speed in freefall, and the greatest freefall distance.
President Obama’s re-election generated the most widespread social networking message in 24 hours: "Four more years.” The iconic phrase was re-tweeted more than 771,635 times on Twitter by different individuals within 24 hours of its first appearance on November 7th. The online sentiment beat out famed pop star Justin Bieber’s Twitter record, which was 251,878 re-tweets of a “Happy Birthday” during his 18th birthday.
The Austrian aeronautic pioneer's death defying jump from near the edge of space recorded the most concurrent views of a live stream with over 8 million people tuning in to watch the milestone feat! The unprecedented feat is also being considered for three new Guinness World Records: the highest freefall parachute jump (both FAI-sanctioned and unsanctioned), the highest vertical speed in freefall, and the greatest freefall distance.
Claxton's will admit, however, that one record stands taller than the rest: Felix Baumgartner's freefall from 24 miles in the sky.
"Not to slight the others, but if I have to pick one record that sticks out, it has to be Felix Baumgartner because he broke a record that stood for 50-plus years," Claxton told The Huffington Post. "It almost summed up what Guinness is about: People who chase dreams trying to achieve the impossible and having the courage to follow through."
On the other hand, there are records that couldn't have been broken 50 years ago because they represent technology that didn't exist, such as Obama retweet record or Psy's 824,665,713 views for "Gangnam Style."
"There are two kinds of records, I think. Inspirational and aspiriational." Claxton said. "It's safe to say that Psy's record for likes will eventually be broken, but not everyone can do a freefall. However, they might try to do a 1080-degree spin on a skateboard or 35 backflips in a row.