Special Report

35 of the Strangest World Records Ever Set

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Widest tornado damage path

Tornadoes are known to inflict damage with veritable pinpoint accuracy, in which houses on one street could be completely razed while homes just a block away suffer little or no damage. According to the US Federal Emergency Management Agency, the average width of a tornado is roughly 425 yards, but sometimes these violently rotating columns of air can be much wider. The widest tornado damage path on record came from a high-intensity tornado whose funnel at ground level stretched as wide as 2.49 miles as it tore through Hallam, Nebraska, on May 22, 2004.

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Smallest medical robot

In November 2016, a team of electrical and materials engineering researchers at the University of Texas at San Antonio showed off the world’s smallest medical robot. At just 120 nanometers in length (about the size of an influenza virus) these robots are made of nanocomposite particles that can be remotely controlled by an electromagnetic field. “They function like extremely tiny robots that interact with biological cells,” according to a statement by the research team. These tiny record-setting nanobots hold promise in treating terminal diseases like cancer and Alzheimer’s.

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Longest abdominal plank position

The plank is a deceptively difficult core strength exercise that involves holding for as long as possible a push-up position using just your forearms and toes. Most people can barely hold this position for a few minutes, much less a few hours. The current record for the longest plank position is held by Mao Weidong of Beijing. In 2016, he lasted an excruciating 8 hours and one minute. Last year, George Hood of Naperville, Illinois, reportedly held the plank position for 10 hours and 10 minutes, but Guinness still maintains Weidong as the official record holder.

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Heaviest onion

Guinness maintains lots of produce-related records, many of them regarding the largest fruit or vegetable. But not all garden-variety records have to do with size. In September 2014, Tony Glover of Harrogate, North Yorkshire, UK, landed in the Guinness Book of World Records for growing the heaviest onion ever recorded. At 18 pounds, 11.84 ounces, the world’s heaviest onion weighs more than twice the world’s heaviest tomato (8.61 pounds), grown in 2016 by Dan Sutherland of Walla Walla, Washington.

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Longest sustained singing note

Alpaslan DurmuşŸ currently holds the world record for the longest continuous vocal note. In a video capturing the feat, the Turkish singer is seen sustaining a constant pitch for 1 minute and 52 seconds, beating the previous record by American Richard Fink IV by nine seconds. But in March this year, Fink reportedly maintained an unbroken C note for 1 minute and 53 seconds. Guinness is expected to verify this sometime soon, perhaps compelling Durmuş to try and reclaim the record.