Monday, 30 June 2014

SOS! Inflatable Airbags to Buoy Damaged Vessels?

When a ship runs aground, or two vessels crash into each other, the damaged one may lose its stability, or worse, sink. But imagine if after a ship accident, balloons popped up like car airbags to keep the disabled vessel upright and afloat. This would help to avoid pollution of seas and beaches and gain valuable time for evacuation. Now, the EU-funded project SuSy, completed in 2013, have turned such an idea into a proof of concept. The project developed a proposal to install inflatables on ships including a system to blow them up vary rapidly.

The proof of concept culminated in 2013 with a demonstration of the idea on a model bottom of a medium-sized tanker in the port of Chalkida, in Greece. “Our challenge was to produce enormous amounts of gas from small cartridges which is quickly released into inflatables,” describes project partner Reinhard Ahlers, managing director ofBalance, a maritime consultancy in Bremen, Germany.

The technologies used by the project are not new, but the combination is. Kevlar reinforced balloons can be installed anywhere on a ship. Suitable places to install the balloons would be in between double hulls and in ballast water tanks. The gadgets needed to inflate them are taken from submarine rescue systems, based on rapid blow out devices originally developed for satellite launchers.

However, one expert voices concern at the project’s approach. “Given the location of balloons in the double hull, not only will the construction of the ship be much more difficult and costly. But inspection and maintenance will be almost impossible – hence these systems will be unreliable,” says Egbert Ypma, researcher at the Maritime Research Institute Netherlands in Wageningen, in the Netherlands.

To ensure that prompt inflation, the project devised cartridges attached to balloons holding potassium nitrate, used in gunpowder, an epoxy resin and ferric oxide commonly known as rust. When initiated, the gunpowder oxidises the epoxy resin which puffs into the balloons inflating them. What is more, rust improves the explosion process. But blasts produce heat, which may harm the plastic skin of the balloons or inflammable cargo. Therefore ambient cool air is mixed into the chemical explosion process. This comes either from a second cartridge containing compressed air. Or by using a heat exchanger device just before the gas enters the balloon.

In addition to solving the inflation problem, further fine-tuning needs to be done, according to project scientists. “For example, it would be desirable to have controls at the gas exhaust, as we do not always need the entire outflow,” Ahlers tells youris.com. The German rocket technology company Astrium in Bremen, Germany, now part of Airbus Defence and Space, continues to look for a solution. Whereas Survitec, a specialist in marine, defence and aerospace survival technology with its headquarters in Dunmurry near Belfast, UK,  who bought the original project partner Deutsche Schlauchboot in Eschershausen, Germany, will optimise the inflatable material of the balloons. Thus, there is still some way to go. “None of the partners assume that the system will be bought immediately,” says Ahlers.

One expert believes the system is worth investigating further. “I think that the idea to have a balloon in the ballast tanks in order to push out the water, or try to reduce a damage opening due to those in between a double hull, will be one step forward to enhance maritime safety,” concludes Jonas Ringsberg, professor in marine structures and head of the Division of Marine Design at Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, Sweden. 

Regenerating Bones Requires Good Doctors and Good Engineers

Imagine having to live without a jaw. Then imagine getting one custom-made, complete with regenerated bone. That’s a lot to imagine, especially if you’re a dog, but that’s exactly the type of patient researchers at UC Davis have been helping.

Some animals are known to regenerate body parts. These include relatively simple life forms such as worms or sea stars to the more complex such as lizards and deer (their antlers, in case you were startled). The ability is rare in mammals and typically not extensive where it exists. But what if you could give the body a little assistance? Lad, a collie from Kentucky, at University of California, Davis School of Veterinary Medicine

A collaborative effort between  UC Davis’ William R. Pritchard Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital, and biomedical engineers at the campus’ Translating Engineering Advances to Medicine (TEAM) facility has been changing the lives of our four-legged friends. The process starts with impressive science and advanced technologies. It ends with a fully functioning patient.

The process starts with modeling and creating a one-off titanium replacement scaffolding for the dog’s jawbone. This involves 3D scanning and 3D printing. No two dogs are exactly the same, and this method ensures that the replacement is a perfect fit. It also allows for the titanium replacement to be created accurately before surgery ever starts.

The titanium is not intended to be the entire jaw, but rather it acts to hold a special sponge which carries with it bone morphogenic proteins (BMPs). The BMPs essentially induce and govern the regrowth of new bone with the titanium acting as a support. Within eight to ten weeks the patient's remaining jawbone cells can regrow the missing structure.

The procedure has been applied to a number of full and partial regrowths, with every operation being successful.  This technique is certainly helping dogs, but there are implications for human medicine as well. Regenerative techniques are at the forefront of modern medicine and hold the promise of patients being able to provide their own replacement tissues and organs by using their stem cells.

The future of medicine is very much an engineering effort. The technique used to regrow dog jawbones brings together good design, materials selection, tissue engineering and advanced manufacturing technologies. Of course, these are only tools for the doctor, which have to be skillfully applied to be successful. This kind of collaborative effort has good implications for where we are headed in healthcare. For dogs and their owners.

The video below briefly discusses the case of Whiskey, a Munsterlander with oral cancer which received the regenerative surgery.

Hacking cellphones to save the rainforest

Topher White says that he has a solution to illegal rainforest logging operations. His company, Rainforest Connection, is running a Kickstarter campaign to fund their real-time rainforest protection system. The basic idea of the project is to use parts from recycled cell phones as listening posts in the rainforest, alerting their team when a chainsaw is being used.

The Kickstarter video starts with some bold claims, including a United Nations quote that deforestation is a leading cause of climate change.  Neil Young jumps in with some naturalist wisdom, telling us that this technology enables the forest to talk to the world. Then we're told that fifty to ninety percent of the logging done in rainforests is illegal.


Rainforest Connection is billed as the world's first real time technology for protecting the rainforests. After a chainsaw is detected by the listening devices an alert is sent to rangers who can act on the information. Additionally, an app allows people from around the world to hear the rainforest. An example of the app is on the Kickstarter page.

Listening devices are installed by local activists and the campaign video assures us that the final product will be much smaller and camouflaged than the prototypes shown. There aren't many details as to the hardware or software involved in the project but several process photos are shown on the campaign page and the company's Flickr page.

As Kickstarter campaigns go, asking people to donate for a cause, even an amazing cause mixing sustainability concerns and a maker attitude, can be a hard sell. Rainforest Connection is looking for $100,000 by July 29 to fully fund their project in Indonesia. If enough money is raised two other projects in Africa and the Amazon rainforest are planned.

FINAL THOUGHTS

PLC Considerations
When selecting a PLC or similar control engine there are many questions:


  1. How much I/O?
  2. What type of I/O?
  3. What type of control logic -- simple ON/OFF or is there PID and data analysis?
  4. What type of data is monitored and captured?
  5. Are there recipes (databases) involved?
  6. Is there an operator interface involved?
  7. Are there special communication interfaces required? For example, flow meters, scales, thermocouples, or other signals that are not a regular discrete or analog signal.
  8. Does the application require links to an external network, database, or some type of MES system?
  9. Does the application require motion control, bar coding, machine vision, etc?
PLC and / or Computer
Sometimes we do not use a typical PLC for the control engine. Typically what we do is:
  1. If the application is small (less than 50 I/O), no databases (only a few choices), and simplistic HMI then use a PLC.
  2. If the application is small, slow (response time greater than 50 milliseconds) and requires computer functionality (machine vision, networking, databases, multiple axis motion control, etc) we prefer to do the entire application in Visual Basic (VB).
  3. If there are large amounts of I/O (over 100) or you need fast, real-time response, then you will probably appreciate the PLC handling your real-time and direct I/O tasks and letting the computer handle the non-real-time tasks (such as HMI, databases, etc). There are a lot of gray areas in between.
Although today’s Pentium III running Windows NT or 2000 at 1 GHz with 512 KB RAM is very fast in comparison to technology only three years ago, it is still nice, in large systems, to use a PLC to help segment the system functionality. You can write subroutines to segment functionality -- you can also segment using different controllers.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
  1. What about soft PLCs? Soft PLCs are where the PLC is actually software that resides on a computer. Although this is way that the industry is headed for the future, as with all new technology, we would recommend that your first test of new technology not be a critical application.
  2. What brand of PLC is the best? It depends. J If you have a plant full of GE PLCs then it does not make sense to change to AB. If you have a plant full of some manufacturer that is no longer in business and you have to switch anyways then it may be time to reevaluate. If you have small applications that can be linked by computer networks then an AutomationDirect PLC may be fine. If you have large processes (thousands of I/O) requiring integration of drives and redundancy then you may want to consider AB or Siemens.
  3. How can you program so many different PLCs? Most good PLC programmers, after learning three different PLC programming languages, can program most any PLC since the basic functions are the same. In fact there is an International PLC programming standard (IEC 61131-3) that your best PLC manufacturer’s are adopting.

To learn more
There is a lot you can learn about PLCs.  For example, there are books written on PLCs and some of these books do not seem complete.  If you want to learn more, there are many good resources.  As always try searching the best source of information -- the internet.

LADDER LOGIC

PLCs are traditionally programmed in a notation known as Ladder Logic or Relay Ladder Logic. This notation is easy for technicians to read and understand. Remember that the first PLC’s were designed to replace large numbers of relays and they were designed to be easy for the electricians responsible for those systems to be able to analyze and troubleshoot.  You might want to note that a background and understanding of basic electrical circuits is helpful if you plan to program or work with PLC’s. 
An example of a simple motor start/stop circuit is shown below:



 Assume that A is the "start" button, B is the "stop" button and C is the output that tells the motor to run. Imagine power flowing through the ladder logic example. In this case when the operator presses the "Start" button (labeled A above) power flows through the contact labeled A. The [/] contact means "not on" or off. So assuming that the "stop" button (labeled B above) is not pressed then power flows through the B contact and powers the output labeled C and turns on the motor.

Note that we have another contact labeled C below the contact labeled A. This is called a "seal" circuit since contact C "seals" in contact A. Remember the power flow analogy. If it was only the top row: A, B, and C then every time the operator took their finger off the "start" button (contact A) then the motor would stop. But contact C is placed in parallel with contact A so that once the output C turns on then the input C is turned on in parallel with contact A. Therefore the only way to stop the motor is to press the "stop" button (contact B).

Relay ladder logic - RLL) is the basic PLC logic that converts inputs into outputs.  There are several other methods for writing PLC code.  Sequential Function Chart (SFC) is excellent for the programming sequential machines -- however most customers hate it.  Therefore we usually provide the same framework in RLL.   Structured text is another available programming language – much more like a standard high-level language.  Function blocks are also available now on many processors.  Seen used more in DCS (Distributed Control Systems – a completely new discussion), function blocks are somewhat like a “black box” in electronics.  They have a defined set of inputs to the block (don’t get them confused with the PLC inputs) and a defined set of outputs (ditto).  The block performs a manipulation of the inputs to elicit appropriate outputs.  This can greatly enhance the computational ability of the PLC and simplify some applications.  Once again – most clients want to stay in the RLL world.  The number 1 rule associated with PLC programming is “keep it simple.”  Most end users of PLC’s do not have PLC programmers on staff, or if they do many times those programmers are not the people that are called at 3 am at night when a machine is down.  Generally it’s somebody off the maintenance staff that gets pulled in to solve the problem.  The simpler the program – the more likely the problem is diagnosed and fixed quickly. 

There is an organization that is working to standardize the logic in all PLCs.  More information on this can be found at The PLCopen (IEC 1131-3)

SYSTEM ARCHITECTURE

PLCs are continuously expanding in capabilities and the architecture or hardware that is part of that is also expanding with new functionality.  There are some hardware components that are basic to every system.  A PLC system generally has the following components:

  1. Processor – consists of the CPU, main memory, possibly some communications and interface capability.
  2. I/O – short for Inputs and Outputs – sometimes included in small quantities on a block with the processor
  3. Power Supply – Provides power for the various components of the system -sometimes built into a block with the processor.
  4. Rack/Chassis – Modular systems generally need a common backplane to plug into.  Racks are designed to at least accept a processor and multiple I/O cards.  Communication from the processor to the I/O is generally achieved through connections on the rack and power from the power supply is generally distributed through the rack.
  5. Communication interfaces – used to communicate with the programmer, operator interfaces, data monitoring tools, SCADA systems, remote I/O, etc.  Sometimes built into the processor.
  6. Programming Tool – used to program and access the processor.

The processor is generally what most people refer to when discussing a PLC.  Many controls specialists (including myself) tend to interchange PLC, processor and controller when referring to the module that receives the program and handles processing the logic.  All of the components together are generally referred to as a PLC system.  The processor is where a PLC program would reside and is responsible for receiving data from the input cards and distributing it to the output cards

I/O cards or Input and Output cards are the connections to the real world for the PLC system.  As discussed there are discrete I/O and analog I/O.  Both come in many different types.  Discrete I/O can come in various voltages:  24 Volt DC or AC; 120 VAC; TTL; sourcing; sinking; and on and on.  Analog I/O has even more variety.  There are Voltage inputs/outputs, Current inputs/outputs and cards that handle both.  There are cards that just grab inputs or outputs and cards that have a mix of inputs and outputs.  There are cards that are specially designed to connect to Thermocouple and RTD sensors and to compensate for the non-linearity of the signal.  I/O can also be local or remote.  Local I/O is located in the same rack or chassis as the processor, whereas remote I/O can be located in a separate location that is more convenient to wire into. 

The Rack or Chassis is used to house the PLC processor, I/O cards, and other cards that are needed with the system.  Some smaller block style PLC systems don’t use racks and even some modular style systems have cards that stack together with each card having the required connectors to pass processor communications and power to each subsequent card.

There are many available communication interfaces ranging from cards designed to communicate via Ethernet to specialized cards designed to communicate on a manufacturers proprietary communication link.  Generally those cards are used to allow the programmer to interface with the controller, another device to interface with the controller, or to allow the controller to manipulate and read I/O located in a remote location.
Programming interfaces vary from handheld programmers (yuck) to more modern programs that can be installed on a laptop to interface and program the PLC.

BASIC SIGNAL

There are a lot of different types of signals that PLCs can read and write. The two most basic signals are discrete (digital) and analog. Discrete means on or off, 1 or zero, high or low, etc. Two possible states. Using discrete signals you could have a switch that when pressed starts a motor running.  Both the switch “input” and the motor start “output” would be discrete signals.  Analog signals are continuous signals varying between two limits.  Analog signals can have a multitude of different values between those two limits such as pressure, temperature, level, etc. 



Early PLCs were designed primarily as relay replacements.  Those PLCs were designed completely around discrete applications.  They were a fantastic improvement over the rooms of relays that were used to operate what would be considered now simple sequences.  You can imagine the improvement it would be to be able to add a new discrete input and output into your program as opposed to having to wire a new relay into an existing system. 

 A single discrete signal is also referred to as a "bit". Although they sound very simple, bits can be used in a lot of different ways. For example, by turning a bit on and off you can generate pulses. By using a bit going into a counter you can count the number of times the bit turns on. For example, if you have a motor and each revolution of the motor moves the crane one foot, and you need to move the crane six feet, then you would simply count six pulses. You can also have a bit go into a timer. So if the crane moves one foot per second, then the "crane is currently moving" bit starts a timer that in six seconds tells the PLC that the crane moved six feet.  Typically however, discrete signals are used for simple applications.  Starting a motor or opening and closing valves.  Not glamorous, but very useful

A single bit can have two states – one or zero. Two bits can have four states (00, 01, 10, and 11). Eight bits is known as a byte and can represent 256 states or the numbers from 0 to 255. This is how computers represent numbers and values – by cascading bits.  The PLC is no different.

Analog signals involve detecting different levels of a signal. For example, how fast you want to run a motor. With analog signals, the user can turn a potentiometer that generates a varying voltage or current (analog input) that tells the PLC to send an analog output to the motor indicating the speed that the motor should run. Technically you would need something like a motor inverter between the PLC analog output and the motor to essentially amplify the PLC analog output to control the motor voltage or frequency and vary the motor speed.
You can represent the position of the potentiometer using 12 bits (0 to 4095). Zero voltage (or current) would be represented by 0 in the PLC and 4095 would represent the maximum voltage (or current). Theoretically (assuming no noise, perfect linearity, and a few other things), the PLC can run the motor at one of 4096 different speeds.  Analog signals can be used to bring many types of continuous signals into the PLC – temperature, pressure, level, position, etc.  Once in the PLC memory, these signals can be manipulated to control motors, valves, and other field devices. 

Let me reemphasize that the function of a PLC is to read these discrete and analog inputs, run some logic based on those inputs, and then write discrete and analog outputs to control the available environment.  

PLC EXAMPLE

Let’s start off with a simple example. Suppose you are making a controller for an overhead crane. The operator has a simple control box with four push buttons: "left", "right", "up", and "down". When the operator presses the "left" button (note that the "left" button is an input to the PLC), then the PLC turns on the appropriate output to the motor that makes the crane move left. The other three buttons would operate similarly. Sounds pretty simple – right?

Suppose it takes ten minutes for the crane to reach the full left position. Soon the operator’s fingers start to hurt (holding that button down for ten minutes at a time hurts), and they are going to beg / bribe / threaten you, the programmer, to latch that output on and add a stop button. Instead of having to press the "left" button for ten minutes, the operator wants to momentarily press the "left" button and the crane keeps moving left till the operator presses the "stop" button. So you reprogram the crane and now the operator picks up a 10 ton container, presses the "left" button, realizes he forgot to get a drink (of water), and knowing that the crane will be moving for ten minutes, goes off to get a drink. Or suppose the crane hits the operator and knocks them out. Who is going to stop the crane? There are some major safety considerations since you have a 10-ton container moving around with no one to stop it.

So you start adding safety light curtains and mats around the crane’s operational area, so that if anything comes into the crane’s operational area the crane automatically stops. You would also add Emergency Stop (E-Stop) buttons around the area so that anyone can press one of these buttons to stop the crane. You would want to add end-of-travel limit switches so that when the crane moved as far as it can go then the PLC would automatically stop the motor. You would also want to add some more inputs (feedback) to the PLC so that when a motor fault occurred the PLC would detect the fault, turn off the motor, and sound alarms. There are many other safety and diagnostic inputs you should add.

Do you see how a very simple application can grow in inputs and outputs very quickly? The good news is that by using a PLC for this application the PLC is very quickly and easily reprogrammed for the new inputs. Other wise you have to go get more relays and do a bunch of wiring for each new input and output.

Even More Complexity

We can extrapolate this simple crane into more complex systems:
  • A "crane" that automatically loads or unloads 55 gallon drums onto pallets, containers on or off a ship, or adds a finite amount of reagent to a matrix of test tubes.
  • Multiple cranes that have overlapping work envelopes and require collision avoidance and cooperative handling
  • "Cranes" that work in three-dimensional space to store and retrieve items. Applications from electronics to pharmaceuticals show that automated storage and retrieval systems reduce errors significantly.
  • Two axis controllers that move a video camera around for inspecting parts
The control systems engineer sees a lot of similarities in these different applications. All of these applications can use a PLC but these applications are just a tiny subset of all the control schemes that employ PLCs.

MASS PARTICIPATION MONDAY: EVERYBODY IS POPPING BUBBLE WRAP


Alex Angert is a records manager for Guinness World Records, specializing in achievements having to do with mass participation -- that is, a lot of people doing something record-breaking together. He shares a monthly report with us, and here's June:

Trends in record breaking usually make sense. For instance, we can always count on an increase in applications for the most people dressed as Santa Claus in December or most people carving pumpkins around Halloween.

But sometimes, a record just takes off. And for some unbeknownst reason, a certain mass participation record has taken 2014 by storm – the most people popping bubble wrap.



It has been one of our most popular and successful records of the year, as more and more applications have been popping up for this record each month. OK, I promise I won’t populate this entire column with bubble wrap-popping puns.

While the timing of this record-breaking phenomenon is a mystery, the popularity of it is not. Everyone, both young and old, loves popping bubble wrap. There is no denying the pure joy of having a package come in the mail filled with bubble wrap just begging to be popped, instead of its ugly step-sister, the packing peanut.



The guidelines for this record are as straightforward as it gets. All you need is a lot of people and a lot of bubble wrap for them to pop for at least two minutes simultaneously.

The record category, which is relatively new, was first set on 28 January 2013 on "Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day." There, 366 people came together in Hawthorne, New Jersey, USA, which is considered the birthplace of bubble wrap.

Sealed Air Corporation, which was founded in 1960 based on the invention of bubble wrap three years earlier, and Hawthorne High School held that record for more than a year before the bubble bursting boom of 2014 exploded.

In a span of three months, from the end of February to the end of May, the record has fallen an unbelievable six times to six different schools from all parts of the globe.

Some poppers opted to go the stomping route, while others popped each bubble individually with their fingers. A few of the schools passed out individual sheets of wrap, while others had giant bubble wrap bales rolled out onto the ground.



The first group to break the record in 2014 was the University of Florida’s Bateman Team and Student Government (USA) with 399 participants. In the ensuing three months, the Bramley Church of England Primary School (UK) got 532 people to pop, Gonzaga College SJ (Ireland) got 550, Riverside Primary School (Australia) got 647 and West Scranton Intermediate School (USA, above) got 733. All have held the record at some point, whether it was for only a day or for a few weeks.

The most recent and current record holder is Twin Lakes Elementary School (below) in Elk River, Minnesota, USA, thanks to the support of 942 students, staff and volunteers from the community who came out to pop bubble wrap. Bringing the record full circle, they popped wrap donated by the original record holders, Sealed Air Corporation.


There is no telling how long Twin Lakes Elementary will hold the record with more and more applications for this category coming in each week. Some record crazes come and go (the most people planking craze of 2011, for instance), but we here at Guinness World Records are excited to see how many more schools and organizations decide to challenge this one in the coming months. Will someone dethrone the current record holder? Only time will tell.

And if bubble wrap isn’t your thing, you and your friends can always try another mass participation popping record. Balloons, party poppers and even collars are some of our other pop-ular records your school or group can attempt. OK, ok, I hate to burst your bubble, but that is a wrap on all of the puns until next month’s Mass Participation Monday.

FAN CHOICE: JUNE 27 - VOTE NOW!


An incredible display of endurance athletics was the clear winner of our fan vote last week.

Maria Conceicao of Portugal quite literally ran away with the honours after receiving 66 per cent of the vote for her record for Fastest time to run an ultra marathon on each continent (female).

Every Friday here, we pick five records recently approved by our expert Records Management Team. We'll give you a little background on each and then ask you to vote for your favourite. The winners from each week, like Maria, will be entered into an end-of-year bracket to determine the Fan Choice record of the year.

Read about our 2013 Fan Choice Record of the Year winner here.

This week's list of nominees vying for your vote includes a super-sized pinball machine, and one very determined skier.



MOST SWIM CAPS WORN AT ONCE

Record: 21

Holder: Louis Carter (USA)

Location: Thomasville, Georgia, USA

That's not all: Young Louis broke the world record set by serial record breaker Alastair Galpin back in 2012.



LARGEST PINBALL MACHINE

Record: 16.4 m (53 ft 9 in) long, 7.5 m (24 ft 7in) wide and 10.7 m (35 ft 1 in) tall

Holder: Heineken Italia

Location: Porta Genova, Milan, Italy

That's not all: More than 500 games of pinball were played on the super-sized machine during a five-day festival.



MOST PEOPLE SENDING A POSTCARD FROM A SINGLE LOCATION SIMULTANEOUSLY

Record: 17,599

Holder: Dr. Vikrant Pandey (I.A.S.) and Team Valsad (both India)

Location: Bulsar District Cricket Association (BDCA) Cricket Stadium, Valsad, India

That's not all: The record was attempted during the Indian national election period and the theme chosen for the postcards was a note of thanks to the voters for exercising their right to vote and contributing to democracy.



MOST PEOPLE READING ALOUD SIMULTANEOUSLY - SINGLE LOCATION

Record: 46,660

Holder: Art Of Living Foundation (India)

Location: Vadakkunnathan Temple in Thrissur, India

That's not all: The participants recited the Njanappana, a poem written by the 16th century poet Poonthanam. The event was organised by The Art Of Living Foundation to promote peace and non violence in the area.


MOST COUNTRIES SKIED IN (ONE MONTH)

Record: 17

Holder: Jamie Stevenson (UK)

That's not all: Jamiestarted in Cairngorms, Scotland, on 1 March and finished in Oslo, Norway, on 21 March 2014, having skied in the following countries: Scotland, Spain, Andorra, France, Italy, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Austria, Germany, Slovenia, Poland, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, Sweden, Norway..

FAN CHOICE MAY 30 - VOTE NOW!

After more than 150 hours of playing, what was one more week of competition?

The Loughborough University Staff Cricket Club (UK) bowled over last week's Fan Choice competition with 49.75% of the vote. Their successful record for the longest marathon playing cricket trumped its nearest competitor in a hard-fought battle by a less than 10% margin.

Every Friday here, we'll pick five records recently approved by our expert Records Management Team. We'll give you a little background on each and then ask you to vote for your favorite. The winners from each week, like the Loughborough University club, will be entered into an end-of-year bracket to determine the Fan Choice record of the year.

Read about our 2013 Fan Choice Record of the Year winner here.

This week features two friends growing even closer over 24 hours and a bunch of people learning to ice skate. But first, time for tea.

Cream -tea -party

LARGEST CREAM TEA PARTY

Record: 536 participants

Holder: Dominique Garrigues (Australia)

Location: Stamford Grand Adelaide in Glenelg, Australia

That's not all: The photo at top doesn't even capture the full scope of the event, as only one table could fill the frame, but check out the aerial shot above. This party took over the entirety of Glenelg Pier and raised funds for the charity Novita, which provides rehabilitation and disability services for children in South Australia. To qualify, each participant had to be served one cup of English breakfast tea, a scone, a portion of jam, and clotted cream.

MOST PEOPLE MAKING SANDWICHES

Fan Choice sandwich making.jpg

Record: 1,363 participants

Holder: TangoTab and Friends (USA)

Location: Hilton Anatole Dallas in Dallas, Texas, USA

Sandwiches -made -group

That's not all: TangoTab joined with the Hilton, Albertson's Foods, and the North Texas Food Bank to break this record, which resulted in enough sandwiches to feed more than 136,000 of those in need in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Encouraging those who created the bologna-and-cheese sandwiches were area sports legends LaDainian Tomlinson, Terrell Owens, and Mike Modano.

LONGEST LINE OF CANDLES LIT IN RELAY

Fan Choice candles.jpg

Record: 338 candles

Holder: Scout Association of Hong Kong - Hong Kong Island Region (Hong Kong)

Location: Hong Kong, China

Candles -relay -2

That's not all: This attempt required Participant A to light the candle of Participant B, who would then light the candle of the next person and so on down the line. On the group's first attempt, the flame extinguished between candles No. 91 and 92, before they could break the record. But, showing that dedication pays off, attempt No. 2 went off without a hitch.

LONGEST DISTANCE RUN THREE-LEGGED IN 24 HOURS

Fan Choice 3legged.jpeg

Record: 109.8 km (68.23 mi)

Holder: Mark Howlett and Rab Lee (both UK)

Location: Cairngorms National Park, Scotland, UK

Longest -distance -three -legged

That's not all: The two friends and seasoned ultra-marathon runners made their attempt at the Glenmore 24 Hour Trail Race. While only Rab was Scottish, the duo decided to wear kilts for the entire attempt in honor of the location. The pair admitted they got off to an awkward start, but then soon found a rhythm and proceeded for the full 24 hours with no sleep or any trips/falls.

LARGEST ICE SKATING LESSON

Fan Choice ice skating.JPG

Record: 523 participants

Holder: Ilya Urazakov (Kazakhstan)

Location: Medeo ice skating rink, Almaty, Kazakhstan

Skating -lesson

That's not all: Ilya organized this event as a way to engage area youth with a healthier, more active lifestyle. All participants were university students, who stayed to continue learning and skating even after the 30-minute lesson was up. Providing the instruction was professional figure skating coach Larissa Tymoshenko.

And those are your nominees; time now to cast your vote!

Kimberley Garner Shows Her Panty

Kimberley Garner Shows Off Her Panties

I was browsing the comments the other day and say a link to a limo company in Australia that has offered an article all about getting out of vehicles in dresses without flashing one’s panties. I didn’t click the link because I don’t click links I’m not familiar with but if the post was legit, I have to say I’m impressed. That limo company has fulfilled a deep need in the entertainment industry because ladies really seem to have trouble with this one. Kimberly Garner is merely the latest victim in a long long of inadvertent panty flashers as she gets out of a car in London. But hey, if you’re going to accidentally flash your panties, best to make sure they’re sexy ones.






HOW TO BEAT THE HEAT? WE PICK OUR GWR STARS TEAM AHEAD OF NBA FINALS

Miami Heat. San Antonio Spurs. NBA Finals on the line.

With the best-of-7 rematch of the epic 2013 championship starting Thursday, we could have very easily just gone with copy/pasting this story from last year again, but what fun is that?!

Instead, after marvelling at the fantastic six games these gladiators gave us last season, and watching as their headings brought them closer and closer to the same port this year, we've decided to throw our own hat in the ring.

And so, without further ado, we've taken a cue from the Monstars.



Allow me to introduce the starting five and bench players of world record holders designed exclusively to knock Miami off its perch or topple San Antonio's Swiss-watch precision.

POINT GUARD: ARVE GRAVDAL

Going against Tony Parker or the Mario Chalmers/Norris Cole combo will require two things: speed and handle. So, much like the Spurs, we go foreign to find our point guard.

Also from Europe, Norway's Arve Gravdal provides us everything we need. As the current and two-time holder for the fastest time to dribble a basketball between baselines, he gives us the sparkplug we require while playing turnover-savvy ball. He can go end to end in just 3.605 sec.



Plus, Arve can shoot the rock, and do so unconventionally to throw off his defender -- he also owns the records for most backwards half court shots in one minute (3) and most underhanded half court shots in one minute (3). Having someone who can chuck from the timeline should stretch the defense pretty well.

SHOOTING GUARD: DAN LORIAUX

There's no way we'd be able to keep up with either team's offensive sets if we didn't have a sharpshooter to counter the many gunners on either side.

Enter Dan Loriaux.

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Fittingly, Dan owns three records for 3-point shooting. He has hit the most treys in one minute (25), one hour (1,077), and 24 hours (10,381). Oh, and he's not just a blind chucker. On his 24-hour attempt, Dan shot an otherworldly 75.67% from deep. We're confident he'll be our leading scorer.

SMALL FORWARD: JORDAN DAVIS

Probably our most unconventional choice, since there's no basketball skill, but hear me out. Our 3 would probably have to guard LeBron or Danny Green most of the time. We're already conceding that LeBron can't really be stopped, only funneled to our muscle (see below). And someone like Green or Kawhi Leonard mostly needs supervision in just the corners.



So we turn to parkour artist Jordan Davis, who owns the longest sideflip at 4.65 m (15 ft 3.125 in). LeBron just beat him off the dribble strong side? A quick flip and Jordan's back in front for a charge. The defensive rotation lapsed and Green is about to pull the trigger on a corner 3? Another flip and he's there. Jordan Davis will be our Bruce Bowen.

POWER FORWARD: KEVIN FAST

We are taking the power forward position quite literally, enlisting the help of Canadian strongman Kevin Fast.

Plenty of points will come from our backcourt and bench (see below). What we need is muscle and defense, especially going shoulder to shoulder with Tim Duncan and LeBron when the Heat go small.

KEvin Fast.jpg

Fast has broken 18 world records in his career for strength. This ranges from the heaviest vehicle pulled over 100 ft (57,243 kg/126,200 lb) to the most people supported on the shoulders (11 - photo above). With that kind of bruising ability, LeBron and Timmy will think twice about driving the lane or posting on the low block.

CENTER: LANIER TWINS

There's a bonus here, as the tallest twins ever also happen to have basketball experience. Mike and James Lanier each stand 2.235m (7 ft 3 in) tall, the exact kind of length we need to counteract both teams' fluid, perimeter-oriented attacks.

And these aren't two stiffs we're throwing out there for height. Mike and James each played college ball, at UCLA and the University of Denver, respectively. The one drawback? Age. They're 44 years old now, but that's just about the same age as Tim Duncan.

BENCH: BOB FISHER, ADAM BEATRICE, AMAZON EVE

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Every successful team needs a strong bench, and we've got a great collection of X-factors.

Joining whichever Lanier twin isn't starting, Bob Fisher leads our bench brigade. Serving as our James Harden, all Bob needs to do is see the floor and get fouled. That's because Bob is automatic offense from the charity stripe, owning 11 records for free-throw shooting, including most in one minute (50) and one hour (2,371).

And we'll take Beatrice as a long-range scheme buster. Adam owns two surface-to-air shooting records: the most halfcourt shots made in one minute (10) and the most consecutive halfcourt shots made (4). When we need that deep buzzer-beater with 2 seconds left, we're running the picket fence for Adam.



Rounding out the lineup is our most controversial pick. As the tallest professional model, 6-foot-8 (201.66 cm) Amazon Eve possesses zero basketball ability. But, as a stunning distraction who can at least provide six fouls, we'll take our chances.

How do you think our team would do? Could we stay within 100 points? Let us know in the comments and enjoy the NBA Finals!

And for the latest on all things world record, visit Guinness World Records on Facebook,Twitter, Google+ and our brand-new Instagram. Plus check out Guinness World Records on YouTube to subscribe for the latest record-breaking videos!

HAPPY NATIONAL DONUT DAY

Yes, America has a National Donut Day.

You can get all the jokes and snickers about how a country obsessed with, well, Snickers, massive food portions, and deep fried everything has a full holiday dedicated to donuts out of the way now.

Waiting...

Waiting...

Great, because now I can tell you that National Donut Day - established way back in 1938 - actually comes from very noble origins: it was created to celebrate the Salvation Army workers who supplied free donuts to American troops abroad during World War I.



In celebration of this national "holiday," which occurs the first Friday of every June, we've cooked up five of our favorite donut/doughnut records for your enjoyment.

LONGEST LINE OF DONUTS (pictured at top)

The longest line of donuts (Berliner, in this case) spanned 561.4 m (1,841 ft 10 in) and was achieved by Friedrichstadt-Palast in Berlin just last month, on April 27. The record attempt took place to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the new building of Friedrichstadt-Palast, Europe’s Show Palace.

LARGEST DONUT MOSAIC

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The largest donut mosaic was created using 7,040 donuts at the Lviv Pampykh Festival in Lviv, Ukraine, Jan. 7, 2012. The attempt took place on the Ukrainian Christmas day as part of their Pampukh Festival, created to promote the traditional Ukrainian donuts, called a pampukh, a national symbol of Christmas. After the attempt, all donuts were distributed to the public who had gathered in Market Square, the venue where the mosaic was created.

FASTEST TIME TO EAT A JAM DONUT WITH NO HANDS



What you can watch above is Philip Joseph Santoro's record-breaking attempt at jam donut eating, without use of hands AND without being allowed to lick the lips - brutal! He clocked in a time of 11.41 seconds in San Francisco on April 17.

LARGEST SERVING OF DONUTS

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The largest serving of donuts weighed 667 kg (1,470 lb 7.68 oz) and was prepared by MEGA Alma-Ata Shopping and Entertainment Mall in Almaty, Kazakhstan. The event took place on Nov. 2 last year in celebration of the mall's seventh anniversary. 

The group served "baursaks," which are sweetened fluffy dough that may not look like what you'd find at Dunkin' Donuts, but are of the same donut family.

LARGEST BOX OF DONUTS

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Wow, if only the last record and this one could've been combined. The largest box of donuts was a Krispy Kreme box weighing 135 kg (297 lb 10 oz), produced by The Kuwait Food Co. Americana in Kuwai City in May 2009. 

Filled with 2,700 Krispy Kreme donuts, the enlarged box was an exact replica, even down to the labels. The box measured 5.9 m (19 ft 4 in) long, 4.10 m (13 ft 5 in) wide and 87 cm (2 ft 10 in) deep.

And, because we like you, make sure to check out this list of where you can score free donuts and giveaways across the U.S. on Friday. Happy eating!

For the latest on all things world record, visit Guinness World Records on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and our brand-new Instagram. Plus check out Guinness World Records on YouTube to subscribe for the latest record-breaking videos!

WORLD’S OLDEST CAT POPPY PASSES AWAY AT THE AGE OF 24

Sad news reached the Guinness World Records offices today, with confirmation that Poppy, the record holder for world's oldest living cat, had passed away at the age of 24.

Poppy was born in February 1990, the same month Nelson Mandela was released from prison and lived through five British Prime Ministers.

She is reported to have passed away on Friday following a problem with her hind legs and a water infection.

Guinness World Records would like to extend our condolences to Poppy’s owner Jacqui West and her family.

Officially recognised by Guinness World Records as the oldest living cat last month, Poppy was originally called Popsy and had two owners in her early days.

Then, aged five, she was adopted by Marguerite Corner and her daughter Jacqui.

At the age of ten, Poppy went with Jacqui who had moved in with future husband Andy West in Bournemouth.

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Poppy with Jacqui West and her two sons Joe (left), and Toby (right) earlier this year

Jacqui and Andy went on to have two sons (Joe, and Toby, who are now 11 and eight respectively) with Poppy also going to live with four other cats, two rabbits and a hamster.

Speaking to Guinness World Records last month, Jacqui explained that despite her age and frailty, Poppy was still the boss of the house, swiftly dealing with any other cat if they tried their luck.

Jacqui said: “People always ask what we put Poppy’s longevity down to and I guess she has a good diet and lots of exercise.

“She keeps herself fit by walking around and she eats a lot. She has biscuits in the morning and tinned food later on. She’s never been a big cat though.

“She is partial to the odd takeaway. We sometimes give her a bit of KFC chicken, Fish and chips and even the odd bit of kebab meat.”

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Talking to the Daily Express, Jacqui, said that while the family were expecting Poppy’s death following recent ill health, they were nevertheless devastated at their loss.

She said: "We knew she was old but it's still very upsetting.

"She had a bad week last week. She was on antibiotics on the Wednesday because of a water infection and her back legs just seemed to let her down. She wasn't herself at all.

"She passed away on Friday at 3.30pm. I had spent the whole day with her as she was particularly poorly.

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Poppy, left, with previous Marguerite

"We knew it was going to happen but we're all still completely devastated. It's only just starting to sink in.

"It's great she managed to get the World Record before hand, it's almost like she was purposely hanging in there”.

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The oldest cat in history was a feline called Creme Puff who was born on 3 August 1967 and lived until 6 August 2005 - an amazing 38 years and 3 days.

Creme Puff lived with her owner, Jake Perry, in Austin, Texas, USA.

FAN CHOICE JUNE 6 - VOTE NOW

It was a tight, back-and-forth battle between two runaway contestants in last week's Fan Choice competition. But in the end, the most people making sandwiches did away with the longest distance run three-legged in 24 hours by a final tally of 52.43% to 43.8%.

For TangoTab and Friends, the group who broke that sandwiches record, it's a third victory of sorts. The first, of course, came when they set their record. The second came when they were able to feed more than 136,000 people in need with the meals crafted at their attempt. And now they can call themselves a Fan Choice champion.

Every Friday here, we'll pick five records recently approved by our expert Records Management Team. We'll give you a little background on each and then ask you to vote for your favorite. The winners from each week, like TangoTab and Friends, will be entered into an end-of-year bracket to determine the Fan Choice record of the year.

WORLD'S OLDEST MAN DR. ALEXANDER IMICH DIES AGED 111

Guinness World Records is this morning saddened to learn of the passing of Dr. Alexander Imich, who held the world record for the Oldest person living (male). Our condolences are extended to the family and friends of Dr. Imich.

Dr. Imich was awarded the Guinness World Records title of Oldest living man on May 8, 2014 at the age of 111 years and 93 days.

He is reported to have died peacefully on Sunday morning, according to friends who had been taking care of him at a residence in the Upper West Side of New York.

Dr. Imich was born in present-day Częstochowa, Poland, which was then part of the Russian Empire, on February 4th, 1903. In 1951, he and his wife, Wela, immigrated to the United States from the Soviet Union and Imich has lived in Manhattan alone since she passed away in 1986.

Dr. Imich was a parapsychologist and retired chemist.

While his own longevity surprised even himself, he credited his life to good genes and an overall moderate, healthy lifestyle by which he has eaten very leanly his entire life.

His passion and curiosity about parapsychology shaped his motto, which is that one should “always pursue what one loves and is passionate about”

Craig Glenday, editor-in-chief, Guinness World Records, said: “What an incredible life Dr Imich led ­ fighting the Bolsheviks as a teenager, earning a PhD in the 1920s, surviving a Soviet labour camp, losing much of his family to the Nazis and pursuing a successful career as a chemist and parapsychologist."

"To live such an extraordinarily long and rich life is a testament to good genes, a healthy lifestyle and a positive mental attitude. Dr Imich is an inspiration to anyone wishing to make the most out of their limited time on Earth."

Guinness World Records is investigating potential successors for the Oldest living man title and the new holder of the Oldest living man title once the verification process is complete.

Currently 116-year-old female, Misao Okawa of Japan, is recognised by Guinness World Records as the world's Oldest Living Person overall. She was born March 5, 1898 and lives in Osaka.

The greatest fully authenticated age to which any human has ever lived is 122 years, 164 days by Jeanne Louise Calment of France, who died in 1997.

WORLD CUP REWIND LARGEST ATTENDANCE AT A MATCH IN THE 1950 BRAZIL FINAL

The 2014 World Cup in Brazil is almost upon us. To get you in the mood for this summer’s tournament, in the week leading up to kick-off, we’ll be taking a look back at the stories behind some of the most significant world records set on the beautiful game’s biggest stage.

Today: The 1950 final in Brazil remains the highest attendance ever at a football match

The way Russia feels about the Miracle on Ice.

The way Britain feels about the Revolutionary War.

The way Alexander Karelin feels about Rulon Gardner.

Wow, sorry, this writer’s American bias got way out of control there!

Anyway, all those emotions – that’s how Brazil still feels about the 1950 FIFA World Cup.

The last time the South American giant hosted the world’s most popular tournament, its people’s passion for the game showed no bounds. In fact, the final match of the 1950 World Cup remains the record holder for not only the largest attendance at a World Cup match, but also the highest at any football/soccer match, period.

Officially, 173,850 paid spectators crammed into Rio de Janeiro’s Maracanã Stadium on July 16 to watch host Brazil take on Uruguay for arguably the most prized trophy in world sports.

And Brazil lost.

2-1.

Nearly 200,000 sets of tearful eyes and shattered hearts wondering when their mothers would come wake them up from this national nightmare.

Some estimates have even pegged the attendance as high as 199,000 or 210,000 unofficially. Those claims state that thousands had entered the stadium illegally and without tickets, just to witness what was certain to be Brazil’s first World Cup triumph happen on home soil.

And why wouldn't those fans believe it?

The tournament final was decided by a four-team final group, as opposed to the knockout format we know today. Amazingly, Brazil had crushed its first two finals opponents, Sweden and Spain, by a combined 13-2 score.

All it required was to draw against its much tinier neighbor to the south and the Jules Rimet Trophy would sit with the Seleção.

Brazilian newspaper O Mundo even printed an early edition claiming the Brazil squad the world champions. There isn’t a perfect translation for “bulletin board material” in Portuguese, but this was basically it.

Some of the shockwaves from the surprise result in front of the record crowd reverberate to this day.

The term “Maracanazo” remains used in Latin American soccer to this day in describing a mammoth upset.

The 22 gold medals commissioned by the Brazilian Football Confederation for its squad have proven that you don’t etch names on trophies until after the final whistle.

And the famous yellow shirt that Brazil has turned into a universal cloak of destruction over the last 60 years? That came about as part of a uniform redesign after the “cursed” home white shirts worn in the 1950 final were discarded forever.

This year’s World Cup will see no threat to the single-game attendance record.

The modernized Maracanã remains the largest-capacity venue in the competition, but holds a “mere” 73,531 spectators. And stadium ticket policies have grown just a little stricter since 1950.

What Brazil hopes, though, is that even if fewer people will see the final in person, they’ll do so smiling at a different result.

WORLD CUP REWIND JOSÉ BATISTA CLOCKS UP THE FASTEST EVER SENDING OFF

The 2014 World Cup in Brazil is almost upon us. To get you in the mood for this summer’s tournament, in the week leading up to kick-off, we’ll be taking a look back at the stories behind some of the most significant world records set on the beautiful game’s biggest stage.

Today: Uruguay's José Batista and the fastest expulsion from a FIFA World Cup match

So far during this series of features we’ve taken a look back at some of the most celebrated achievements at previous World Cups. However today’s installment looks back at an altogether less glorious moment in footballing history.

Going into the 1986 World Cup, Uruguayan defender José Batista had been lauded as nothing less than a hero, having scored a crucial goal in a 2–1 home triumph over Chile which had help ensure his country’s qualification for the tournament in Mexico.

Uruguay had been tipped as something of an outside bet by some experts ahead of the 86 World Cup, but had been drawn in what was dubbed the tournaments ‘group of death’ alongside an imperious Denmark, eventual finalists West Germany, and Scotland, who were led by Sir Alex Ferguson in the wake of Jock Stein’s tragic death.

The South Americans nevertheless left their mark during Group A’s early encounters, with Uruguay coming under fierce criticism for their overly physical approach during their opening game, a 0-0 draw against the Germans.

Their next match would see them hammered 6-1 by the Michael Laudrup-led Danes, leaving them in need of a result in their final group match against the similarly placed Scots in order to secure qualification to the next round.

While it wouldn’t be entirely accurate to say Uruguay came out fighting for their showdown with Scotland at the Estadio Neza stadium, the game’s infamous first minute showed the tournament’s bad boys had no intention of toning down their aggression.

After just 56 seconds, Jose Batista launched into scything, high-studded lunge on opposing midfielder Gordon Strachan.

Calling a stretcher for the clearly injured Strachan, French referee Joel Quiniou showed no hesitation in brandishing a red card for the cynical challenge, ensuring Batista’s notoriety along with his place in Guinness World Records history for receiving the fastest dismissal in World Cup history.



Strachan was able to play on, but was unable to assert his influence on the game, which descended into an ill-tempered affair with the Scottish incensed by continued bad challenges and the time wasting tactics deployed by the Uruguayans.

Despite having a one-man advantage for nearly the whole match, the game ended 0-0 and Scotland were eliminated.

Uruguay were fined £9,000 by FIFA following the match for their behaviour in the game along with their earlier antics against West Germany, with a warning that a repeat would lead to their expulsion from the tournament.

They were eventually knocked out in the second round to the tournament’s eventual winners Argentina in a 1-0 defeat once again littered with ill-tempered moments and nasty challenges.

Earlier articles:
World Cup Rewind: Ronaldo sets all-time goals world record

World Cup Rewind: Just Fontaine still owns the most goals in a single tournament

World Cup Rewind: America goes crazy for soccer in 1994

World Cup Rewind: Hakan Şükür scores the tournament’s fastest ever goal

For the latest on all things world record, visit Guinness World Records on Facebook,Twitter, Google+ and our brand-new Instagram. Plus check out Guinness World Records onYouTube to subscribe for the latest record-breaking videos!
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