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Last Updated: Thursday, 30 June, 2005, 10:16 GMT 11:16 UK
10 things about world records
World record dinner party under a balloon
Dining on high
The latest wacky record to be set is a dinner party held at 25,000ft. To mark this achievement, here are 10 facts about world records.

Adventurers David Hempleman-Adams, Bear Grylls and Alan Veal have attended a dinner party with a difference.

High above Somerset, they abseiled to a table hanging from a hot air balloon, where they ate duck a l'orange from plastic plates, toasted the Queen and skydived to the ground.

Nor is the trio alone in trying to create a little bit of history. This week the world record for the largest Sudoku puzzle has been set near Bristol; the biggest whisky tasting record has returned to Scotland; and an Irish beekeeper has tried - and failed - to take the world record for a "bee beard" despite attracting 200,000 onto his body.

To celebrate, here are 10 world record facts.

1. The record-breakers bible, Guinness World Records, receives 60,000 applications a year from around the globe to break or set a new record. Not all are accepted as some are too dangerous, not enough of a challenge, too specific to an individual, or unbreakable. Only 4,000 records are published in the book each year.

Sudoku puzzle measuring 275ftx275ft
The giant puzzle near Bristol

2. The first edition of the book was published in 1955. It was commissioned by Sir Hugh Beaver, then the managing director of the Guinness Brewery, after a debate in a pub over the fastest species of game bird could not be settled with existing reference books. He realised that a book supplying the answers to this sort of question might prove popular.

3. Some records are no longer accepted by Guinness or are closed to new entries. Those such as heaviest cat have been deemed unethical as they may encourage owners to overfed their pets. Other records, such as sword swallowing, have been closed as the current holders have performed beyond what is considered safe human tolerances.

4. A number of high-profile records are broken on a regular basis. According to Guinness, the most popular include oldest living person, highest grossing film and fastest selling record.

Robert Wadlow on the BBC's The Record Breakers
Robert Wadlow, tallest man ever
5. One record which hasn't been beaten since the book was first published is world's tallest man. Robert Wadlow, who stands at 8ft 11.1 ins tall, appeared in the first ever edition in 1955 and still retains his title in the 2005 edition.

6. New Yorker Ashrita Furman holds the record for the individual with the most Guinness World Records. He has set 93 official records and is the holder of 26 standing records, including backwards cycling, fastest time to pogo-stick up the CN Tower and most hop-scotch games in 24 hours.

7. Sales of the Guinness Book of World Records have set records in its own right. With sales of more than 100 million copies in 100 different countries and 37 languages, it is the world's best ever selling copyright book.

8. Records are approved by Guinness from Monday to Friday, 0900 to 1800GMT. The latest approved on Wednesday were most drumbeats in a minute and largest water park.

Philip McCabe
The failed bee beard attempt
9. Rivals to Guinness include The Book of Alternative Records, which celebrates the more bizarre achievements like the most marriage rejections (Keith Redman with 8,800 knock-backs), and the Skousen Book of Mormon World Records, which records the achievements of Latter-Day Saints.

10. Fancy a challenge? Some records are yet to be set. Some suggested by The Book of Alternative Records include roller-skating on hands (fastest time for 50m), longest dark-ride in an amusement park, most table tennis balls held underwater for ten seconds - using one hand and forearm only - and juggling three objects while blindfolded for the longest time.

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