Sunday, October 21, 2012

A Preoccupation With Records!

    Since Felix Baumgartner made his historic jump the other day, it  has got me wondering about our preoccupation with records... the biggest, the fastest, the heaviest, the tallest, the oldest. You get what I mean.

     Baumgartner went to tremendous planning and expense to set up his record breaking jump. He carefully picked the best place on the planet to make the jump. All kinds of technology was  used. How many cameras were set up to record the event? A balloon made of plastic close to saran wrap thickness carried him to the outer edges of the atmosphere. The balloon...15 stories high! The tiny capsule he traveled in? One small mistake and it was over for Mr. Baumgartner. A small rip in his suit would be automatic disaster. A small rip in the plastic balloon? There were many things where there was no backup. 

    I had not been paying attention to this stunt. On the day of the jump twitter was full of "Felix" and then I realized what they were talking about.

   So the Guinness book of records gets another entry. As an aside, when I taught I tried to have one period a week for reading. Some little guy always got the Guinness book of records and would be mesmerized for the whole period.

    So I have to question the value of setting so many different records. Yes, I know this one had a certain amount of scientific value, but many records are pointless. Example: 150 combines in one field, a hockey game which is played for 72 hours. Aren't we wasting time and making spectacles of ourselves? 

    I for one can do without such records and can get myself cranked up to live a fulfilling life without all the hype cluttering my head.