Guinness World Records 2015 - page 18

Noisiest workplace
The loudest place on Earth that any human works
for a sustained period is the cockpit of a Formula
One racing car. For a driver sitting directly in front
of the engine, the noise level has been measured
at 140 dB. All drivers wear tailor-made earplugs.
Most valuable
On 9 Mar 2009, Lloyd’s
reported that the
tongue of Gennaro
Pelliccia (UK) was
insured for £10 m
($14 m). Pelliccia tastes
every single batch of
coffee beans made
for Costa Coffee (UK)
stores and has now
learned to distinguish
between thousands of
different flavours.
Highest detectable pitch
The upper limit of human
hearing is accepted to be
20,000 Hz (hertz, or cycles
per second), although this
figure decreases with age. By
way of comparison, bats emit
pulses at up to 90,000 Hz.
The average accepted
lowest detectable pitch
by the human ear is 20 Hz,
although in ideal conditions
a young person can hear
frequencies down to 12 Hz.
Inaudible infrasound waves
in the range of 4–16 Hz can
be felt by the human body as
physical vibrations.
Smallest bone
The stapes or stirrup bone
measures 2.6–3.4 mm
(0.1–0.13 in) in length and
weighs 2–4.3 mg. One of the
three auditory ossicles in the
middle ear, the stapes plays
a vital role in hearing.
Senses & perception
The eyes can process around
36,000 pieces of information
every hour
Conventionally, we think
of ourselves as having
five senses: sight,
hearing, taste, touch and
smell. But if to “sense”
something simply means
to be aware of it, then
we have many more than
just these five “primary”
senses. Here are a few
others to consider:
Quietest place
Tests performed on 18 Oct 2012
in the Anechoic Test Chamber at
Orfield Laboratories in Minneapolis,
Minnesota, USA, gave a background
noise reading of just -13 dBA (decibels
A-weighted). The term “dBA” denotes
sound levels audible to the human ear –
i.e., excluding extreme highs and lows.
Farthest object visible
to the naked eye
Gamma-ray bursts are the
birth cries of black holes.
At 2:12 EDT on 19 Mar
2008, NASA’s
detected a gamma-ray
burst from a galaxy some
7.5 billion light years away.
Some 30–40 sec later, the
optical counterpart of the
burst was seen on Earth
and captured by a robotic
telescope. The explosion,
known as GRB 080319B,
was visible to the naked
eye for around 30 sec.
Most active muscle
Scientists have estimated
that human eye muscles
move more than 100,000
times a day. Many of these
rapid eye movements take
place during the dreaming
phase of sleep.
Most sensitive
colour vision
The average human eye
can perceive approximately
a million colours. Our powers
of colour vision derive from
three types of cone cells in
the eye, each responsive
to different wavelengths of
light. Our brains combine
the signals to produce the
perception of colour. Work
completed by neuroscientist
Gabriele Jordan at the
University of Newcastle,
UK, proved that some
people have four cones,
enabling them to see more
colours – about 99 million
more, in fact. Jordan and
her team created a test in
which three subtle colour
circles flashed on a screen.
Only one person was able
to distinguish them every
time – an English female
doctor known as “cDa29” –
who has the most sensitive
colour vision measured.
Smelliest substance
The man-made foul-smelling
substances “Who-Me?” and
“US Government Standard
Bathroom Malodor” have
five and eight chemical
we are sensitive to
body movement, direction
and acceleration
the brain’s parietal
cortex enables us to tell where every
part of our body is in relation to its
other parts. (Test this by trying to touch
your nose with your eyes closed!)
we sense
time passing
we can tell
hot from cold
and adjust
a mechanism for the
body to sense damage
our internal
senses alert us when we are
feeling hungry or tired
All readings from 10-m distance
dB Sound
150 Jet engine
114 Train whistle
110 Subway train
107 Pneumatic riveter
89 Power saw
64 City traffic from inside car
46 Normal piano practice
Listen up: the
decibel scale
The loudness, or intensity, of
a sound is usually measured
in decibels (dB). Decibels
are calculated according to
a logarithmic scale, which
increases by a set ratio.
Total silence would measure
0 dB; a sound 10 times
greater would be 10 dB, but
a sound 100 times louder
than 0 dB would measure
only 20 dB, and sounds
1,000 times louder than 0 dB
would register just 30 dB.
Listed here are typical
decibel readings, recorded
from a distance of 10 m
away from the source.
Quieter V6 engines
were introduced in
the 2014 season – to
the disappointment
of many F1 fans!
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