Meet the Man who Drove Across the U.S. in Little Over a Day

Flickr/Noémie Assir

A 27-year-old man from Atlanta has become the fastest person to drive across the United States, obliterating the previous world record set in 2006. Ed Bolian whizzed his way from New York to Los Angeles in a mind-boggling 28 hours 50 minutes, breaking the prior record by more than two hours.

Bolian, who had wanted to make the record-breaking attempt since he was 18, says preparations for the journey took several years. First, he had to choose a car that would be suitable for such an intensive voyage. He settled on a 2004 Mercedes-Benz CL55 AMG, although the standard model wouldn’t exactly do-Bolian outfitted the car with additional fuel tanks, bringing the car’s fuel capacity to 67 gallons. More gas meant fewer pit stops to fill up the tanks, with Bolian’s car able to travel 800 miles before it needed to be topped up.If that sounds like a really long way to drive before getting a break, or you know, taking a leak, don’t worry because Bolian was prepared for that too. He traveled with a team of two others who could take turns driving, and as for the bathroom part, well, the car was stocked with extra bottles and bedpans in case of emergencies.

Bolian also installed police scanners, radar detectors, GPS units with traffic capabilities, and a whole host of other gizmos into his vehicle. His car also boasts a CB radio and giant antenna that allowed him to call out to slow trucks on the road in an effort to get past them faster.

Kiiking: Estonia’s Extreme Swing Set


Remember when we were kids playing on the swing set and we’d try to swing so high that we’d fly over the top bar and come down the other side? No, I never made it either. But in Estonia, they’ve taken a childhood dream and made it an extreme sport.

It’s called kiiking. Using a special swing with steel arms instead of chains, the kiiker stands on the swing and pumps back and forth until he or she gets enough momentum to make a full 360-degree turn. The best kiikers can go around several times. The longer the shaft of the swing, the harder it is, and according to the “Guinness Book of World Records,” the record for kiiking is with a 7.02-meter (23-foot) swing used by Andrus Aasamäe of Estonia on August 21, 2004.

Kiiking has taken off in the Baltic states and in Scandinavia. Here we show a video of the Estonian army taking a little time off from defending the nation to practice kiiking.

The Northernmost Castle In The World

the northernmost castle in the world
I’m in a northern state of mind. Perhaps it’s the hail tickity-tacking off my window, or maybe it’s because Gadling is sending me to Estonia this February. That’s right, I’ll be freezing my butt off for your edification and entertainment.

Reading about the great Estonian castles such as Narva and Paide, I wondered which is the northernmost castle in the world. That great provider of facile and not always accurate information, the Internet, came up with several answers.

It all depends on how you define “castle,” you see.

If you’re going for traditional medieval castles, there’s general agreement that St. Olaf’s Castle in Savonlinna, Finland, is the northernmost at 61° 51′ 50″N. You can see it here in this photo by Mikko Paananen.

Called Olavinlinna in Finnish, construction started in 1475. At the time, the sparsely populated Savo region was in the hands of the Swedish crown but the Russians also wanted it. In fact, the Russians wanted it so badly that they attacked it several times, even before the castle was finished. The Russians finally took it in 1714 and kept it until the region became part of Finland when that nation became independent in 1917.

A castle this old always has its share of legends. The most persistent is the tale that a beautiful maiden was walled up in the castle as a punishment for treason. She must have been innocent because a rowan tree grew near the spot, with flowers as white as her virtue and berries as red as her blood. A nearby spring has a water sprite, and the castle was once saved by a giant black ram that made so much noise the invaders fled.

There’s a museum of Orthodox religious items on site and you can even hire out the castle in case you want to get married in the far north. The town of Savonlinna is a four-hour train ride from Helsinki and hosts an annual opera festival.

%Gallery-176848%If you aren’t a traditionalist and any old fort will do, the prize for northernmost castle goes to Vardøhus Fortress at 70° 22′ 20″N on a Norwegian island in the Barents Sea. There was a castle there as early as 1306 to control the fur and fish trade but nothing remains above ground today, so while it once may have been the northernmost castle in the world, it’s no longer standing and doesn’t count in my book.

Instead there’s a well-preserved star fort from 1738 that offers tours. Star forts came into prominence in the late 15th century as an adaptation to early cannons, which could knock down a castle wall before you could say, “We’re facing superior technology, run!” These forts had earthen embankments faced with stone and were laid out in the shape of a star to deflect cannonballs and provide crossfire.

Vardøhus Fortress proved vital to Norway’s interests yet never saw action until World War II. It’s still operating today and the five-man garrison has the duty of firing a cannon on national holidays and also when the full disk of the sun first appears over the horizon on January 21. This event is a holiday in northern Norway. You can find out more about Vardøhus along with plenty of photos over on The Lost Fort blog.

While no stretch of the imagination could make Thule Air Base in Greenland a castle, you have to tip your hats to the men and women of the United States Air Force and their NATO allies for living at 76° 31′ 52″ N. That’s 750 miles north of the Arctic Circle. It’s said to be the northernmost military base in the world. I suspect the Russians would disagree if they were willing to divulge that sort of information.

Like castles? Don’t miss our posts on the World’s Ten Scariest Haunted Castles and the Ten Toughest Castles in the World. Want to learn about life in a town that has lots of records for northernmost things (including the northernmost ATM?) check out our posts on Svalbard.

London Bartender Makes World’s Oldest And Most Expensive Cocktail




World-renowned mixologist Salvatore Calabrese has recently broken the Guinness World Record for making the world’s most expensive cocktail, “Salvatore’s Legacy.”

The video above shows Calabrese creating the concoction in London at Salvatore at Playboy, using the world’s most expensive and oldest spirits. The total price of the drink is $8,830. Supposedly, the “world’s leading cocktail expert” had to get creative and modify his recipe after a customer dropped and smashed a $77,480 bottle of cognac.

Curious as to exactly what’s in it? According to The Atlantic Cities, the recipe calls for “40 mL of 1788 Clos de Griffier Champagne Cognac, 20 mL of 1770 Kümmel herbal liqueur, 20 mL of 1860 Dubb orange curacao and two dashes of Angostura Bitters, a combination that involves a collective 730 years.”

Check out the video above to see the lavish libation being made by Calabrese.

138 Synchronized Skydivers Break Vertical Formation World Record



On Friday, a world record was shattered as 138 skydivers jumped off six different planes to form the largest vertical formation to date. The unusual event occurred over Ottawa, Illinois, beating the previous record of 108 people.

According to Digital Trends, there were 15 failed attempts during the course of three days before the skydivers were finally able to join hands and form a perfect formation. The divers faced speeds of up to 220 mph, and had to perform acrobatic tricks similar to “doing a handstand at 7,000 feet,” as described by Rook Nelson, an organizer and the owner of Skydive Chicago. Their hard work paid off, however, as the group was able to create a colorful snowflake shape that lasted for a few seconds, before divers had to disband and open their chutes.

The diverse group of skydivers came from all over the world, and included 13 women. Divers hailed from France, Spain, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, Russia, Italy, Belgium, Australia and Great Britain to take part.

To see the record-breaking stunt for yourself, check out the video above.