The 35th edition of the Guinness Book of World Records says the world's fastest spider sprints at 10 m.p.h. and that the biggest snowman was built in Alaska. But the book does not settle which is longer, the Amazon or the Nile.
The 1989 edition, which will be released today, contains 15,000 records, 3,000 of them new.
Guinness, a British brewery, published its first Book of World Records in 1955 for use as the final arbiter in arguments in Britain and Ireland's 84,000 pubs. Since then, it has monitored, authenticated and logged more than 140,000 records.
Global sales of the book will surpass 60 million in 31 languages this year, earning Guinness its own place in Chapter Six, as the best-selling copyright book in publishing history, excluding the Bible.
This year's 310-page edition says the tallest living woman is Borneo's Mulia, born in 1956, who is 7-feet-7 3/4 inches tall, 170 pounds and growing.
The heaviest living man is T. J. Albert Jackson, of Canton, Miss., tipping the scales at 898 pounds, Guinness said. Walter Hudson of New York lost 280 of his 1,050-plus pounds and the title. Hudson made headlines when he became stuck in his bedroom doorway in September, 1987, and had to be rescued by firefighters.
The long-legged Sun-spider of genus Solpuga from Africa and the Middle East is the world's fastest arachnid, capable of blazing along--horizontally and vertically--at 10 m.p.h., faster than the average human walks.
The book includes maps of the Nile and the Amazon, and asks which is longer. It says the Amazon is 4,007 miles long--unless a tributary that carries 10% of the river's water to the Atlantic is followed, then it stretches to 4,195 miles. The Nile, before the loss of a few miles because of the formation of Lake Nasser behind the Aswan High Dam, flowed 4,145 miles into the Mediterranean.