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Subject: JIS Numbers Records Committee - Some Concerns about its mandate From: Arthur Lewbel < email@example.com> Date: 23 Apr 1996 16:01:03 GMT Message-ID <firstname.lastname@example.org> Organization: Default Usenet Organization Newsgroups rec.juggling
I'm not good with quotations, but I believe Einstein said that the problem with most scientists is that they drill where the wood is thinnest, meaning that they tackle the small easy problems instead of the tough hard ones. I think that the JIS numbers record committee, at least as currently envisioned by its founders, suffers the same problem. Basically it now says, "If you prove to us you juggled exactly the way we say you must do it, then we'll say you did it." Well big whoop. (though I admit that even this is an improvement over the current situation). A few good jugglers, especially rec.jugglers, may bother to read and follow our rules and send us their tapes. I expect most won't. Imagine the committee as currently designed does its job for a few years. In 1998 Guinness calls: Guinness: "Are you the new authority on juggling records?" Committee: "Yes." G: "We've seen the error of our ways. We want to get the juggling records exactly right this time. What's the record for most clubs juggled?" C: "I don't know. Gatto, I guess, but his dad never sent us a tape of him doing it." G: "I need to know. Should I call Gene Jones?" C: "No." G: "Ok, we'll make up something for clubs. How about the ball record?" C: "We have lovely tape of Boppo flashing 12 balls. He followed all of our rules doing it." G: "The IJA told me that some guy named Anthony Sergei Bruce Vladik did 13, with a 100 jugglers as witnesses." C: "That may be true, but he never sent us signed affidavits from those witnesses so our committee can't verify it as official." G: "OK, we'll just say he juggled as opposed to showered 13." etc.,. The hard and useful job, the thick wood, would be to define who the best jugglers were and are by a range of criteria, documented as accurately as possible. The goal should be to become, collectively, the most respected and knowledgable authority on juggling records. If a newspaper reporter, or Guinness, or Kaskade called us and asked, "Who can juggle the most rings? Who's the best ping pong ball spitter in the world? Who's the fastest joggler?" we should be able to answer (in most cases the answer would not be a single name, but a list of different names associated with specific accomplishments, e.g., "The most rings known to have been performed on a regular basis was Ignatov's 9, and he occasionally flashed 11 in performance. Gatto claimed to have worked on 13, but the most proven to have ever been flashed by videotape is Lucas's 12, etc.,." (note I'm not claiming any of the previous quotation is correct, I only mean it as an example of the kind of statement the committee should be able to produce.) After we are a respected authority, then maybe our choice of rules and criteria will be taken seriously by the world beyond rec.juggling, and record breakers will have some incentive to document things our way. Until then, most working numbers jugglers will continue to have incentives to keep things muddy. If lucas flashed 12, isn't it better for his career if the distinction between whether he flashed or juggled is kept fuzzy? Dozens of jugglers now call themselves the world's faster juggler - none of them would want an objective measure, since then all but one would lose the billing, and that one would have to worry that someone faster didn't come along. The idea that any of them would even ask us, much less pay us, to choose among them is absurd. The committee should do the valuable, important, hard work of becoming the records authority, collecting as much evidence as possible about every existing claim. We could publish lists of known and claimed records, along with all available supporting evidence, including joint statements by the committee on the likely veracity of each claim. Clarifying rules and definitions about what it means to do a juggle is only a tiny piece of this work. I have been invited to join the committee. I hereby accept the invitation, but with trepidation. I hope that from inside I can sway the committee to the above agenda, but if all we do after months is further refine our definitions of a collection vs. a gather and argue about whether to charge 10 bucks to accept a tape, I'll soon drop out. Any rec.jugglers with comments or opinions on this should post them here, or email them to me or to the committee. Arthur Lewbel P.S. note my new email address: email@example.com My old address still works, but I'd perfer jugglers to use this new one.