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MIT's Breakthrough In Propulsion Of Intra-Intestinal Micro-Muscular Agglomerations


Two science students at MIT broke a world record last week. They shattered it, actually. Their achievement - well, it's not exactly going to get a Nobel. We'll let them explain. Amber VanHemel begins.

AMBER VANHEMEL: We started with just, like, a pack of $2 hot dogs. We didn't have any of the rules and didn't even cook them and just started throwing them and to see actually, how hard was it to throw a hot dog?

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Yep. There's a Guinness world record for that. Around 120 feet is how far classmate Phoebe Li lobbed a fully cooked hot dog to VanHemel, who caught it neatly into an open bun, a requirement for this odd record once held by an actual NFL quarterback. And though the feat may seem random, the pair made sure to test each step.

VANHEMEL: Phoebe perfected the throwing motion after probably hundreds of hot dogs.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: That is the scientific method for you employed by two STEM students. But what does the perfect hot dog throw look like? - not far off from how you throw a softball, apparently. Li would know, since she played on the MIT varsity squad alongside VanHemel.

PHOEBE LI: We found the easiest way to throw the hot dog was to throw at end over end so that it would kind of just spin like a Ferris wheel towards Amber. And it was easier for her to catch, too, because it'd be spinning in one direction.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Another requirement for this strange record was the hot dog had to be cooked somehow.

VANHEMEL: Tried boiling some, microwaving some, pan-searing some, like a pork-filled, chicken or beef hot dogs and really getting, like, a spread of different variables to see which was the optimal to actually throw.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: It ended up, if you really want to know, being a Costco jumbo sausage that earned them the title. And it might just help Li with her future plans.

LI: I think mostly, my parents just think it's really great to hold a world record. And they keep insisting to put this on my med school applications (laughter).

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Li and VanHemel expect to receive their official certificate from the Guinness organization in the next few months. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Lulu Garcia-Navarro is the host of Weekend Edition Sunday and one of the hosts of NPR's morning news podcast Up First. She is infamous in the IT department of NPR for losing laptops to bullets, hurricanes, and bomb blasts.
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