Best strange news award today goes to: a giant animated coffee pot made of people. I don’t know the symbolism, but I’ve seen the symbol before on foreign coins and even to this foreigner in a far away land (USA) this giant Arab coffee pot was an interesting thing for a school to create. It’s a nifty effort of organized togetherness, these group wins in the Guinness world record. Brilliant idea.

Students at a school in the United Arab Emirates set two Guinness World Records by creating a human image of a coffee pot pouring into a cup.

The 5,445 students at the Indian International School Sharjah formed the shape of a traditional Dallah coffee pot and transformed into the image of coffee being poured into a cup.

The attempt set two Guinness records, largest human image of a coffee pot and largest transforming human image.

“This cultural mainstay even appears on the most widely used denomination of the UAE currency, the Dh1 coin. Understanding that the Dallah is deeply rooted in Arab culture and that it represents a symbol of unity, harmony and generosity, the students of IISS, engaged in the first attempt of its kind to showcase the largest human image of the Dallah by setting a new record,” the school said in an announcement.

Read more:  UPI

The transformation (pouring into the cup) was very good, lots of attention to detail including the last people running faster at the end. Great job. 👍

There are many world records left.

The Xeno Challenge to other schools around the world is to not only break a world record while giving everyone in your school a part to play, but to also to help solve a common human problem as your school wins a world record.

What are some common human problems these days?

You might…

  • Start by getting everyone in the school to list five human problems, then collect and count and rank these. Keep the answer secret and have a big announcement.
  • Have everyone pick one of the five and brainstorm five answers, which are then ranked in terms of potential effectiveness.
  • Devise a distributed way to give everyone a few simple 1 minute voting or sorting tasks each day that will ultimately result in what you, as a group, do to win a record…

The surprise: Students show up thinking they have to now solve the problem selected with the solution they selected, but when they do show up, they are straight away all awarded a Guinness World Record … for what? Ah, for being a part of largest human-problem-solving analog computer.

Get your method working, and it could be re-used as a powerful group decision making tool that is part of the school culture. Extra points if it avoids the common problems of group-think, uninformed democracy, undue influence, people feeling ignored, etc.

If several different human distributed computing methods from different schools go head to head, with the most productive and efficient winning, we could find a fantastic new system to help us guide the future and to increase the odds of long term human survival.

Steal this idea.

I can think of many snags as different groups and sub-groups in the machine form to work and troubleshoot. It may take the whole year to get the method right, something that everyone enjoys, has time to do, actually does, and which nearly everyone agrees results in top results. To me this seems worth the effort.

What would be really cool to see, is a person standing with a megaphone on the ladder, asking the entire group to pick something, let’s say the new name of the school mascot. One school’s method may have each student use pen and paper, another school may use a hand signals process, another just verbal quiet communication. That’s the one I imagined winning, “the murmur machine.”

The algorithm might be: form triads with two as sayers, one as the caller. Each of the sayers say a name they like, caller picks winner, unselected sayer becomes a sitting judge (caller). Previous callers become sayers to a seated player as their caller. Unselected sayer sits. Any standing two find a close seated caller until just one is standing and this person says the group selected name.

Would this work? Why or why not?

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Last bit fun to imagine. Design flaw in your murmured answer protocol possible: bias for a slower answer to win because it had less iterations to be weeded? Also goes faster if person who is not selected puts hand over mouth (instead of sitting) to show they can now boost another.

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