News Briefs

Convocation Center is designated as polling site

The Miami-Dade County Elections Department chose the University of Miami Convocation Center as an official polling site for the 2004 Presidential Election, replacing the West Laboratory School as precinct number 640. The Convocation Center began working as a polling sight on Aug. 31, for the Presidential Primary Election, serving more than 1000 registered voters. Make sure to make your voice count and register to vote at the “Get Out the Vote” campaign table in the UC Breezeway! Remember, the last day to register is Oct. 10, and Election Day is Nov. 2!

(U-WIRE) AUSTIN, Texas – With chopsticks poised for attack and a Japanese bandana tied tight around his head, undeclared University of Texas-Austin freshman Ken Tran eyed his plateful of Smarties. Seemingly undaunted by a blaring Star Wars theme and 50 fans jockeying for a better view, he sought to bring one world record back to the United States on Friday night. Ken emerged from the candy dust three minutes later as the new Guinness World Record holder for the most Smarties eaten with chopsticks in under three minutes. His 190 shattered the previous record of 138, held by England’s Kathryn Ratcliffe, a soft-spoken 14-year-old. Ken’s father, Chau Tran, quickly embraced his son, unable to hide his pride and excitement. But the younger Tran’s joy was immediately tempered with a hint of disappointment. “I was hoping to bust 200,” he said. Ken said he broke 200 in his three weeks of training, but because of health concerns, he was only able to spend three minutes per day practicing. “Eating that many Smarties does a number on your digestive system,” he said. Ken said he developed a slight case of acne and gained about three pounds. He said it didn’t take long to develop his signature “side-scooping” style. “I like to go from the side, because the angle of attack is better,” Ken said. “The goal is to get as much wood on the Smarties as possible.” Ken said he will not attempt the feat again unless his number is beaten, but he does not expect that to happen soon. Ken said he had visions of becoming a world champion from the moment he saw the record. “I just looked at the number, which was 138, and I was like, ‘You know what, I can beat this,’ ” Ken said. His father had a slightly different explanation. “I think he has too much extra time,” Chau said. After Ken contacted Guinness about his attempt, the World Book of Records publishers sent him a page of rules and official documents to be submitted. The contestant must keep one hand behind his back and pick up only one candy at a time. In addition, the attempt requires two counters, two signed witnesses, one timer and a video cameraman. Amid cheers and a chant of “190,” the new champion looked around his kitchen for the perfect item to complete the victory — a pint of Guinness.