Money Matters - Simplified


'Spooning' record attempt planned in N.C.

Raleigh, N.C. -- Two North Carolinians say they hope to set a record at an upcoming music festival for most people involved in simultaneous spooning.

Spooning, an antique method of courting, involves two people, fully clothed, lying front to back. Nicole Brown-Smedley, a graduate student at North Carolina State in Raleigh, and her fellow organizer, Johnsie Hingley, plan to get 500 people into the act during Labor Day weekend at The Getdown, a four-day festival in Mebane, The (Charlotte, N.C.) Observer reported.

"The act of spooning, especially in this context, says, 'I don't know you, but I trust you at my back,' Brown-Smedley said. "It will make people feel connected."

D.C. United fires coach

Washington -- D.C. United, which has the worst record in the MLS, Wednesday fired Coach Curt Onalfo.

The team said Ben Olsen, who played for D.C. United from 1998-2009, was installed as interim head coach. Chad Ashton, previously D.C. United's technical director, was made interim assistant coach and current assistants Kris Kelderman and Mark Simpson will retain their positions.

Onalfo was let go after just seven months with D.C. United. The team is 3-12-3 this year and has scored a league-low 12 goals while giving up a league-high 31.

Rowers break record crossing Atlantic

Scilly, England -- It took 43 days, but a rowing team has broken the record for crossing the North Atlantic from New York to Britain's Isles of Scilly.

The British-led team paddled an 18-foot long wooden boat called the "Fox" 3,500 miles, through storms and 40-foot waves from New York to the Isles of Scilly, The Sunday Telegraph reported.

The previous record was set in 1896, taking 55 days.

"We are all really exhausted; it's been a helter skelter trip," said skipper Leven Brown, 37. "It was very punishing on the body. We had two capsizes and two men thrown overboard."

U.S. robot sets 14-mile 'walking' record

Ithaca, N.Y. -- A robot designed by U.S. engineering students set an unofficial untethered walking record of 14.3 miles at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., the school says.

Steered by students using a standard remote control unit for toys, the untethered Ranger robot covered the distance in 11 hours, making 108 laps around an indoor track at the university's Barton Hall on July 6, a university release said.

The "walk" beat a previous record by a walking robot of 12.8 miles.

Unlike other walking robots that use motors for every movement, Ranger emulates human walking, using gravity and momentum to help swing its legs forward, its designers say.

2010: Warmest year on record?

Washington -- Record-setting temperatures in March, April and June made 2010 the warmest year worldwide since the start of record keeping in 1880, climate experts say.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration data showed the average temperature in June to be 1.22 degrees higher than the historical average, USA Today reported Friday.

"It's part of an overall trend," Jay Lawrimore, climate analysis chief at NOAA's National Climatic Data Center, said. "Global temperatures ... have been rising for the last 100-plus years. Much of the increase is due to increases in greenhouse gases."

If the trend continues, Lawrimore said, flooding rains will become more common.

Record purse for U.S. Open

New York -- The 2010 U.S. Open, the year's final major tennis tournament, will award a record $22.6 million in purses, the U.S. Tennis Association said Thursday.

The USTA said the tournament, which will run Aug. 30-Sept. 12 will pay its men's and women's singles champions $1.7 million each. Last year's winners -- Kim Clijsters and Juan Martin del Potro -- each earned $1 million.

The $22.6 million in total prize money represents a record for a tennis tournament, officials said.

The association also said the singles winners can make an additional $1 million in bonus money from the U.S. Open Series, a 10-tournament stretch linked to the U.S. Open itself.

Strasburg's bow draws record cable ratings

Washington -- Washington's regional cable TV sports network MASN said Wednesday it garnered record ratings for the debut of Nationals rookie pitcher Stephen Strasburg.

Strasburg made his highly anticipated major league bow Tuesday at Nationals Park, striking out a franchise-record 14 batters and leading the Nats to a win over the Pittsburgh Pirates.

MASN said preliminary overnight Nielsen ratings showed that the game set a new record high rating for the network, earning a 7.1 HH rating, meaning more than 165,000 households in the Washington region tuned in to watch Strasburg's historic performance.

'OMG' still No. 1 record in the U.S.

Los Angeles -- Usher's "OMG" featuring is No. 1 on the U.S. record chart for a fourth non-consecutive week, reported Thursday.

Coming in at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 is Katy Perry's "California Gurls" featuring Snoop Dogg, followed by B.o.B's "Airplanes" featuring Hayley Williams at No. 3, Ke$ha's "Your Love is My Drug" at No. 4 and Taio Cruz's "Break Your Heart" at No. 5.

Rounding out the top tier are Lady Gaga's "Alejandro" at No. 6, B.o.B's "Nothin' On You" at No. 7, La Roux's "Bulletproof" at No. 8, Train's "Hey, Soul Sister" at No. 9 and Eminem's "Not Afraid" at No. 10.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI).