Tag Archives: flatulence

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Two wikipedia articles that simultaneously restore and diminish my hope for humanity

Now, Wikipedia didn’t think Jeremy Wales was suitable subject matter for an article, but they do think that Fart Lighting and Goldfish Swallowing deserve entries. I’m not sure what Jeremy should think about this. He is less newsworthy than flammable flatulence. Though perhaps the problem with my article about him was that it was somewhat embellished.

In case you’re wondering:

Fart Lighting

Fart lighting, or pyroflatulence, is the practice of igniting the gases produced by human flatulence, often producing a flame of a blue hue. The fact that flatus is flammable, and the actual combustion of it through this practice, gives rise to much humourous derivation. Other colors of flame such as orange and yellow are possible with the color dependent on the mixture of gases formed in the colon.
Although there is little scientific discourse on the combustive properties of flatus, there are many anecdotal accounts of flatus ignition and the activity has increasingly found its way into popular culture with references in comic routines, movies, and television; including cartoons.

You can read more about the science involved at the BBC.

Goldfish Swallowing

Goldfish swallowing was an American school fad starting in the 1930s, where a live goldfish is swallowed.
It is not clear how it became a fad: various people have made claims. A 1963 letter to the New York Times claimed that the fad began in late 1938 when Lothrop Withington Jr., a Harvard freshman with “[class] presidential aspirations,” was encouraged by his “campaign managers” to do so as a publicity stunt: “Reporters and photographers were inadvertently present in the Harvard Freshman Union when Withington swallowed his live goldfish (with a mashed potato chaser) and started a nationwide fad in the spring of 1939.” The editor replied that “unless the Editor’s memory is deceiving him, the goldfish-swallowing craze among school and college boys had begun at least as early as 1930.”[1] However, a Time magazine noted in a 1939 article, “Harvard Freshman Lothrop Withington Jr., son of a onetime (1910) Harvard football captain, started the fad sweeping U. S. campuses…”

The things Fox calls news: Boy passes gas on school bus

I think this might be old.

But it doesn’t stop it being a damning indictment on the editorial policies of local branches of Fox News.

Seriously.

“Boy farts on school bus, gets detention” wouldn’t have even been given a run in my school newspaper.

Philosophical flatulence

If a man passes wind in his office chair and Twitter is there to hear it – would you listen?

One of the things I was taught at uni was that a lot of technological innovation is driven by the adult entertainment industry. Video cassettes, the Internet, and glossy magazine printing technology have all benefited from hundreds of millions (perhaps billions) of dollars of investment from the industry. I thought that was interesting.

I also think it’s interesting that in the “open source” era so many applications of new technology are being driven by toilet humour. Particularly a fascination with flatulence. One of the most downloaded iPhone applications (and I don’t have it) is iFart – it’s basically a portable whoopie cushion with the full natural gas sound spectrum available at the push of a button. Enlightening. Really. It says so much about the human condition.

I’m delighted today to have discovered an all new low in the use of technology for the purposes of toilet humour… Here’s a description:

The Twittering office chair “tweets” (posts a Twitter update) upon the detection of natural gas such as that produced by human flatulence. This is part of my commitment to accurately document and share my life as it happens.

Here’s the detailed instructions for how to build your own… and here’s the OfficeChair’s Twitter account so you can follow the farts in real time. Hooray.