The following is an article from the book Uncle John’s Perpetually Pleasing Bathroom Reader.
(Image credit: Towsonu2003)
“Breaking wind,” as the English so politely call it, is a natural and inevitable part of life. So it’s not surprising that farts occasionally make it into the news.
In June 2012, a 72-year-old New Jersey man named Daniel Collins was arrested and charged with assault, unlawful possession of a firearm, and making terrorist threats, when he pointed a .32-calibre revolver at his neighbor and threatened to shoot him in the head. What got Collins so worked up? According to police, he and the neighbor were involved in an ongoing dispute over noise. The feud escalated to its breaking point when the neighbor walked past Collins’s front door and farted so loudly that Collins could hear it from inside his apartment. Collins was later released on his own recognizance without having to post bail. (No word on whether, if convicted, he’ll have to spend time in the can.)
Scientists have long known that the farts and burps released by livestock are a significant source of greenhouse gases. But precisely how significant has been difficult to say because it’s almost impossible to accurately measure the emissions of animals out in the fields. In the summer of 2011, scientists at the UK’s National Physical Laboratory announced plans to develop a system for “auditing a herd’s collective flatulence” by shooting laser beams around the animals as they graze (and fart and burp) in their pastures. “We use lasers to interact with the gas,” researcher Alan Brewin told the Daily Telegraph. “The way the light is absorbed tells you what gas there is, how much of it there is, which direction it is flowing, and how fast.”
In November 2012, Britney Spears’s former bodyguard, 29-year-old Fernando Flores, sued the singer, alleging that she paraded around her home in the nude, made “repeated, unwanted sexual advances,” and farted “unapologetically” in his presence. Flores asked for more than $ 10 million in compensation for “psychological trauma, anxiety attacks, depression and insomnia,” despite the fact that he’d worked for Spears for less than six months. “He’s a liar,” a spokesperson for the star told reporters. The case was settled out of court. (Image credit: Glenn Francis)
OF MICE AND MEN
In July 2012, scientists at Johns Hopkins University in Maryland published a study that found that hydrogen sulfide, the gas that gives farts their rotten egg smell, also lowers blood pressure in mice. Researchers in the United States and China are now studying whether farts— making them or perhaps just smelling them— might one day be used as a therapy to help lower the blood pressure of humans. “The effective dosage could prove difficult to establish due to the difference in size between humans and mice,” said Yao Yuyu, a researcher at Zhongda Hospital in Nanjing.
LAW AND ODOR
Not long after the president of Malawi introduced legislation in 2011 to reform the African nation’s court system, Justice Minister George Chaponda told a radio interviewer that the bill also contained language that would make farting in public a misdemeanor. “Just go to the toilet if you feel like farting,” the minister said, adding that public tooting had been on the rise since the country transitioned from dictatorship to democracy in the early 1990s. So did Malawi really try to outlaw farting in public? Nope: Turns out that the legal language in question actually dealt with air pollution, not farting, but Minister Chaponda didn’t know that because he hadn’t read the bill. By the time he retracted his statement, Malawi’s so-called “fart ban” had made embarrassing headlines all over the world. Solicitor General Anthony Kamanga told the BBC, “How any reasonable or sensible person can construe the prohibition to criminalizing farting in public is beyond me.”
The article above is reprinted with permission from Uncle John’s Perpetually Pleasing Bathroom Reader. The 26th annual edition of Uncle John’s wildly successful series is all-new and jam-packed with the BRI’s patented mix of fun and information.
Since 1988, the Bathroom Reader Institute had published a series of popular books containing irresistible bits of trivia and obscure yet fascinating facts. If you like Neatorama, you'll love the Bathroom Reader Institute's books - go ahead and check 'em out!