Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Science tackles the pressing issues of our time, this time regarding whether you should fart on planes

Their conclusion: it's better for pilots to fart than not fart.  For safety!  Seriously, this is a thing people are studying, right now.  They probably earn more than you do!

A team of Danish and British gastroenterologists produced a paper on flatulence on planes after one of them, Jacob Rosenberg, was inspired on a flight between Copenhagen and Tokyo.

The problem is that farting is an invariable consequence of digestion and people do it about 10 times a day.

Was there a need for that Wikipedia link?  Pretty sure people have figured out what that word means.

Hans Christian Pommergaard, Jakob Burcharth, Anders Fischer, William Thomas and Professor Rosenberg have told the New Zealand Medical Journal the holding back option may seem "alluring'' but there are drawbacks.

"Alluring" is not the word I'd have picked.  Maybe "painful" or "excruciating"?

Stress, discomfort, pain, bloating, dyspepsia and other symptoms could ensue, while not discounting the chance that all the effort may be sabotaged by turbulence in any case.

CAPTAIN: Please be advised that we are encountering some turbulence.

EVERYONE ON PLANE: <releases pent-up farts>

"There is actually only one reasonable solution ... just let it go,'' the medicos say.

They warn of consequences in the cockpit.

"If the pilot restrains a fart, all the drawbacks previously mentioned, including diminished concentration, may affect his abilities to control the airplane,'' the researchers say.

"If he lets go of the fart his co-pilot may be affected by its odour, which again reduces safety on board the flight.''

Yes, smelling a fart is in fact a serious safety concern on planes now.  Can't wait til the TSA gets involved.

The specialists did not recommend setting farts alight, either on land or in a plane, despite its proven ability to reduce odour.

Were people previously trying to do this on planes?  Everyone knows the best method is to shift blame to others by peering around in an obvious manner after you fart, to make it seem like you're trying to find the real culprit.  Also acceptable: asking if someone just stepped on a duck.

They reluctantly dismissed the notion of rubber pants with an attached air container for collecting gas as "somewhat extreme''.

I'd hate to see the options that were deemed "way too extreme", given that the "somewhat extreme" option already sounds like some sort of bizarre BDSM equipment.

But they reckon putting active charcoal in passenger seats is a winner of an idea that could be backed up with special undies.

Pre-flight passenger methane breath tests and reducing fibre in airline food options were also considered.

"I'm sorry, sir, but you can't board.  According to this highly scientific breath test, your toots are a safety risk."  
To close this article out, the writers have provided a dubiously helpful list of travel tips:
  • There are roughly two types of fart - silent, also known as sneaking, and loud.
  • The average person farts about 10 times a day.
  • Women's farts smell way worse than men's.
  • Sulphur containing gasses are responsible for the pong.
  • Burning the gas does reduce the smell but lighting farts is not recommended on land or in a plane.
  • Exercising the pelvic ring is essential to maintain the ability to fart silently.
  • For people with a weak pelvic floor, decoys can be performed such as coughing, sneezing, verbal outbreaks or spontaneous applause.
Holy shit, that last tip is phenomenal.  You could try verbal outbreaks--your fellow passengers will have no idea you're farting!  They'll just think you have Tourette's.  Even better is the spontaneous applause option.  Ideally, nearby people will hear both the fart and the applause, and they'll think you're just super proud of your digestive system.  Thanks, science!

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