Friday, November 26, 2004

Silent but Deadly

This is from a "Science by email" from 26 nov... my kids get them.
thought it was funny enuff to chuck here.

News: Silent but Deadly

How many times do you fart a day? It has been previously thought that the average healthy person passes wind somewhere between 7-14 times a day. But a recent survey by ABC's The Lab has revealed that Aussie kids fart about 24 times a day. Almost 1,000 gassy Aussies took part in the survey and the results are startling - 28% of farters can let one rip whenever they want. Most surprisingly, only 39% of participants like the smell of their own farts.

Australia's leading Grossologist, Questacon's Dr Thatsa NastySmell is thrilled by the results, "I am excited that our very own Aussie kids are farting more times per day than other kids around the world. It makes me happy as farting is a fabulous function our bodies perform. "

What causes us to fart? It can be many things; some of the gas we produce is from air we swallow which makes its way to the stomach and continues down, or it could be caused by our diet. But most is caused by bacteria living in our bowel. Dr NastySmell blames flatulence emissions on her large intestine's E. coli bacteria. "When the E. coli bacteria come across foods like beans and cabbage, which have sugars that humans can't digest, the E. coli chew them up and emit them as gases, which can sometimes be smelly!"

Beans and cabbage contain complex sugars raffinose and stachyose that humans are unable to digest, as we don't have the enzymes needed. An enzyme is a chemical that helps a chemical reaction take place. This is where the bacteria come in, as they eat these indigestible sugars and release gas. This type of fart is usually loud and voluminous. The smelly ones are those that occur after eating eggs, meat or other food products. So, if someone accuses you of letting fluffy off the chain, pass the blame onto the E. coli in your intestines as they produce the gas and you are simply a vehicle for it.

Farts are made up of five main gases, they are: oxygen, nitrogen, carbon dioxide, hydrogen and methane. You might be interested to know that all these gasses are odourless. So what causes farts to smell? Scientists have found that the smell of flatus comes from various sulphur-containing compounds. The usual culprits that give each fart its own unique smell are the compounds: hydrogen sulphide, methanethiol and dimethyl sulphide.

Is the study of gross aspects of the body restricted to the experts? In the privacy of their own homes, Dr NastySmell claims all people are grossologists, even the most beautiful people in the world, "It is such a comfort to know that anyone can let one rip or sneak a silent but deadly fart out. One simply has to observe the number of people who sneeze into their handkerchiefs and then sneakily have a peak at what they've produced."

So next time your body does something that you think is gross; like fart or burp or sweat you might be encouraged to celebrate how amazing your body is because usually the "grossest" things are the most important and healthy functions of the body. And as a budding grossologists you might even try to find out why it happens.

To find out more about farts watch Dr NastySmell on next week's episode of Totally Wild, at 4.00pm Tuesday 30 November, where she will explain how and why this bodily function happens. She will also be testing the flammability of the gas produced by one of the Totally Wild presenters to assess its contents.
More information:

Smelly Science and the results of the Great Fart Survey:

How flatulence works:

A picture of a whale fart:

CSIRO's Dietary Fibre Information Sheet:

this dedicator recognize

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