Monday, June 23, 2008

Art of Fart

Reading recently "Diary of one genius" of Salvador Dali, I came across additional chapters first of which was named "Art of Fart" where the author (not Dali) went at length in explaining and categorizing all different types of farts, their types, intensity, frequency range of course their smell.

Below find a somewhat compressed FAQ on farts, a taboo not frequently discussed among scientists nor among average people in their daily lives.


Where does fart gas come from?
The gas in our intestines comes from several sources: air we swallow, gas seeping into our intestines from our blood, gas produced by chemical reactions in our guts, and gas produced by bacteria living in our guts.

What is fart gas made of?
The composition of fart gas is highly variable.

Most of the air we swallow, especially the oxygen component, is absorbed by the body before the gas gets into the intestines. By the time the air reaches the large intestine, most of what is left is nitrogen. Chemical reactions between stomach acid and intestinal fluids may produce carbon dioxide, which is also a component of air and a product of bacterial action. Bacteria also produce hydrogen and methane.

But the relative proportions of these gases that emerge from our anal opening depend on several factors: what we ate, how much air we swallowed, what kinds of bacteria we have in our intestines, and how long we hold in the fart.
The longer a fart is held in, the larger the proportion of inert nitrogen it contains, because the other gases tend to be absorbed into the bloodstream through the walls of the intestine.

A nervous person who swallows a lot of air and who moves stuff through his digestive system rapidly may have a lot of oxygen in his farts, because his body didn't have time to absorb the oxygen.

According to Dr. James L. A. Roth, the author of Gastrointestinal Gas (Ch. 17 in Gastroenterology, v. 4, 1976) most people (2/3 of adults) pass farts that contain no methane. If both parents are methane producers, their children have a 95% chance of being producers as well. The reason for this is apparently unknown. Some researchers suspect a genetic influence, whereas others think the ability is due to environmental factors. However, all methane in any farts comes from bacterial action and not from human cells.

What makes farts stink?
The odor of farts comes from small amounts of hydrogen sulfide gas and mercaptans in the mixture. These compounds contain sulfur. Nitrogen-rich compounds such as skatole and indole also add to the stench of farts. The more sulfur-rich your diet, the more sulfides and mercaptans will be produced by the bacteria in your guts, and the more your farts will stink. Foods such as cauliflower, eggs and meat are notorious for producing smelly farts, whereas beans produce large amounts of not particularly stinky farts.

Why do farts make noise?
The sounds are produced by vibrations of the anal opening. Sounds depend on the velocity of expulsion of the gas and the tightness of the sphincter muscles of the anus. Contrary to a popular misconception, fart noise is not generated by the flapping of the butt cheeks. You can see proof of this in the close-up video footage of Carl Plant's fart on Mate-in-a-State.

Source: Brenna Lorentz - Facts on Farts (couldn't find the original text of the chapter I read)

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Do you believe?

Do you believe?

What do you believe in?

In God (are you American or Egyptian)?

In science (a seeming dilemma – contradiction in terms – while science, conventionally is never to be believed in but to be dismantled, analyzed, reassembled and perhaps agreed on its temporal and spatial infallibility for the given context and considering the very special initial conditions and variable parameters)?

In Aristotle (have you even read his Politics or Poetics or just anything)? The guy solidified what his unfortunately not-very-lucid teacher had the bad taste to say and write aloud…

In yourself (planning, effective time management and rationalizing people and their motifs seem like means for understanding this world and yourself)? Go read some literature such as Nicolas Taleb’s “Fooled by randomness” or its sequel “Black Swan” and then we will talk…

Think twice in what you believe or don’t believe…

Not saying you must believe in nothing, you cannot. Human brain activity, as one of its unintentional and collateral consequences, has systematizing the incoming data and building certain set of attitudes, beliefs, approaches in reaction to and in order to cope with this world.

All the above mentioned concepts, ideas, things are usually instilled in us at schools, universities, institutions and in our families and societies. These and more are worshipped, respected, taken as faith and blindly followed by overwhelming numbers of people. Many of those we didn’t chose to believe in. We grew up, conditioned as we were, and never asked a question because we took things and notions for granted, and those things and notions never raised even the smallest of doubts or hesitations in us until…..something happened or someone showed otherwise… All our cherished values or many of them, build, cherished and followed during our lives, collapsed in that very moment, in a split second…Life could have been different if only the right question was asked... An old Arab saying goes, “Asking a right question is already half-way to finding the correct solution.”

Choose what you believe in… Never trust what others say even if all say…Find in yourself the reason, the courage, the commitment to scrutinize and feel what you are about to believe.
See that the belief you are about to follow is worth it, is worth your heart and mind, your body and soul, your time and nerves.

Finally, believe in your belief and stay faithful to it for as long as possible but always find time to take a break, to look back, to look forth and decide whether you still are devoted and committed to you belief.

Good luck.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

World's biggest restaurant

A Damascus restaurant enters the Guinness Book of World Records as the world's largest eaterie of its kind.

With seating for 6,012 people the Damascus Gate steals the title from the "Mang Gorn Luang" or "Royal Dragon" in Thailand, by just over a thousand covers. During the busy summer period the restaurant can employ more than 1,700 staff. One chef alone can produce up to 30 helpings of any popular dish in one minute - that's one bowl every two seconds.

"It is a big push for tourism in the Syrian Arab Republic and we hope for more achievements. We offer this international success to Damascus, the Arab capital of culture," says General Manager Mohannad Al-Sammant.

There is however no alcohol served.