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« On the radio | Main | Al fresco »

Jul 18, 2007

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David Boyd

I think we've finally answered the question as to whether or not there's too much grant money out there floating around.

David Wharton

Boyd, I think not! There's important work on farts being done in Roman studies, to wit:

" ... as Rose adroitly observes, the happy juxtaposition of Eumolpus' poetic manifesto with the Corax-Giton farting contest [in Petronius's Satiricon] reminds us of the Suetonian anecdote in which Lucan exploited a fart in a public lavatory to deride Nero's thunderbolt half-line sub terris tonuisse putes ('you would think thunder had struck beneath the earth')."

That is, both Petronius and Lucan made fun of the emperor Nero with fart jokes -- and both were later put to death by him.

Timely? Relevant? I daresay.

Fec Stench

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.

Ed Cone

Another famous instance of historical effluvium.

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