A fart (or Frequency Actuated Rectal Tremor) is the term given to the expulsion of a mixture of gases through the rectum in mammals. The noises attributed to farting are caused by the vibration of the anal sphincter and sometimes the closed butt cheeks, meaning that music can be made by farts if one learns how to control one's butt cheeks.
Holding in farts too long causes the gas to dissolve into the bloodstream and exit the body via the lungs, literally causing butt breath. No kidding — holding in farts is a known cause of halitosis.
What makes a fart?
What doesn't? Seriously though...
A fart is composed of:
- 20%-90% nitrogen,
- 0%-50% hydrogen,
- 10%-30% carbon dioxide,
- 0%-10% oxygen,
- 0%-10% methane,
- Trace amounts of extremely smelly sulfur compounds.
Farts are caused by a mixture of air inhaled through the nose or mouth and gases produced by one's intestinal microbiome. The different smells attributed to farts are often related to the food consumed by the individual in the hours before digestion takes place, and are produced by hydrogen sulfide (H2S — "eggy") and Methanethiol (CH3SH — "cabbagey").
Farting and health
"Some say that he [the Emperor Claudius] planned an edict to legitimize the breaking of wind at table, either silently or noisily – after hearing about a man who was so modest that he endangered his health by an attempt to restrain himself."
It is safe for surgical personnel to fart in operating theaters, at least as far potential infection goes. An experiment was conducted, whereby 2 Petri dishes were separately farted at from distance of 5cm. The experimenter farted at one fully clothed and at the other without trousers. The clothed fart did not produce a bacteria culture on the Petri dish but the trouser-less fart produced two types of bacterial cultures on the dish. It was deduced that one of the cultures was produced by the fart itself and the other by skin bacteria that was blasted onto the dish. It was further deduced that farting in the operating theater is safe because clothing acts as a filter against bacteria.
Farts in popular culture
As a joke
“”Something which has never occurred since time immemorial; a young woman did not fart in her husband’s lap.
|—World's oldest recorded joke, dating back to 1900 BCE.|
Farts are frequently viewed in Western culture as something of a juvenile joke. They are very popular in low-brow comedy programmes which increases this belief, although even grown men and women are known to laugh endlessly when someone farts in a most inappropriate time. However, it is generally considered inappropriate and bad-mannered to fart in the vicinity of other people in
certain most basically all social situations. Nonetheless, some people don't take this into consideration.
When not to fart
Farting in any of the following social situations is — generally — frowned upon:
- On a plane
- In an elevator
- At the dinner table
- On dates
- When meeting an intimate partner's parents for the first time
- At a funeral
- At a wedding
- At church in general (Christians don't like farts. They are juvenile, atheistic, and liberal.)
- During a presentation
- In a business meeting
- In a job interview
- When meeting the Queen of England for the first time (after that it's OK)
- During sexual intercourse (Unless of course it's a shared fetish)
- In a library
- During academic examinations
- In a cave or mine tunnel. Seriously, do not try this!
What to do if you have farted
If you have farted there are many actions one can take. This generally depends on the company. If you have farted in an elevator do not move, stare straight ahead and do not speak. Any kind of movement will be interpreted as guilt. If with friends and you fart at first do not say anything. While the jury is out on whether to immediately blame someone or to wait until someone else brings up so you can blame them you'll still go through three phases (caveat: your friends may operate under the common "he who smelt it dealt it" mentality) —
When with your significant other it is common practice to fart on their face and laugh like a giddy schoolgirl.
Foods that make you fart
Who farts more often, men or women?
According to Oprah.com  in a scientific experiment conducted by Dr. Jeff Leach, two experimental subjects put on special rubber pants with tubes attached. The expulsive gas was directed into airtight bags strapped to their backs. After 24 hours, the gas was released into a measuring jug. The woman subject produced 3 liters, while the man produced 3.3 liters.
These methods are only for advanced practitioners.
Cheesing the Moon
Pulling down your pants to fart whilst simultaneously jumping and turning 180 degrees to blast taller people with your in-flight emissions.
Fart on an elevator just before the door opens when you are alone. Rush out, leaving the new passengers to enjoy the aroma.
If flatulence lasts more than 10 seconds, it is commonly referred to as a Rump Roar, since it can often be as startling as the sound of a pouncing lion.
Pull my finger
Ask someone to pull your finger, and when they do, let loose a ripper (when with your significant other this can be replaced with "pull my knob").
Fart in bed, seal partner's head under covers.
Can be done walking down a nearly empty hallway or grocery aisle. Works best when you've worked up a fairly large amount of gas (in the Silent But Deadly form), and swiftly walk down the hallway/aisle while expending your "pesticides".
This works best if people either don't know what you ate for lunch, or had the same thing.
- The "drive by" — polluting another person's work space in such a fashion that you are long gone before they notice.
- Set 'em up and knock 'em down — an advanced version, wherein your goal is to get someone else blamed. Requires careful planning.
Popularized on The Sarah Silverman Show, this involves leaving a serious "breakfast burrito" flavored gift behind in a car that is sealed up and left in the sun all day for your significant other to enjoy.
Two species of herring have been shown to communicate by farting. The researchers involved in this work won the 2002 Ig Nobel Prize in Biology for their efforts. See the National Geographic video.
“”This is going to give me the biggest fart in the history of mankind.
|—Canadian inventor Kenny Hotz|
The F.A.R.T. (Flatulent Assisted Rectal Tubing) is a controversial transhumanist device, which allows the human rectal cavity to preserve and direct volumes of butt-belch otherwise reserved for ocean-dwelling mammals, such as whales.
Its documented use in an episode of Kenny vs. Spenny (in which the competition was Who Can Blow the Biggest Fart?) resulted in what has since been called the "longest fart ever to be captured on film".
The one weakness of the device becomes apparent at 0:50 in the above clip.
The farting competition in question used methane detectors to measure the strength of the farts. The F.A.R.T., relying on air, obviously fails to produce a positive reading for methane. This didn't limit its usefulness as a strategic psyching device, however.
In theory, there is — designwise — nothing stopping a crafty engineer from "loading" the F.A.R.T. with methane, the way Kenny manually does with air at the start of the above clip.
The proper retort to "He who denied it supplied it." is "He who smelt it dealt it."
Well known farters
- The Queen
- The Nazi High Command
- Andrew Schlafly
- Kenny Hotz
- Rudy Giuliani
- 1601, the bawdy tale by Mark Twain about Queen Elizabeth I's court:
- "Good your grace, an' I had room for such a thundergust within mine ancient bowels, 'tis not in reason I coulde discharge ye same and live to thank God for yt He did choose handmaid so humble whereby to shew his power. Nay, 'tis not I yt have broughte forth this rich o'ermastering fog, this fragrant gloom, so pray you seeke ye further."
- The Fart Quest series by Aaron Reynolds (1, ISBN 1250854083; 2, The Barf of the Bedazzler: ISBN 1250206383; 3, The Dragon's Dookie: ISBN 1250206448; 4, The Troll's Toe Cheese: ISBN 1250206464)
- Trump, a British colloquialism (one of the many reasons no-one in Britain takes him seriously)
- Mr. Poot and the Pooties
- NOTE: Not all people are methane producers. Meaning, there are people whose farts have little to no scent. It is believed that HM Queen Elizabeth II's farts are odourless, possibly as the result of centuries of selective breeding.
- Probing Question: Are cow burps contributing to global warming? by Solmaz Barazesh Spence (March 1, 2011) Penn State News.
- Suetonius, The Twelve Caesars, trans. Graves, Robert. Penguin Books (1957), p. 201.
- Hot air? by Simon Chapman.BMJ. 2001 Dec 22; 323(7327): 1449.
- World's oldest joke traced back to 1900 BC Reuters. July 31st, 2001.
- "Estragon: (recoiling). Who farted?" Beckett, Samuel, Waiting for Godot, Act II. 1956.
- 1601: Conversation as it was by the Social Fireside in the Time of the Tudors
- "This Earle of Oxford, making of his low obeisance to Queen Elizabeth [I], happened to let a Fart, at which he was so abashed and ashamed that he went to Travell, 7 yeares. On his returne the Queen welcomed him home, and sayd, My Lord, I had forgott the Fart." John Aubrey, Brief Lives.
- Science has been restored to its rightful place in society.
- Winners of the Ig® Nobel Prize
- Farting as a defence against unspeakable dread by Mara Sidoli The Journal of Analytical Psychiatry Volume 41, Issue 2, pages 165–178, April 1996 OI: 10.1111/j.1465-5922.1996.00165.x.
- Sounds produced by herring (Clupea harengus) bubble release by Magnus Wahlberg and Håkan Westerberg. Aquatic Living Resources Volume 16, Issue 3, July 2003, Pages 271–275.
- Pacific and Atlantic herring produce burst pulse sounds by Ben Wilson Proc Biol Sci. 2004 Feb 7; 271(Suppl 3): S95–S97. doi: 10.1098/rsbl.2003.0107.
- His literal words were: "[The F.A.R.T.] is going to give me the biggest fart in the history of mankind."
- Problems in the Hitlerbunker.
- Mark Twain's [Date 1601. Conversation as it was by the social fireside in the time of the Tudors : embellished with an illuminating introduction, facetious footnotes and a bibliography]