11 AUG 2020

Something smelly

The science and history of farts

Since the last episode Anton has turned 10 so as a little treat and a sign of his new levels of responsibility he selected the topic for this show. It’s fun and maybe a tiny bit rude but still full of science, facts and history!

Thank yous!

A big thank you to Curious Uncle Steve (sounds dodgy but he is actually Anton’s uncle. Honest!) for the artwork above.

We'd also like to thank the A Flatpack History of Sweden podcast for their lovely birthday message for Anton. Check out their great podcast and I love the charm of the episode artwork!

And finally, go listen to Smart Enough to Know Better. They recently celebrated 10 years and we were honoured to have them answer out question. They’re an amazing podcast and one of the ones that inspired Anton and myself to start our own. We pale in comparison though!

On with the show...


We hold our noses tight and learn all we can about flatulence. How is it made? Why does it smell? And who is Matshishkapeu?

Men generally fart more than women with most people farting 15 - 25 times a day - that's 0.6 - 1.8 litres of gas! However some men do it 50 times a day!

University of New South Wales in Australia

An old story from Morocco tells that farting in a mosque could kill or even blind any angels present. They’d mark the spot with a pile of stones to trap the spirit. Are these stone pillars all around the coast protecting Guernsey?

Call it an insatiable curiosity about the human condition, call it a Freudian anal fixation, call it what you will, but I, for one, am not willing to let the matter rest there. So in the interests of sharing the fruits of my intellectual labours, I present for you some thoughts on farts.

Kirsten Bell, anthropologist, not the actress!

Matshishkapeu is a powerful spirit of the Innu people of north east Canada. Every time someone released a little gas translators would be called to tell the other tribes people what had been said. Matshishkapeu itself literally means ‘farting man’ and he’s one of very few positive associations with farting.

Futher reading


This transcript is automatically generated so may contain errors.

Welcome to the curiosity of a charge. Episode 18. Yeah, it's been awhile. Yeah, sorry about that too. We've been really busy with lots of activities and summer Holidays and everything.

That's the main reason. Thanks to some Holidays. Is there anyway we are back and we've got a fun shapes ur year older than last time aren't you?

Yeah, I'm now 10 which is really exciting birthday, Yep.

He had a little message from the Flat Pack history of Sweden podcast.

Yeah, that was really nice.

Yeah, no, thank you very much for that.

Yes, that is awesome.

We've also had our first fan art, haven't we?

Yep, I'm gonna see if I can describe this. So it's me an nice T shirt.

Holding a brain like a in plastic packaging and it's slightly death cartoon Y.

I think it's you eating a brain.

Ohh yeah, maybe it is me too.

He's playing you think is.

Yours from episode one, yes.

We also had a tiny mention on the smart enough to know better Fabulous podcast at 10 year anniversary episode, didn't we?

Yes, we ask, ask the question and we gotta answered.

He did the upscaling.

Great podcast, smart enough to know better, yes, as you are now 10 and responsible. You got to choose the subject for this episode didn't. Yeah? So we're not going to what is quite yet. I think we're going straight into Ant.

Man, I'll give you a hint, though responsible.

Yes, very responsible.

So we get on with this phone.

Under the show.

Have you ever heard of mature Joseph Prio?


Okay, his stage name was Lapita man, which combines the French words for to fart and maniac. So he was a fart, a maniac.

You might already guess today's theme from that, but we're not going to just be one of these podcasts that this giggles and laughs at all. This we've got some hard.

Some hard science and some history, haven't we?

Okay, so this famous flash list he was born in 1857 and he came to fame as the star attraction of the Moulin Rouge in 1892 and is actively remembering the sound of cannons and thunderstorms.

And he also played some famous French songs as well from his bottom.

Impressive skill, yeah, I think if you look it up.

Very nice.

And the rich and the famous they came to see him, so even royalty. So the Prince of Wales and King Leopold, the second of Belgium. And to watch his that famous is he was like the main attraction there. However, in 1894 he was fined 3000 francs when he put on an impromptu show to help with his friends. He was struggling with money problems and this break kind of his contract for the Moulin Rouge. And he was like I said, is paid.

So he was fined 3000 francs, so that's about 47,000 pounds in today's money. Wow, love money just for a bit of blowoff action. Yeah, outside work. This disagreement in the end caused him to leave the Moulin Rouge and he sets up his own travelling Theatre and it's during this time he developed his act further and favourite piece of his was a rhyme about farm animals where he would produce the animal sounds with his bum.

Kitty Mansion tonight, a McDonald's.

Here at.


This is released this.

Right, okay, and he could even blow a candle from several feet away.

Wow, that's got power.

So what's this tell you about his farts?

They were not real thoughts. No done done.

But how do we know that?

You can set farts on fire.

He can yeah exactly well monster **** yo could do was breathe with his bum. She could actually suck her up his bottom and he discovered this as a young boy when he was down the beach one day and he was in the water and he needs to rather codes. Tingly sensation is bottom and had managed to kind of slip up some sea water.

And from there he discovered his act.

Hey butt pump.

Thoughts are made of several gases including methane and hydrogen. Both of these are explosive.

Yeah, so we got a little video heathly Anton.

Yeah woo be ready yeah?

What's happening in this video?

Basically, there's somebody who's got a light, got a lighter, and they hold up next to their bum bum and then they went and then it.

There's a big.

Explosion simulated describe it? Yeah, very dangerous. Do not like to fart please listeners.

NASA were really worried about astronauts farting in spaceships. They thought it could be a fire risk. They did some experiments that helped.

To help too.

To help to find foods that cause people to far less and test how much gas the astronauts would produce.

That's right, so you do you know how often we fart?

Makes people fart from 14 to 25 times a day that .6 two 1.8 litres of gas everyday. But some will do do it far more. A study by the University of New South Wales in Australia.

Found that men generally fart more than women, with some doing it over 50 times a day.

You are the one who looked at me. I thought I had to love you.

According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the longest blowoff lasted two minutes and 42 seconds. Impressive, yeah, that's long.

But ID never.

All that gas comes from, which is a lot there.

When we eat, we swallow oxygen up to 10 MLS. Eating fast can cause you to swallow more and this goes into your intestines. A study found that 30 litres of gas would pass through our intestines each day. But most of this is absorbed into your blood. Without this gas weed die.

Our intestines are also full of bacteria as they help digest and breakdown the food they create. Different gases, different foods and bacteria also make different gases. So what you eat affects your fart.

Okay, So what you're basically saying is that we are fighting back tears fats.


Yeah, there's a lot of chemistry going on inside your body so we can have up to two kg of bacteria inside our guts heavy. That's a lot, isn't it? Yeah, and they can ferment up to 40 grammes of complex carbohydrates each day now. Free bramson sound like much, does it?

No, it's listening to bag of sugar.

Yeah, much less the bikers sugar yes, but for every gramme of carbohydrates they can produce roughly a third of a litre of hydrogen, hydrogen those explosive gases.

Okay, yes we saw earlier, so its methane and hydrogen.

That's right.

So as you know, hydrogens favourable, but do you know what else burns hydrogen things only really big?

And hot.

The sun, yeah, that's right. The sun say stars, so I guess theoretically if you eat enough stuff and create enough gas, your bum might ignite and it could. And that's saying that weather Sunday is showing he would be shining.


but the more realistic danger with farts is not really the explosive gases, but these further gases.

Like silent killers.

Exactly, yeah, so you do you know anybody with smelly blowoff's you? I think it was worse. Anybody else with a couple of people and there definitely.

On the more dangerous end of the scale, the abilities and actually a couple of them into an app on their phone which records the March there sleeping yeah, and they discovered more than speaking their steep. They fluctuated in their sleep. Yeah, so I've got one recording and are at it in now, so you can listen to their their nocturnal activities, okay?

Now you're pretty good at lab layoffs honey I reckon you can do some good ones. So do you know what makes that noise?

Um, well what pizza sound?

Different noises can be squeaky, are more high pitched ones are.

Like tighter buttering.

So you're saying it's how tight your bottom is? Is determines the sound of your.

Fart and looser but ring.

I think you meant to say **** sphincter.

Shrink to

means more explosive like.

Farts and you actually.

Found a video hidden you of some different fart sounds, so let's just see or listen, yeah?

What's this?

One wet fart long one.

Sharp one.

They type bottom that one, yeah?


Fart and poo on top of all done. That said, those were couple of.

Yeah, so it's avoid variety isn't there?

So do you know they? Why are blowoff smell?

Yeah, the smelly gas is called hydrogen sulphide and it's made in our body by the bacteria and smells like rotten eggs. If we eat food with lots of sofa then our farts will smell worse.

Not everything in your farts and poo smells bad. A team of scientists found 297 different compounds, bum gases, including pioneer and lemon. Lemon, yeah.

So what do you think these two smell of?

Pine needles on fine canes and lemons.

Yes, quite nice.

Remember when we went for a walk around the reservoir the other day? We could smell The Pioneers currently. Or maybe something else.

Dog forever. Now there's some truth to the silent but deadly myth. Okay, it's often thought that the quiet ones are the stinkiest, isn't it? Now, according to Doctor Rice of the University of Michigan Medicine, Gastroenterology Clinic.

A swallow there is triggering your farts, as is the case with the majority of farts. They tend to be louder, but less smelly. If your fart is primarily driven from digestion and bacterial fermentation will tend to be smaller in volume and sound bought stinkier.

Nothing, equate voice.

Yeah, yeah, I think that's probably.

A good Mexican accent.


So do you like how your farts smell?

Sometimes you don't notice them because you're gonna use to them I guess, and other times or there really bad.

Well, that's something they say that you tend to think of other people's farts smelling worse because they are less familiar with you because you get used to rain smell because it's a survival thing. Maybe you gotta know how you smelling. Just ignore it so you can pick out other odours.

Ventilated Costello from the University of the West of England has been trying to find ways to detect diseases in people with flatulence, he says.

There's a high chance that some of the diseases may be able to be diagnosed in the future by directly monitoring buddleia missions such as farts, skin emissions, or breath.

So he's actually maybe in the future. You go to the doctor Annuar do little pop in a cheap and there fine diseases.

Like stools samples, but exactly what instead Yep.

So it's cool when someone farts. What happens mean sort of reaction? Do you get? Are there any bad?

People there, there's different people hardly ever do it, but it's different. Reaction sometimes teaches, just ignore it or and then some of the class might laugh or order the glass went off at other times.

The person who did it would have to put their hand off or whatever to admit that sometimes they sent out. But yeah, I know.

No, when it goes like.

Deliberately trying to get a few extra bits out.


I thought I'd look at how different people and cultures around the world if you'd farts at different times throughout history and where they see as bad then as they are today.

Now, apparently anthropologists are afraid to ask about farting.

Now, do you know what an anthropologist is?

Not well, basically kind of study what it is to be human so they look at how people live. Human doctor.

Give him like a doctor like.

Mikey, A scientist in humans.

Yeah, they're looking at different cultures and different people within the past and around the world.

Just to understand how they may be common traits or differences between people, what makes humans human? Yeah, say one such anthropologist Kirsten Bell? If I made sure to pronounce her name properly, it is often called Kristen Bell. Once learn more about farts. But she found very little prior research, but she was determined to find out more. Say it equator.

Cool it and insatiable curiosity about the human condition. Cool it a fridge and **** fixation. Cool at what you want, but I for one am not willing to let the matter rest there, so she's really determined yet cultural understanding of farts. What she discovered is that farting is almost universally reviled.

And now this from the book Erema, a cultural history of smell, comes the following Moroccan anecdote. It is traditionally held that breaking wind inside a mosque will blind or even kill the Angels therein, simply deadly.

Now, thoughts are closely associated with harmful spirits, and aren't gin often shown his fiery forms. So I wonder if maybe somebody's been lighting their blow offs.

Yeah, and then they had real spirit and their part.

Yeah, exactly, and what they would actually do is mark the location where the Bluff happened with their small power stations which would trap the evil spirit. Which brings me on to this shocking picture from the case Diamond, Guernsey.

What does that tell you?

Can you describe that picture and what it is please?

Lots and lots of stone towers there. The stones that people stacked up along the coast.

For like the lockdown.

Yeah, yeah, So what it is. It's a photo of piles of pebbles that being stacked up. Maybe 6-7 eight tool.

Which was very popular and the case to the item for awhile. Do you think that these were put there to stop farts or not?


now there was a Storey going around a few months ago that Crane a virus can be spread by farting.

So I was thinking perhaps that was why Guernsey is pretty much clear of Kareena. Now is thanks to our stain pillow protective piles that help to stop Karina farts coming into the island on the wind, yeah?

Now from one small island to one massive one. So what's our favourite delicious cuisine? From Papua New Guinea?

Long pig exactly, so it's long pig.

Humans, yeah?

OK, so some of the local items were in the 1700s, very offended by Dutch sailors whose flatulence cost shame and contempt.

So it's okay to eat people, but not to fart.

Yeah, okay.

Actually sorry, not everyone in Papua New Guinea is accountable.


Hey, do you know who Pythagoras was?


He was a Greek philosopher.

Was he famous for?

Triangles exactly trying goes and is pretty clever, but he thought that a person's soul was in their breath, so if you pushed hard enough you could find out your soul. Now have another Storey, this time from Jerusalem 44 CE. Now, according to historian Flavius Joseph US joining a Passover feast and a Revenant Roman soldier, learn his pants bent over and speak such words as you might expect.

Upon such a posture, so did the blow off. So what sort of response do you think this might have cost? So Passover is really important.

Ceremony and festival for Jewish people.

Andri seems like the name of the Jews. Yeah, so much of.


maybe there is an entirely nice Storey added to the special book about wonderful farts.

How about the opposite of that?

There was a Storey taken away from the special book.

Bearable for us?

Right now, So what happened? Okay, it caused a riot beastly feast as they desperately wanted to catch the perpetrator. Or maybe the pumper traitor.

I mean, hell, stains at Raymond. Soldiers who in turn called for reinforcements and in the ensuring chaos 10,000 people were killed.

Due to one blow off, I think tensions might have already been quite high there. Yeah, now after that I think we need something a little bit more fun, but that's a bit bleak, isn't it? So do you know the oldest joke ever discovered?


Then I met from.



OK, well it's from Samaria, and that's in modern day, southern Iraq. We have to remember it from the cradles of civilization.

And the Jake gays, something which is never occurred since time immemorial are young women did not fart on her husband's lap.

How do you write that?

No idea what it means.

A young lady sitting on her husband's lap. They've always gone.

It hasn't not happened.

Isn't really like that one now. I've got a Wikipedia page going to show you here. What's the name of this football team?

FL fault that's right. They are a Norwegian football team.

This is a Norwegian King. What's his? What is his nickname?

Einstein the fart.

That's right, and I think in Norwegian thought means fast.

Oh, say and I guess FI was like.

Football Club translated into English So Football club fast.

Now do quite like this is a little emblem of him and he's being knocked off his ship there. That's nice. Yes, he was a Norwegian King.

He's fast it diving then I guess.

You've got a rather large picture for you here, which I want you to describe. Okay, now let me zoom in a bit.

So that is quite a long fiction.

Yeah, so this is a old Japanese scroll, but can you just kind of give a brief description of what's happening?

Lots of Japanese people with lots of power everywhere and horse over this superior power of their epic thought.

Well then it looks like they're having a bit of a battle, isn't it?

Yeah, fart battles.

Yeah, so this is if I get back to you on nights it's called he gas him.

My quite funny, which means fart competitions and there from the Japanese end a period. But the exact artist and patient date isn't known.

And neither is that meeting, but it's thought that there might be political commentary.

This isn't the only time that farts have been depicted for political reasons, such as a 1798 pay step by Richard Newton.

And what does this one show?

John Bull farts as a picture of King George the third, while Prime Minister William Pitt, the younger shouts trees on.

That's right, so I think jumbo. He was a made up character who's often used in kind of political satire and things during the time. Yeah, so he's got his pants down and he's showing his bottom and there's lots of air. Can we have picture of the King? Isn't there yet? This is particularly the 1798 sorry.

That sort of thing he did.

Not want your head chopped off.

But why have cultures throughout history? So you hate his flatulence now? Kirsten Bell says farts may very well be the penultimate bodily admission.

They are likely to be perceived as far more polluting than other bodily excrement such as faeces because for all intents and purposes they are invisible. We cannot actively avoid them. While we can generally size step faeces, blood and urine, or complain to the waiter if we find a hair in our soup, little can be done to protect ourselves from the century invasion of the fart.

It seems that the main reason why we ignite him is our inability to avoid them.

Or so, along with this smell.

Yeah, say can. In avoidable gas pump.

Exactly in avoidable? Yeah, that's the key thing. Say this ability for a fart appear anywhere, anytime. This omnipresence has also been embraced, and now it's time to introduce mitiska Poo, the God of flatulence.

Now the new people live in North Eastern Canada and they populated those lands for thousands of years of a map here, so you can see this is canadia, so there's the Great Lakes down here where seismic Brock had his famous victory. He's a great fighter. I've got us a mini traders here from 1983, so you can see them all dressed up there.

And they have a very special God and he is called Mattis Capu and of him it is said.

He is everywhere both inside the tent and outside is always with you. They matter where you may travel.

Yes, that's a good description of thoughts.

It is, isn't it, yeah.

And he is their most powerful spirit and in one Storey there's the Caribou Master is one of their other kind of gods or spirits, and he refused to give Mattis capu any Caribou to eat. Same response. Mattis Capu gave the Cowboy Master really painful Constipation until he gave in.

And here's a picture.

This is like.

He is getting his fire of and is well thought of and he's.

Launched that I know.

It looks like flames. It's a stick manners, almost flames coming out of his bottom isn't here. Mitiska poo literally means farting man.

But rather than greeting flatulence, with discussed the new people, see farts as important and often humorous messages. Every breaking wind must be listened to very carefully to understand what's being said, but it's utterances are usually cryptic when unexpected pub interrupted to camp life. A specialist interpreter would be called in an air question. Everybody present to try and understand what was being said in the fart.

And I didn't know they just went by the sound of it. They also use the spell of the smell rather as an important part of it. So what do you think they would have made of Mr. Joseph Peugeot?

I think he wouldn't of been told off and find more sued over that money and he would have been like their special person. He would be the Demi God.

Will you be like maybe like a shame and this will be able to talk with the Spirits Magician?


And that's it. That is the science and history of flatulence.

It is very good.

So you enjoy it, that's your topic choice, did you?

I do think you've learnt lots of.

New things, yeah, definitely.

Do you have any ideas for your next topic?


Not really, I'm pretty sure I had one I I think we might do avocados.

Okay, I'm anyway we might do avocados sometime, yeah.

Anyway, thank you again for listening and we've got a website now, haven't we? Yep,

and it's called the curiosity of a charge.com

That's right, so you can visit us there and email us or follow us on Twitter at.

Curie charge pod.

That's correct.

And yeah, catch from the other episodes. Please leave a review as well.

Yeah, I'll be sticking a few other things on there like any other ideas we come up with.

Really, and if.

You happen to be our big Romanian fan. He seems to have been listened to all the shows. Please say hello because he wants to know who our fans are.

Yeah, that'll be really good and then we can send you all the merchandise for doing and then all of that stuff.

Merchandise then hadn't I. Yeah, because tonight ideas actually. Anyway, thanks once again for listening and I hope you enjoyed Anton's episode on flatulence.

Farty farty fart

and on that night thank you and goodbye.

Fart away.