Science Track Asks the Burning Question: Does it Fart?

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Few questions twist your gut and are more pressing than “Does it Fart?” Audience members in the Hilton Porcelain Crystal Ballroom on Sunday explored all the things they never knew they wanted to know about farting, including what specifically constitutes a fart, and voted on whether or not it’s truly a fart. Esteemed scientists Lali DeRosier, Jennifer Greco, Kali Holder, and Joanie Mars tooted their own honkers about their expertise in flatulence performance art, black holes, biology, and entomology.

First, this was a Science Track panel, so we needed to set some ground rules on what constitutes an actual fart. To be voted as a fart, the farter must expel a gaseous release from an orifice other than the mouth. You’re all experts in this area. We trust your judgment.

Unicorns’ Sparkly Rainbow Farts

It’s a proven fact that unicorns fart rainbows and glitter because science. The debate comes in when you examine the makeup of the fart. Is it light that’s being diffracted or affected by the production of the magical essence of glitter, or is it a cloud of colored gas of unknown makeup?

Audience voting consensus: Split decision. It’s a shart.

Bearded Lacewings’ Weaponized Farts

Will fart for food. That’s what bearded lacewings do. Literally. On their food. They’ve evolved so far that they’ve weaponized farting. The insect will fart and emit a compound that kills termites, and then they feast upon the termites’ crop-dusted bodies. The scientists were not certain if the emission is silent but deadly without an odor or silent but deadly and rank.

Audience voting consensus: It’s a fart.

Madagascar Hissing Cockroach Armpit Farts

The Madagascar hissing cockroach has holes in its abdomen section, and other anatomy too complicated to explain in an article about farting, that allows air to forcibly pass through its spiracles to create a hissing sound. The argument for this being a fart is that if making farting noises with a hand and armpit counts as a fart, then the cockroach’s spiracle hiss is the equivalent of a wet armpit fart.

Audience voting consensus: Not a fart.

Bonus science fact: These cockroaches make three distinct hissing noises: when startled, to show aggression, and to attract mates. That’s right, ladies. The males “fart” to attract a mate and set the mood.

Super Massive Black Holes Emit Violent and Silent Farts

What goes in, must come out. Kind of. Super massive black holes consist of a middle where stuff goes in and nothing comes out, but not everything is sucked in. Some stuff gets caught and becomes a spinning disk of space stuff around the middle. When the discs heat up, sometimes they emit super-hot jets out of the top and bottom. Since the black hole has a mouth that eats things and a different orifice that releases the emissions, the argument can be made for a fart.

Audience voting consensus: It’s a fart. [Editor’s note: I dissent!]

Zombies Fart When Punctured 

Rotting corpses produce copious amounts of gas that bubble up and become trapped under the skin. When the flesh is punctured, the gas will be released from somewhere other than the mouth. Many questions arose out of the discussion, including whether zombie gas is a contagion and if zombies poop. The answer to the former is it wouldn’t be a good infectious mechanism, but don’t huff zombie fart gas. To the latter, that’s more of a philosophical question.

Audience voted consensus: It’s not a fart.

Bonus science tip: Along with not huffing zombie fart gas, if you’re going to try to light a zombie fart on fire, be sure to do so in a well-ventilated area with some form of eyebrow protection. Zombie farts are flammable, and you wouldn’t want to burn the barn down.

Mermaids’ Mammalian Anatomy Farts

Mermaids are half-human and half-fish. Based on the direction of the tail movement—mammals move their tails up and down while fish move their tails back and forth—mermaids are mammals and would have the internal digestive track of a mammal. Since nearly all mammals fart, then mermaids would fart, too.

Audience voted consensus: It’s a fart.

Bonus science fact: The one mammal that doesn’t fart is the sloth. They have a three-week digestion period, and their bubbling internal gas actually comes out of their mouths. The definition of a fart states that it must come out of a different orifice than that it goes into.

Bombardier Beetle Popping Farts

When the bombardier beetle is threatened, it releases a cloud of hydrocarbon accompanied by a popping noise. It unleashes a protection fart bomb. Inevitably, the question of whether or not you can light the fart came up during the discussion. The scientists were intrigued and unsure. Keep an eye out online for videos from one of them conducting an “experiment.” It might just happen.

Audience voted consensus: Not a fart. Closer to a shart.

Bonus science fact: Skunks don’t skunk via a fart. Skunks release a liquid that coats the threat.

Sun Causes Cancer and Farts   

The sun provides light, heat, cancer, and solar prominences. These solar prominences can interact with each other and become unstable, creating a solar flare. The sun itself is like a mouth that eats stuff, and the solar flare is an emission released from the sun.

Audience voted answer: It’s not a fart.

Which ones do you think are farts?

Please give our esteemed fartologists a round of applause for making you the most popular person at trivia night fart questions.

Author of the article

Not everyone can say they watch television for homework, read novels for inspiration, and are paid to follow what’s trending. For Alicia Pack, it is all part of life as a writer and media enthusiast.  When she isn't lost in the world she is trying to create, you can find her with her nose in a book or catching up on her favorite supernatural shows.  She has a Master’s degree in Mass Communications and a Bachelor’s degree in Radio, Television, and Film.  Her nine years of diverse media experience include news writing, copywriting, website content management, social media, promotions, television production, and teaching.