Last week we successfully stored a fart in a jar. All indications were that the fart would have remained in that jar for a long time. While it might have been interesting to let it lie for an extended period (and this may be the subject of a future experiment) it was entirely too tempting to open the jar and assess the potency of its contents using our most standard measuring device: the human nose.
Here at the College we’ve always been deeply concerned with “where the fart goes” and have applied our collective expertise to address this question with as much scientific rigor as possible. As a rule we favour well-architected experiments with a high degree of control. However…every now and again…we knowingly make a trade-off between rigor and – let’s call it – a collective inability to delay gratification .
This week we were faced with the challenge of letting a fart out of a jar and measuring it. Hindsight is a wonderful perspective, and in its absence we may have missed an opportunity or two when we proceeded with our experiment. For example, we might have considered storing the jar within an outer container with its own measuring device. We might also have equipped the top of the jar with a controlled release valve. Alas, we opted for the straight-forward, too-obvious, retrospectively messy, but absolutely necessary-in-the-moment technique we will refer to as “open the lid and quickly stick your nose in”.
Your author, dear reader, volunteered. Hands – at the ready. Nose – primed and prepped. We took a beat to appreciate the simple pleasure of staring at a fart-in-a-jar one final time, and then – the moment of truth.
WHOOSH! Out came the fart…we presume. Unfortunately, nothing was detected. Not quite the result we expected – but perhaps our expectations were not well considered. Some ideas about what might have happened were exchanged – but this will clearly need more careful investigation in the future.