A scientist figured out how to get data from farts, and it could save lives.

Darn tootin'!

"What did you EAT?!"

Photo via iStock.


It's probably the most common question that follows an untimely (or, timely, depending on who you're with) bout of flatulence.

I'm talking about farting, people. Letting one rip. Making a stink. Going "Insane in the Methane."

GIF from "The Simpsons."

Though we've given a nickname to each and every one of their many variations — the "squeaker," the "SBD," the "Dutch oven" — and used them as the punchline to many a juvenile joke, the only thing more discomforting than a fart itself is how little we actually know about them.

Some experts will tell you that the old one cheek sneak is a sign of healthy gut microbes. Others will say that it could be an early indicator of a much more serious stomach problem, like inflammatory bowel disease or even colon cancer. I'm pretty sure that not letting them go causes spontaneous combustion, but what are we supposed to think?! If only there were someone who could settle this debate once and for all!

Thankfully, there is one man who thinks he has found a cure for our wind-breaking woes.

His name is Peter Gibson, and he's the professor and director of fartology — which I've learned is technically called "gastroenterology" —at the Alfred Centre and Monash University in Australia.

Over the past few years, Professor Gibson has been working tirelessly to create a device capable of measuring our gas at each stage of digestion.

“What comes out of the backside only tells us about the last 20cm of the gut,” Gibson said to BBC. “We know bits and pieces about it, but it’s been very difficult to get to the crux of what is happening."

Recently, Gibson's team had a breakthrough in the form of a tiny, swallowable, high-tech capsule that tracks your gas as it passes through your system.

Think of it as a "fart monitor," if you will.

Me right now. GIF from "30 Rock."

Wired to provide real-time measurements of our bowels, Gibson's capsule takes samples of gas at regular intervals in the digestive system.

The capsule then relays its readings to a tablet computer. It's also affixed with a sensor to evaluate other key factors about the gut, like ambient temperature and acidity (which especially comes in handy when the capsule is nearing the end of its Magic School Bus-esque journey).

“You want to know if it’s passed out of the backside, but you wouldn’t know because it’s just part of the stool,” Gibson explained. “When the temperature falls, that’s when it’s gone outside.”

Gibson has already begun testing his pill device on pigs and is hoping to begin human trials in the next few months.

If all goes according to plan, Gibson and his team will be able to use the information taken from these trials to create (I'm not joking here) a "fart library" of data that could determine the makeup of gases related to different lifestyles and diseases down the line, more accurately measuring the effects of different treatments for these diseases.

The gases we produce can tell us a lot about the state of our stomachs.

Photo via iStock.

How we digest food is not only a matter of our differing diets and metabolisms, but also a matter of gene development as well. When the microbes in our intestines become irritated or otherwise harmed, they can release excess gases that not only cause discomfort, but also serve as precursors to other health problems.

For example, too much hydrogen and methane in your farts could mean you have problems with digesting carbs. Too much methane could be the cause of your constipation. Excess hydrogen sulphide (aka the stink in our stink bombs) could signal that the lining of your gut has become damaged.

Basically, our farts are like snowflakes — unique and individual to us all. And a change in their odor could be a cause for concern.

So I say bravo to Gibson and his team for rolling their sleeves up and doing the dirty work required to ensure our future well-being. May his findings truly cause a stink in the gastrointestinal scientific community.

Now if only there was a similar capsule that could actually convince the people around us that it really was the dog's fault...

Heroes

On an old episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in July 1992, Oprah put her audience through a social experiment that puts racism in a new light. Despite being nearly two decades old, it's as relevant today as ever.

She split the audience members into two groups based on their eye color. Those with brown eyes were given preferential treatment by getting to cut the line and given refreshments while they waited to be seated. Those with blue eyes were made to put on a green collar and wait in a crowd for two hours.

Staff were instructed to be extra polite to brown-eyed people and to discriminate against blue-eyed people. Her guest for that day's show was diversity expert Jane Elliott, who helped set up the experiment and played along, explaining that brown-eyed people were smarter than blue-eyed people.

Watch the video to see how this experiment plays out.

Oprah's Social Experiment on Her Audience www.youtube.com

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via Cadbury

Cadbury has removed the words from its Dairy Milk chocolate bars in the U.K. to draw attention to a serious issue, senior loneliness.

On September 4, Cadbury released the limited-edition candy bars in supermarkets and for every one sold, the candy giant will donate 30p (37 cents) to Age UK, an organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for the elderly.

Cadbury was prompted to help the organization after it was revealed that 225,000 elderly people in the UK often go an entire week without speaking to another person.

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Well Being

Young people today are facing what seems to be greater exposure to complex issues like mental health, bullying, and youth violence. As a result, teachers are required to be well-versed in far more than school curriculum to ensure students are prepared to face the world inside and outside of the classroom. Acting as more than teachers, but also mentors, counselors, and cheerleaders, they must be equipped with practical and relevant resources to help their students navigate some of the more complicated social issues – though access to such tools isn't always guaranteed.

Take Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, for example, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years, and as a teacher for seven. Entering the profession, she didn't anticipate how much influence a student's home life could affect her classroom, including "students who lived in foster homes" and "lacked parental support."

Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience, says it can be difficult to create engaging course work that's applicable to the challenges students face. "I think that sometimes, teachers don't know where to begin. Teachers are always looking for ways to make learning in their classrooms more relevant."

So what resources do teachers turn to in an increasingly fractured world? "Joining a professional learning network that supports and challenges thinking is one of the most impactful things that a teacher can do to support their own learning," Anglemyer says.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience.

A new program for teachers that offers this network along with other resources is the WE Teachers Program, an initiative developed by Walgreens in partnership with ME to WE and Mental Health America. WE Teachers provides tools and resources, at no cost to teachers, looking for guidance around the social issues related to poverty, youth violence, mental health, bullying, and diversity and inclusion. Through online modules and trainings as well as a digital community, these resources help them address the critical issues their students face.

Jessica Mauritzen, a high school Spanish teacher, credits a network of support for providing her with new opportunities to enrich the learning experience for her students. "This past year was a year of awakening for me and through support… I realized that I was able to teach in a way that built up our community, our school, and our students, and supported them to become young leaders," she says.

With the new WE Teachers program, teachers can learn to identify the tough issues affecting their students, secure the tools needed to address them in a supportive manner, and help students become more socially-conscious, compassionate, and engaged citizens.

It's a potentially life-saving experience for students, and in turn, "a great gift for teachers," says Dr. Sanderlin.

"I wish I had the WE Teachers program when I was a teacher because it provides the online training and resources teachers need to begin to grapple with these critical social issues that plague our students every day," she adds.

In addition to the WE Teachers curriculum, the program features a WE Teachers Award to honor educators who go above and beyond in their classrooms. At least 500 teachers will be recognized and each will receive a $500 Walgreens gift card, which is the average amount teachers spend out-of-pocket on supplies annually. Teachers can be nominated or apply themselves. To learn more about the awards and how to nominate an amazing teacher, or sign up for access to the teacher resources available through WE Teachers, visit walgreens.com/metowe.

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One of the major differences between women and men is that women are often judged based on their looks rather than their character or abilities.

"Men as well as women tend to establish the worth of individual women primarily by the way their body looks, research shows. We do not do this when we evaluate men," Naomi Ellemers Ph.D. wrote in Psychology Today.

Dr. Ellers believes that this tendency to judge a woman solely on her looks causes them to be seen as an object rather than a person.

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Culture