If You Love Someone, Let Her Fart

Illustration by Dave van Patten

Tracy Moore

If you know a woman, then you know at least one thing about her: She’s been doing her best to hold in her farts as long as she’s been alive. And one of the best things you can do as demonstration of your ultimate love, acceptance, and respect for her and her general (intestinal) comfort is to tell her to fart as often, as freely and as loudly as she needs to. Start tonight. Let her squeeze one out and then go get dinner, okay?

To be clear, you don’t have to like these farts. Nobody does — barring the few people who are legit aroused by them — but hating farts won’t make them go away. No sir. It will only make them stronger. And there’s only one solution: Free the farts. It’s true that not all farts are created equal. Some, which I prefer to call “medical farts” — may need investigating; let’s assume that’s not most farts. But the farters themselves are equal and deserve our compassion — especially the elusive female farter, public or otherwise.

Hey, maybe you’re already on the right side of history and don’t need to be told this. Maybe you’re a fart ally, midwifing women’s farts to a greater, more equal society where women aren’t shamed into masking their own biology to cater to some absurd notion that they don’t have the same bodily functions you do. So let’s direct this advice to the man who wrote into an advice columnist at the Toronto Star asking what to do about his hot wife, who farts too much. Letter writer “It’s Not Funny,” laments:

My wife of ten months is exceptionally attractive, loving, caring and my best friend. While dating for two years, we’d both lived with our parents. Our only times together were a few intimate sessions and one four-day trip. What didn’t initially seem like a deal breaker is now more problematic: Simply put, my wife’s excessively flatulent. When dating, I’d dismissed her sporadic passing of gas as her being comfortably natural when with someone she loves. But now she’s flatulent almost all the time we’re together — in the car, while sleeping, while watching TV, while being intimate, etc. It’s become annoying and a mood killer, perhaps even disrespectful.

Real question: Why does her hotness have anything to do with the problem? If she were less hot would the farting be more egregious? Isn’t it easier to take farts from a sexy lady than a gross one? I’m not asking rhetorically: All things being equal, and all people needing to fart, I think most of us would prefer farts to come from a symmetrical, aesthetically pleasing person. It just makes the farts seem nicer when they’re well-packaged, right?

Also, hot possibility: She’s farting this much because she’s eating the kind of crummy diet foods—fibers, vegetables, fake sugars (even chewing gum to distract you from eating)—that tend to make you fart more. Maybe she’s farting this much because she’s trying to stay thin and hot for you.

And consider this: Jennifer Lawrence likes relationship farts. Does that convince you to calm down about it? That said, you shouldn’t have to be J-Law to get away with farting — and men need pass no aesthetic bar to let ‘er rip. Men of all shapes, sizes, creeds and colors are granted unspoken permission to fart freely, while women suffer in clenched silence so as to never appear anything less than feminine less they become persona non (fart) grata.

This might be okay if women actually farted less — if they didn’t need so desperately to fart. But everyone farts — to the tune of about 10 times a day, so it’s not clear what’s excessive by the letter writer’s definition — more than 10? All 10 farts? Three times the normal fart load? Moreover, pressuring women to fart less (or not at all) while men get to fart it up, no questions asked, is discrimination. Fart discrimination. There are no laws on the books yet, but this should be a major goal of the next wave of feminism, right after wage equality is sorted.

Relationships start equally enough in fart terms, beginning in a fart-free zone of mutually understood politeness, an agreed-upon shielding of the other from your various emissions. But this should gradually give way to fart freely, at long last, together. When relationships become open season on bodily functions, they become more intimate. The couple who farts together stays together…




The age you’ll be happiest in life is later than you think

older coupleYounger doesn’t necessarily mean happier. Unsplash / Nathália Bariani

There’s no end to the research that looks into when we will be happiest in life. Everyone wants to be happy, and the pursuit of it seems to be the ultimate goal for a lot of us.

However, while you may assume the prime of your life will occur in your 20s or 30s, this might not actually be the case — while emphasis is often given to the younger years, you might have a bit longer to wait to really be happiest.

The Independent reported that a survey by a financial services company found that those over 50 are happier, wealthier, and more carefree than ever. The study surveyed over 50,000 people aged 50 and over, and the general consensus of the fifty-somethings was they felt four years younger physically and ten years younger mentally than their actual age.

This concept has led to the emergence of the phrase “nifty 50s.” It encompasses the age group who are responsible for leisure centers and activity groups becoming a booming industry again when they retire and take up new hobbies.

According to the survey, over half of the over-50 respondents had been traveling since they’d turned 50, 20% planned to learn a new language, and 10% wanted to learn a musical instrument. Overall, 61% said they were enjoying life more because they had more free time to fill with these activities.

And it’s not just the practical things. The 50-somethings also boast about having the best sex of their lives. According to The Independent, one woman said after reaching this age she “had the best sex of my life with younger men.”

This isn’t the first time research has shown getting older could also mean getting happier. In 2016, research from the Office for National Statistics concluded the most joyful age bracket was 65-79.

The survey looked at more than 300,000 adults across the UK and found life satisfaction peaked at that age before declining over 80. However, those in their 40s — just before hitting the golden age range — were shown to be less happy with the highest levels of anxiety.

One possible reason given was that people at this age often have to care for elderly parents as well as being parents themselves, which can be an emotionally exhausting experience.

In a blog post on Psychology Today, Dr. Romeo Vitelli says that happiness can be a tricky thing to define. It can mean the kind of joy that only occurs at key moments in our lives, or it can simply be the amount of positive emotion we happen to feel at any given time. However, there does appear to be an upswing as we get older.

The Midlife in the United Status research project found happiness was relatively stable for people in their mid-20s to late 30s, then it declined during the 40s and slowly rose to a peak from 60 to 69 years old.

Of course, it’s all relative, and there isn’t a set rule to how happy you will be at certain times in your life. However, it is comforting to know you may gain more satisfaction and well-being as you get older and approach those looming milestones. Maybe 60 really is the new 40.




The Spiritual, Reductionist Consciousness of Christof Koch

FATAL INTELLIGENCE: Given the probable existence of trillions of planets, why haven’t we detected life elsewhere? It’s likely, Christof Koch says, that sufficiently complex and intelligent life would destroy itself.NASA


What the neuroscientist is discovering is both humbling and frightening him.

Consciousness is a thriving industry. It’s not just the meditation retreats and ayahuasca shamans. Or the conferences with a heady mix of philosophers, quantum physicists, and Buddhist monks. Consciousness is a buzzing business in neuroscience labs and brain institutes. But it wasn’t always this way. Just a few decades ago, consciousness barely registered as a credible subject for science.

Perhaps no one did more to legitimize its study than Francis Crick, who launched a second career in neurobiology after cracking the genetic code. In the 1980s Crick found a brilliant collaborator in the young scientist Christof Koch. In some ways, they made an unlikely team. Crick, a legend in science, was an outspoken atheist, while Koch, 40 years younger, was a Catholic yearning for ultimate meaning. Together, they published a series of pioneering articles on the neural correlates of consciousness until Crick died in 2004.

WHAT’S THE BUZZ: Bees have all the complicated brain components that humans have, but in a smaller package. “So yes, I do believe if feels like something to be a honey bee,” Christof Koch says.Pixabay

Koch went on to a distinguished career at Caltech before joining the Allen Institute for Brain Science in Seattle. Today, as the president and chief scientific officer, he supervises several hundred scientists, engineers, and informatics experts trying to map the brain and figure out how our neural circuits process information. The Institute recently made news with the discovery of three giant neurons connecting many regions of the mouse brain, including one that wraps around the entire brain. The neurons extend from a set of cells known as the claustrum, which Crick and Koch maintained could act as a seat of consciousness.

Koch is one of the great thinkers about consciousness. He has a philosophical frame of mind and jumps readily from one big idea to the next. He can talk about the tough ethical decisions regarding brain-impaired patients and also zoom out to give a quick history of Christian thinking on the soul. In our conversation, he ranged over a number of far-out ideas—from panpsychism and runaway artificial intelligence to the consciousness of bees and even bacteria.

You’ve said you always loved dogs. Did growing up with a dog lead to your fascination with consciousness?

I’ve wondered about dogs since early childhood. I grew up in a devout Roman Catholic family, and I asked my father and then my priest, “Why don’t dogs go to heaven?” That never made sense to me. They’re like us in certain ways. They don’t talk, but they obviously have strong emotions of love and fear, hate and excitement, of happiness. Why couldn’t they be resurrected at the end of time?

Are scientific attitudes about animal consciousness simplistic?

The fact is, I don’t even know that you’re conscious. The only thing I know beyond any doubt—and this is one of the central insights of Western philosophy—is Cogito ergo sum. What Descartes meant is the only thing I’m absolutely sure of is my own consciousness. I assume you’re conscious because your behavior is similar to mine, and I could see your brain if I put you in an MRI scanner. When you have a patient who’s locked-in, who can’t talk to me, I have to infer it. The same with animals. I can see they’re afraid when it’s appropriate to be afraid, and they display all the behavioral traits of being afraid, including the release of hormones in their bloodstream. If you look at a piece of dog brain or mouse brain and compare that to a piece of human brain the same size, only an expert with a microscope can tell for sure that this is a dog brain or a human brain. You really have to be an expert neuroanatomist.

We share much of our evolutionary history with dogs and even dolphins. But what about lizards or ants? What about bacteria? Can they be conscious?

It becomes progressively more difficult. The brain of a bird or a lizard has a very different evolutionary history, so it becomes more difficult to assert without having a general theory. Ultimately, you need a theory that tells us which physical systems can be conscious. By the time you get to a worm, let alone to bacteria, you can believe that it feels like something to be a worm because that’s ultimately what consciousness is. If it feels like something to be a worm, then it’s conscious. Right now, most people believe it doesn’t feel like anything to be my iPhone. Yet it may well be true that it feels like something to be a bee. But it’s not easy to test that assertion in a scientific way.

What do you mean when you say “it feels like something?”

It feels like something to be you. I can’t describe it to you if you’re a zombie. If you were born blind, I can never describe what it means to see colors. You are simply unable to comprehend that. So it is with consciousness. It’s impossible to describe it unless you have it. And we have these states of consciousness unless we are deeply asleep or anesthetized or in a coma. In fact, it’s impossible not to be conscious of something. Even if you wake up discombobulated in a dark hotel room, you’re jet-lagged and your eyes are still closed, you are already there. Before there was just nothing, nada, rien. Then slowly some of your brain boots up and you realize, “Oh, I’m here. I’m in Beijing and I flew in last night.” The difference between nothing and something is a base-level consciousness…







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