It's time for our regular segment in which @Gafgarian (AKA Jeremiah Palmer) provides answers to the burning questions left unanswered in each episode of the Rooster Teeth Podcast. Read on to get closure for Triggered by Social Media – #459.
What is the density of fart air?
The composition of flatus, the medical term for gas emitting from the intestines, varies from person to person and even has variance from a single person based on their most recent meals, bowel movement frequency, and any number of additional biological quirks. This naturally makes getting a true idea of the "average" fart's density and composition pretty difficult. In addition, the complexity of ensuring that the sample is truly flatulence and has not been tainted by clean air or other gases, poses a difficult challenge. However, that didn't stop gastroenterologists from the Human Gastrointestinal Physiology and Nutrition Department of the Royal Hallamshire Hospital in Sheffield, England from doing their diligence on the subject.
In 1991, researchers had 10 volunteers, which is legitimately a really small sample size, measure their flatulence over 24 hours via rectal catheters. In order to test against the last point of the inadvertent mixing of external gases, the seal of the rectal catheter was tested by having the subject sit in a bathtub while farting. If no bubbles appeared then the catheter was obviously doing its job. Their study, though much smaller and therefore less accurate than most would probably like, was able to determine averages across those 10 volunteers which, based on several other one-off investigations and articles, are likely close enough to called accurate. Especially given the amount of fluctuation the measurements can have between a single individual let alone hundreds of subjects.
The study found that the average fart is right around 3 ounces in volume and contains around 80% nitrogen (1.165 kg/m3) and 20% methane (0.668 kg/m3). Using these numbers and a bit of math, we can get a rough density of fart air at right around 1.066 kg/m3. Since the density of air is around 1.204 kg/m3, this would mean that fart air is lighter and rises. Although this may be pretty obvious since we have the ability to smell a fart at all. If it didn't rise then we would all just be trudging through a soupy mess of flatulence that sat right about ankle level. That's quite the mental picture, hah!
How much would it cost to fill a hot tub with alcohol?
Your average four-person hot tub holds right around 1,100 liters of water. So, depending on the quality of the alcohol, a rough cost would be somewhere between $11k and just over $4 billion. The large number is only if you were to opt for the world's most expensive liquor which, at the moment, is a bottle of Tequila Ley Pasion Azteca. Though this price tag is largely due to the 6,400 diamonds which decorate the bottle which the manufacturer claims "improve the flavor of the tequila." Interestingly, though unveiled in 2014 as the world's most expensive liquor, to date a bottle has never actually been sold. For those curious, the smaller number was based on the pricing of good old Nikolai Vodka aka turpentine-in-a-plastic-gallon-jug-with-a-handle. Who remembers that from when you were definitely old enough to be consuming alcohol?
Can you get drunk by inhaling alcohol vapor?
I suppose I should have prefaced the previous answer with the PSA, you should NEVER fill up anything with alcohol with the intention of submerging yourself in it. Aside from the obvious pain that open sores and orifices may be in after being completely submerged in a caustic solution, you WILL get drunk. You WILL get drunk relatively quickly too, which could lead to you passing out and potentially drowning in a tub of the world's most expensive liquor... or Nikolai... you know, whatever your literal poison happens to be.
All kidding aside though, alcohol vapor is really dangerous, really quickly. There are several reports of fatalities throughout history which have centered around distillery workers falling victim to poorly ventilated, or just not ventilated, work spaces. A report from Sage Windery in British Columbia explains that it does not necessarily take a large amount either. A worker fell into a partially fermented vat of grape juice which was estimated to be roughly 10 percent alcohol and, after a failed rescue attempt, both the worker and owner of the winery were overcome by the fumes.
You may be asking, "what if I just inhale a little? I don't plan on jumping into a vat of almost-wine any time soon..." To that I would say that you are not alone. In fact, the vaporization and subsequent inhalation of alcohol has been a thing for over 70 years. Though originally introduced as a treatment for a pulmonary edema, or fluid on your lungs, as the alcohol helps evaporate the liquid quickly, the fact that it was a quicker way to get fucked up wasn't lost on anyone. As mentioned above, however, alcohol vapor is really dangerous. Inhaling does cause intoxication quickly since the alcohol doesn't need to go through a digestive process in order be broken down, but this lack of a digestive process is part of what makes it so dangerous. Our bodies have a natural deterrent against alcohol overdose, vomiting. By bypassing the stomach, though, this trigger is never tripped and your body has no defense against a probable case of alcohol poisoning.
It should be noted that very few studies have actually been done on the adverse effects on the inhalation of alcohol for recreation so the majority of the above facts are based on the scientific world's understanding of biological chemistry. The studies that have been done are mainly surrounding the use of the alcohol inhalation as a treatment for pulmonary edema which it does prove to be an extremely effective treatment. That said, most have agreed that no amount of inhaled alcohol for recreational purposes is a good idea.
What does alcohol boil at?
Different types of alcohol have different boiling point but their ranges are typically between 151°F to 173.1°F (66°C - 78.37°C). For the vapor inhalers in the previous question, though, the vapor is typically created by artificially increasing the air pressure of the bottle containing the alcohol before quickly normalizing it, causing a rapid depressurization resulting in a partial vacuum which drastically reduces the boiling points. However, the actual alcohol content of vapor created during rapid depressurization is comparatively pretty small and, while it still does bypass the stomach's check against overdose, it would take quite a bit of inhaling this partial vaporization to cause serious harm.
What’s the most expensive thing on Amazon?
Due to the integration of third-party sellers on the Amazon marketplace, this can get ridiculous pretty quickly and the list changes often. As of last week, the most expensive item on Amazon is a mint condition 1932 movie poster for The Old Dark House. Listed at a meager $750k, the poster below will only cost you roughly ten times the cost to make the actual film, even after adjusting for inflation.
Other expensive items include autographed sports memorabilia of Babe Ruth and Cy Young, a solid gold chandelier, and other insanely overpriced and largely useless items.
Can you read in dreams?
So... maybe? For those who have seen the trippy indie flick, Waking Life, reading anything in dreams, especially digital clocks, is considered to be pretty challenging. Most self-proclaimed lucid dreamers, people who claim to be able to have at least a modicum of control over their dreams, will tell you that they have mastered the ability to read in their dreams, despite it, according to them, being a supremely difficult task to have accomplished. The movie Waking Life, though fantastic visually, does have limited rational dialogue, in my opinion. However, the movie which largely takes place inside a dream, spends quite a bit of time discussing the logistics behind lucid dreaming. In it, the "facts" around reading are supposed to be pretty obvious trigger to recognizing if you are currently dreaming. Words and numbers are expected to appear scrambled, backwards, or generally completely illegible. Interestingly, most lucid dreamers would say that, until viewing Waking Life or otherwise learning of this "fact" about the illegibility of dream-words, they don't really remember ever having issues visualizing real words in their dreams. They say the same about other so-called "dream impossibilities" such as cognitively turning on a light using a switch or actually traversing a staircase. Advocates of lucid dreaming frequently state that the worst thing you can do when attempting to teach your brain how to unlock its full dream potential is to put your thoughts, any thoughts, inside some artificial box determined by a movie, article, or some other nonsense. In other words, everything you know is a lie and in dreams all things are possible.
For me personally, I was never able to master lucid dreams in any way, though once I think I dreamt that I had, which was very innately meta and screamed Inception. What about you? Are you a dream aficionado? Can you read digital clocks, fly at will, and remember actually walking up each step of a staircase?
Are people bothered by the word dongle?
The origin of this six letter word is actually, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, arbitrary or uncertain. However, that hasn't stopped rumors from flying and, in so doing, established the word's cringey related euphemisms and created a stigma similar to "moist" or other inherently harmless words which have slowly evolved to have less than congenial implications.
Perhaps one of the most famous examples of the danger of having a word which so easily relates to lewd subject matter was when former SendGrid programmer Adria Richards publicly shamed two fellow programmers at a March 2013 programming conference for using the terms "big dongles" to imply a sexual connection to the harmless, to most, word. The response to Richards tweet and photo should not have been unexpected in a tech world largely driven by male ego. Though support for her contempt of the word's usage was very high and even led to the removal of the two offending programmers from their positions, Richards received no shortage of hate for her role in calling them out. This included a public attack from 4Chan and Anonymous against SendGrid's infrastructure. This DDOS attack would lead to a significant loss in revenue for the company which subsequently fired Richards, under the claim that her careless tweet incited a riot against the company and she was ultimately responsible for the revenue loss.
In either case, the use of the word has, while still definitely part of the technical vernacular, has largely become limited specifically to the various small USB drives, wireless receivers, and other similar devices.
Is there a limit to how many things can come out of your body at one time?
There are urban myths abound about the unfortunate simultaneous rapid expulsion of bodily fluids. The name for such a painful sounding experience is, according to Urban Dictionary which will likely be the only place that this feat is ever "defined," is a Fredgazim. According to the source it is simultaneous occurrence of a fart, burp, hiccup, ejaculate, yawn, vomit, poop, cough, pee, sneeze, and cry. While this word, and loose definition, does appear in several places around the internet it is likely that they all stem from this original Urban Dictionary post. The post does claim that the act is named after a Fred Riehl, "the first human to have willingly perform a documented Fredgazim," however, I have been unable to find any information on an individual named Fred Riehl with regards to this incident, other than duplicates of this post, and any sort of "documented Fredgazim" is certainly a stretch.
Physiologically speaking, a good bit of these things is not possible to simultaneously occur because they rely on competing muscle movements and/or opposing muscle groups. There are also anatomic challenges to things like peeing and ejaculating. So, the short answer is, Yes, there is absolutely a limit to the number of things that can come out of your body simultaneously, though this is related more to the physiological requirements for that expulsion to occur rather than some threshold of matter leaving your body.
The history of Looney Tunes, Merrie Melodies, and Silly Symphonies?
The idea that Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies were created in order to sell more Warner Brothers music is a bit misleading. While, at its core, it isn't necessarily wrong, it does leave out a pretty important element which would impact the entire world of animation in ways no one thought possible.
That important element was Silly Symphonies. Silly Symphonies, though now arguably the least memorable of the three, was the one which started it all and it was created by Walt Disney, because of course it was. Steamboat Willie debuted in 1928, and with it a new era of animation was born. Fully synchronized sound and Mickey Mouse. It was groundbreaking in its technology, artistry, and marketing. Disney knew it was and so did his lead composer, Carl Stalling, who suggested that Walt create a "musical novelty" which focused on the music by having an animation play over a track with the characters reacting to tempo changes, words, and other pieces of the music accordingly. Disney's next piece, The Skeleton Dance, would be the first attempt at this and would also be the first time that the animation and sound were storyboarded and designed together. Its release in 1929 would launch the Silly Symphonies brand which would be picked up by Columbia Pictures and later, United Artists.
Looney Tunes, a direct play against the Silly Symphonies brand, would be launched by Hugh Harman, Rudolph Ising, and Leon Schlesinger, only a year later. Distributed by Warner Brothers, it would feature its own star main character. That's right, Bosko. Oh, you don't know who Bosko is? That is probably because Bosko looks like this:
Doesn't exactly play well with the more culturally sensitive crowd of... well really any time after 1950. According to Warner Brothers historians, any resemblance Bosko may have had to an ape, combined with his black skin, was purely coincidental and there was never any racial implication to the playful character.
In 1931, Warner would follow-up Bosko and the Looney Tunes cartoons with Merrie Melodies, another obvious play against Silly Symphonies, this time with the goal of giving more air time to the extensive Warner Brothers music catalog. Unlike the Looney Tunes episodes which frequently would have original scores, a contract requirement mandated that every Merrie Melodies episode had to contain at least one performance of a song owned by Warner Bros. As essentially the world's first music videos, nearly fifty years before MTV, Merrie Melodies would frequently contain less than memorable, unnamed, animal characters performing nonsensical acts that were vaguely relevant to the backing song... so very little difference from the music videos we now know and love.
In 1933, Harman and Ising would move their cartoon operation to MGM under the moniker Happy Harmonies, taking Bosko with them. Schlesinger would continue producing Looney Tunes for Warner Brothers with few main character successes and Merrie Melodies continued to flourish as medium to share/sell the WB music catalog. In 1935, Schlesinger would team up with Tex Avery, and later Bob Clampett, Chuck Jones, Robert McKimson, and finally get the hits he had been hoping for since Disney's debut of Willie. 1935 saw the introduction of Porky Pig, followed by Daffy in 1937, and Merrie Melodies would have the first appearance of Elmer Fudd and, of course, his nemesis Bugs Bunny, in 1940.
Meanwhile, Disney would continue to innovate amination with continuous movement and cell "tinting" in order to show limited color. These would be followed, in 1932, with full blown technicolor distribution, in 1933, by RCA optical sound-on-film system, and, in 1937, the first use of the Walt's multiplane camera which would, arguably, be the biggest innovation in animation since the flip book. In addition to the innovations, Disney would receive several Academy Awards for Best Animated Short. The trajectory of what had once been the great battle of the "musical follies" had split drastically. Disney would show the final Silly Symphony in 1939 with Walt later stating that, “we used them to test and perfect the color and animation techniques we employed later in full-length feature pictures like Cinderella, Snow White, and Fantasia.” Ultimately, Looney Tunes and the team and Warner Brothers were concerned about how a cartoon could make their music business more profitable while Disney, and his team, were figuring out how animation could be a cinematic medium in order to change the world.
Leon Schlesinger's team were ultimately fine with this direction as they continued to borrow the animation methods that Disney innovated for use in their episodic shorts. By 1941, the popular characters between Merrie Melodies and Looney Tunes were "cameoing" in each other's shorts regularly and that, along with the mandatory Warner Brothers music contract requirement being lifted from the production of Merrie Melodies, allowed the LA animation studio to release more frequently and with higher production value. However, in order to occasionally go back to his roots, the Looney Tunes musical director, Carl Stalling (yes, the same Stalling which started the whole "musical novelty" genre with Disney over a decade earlier), would toss in Warner Brothers classic tune from time to time.
By 1945, Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies were both shown in full color, with very little difference between the two, and Warner Brothers would frequently charge more for the increased length specials cartoons headlined by Bugs Bunny, who, really until the success of the Disney Parks was America's most recognizable cartoon character.
I know what you are thinking, what happened to Happy Harmonies?! Don't worry, I was just as curious. Turns out that in 1935, after the movement of Bosko to MGM ownership, he would be redrawn and revealed as the "new Bosko." Unfortunately, they went a bit deeper on the now obvious racial side of things, this time making Bosko a young boy from Africa. Ultimately, Happy Harmonies would end in 1938 after the production of only 37 episodes over four years. Of the 37, nearly half would later receive severe criticism for their less than flattering caricatures of popular African American personalities of the time or other blatantly racist propaganda.
In case you are curious, I was able to track down the first episodes of all four of the "Musical Follies" of the early cartoon era. It is interesting to see what passed as acceptable and/or entertaining nearly a century ago and, in the end, the best takeaway that I have is that the creators of Cuphead did a phenomenal job capturing that medium and era.
What is the relationship between the directors of Gravity and Revenant like?
While Alfonso Cuarón and Alejandro González Iñárritu, are quite the besties, their camaraderie is really a trio with famed director Guillermo del Toro finalizing the group. All three grew up in Mexico and now years later are often referred to as cinema's Three Amigos. Though their films all have a very distinctive style, it is obvious that their 25-year friendship have had a measurable impact on their work. Over the years they have mutually opined on each other's work in ways only close friends can do. Del Toro once relating a discussion the three had about Inarritu's Birdman, "I'll tell him if it's [garbage]. That's what friends do." Along a similar vein, Cuarón casually mentions that "There's no film I do that doesn't go through them, their eyes and their hands."
Their stories are all pretty different but all had some roots in the entertainment business. From Del Toro's beginnings as a special effects and makeup artist, Iñárritu as a moderately successful radio DJ in Mexico City, and Cuarón as a lowly assistant director for a low budget Mexican television network. They have consistently leveraged each other for an unbiased opinion of their works since their initial introductions in the early 1990s. Their lives have woven around each other in ways that will probably be the main plot point of an expose on the early-aughts film world and the influences of the Three Amigos. This film/documentary will no doubt be called the Three Amigos and will have none of the fantastic visuals of Del Toro, the darkly twisted plots of Iñárritu, or the bizarrely deep tales of Cuarón. But it will, if it nothing else, be an entertaining report of a decades long friendship and the impact it has had on the film industry overall.