Category Archives: Stinky Science

Medicinal Butt Gas

Stink bomb gas to give stroke victims new hope

Scientists use hydrogen sulphide to put patients into ‘suspended animation’

The Guardian, UK–The gas that provides millions of schoolchildren with hours of fun and gives stink bombs their revolting smell could soon provide doctors with new treatments for conditions ranging from strokes to chronic arthritis.

Some researchers are even trying to use hydrogen sulphide – the source of rotten eggs’ [and, in part, farts’] unpleasant odour – to put patients with strokes or serious injuries into a form of suspended animation to help them survive severe traumas. This research is now being backed by the US military, who believe it could help their surgeons cope with injuries suffered by soldiers in battle.

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Note: The Hong Kong Customs & Excise Dept. has deemed the above pictured prank toy, still on sale through various outlets, to be unsafe, giving off a quantity of Hydrogen Sulfide that may pose a health risk to young children. Which brings us back to the old adage that every potential medicine is also a potential poison, when used improperly.

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Forget the Axe™, go with the pit-stink

Well, I think it’s pretty clear that wearing Axe™ or Tag™ doesn’t induce women to knock over displays at the grocery store trying to jump your bones…so, men, if you’re really desperate, maybe just letting those pits simmer in the summer sun will get you noticed.

Ya think, ladies?

Male Sweat Boosts Women’s Hormone Levels

[Excerpt]

..Sweat has been the main focus of research on human pheromones, and in fact, male underarm sweat has been shown to improve women’s moods and affect their secretion of luteinizing hormone, which is normally involved in stimulating ovulation…

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Now, is this a good job, or what?

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What do 500 tons of rotting carp smell like?

I hope to never find out.

Fish raise a mighty stink

HUNDREDS of tonnes of dead fish have been left to rot in Lake Colac [Australia], with authorities saying they are unable to clean them up.

More than 500 tonnes of carp died as a result of rising salinity and falling water levels in the lake in the state’s southwest.

As the lake continues to recede, forecasters say rainfall prospects are not good for southern Australia in autumn and winter.

It is the fourth, and largest, mass fish death in the lake since 2006…

Read the entire article

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Top 5 posts

The top five posts at Things That Stink, for the last 90 days, were:

And since, out of these five posts, “Musky Matthew McConaughey” is the most recent, by far (Feb. 1), it appears that the earthy miasma of this Tinseltown hunkster’s armpits (according to Fool’s Gold co-star Kate Hudson) deeply interests some people.

Oh – and I should note that some of the incoming links on the Matthew McConaughey post are from gay sites, replete with generally artless photos of large tumescent appendages. Henceforth, I think I will call this the “Flamin’ response” which is a play on the scientific term, “Flehmen Response,” a phenomenon which has everything to do with the sense of smell.

Flehmen response in the common tapir

“Flehmen response” in the common Tapir (Tapirus terrestrsis)

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Surströmming: “Sour Herring”

Rotten FishSurströmming is an ostensible “delicacy” common to northern Sweden. Referred to as “fermented* or “soured” herring, it is made by putting fresh caught fish in barrels to sit for a couple months, with just enough salt added to suppress the more nasty varieties of bacteria that would propagate in the slurry, otherwise. After two months, the fish is transferred to cans where the “fermentation” process continues, often causing the can to swell (which we in the U.S. would equate with the presence of botulism).

The swelling results from the production of carbon dioxide gas through the action of Haloanaerobium , a species of bacterium which feeds upon the fish.

Rotten Fish on Cracker-breadThe fish has such a foul odor that it is often opened and consumed out-of-doors. The smell results from the following compounds, produced during the “fermentation” period, which also add to the “complex” flavor of the product:

  • propionic acid: pungent/acrid quality
  • butyric acid: rancid-butter
  • hydrogen sulfide: rotten-eggs
  • acetic acid: vinegar-like

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*Not accurate. The process of fermentation refers specifically to the biological action of organisms breaking down carbohydrates (as in grains, fruits, etc.). The processes which occur in animal products (which contain almost no carbohydrate) are properly called “putrefaction” and “rancidification.” It may be that purveyors of putrid, rancid flesh products adopted the term “fermentation” because 1.) The process superficially resembles the process of fermenting carbohydrates 2.) Because “fermented” sounds less noxious than “putrid” and “rancid.”

Tyrannosaurus Turd

Well, it probably was smelly once. About 65 million years ago.

Coprolite

This chunk of fossilized dino-dung, otherwise known as a “coprolite,” was discovered in Saskatchewan in 1995, and is believed to have been deposited by a T. rex. It is roughly a foot in length.

Read the article, “A king-sized theropod coprolite found in Saskatchewan.”

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Skunk Smell Remedy

Me? A Pew? C’est no. C’est imposible…The skunk smell remedy currently discussed in an article at the LA Times (see below, for link) is a recipe for stink-interdiction developed by Paul Krebaum, and published in Chemical and Engineering News (1993).

Victory over stench is sweet

By David Colker, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
January 27, 2008

Work stinks.

I’m not talking about my job, which I love. Honest.

No, it was a certain emanation noticed by a colleague who innocently approached my desk and asked, “Has there been a skunk back here?”

Early that morning my ever-curious dog, Earl, had gotten sprayed by a skunk in the backyard. Before I could catch him, he sped back into the house through his doggy door, frantically rubbing against everything in sight, starting with the bed.

It was like a Pepe Le Pew cartoon with Smell-O-Vision….

Read the entire article

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Fish People

Fish PeopleSomething’s fishy, but it’s just genetic

Fish malodor syndrome causes people to have a certain piscine aroma.

Americans are obsessed with smelling good, spending billions each year on perfumes, colognes and deodorant. But for some rare individuals, no amount of sprayed, lathered, splashed or rolled-on fragrance can do the trick; their body odor is in their genes.

Fish malodor syndrome — trimethylaminuria, or TMAU — is caused by the malfunction of an enzyme that breaks down the amino acid trimethylamine, or TMA, the same compound that makes decomposing fish smell fishy. When TMA builds up in the body, it gets excreted in urine, sweat and breath, resulting in a fishy miasma….

(Read the entire article)

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Classifying Crap: The Bristol Stool Scale

No longer is “Number 2” sufficient. Now we have poopie, types 1-7.

A play on words, “Shit-shape and Bristol-fashion” comes to mind.

From Wikipedia:

The Bristol Stool Form Scale or Bristol Stool Chart is a classification of the form, that is appearance in a toilet, of human feces into seven groups. It was developed by Dr. K. Hering at the University of Bristol and was first published in the British Medical Journal in 1990.The form of the stool depends on the time it spends in the colon.

Types 1 and 2 indicate constipation, types 3 and 4 are usually the most comfortable to pass, types 5-6 tend to be associated with urgency and type 7 is diarrhea. There have been several claimed sightings of the lord himself [?!] in type 3 but the accuracy of these claims should not be relied upon for educational purposes.

Bristol Stool Chart

Well, that’s nice to know. Let’s eat.

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