A group of cows emitted enough gas from both ends of their bodies to cause a huge explosion. The blast lifted the roof off their building and started a fire.
The odd thing is that the female readers who forwarded that German news report to me had a “How bizarre and disgusting” tone, but the male readers’ attitude was more like: “Cool, must try this at home.” Inescapable conclusion: Women are weird.
Still, let’s be practical. Ladies, remember: NEVER leave your boyfriend or husband home alone with a can of beans and a box of matches. The male “experimental chemistry” gene is surely responsible for most of the troubles on Earth, i.e., the discovery of the atomic bomb, the invention of the double bacon burger, etc.
Math teacher Nur Aryanto of Jakarta had a question: “Since internal gases are highly flammable, could this be the real reason we’re no longer allowed to smoke on planes?” Well, Nur, smoking is banned on passenger flights, but people DO smoke on freight planes. So that’s a good point. Cargo plane pilots, never light up if you are carrying German cows or Indonesian math teachers.
The good news is that we guys may soon be able to enjoy explosions at home without beans. A company which makes millions of the flush mechanisms found inside toilet tanks is issuing warnings that they may explode. If the plastic thing inside your cistern is called Flushmate III, you should “stop using the toilet immediately” according to the recall notice.
No advice is provided as to how individuals should “hold everything in” for the estimated two weeks it will take to replace the toilets. Clearly one must give up all liquids and foods. You’ll die of thirst and starvation but that’s obviously better than suffering the embarrassment of queuing to use the toilet at McDonald’s multiple times a day.
If your toilet is not a Flushmate III but your neighbors is, you can show your kindness and humanity by allowing them access to your facilities for only a small fee, payable in advance.
Reporting the German cowshed explosion, the Daily Mail said that a single cow “emits enough gas to fill 400 litre bottles each day”. I totally take my hat off to the researcher who measured this, risking a horrible death, not to mention major psychological trauma.
Anyway, following the incident, farmers everywhere are being advised to ensure that there are no naked flames in cowsheds. ALL cows who smoke (even nicotine-free cigarettes) have to go cold turkey IMMEDIATELY. A smoker I know recommends Rubik Cubes as the best distraction for anyone trying to quit, although whether you can do them with hooves is another question entirely.
One reader told me that there are now 1.4 billion cows on earth, a little more than India’s population. Even more curiously, the world’s chicken population has shot up to 19 billion, far overtaking the planet’s human population. This appears to me to be a strong argument against democracy; so let’s keep this fact hidden from the governments of China, Myanmar, etc. Okay, column over, as a science-loving male, I now seriously need to go find a box of matches.
(31-01-2014-Nury Vittachi is an Asia-based frequent traveler. Send ideas and comments via www.mrjam.org)