Hoisting oneself by petard... Literally...

The last paragraph of that column really made me think…

What kind of PSI are we talking about to lift oneself off the ground with flatulence…

Assuming that you had the precision of Le Petomane… and could make a “seal” in a seated position… What would it take to get… say… a 180 lbs man off the ground???
Could there be an equation formulated that would let oneself know the amount of baked beans that would need to be consumed to reach “lift off”???

The petard as Cecil says was used to blow up (down) heavy doors. It would be placed against the door then one was supposed to “light the blue touch paper and retire” The fuses in those days were not quite reliable and would burn at unpredictable rates - often resulting in the charge going off prematurely and the fellow who lit he fuse being “hoist on (by)…”.

Congrats, kfraser34 – idiotic as one might think, Cecil has actually addressed your question! It’s today’s column: http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/2938/how-much-flatulence-would-it-take-to-become-airborne

Well, except I don’t think Cecil actually answered the question that was asked.

Rocket science is all well and good, but given that the question specifically posited the test subject “could make a ‘seal’ in a seated position,” I assume that kfraser34 was imagining hovercraft science rather than rocket science.

And IMO it’s one of the funniest he’s written in years…

Thanks a lot… That was awesome… settled down with my samich to check out my lunch time reading… and there it was front page… and I thought “really, they answered it, really” I was sad when it died in the forum with just the one lame reply… it seemed like such a good fit… I guess I was right after all… It feels like I’ve won some important contest :slight_smile:
Great Article, I definitely feel that my question has been answered and then some… I never even considered combustion… I was thinking about just getting off the ground… something a little more spectacular than David Blaine’s “levitation” routine, but definitely not orbit or any sustained hovering…

Oh ya… Excellent illustration by Slug… It is now my desktop Background…

A petard was a form of primative cannon, kind of like a pot, filled with black powder and then stopped with a spear tipped plug. Fire applied to a touch hole in the bottom would send the projectile in the direction of the enemy to do destruction. OR the pot would explode, “hoisting the gunner on his own petard.” I learned this from an old weapons museum curator back in the early 1970’s/

Not the accepted definition. See above, or the Wikipedia entry.