4 Scientific Reasons Doing the Wrong Thing Feels So Good

#2. Farting Is Healthy

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Few things exist on such a broad spectrum of judgment as farts. A silent, smelly fart spells instant death for even the most casual conversation, but a low, odorless one is an amazing tell-that-story-later-on-a-long-car-ride that you can carry with you for years. That's why it's so cruel that you can never anticipate what a fart will be like until it comes out, meaning that, in mixed company, it's usually best to just hold it in. Like that time in high school I spent an entire dinner date with my sphincter clenched tighter than an astronaut on a spacewalk, terrified that I might pass gas and ruin our quiet candlelit evening by "releasing the Kraken."

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"Fuck you and your ass air!"

The Terrible Truth:

Turns out holding it in isn't just distracting -- it's genuinely bad for your health. The gas struggling to escape your body isn't going to say, "Oh, now's not a great time? I'll just wait, then." It's a stubborn little bastard, and it's going to burrow through your insides until it finds a way to escape your butt like a very lost and presumably embarrassed xenomorph. The pressure from restrained farts can create diverticula (stretchy spots) in your intestines, which can then get infected and really mess up your day. You know how you stretch out a balloon to weaken it before you inflate it? Every time you resist breaking wind for the sake of others, you're doing that to your guts.

Amazingly, these problems are even more complicated than you realize, which means I get to talk about farts for yet another paragraph. Since the odor of a fart is distracting (especially if the farter is well practiced and proficient), what do you do with, say, airline pilots, who work in pairs in tight quarters at high altitudes where farting is more likely due to the lower air pressure of airplane cabins? If they hold the fart in, the distraction can damage their ability to fly the plane -- but if they let it out, the odor will distract both pilots. What to do?

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"You'd better be thanking the hell out of science right about now."

Luckily, scientists have come up with a clever solution: installing activated charcoal packets in the seats, which would absorb the fart and allow the pilot to fly the plane without being distracted by either odor or gut-gurgles.

Thank God we have people working on this stuff.

#1. Ditching Your Online Friends Makes You Happier

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While everyone has daydreamed about cutting their ties to social media, the fact remains that it's fucking impossible to do that. You'd instantly become a de facto pariah: Where would you learn about upcoming birthdays, dinner parties, flash mobs? Where would you get your news? How would you know that Dylan from your junior year economics class is sick of Upworthy? You wouldn't.

You wouldn't know anything.

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"Chad, did you eat the beakers again? Please get on Facebook so you'll stop being stupid."

The Terrible Truth:

But you'd be happier. Scientists monitored the Facebook use of several subjects and found that the more they used the site, the sadder and more anxious they got. Not that we actually needed that study: Pretty much every news story covering Facebook describes it as annoying and addictive, while the current generation of teenagers will openly admit to hating it (while also clarifying that they have no plans to stop visiting).

The study doesn't tell us why the site makes us so sad, but they suspect that it's all about how you compare yourself to others. Facebook functions in the exact opposite way of gossip: Instead of a few people privately discussing others, Facebook is about everyone publicly discussing themselves. And since social comparison is a big part of socializing, every time you look at your Facebook feed, you're comparing your own (flawed) image of yourself to the finely crafted and utterly artificial version of themselves your friends have created specifically for Facebook. Not because they're being dishonest, and not because it's impossible to have meaningful friendships online, but because that's the whole point of the website: You choose how others see you. It's hard to remain genuine, because you know that anything you post will be visible to 95 percent of everyone you've ever met.

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"Accidentally shit in the hot tub today."

It's the perfect mask, giving you perfect control over your presentation of yourself ... so of fucking course it's depressing you. Mistakes and emotions and spontaneity are what friendships are. Take that away, and we're just robots bumping into each other in an empty field.

But even knowing that Facebook is bad for you, you still can't leave. No one leaves. You, and everyone else, are under a tremendous amount of pressure to keep Facebooking, which is why it's the most popular site in the world -- even bigger than Google. Even though no one likes it. Even though it makes us sad. This is what socializing has become, I guess: We all picked the most unpleasant place to hang out, worked as hard as we could to make it worse, and then made it impossible to leave. That's almost as bad as ... uh, creating a list of rude behaviors and then telling people that they were good for you. Oh, shit, I made the world a worse place today, didn't I?

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JF Sargent isn't really sorry. Follow him on Twitter, check him out on Facebook, or click on every hyperlink on his Tumblrblogthing.

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