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Fact or Fiction?

Joz

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Manure...A True Story

Manure: In the 16th and 17th centuries, everything had to be transported by ship and it was also before commercial fertilizer's invention, so large shipments of manure were common.

It was shipped dry, because in dry form it weighed a lot less than when wet, but once water (at sea) hit it, it not only became heavier, but the process of fermentation began again, of which a by product is methane gas. As the stuff was stored below decks in bundles you can see what could (and did) happen.

Methane began to build up below decks and the first time someone came below at night with a lantern, BOOOOM!

Several ships were destroyed in this manner before it was determined just what was happening

After that, the bundles of manure were always stamped with the term "Ship High In Transit" on them, which meant for the sailors to stow it high enough off the lower decks so that any water that came into the hold would not touch this volatile cargo and start the production of methane.

Thus evolved the term "S.H.I.T.," (Ship High In Transit) which has come down through the centuries and is in use to this very day.

You probably did not know the true history of this word.

Neither did I.

I had always thought it was a golf term.
 

The ClayTaurus

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Manure...A True Story

Manure: In the 16th and 17th centuries, everything had to be transported by ship and it was also before commercial fertilizer's invention, so large shipments of manure were common.

It was shipped dry, because in dry form it weighed a lot less than when wet, but once water (at sea) hit it, it not only became heavier, but the process of fermentation began again, of which a by product is methane gas. As the stuff was stored below decks in bundles you can see what could (and did) happen.

Methane began to build up below decks and the first time someone came below at night with a lantern, BOOOOM!

Several ships were destroyed in this manner before it was determined just what was happening

After that, the bundles of manure were always stamped with the term "Ship High In Transit" on them, which meant for the sailors to stow it high enough off the lower decks so that any water that came into the hold would not touch this volatile cargo and start the production of methane.

Thus evolved the term "S.H.I.T.," (Ship High In Transit) which has come down through the centuries and is in use to this very day.

You probably did not know the true history of this word.

Neither did I.

I had always thought it was a golf term.
False. Absolutely false.
 

Hobbit

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First off, methane rises. The holds of those ships were open and the methane would be released.

Second, methane is not explosive except under specific conditions which do not exist on board a wooden ship.

Third, Webster's lists the etymology of that word as originating from the Old English word 'scite,' which was derivative of the word 'scltan,' which means 'to defacate.'

Fourth, the author of this segment does not know the definition of fermentation. Feces does not ferment naturally like that. It decays. Fermentation creates alcohol or lactic acid, not methane.

Sorry, but I always have to pick apart articles like this.
 

The ClayTaurus

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Second, methane is not explosive except under specific conditions which do not exist on board a wooden ship.
Tell me, what are the required specific conditions?
 

Hobbit

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Tell me, what are the required specific conditions?


It has to be at the correct pressure and with the right methane/oxygen ratio. I don't have the numbers right now, but without these conditions, it just burns rather nicely, but it doesn't explode. Lighting farts produces a jet of flame, but unless you actually bottle the stuff up and mix it correctly, it won't burn fast enough to be classified as an explosion.

While I'm at it, the myth about the guy suffocating from his own gas is false. A human being does not produce methan fast enough. As was determined on Mythbusters, a man would have to fart continuously for months in a room half the size of my bathroom to asphyxiate from his own flatulance.
 

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