Daily Archives: July 4th, 2012

Phew! It stinks! Who wrote a letter in here?

Benjamin Franklin – A Patron Saint of the Fart Joke.

Introduction from Wikipedia:

“A Letter To A Royal Academy” was composed in response to a call for scientific papers from the Royal Academy of Brussels. Benjamin Franklin believed that the various academic societies in Europe were increasingly pretentious and concerned with the impractical. Revealing his “bawdy, scurrilous side,” Franklin responded with an essay suggesting that research be undertaken into methods of improving the odor of human flatulence.

GENTLEMEN,

I have perused your late mathematical Prize Question, proposed in lieu of one in Natural Philosophy, for the ensuing year, viz. “Une figure quelconque donnee, on demande d’y inscrire le plus grand nombre de fois possible une autre figure plus-petite quelconque, qui est aussi donnee”. I was glad to find by these following Words, “l’Acadeemie a jugee que cette deecouverte, en eetendant les bornes de nos connoissances, ne seroit pas sans UTILITE”, that you esteem Utility an essential Point in your Enquiries, which has not always been the case with all Academies; and I conclude therefore that you have given this Question instead of a philosophical, or as the Learned express it, a physical one, because you could not at the time think of a physical one that promis’d greater_Utility.
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