For comedians who devote their careers to crafting brilliant witticisms, it must be galling that for many people there is nothing funnier than a fart. Now a professor of acoustics at the University of Salford is asking the public to rate the amusement factor of different whoopee-cushion sounds in a bid to understand why. Trevor Cox, who is carrying out the study to raise money for Comic Relief, will use a website featuring 20 fart sounds for participants to rate. He said: "For too long, acoustic engineers have concentrated on issues such as ... concert-hall acoustics. It is about time we got to the bottom of more important, fundamental issues." www.soundsfunny.org.