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How many songs go on a perfect playlist? What's the statute of limitations on sending people photos? Do outside plants get dusty like houseplants? Does the moon's orbit line up with Earth's the solar system's? Why don't eyes fog up like glasses? What did people think of static electricity before the discovery of electricity? How do I track down a mystery smell? What is Groundhog Day? Can you make art in space? Hank Green and Katherine Green have answers!

If you're in need of dubious advice, email us at hankandjohn@gmail.com.
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 (00:00) to (02:00)


Hank: Hello and welcome to dear Hank and Katherine. 

Katherine: Oh is... or as I like to think of it dear, Katherine and Hank, I thought you were going to say dear Hank and John. 

H: Oh yeah, I guess I usually do that… It's a podcast where two family members answer your questions, giving you dubius advice and bring all of the news from Mars and only Mars, Kathrine. 

K: I did not prepare anything about… football teams-

H: No, sorry. 

K: -and that's that's fine. When John is back you’ll get 2 weeks worth of news next week. 

H: Yeah, He'll be back next week with news about AFC Wimbledon. 

K: Or there's always Google. 

H: You could also look it up yourself and I'm sure that it will be important. He's right now working hard on the Anthropocene Reviewed book so he wanted a little extra time so we have given him that time. 

Katherine, do you remember that time you got really mad at me right after you told me to put ketchup on the grocery list? 

K: [Chuckle]

H: You were like “Oh no, I can't read it at all!” 

K: Oh no, I forgot that that was happening and then I realized what was happening and then I didn't know how to react. 

H: Yeah, did you? Did you get what the joke was going to be?

K: No, I mean, not really, but my brain shut down. 

H: [Laughing] It turned off, she turned down just like “Oh no it's happening so fast” 

K: [Overlapping] I realized what was happening and I was like, oh God. 

H: [Laugh] It's just regressed sociate (?). Oh yeah, you put- 

K: Um, being this close to you. 

H: Uh-huh 

K: For Dear Hank and John podcast energy is a little painful.

H: It's a lot, isn't it? 

K: He's loud, you guys. 

H: [Laugh] “Delete This” energy was lower than this. 

K: Not the same energy, you really project right out into it. 

H: Yeah, well, I gotta bring your energy up to. And all the people at home listening 

K: Let's bring it up, I'll just keep my finger in the ear that is closest to you. 

H: Is it that loud? 

K: My ear hurt. 

[Both laughing]

 (02:00) to (04:00)


H: OK, I'll try holding back in a little bit, I know a lot of people try to sleep while listening to this podcast, which does seem like a peculiar choice. 

K: Yeah, what's... what? 

H: Yeah, there's all kinds of podcasts that I feel like would be better at that.

K: Yeah, you're gonna miss all the extra good advice. 

H: [Laugh] I mean you- 

K: Is that what you do on this podcast? 

H: For a long time you slept during McElroy podcasts. 

K: That was just because I was extremely sleep deprived as a (?). 

H: Yeah, but you could have listened to like... anything. 

K: I never knew when I was going to be sleeping though, and just occasionally happened that I was also listening to McElroy podcasts. 

H: [overlapping] it's so good to have- 

K: Now my strategy is I just listen to pride and prejudice audiobook or Jane Austen audiobook. I've listened to them so many times it doesn't matter if I fall asleep. And they put me to sleep immediately. 

H: [Laugh] Good.

K: Ask me a question.

 Question 1: length of playlist



H: This question comes from Ella who asks [reading] Dear Hank and Katherine how many songs should I put together to make a perfect playlist? I found that too many makes the playlist feel disperate like it's just a collection of random, unconnected songs, but having too few leads to frequent repetition, which feels samian (?) boring -it's true a 10 song playlist really cannot carry you through anything.- Where should I aim to get the correct balance of musical spice and unity? Also, on a related note, how many playlists do you recommend having and how do you categorize them? Pumpkins and polka’s Ella. 

H: You're not talking to the right people here. 

K: I mean would- I- yeah but... 

H: I can have an opinion on something I know nothing about.

K: OK.

H: Pretty effectively. 

K: I mean yeah, it sounds like this person knows a lot more about making playlists than we do. 

H: If you're going to have shorter playlists, you have to have more of them. And so if your playlists- like to get that feeling of unity like you're telling a story- 

K: I just can't imagine having the time to like do this

H: But- we used to!

 (04:00) to (06:00)


H: You used to do it! 

K: I guess yeah, and we used to do it with like actual CDs and tapes. 

H: Tapes and CD's, yeah.

K: I know. 

H: And with that you had a cap. You could- 

K: Oh yeah, that was it. 

H: -only put like max 20 songs on a CD. 

K: Well, and that was the real thing about making a mixed CD is like you want to get as many songs as possible without wasting space.

H: Yeah 'cause you got like- if you have like 2 minutes at the end you're like I gotta find a one minute 58 second song. 

[Both laugh]

K: Or I gotta take one of these longer ones off- or another one off and put a longer one on. 

H: Yeah luckily we listen to music where there were many very short songs. 

K: Many very short songs made it a lot easier. 

H: Made it pretty easy to stick one in there, to fill it up. 

K: I wasn't worried about samian boring though. 

H: Yeah, 'cause-

K: That’s the point of the playlist is like so you vibe right? 

H: Yeah, it's, but it's- 

K: They puts you in the mood. 

H: It's the repetition where you're like if you listen to the same playlist over and over again then you're like oh man like now I listened to Shakey Shakey again and I just heard that song. 

K: Well.

H: You don’t have to worry about that with CD's, because you can only have it be so long. 

K: Yeah. 

H: And then you just put it on mix (?) if you get bored with it so that's what I think. 

K: Just make it the average length of a CD. 

H: Exactly, just put a cap. 

K: So 45 or 60 minutes. I feel like you think of it as like an episode of television

H: Yeah

K: ‘Cause that's about how much time you have. You know, it's like a unit of time and then you do that thing while you're listening to this playlist for that long. And then you move on to the next thing. 

H: And I think it's just hard to define any kind of structure beyond that length. Because I think that like playlist with structure is important, but beyond that length it's just like OK, so you know, that's sort of like a rise, and then you sort of coast for a long time. 

K: Yeah, I mean, think of it- 

H: If it's like a wedding DJ kind of playlist. 

K: Right, I mean you think of it as like a film where it's got like a beginning, a middle and an end 

H: Yeah. 

K: So if you want to make it longer than you have to script it. 

H: On your related note, how many playlists do we recommend you having:

 (06:00) to (08:00)


H: I think there is never too many and I think that you have to share them like candy, like little gifts for all the people in your life. I love to find that playlists that my friends put together and be like look at you you weirdo. 

K: Yeah, I do- like some of my favorite music came from CDs that people gave me in the past that no one does that anymore but I guess people just listen to other peoples playlists. 

H: Yeah you can, just- it's very easy to just click and share a playlist which you know kind of cheapens it a little bit. 

K: Yeah it does. 

H: But- 

K: 'cause you didn't have to do that work. You have to mail it to me in the mail. 

H: Yeah, and just like wait for your computer to go *Whirring sounds*. 

K: [Laughs]

H: -For a while. 

K: Just figure out what this is!

H: Just a little weed whacker in there! [K laughs] making music somehow. 

K: Just get it real hot. 

H: [Laughs]

K: Turn the fan on real hot. 

H: *Fan noises*

K: Oh my God, the fan would come on and you'd be like I guess I'm in the winds now, listening to this music. 

H: Yeah [laugh] My legs are hot. [laugh]

K: I'm listening to this music in the wind, haha. 

H: I guess my legs weren't hot because I used to have it on my desktop.

K: Yeah.

H: My big tower. 

K: Didn’t have laptops.

H: Yeah and like 2 there'd be a two CD drive so you could like burn straight from 1 to the other, ah YEAH. 

K: Yeah, that's the one you had to do it that way. You aren't gonna like put all of those files on your computer. 

H: There’s no space for that. 

K: [Laughs]

H: I- I really I do. This is, it is really happened now where I'm really aware of how anachronistic my childhood was.

K: Absolutely 

H: And it's actually like it is changing my perspective on the world where I'm like things change… [K laughs] they change a lot.

K: They do

H: And we can continue to expect that and it's kind of- it's I think making me a little more hopeful. 

K: Oh 

H: Though I may just be in a hopeful place because spring is arriving, the sun is out. 

K: Oh God. /pos

H: And then the many of the people who I love have gotten vaccinated.

 (08:00) to (10:00)


K: Yeah, and that is a big deal.

H: So who knows what's next and how much it's going to change things and help people. There's a MRNA malaria vaccine now, which is exciting. 

K: Wow, yeah that's cool. 

H: Yeah.

K: Wow. 

H: So, who knows where we're headed. Hopefully a good place. A better place. 


 Question 2: Reconnecting with old friends




K: Alright Hank, here's one: [reading] I was going through some old photos with my wife and came across some of a couple we knew eight years ago. We haven't remained in touch with them, but have remained Facebook friends. I sent a couple of pictures there wishing them well, but was wondering after the fact if this was weird. What’s the cutoff time for such a thing? Should I just let the past be the past? 

Picture problem in Texas. 

H: Oh picture problem in Texas like were a regular old advice column. 

K: Beep bo bap boop ba boop

H: [Laughs]

K: Yeah, right. I don't see anything wrong with this. 

H: No, there's definitely nothing wrong with this- I'm trying to like picture who is the analogous couple in our lives. They've got plenty of them

K: Yeah, sure 

H: Yeah and like-

K: There's definitely people that we like we're friends with in grad school- 

H: Yeah

K: -that we fall out of touch with, but I wouldn't be like- 

H: I would love to hear from them and um…

K: For the most part. 

H: [Chuckle] For the most part. If you're out there and you're the ones that we don't want to hear from, you know who you are. 

[Both laugh]

K: No they don't. 

[More laughing]

K: Yeah, no, I mean, unless there's like some reason you fall out of touch that would yeah- 

H: No, yeah I think it’s just a thing 

K: Yeah, I think it's lovely to reconnect and reminisce and if they don't get back to you, it just probably means they're not on Facebook right now.

H: Yep. Or their phone numbers change depending on how you sent a picture to them. I don't know, what you actually did. Did you mail it?

K: They said facebook 

H: Well, they said they’re friends on Facebook. 

K: Oh, that's true, that's true. 

H: They said we sent a picture to them...  like I want that badly. I want people from my past to reach out. You look at me like I'm crazy. 

K: It's different for you because you are now 

H: Right? 

K: A personality with influence, fame and influence. 

H: Sure sure sure sure. 

K: And I don't like it sometimes

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