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Why do different trees change color at different times? What if a friend isn't creating their creative work that you love? Some advice for job and scholarship interviews. How do I express empathy properly? How should I feel about getting worse at Tetris?

 Intro (00:00)

Hank: Hello and welcome to Dear Hank and John.

John: Or as I prefer to think of it, Dear John and Hank.

H: It's a podcast with me, Hank, and my brother, John, where we answer your questions and give you dubious advice and bring you all the week's news from both Mars and AFC Wimbledon. John, how are you?

J: Um, not gonna lie, Hank, I'm not doing great.

H: You need to chipper up for the people!

J: Yeah, I mean I can fake chipper up for the people but then, you know, I've been thinking recently, like, whenever I ask you how you're doing with your health, you know, you always tell me that you're doing OK, like you either say that you're doing well or that you're doing OK. Because, like, with chronic, with any kind of, like, chronic health problem you never want to acknowledge that you're in a bit of a valley.

H: Yes.

J: Even though, of course, like, there are those valleys, and then it's just a weird thing because if you acknowledge that you're in a valley then people start to, like, ask you more about it which doesn't really help, and, like... But it just, but then you also feel dishonest and maybe other people who have chronic health problems, when they're in valleys they feel like it's unnatural or whatever, so I don't know. I'm just being totally honest. Adjusting to this new medication, not going well. So I'm in a bit of a valley but the Sun is shining. As we will later learn, in about thirty to forty minutes, wonderful things are happening in south London, there is much to be hopeful about. That is how I'm doing. How are you?

H: Well first of all I just want to say how thankful I am that we got through your section of the "How's it goings" without any mention, not a single mention, of Taylor Swift.

J: Oh that reminds me, though, that the weather is beautiful, likely because Taylor Swift's 1989 concert tour is coming to its American end very soon.

H: (Laughs) I'm doing good. I just had a Subway egg white flatbread. The onions were way too hot and so now I feel like my entire body smells like a giant onion. But other than that, the people at the Subway in Missoula, Montana are lovely and I like them and they're always very friendly. Several of them appear to know who I am. Recently I went in there and they were like "So what are you doing this weekend?" and I was like "Going to Seattle" and they were like "Oh yeah, for the Nightvale tour thing" and I was like "Right. Yes. For that... person who knows about my life."

J: Well, if they know who you are then there's a fair chance that they are listening and if they are, you over-onioned Hank's flatbread. Under-onion next time.

H: Oh, they didn't over-onion. It was clearly the onion's fault, there were not a ton of onions. It was just, you know, you never know what density of onion flavor is going to be in the onion.

J: That's so true. Another thing that happened this week Hank, is that Halloween which was lovely. It was just- It was just great. Alice dressed up as a doctor or as she says goctor. Um, and when I asked what kind of goctor, she would say "a baby goctor".

H: That's good.

J: And Henry dressed up as Clone Commander Gree from the Star Wars Universe. Liverpool beat Chelsea, which is about the best result that you can hope for in life and Zulaiha, our office manager here in the Indianapolis office watched Star Wars for the first time, the entire sexology. Which she had never seen and I got to watch the first two Star Wars movies with her after seeing her Chelsea get defeated by Liverpool. So it was very enjoyable, it was a good weekend.

H: Good, good. I went to see the Rocky Horror Picture Show and it was not actually the Rocky Horror Picture Show, the Rocky Horror Show, the stage version, which they do in Missoula starring Reid Reimers who is one of the hosts of SciShow Space if you've ever seen him. He's Dr. Frankenfurter. That guy is like 6'6'' before he puts on his six inch heels. He does indeed look like a space alien on the stage with all of the normal people. It's amazing.

J: Hank, would you like a short poem for today?

H: Oh thanks, yeah, give me a short poem John.

J: I've been holding on to this one, Hank. It's a single line of perfect iambic pentameter, the last will and testament of John Keats, the great British Romantic poet.

"My chest of books divide among my friends."

H: Are we done? Was that that?

J: That's the poem. That is his entire last will and testament. "My chest of books divide among my friends."

H: Yeah. Well, at least we got to the death quick.

J: Yes, he knew he was dying when he wrote that. Another great line of iambic pentameter that Keats wrote in his diaries, he'd been taking care of his brother who had tuberculosis and Keats began coughing and he coughed up some blood and near the drop of blood in his diary he wrote, "This drop of blood, it spells my death."

H: Wow. 

J: I guess that's actually a line of iambic quadrameter, but you know.

H: (laughs) Oh, man.

J: Still pretty dark.

H: Yeah, I'm glad that we don't have so much tuberculosis in the world but you know, much at all here in America. That's actually, I guess there is--

J: But we still have way too much tuberculosis. It's ridiculous how much tuberculosis we have.

H: True. But now we have the tuberculosis that is very difficult to treat as well.

J: Yeah, there's multi-drug resistant tuberculosis but also just the treatment regiments-- When I was in Ethiopia, I spent a lot of time or at least, you know, few hours not a lot of time, with some tuberculosis patients who, you know have to come into these primary health care centers pretty much every week to get the right medication and to get their lobes checked to find out how much tuberculosis they have and everything. What was really interesting to me was that before those primary health care centers they just... there was no way to get the medication that you needed, which is part of the reason that we have so much drug-resistant tuberculosis because we had very poorly controlled ways of dispensing antibiotics and often the wrong ones would get dispensed because it would be, you know, an unlicensed or untrained person or a family member trying to buy medicine for someone. And it was really interesting and like an illustration of how badly we need this relatively inexpensive but sort of difficult to maintain, difficult to invest in primary healthcare systems in the developing world. Like once we have those places, once you build that infrastructure, it completely transforms those communities.

What were we talking about? What is this podcast devoted to? Is it about John Keats, death, and global health? Or is it about answering viewers' questions?

 Question 1 (06:38)

H: (laughs) Alright let's do one. This question is from Clara who says, "Dear Hank and John, I really enjoy listening to your podcast while cooking. Would you mind screaming 'OH MY GOD IT'S BURNING!' every now and then? That would be incredibly helpful." Apparently Clara is having a hard time preventing herself from being distracted by our excellent death-based humor and is burning her food. So let's just, let's remember to yell at Clara every once in a while during this podcast.


H: I think probably she's good right now... but maybe not!

J: Well she's got that. She can just make it so that her timer, instead of just making a beeping sound, makes that sound. And I think that that would persuade almost anyone to take their pizza out of the oven.

H: You know, I think I might do that. That might be my new timer. How do you do that on an iPhone? Somebody tell me how to do that. @hankgreen on Twitter. And hankgre on Snapchat.

J: Oh God, I knew we were not going to get through this podcast without (gibberish) you saying again your (gibberish) Snapchat username. Sorry I get all berfuddled when we talk about Snapchat.

 Question 2 (07:42)

J: Let's answer a different question.

H: Okay.

J: "Dear Jenny--" nope. "Dear John and Hank--"

H: (laughs)

J: The question is from Jenny. "Dear John and Hank, my husband is incredibly creative and talented in using words. His writing has dramatically dropped since we have been married for two years and it worries me. How do I encourage a writer to write without being pushy? If you've had a similar experience, what has been most helpful to you from your spouses?"

That is from Jenny. Dear Jenny, here is my response. Kurt Vonnegut's sister once... Kurt Vonnegut's sister was a great sculptor, but she chose not to make art for most of her life and most of her career, and Vonnegut would always bother her about it and say "why don't you make art, why aren't you sculpting?" and she said, "Just because you're good at something doesn't mean that you have to do it." And I guess the first thing that I would say is that people who are talented at something are under no responsibility, in my opinion anyway, to do it. You know, if it brings you joy and if it um... then by all means do it. And I don't think that you should use that as an excuse not to do things, but I also don't think that you're under an obligation to do something just because you're good at it.

My wife is an incredibly talented draftsperson. Hank you know this, like she... her work with graphite and pencil is just astonishingly beautiful and has been since college. But she doesn't really like to make art, like she doesn't want to be an artist. That's not what she wants to do with her life, at least right now, and so she doesn't. And I used to feel the way that Jenny does, I used to feel like maybe if I pushed Sarah, maybe if I got her art supplies, maybe if I did this or I did that, but you know it's not my life and Sarah's dreams are not my dreams for her.

Now that said, if your husband wants to write and just is finding it difficult, I guess the thing that I would say that's most helpful to me is when my partner helps me to make time to write. You know, puts it on the calendar with me and honors that time, and even honors it when I don't succeed at writing. Like even then is like... well okay we'll just keep trying.

H: Excellent, um.. OH MY GOD IT'S BURNING! I just watched a short documentary called "Wonderland" about an ultra-marathoner, and I felt myself wondering through the entire thing... and to me, the point of the documentary was explaining to me why on Earth someone would do something like this. So this guy was.. he was trying to break a world record for the fastest run around Mt. Rainier, and it's about a 20 hour run. And that's just a crazy thing to me, to run for 20 hours. I.. just... what... why? And it makes me think of why we find the things valuable that we find valuable. You know, like there's no objective reason why running around Mt. Rainier faster than another person is valuable, except that it is a remarkable feat, and also there is a community of people that support each other in doing that thing. Do you find it, as a writer John, important to be a part of a community of other artists?

J: In a roundabout way. I also just watched that documentary Hank at your recommendation, and I also found it fascinating. Immediately after watching it, I went and ran for 7 miles until I vomited.

H: (cackles) Really?

J: So that's what I took away from it.

H: I didn't do that. I had a flatbread from Subway.

J: (laughs) I though it was a really good documentary. It was made by Ethan Newberry, longtime YouTuber, and who's just doing incredible work under the moniker The Ginger Runner. You know, I do think that community is important. I do think it's helpful to feel like you're writing with people and for people.

J: But yeah I mean I guess... I'm not one of these people who believes that much of anything has inherent value. You know like I think that we sort of give things value. We make choices about how to construct meaning in life and you know, we give meaning to stories, and I do think there's maybe some objective meaning in stories, but a lot of it, you know, isn't there. A lot of it is given to stories by the people that care about them.

The same is true of running, the same is true of soccer, and the same is true of almost-- of YouTube-- of almost anything that we love and care about. Like there are few objective truths, maybe there are few objective goods that suffering is bad, that parents shouldn't have to bury their children, that education is good. You know, there are a few, but not a lot, and you know, in the course of a human life, you're gonna do a lot of things that are not inherently meaningful but are given meaning by the people around you or by the community around you. So I guess I would say, you know, if your spouse really wants to write Jenny, then um, try to be part of that community.

H: Mhm yeah I know I would never have made the things that we have made over the past 8 years on the Vlogbrothers channel or SciShow and CrashCourse if it weren't for there being an audience there to make things for, and also a broader community of YouTubers who are doing different and interesting things that.. and like pushing each other to make cool stuff. And I'm really happy to have gotten lucky to be a part of that.

 Question 3 (13:45)

J: Hank, we have another question. This one is from Emma who writes, "Dear John and Hank, I'm getting to the age where I need to start facing interviews for various things, mainly university and jobs. Do you have any tips on how to present yourself to fit what the interviewer's looking for, but at the same time express who you are, even though you find it difficult to have the confidence to do so upon meeting new people? Also, how important do you think first impressions are in an interview and in life generally? Also, as an AFC Wimbledon player for the women's side of the club-"

WHAT! Emma! You really buried the lead here! "Thank you so much for the support. We kicked off our season last Sunday, and I was wondering how good a football player you guys are."

H: Oh gosh.

J: And then she explains "the proper English football played with feet and a ball as the name suggests." That's from Emma from London in the United Kingdom.

H: Look at that!

J: First off, thank you for listening to our podcast, and for your hard work on behalf of the AFC Wimbledon girls' and ladies' teams. They are amazing! Did you know, Hank, that Manchester United does not even field a women's team? Manchester United, one of the biggest clubs in the world; have I mentioned this to you before?

H: It's possible!

J: It's terrible. AFC Wimbledon, however, has a really strong football program, and I'm so glad that they have Emma... um I don't know what position she plays, but either stoutly defending or scoring lots of goals. As for interview, I mean, Hank, wouldn't you just walk into the interview and say, "My name is Emma, I play for AFC Wimbledon", and sort of wait to be accepted?

H: Yeah! I mean, that's definitely not nothing. I hire people a lot, so I have a number of actual thoughts on this. But first I want to say that I am awful, AWFUL, at soccer. I did play as a child. My only experience as an adult playing soccer is there was a league in my, in my uh, graduate program, and I walked on as support. I was just watching as a fan and somebody was like, "you should go out and play a bit", and in my career as an adult soccer player, the only thing I accomplished was getting winded, almost scoring an own goal, and kicking my own goalie. 

J: Beautiful.

H: So I was not... it was actually quite petrifying. It was one of the most embarrassing things that has happened to me in the last ten years of life.

J: I will briefly comment on my own footballing skills. I am terrible. Um... I played in an over-30 indoor league for a team called the Dead Rabbits. Um, I fouled a lot. That's always been my main strategy. But I was reasonably good in middle school, not like good enough to start for my middle school school's soccer team, but good enough to come off the bench occasionally and have the coach point at me after the game and say, "Green's out there trying, even though he sucks. Why aren't the rest of you trying?"

H: That's right! You were trying, even though you suck.

J: What are your thoughts on interviews?

H: I think the most important skill in life is empathy, and I think you walk into an interview, if you walk into an interview thinking "What does this person need, and how can I help them accomplish it?" That, that's really... that's what the actual thing going on is. Hiring someone for a job means "I need help", and you can provide that help. And figuring out like what are the, like if it's something as simple as a fast food position, like what that person is looking for is someone who's dependable, someone who will stick around, someone who will come in on time, someone who will learn fast and be enthusiastic about it. Um, and that's a lot of jobs.

But if it's something that requires, something that has a deeper skill set, then, uh, what you're looking for is "how can I help this person solve the problems they need to solve?" And that's what jobs are. That's what every single job is. It's solving problems, for customers, and for your boss. That's what it is, all the way up the chain. Until you don't have a boss anymore, and then you're solving problems for your customers and for your employees.  And that's...

yea so... obviously it's a very broad thing because I don't know what kind of jobs you're looking for, but that's really what it is. It's going in understanding that this isn't a person who's going to give you something, it's a transaction that's being made and they want someone to help them. And if you're thinking about it that way, when I find people in interviews thinking about it that way I'm much more likely to be like, you know, at the very least, they're empathetic and they get that I, just like them, need to solve a problem.

J: Yeah I think that's brilliant advice. I think that in the end, you know, it's important to remember that the person who's interviewing you probably wants to hire you, or probably wants to let you into college, you know and hopefully that can ease some of the pressure. It's a high-pressure situation though and there's no getting around that, but yeah, you're trying to add value to someone else's organization or to their lives or whatever. Like looking back at my college interview, I should've been like... I should've walked into that interview and just listened and talked about my interests and assumed that in that process I was going to be able to add value to the colleges that were gonna be right for me. But that's very hard to do practically but I think Hank's advice is solid.

H: Yeah I have a lot less experience as a person who lets people into universities than I do as a person who lets people into jobs. So I don't really know-- I'm not entirely sure what-- it's weird to interview to give someone money. Which is the process of interviewing and applying to a college. It's always seemed quite strange to me that colleges are institutions that you give a great deal of money to, but they would first like you to feel honored for the privilege to give them money.

 Question 4 (20:10)

H: Alright John, let's move on to a question from Lou, but first I have to say OH MY GOD IT'S BURNING! We can't forget John.

J: Oh sorry, I'm sorry, it's probably burned in the interim.

H: This quest- So Lou says, "Dear Hank and John, there must be a better way to express empathy than saying 'I'm sorry.' Saying 'I'm sorry' places blame on the person expressing empathy and normally causes the person receiving empathy to reply with something along the lines of, 'It's not your fault' or even worse, misplacing negative feelings toward someone who was genuinely trying to voice compassion to their situation. I've taken to saying 'Yo bro, I know that feel' but in some situations it seems improper. What do you guys think? Is there better vocabulary that can be used to express empathy?"

Good question.

J: I do think that "Yo bro, I know that feel" is often improper.

H: Yes.

J: I think that is correct. Yeah, so when I was a student chaplain at a children's hospital, I learned about this thing called empathic listening. First off, I don't think there's anything wrong with saying "I'm sorry." I think that often that is what you feel is sorry, and I don't think that it... at least when I've been in pain sometimes hearing that I'm sor-- hearing that someone is sorry for my pain is helpful.

But empathic listening is basically a version of "Yo bro, I know that feel" that doesn't claim real knowledge of the feeling. Because like in fact you may not know that feel, you know what I mean? Like you might be able to relate to it or identify with it, but you don't want to claim someone else's pain as your own or claim that you fully understand it. So you know like an example of empathic listening might be that someone tells you that they're feeling very sad and you say "I'm hearing that you're feeling very sad right now" or even like getting them to that place that you imagine that they are at or like acknowledging it, so saying that "You must be feeling very sad right now" "You must be feeling very guilty right now" or whatever.

It sounds like the stupidest thing in the world. Someone says, "I'm sad" you say, "I'm hearing that you're feeling sad." Obviously in a perfect world, you want to phrase it a little more subtly than that so that it doesn't feel awkward in conversation, but it is, at least in my experience, astonishingly effective. Just to acknowledge what someone else is feeling, and to acknowledge that you hear what they're feeling is really powerful.

H: That's a great answer! I know nothing about that. It's so, it's so... uh... fun to realize how dumb you are sometimes, and be like "Oh wow yeah, I don't think about that at all." So tell me, I honestly, I just want you to give a whole podcast sermon on empathic listening John, because I want to be better at that.

J: Yeah well just imagine how people are feeling or listen to how people are feeling and then say it out loud.

H: And don't do the thing that I do, which is "Well here's how you can fix your problem!"

J: No do not go to problem fixing because a) it does not work, b) when it is time for problem fixing, people will start to bring up solutions instead of bringing up problems. So I don't, and also like in most cases of like, you know, in most cases of pain there is no easy solution. The job is not to find a solution, the job is to find less aloneness within it.

H: Right, yeah it just always seems like that's my default position is to be like, there's a problem, how do I solve it?

J: Yeah I know, well we all wanna like... yeah we all wanna make suffering go away and I think that's why often we minimize other people's pain or we... yeah. I mean that's totally human, but I think empathic listening is the way.

 Question 5 (23:40)

H: Alright we've got another question here. It's from Ryan who asks, "Dear Hank and John, I noticed that each individual tree changes color in its own time and at its own pace. It's not uncommon to see a tree whose leaves have entirely turned next to one whose leaves have barely begun to change. Why is that?"

This person is referring to of course, fall. A thing that happens in certain places, but not in others. And deciduous trees who remove a lot of the nutrients from their leaves when it is time for winter and then shed those leaves so that they can, so that they don't have to protect those leaves through the harsh winter season, and can remove and store some of the nutrients that were in them. And this is a fascinating thing! And it turns out it's super weird and fun and complicated! And it has to do with external factors, like micro-climates that you might not even know are happening, where like--

There's a tree on my street actually, that there's a section of the tree that is near the streetlight, like there's a streetlight right next to it, and those leaves change less quickly than the leaves all around because the streetlight produces some heat, which the leaves then interpret as not needing to get rid of their, you know they can still continue to photosynthesize for longer, which is actually true and it works effectively for that tree, which is amazing that something that evolved so long ago can handle such a new addition to its lifestyle as a streetlight. And, but there's also-


H: (laughs) Thank you, John. It's also the fact that individual trees have different... they store different amounts of nutrients, they can take more or less risk because they know that they have, you know, that they either need more photosynthesizing time or they don't.

It's pretty amazing that trees are able to make these sort of complicated decisions. Of course, they don't make them through what we would consider normal decision-making pathways but through direct biochemical pathways, but those biochemical pathways are very complicated and confusing and we do not understand them completely. It is neat.

And I've also seen pictures of trees that are in a row and they're leaning away from a building, and the ones closest stay greenest longest because the building itself is radiating heat, either because the heater is on and it is inefficient or because the sun is hitting the side of the building and it radiates back out during the night because it's some kind of large thermal mass. I just think that it's cool. I love to observe... fall, especially because I grew up in Florida where it didn't exist, and now I'm in a place where fall does happen and is happening right outside my window, and is a lovely thing.

J: Yeah, I am also a big fan of fall, though I did not know any of that before you told me, but it's interesting. I like obsessively trying to identify whether or not this is peak fall.

H: Oh yeah.

J: So I will constantly say to my wife or my children, "If you look outside right now, I think this might be peak fall," and then the next day I'll be like, "Nope this is peak fall," but then it always ends without me properly acknowledging peak fall. I look out one day and peak fall has passed, as indeed it has here in Indianapolis.

H: It has here as well in Missoula, Montana.

 Commercial Break (27:10)

And I would like to tell you John that this podcast is in fact brought to you by peak fall. Peak fall, happening somewhere in the world right this moment, but not in either Indianapolis or Missoula.

J: And of course this podcast is also brought to you by OH MY GOD IT'S ON FIRE!!

H: (laughs) This podcast is brought to you by running 7 miles and then vomiting. Running 7 miles and then vomiting, the only proper course of action after watching an Ultra-marathon documentary.

J: And this podcast is brought to you by the AFC Wimbledon Women's and Girls' teams. AFC Wimbledon Women's and Girls' teams, astonishingly spending more money on women's football than Manchester United.

 Question 6 (27:52)

H: Alright John, you got another question for us?

J: Yeah I do. This is of vital importance to me actually. It's one of those questions that seems small, but the more you think about it the bigger it gets. It's from Aaron. Aaron writes "Dear John and Hank, As discovered in the course of recent events I find too shameful to recount, it has become apparent that I've passed the prime of my Tetris playing career, and indeed have found myself at the mercy of a sharp, unforgiving decline in my skill at the timeless game. How can I come to terms with my newfound deficit of ability, and reconcile my identity as a nerdfighter in the face of this horrible crisis?"

So, Aaron, I don't know if you, like me, are 38 years old and in the midst of a midlife crisis, or if you're a young person who just temporarily feels that your Tetris playing is not as good as it used to be, but there will come a day, and I don't know whether it's actually come, again, you might just be experiencing a kind of plateau in what will eventually be a massive Tetris rollercoaster that only goes up. But at some point the rollercoaster will in fact go down and you will get worse at Tetris. It's happened in my own life and in general, this declining ability thing - you know, losing abilities and knowing that they're lost forever - is very troubling to a lot of people. I think it's difficult to reconcile yourself to, knowing that your health will never be as good as it once was, knowing that your Tetris playing will never be as good as it once was. So I don't really have any advice for you, but I do have quite a bit of empathy.

H: I mean there's also the fact that- I tend to lose abilities that I no longer find as valuable. And there's a piece of me that wants to deny that, that is ashamed of it, and that wants to honor my former self by holding onto those abilities and by mourning their loss. But when I look at how I'm behaving, I am behaving in a way that says "Here are the things that are important to me and this thing isn't in the top ten anymore and so I am not spending as much time on it." And so it may be that other things have become valuable to you and you should say to your former self, "Former self, you really liked Tetris. And I don't as much. And that's okay. And we can still be friends."

J: Yeah. Like, "You were really, really good at Tetris, 16-year-old me, but you know what I'm good at? A bunch of things. Because I don't spend all my time playing Tetris."

H: "Yes, and I get to have experiences you never dreamed of."

J: No, he probably dreamed of them.

 Question 7 (30:40)

J: Hank, we only have time for one more question before we get to the news from Mars and AFC Wimbledon.

H: Oh! Okay, this one's from Lauren who says "Dear Hank and John, I'm getting a dog in a few weeks and I was wondering if you had any dubious advice about how to raise one. It seems this is the best place to find such advice. Thank you for your help."

J: First off Lauren, way to go coming to your favorite advice podcast for advice on raising a dog rather than any of the resources that are available to you on the internet. Don't even look at that stuff, we've got all the answers right here at Dear Hank and John.

H: Yeah. Number one thing: all they want is for you to kiss them right on the lips and put their tongue in your mouth. You might want to just put your whole mouth over their nose and mouth, or ears. Tickle, they like to be tickled, that's a big dog thing. And they're going to poop a lot! So just get used to that idea. 

J: Yeah, I mean the first thing that I would say is reconcile yourself to a new reality. Currently, Lauren, you live presumably in a place where there's very little indoor out-of-toilet pooping. Almost all of the poop that's created in your house, I suspect, goes directly into the toilet and then it just goes into the sewer system, and if you live in Indianapolis, it then finds its way to the White River. But that's going to change. Suddenly you're going to be living in a house where there's a lot of poop. And you actually have to watch your step lest you make the situation worse by stepping in the poop and rubbing it into the carpet. So watch where you step, prepare yourself for a new world that involves quite a bit more indoor poop than you're used to, and love the dog. Love your dog, even when it's difficult, because they will love you back. Not in the way that you love them, and maybe not in the way that you want to be loved, but in the way that suits them.

H: So yes, ignore all other sources. And there are so many to ignore, of dog-related advice. Actually, you know what, here's a legitimate piece of advice that has helped me a great deal in my relationship with my dog. When I first got Lemon, I went to a training class, and the training class said to me, "Don't imagine that your dog thinks like a human. It doesn't. Imagine a dog's memory and thought process as a series of photographs. And they have certain photographs that they want to have happen more, and certain photographs that they want to have happen less. And you want to build those stacks of photographs and enrich them with details so that your dog will know which photographs are good and which photographs are bad. And-"

J: Lauren, I think we both have no idea what Hank is talking about, and I think you should probably seek out the advice of experts.

H: -and you take- So the photographs of your dog's good stuff is like treats, and love, and toys, and those things happen when good- and the dog- and you can like have the photograph of those things also include things like not pooping in the house, and sitting, and being a good boy or girl. And then you have your bad photographs of not love and angry human be associated with the moment of infraction, when the pooping and peeing happens inside of the home. Or the barking, or the bad thing that they are doing.

J: This might be the most dubious advice in the whole history of our podcast. I'm sure that that made sense to you-

H: The dog's mind is just a series of photographs-

J: Hank I am completely sure-


J: I am sure that that made sense to you, and when it was explained to you, but something has gotten lost in translation. Seek the advice of an expert, Lauren. This podcast is no place to come for dog advice.

H: Just crack it open and it's a bunch of pictures in there!

 News from Mars (34:52)

J: Hank, what is the news from Mars?

H: Uh, in the news from Mars, there is a new kind of engine that could take us to Mars better and faster. So the hard part of getting to Mars is that you have to push the stuff that you want to get to Mars there with fuel. And in order to make thrust in space you have to throw stuff out the back of your craft. And you have to bring along stuff to throw out the back. And mostly how we do this is with chemical propulsion, where we burn things. And when you burn things they become much bigger very fast and then you use that to eject it out the back of a rocket and that's how you blow/blast stuff into space and around in space.

But you can also use what's called an ion engine, which are very cool. And the way this works is by taking some kind of material, atoms, and you use an electric current to create a magnetic field and that magnetic field then blasts that material (usually it's ionized material) out the back of the engine. And the advantage of this is you can blast that (atoms) stuff out the back much faster than you could blast stuff out the back with a chemical rocket because it's going faster when it leaves, it actually creates more thrust on the other end so you have to carry less stuff to move things around more. I hope that made some kind of sense.

The problem with ion engines is that they wear out very fast because you're bombarding lots of material with ultra high energy radiation of some kind and things break down really fast. They will not last long enough to send- to power a spaceship all the way to Mars. A new ion engine has been developed that gets around this problem by cleverly bending magnetic fields and could potentially make it much easier to go to Mars with much less money.

J: Well, good luck with that.

 News from AFC Wimbledon (36:56)

J: AFC Wimbledon have won three games in a row, Hank!


J: That's right! Three straight victories, and in those games Lyle Taylor, who you'll remember as the Montserratian international who plays international football-

H: Indeed!

J: -for the beautiful island of Montserrat in the Caribbean. Lyle Taylor has scored four goals in those three games and he scored against Hartlepool. We beat Hartlepool, who I believe are known as the Monkeyhangers?

H: Okay?

J: I don't know if that's an offensive name er... but no they appear to embrace it. Yes, Monkeyhanger is a term by which Hartlepudleans are often known. According to local folklore, the term originates from an incident in which a monkey was hanged in Hartlepool, England. That's hilarious. During the Napoleonic Wars, a French ship of the type chasse marée was wrecked off the coast of Hartlepool. The only survivor was a monkey, allegedly wearing a French uniform to provide amusement for the crew. On finding the monkey, some locals decided to hold an impromptu trial on the beach; since the monkey was unable to answer their questions and because they had seen neither a monkey nor a Frenchman before, they concluded that the monkey was in fact a French spy. Being found guilty, the animal was duly sentenced to death and hanged on the beach.

H: Well, that's some history that you really want to embrace, isn't it?

J: Exactly! I'll tell you what, if that was part of my town's history, I would be sure to be known as the Hartlepool Monkey Hangers. So there you go! They hung a monkey because they thought it was a French spy. And now they're known as the Hartlepool Monkey Hangers.

Anyway, AFC Wimbledon, not the Monkey Hangers, won two-nil, and now have won three games in a row, Hank, suddenly finding ourselves pretty close to the top of where we've ever been in the history of this club. Pretty darn close to the best league position AFC Wimbledon has ever been in in its 12-year history, or I guess 14-year history now. 25 points, from 16 games. We're in 10th place, but we are only 3 points from third!

We play Portsmouth this week, which is a huge club that brings like 17,000 people to each of their games, but has fallen down the leagues because they went bankrupt and then had to buy themselves. They're a fan-owned club, like AFC Wimbledon. We play Portsmouth this week. If we win that game, we will be equal on points with the third place team in the league. Some pretty exciting stuff going on, now just more than a quarter of the way through the AFC Wimbledon season.

H: Oh, so there's still lots of time to go.

J: Oh, there is a lot of football left to play, Hank.

H: Okay. Well there's a lot of Mars left to play as well. Do you think that the guy, this Monserrati guy, is the secret to your success?

J: Lyle Taylor?

H: Yeah.

J: I mean, I definitely think he's scoring a lot of goals. And the goal, I have to say, you can look it up on YouTube if you search "AFC Wimbledon Hartlepool highlights", the goal that he scored to make it two-nil... Callum Kennedy, long-time AFC Wimbledon Wimbly Wombly player in my FIFA series, Callum Kennedy scored the first goal off a very long free kick. But the second goal that Lyle Taylor scored was just an absolute beauty. Terrible angle, went in off the inside of the post, it was truly epic. So I think that he's the real deal and that's the kind of player that if we can hang onto, to a player like that through the end of the season we've already got a pretty strong offense and the midfield's playing a lot better. So I think that we could be, uh, yeah, I mean who knows. Who knows. It's too soon to dream. That's all I'll say. But I'd love to be able to dream. So on my dreaming scale, Hank, I'm currently dreaming about dreaming about dreaming about the possibility of dreaming.

H: Well, it was a very pretty goal, I have to say. Though I'm a little afraid that one of his teammates was off sides just before it was scored. I'm not entirely sure how the rules of this game work, but it does not look like a technical legal goal to me.

J: Oh, it was completely legal. Just- one- a player can be off sides, they just can't play the ball or interfere with play.

H: Okay! Well then I think that it was fine.

J: Good. I'm glad that you enjoyed that, Hank. I'm glad that you got to see it. This is, uh... anyway, Lyle Taylor is- Oh, oh, that reminds me that I have to make a- before we leave, I have to make a correction. As several viewers pointed out, I said that Lyle Taylor, our Montserratian international used to play for Patrick Thistle in Scotland... or somewhere. Anyway that is incorrect. He used to play for Partick Thistle. 

J: And while reading, I transposed the r and the t because, you know, Patrick is a word that I know, and Partick is not! So there you go.

H: Oh man.

J: Partick Thistle. Anyway, I don't believe that they're the Monkey Hangers.

H: I am very confused by this free kick.

J: Oh, that Callum Kennedy scored on?

H: No, that no one scored on. It's pretty- I think it went off the post, and then there was an amazing save. But it didn't help them, John. It didn't help them.

J: Oh, yeah, they had a penalty kick. Lyle Taylor had a penalty kick and he kicked it off the post and then there was a rebound where there was a great save by the Hartlepool goalkeeper, or else it would have been three-nil! So it's a great victory.

H: Well now that I know that there's like, there's highlights for every game, this is much more exciting for me. 

J: Yeah!

H: Why didn't you tell me about this before? It's like watching a whole soccer game in two minutes!

J: (laughs) I suppose it is.

H: It's very, it was very exciting. That was a very exciting two minutes for me. The top- the number one comment on this video is "Lyle Taylor is the future." The number two comment is "Go Dons! Here because of John Green."

J: That's good to hear! I believe that Lyle Taylor is the future. He's just 25, and I think he's the future, not just for AFC Wimbledon, but also for Montserrat in their long-shot effort to make the 2018 World Cup.

H: Well, I have no idea how that works.

 Conclusion (43:44)

H: What did we learn today, John?

J: Well, we learned that John Keats was a bit of a dark soul before he died at the age of 26.

H: Yes, and his books are available to you after his death, if you are a friend.

J: (laughs) We also learned, of course, that OH MY GOD, IT'S BURNING!

H: I hope not! I hope Clara got through this entire episode without burning anything. Let's cross our fingers that the pizza has come out just fine, and that she's enjoying it and not burning the roof of her mouth right now.

J: Did we learn anything else, or is that all?

H: We learned about empathic listening, which is a life skill that I would like to develop with the help of my brother, John.

J: And we learned about trees, and why they turn leaves, which I'd never really known about until I had the help of my brother, Hank. 

H: And we learned that the inside of a dog's brain is just a bunch of pictures!

J: Oh boy. Thanks for listening to our podcast Dear John and Hank, or possibly Dear Hank and John. If you want to send us questions, please do so. The email address is You can also find us on the Twitter. You can use the hashtag #dearhankandjohn. I'm @johngreen on Twitter, Hank is @hankgreen. He wants you to know that he is also hankgre on Snapchat.

H: This podcast is edited by Nicholas Jenkins. The theme music is by Gunnarolla. And as they say in our hometown...