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How do I choose an ethical engagement ring? There's a wasp trapped in my dorm room! How do I know which arm rest is mine at the movie theater? And a question about grammar...from our father.

Also, we have a patreon now:

 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 comedy podcast where me and my brother, John, answer your questions, give you dubious advice, and bring you all the week's news from both Mars and AFC Wimbledon. John, how're you doing?

J: I'm doing well. It's cold here, so I thought I would read a poem about spring when it comes time for me to read my poem, but I don't want to talk too much today. How are you doing?

H: I'm good. I'm afraid if you don't want to talk too much because that means I'll have to talk more which is scary for me and I don't really know how to do it. I know how to talk the amount that I currently talk and not more than that. I feel like not talking is easier than talking more, I could be wrong. Other than that, I'm doing well. My life is good. I've got friends staying in my house and I just got back from the East Coast which was a very weird and fun trip.

J: Well, Hank, I mentioned how much we talk because we've just received an email from Peter Dressel who, with his sister Maggie, have put together a public report, a scientific article on the question of who talks more in episodes of Dear Hank and John. I'll just read you the abstract, it contains most of the relevant information.

"Since Hank and John have had several arguments about who talks more in the podcast, we figured we would relisten to the episodes and keep track. The results show that John indisputably talks more."

H: Yeah, uhhuh.

J: I'm a little surprised. I always thought that I was the, you know, the quiet, but surprisingly intelligent one. It turns out that I'm the talkative stupid one.

H: What were the numbers? How does it break down?

J: Basically for every one minute that I am talking, you talk for 47 seconds. I'm gonna put the whole thing online. You can look at the Twitter, Twitter John Green. I don't think that's actually... If you type in Twitter John Green into Google I bet it'll find me. And you can see the results for yourself. It's an extremely complicated and compelling piece of work that Peter and Maggie put together in their spare time, so thanks very much to these two students at the University of Iowa, both of whom are clearly geniuses.

H: Well that it -- seems like it's a fair amount of work to do and I appreciate them doing it so that I can feel validated and under-appreciated. I'm sure that everyone out there wishes they got just as much Hank as they got John if not a little more. 

J: Well Hank speaking of which, would you like a short poem for today?

H: Let's do that. I guess, you know, you're gonna talk more because you do the short poem. 

J: Oh yeah, no they accounted for that they said I still talk more even without the short poem.

H: Oh okay.

J: So don't you worry. I'm the talkative one. I'm gonna read you an E.E. Cummings poem that if I can find it in my E.E. Cummings poem book that I've had since high school and it's got -- it's essentially got all of the poems dog-eared because, you know, at different times in my life I've liked different poems, but this-- given the weather I thought this one would be perfect.

"O sweet spontaneous
earth how often have

fingers of
prurient philosophers pinched

, has the naughty thumb
of science prodded

beauty, how
often have religions taken
thee upon their scraggy knees
squeezing and

buffeting thee that thou mightest conceive

to the incomparable
couch of death thy

thou answer-est

them only with


The E.E. Cummings poem often known as "oh sweet spontaneous" as that is its first line, but yeah, sweet spontaneous... life... that only gives us spring. We want more, but spring is what we get in this world, Hank. Not however for several months if the weather outside in Indianapolis is any indication.

H: I would imagine not, also if just the way that the months work is any indication. I mean it's gonna be a while. I take a little bit of issue with the fact that science has prodded the earth with its thumb and E.E. Cummings thinks that we have only found spring when in fact, we have found a great deal many useful things.

J: Oh you've gotta give E.E. Cummings a little bit of poetic license, Hank, that's all I can say.

H: Well what is-- yeah what does he mean?

J: I think he means that, you know, scientists prod Earth and, you know, they may discover many things but the beau... they don't the beau... I don't know. I don't know. I don't know that I agree with that part of the poem, actually. Can we move on to questions from our listeners?

H: Maybe the true gift that the earth gives-- we're just finding things out about the earth-- but the thing that it will give us is the spring.

J: Whether we like it or not, spring is coming. But first! Winter is coming.

H: That's the sequel to The Song of Ice and Fire-- Spring is Coming.

J: Yes, the last book will be called, "Spring is Coming!" --exclamation point, and it will just be full of happiness and joy, and the mother of dragons will live happily with King Joffrey and everything will work out wonderfully.

H: (laughs) Oh gosh, they should just be kids and make out... in cars.

J: Like in my books. No we tried to make those movies, they aren't quite as popular. Let's answer some questions from listeners.

 Question 1 (5:21)

H: Alright this one is from Anonymous who has a question about making out and asks, "Dear Hank and John, is it always a bad idea to make out with one's roommate--"

J: No.

H: "--The roommate in question asked me out a few years before we were sharing a flat and I turned him down. I don't know if it's availability, getting to know him better, or just knowing that some attraction was there at some point on his part, but now I feel attracted to him and I'd love some of your dubious advice."

J: I mean, I believe in making out with people who want to make out with you and who you want to make out with.

H: Yes.

J: I have a pretty straightforward set of beliefs around this called "enthusiastic consent."

H: Yes, I think also that it is not a bad idea to make out with one of your roommates if they are into that and you are. In fact, it sounds exciting and fun. And I see that there could potentially be down the road problems with this, you know, and that is--

J: Oh yeah, there will almost certainly--

H: Yes, and that is--

J: Sorry, I just cut you off.  I'm sorry.  I'm the brother who talks more.

H: Yes, you are, and I will say that that is also true of everything you ever do in life.

J: Yeah, there are always gonna be problems down the road.  That's a problem for future you.  I don't think you're setting future you up for a necessary definitive disaster just by making out with your roommate, I mean, you might be increasing the chances that future you is gonna have a problem, but if you try to minimize the chances that future you will ever experience any kind of misery, it's gonna be very difficult for current you to have any joy.  

H: Yes.  Yes, it will be very difficult for current you to do anything outside of the--just like a walled in cinder block four by four room.

J: Oh, that sounds very depressing.  Why does the room have to be so small?

H: It's meters.  4x4 meters, John.

J: Ohhh, okay, so that's lovely.

 Question Two (7:00)

J: Alright, let's move on, Hank.  This question is from Matt, who writes, "Dear John and Hank, I'm going to propose to my girlfriend in the coming months, and would like to buy her an engagement ring.  The problem is that buying a customary diamond ring isn't something I'm willing to do unless I'm confident the store is conflict free.  Is that even possible?  I know the Kimberly Process is supposed to combat this, but is it really working?"  

H: I did not do any research on this, John, so I have no idea, but I'll say what I did for Katherine, which was give her--I gave her an old ring that had been owned by a dead relative, and that was like, well, even if this was a conflict diamond when it was mined 80 years ago, it is now, what, just going to get thrown away, like, I'm not sure what else to do with it.

J: Right, I am a big believer in recycling rings, whether it's an estate piece that you get from somebody else or from a jeweler, or it's something from someone in your family. I am also a big believer, and I know that this is not particularly old fashioned of me, but I'm a big believer in having like, open and honest conversations in the run up to an engagement about engagement, like, I know that there's something wonderful about being surprised and everything, but I feel like it puts a lot of pressure on these old fashioned gender roles to have, you know, one person spend like, many months discerning whether or not they want to marry the other person, and the other person have to answer a yes or no question in like five seconds.  

H: Mm-hmm.  Mm-hmm.  Agree.

J: So I would say maybe include your partner in this conversation about the engagement ring, that's maybe a way to also include your partner in this conversation about discerning whether or not it is a good idea to spend the rest of your natural lives together.

H: Indeed, indeed.  And also, you know, that you share values, and maybe she doesn't even like diamonds.  This is a thing that happens, and maybe she wants the sapphire, which, you know, you also then have to figure out whether it's a conflict-free sapphire, but a lot of sapphires are mined in America, actually, right here in Montana, which is why I know a fair bit about sapphires.  I--yes.  John, that is a great point, and I think that the number one thing to know is that this doesn't have to be something that is a secret, and in fact, it was not really a secret in either John or I's case.  It was kind of a surprise when it actually happened, but, you know, I didn't feel comfortable springing that kind of thing on someone I love out of nowhere unless I knew for sure that she was gonna say yes, so we talked about it.  

J: But you can still have a little bit of a surprise, right?  I mean, you can still do some timing surprise, that's what we did.

H: Oh, sure!  Right.  Yeah.  Yeah.  

J: Our engagement was actually a complete disaster, but I think the real--the real surprise here, Hank, is that you are a sapphire miner, that is not something that I knew about you.

H: Well, I have mined sapphires, actually.

J: How long have you been mining sapphires?  Tell me more.  

H: I have done that thing where you go out to the place where they have gems in the ground and they give you a bucket of dirt and then you like, put it through the sluice and like, shake a box around until you see which rocks look particularly pleasant, and I found a garnet that way once, I didn't find a sapphire, but there are places in Montana where you can go and find sapphires and then if you find a good enough one, you can actually have it cut for more than the price of buying one at a store, and then you can have that one be the one that you mount in a ring, and that way, it's like you were indeed the miner of the thing, though, most of the hard work got done before you got there, of digging the dirt out of the hill, but it's very interesting to me that that is where gemstones come from, just dirt here in Montana. What...that's weird.

 Question Three (10:52)

J: How is it that y--I talk more than you?  Let's move on to another question.  This question is from CJ, who asks, "Dear John and Hank, After having gone to countless sporting events, movie shows, and other events as such, I still cannot figure one thing out.  Which armrest is mine?"  

H: Alright.

J: Well, this is a very, very important question.

H: It is!

J: And Hank happens to be one of the world's leading experts in armrest etiquette.

H: Okay.  If there are three seats, particularly if you are on a plane, if you are on one of the outside seats, you get one armrest, the armrest that is clearly yours that no one else can have access to.  The person in the middle gets both armrests to themselves.  This is the only equitable way to do it.  It is the only thing that makes sense, because the person in the middle has nowhere to go.  

J: That is correct.

H: They are clearly, clearly in the disadvantaged place and should be treated as such, unless there is some other extenuating circumstance happening and that infuriates me, when I have a person next to me who is clearly a, like, just a person, and is taking up my armrest when I'm in the middle and just--like--and like, is intentionally doing, I see them like, like, as if it is some kind of weird power play that they need to win this interaction and come out on top, and have both armrests to themselves when they already have the aisle seat.

J: There are two kinds of people in this world.

H: Yes.

J: There are people who honor the fact that when all things are equal, the person in the middle seat should have both armrests, access to both armrests, regardless of whether they are using them at any given time, they must have access to both armrests, and then there are monsters.  Those are the two kinds of people in the world.  

H: Now, at a--at a movie theater, unless you are on an aisle, it is gonna be a toss up.  It's basically like you get one, unless you're on the aisle, where you obviously get the aisle armrest, and not the one on the interior of the seat, it's just if you're in the middle, then you take whichever one is available to you.  If you are having that problem where two people have ended up, just due to stochasticity and you know, like, there's just going to be a person who maybe ends up with neither armrest and you don't know either person on either side well enough to ask them or like, nudge them out of the way, then you are just going to have a less enjoyable movie-going experience than you would have otherwise had, and you are going to have to live with that.

J: I don't agree.

H: No?

J: I don't agree at all.  I think there is a way for everyone to have one armrest.  

H: There is, but it requires communication, and that is--

J: No, it doesn't require communication.  It requires a basic understanding of the rules of etiquette where, when you are seated at a formal dinner, is your water versus the other person's water?  Your water--

H: My water is on, like, the right hand side.

J: --is on the right hand side.  Your water is on the right hand side, ergo, if you are on the aisle, the right hand side aisle where your right hand is on the aisle armrest, that is where you put your drink, and then everyone has their right handed armrest to put their arm on, and no one has their left handed armrest to put their arm on, except for the person who is on the other aisle, who is allowed to use both of their armrests.  

H: Okay.  I see--I see that this works.  The only way for this to actually function, though, is if people accept this as a rule of movie theaters, which I think is going to be a very difficult thing to get into the popular culture.  I think we have done a good job starting that.

J: Strongly disagree, Hank, our podcast has a massive reach among moviegoers.  It's already happening.

H: Alright.  It's done.  We did it.  

j: Use your right armrest, and put your drink in your right armrest drink holder and everything is gonna be fine.  And if somebody doesn't do that, just not rudely, not like, don't make a big deal of it like we do with the uh--the toilet paper over, the toilet paper under issue, not just--be like, if you don't mind, there is an established etiquette for these things, it was established by Hank and John Green on a podcast in 2015, if you could just use the right hand side, because that is the side you have access to, your right armrest?  I mean, obviously, if you have a broken arm or something, if there's, you know, disabilities involved, that changes everything, but all things being equal, right armrest is yours at the movie theater, left armrest is your next door neighbor's.

 Question Four (15:45)

H: I think it is now time for another question.  This one's from Vicki, who asks, "Dear Hank and John, Help!  There is a wasp trapped in my dorm room and I am allergic.  He's been here a while and we've bonded, so I've named him.  I have a sliding glass window, which I usually leave open to the screen to allow airflow, otherwise it gets too hot and stifled in the room.  It is very important to note that there are no holes in the screen.  I have now trapped Mr. Wasp between the screen and the glass window.  What do I do, because there is no way for him to get out?  Also, is there a way to stun a wasp without killing it and/or getting stung?  My--Mr. Wasp and I want the same thing--for him to not be in my room, so I don't feel comfortable with killing him on a moral level, because he probably wandered into my room by accident.  HELP!"  

J: Um, okay, so I'm gonna level with you here.  This is gonna be difficult, I hope that you're seated.  Presumably, a week and a half later, everything is just as it was, the wasp is still alive, still stuck between screen and window.  Um. You're going to have to kill the wasp.  

H: I completely disagree.  

J: Or you're gonna have to let the wasp die, which I suspect may be what has happened in the intervening 10 days, because we failed to get to your question in time.  Ultimately, it is not your fault that Mr. Wasp died.  It is entirely our fault.  

H: Right, right.  There are two--there are multiple reasons why Mr. Wasp died.  Mr. Wasp died because of us, he died because of you, and he died because death is inevitable, and Mr. Wasp was going to die no matter what, and possibly, just through the act of wandering into your room, it disrupted his potentially lifestyle and his eating habits enough that he was bound to die.  If Mr. Wasp is still alive by some miracle, just get a person who is not allergic to wasps and who is feeling, you know, brave and chivalrous, to help you out and be the person who puts the cup over Mr. Wasp and then slides a piece of paper under the cup and then takes that outside, and I think--But--but however, I think that if you did kill Mr. Wasp, whether by just leaving it there or just being, you know, tired of it, and so you got some wasp spray and went outside and pff, you know, gave it a little bit of a, you know, a jolt, I think that that's okay.  I think that Mr. Wasp, you know, was going to have to die, and you know, it was going to be a sad death full of suffering, no matter what, and it's okay.

 Question Five (18:20)

J: Hank, having now celebrated the life of Mr. Wasp, I think it's time for us to move on to a new question.  This one is from our father, Mike Green, who writes, "Dear John and Hank, It drives me crazy each week when "me and my friend" seems to be more and more common versus "my friend and I."  What is the official position of English grammar enforcers on this important matter?  Love, Dad."  Well, Dad, I will tell you, as your favorite son, that you are correct.  That Hank should not be saying "Me and my brother, John" at least from a strict, grammar enforcement perspective, he should be saying "my brother John and I."  However, you are also, and this pains me to say it, incorrect, because grammar exists to make language as clear as possible.  There is no other reason why grammar exists.  It exists to make language as transparent as possible, so that when we are talking to each other, we are never confused, we are never put in a s--we are never put, by language, in a place of needless ambiguity, and "me and my brother John" is as clear, I think, to the contemporary listener, as "my brother John and I", in fact, like, the--the "me" is not going to be confusing to anyone, all it does is trigger something inside of us that says, "Wait, that's a mistake!"  But if we can put that aside and learn to live with it, which I think we have to, it does not introduce any lack of clarity into the sentence, and therefore I must reluctantly say that my brother, while technically grammatically incorrect, is not doing something that I think we need to change.  

H: Alright.  It's really shocking to me, having heard that, that you talk more than I do on this podcast, 'cause boy, you really got to the point fast.  Did not even wander around at all, you didn't, you know, it didn't take you any time at all to figure out--but I will, in addition to that, say that I think I'm providing necessary clarity by saying, "me and my brother, John", because the name of the podcast is "Dear Hank and John", which it is because of the nature of the universe, and I want to make sure that people know that "me" is Hank, and that I am the first thing and "John" is John, he is the second thing, that is important, I think.

J: I hate to make you back up, but did you just say that the name of our podcast is Dear Hank and John because that is the nature of the universe?

H: Right, yes, that's why it's called Dear Hank and John.  It is part of the nature of the universe.  That's why I come first in the name of the podcast, because of the nature of the universe, and so I wanna make sure that everybody knows that when you write to us, you should be asking "Dear Hank and John", and the email address is, you know, it all has to sort of fall into place.

J: Well, but I came first, though, in the sense that, you know, I literally was born first.  It's Dear John and Hank, the--our parents have two children, John, their firstborn child, who presumably would inherit the throne were they royalty, and Hank, their secondborn child, who, from what I can tell via Prince Harry is the one who parties a lot.  

H: Yeah, but--that is absolutely the case, that does not change the fact that due to the nature of the universe, the podcast is called Dear Hank and John, e-mail address is hankandjohn, and when I say "me and my brother, John" it is because Hank comes first when in relation to things regarding the podcast.

J: Right, but in relation to things regarding, like, life and overall privilege and superiority and whatnot, that's--that would be me first, John, John and Hank, Dear John and Hank.  

H: I think that it's important that Hank and John Green look that way, Hank and John Green, for a number of reasons, one being the nature of the universe and two being search engine optimization, because people are more likely to Google John Green than Hank Green, due to you being alive long enough to have had considerably more success than me.  

J: That is actually the most compelling pro-Hank and John argument I have ever heard over John and Hank.  You know exactly where to hit me to get what you want, Hank, which is the hit me in my narcissism button.

 Commercial Break (22:55)

H: Well, your search engine optimization button, anyway.  I just wanna say, John, this podcast is brought to you by needless sibling bickering.  Needless sibling bickering, it's apparently hopefully enjoyable to people who are not us.  

J: Today's podcast is also brought to you by failing to get to the point, dancing around the point, a John Green strategy for finding ways to talk longer than his brother since 1980.  

H: This podcast is additionally brought to you by Mr. Wasp.  Mr. Wasp, very difficult to say, and almost certainly dead.  

J: And lastly, this podcast is actually brought to you by you, our listeners.

H: Ohhhh.

J: We have just started a Patreon campaign for Dear Hank and John, so if you head on over to Patreon/, you can become a Patron of this podcast and support it directly.  We're gonna be doing monthly hangouts, where we'll answer your questions live and talk to you about stuff that interests us right before we record the podcast, or possibly right after, depending on what's going on that week. We're doing this instead of a traditional sponsorship package with a sponsor.  I know lots of--that's what most podcasts do, but we're doing this because, well, mostly because we like it better, we like the idea of working for you better than the idea of working for a large corporation, and also because we feel like it's good to have multiple stakeholders instead of just like the one or two advertising sponsors that we have, so that's what we're doing with Dear Hank and John.  Of course, you don't have to become a Patron, it's okay if you don't, the podcast will not change for you in any way, it's just that hopefully the podcast will maybe become a little bit better and a little bit richer for those of you who do become Patrons over at  Did I ramble on too much, Hank?

H: Uhh, you know, you did it.  You did the thing.  I felt, for a moment, that maybe it would be better if like, we traded off things, like you talked for a little bit about one thing, and then I talked for a little bit about one thing, and then we sounded like we were really in it together and excited about it, which we are, but it was--yeah, you totally did it, and like, we didn't prepare that in any way, so of course, it would be very difficult to have actually done that, and I think you did, honestly as a brother, a fantastic job and I'm proud of you.

J:, or DearJohnandHank, that won't take you to the right Patreon page, but it's just a fun a thing to type.

 Question Six (25:31)

H: Okay, let's do another question, this one's from Kristin who asks, "Dear Hank and John, Opinions on this World War III business?"  Is there World War III business?  I hadn't heard about the World War III business, John.

J: Uh, the Pope says that we are in a kind of World War III, and several other people have said that.  I don't know, what do you think, Hank?  

H: Ah, well, I look at World War I and World War II and I think about those, and I feel like calling this World War III is kind of a dishonoring the memory of those events which were horrific beyond anything humans have ever experienced.  We gotta remember how bad those things were, and if you think this is anything like how bad that was, then we did not do a good job teaching you history in our--in your school systems.

J: Yeah, I mean, so I'm mostly inclined to agree with you.  I actually think there was sort of a World War before World War I around, you know, between 1846 and 1848, but the only reason that I think that we should start to worry that this looks a little bit like World War III is that the whole world is increasingly drawn up in it, and that, you know, these failed states in Libya and Syria and in a couple other countries are of--should be of grave concern, also the failed state in Somalia, and you know, we need to--these places need governments, and the longer they go without governments, the more dangerous it becomes not just regionally, but to the whole world, but I agree, I don't think that we're in a World War III, and I don't think that that is a helpful way to describe this conflict at all, because there's plenty of exaggerating going on, right?  There's plenty of hyperbole, there's lots of people trying to turn this into a civilizational conflict, which it's just not, and I don't want to be part of that, because I think history will remember those people as having been very, very bad.  

H: Yes.

J: Is that fair to say?

H: I was--that is fair to say.  I just want to say that during World War II, 3% of the world's population died.  If that happened now, if 3% of the world's population died right now, it would be around 200 million people, which is just an awful lot.

J: Yes, let us hope that this does not become World War III.  I strongly doubt that it will, by the way.  I think we have lots of things that keep that from happening.

H: The amazing thing, though, is that the world lost 3% of its population.  Like, imagining that, if we today had a war in which 200 million people died, which is 2/3 of the population of the US, of course, they would be distributed all across the world, the--we could then go on and not have that be something that destroyed Earth, something that destroyed humanity.  We could go on and, you know, and then have, you know, 60 years of relative prosperity, which is what we have now had after World War II, or 70 years.  That is remarkable, and I'm--I'm proud of it.  Good on that generation for coming out of that and doing great things and building a pretty great world for their grandchildren and great grandchildren, who I am among.  

J: Yeah, we just got to take care of a lot of the carbon emissions that they created in that process, and we should be fine.

H: Well.  Which, yeah, I mean, frankly, I understand that we have been passed down negative impacts due to all of the fantastic things those people did, and I, you know, like, looking at that and saying "They only did these nasty things to us" when in fact, they did lots of lovely things and now, when they were kids, refrigerators were luxury items, and now everyone has one and isn't that lovely that I can have, like, that everyone in America has, you know, running hot water and plumbing and like, these are things that--and that all people can vote who are over 18, and that you know, everyone like, in most--in many states, everyone who loves each other can get married, which was not a thing and you know, we have an integrated society.

J: Yeah, yeah, I think you're absolutely right, and to me, when you look at American history, you see a slow but fairly consistent march toward more people having more rights.  I mean, this country started out with very, very few people being able to vote in our supposed democracy, and these days, you know, there are many more people, a much larger percentage of the American population can really participate in the democracy, so while there's much to be concerned about, I also think there's much to be hopeful about.

 Question Seven (30:20)

H: I agree!  John, I have a question from Maggie, the subject line of this is "I FINALLY KNOW WHO I AM.  THANKS BUZZFEED."  Which I think is the title of an article that Maggie should write.  She says, "Dear Hank and John, What are your thoughts on our cultural fascination with self-definition via online quizzes, personalities inventories, and other such means of pigeonholing ourselves even if it's ostensibly just for fun?"  And she asks like, sort of like, deeper more interesting bits of this, but I just wanna sorta leave it at that, because this is such a big question, I wanna make a series of videos on it.  I do find it fascinating how we search out identity and we try to figure out who we are and it is so difficult for us to do that, to know our own self, that we go to BuzzFeed and, as she says, I still find myself wanting to know if I'm pumpkin spice or peppermint mocha.

J: Yeah, I mean, I don't think it's particularly new, you know, when I was a child, I remember taking those quizzes in YM Magazine or in Seventeen magazine and they were the exact same quizzes that were trying to do the exact same thing, like, you know, try to help me understand who I am, you know, through these silly quizzes.  I also used to take them in Cosmopolitan magazine, which one of our mom's friends subscribed to, and like, they had a lot of sex tips, so it was the closest that I, you know, the closest thing that I had to like, what women think about sex, which, in retrospect, not particularly useful, Cosmopolitan magazine, but I would take those quizzes, and even though they were for like, adult women in their early 30s trying to figure out, like, what kind of man they wanted, I would be like, I wonder what kind of man I want, and I found them like, tremendously helpful and interesting, so I--I fi--I don't wanna like--I find it hard to criticize those quizzes, because I think that like, trying to figure out who you are, whether it's a pumpkin spice latte or your Myers-Briggs type, whatever it is, like, all of that stuff is part of a process of like, trying to understand yourself in this context of knowing that there are 6 billion other humans out there who are just as human as you are.

H: I like the fact that there are 6 billion other humans, because apparently, you are one billion humans.  

J: Are there seven billion humans?

H: Sorry.  Yes, there's--there are more than 7 billion humans.

J: We just keep making them.

H: We do.  It's the one thing we're real good at.  It's very interesting to me that we know how many people there are on Earth.  It's such a difficult logistical problem to have been able to overcome, but anyway, my answer is roughly the same.  The only thing that I will say to people who are trying to define themselves whether based on quizzes or based on, you know, like, sort of the types that we assign, whether that's introvert or extrovert or you know, all the Myers-Briggs types, I'd say that, in my life, I have changed myself many times, and I have found that who I am relates much more to who I think I am than to who I am, and my, you know, I find it not difficult--and I don't know if I'm unique or if I'm like unusual in this, but I find it not difficult to be different from me one day later, you know, and certainly one year or ten years later, and I'm very glad that I am not stuck in one self, and I am constantly excited to be a different person sometimes and to try different things and to not do things that I feel like that's not a thing that Hank Green would do.  That does not seem like a Hank Green thing, and then to do that thing, and to be like, well, you know, maybe Hank Green isn't who I thought he was, and to not be constrained by the--our perception of ourselves.  

J: Oh my God, it's burning!  Just trying to help you out.  

H: Yep.  I'm not cooking anything right now, but I'm sure someone is.  Check the oven, you guys!  Is your burner still on?  Does your dog need a walk?  Don't get too caught up in Dear Hank and John.  Are you waiting at the gate at the airport and maybe have forgotten that you, in fact, need to get on the airplane?!  Go, now!

 Question Eight (34:50)

J: Hank, we have a very important question from Talya.  This is one that only you can answer, it's really in your whale--I was gonna say wheelhouse, but for some reason, it came out 'whalehouse'.  This one is really, really in your whalehouse, Hank.  It is right where your whales live.  

H: How did you know about my whalehouse?!  That was supposed to be a secret!

J: Alright, Hank, this question is from Talya.  "Are hot dogs sandwiches?"  

H: Well, you know, John, the fact that you are asking this question makes me think that you do not listen to enough podcasts.  This is one of the legendary questions of the Judge John Hodgman podcast, where he goes into--deeply into whether hot dogs are sandwiches, and his conclusion, John Hodgman's conclusion, and I am absolutely, enthusiastic to adopt his stance on this, is that hot dogs are not sandwiches, and why they are not sandwiches frankly I don't care that much, because John Hodgman said they are not.  If you would like to hear his reasoning, you can go listening to that--you can go listen to that episode of the Judge John Hodgman podcast, which is a lovely wonderful podcast that I would say is about 10% funnier than Dear Hank and John, but they do not talk about death as much as we do, so we have that on them.

 News From AFC Wimbledon(36:05)

J: Speaking of which, Hank, it is time to get to the news from Mars and AFC Wimbledon.  Would you like to begin this week with the news from Mars, or should we go straight to AFC Wimbledon?  

H: Let's go to AFC Wimbledon first, so I can finish out the news for once.

J: Okay.  So, Hank, let me ask you to do a thought experiment, and also everyone listening right now to obviously, don't close your eyes if you're driving or whatever, but close your eyes.  Hank, you close your eyes.  Close your eyes if you're in a place where you safely can, and what do you see when you close your eyes?  

H: Uhh, like, little green sparkles.

J: Okay, now I want you to imagine that you are deep inside the world's deepest cave, which as I recall, is in Vietnam.  You're deep--you're 5,000 feet down in the world's deepest cave, and you've got your eyes closed, you've got your lamp off, you are in what is called cave darkness.  And I want you to open your eyes right now, deep inside that cave, tell me what you see.

H: I see nothing and it is so intensely nothing that it feels like a sensation on the back of my eyes.

J: Hank.  Right now, you are in the very same darkness that AFC Wimbledon is in.


J: Yesterday, as I am recording this podcast, last week as you are listening to it, AFC Wimbledon lost to Dag & Red.  Dag & Red, who were in the relegation zone in 23rd place.  They lost to Dag & Red at home at King's Meadow, 1-nil, an 80th minute goal from a goalkeeper mistake resulted in a Dag & Red goal, and I mean, this is not just the kind of game that we can't lose, it's the kind of game that we can't tie.  Now, despite, and the game before that was a draw, and despite these recent disappointments and the cave darkness that surrounds us, we remain in 11th place, just three points out of 6th and 6th is--it would be high enough to go to the playoffs to get at least have a chance to get promoted up to league one. However, that result is very worrisome, the fact that we couldn't score a goal against Dag & Red, the fact that we couldn't keep a clean sheet against Dag & Red, both of these things, very, very worrisome.  However, wonderful news if you are a Dag or a Red, as you are now out of the relegation zone, putting York City and Yeovil Town down there in the bottom two that would go down--they would be demoted out of the football league entirely into the conference and when you are demoted out of the football league, it can and often does mean that you cease to be a full-time professional team, so of course, nobody wants that, but AFC Wimbledon still in 11th, despite two not good results, 19 games in to a 46 game season.  We are in 11th.

H: Well, it doesn't hurt more to lose to those teams, it just--it's the same number of points lost or not gained or whatever.  It's not like that you lose to a really bad team and you lose more points somehow.

J: That's true, it's just much harder to win against the very good teams, so you would like to win against the bad teams.

H: Right, so you should, you should be winning, if you're gonna be playing bad teams, you really gotta score those points when you can.  I guess that makes sense.

J: Right, because we still have a lot of games against the teams at the top of the table, the likes of Plymouth and Oxford and Accrington Stanley.

H: That's too bad, that's too bad.

 News From Mars (39:40)

H: Alright, well, in Mars news, we have--it's always so hard to pick the Mars news, but this year--this year?  This day, I'm going to tell you that Buzz Aldrin was recently giving a speech and he let loose some news that John F. Kennedy, when talking to people about the next step in the space race, wanted that next step instead of going to the moon, to be going to Mars, and he went to MIT and he talked to a bunch of smart people, and he said I want you to tell me whether or not we can go to Mars.  Like, I want you to tell me how we can get Americans on the surface of Mars in the next, you know, like, short-term, like, 15 months or something, you know, not 15 months.  Fast.  And--

J: Wouldn't we have to leave in like, a week?  

H: Yeah.  Yes.  Sooner than that.  Less--negative time.  So he went to those engineers and they--he asked them to figure it out, and they came back to the President of the United States, John F. Kennedy, and said, uh, no, we can't do that, it is--according to Buzz Aldrin, they said it's just a little too far to go, which is an interesting thing, like, you know, the reason why Mars is where Mars is has a little bit to do with how the solar system was formed, but also a little bit to do with randomness, and Mars could be closer, it could be, you know, Earth could be smaller, there could be a number of different things that would make it a lot easier to get to Mars, but uh, they are not that way, and so the reason we can't get to Mars has a lot to do with just the randomness of how the solar system formed, or that we haven't gotten to Mars yet, not that we can't get to Mars, of course we can and we will, but 1969, yeah, John F. Kennedy wanted to go to Mars, and a bunch of smart people told him instead that the moon--the moon was a more realistic goal, and we should go for that, and of course we were able to accomplish that, and that is fantastic and wonderful.

J: You said 1959, right?  

H: I said '69.  

J: John F. Kennedy had been deceased for some time in 1969.  

H: [clears throat] Sorry.  That is when they wanted to get there.

J: Ahhh.  That seems more reasonable.  Suddenly, suddenly, I felt that I had glimpsed perhaps the greatest conspiracy in American history and Hank had uncovered it.

H: Yeah.  Sorry about that.  Thanks for being the history buff who knows things like when Presidents died.

J: That's okay, thanks for being a guy who knows how to spell hygientist.  

H: Well, I can--I can be that person for you, John.  

J: Thankst.  So, Hankt, what did we learn today?

 Credits (42:14)

H: Uh, we learned that if you want to make out with your roommate and your roommate wants to make out with you, then that is a thing that you should just do.

J: Well, at least in the opinion of two people who give extremely dubious advice.

H: Yeah!  Indeed!  Exactly!

J: We also learned that the Earth could be smaller or Mars could be closer, but it isn't, and it isn't.  

H: Is that something that you learned?  That things could be?

J: I mean, I kind of learned it.  It's never occurred to me that the Earth could be smaller.

H: Yeah, it's very interesting to th--like, it could be, like, that you know, like, the way that stuff got distributed that Mars would've been bigger than Earth, like, it's very, it's very interesting.  Mars is weird.  Mars is weird.  It's super interesting, John.  Anyway.  Sorry.  I get excited about things and I cannot articulate why and so I say things like "Mars is weird!" and I smile widely while saying it, which doesn't make a lot of sense.  

J: You--you--

H: Um.

J: How is it that I talk more than you on this podcast?!  

H: Well, I'm trying to make it even.  That's--I'm doing my best to talk more.  We'll see.  We'll see.  People are gonna have to tell us if I caught up with you or indeed surpassed you in this week's podcast, but we also learned that the proposal of marriage is not necessarily something that should be a surprise.  In fact, it may be something that should be talked about a little bit before a thing that happens.

J: And we learned that--

H: Especi--

J: What?

H: Nothing!  I was gonna say especially if you do it at a sports game or something.  Just don't do that.  Don't--not with all those people staring.

J: And of course, we learned that if you are in the middle seat, both armrests are yours by law and by right, and that if you are at a movie theater, we are instituting a policy where everybody, all things being equal, gets the right-hand armrest.

H: Except for the person on the left-hand side, who gets two armrests.  Whoo!

J: Congratulations, person on the left aisle.

H: And we're gonna--in 2045, we're gonna go into a movie theater, and the first seat that will be taken in every movie theater in America will be down the left-hand side, and that will something that we did.

J: Oh, I hope it ends up on my tombstone, Hank.  In the meantime, I hope that everyone had a happy Thanksgiving, including you, Hank.  I wish that we were spending it together, but instead we are spending it apart.  You can e-mail us your questions at, you can also ask us questions on the Twitters, #dearhankandjohn.  You can follow us on Twitter, I'm @johngreen, Hank is @hankgreen.  Again, our Patreon, if you wanna support this podcast, you can do so via Patreon, voluntary subscription service, there are some good perks,  It's very important to Hank that you know his Snapchat.  It's hank--

H: My Snapchat is hankgre.  

J: Hankgre.

H: And--yeah.  I--I think that you're missing out.  That's all I'm saying, is I think you're missing out if you're not following me on Snapchat.  I'm not saying that like, boy, I want so much Snapchat followers, there's nothing that I want more than that.  It's like, this is something that I'm doing for you, people of the listening.  

J: Um, speaking of which, Hank, could you share with them that I also have a Snapchat?

H: Yeah, but you don't use it.

J: I use it sometimes.  

H: I never see your story.  I don't know, maybe I don't look enough.

J: Well, no, just tell them what my Snapchat is, it's fine.

H: Uhhh, your Snapchat is...johngreensnaps.  

J: How did you know that? I'm pr--I thought you wouldn't know!

H: YES!  YES!  It--I--it just occurred to me that it couldn't be johngreen, and then I was like, but it's johngreensomething, and then I remembered.

J: It's johngreensnaps, which also I learned way after coming up with the username, is John Green's naps.  

H: John Green's naps.  Hahaha.  You should just upload yourself napping to Snapchat.  That would be amazing!  

J: Alright.  Well, this has been the longest outro we've ever recorded, but thanks again for listening.  

H: This podcast was edited by Nick Jenkins, the theme music is from Gunnarolla, and as they say in our hometown...

Both: Don't forget to be awesome.