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Why don't bugs die when we flick them? Why do we talk the way we do? What's the deal with dollars in movies? How much would it cost to buy the world a coke? And more!

 (0:00) Intro

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. How you doin', John?

J: I'm doing well. I'm just back from northern Jordan where I spent the last few days visiting refugee camps and Syrian refugees who are living in cities in Jordan. Most of the over six hundred thousand refugees from the Syrian war living in Jordan are living not in camps but in cities.

It was a fascinating trip, very emotionally exhausting. At times very difficult, but also I feel really really lucky to have been able to go and to have been able to hear some of the stories of refugees, their families and also stories from people living in Jordan about, you know, how the refugee crisis has reshaped their country since ten percent of all people living in Jordan right now are Syrian refugees. More than a quarter of people living in Lebanon right now are Syrian refugees. The scope of the problem is truly overwhelming, and I think it was really important to me to be able to go there to get a human sense of it, you know. To be able to see it not in terms of hundreds of thousands and millions, and big statistics, but instead in terms of actual people. 

H: That is fantastic, and I am really impressed that you did it. You sound a little bit ill. Are- Am I making that up?

J: No, no you're not. I am ill. (Chuckles) I drank a lot of tap water and chai and coffee in the camps. You know, when families offer you food and water and tea it's important to say yes, especially because, you know, these are people who in many cases are - only have about 70 cents per day for food and other necessities. And so their sharing that with you is really important. But of course, the water is not always super clean.

H: Mmm.

J: I also ate some delicious falafel sandwiches with pita bread at the Zaatari refugee camp, and might have gotten sick from that. But I also had an amazing pizza--

H: (Laughs)

J: -- at Zaatari, so I could have gotten sick from that. And I had a falafel sandwich at the Azraq refugee camp so I could have gotten sick from that. It's hard to pinpoint exactly how it happened, Hank. But the point is, it happened. 

H: All right, well, I'm sorry. But I do thank you for doing that. I'm really looking forward to hearing more of the stories coming out of that which you are posting on your Tumblr and also I hope we'll see in a video next week.

J: Yeah, Rosianna gave me my Tumblr password back after almost a year so that I could- so that I could sort of share some of the stories from the--

H: (Laughs)

J: --people we met. I think, however, that she's gonna have to go ahead and take my password back (laughs) pretty shortly after I'm done posting this series of posts. But yeah, you can check out my Tumblr to meet some of the people I met. But yeah, I think I'm also gonna be making videos about it for the next few weeks. 

I have to say Hank, before we start the proper podcast, and I ask you how you're doing, I made a mistake in our previous video by saying that Franklin Delano Roosevelt packed the court with extra supreme court justices. Instead he just threatened to--

H: Ooh.

J: --pack the court with extra supreme court justices.

H: Okay.

J: Another place where my knowledge of American history ... uh, pretty sketchy. So, I apologize. 

H: (Laughs)

J: Now, Hank, how are you doing?

H: I'm good. I'm a little overwhelmed after my vacation. Just catching up on everything. We just had our SciShow Patreon livestream, where we increased SciShow's Patreon budget by more than twenty percent. Thank you very much to all the people who helped us out with that.

J: That's great. That's a huge part of how we're able to kind of keep things running around here, is the support that people show us on Patreon to SciShow and CrashCourse. So, that's awesome. 

H: That's very exciting. And, I, yeah, I've been working long days. I shot ten SciShows this week--

J: Wow.

H: --which is a lot. And I have quite an intense day to day, that I- But after that, after, you know, we five o'clock, I will be- It will be the weekend! We're recording this on Friday. And I will be able to NOT (laughs) for a couple of days.

I've got some stuff that I'll have to do this weekend but I don't have anything on the schedule and it's very, very exciting.

J: Well I am very happy for you. I hope you have a relaxing weekend. Hank, would you like a short poem for the day?

H: Sure.

J: All right. I picked a short poem today from a Syrian poet, Nizar Qabbani. This is called "Light is More Important Than the Lantern". It's translated by B. Frangieh and C. Brown. I don't know who those people are. But, "Light is More Important Than the Lantern", by Nizar Qabbani:

Light is more important than the lantern,
The poem more important than the notebook,
And the kiss more important than the lips.

My letters to you
Are greater and more important than both of us. 
They are the only documents 
Where people will discover 
Your beauty 
And my madness.

"Light is More Important Than the Lantern," by Nizar Qabbani.

H: That was lovely.

J: Hank, can I tell you one story about my trip to northern Jordan.

H: Please do.

J: One of the things that really struck me was that- was the separation of families. You know, I've been to very poor parts of the world before and- but I've never been to a place where there was so much dislocation and separation and I don't think I ever really understood -- and I certainly still don't understand -- but I'd never really glimpsed before the extent of that trauma. 

And one of the things that I saw over and over and over again is that when people would talk about their relatives who'd been killed in the war or who were in Germany or who were in Turkey or who were still in Syria, but for whatever reason they were separated, in many cases, you know, husbands and wives who'd been separated for years, brothers and sisters who hadn't seen each other in five years, stories like that. I would ask if they had pictures of their family members and I would show them pictures of Henry and Alice and Sarah. And then they would- they almost always did have pictures, but they almost never had them printed out or backed up in any way. They just had them on their phones. Sometimes, in many cases, their old phones, because the pictures were so old, were years old, and in the interim---

H: Mmm.

J: --they've, you know, gotten new, you know, better phones. And so the- I would see again and again these pictures of family members, grainy pictures on phones that were the only, kind of, surviving copy, the only, like, physical connection between, aside from memory.

And, it was really interesting and moving to me that we've moved to a place where digital memories are sometimes the only memories.

H: Mhmm. That is- and that you have these old devices that are kind of, you know, unsafe places to keep these things.

J: Yeah.

H: Because you never know what's going to happen to one of those. And you're just sort of holding them and keeping them charged so that you can continue to have access to your photos.

J: Right, yeah. That's the only thing that most of the people I talked to used them for is to look at pictures, to share pictures with their young kids. I think because a lot of times, you know, little kids forget their- the faces of their parents, or of their older brothers who may be in Europe or might have died in the war. 

It was a very sobering experience for sure. I hope I can tell some of their stories effectively because I think it's so important to counter the narratives about refugees that we see, this sort of xenophobic narratives--

H: Mhmm.

J: --that we hear, especially in the west.

 (8:55) Question One

H: Indeed. I've got a first question that is in reference to that from Parker--

J: Great.

H: -- who is working in Lesbos, Greece with refugees from Syria and Iraq, and Afghanistan and so many other places. "And when I call home or post on my blog or Facebook, I get a lot of mixed reactions, many of them hostile. This is probably due to the culture that I call home - the South." The American South, I assume. "There are so many people who have hostility towards these hurting people and I want to help them understand that these are not ISIS members. They're families who have lost so much and are searching for a better life. Any dubious advice on how to help others empathize would be appreciated."

J: Well, I do think we have a huge empathy gap when it comes to the refugee experience. Whether it's Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, South Sudan, wherever it is. Because it's difficult for us to imagine. And also, you know, I asked a lot of refugees about this while I was in Jordan. You know, I said, what would you say to Americans who are concerned about ISIS or concerned about, you know, that you might be radical, or that you might have something against the United States.

The thing that struck me the most was that people were not angry at the United States. At least the people I spoke to. They were very grateful because while UNHCR, the UN's refugee agency is critically underfunded, the US has stepped up more than many countries and refugees are keenly aware of that. So I found that really interesting. 

What I heard again and again was people saying, you know, you're right, there are in Syria and Iraq members of ISIS who wish destruction upon me, which is why I"m not in Syria anymore, which is why I had to leave. 

I heard this especially from young men, because I told- every time I had a chance to talk to, you know, an adult, like a say twenty to thirty-five year old adult man, I said, you know, one of the thing we hear a lot in the United States, is that -- this is no longer true, but it used to be true -- that most of the refugees coming to Europe were adult men. And how do you feel about people saying you should be in Iraq or in Syria fighting ISIS or fighting for your country's freedom. 

And their response was, "That's not how it worked."

How it worked was you were conscripted into an army that does not reflect your belief or your values system under punishment of death or murder of your family members. It's not a question of, you know, fighting for freedom. It's a question of not being conscripted into an army that's trying to -- that if you don't go they'll kill people in your family. 

And the truth is, that while there have been crimes committed by asylum seekers in Europe, and while there have been crimes committed by refugees in the US in the past -- not Syrian refugees so far as I know, but it has happened -- they're crimes. And they should be prosecuted as crimes. And they should not be seen as reflective of some entire community. 

The same way that I wouldn't want the actions of the young white man who murdered people in an African-American church while they were at worship to be reflective of me as a white person.

So we have to prosecute crimes as crimes and not as reflective of some larger failure of an entire people.

H: Yeah. As we get deeper into this election season, it's gonna be harder and harder not to talk about politics and to think about these things in the lens of the election here in America because it's very difficult for me not to immediately think of the implications and sort of how this works psychologically. Which is that we are prone to being afraid of things that we don't understand, of people we don't understand, of people who are different from us, even in small ways, even if those differences are quite small.

The best way to get support as a candidate is to make people afraid. That's what gets people more than any other emotion, that's what gets people to take actions. Even if that actions is to get up and go vote then fear is a great motivator.

And I'm seeing more and more of this -- it's not really about any legitimate, credible scary thing. There are scary things that happen but of course there are lots of different ways that people get hurt and injured and have their lives become worse. And you know, we're not particularly good at judging those threats as humans. We are really good at being afraid of other people who we see as not like us or who we see might be trying to take advantage of us or worse. 

That fear-mongering is so much more powerful than hope-mongering, than feeling the connection between all humans and knowing that these people, more than anyone in the world, need help right now. And it's very unpleasant to watch how the conversation is progressing in America.

So as far as Parker's actual question goes, I don't even know. I just hope that people can find fear to be not the emotion to grasp onto and to make such an important part of how they see the world.

J: Yeah, Parker, the only thing that I would say in addition to that is to keep telling these people's stories because they don't have access to the same platforms that you in most cases. In most cases they can't write in English. They don't have the kind of internet access that allows them to tell their own stories. So, you know, quote their stories, tell their stories, share their stories. And many people will react negatively to that. Many people will doubt your sincerity or their sincerity. But at least it gives them something of a voice in this conversation. 

Because I think one of the biggest problems right now is that we hear a lot about what Donald Trump thinks of Islam but not a lot about what Muslims think of Islam. I think, just share those stories and keep up your good work.

H: Yeah.

J: We're grateful for it.

H: Yeah, thank you, Parker. And thank you, John, for helping share those stories and helping us bridge that empathy gap.

 (16:12) Question Two

H: We have another question. This one is from Miss D, who asks: 

"Dear Hank and John," It's a problem, but it is a smaller problem. "I'm a middle school teacher and I love my students. My biggest complaint I have about them is they leave a trail of half empty water bottles behind them wherever they go. 

There are currently three half-empty water bottles in my room right now. I try to encourage reusable water bottles with their name written in sharpie but they are just eleven years old and they have whatever their parents send them to school with.

I feel bad, not just about the wasted plastic, but the water. I drink a lot of tea, and I'm really tempted to just put all that extra water I find into my electric tea kettle and boil the heck out of it."

J: (laughs)

H: "Will that get rid of all the child germs? Or should I just find a plant to water them with."

J: (still laughing) I mean, as someone who currently has a probable case of dysentery, I am inclined to get the plant, Miss D.

H: I mean, I... First of all, if you do boil the water and make tea out of it, it will indeed kill those weird child germs. But you, uh... to kill all of them... I'm not really concerned about you killing all of them 'cause I think probably none of your children in class have cholera. But I uh... You... Yeah, you might still get sick. Unless you boil it for like ten minutes or something, which is just energy inefficient, and you don't want that.

J: Yeah, as long as you boil it for five to ten minutes you should actually be fine. And that's coming from someone who's generally a little bit cautious on these topics. I think it's fine in theory, there's just something about it-- 

H: (laughs)

J: --in practice that I find gross.

H: Yeah, and also I think if you're boiling that water for longer than usual to do that is probably going to offset any energy you save by saving the water. The other thing I'd say is THAT IS SO ANNOYING. And it is annoying for me because of the plastic, not because of the water. You know, obviously the water waste is something but it is not substantial and if they drank it, they probably wouldn't get that much out of it anyway. They'd probably just pee a little more next time they went to the bathroom. 

But I, I mean, I know a guy, who will go nameless, who leaves half empty bottles of Diet Doctor Pepper all over the world. 

J: (laughs)

H: And I find it a little bit frustrating, to--

J: It is perhaps my biggest character flaw.

H: --to be like, why is there??? Why did you just open, why did you just open a new bottle of Diet Doctor Pepper when there is clearly one right there that is half empty?!

J: I mean they just taste so great when they're fresh.

H: (laughs)

J: There's just nothing like that first sip of a Diet Doctor Pepper.

H: Oh my god. 

J: Speaking of which, Hank.

H: What?

J: What do I have to do to get sponsored by Diet Doctor Pepper? I am the greatest spokesperson they have ever had.

H I don't know, John. Maybe someone listening is in the marketing department at Doctor Pepper Enterprises. Which is--

J: Ugh.

H: --I believe--

J: I, by the way, I'm enjoying a delicious Diet Doctor Pepper right now. 

H: I'm sure you are. I believe that Doctor Pepper is a separate company from Pepsi and Coke. Is that correct?

J: That is correct. Yes, they are their own entity--

H: That's crazy.

J: There's nothing like Diet Doctor Pepper. It's unique in the world.

H: Yeah. That's very interesting. Did you know Doctor Pepper has its own bottled water? There's like Aquafina and Dasani are the Pepsi and Coke ones, but then there's the separate Doctor Pepper bottled water. Which I ran into in a (sic) airport when I was thirsty. And I felt bad about it, don't worry. But I did not have my reusable water bottle with me.

J: (laughs)

H: I think that you should take an entire lesson out of your week and just pack the other four days full of the stuff you would normally teach on that Wednesday and then on Wednesday you say "We're gonna have a special class and today we're going to talk about reuse and recycling. And how future generations will see us as the most profligate, wasteful bunch of turds that ever existed on the surface of the planet. And how, how did we squander our wonderful, wonderful level of excess that we had in America in the 21st century.

"Oh. By tossing water bottles when they were half empty."

J: (laughs) 

H: That's your lecture for you. Rub it all in their eleven-year-old faces. 

J: (laughs harder)

H: Make them feel that guilt. 

J: (laughing still) Oh man, our comedy podcast got briefly funny.

H: (laughs)

 (20:45) Question Three

J: Okay, Hank, we've got another question. This one comes from Nick, who writes:

Dear Hank John. If understand what me say when speak English bad, why need speak English good?

H: (laughs) You know, this is a great question--

J: It is.

H: --and I was thinking about it. I was thinking about it while I was eating breakfast and reading these questions. You know, honestly I think a lot of the reason is how much information we pack not into just what we say but how we say it. 

And I don't mean like, how you say it, like get up there and be a good public speaker. I mean, the way that we talk says a lot, like, it is a way that we judge each other.

And so, I'm not saying that this is a good thing, I'm saying that it is a thing: that when we speak correctly people think more highly of us.

J: I would agree except that I would say there is no such actual thing as speaking correctly. 

H: As correctly, yes. 

J: That uh--

H: Yes. We speak in a certain way that sounds like the way that it-- yes. 

J: Right. That sentence by the way was undiagrammable and therefore technically incorrect.

H: (laughs)

J: So, my argument about this, Nick, is that uh I understood what you meant when, uh, in your question, but it wasn't as clear to me as quickly as it would have been if you'd said, um, if people understand me when I speak English poorly, why should I speak English well. And so for me, um, grammar and language is not only about, uh, overall comprehension, it's also about the speed at which that comprehension can happen. Because that means that we can have sort of a more transparent conversation. 

Like, language ultimately should be completely transparent, in my opinion at least. It should just, it should just be sort of the sound waves through which ideas travel between people. And every time we make that less clear or we make it in some way opaque, uh, we're doing damage to the quality of conversation that you and I can have together. And so that's my argument for, if not, um, grammatically correct English or the King's English or whatever, at least a shared agreed-upon English. 

That in the end is all I think that really matters, is that we agree upon like, what language, what kind of language choices we're going to make so that when we have conversations or when we're reading, uh, we can do so with clarity. 

H: I don't want to, uh, I don't want to spend too much time on this question but what about, like, the way that people create new languages. Like, if we say that, like, we want maximum clarity then what we're saying is we want one universal structured English that is all the same and everybody speaks the same English. But, what does that take away from new versions of English or accented Englishes or, uh, you know, like, new ways of speaking--

J: Well, no, I don't think we want one version of English that everyone speaks because I don't think that, uh, we necessarily want everyone to understand us when we're speaking. Right? So, like, I think there are, uh... That's one of the reasons that we change language is so that people won't unders-- People who we don't want to understand us won't understand us.

Another reason we change language, and I think this is a very cool and interesting reason, is because, uh, the language that exists does not do a good job of describing our experience. And so we can-- We can create words or phrases, um, that will do a better job, um, and that we'll all sort of immediately underst-- or you know, a certain group anyway, will immediately understand--

H: Right.

J: --the meaning of because it just sounds right or it feels right or whatever. So I'm not against, uh, in any way, I'm not opposed to, uh, language changing. I think it should change. But I think it should be as transparent as possible when you're having a conversation.

H: All right.

 (24:44) Question Four

H: We've got another question. It's from Jordica who asks:

"Dear Hank and John, Hank believes that you can--" I-- "that you can learn a lot about someone by their favorite bridge. I think the way a person's house smells says a lot. Fess up! What's the smelling in your dwelling?"

J: Hank only asked that question because he liked the rhyme at the end. 

H: Well, uh, yes, partially. I think that there is a lovely thing about a well-constructed question that has a nice little rhyme. But also, I wanted to talk about death for this question, because the smelling in my dwelling--

J: (laughs)

H: --is very depressingly non-smelly. Because my-- because it's not full of dog farts anymore, John. I walk in--

J: Right.

H: --every day and I'm like, not only is there not a happy waggy thing there to say hey, there's also not that smell. Never that smell. 

J: Yeah, it is funny. I mean, uh, the people and animals in your house sort of make up the way you smell it and when it doesn't smell like that, it doesn't feel like your house. I'm sorry 'bout that, Hank. 

I don't know what the smelling in my house is precisely because it's the smell in my house, but I know if it changes--

H: (laughs)

J: --so I'm sure that if I walked in and Willie suddenly weren't there, I would, uh, I would sense his absence in an olfactory manner. 

H: It's weird. Not something that you think about until it's not there. Uh, but yeah, my house does not smell a great deal. It's fairly new. But I go back to Florida and I'm like, everything smells like mold and then my face starts to explode. Because, apparently, I did not realize how allergic I was to mold until I left Florida and was like, "oh, I can breathe."

J: (laughs)

H: It was wonderful.

J: Oh man. Florida. It's so Florida-y.

H: It's so Florida-y.

 (26:33) Question Five

J: All right, Hank, we have another question. This one comes from Mary, who writes:

"Dear Hank and John, Some people have for whatever reason started to believe that the Earth is actually flat after years of evidence suggesting that it is round. Not just years, really millennia. Really, longer than millennia. Really, billions of years of evidence suggesting that it is round.

H: (laughs)

J: "Obviously, the Earth is round." -- I strongly agree, Mary. I'm glad that we could start from that point. -- "But it got me wondering, what would life be like if the Earth were flat? How would it be different? And just so you can mention death in the podcast, would we all die?" 

Thanks for the opportunity to mention death, Mary. Of course we would all die.

H: YES! Yes, we would die... If the Earth were flat we would all die in the process of it becoming round.

J: What?!

H: Well, yeah, 'cause if you had a flat Earth, it would-- like if you had the mass of the Earth stretched out in a flat disk or whatever shape you want, it would coalesce via gravity, it would break apart, and form a sphere. 

J: Oh yeah. So we would all die. 

H: Everything would die and then the Earth would have to reform and then you'd have to go through all 4.5 billion years of the Earth's history before you had anything even approaching the level of interesting-ness of this podcast

J: (laughs)

H: So... So that's what would happen.

J: Hank, are you at all fascinated by, uh, conspiracy theories along the lines of the Earth is actually flat? Or do you just find them ludicrous?

H: Or like, or like, there's the-- or there's the cyberman Earth on the other side of the Earth that's just matching our orbit and we never can see it. 

J: Oh, no that's real. I believe that planet has a name but I can't remember its name.

H: It was-- I think it was Mallorea.

J: Mallorea! Of course, yeah. Mallorea's real but we just can't see it. 

H: Yeah, um, I uh... You know, there is one that I'm kind of fascinated by. It's called the shadow-microbiome. No. The shadow biosphere. The shadow biosphere. That's what it's called.

J: Okay.

H: And it's the idea that there is a whole other biosphere on Earth that we do not know about and cannot detect because it doesn't use the same chemistry as the life that we know about. So it's the idea basically that if we go to Mars life could be so different because none of the systems we use for testing on life would work on it. Uh, and so, so if that's possible, then why isn't there a possibility that here on Earth there are a bunch of microorganisms that don't have mitochondria, they don't use DNA, they don't use any of the same proteins that we use and so when we do tests to see if there are living things we're like, well, nothing there. But maybe, there is something alive there, it's just so different that we cannot tell that there is a living thing there.

Now I don't think that this is actually a thing that is real. I don't think that the shadow microbio-- I don't think that the shadow biosphere is real. I think that it-- like, there is a tiny, tiny, tiny chance that it could be, and that is fascinating to me. 

J: Well, but this would just be microscopic organisms, right? This wouldn't be, um--

H: Right, yes, no.

J: --like a whole civilization or anything.

H: I mean if there, if there were like, uh, shadow dogs, a shadow biosphere that had like dogs in it, we would see them.

J: Okay.

H: They would reflect, they would still absorb and reflect light. 

J: Right. So, uh--

H: (laughing)

J: --just to confirm here: what you're telling me is that it's possible that in addition to half of my body being bacteria, another half of my body could be organisms that I just don't know are life.

H: (laughs) The good news is they really, probably could not do any damage to you, if they were based on completely different chemistry. They would see you as maybe a source of water, maybe a source of warmth, but, uh, but it would be very difficult for them to interact with any of your-- any of your biological systems because of how different they would be.

J: Can I tell you my favorite conspiracy theory?

H: All right. Go.

J: Uh, there is a conspiracy theory on the internet, you can Google it, uh, that Stephen Hawking, the theoretical physicist--

H: Mhmm.

J: --was replaced by a different Stephen Hawking, uh, in about 1985.

H: That's real weird!

J: Uh, and there are lots and lots and lots of people who believe it and the amount of research that they have done into it is horrifying. And, it's just a very strange corner of the internet. I'm always fascinated by the strange corners of the internet, if not always encouraged by them.

H: (laughs)

J: But that is one of the stranger ones I have come across. 

 (31:00) Commercial Break

H: This-- this podcast, John, is brought to you by shadow Stephen Hawking.

J: (laughs)

H: Shadow Stephen Hawking: Introduced to the world in 1983, or 89 or whatever you said, to be a new and better Stephen Hawking.

J: Aaand of course this podcast is brought to you by delicious Diet Doctor Pepper. Diet Doctor Pepper: I. want. you. to. sponsor meeee!!!!!!!!!!!

H: This podcast is also brought to you by, uh, tea made from the leavings of eleven year old snots.

J: (laughs)

H: Tea made from the leavings of eleven year old snots. Uh, good for you, good for the environment, and almost certainly not gonna give you dysentery. 

J: And of course this podcast is brought to you by the flat Earth. The flat Earth: unfortunately, coalescing into a sphere, killing us all.

H: (laughs) There's no better part of the podcast, John. That's really-- That's really-- Everybody's waiting for that and then they all leave. (laughs)

J: (laughs) It's the highlight of my podcast every week for sure.

H: (still laughing) Well done. Well done. All right, John. We got-- There's so many good questions today! There's so many good questions.

 (32:11) Question Six

H: We've got one here from Ash, who asks:

"Dear Hank and John, I have a very urgent question. I'm wondering why don't bugs die when we flick them. They are sig-- We are significantly larger and stronger than the bugs and can crush them with a finger, yet somehow the impact of a flick does not kill them. Can you explain these superhero insects to me?"

J: I cannot. But I bet Hank can.

H: I can. I can. Uh, basically, a flick something really small -- bug-sized, like a piece of crust which I have on my desk, which I just flicked. And then, flick your desk. Flick something hard, that's not going to move. 

You will feel a difference between the thing that happened to your finger. You will feel that the flicking of the flea-- of the piece of dust did not hurt. The flicking-- you don't even want to do it, do you? Like, oh, I'm not gonna flick a-- something hard. 

So, what's happening is, you know, uh, force, which is the thing that's gonna kill the bug, is mass times acceleration. And when you are pushing on a bug, your mass, the amount of mass that you are transferring is, is gigantic. When you're flicking a bug, the only mass involved isn't the mass of you, it's the mass of the bug, which is very small. 

Now if you flick a big bug, if you flick, like, a tarantula in the face -- don't do that -- or you flick, like a real, like a horse fly--

J: (laughs)

H: -- you could kill, you could kill that bug. Because, it's like flicking something hard and big and you're gonna transfer all of that kinetic energy into the bug-- whereas-- and into the mass of that bug. So you're gonna get a large force. 

But if you're flicking like a gnat or something, then that force is very small because the mass of the gnat is very small. Which allows them to live through very significant changes in acceleration. 

J: Well that is just fascinating. I'm so grateful for this lesson in physics. 

 (34:02) Question Seven

H: All right. I do have another one that I wanted to get to, which is from Grace. Grace asks:

"Dear Hank and John, Over the last few years, I've gained a greater confidence in myself. However, my family has increasingly begun to refer to this confidence as narcissism. How do I sustain this confidence without becoming narcissistic? Is narcissism necessarily a bad thing, and if so, where is the line between confidence in one's self and narcissism? Any advice, especially dubious advice, would be much appreciated."

J: Oh, man, yeah. That's a difficult question. I think ultimately, if people are telling you that you have a problem with narcissism, you should probably listen to them. I mean, I don't think that uh, I don't think that confidence and narcissism are mutually exclusive, do you Hank?

H: No, I, I do think that they are different things though. I'll be honest with you, John, I've been--

J: Yeah, that's what I was going to say.

H: -- I've been thinking about this question all morning because I, because there is this, there's such, we need this. We need to feel valued and valuable to be humans. Uh, but, at the same time, there is definitely this thing where I really don't like people who feel that in a way-- and like have the source of that be something that I find unpleasant. And I think that a lot of times narcissism is in fact when the source of your confidence is either, I think in the best case scenario it's something you, like, people see as something you don't deserve. 

So, if you are very powerful and wealthy and you feel very confident because of your wealth, then, then it's like well did, uh, but you were just, you know, you were just born wealthy then that's very strange. That's like saying: I'm better than other people because I have this thing that other people don't have. And maybe there's an element of that. Like, is your confidence in like you being better than other people, or is your confidence in comparison to you and how you feel you are and you achieving for yourself what you feel like are the right things for a person to be. 

And I think that that confidence is a wonderful thing. But that means that confidence and being humble are not, like, are, like, are completely, like, you can be both of those things at the same time. Whereas, yeah, I think that there's a way to be confident and also to be so confident that you're kind of revelling in it and maybe revelling in a kind of confidence in a thing that maybe you are even responsible for. That can be really off-putting to people. 

J: I think that was a great answer, Hank. I'm not going to try to add to it. I do however want to answer one more question before we get to the news from Mars, a cold, dead rock in space, and AFC Wimbledon, the greatest achievement in the history of humans. 

H: I cannot, I cannot believe it's time for that already-- 

J: It is. It is, my friend. 

H: It cannot be time for that already. 

 (36:57) Question Eight

J: This question comes from Rachel, who asks:

"Dear John and Hank, Why is it that whenever money is shown on TV or in the movies, it is so obviously fake? Not just large amounts but even single dollar bills. I can understand not wanting to use real money on set, but it seems to me like the props department goes out of its way to make the money not look real."

So, uh, I think that you might actually be mistaken, uh, because sometimes I have seen real money used on movie sets. In Paper Towns, uh, they used real money.

H: Yeah. 

J: Just like a couple dollar bills. When it's one dollar bills I think they tend to use real money. When it's large amounts of money, they do use fake money. And do you wanna know why they use fake money, Hank? 

H: Uh, because it's hard to get a bunch of money. 

J: Uh, that is incorrect. 

H: Okay.

J: Oh, wait, no, that is correct. But do you want to know why the money is obviously fake? 

H: Noouuuh... because you cannot get (laughs) -- Because it is illegal to have accurate-looking fake money.

J: That is right, and in 2000, uh, when a big budget movie blew up a billion dollars worth of hundred dollar fake bills and sent them flying everywhere--

H: (laughs)

J: --people used them, because they were very compelling. And they passed them off as legitimate and then the Secret Service arrested the uh, props master who had created the bills. 

H: (laughing more) Oh my god. 

J: So, as you can imagine, people who work in Hollywood, not anxious to be arrested, uh, these days make the money look pretty fake. 

H: Wow, that's fascinating. I mean, you would think maybe they'd just make the backs look fake, like not print anything on the backs if they're not gonna show-- but maybe, I dunno. Uh, that's, that's really cool.

There's a possible other explanation here, which is that maybe you're watching old movies when money looked different. 

J: (laughs) That's a great point. (still laughing) Because, it wasn't so long ago that American bills looked very different. And yet we continue to print them all the exact same size, uh, which is openly discriminatory toward blind people. 

Uh, we can make all kinds of different changes, but for some reason we refuse to make that one. Also, we continue to make pennies, which is ludicrous. 

 (39:11) News from Mars and AFC Wimbledon

H: Okay. We're gonna do one more question, John, but we're gonna do it after the news from Mars and AFC Wimbledon. We're gonna shake up the format a little bit here. Basically, what I'm trying to do is force people to listen to the news from Mars and AFC Wimbledon. 

J: (laughs) This last question is gonna be a doozy, too, so you've gotta stay. 

H: (laughs) Yeah, it's gonna be so good. John did a bunch of research for it. 

J: What's the news from Mars, Hank?

H: The news from Mars is some new information about Mars's ancient history. Now, John, you know that Mars has the largest volcano in the solar system.

J: I did know that. (pauses) No I didn't. 

H: You've got Olympus Mons, which is the biggest volcano ever, and then you have a few other very large volcanoes that are very small compared to Olympus Mons but still freaking gigantic. And, around three billion to 3.5 billion years ago is when these volcanoes first started erupting. Now, they are still- potentially still erupting even to this day. The most recent eruption of Olympus Mons- very small eruption -- happened like, less than a hundred thousand years ago, which geologic time, not a long time. So it's possible that there are still eruptions to come. But, back 3 billion to 3.5 billion years ago, when this, uh, these volcanoes were forming a remarkable thing happened, where they were so massive that they made Mars like lopsided, and the entire planet shifted around its core. 

So like, imagine you put your fist over your fist and you move your fist, that's what happened. Mars stayed in the same place, but the surface of Mars shifted around. Does that make sense? Hopefully that makes sense.

This means that when we're looking at the surface of Mars, we're not looking at how it was always oriented. That it actually has slipped and so if you're thinking about how Martian seasons were 4 billion years ago, they were different than they are now. 

Now of course, that was all very long ago. Probably before any life could have formed on Mars. Before any of the features that we see on Mars that they have been that are relating to water existed. So we're not- of course we don't know what Mars looked like 3.7 billion years ago but it's pretty cool that we can tell this one thing about the history of Mars that happened so very long ago. 

J: It is fascinating. Uh, it- You know what I find even more fascinating is that the Earth is actually flat.

H: Yeah. Well only for a little bit. We better YOLO while we can, John. 

J: Okay, I am excited to move on to the news from AFC Wimbledon, Hank, because I was actually at AFC Wimbledon's game against Oxford United. I got to meet manager Neal Ardley. First team coach Simon Bassey. I got to meet all the players, Hank. I went into the locker room before the game and shook hands--

H: That's pretty cool.

J: --with every single player from the team, including Adebayo Akinfenwa. I told Lyle Taylor that we call him the Montserratian Messi and he looked briefly confused because of course he is not actually from Montserrat, he is from England. But because he has a grandparent from Montserrat he plays for the Montserrat national team. 

H: (laughing)

J: But he seemed quite pleased with the nickname. I told Callum Kennedy, that Meredith the producer of the AFC Wimbledon Wimbly Womblys is a big fan of his, and he was delighted. I got-- It was so fun to meet all of the players and the atmosphere, it must be said, at the stadium, was just amazing. The John Green stand was packed. It was sold out. There was singing. It was wonderful. 

Andy Barcham scored a goal for Wimbledon aaaand they lost 2-1. 

H: Aaawwww, that's too bad, 'cause Oxford's right there at the top of the table. 

J: That's right, Oxford's at the top of the table, but then we played league leading North Hampton next, who are waaaay at the top of the table. They're eleven points clear. And we tied them 1-1. So we took one point away from that game at North Hampton which is a really pretty important point, it must be said. 

Aaaand, you know, while it would have been ideal to win that game against Oxford and put- and that would have put us in a position potentially where we could have, I don't know, maybe, you know, maybe ended up in those top three spots that are automatically promoted. That isn't, you know, that isn't how it happened. Instead we lost that game, which was a bummer.

H: Right.

J: And-

H: So you'll probably- it's uh, it'll be a real hard fight to get up in those top three spots now.

J: It's looking like we're not going to get up in those top three spots at this point so what we have instead is to get into one of the spots between four and seven so we can get into the playoffs and maybe get promoted that way.

It's- it's gonna be difficult. Right now we are eight with 52 points, but the team that is fifth only has 53 points, so it should be possible.

I should add, Hank, that Wimbledon's crucial tying goal against league-leading North Hampton was scored by none other than the Montserratian Messi Lyle Taylor, who's just had a fantastic season for us. So, we are currently in eighth which means that we are missing out on the playoffs but only one point away from fifth. Unfortunately, twelve points away from the automatic promotion spot that is third place. So that's looking unlikely with just thirteen games to go. But hope is the thing with feathers, Hank. Hope is the thing with feathers.

 (44:55) Patreon Notes

H: All right. Well, I've got some notes here. We're gonna put- we're gonna start putting podcast notes up on Dear Hank and- up on the Dear Hank and John Patreon so you will be able to see some of the things we talk about. 

And the thing that I wanted to show you this week in our podcast notes is form Kyla who says, "looks like somebody already beat me to it: So you know that there are feral cows in Hong Kong. However, I bet you didn't know that they enjoy pumpkin spice Cliff Bars. I visited Hong Kong a couple weeks ago and have attached some photos for your enjoyment. The cows are on Ngong Ping island-"

(aside) I don't speak this language.

"-and the cows wander around, but are kept out of the vicinity of the monastery and the big Buddha that they have there. And I may have accidentally led a stampede of feral cows as they followed me looking for more Cliff Bars and petting, but I don't regret it." 

Says Kyla. So we're gonna post some of Kyla's pictures of feral cows in Hong Kong. 

And then, we also have--

J: Hank, can I confirm that you can visit all of that stuff on the Patreon even if you don't support us on Patreon, right?

 (45:57) Question Nine

H: That is absolutely true, which I was going to mention in reference to Tim's question, who says:

"Dear Hank and John, One quick question concerning the podcast: where are we supposed to discuss the podcast. Or, rather, is there a place on the internet where the podcast is discussed and can I join?"

You can. There's conversations going on on the SoundCloud, which is where we post Dear Hank and John on- for internet viewership and it is also- there are conversations happening on the Patreon. Now, you don't have to be a patron to join the conversation on Patreon, and we encourage you to do that. And I hope that there are interesting conversations going on there, which is where we have our podcast notes. And also, you will be able to listen to the podcast there. 

J: Yeah, so basically, if you go to you have the option to support our podcast here and help out Nick, who edits the show, and Claudia, our intern. But you don't really have to. You get ninety-nine percent of the benefits just by going to the webpage. You can see everything. The only thing that you don't have access to is our monthly livestream, which frankly is of exceptionally low quality. Nonetheless, we appreciate all of you support on Patreon. It really helps out with the show. So thank you. But you don't need to support the podcast financially to see all of the stuff that we post on the Dear Hank and John Patreon.

 (47:21) Question Ten

H: All right. And now we have our final question which comes from Shelby:

"Dear Hank and John, Given its varying price points throughout the world, how much in USD would it actually cost to buy the world a coke?"

J: (laughs long and loud) I mean, this is an exceptionally difficult question to answer. So, one of the reasons that this is such a difficult question to answer is that you've gotta count whether or not different municipalities charge extra for you to return the can.

H: (laughs)

J: Like, you get a five cent or ten cent refund, you know.

H: Mhmm. Mhmm. Yeah, and then you've got soda taxes in some places in America. You're not going to get--

J: Yeah.

H: --an exact number. Could we get a--

J: You're not going to get an exact number--

H: Yeah.

J: --but, what I have seen is that there is a website called and it says that the global average price of one can of Coca Cola is two dollars and sixty-five cents--

H: What?!

J: --for twelve ounces. For three hundred and thirty millilitres. I think that this is wrong--

H: I also think that this is wrong.

J: --I'll tell you why I think it is wrong, Hank. You also think that it is wrong?

H: Yeah! Because that's not how much a can of coke costs. 

J: Yeah, I think that it is wrong because it says that in the United States the price is four dollars and twenty three cents. 

H: (laughs)

J: Which seems high.

H: (still laughing) Yeah, that seems pretty wrong. 

J: So I think we've got a lot of like, wrong answers that have messed up My theory is that a can of coke- because, I base this on having travelled to four countries, so this is a very round estimate, okay? But, I just bought a can of Pepsi at the Azraq refugee camp in Jordan. I've purchased a can of coke in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. I've purchased coke in the Dominican Republic, in Mexico, in the United States, in Canada- none of these places, by the way, have Diet Doctor Pepper--

H: (laughs)

J: --except for the United States and Canada. Or else I wouldn't have purchased a coke, believe me. And I'm going to say that the average price of a coke on Earth is seventy-five cents. That is my round guess. Like, it- just buying one coke. Obviously if you buy twelve cokes at a time--

H: Yeah.

J: --you get a bulk discount. But I think the average price for one coke is around seventy-five cents. You think that's too high, Hank?

H: Well, I think if you're going to buy the world a coke, you're gonna get a bulk discount. 

J: Okay, let's assume that we get a bulk discount. Uh, in that case a twelve pack is like three bucks. Aaaand twelve divided by threeeee--

H: Yeah, I'm gonna- I'm gonna say twenty-fi-- I'm gonna say if we are gonna try and buy seven billion cokes, we can get a pretty steep discount. So I'm gonna- I'm gonna say twenty-five cents and I'm gonna say that's high. 

J: Okay, so let's say it's twenty-five cents. There's currently- well what is the world's current population? World's... current population. Uuh, Google says the world's current population is seven point one two five billion. That's a very round number. That's at most correct within the nearest million, but whatever, we're doing our best here. 

So we're gonna say 7.125 billion times point two five. You could buy the world a coke for... my goodness. That is a lot of money. 

H: Around 1.8 billion dollars. 

J: About 1.78 billion dollars will buy you- well, will buy the world a can of coke a piece. 

H: (laughs) However, are we going to say that maybe we don't want to buy cokes for the babies? And we'll leave it at that, John.

J: Do we not, though? Don't- don't we want to buy cokes especially for the babies? 

H: (laughs) I think we should lop off everyone under the age of six. Let's just not- let's just say, leave that up to their parents. 

J: Actually, Hank, there's something that you haven't considered at all. That neither of us have considered, and that I'm not even sure the question considered, which is that if we're going to say "how much would it actually cost to buy the world a coke", why are we limiting the access off coke only to one particular species?

H: It's true, John. It's true. If you gotta buy a coke for every single ant, then you're gonna run out of money real fast. 

J: Well the nice thing about ants, though, is they don't need like one coke a piece, you know. Like, 500 million of them can use one coke.

H: Right, share a coke. Yeah. Yeah, just pour one out on the hill and they'll be like, "that's scary!" and then they'll be like, "no, it's not. Do more. Please, more."

J: And they'll end up like, dying in the syrup of the coke but oh, what a death it shall be.

H: Sounds about right, John.

 Credits (52:20)

J: Alright, Hank, what did we learn today?

H: Oh, gah, we learned that the Coca-cola company will not sponsor us, but not because they don't want to... because we don't want them to because we want Diet Dr. Pepper to sponsor us!

J: That's right, it's Diet Dr. Pepper or nobody! And of course we learned that the Earth is round and that if it weren't, it would become round.

H: [chuckles] We learned that someone once went to jail for making a movie prop that looked too realistic.

J: Actually, I'm not sure they went to jail, that might be like me talking about FDR packing the court but the secret service came calling. And of course we learned that bugs don't die when we flick them because of F equalling ma.

H: That's correct. Thank you John for podcasting with me today, thank you all of you people for listening for this podcast today.

J: Our podcast is edited by Nicholas Jenkins, our intern is Claudia Morales, Rosianna Halse Rojas helps us with the questions, thanks to everyone for listening and as we say-- WAIT. You can email us your questions, please email them to or use the hashtag #dearhankandjohn on twitter where I'm @Johngreen and Hank is @hankgreen. Thanks again for listening, and as we say in our hometown:

Both: Don't forget to be awesome.