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Why do people put up with banana opportunity cost? How do I deal with bird attacks? Chemtrails: what's up with them? And more!

 Intro and corrections (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, we talk about death, we answer your questions, give you dubious advice and bring you all the week's news from both Mars and AFC Wimbledon. John, how are you doing?

J: Well I'm doing-- I'm doing all right. I just learned that Merle Haggard died Hank. As we are recording this I just found out on Twitter about the death of the great country music legend Merle Haggard. Merle Haggard who performed one of my all time favorite country songs, Mama Tried. Whether you know it or not Hank, you've heard that song. Do you know when?

H: Uh yeah, it was at your wedding.

J: It was at my wedding, it was my first dance with my mother after my wedding was Mama Tried. In fact Hank if you don't mind, if I could just jump right into the poem for today. It's just the chorus of Mama Tried which is a 2 minute long song and this is its brilliant chorus: "I turned 21 in prison, doing life without parole, no one could steer me right but Mama tried, Mama tried. Mama tried to raise me better, but her pleading, I denied. That leaves only me to blame cause Mama tried." Mama Tried, the great Merle Haggard song, just a beautiful, beautiful song, and a wonderful song to dance with your mother to at your wedding.

H: That's wonderful John, did you have another poem scheduled that you had to bump?

J: I did, I did, I had a nice Emily Dickinson poem but you know what? There's world enough and time to quote a different poet.

H: It's true, it's true we're going to keep making these. We're going to hit, in not too long, our full year of podcasting, which kind of amazes me, I don't feel like it's been that long and-

J: I think that would be a great time to retire, to announce our unexpected retirement from podding.

H: Well you've ruined it, if it was gonna be unexpected, because we're 10 days early.

J: That's a great point.

H: But, I don't think we are gonna do that. I really like doing this, I really like that we have people listening to us being idiots and thank you all for listening. And it's such a wonderful part of my week 'cause I get to talk to my brother for a full hour. And we probably otherwise wouldn't be having these fun conversations.

J: No it's true, and I also really love it, this is one of the highlights of my week, um, talking to you, hearing from listeners. And it's such a supportive listening community. A lot of times, on the internet these days, it feels like, y'know, things are just so, I dunno. A lot of times, frankly, my life on the internet isn't as fun and carefree as it used to be, partly because my public profile has changed a lot in the last few years and this place remains a place that's very fun and supportive and where we can experiment and make mistakes and we have lovely people to point out our mistakes without being cruel about it.

H: Yeah, for example, all of the people who pointed out that in our last podcast we discussed parsley as if it was flavorless, uh boy, parsley has a lot of defenders.

J: Yes Hank, we were totally wrong about parsley being flavorless.

H: Yeah, mea culpa parsley fans. I apologize for insulting what is your favorite set of leaves.

J: In fact, we didn't just get parsley wrong, Hank, we got a bunch of things wrong.

H: Oh yeah, are we gonna start off the podcast with corrections?

J: Yeah if I could just make one more correction, before we get to some listener questions, somebody pointed out that I said that Boris Johnson is like the Donald Trump of England. In fact this is only true insofar as they physically resemble each other. Boris Johnson is nothing like Donald Trump, y'know, and I want to be very clear about that, lest defenders of Boris Johnson, and they are many, think that they are also defenders of Donald Trump. Or, indeed, defenders of Donald Trump think that they also have to defend Boris Johnson, who at least pays lip service to the idea of a national health service.

Hank: Yes. Right, uh. I know nothing about Boris Johnson, and so have, have nothing to add.

John: My main feeling about Boris Johnson is, uh, that I wish he would say yes to the AFC Wimbledon stadium. I actually have no second thought about his work.

[Hank laughing]

Hank: My only problem with him, with him is th-th-th-this one local zoning issue, ah, and thus I am going to compare him to Donald Trump.

John: It's not a local zoning issue, Hank. It is an issue of, uh, of great import to the future of our civilization, because I would argue that this whole time what we've been doing is trying to create a world in which AFC Wimbledon can go home. Like, the whole time, I mean from 250,000 years ago, from the first humans--

Hank: --that happened--

John: --Building structures with the first tools--

Hank: I apologize.

John: --what they were thinking is some day--

Hank: I'm sorry everyone.

John: --Some day--

Hank: This is my fault.

John: --we will be able to build a new Plough Lane.

 Question One (5:14)

Hank: We have a question, it's from Lydia, who asks, "Dear Hank and John, please help. For the past week, a particularly fierce bird has been dive-bombing my window and ramming into the glass with its beak. How do I stop this persistent fiend from attacking my house? How should I reinforce my window to prevent potential bird invasion?"

John: You know, Hank, in my limited experience with this phenomenon, it's generally a kind of one time thing, which is that the bird hits the window and then the bird falls dead to the ground.

Hank: No, no, no. This is a different thing. That's when a, that's when a bird thinks that it's, ah, that there is nothing there and it's trying to fly through the window.

John: Mmm.

Hank: What is happening in Lydia's case is that your window is slightly reflective, or very reflective depending on how new your house is. And, uh, and, and the bird is seeing in that window a potential rival, and is defending its territory. And, is very upset and stressed out by the fact that this bird is not responding to its defense of its territory, and it will continue to attack your window until the season in which, uh, in which this territoriality, uh, is over. And, that might be just the breeding season of the spring, it might be through the nesting season, it depends on the species of bird. But, if you are having a serious problem with this-- The bird is not going to be able to break your window. Um, but if the bird is injuring itself, which they will do, or if it's keeping you up at night, you can hang like just some, some tarp or like, like painters' tarp, that you can get at the hardware store, over your window temporarily so that it does, no longer is, is afraid of itself. [Hank guffaws] Which is what's happening.

[John laughing]

Hank: I've had this happen to me before, several times. Uh, robins, in particular, do this.

John: It's funny, I'm laughing like birds are so stupid, but of course, like, I am also afraid of myself.

[Hank cackles]

 Question Two (7:05)

John: All right, Hank. We've got another question. This one comes from Liz, who writes, "Dear John and Hank, my best friend is getting married in October, and we were talking about what she'll do if she's in her wedding dress and needs to poop because wedding dresses are tricky to deal with. I have a vested interest in this matter since I'm her maid-of-honor and will probably have to help her with her dress if she does need to poop. So, my question is, is there a healthy-ish way to just not poop for a day?" Liz--

Hank: Well, John and I, we are both experts on this topic.

John: You have come to the right place. This is one of the very few times when Hank and I can provide genuinely non-dubious advice.

Hank: I did, uh, I'll say before we get to our, our areas of expertise, I asked Katherine about this, because I have never worn a wedding dress.

John: Sure.

Hank: And, I was like, "how much of a problem would this be?"

John: Yeah.

Hank: And, Katherine had some very specific answers. She said if, if you're wearing Spanx, uh, that you should be concerned, uh, only if you're wearing the kind that go up around your shoulders, cause, uh, full body Spanx. So you do want to be careful if you're wearing full body Spanx because then you have to take everything off in order to poop.

John: Mhmm.

Hank: But otherwise, you can just lift up the dress and bundle it around your front and hold it in front of you--

John: Yeah, I can picture that.

Hank: And sit down and poop like normal. And you can get help before you go into the bathroom getting the undergarments in order so that no one has to be in the bathroom with you. But I do agree that it would be best if you didn't have to poop. So, John.

John: So here's what I would advise. I would advise the morning of your nuptials -- really even if you're not wearing a wedding dress, just to make it a little less stressful, just to take away one variable -- I would advise taking one capsule of Imodium AD. Just one.

Hank: Yes.

John: One should do.

Hank: Mhmm. Don't overdo it.

John: You may be slightly inconveniencing your future self, but I think it's just great to take half a day off from pooping on your wedding day, I think that's advisable.

Hank: I do this during Vidcon, by the way.

John: Yep.

Hank: And in several other circumstances when you're like, you just don't wanna-- you know, you just don't wanna. So, yes. It is a healthy-ish way to slow down your bowels and that's what it's for.

John: Yeah. Of course, you don't want to be taking lots and lots and lots of Imodium lots and lots of times or you can get something called toxic megacolon.

Hank: Yeah! Toxic megacolon is a real thing! It's a real thing, it's very dangerous.

John: It's a bad way to die.

Hank: And it sounds quite fun, but it's not [John chuckles]

John: Toxic megacolon: it sounds fun, but surprisingly enough, it's not. [Hank giggles] Uh, yeah no, it sounds like a really good hard rock band, but it turns out to be an occasionally fatal, terrible, terrible disease. So don't overdo it, but yeah, that would be my one piece of advice.

 Question Three (10:21)

We have another question Hank, this one is from Harrison who asks, "Dear John and Hank, Do you consider yourselves to be Renaissance men?"

Hank: You know I don't want to bad-mouth Harrison in this circumstance but that is one of the questions that I deleted. And was like 'eh, we'll skip that one.' Cuz--

John: No, you know the reason I wanted to answer it?

Hank: OK

John: When we did the very controversial Crash Course World History episode on the Renaissance, I googled, there's this guy HowJSay, and he says every word in the English language, it's very helpful--

Hank: Oh yeah. No, I love J.

John: for a pronunciation guide. So I looked on HowJSay how you pronounce Renaissance. And he says "Renaissance [American pronunciation] or Renaissance [English pronunciation]" and ever since then whenever I hear the word Renaissance, I insist on saying 'you know Renaissance is also an acceptable pronunciation.' So just the other day Sarah and I were doing a crossword and she was like "do you know a Renaissance [American] painter?" and I said "do you mean a Renaissance [English] painter because I don't really listen to Renaissance [American] anymore."

Hank: [chuckling] Oh my god. Sarah asked you if you knew any Renaissance painters? Because she couldn't come up with any or because she wondered if you did?

John: She mostly studies contemporary art history, I will remind you.

Hank: Oh right, right.

John: She's not an expert in the Renaissance [English].

Hank: I will say, Harrison, the reason that I didn't want to answer this question is because I didn't think there was any chance of me getting out of it without sounding like a douche.

John: Can I give you a piece of advice?

Hank: And yeah, John has just gone and embraced it, just hugged right onto that. Went in a totally different direction of where I would have gone, but also still sounded like a douche.

John: Yeah. My answer is that I do not consider myself a Renaissance man [American]. But I do strongly consider myself a Renaissance man [English].

 Question Four (12:11)

Hank: All right, do you want to do a more serious question John?

John: Yes, desperately. No, I don't. Let's keep it with the silly ones, they're fun and easy.

Hank: OK, well let's do a more serious one. This one's from Patrick who asks, "Dear Hank and John, I'm having trouble in my personal life and require a good source of dubious advice. Back in January my girlfriend walked out on her job for various emotional reasons. Since then, she's moved into my apartment with me, and while that's fine and dandy, I work a minimum wage job and it's hard to make ends meet all by myself. While my girlfriend is looking for a job, I just don't know if she gets how stressed I am about the situation. I've tried telling her multiple times and she keeps telling me that she gets it, but I'm unsure about that. How should I go about telling her in a way that she will get what I'm saying?"

Patrick, I think she gets it. I think probably she gets it.

John: She's just probably also very, very stressed out about it.

Hank: I bet she's pretty freaked out too. A lot of people--

John: So you probably can't-- it's one of those things where you can't really discuss how freaked out you are with each other because doing that freaks you both out further because it calls into question this whole like grounded, central relationship in your lives, and so like that becomes more stressful rather than less stressful. Which is not particularly good advice, just an observation.

Hank: Yes, I will also say that having a girlfriend who has moved in with you and you are paying all of the rent is going to be a source of stress. It's always going to be, unless and until she has a job to help pay the rent.

John: Or if you're married and you feel like it's the relationship that you want to have, the kind of structure of the partnership that you want to have.

Hank: Right, you have to be asking yourself like, every month you are investing a lot of money into this relationship -- this is a terrible way to think about it but bear with me--

John: That is a truly terrible way to think about it. Every month you're investing like $250 into this relationship! I bet that's not the central investment.

Hank: [cackles] But it's something to consider. And to know that that's a psychological thing in your own mind, and that you say it's fine and dandy, but is it though because clearly you're freaking out about it and you're stressed about the situation. So it's worth asking yourself if you're only stressed out because you're having a hard time paying the rent or if you're also stressed out because you feel like you are carrying this burden and it is a very difficult burden to carry, but my guess is that this is a very stressful situation, and there is very little as stressful as money problems in a relationship, and I... I think that it's going to be difficult to be open about it because of how stressful it is.

John: Yeah but at the same time, I do think that like closing down the lines of communication and not being honest about your feelings are probably not going to be particularly productive.

This reminds me in general, Patrick, that Hank and I are much better at addressing whether or not you should take Imodium on your wedding day than we are at giving big life advice. I would say to just try to keep the lines of communication open and try to have productive conversations instead of like, 'I'm really stressed out about this.'

Hank: Yeah. Yeah. And also to know that the emotional reasons that her girlfriend left her job are probably very real and the way that you call them "various emotional reasons" kind of makes me feel like they are super real.

John: Yeah I think that's the other thing, you've gotta have that conversation as well.

 Question Five (16:12)

John: Hank, can we move on to another very serious question?

H: OK John.

J: This question is from Lena and she writes, "Whenever I'm about to sneeze and I realize that I'm wearing my friend's sweatshirt, I feel self-concious about sneezing into it. Is it ok to do that? Will I get my friend sick?" I mean first off--

H: [groans of thought] How often are you wearing your friend's sweatshirt?

J: I mean, I've got to call into question this whole like, "whenever I'm wearing my friend's sweatshirt" clause.

H: Yeah, I mean like, is it really your friend's sweatshirt anymore?

J: Right, I mean once you've worn you friend's sweatshirt three times and your friend hasn't worn it once, it's kind of your sweatshirt.

H: Possession is nine tenths of the law!

J: Let me submit, Lena, that you are in fact sneezing into your sweatshirt that you stole from your friend.

H: [giggles] The other question is, so like are we doing like the vampire sneeze where you sneeze into your elbow pit, is that the idea? Cuz like how else do you sneeze into a sweatshirt? Are you like lifting it up over your mouth?

J: I assume that she's sneezing into her elbow pit because she's a civilized human being who's read the CDC's most recent guidelines on where to sneeze.

H: OK. Well I'm just making sure. It sounds a little like sneezing into, like lifting it up over your mouth and sneezing into your body which is terrifying to me.

J: Well, I mean you want to sneeze anywhere other than into your hand, which is the grossest and most horrifying place you can possibly sneeze.

H: Yes, sneeze on the thing that you then touch everything with, that I also touch everything with! Fantastic!

J: Yeah, sneeze on your touching apparatus. No, first off Lena I want to congratulate you on sneezing into your elbow, that is the correct way of doing it, secondly I don't think you need to worry since this is no longer your friend's sweatshirt, it is clearly yours. Thirdly, you will get your friend sick, but only if they then put their own mouth on that same place in the sweatshirt, and frankly if that's the sort of thing that's happening, I think that this relationship might be more serious than you know. [Hank laughs]

H: It is clearly yours. Thirdly, you will get your friend sick, but only if they then put their own mouth on that same place in the sweatshirt, and frankly, if that's the sort of thing that's happening, I think that this relationship might be more serious than you know.

 Question Six (18:20)

H: All right, John, we've got another question, this one's from Akshata who asks, "Dear Hank and John, You may have seen Minute Physics' video, "Why You Should Care About Nukes," and I wanted to know where nuclear winter falls on John's list of eschatological anxiety.

J: Thank you so much for the question, it's definitely in my top ten list of ways that the human species could come to an end, but it's not near the top, just because I think that while nuclear winter could lead to a dramatic reduction of the population of humans, I think that some humans would survive. It would be like Fallout.

H: Well, yes, but would you be one of the humans that would survive?

J: I mean, just look at me, Hank, do I look like I would survive a nuclear war?

H: No!

J: No, of course not. In any apocalyptic scenario, Hank, I am going to be in the first 5% of people who die. Like, if there is some, like a 1919 style Spanish flu, I'm gonna be like, patient seven.

H: Um, that video that Henry made, I k--for one of the first times ever, found myself kind of disagreeing with the premise in a Minute Physics video, which is that while we probably will not intentionally destroy all of human life with a nuclear winter, we might do it by accident, because we see some sign that someone else is launching nukes at us, and then we will launch nukes at them, and then they will launch nukes at us, and then we will launch nukes at them, and that just--I don't know. I guess I have a little bit more faith in humanity than that.

J: I don't know that I have much more faith in humanity than that. I mean, the issue, I think the--yeah, much more faith in humanity than that. I mean, the issue, I think the--yeah, I think the issue is that if a war that uses nuclear weapons begins, and I will remind you that we are less than one human lifetime into the age of nuclear weapons, that war will likely involve a lot of radioactive fallout, even if it is relatively brief, I think that it would be pretty catastrophic. I don't think that we would be likely to reply to an incoming barrage of 20 nuclear warheads with an outgoing barrage of 200, and I think that's the only way that you really have a sudden apocalyptic event. I don't think that's likely.

H: Oh, we could definitely do that. If we got hit with 20 nukes, we could definitely shoot out 200.

J: Well, we could, I just don't think we would, is what I'm saying.

H: Right, right, you're saying that it's--so an interesting--so, I wanna make sure that all your eschatological anxiety is in order here, so the--interestingly, the fallout isn't necessarily the dangerous part, it's what happens when a large city burns. It's not just the initial explosion, it's also all of the fuel that will burn in the city, and then create--and in all of the cities that, if we are doing a nuclear attack on cities, that's the problem. If we're doing a nuclear attack on like, military installations and on areas where there might be nuclear silos, like, that's a different thing. If we're doing them on cities, first big problem, cities are burning. Second, you create this massive amount of dust that goes into the atmosphere and even in a relatively small level, small scale attack where lots of cities are burning, you see, you know, like, sort of a three year decrease in the temperature of the Earth of like 20 or 30 degrees, which basically means no more food in a lot of places. So that's the concern. It's not the radiation, it's the collapse of agriculture.

J: Okay.

H: And that's something that, by the way, could also happen with a supervolcano relatively easily. I was just reading an article about how most of the mass extinctions that we have on record were caused by super volcanoes, and in a way, super volcanoes are somewhat similar to nuclear winter in the way that they operate and I just wanna say that one of the potential side effects of these large stormy events that have lots of heat on the ground and lots of dust being thrown up in the air, is a thing called a hypercane, and I just like the word hypercane, and I wanna make a SciShow about it.

J: Um, yeah, I mean, after hearing all of that, I think that I'm going to move nuclear winter to the bottom of the top five of my eschatological anxieties instead of the bottom of the top ten. So, congratulations, Minute Physics, you've done it. Also, Ashanta, you've done it as well. I have moved nuclear winter up to fifth in my apocalyptic anxieties.

 Commercial Break (23:25)

That reminds me, Hank, today's podcast is brought to you by nuclear winter. Nuclear winter: one of the ways that we could ensure this podcast doesn't meet its one year anniversary.

H: This podcast is also brought to you by toxic megacolon. You thought that it was a really dope band name. It turns out that it is a serious disease that you need to be careful with, so don't take too much Immodium.

J: And also, today's podcast is brought to you by the Renaissance. The Renaissance, the only proper way to pronounce the Renaissance.

H: And finally, this podcast is brought to you by Lena's friend's sweatshirt. Lena's friend's sweatshirt: actually Lena's sweatshirt.

J: I'm so excited for Lena. She just--she just got a sweatshirt. Like, this whole time, she thought that it was her friend's sweatshirt, but now we've given her permission to just accept that it's hers now.

 Question Seven (24:09)

Alright, Hank, we've got another question, this one comes from Julia, who writes, "Dear John and Hank, Almost every time I leave the house with my mother, she makes a comment about the sky, like, it didn't use to be like this, everyone needs to wake up, the man is trying to control us or the weather. She's kind of obsessed with the man. She is, in general, a smart human, but every time she opens up her mouth and uses the word 'geoengineering' or 'chem-trails' or 'cloud seeding', I wanna roll my eyes so hard. When I googled geothermal engineering and chem-trails, I can't find any legit scientific evidence or studies on it, so I thought, hey, I bet John could pretend to know the answer and then Hank could step in and astound us with his sciency knowledge on the subject, so here I am, asking if there is any relevance at all to my mother's claims. Should I be joining my mom in annoyed rants about the man, or should I just let her spew off her nonsense while I ignore from the passenger's side? Very sorry this question doesn't involve death, I mean, unless geo-engineering is real and the man is trying to kill us all with his chem-trail experiments. Sincerely, longtime fan and creator and gift-er of of the 2011 Swindon Town Swoodilypoopers FA Cup Champions trophy plate."

By the way, Julia, thank you very much for that, it remains one of my all-time favorite gifts.

H: That's pretty great.

J: I'm not even gonna pretend to know the answer to this, because I don't even know what chem-trails and geothermal engineering are.

H: Well, several times you said 'geothermal engineering', when you meant 'geoengineering'. Geothermal engineering is probably the process of building a power plant based on geothermal energy, which is not what we're talking about. Geoengineering--

J: Okay, what's geo-engineering?

H: --would be the process of attempting to engineer the processes of the planet to control them, to control the weather, you know, it's something that people talk about when, you know, we're like, okay, so the globe is warming, how do we, like, can we dial that back, because even if we go like, two degrees up, in the short term, like in 100 years, that's gonna be bad, but in a thousand years, it's gonna be terrible, so how do we like, we have unintentionally controlled the climate, how do we intentionally control it to maybe make it stable again?

And that's a legitimate area of current, sort of, scientific thought, and there are even some times when we are thinking about actually doing things that would affect the climate, so like, whether that's cloud seeding or to reflect sunlight back into the sky--or into space--or various other projects that have been tried in very sort of like, small scale experiments to see if they actually have an effect even locally, or even I think that Russia thought about creating a mirror that would shine light down on Siberia, a mirror in space, that would shine light down on Siberia and like, increase the amount of radiation that that area of the world is getting, which would be, you know, also a way of at least local geo-engineering, but uh, chem-trails are, if you've never heard of a chem-trail, good, but they are the idea that those contrails that you see in the sky when a plane is going overhead, sort of that basically that that--the water vapor being released from the plane and the heat being released from the plane is creating a cloud in the sky, and the idea of a chem-trail is that it's not a cloud, it is in fact, some kind of chemical that people are using--the government is using, to control us or to try and change the weather or to do something generally something insidious. That's not true at all, and a lot of people have gotten really connected with this idea, there's a lot of really, you know, exciting conspiracy theories. They are conspiracy theories. It's not real and those are just clouds that planes make. Clouds that planes make could have an effect on the climate, just by being clouds, but they are made of water vapor, not of anything dangerous, and that's--it's--so that's the situation. Geoengineering is an active area of low level scientific research. Chem-trails do not exist. They are actually just clouds, and--but dealing with someone who believes conspiracy theories, who is important in your life, is always hard and I don't have a ton of advice for that, except to just keep loving them anyway.

J: Yeah, I'm inclined to agree with you, Hank, but mostly I'm just happy that you just talked for so long, because it means that you might talk more than me in this podcast.

 Question Eight (28:35)

I have another question for you, Hank, this is also a kinda Hank-oriented question. It comes from Gerda, or Girda from Sweden. It could also be pronounced Renaissance, I'm not positive. She writes, "Dear John and Hank, If I, as a human female, were pregnant with kittens, would I be pregnant for nine months like a human, or nine weeks, like a cat? P.S. This is rather urgent." So, I don't know why it's urgent, I mean, there's a couple possibilities, one of which is truly alarming, but...

H: Well, yes. One of the potential reasons, yes, I am scared for Gerda. The good news is that it can't be that urgent unless you are nine weeks pregnant with kittens.

J: Yeah, not least because you're about to have some kittens.

H: If you're only three weeks pregnant with kittens, then I'm not super concerned. But if you're nine weeks pregnant with kittens, you do need to go see a doctor now. The situation here is that the pregnancy is determined both by the physiology of the mother and by the child, but you do not want to have any child that is in the womb for longer than it was designed to be in the womb for, so the cats are gonna have to come out even if your body isn't ready for them to come out, which is fine, because we have all kinds of medical procedures that are, you know, not the best thing to have to go through in the world, but we have them and you can get a C-Section and have the cats removed and they will be healthy.

J: Will they? Will they be healthy?

H: Yes. I mean, yes. They will will need to find a nursemaid, a wet nurse, a cat mother, to take care of them, or...that would be the ideal situation, or you could bottle feed them with cat formula, but um, I think it's going to be fine. I do have some questions, though.

J: I have a couple of big concerns, Hank. Number one, if I implanted kitten embryos into a human womb, would I actually get cats?!

H: You would not, no. You would--

J: Oh. Okay. Good. I mean, I was freakin' out for a second there.

H: Just--just we are not similar enough for that to happen, unless Gerda from Sweden has some really interesting physiology.

J: You know what, Hank? I have grown uncomfortable with this question and feel that we should move on, so uh, yeah, I'm calling it.

 Question Nine (31:07)

H: Okay, we've got another question. This one's from Lorelai, John, who asks, "Dear Hank and John." It's a slightly more serious question, so get ready. "Recently, my fiance discovered he has a daughter that he was previously unaware of. Not only did he wait two months to tell me about said daughter, but now he wants to postpone our wedding that I did all the planning for. I'm very conflicted, I'm angry at him for not confiding in me, but also, I want to give him the time and space he needs. My fiance and I have been dancing around each other for literally, like, ten years, and I've been so excited to actually finally get married to him. Now, I feel like everything is falling apart. What should I do? Any dubious advice is welcome."

J: Is this question from a character in the television program The Gilmore Girls?

H: Dangit! I really was hoping that you would answer it! Uhhhh.

J: What a great question. First off, thanks to the Gilmore Girls for writing in, always a pleasure. You know, it's funny, because when you write the plot summary of the Gilmore Girls like that, my--generally, like, my advice would have been, I don't know about you, Hank, but my advice would have been like, I feel like you should probably take ten to twelve steps back.

H: Well, I mean, he was unaware of it, so if it had been, like, if it had been a secret for your entire relationship, then I would say, yes, definitely take ten to twelve steps back, but if he's freaking out and he takes two months to tell you about it after he finds out, I think that that's not cool, but it's like, there is a way of understanding that, like, in a relationship.

J: The main thing--I guess the main thing for me is that it reminds me that real life, both fictional real life and non-fictional real life, are so complicated and particular that really, advice is profoundly dubious. Like, even--

H: Yes, yes.

J: --even advice that advertises itself as dubious like ours is even more dubious than it seems at first glance, because everyone's life is so specific and so particular and we don't know the whole truth of your story, and in fact, like, neither do you, so uh, yeah. Just reminds me that the whole concept of an advice show is ludicrous.

H: Right, well, and also like, it reminds me that I have to say to Gerda, you know, live your life the way you wanna live it, and if you wanna have kittens--

J: Oh my God, we're not going back to the kittens! I refuse!

 Question Ten (33:50)

Let's answer one more question before we get to the all-important news from Mars and AFC Wimbledon, this question, Hank, comes from Wyman. "Dear John and Hank, I am Thai, and here we have more than 20 types of bananas. Bananas are so easy to find here. We grow both intentionally and unintentionally bananas everywhere, even in our own backyards." Stop talking to me about Heaven, Wyman!

"The Cavendish banana is not that popular here. My question is, why is the rest of the world only eating Cavendish bananas when there are several other alternatives which are tastier? On another note, I've seen bananas that are rectangular, triangular, pentagonal [he tries a few pronunciations of pentagonal], and even ones that seem circular."

H: We may have cut this part out, but John just said 'pentagonal', or he almost said 'pentagonal', and I just--I wish that you had kept--

J: I caught myself before I said 'pentagonal'. Good ol'--you know, Hank, things come in multiple shapes, you know? They can be diagonal, they can be triagonal, they can be quadragonal, or they can be pentagonal.

H: I know the answer to this question, if you wanna know.

J: I bet the answer is that Cavendish bananas are heartier and even though they don't taste very good, they're easy to ship.

H: Basically, yeah. Not only are they easy to ship and hearty, they are also easy to ripen on command, so the Cavendish banana, you cna keep unripe for a very long time, and then expose them to a chemical that tells them to ripen and then put them on the shelves in the supermarkets, and that allows for bananas to come from a very long way away and still be always and always not spoiled before they get to the store, which is quite cool. Cavendish, thank you.

J: That is kinda cool.

H: And also, like, I think that the Cavendish banana is quite good. There is something very nice about the simplicity of its flavor and that makes it I think appealing very broadly, whereas other bananas have stronger flavors that are, you know, might be more exciting and but like, maybe not best for breakfast every single morning of your life. But I could be wrong, I haven't had all of these wonderful heavenly bananas that Wyman seems to be constantly exposed to and it makes me very jealous.

J: Hank and I are so old and moderate that we even like our bananas to be pretty standard.

H: It's true!

J: How, like, how old and like, risk-averse are you? Well, I don't want a delicious banana in the morning, that's how risk-averse I am.

H: Yeah, I just sort of want--I want a, you know, normal, plain, what you might call a vanilla banana. Actually, vanilla banana sounds quite good.

J: Yeah, do you have anything that's less tasty, that's what I always say when I call down to room service. I've just, I'm wondering if you could make these eggs a bit blander.

H: Uh, can I tell you a story about room service, John?

J: Yes, but then we have to get to the week's news from Mars and AFC Wimbledon, not least because the Champion's League is about to start.

H: One time, I was in a foreign country and I asked for a Sprite through room service, because I was getting food, and they said, "Lemonade?" and I said, "No, Sprite." And they said, "Okay," and then they brought--and then, what I got was a wine spritzer and I was like, "Well, this is not--this is definitely not Sprite," but what I found out was that in that country, Sprite and other drinks like it, fizzy lemon-lime drinks are called Lemonade and now I know that, whereas in America, lemonade always does not have bubbles.

J: That is correct, lemonade always does not have bubbles.

 News from Mars (37:26)

Hank, is there--did anything interesting happen on the cold, dead rock known as Mars this week?

H: Uh, lots of interesting things happened, and it's always so hard to pick just one by the way, but if--you're aware that Mars has weather, correct, John?

J: Uhhhhhhh. Yes?

H: So Mars has dust storms, it has, you know, poles and like, warmer in the middle and colder at the tops, and all kinds of cool weather things happen on Mars, but they are somewhat more rare than the weather things that happen here on Earth. One of the things that happens are dust devils, and we can see tracks of these dust devils in the pictures that we take. They're very difficult to see, though, the devils themselves, when you're looking from the top. Because they are vertical structures.

But Opportunity, the rover, was just taking a picture and it happened to catch a dust devil as it passed behind it, so you can go and see NASA's photo of this cute little dust devil and Opportunity's rover tracks reaching off in the distance, and I just think that it's so cool to see things happening on the surface of Mars as they happen, and it's so nice to have several concurrent missions happening in the same time on Mars, and I'm excited for more and more of them to be there, sending us these beautiful photos.

J: Okay, we'll try to put that up on the Patreon, you can go to, and you can support us directly and listen to our monthly pre-show livestream and watch it, in fact, since it is a video, but you can also just see stuff at the Patreon, even if you don't contribute, and we won't be mad, we understand, but uh, your support--the people who support us allows us to help defray the costs of Nick and Claudia who work on the podcast, so thank you.

 News from AFC Wimbledon (39:26)

As for the news from AFC Wimbledon, Hank, so you will recall that last week, the news was that we were making an AFC Wimbledon movie, which is very exciting.

H: Yes, that's very exciting.

J: However, you will also recall that I kind of buried the fact that AFC Wimbledon's season more or less ended with a loss to Hartlepool leaving them in tenth place in League Two, in a game that it was widely believed they had to win, and the reason they had to win that game was because they were almost certainly going to lose away at Wycombe [why-come] the next week, or Wycombe [Whickham] or possibly Wycombe [why-comb-bee]. Nobody knows for sure how to pronounce it, as it is a fictional town made up by people who live in England, presumably as a joke. Their mascot seems to be a puffin? Anyway.

They are doing quite well in League Two, and so the thought was that we were going to lose that game away, but instead, AFC Wimbledon won that game, and while they are still in tenth place, they have the proverbial game in hand. They have played one fewer game than the four teams above them, which means that if they were to win that hypothetical game, if, like, if every team won every game between now and the end of the season, which is now just six games away for most teams, seven games away for AFC Wimbledon, then Wimbledon would end up 7th in the table and would indeed go to the playoffs, so hope is once again alive due to two goals from the Montseratian Messi.

That man, Lyle Taylor, the great Lyle Taylor, the Messi from Monserrat, the Christiano Renaldo of Caribbean Islandos, I'm still trying--I'm still working on new nicknames for him, I'm not quite all the way there, but he scored two goals and Wimbledon seem to be getting healthy at the right time, center-back Will Nightingale, one of the best surnames in all of football, is coming back to--from injury. There's a bunch of good things happening, so suddenly, hope, that thing with feathers, that refuses to go away, is back in Wimbledon's lives, and with seven games to go, it's pretty exciting.

H: You know what also is the thing with feathers, John?

J: What?

H: The mascot of the Wycombe [why-come] Wanderers. It used to be either a goose or a duck but definitely not a puffin. Also, possibly, a swan? I'm not sure. Some kind of water bird.

J: Yeah, it's a--you can tell it's a water bird, 'cause I think it has a fish in its mouth.

H: Nope, that's a crown, it's holding a crown in its mouth.

J: The best thing is that it appears to be pooping a necklace. I'm sure Wycombe is a lovely place, but your--the mascot of your football team is a waterfowl pooping a necklace.

H: Not the end of the world.

J: That's not an insult.

H: Worse things have happened.

J: It's just an observation.

 Question Eleven (42:30)

H: Alright, John, for our last question, I'm gonna give you half a question. Are you ready for half a question?

J: Okay.

H: Alright, this is from Matilda, who asks, "Dear Hank and John, Today is the first day when I have caught up with the entire podcast." Thank you, Matilda. "Meaning that I will start listening to My Brother, My Brother, and Me instead of Dear Hank and John while dissecting beetle genitalia now." I loved the beginning of this question so much that I had to read it. The rest of the question is an appeal to us to appreciate pennies more and I have no interest in reading that, sorry, Matilda, there are some things we will never change our mind on, but thank you for writing in some lovely thoughts.

J: You know, I would love to know whether Matilda dissects beetle genitalia for fun or for work or, you know, maybe it's one of those things where your passion and your career happen to line up perfectly.

But uh, I will refuse, I will continue to refuse to say anything positive about the penny, which should never be used ever again as it does not, in any way, facilitate the exchange of goods and services, which is the purpose of currency. Currency has no secondary purpose, it is supposed to make it easier for us to behave in economically rational ways. The penny is a wonderful example of the failure of markets to act in rational ways. And I will not hear any arguments to the counter. It is one of the very few things that I feel so strongly about that I cannot even bring myself to read penny apologists.

 Outro (44:10)

Hank, did we learn today?

H: Oh, gosh, so many things, John.

J: I know, it was really--it was a day of learning. It's so hard to distill it into four things.

H: John, we learned that sometimes a football team can win even when people think that they are going to lose to a goose with a necklace hanging out of its butt.

J: We learned that if you're pregnant with kittens, you shouldn't be pregnant for too long, so I guess that's good news.

H: We learned that there are healthy-ish ways to not poop for a whole day. And also that nuclear winter is scary, at least to John.

J: And, of course, we learned that renaissance can also be pronounced re-NAY-ssance.

H: Or, must also be pronounced re-NAY-ssance, apparently.

J: [laughing] Thanks for listening to our podcast, and for sending in all of your questions. You can send in questions to us at, you can also use the hashtag #dearhankandjohn on Twitter, where I'm @johngreen, Hank is @hankgreen. You can also follow us on Snapchat, Hank I've gotten a little bit into Snapchat recently. Hank is HankGre, I am JohnGreenSnaps, or JohnGreensNaps, really, depending on your worldview. Our podcast is produced and edited by Nicholas Jenkins, our intern is Claudia Morales, Rosianna Halse Rojas helps out with the questions, our theme music is by Gunnarolla. Thank you again for listening and as we say in our hometown...

Both: Don't forget to be awesome.