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Is the Big Bang really a thing? Does the driver or the passenger get to pick the music? What if someone gets pregnant on Mars? And more!

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 (00:00) to (02:00)


Chipmunks: He came from far away, the answer to our dreams. Telling stories of strange places that not many yet have seen.

J: Hank, that is not the usual theme music to Dear Hank and John. Do you know what you just heard?

H: Uh, it was Chipmunks.  

Chipmunks: There's no rock and roll on Mars.  

J: Right now, Hank, you are listening to the dulcet tones of the Chipmunks singing their hit song, "There's No Rock and Roll on Mars." So while we were at NerdCon: Nerdfighteria, we met up with John Harrison, a Nerdfighter who we've known for a while now, and he gave me an LP, Hank, an LP, a vinyl record of the Chipmunks singing hit songs from their television program, including their hit song "There's No Rock and Roll on Mars." 

H: John, when you say "hit song," did this one chart?  I don't -- I feel like I haven't heard this one before.

J: Is it one of the greatest songs ever recorded by the Chipmunks? Yes. Has it been like, culturally acknowledged as one of the greatest Chipmunk songs? Not yet, but that's what this podcast is here to do, Hank. It is here to turn Alvin and the Chipmunks singing "There's No Rock and Roll on Mars" into the hit that it deserves to be. 

H: Yeah, trying to get them the proper credibility. I will say, though, that in the Chipmunks Coloring Book, which I have just found a picture of on deviantart, Alvin, Simon, and Theodore are playing soccer on Mars while singing "There's No Rock and Roll on Mars" because there's no beat among the stars. But they have gone to Mars so they think that it's worth going despite the lack of rock and roll. I am a little bit skeptical of the moon that is the sky in this drawing of the Chipmunks because, uh, there's no moon like that on Mars either, but good try, folks of Chipmunk Coloring Book illustration, good try.

 (02:00) to (04:00)


They seem to be having a very good time.

J: Well, I wanted to thank John for the LP as well as for his friendship and I hope that you're enjoying the pod. Hank, let's start out the proper podcast now, I guess.  

(REAL intro music)

H: Hello and welcome. This is Dear Hank and John.

J: A comedy podcast about death. We're gonna answer your questions, provide you with dubious advice, bring you all the week's news about Mars and AFC Wimbledon, but first, first, I have to read a short poem, Hank, or actually, let's talk about how we're doing. How was NerdCon for you?

H: Right, it was great. My voice is still a little bit raw and hopefully I won't be coughing too much. I sang my soul out of my mouth and it got out for a little bit, but then I got it back because everybody threw it back to me. It crowd-surfed for a while and it was fantastic.

J: It really was magical. It made me so excited for VidCon: Europe in Amsterdam this April and for VidCon this summer and I just, I have to say, Hank, you know, you do a lot of things and sometimes I get overwhelmed with the number of things that you do, because I have to be...

H: Oh, me too.

J: ... I have to be the tail to your comet and even being that can be a little exhausting, but this weekend at NerdCon I was reminded that you and the people you work with just put together amazing experiences and I felt so grateful to be there and I'm very grateful to you and I will stop being sentimental now, but I am really excited to see you again in Amsterdam and then in Anaheim, and presumably maybe we'll hang out at some point not in front of thousands of people. Hank, would you like a short poem for today?

H: Yeah, do it.

J: Oh, one other thing that's going on in my life. As we're recording this, it's Ash Wednesday.  

H: Mm hmm. Sure.

J: It's the beginning of Lent for me and for lots of other people, and I've decided to give up the social internet for Lent, Hank, and so far, it's great. 

H: Yeah! I gave up the social internet for baby and it was all -- it was great, and in fact, just this weekend, like, because there's so much going on in the real life convention, I sort of like, by default, kind of, you know, give up on, you know, like, at least consuming Twitter and stuff.  

 (04:00) to (06:00)

Like, I might be posting tweets just because like, I'm having exceptionally interesting things happen to me, but I don't read them and then like, when I get back into it, I'm like, wow, why was I doing this before? This doesn't -- this isn't better, and suddenly Donald Trump is giving a speech to Congress and I'm like, I don't care! Like, the thing that happened right this moment has absolutely, like, there are so many days that have happened. Why do I care what's happening on this particular day?

J: Well, I don't know how to answer that particular question, Hank, except to say that maybe you should embrace Christianity at least enough to embrace Lent.  

H: I feel like if I was gonna give up something for Lent, it would be maybe a -- I don't know. What would it be? Maybe I should give up...

J: Well, you can think about that while I read you a short poem, if you'd like.

H: Yeah, sure, you go.  

J: All right, Hank, here's your short poem for today. It's just, it's one of my favorites, it's very short, but very beautiful. It goes like this: 

He's traveled near and far, 
Yes, he's come a long, long way,
And if you ask him why he's come here,
This is what he'll say.
There's no rock and roll on Mars.
There's no beat among the stars.
As you can plainly see, the Earth is the place to be
Because there's no rock and roll on Mars.
H: I see. You know, that was a --

J: Oh, God, it's just, you know, it's everything I want a poem to be. It's funny, it's heart-wrenching. It's got it all.

H: I actually, I was totally in and I just thought it was just another poem. It's pretty amazing poetry. I mean, all the hidden gems that are in amongst the works of the Chipmunks, John. Do you wanna ask a question or should I?  

J: Why don't you ask the first question, Hank?

H: This one is from Rachel, who asks, "Dear Hank and John, My friend and I were driving the other day and she, since she was in the passenger seat, she said that she should get the aux cord and play her music. However, I believe that since I am the one who is going through the stressful process of driving, I deserve to listen to the music. Who deserves the aux cord? Please help settle this debate. Of oxen and aux cords, Rachel."

 (06:00) to (08:00)

J: Hmm. It's a tough one. I do think that in general, the driver's needs need to be prioritized.  

H: Right, but at the same time, like, you, Rachel, when you're driving, you shouldn't be trying to figure out what songs are gonna play. Like, if it's just like, your friend is plugging in the thing and...

J: No, but you should be able to say to your friend...

H: Yeah.

J: ...what songs they should play.

H: Well, I feel like maybe it's your iPod, it's a selection of your music, but I don't want you distracted by figuring out what songs to play. I -- but I do think that in general, not only are you driving, it is presumably your vehicle and so your friend is the one, I mean, unless you have a shared vehicle, you -- it's your car. You decide.  

J: Yeah, yeah. 100%. Rachel, it's your iPod that goes into this aux cord or phone or whatever the kids are listening to music on these days, but then your friend gets to pick which songs from your -- oh, wait, no, people don't have songs on their phones anymore now, they just have streaming services, so you'd be opening your friend up to listen to literally anything. They can listen to, as my son likes to, the lesser known hits of the rapper Psy. So I think you have to have veto power over what songs are played. I have to say, Hank, I'm -- part of what makes this question difficult for me is that my children think that they have a right to listen to whatever music they wanna listen to when they're in the car with me and what they wanna listen to almost exclusively is this song by Psy called "Daddy." Are you familiar with it?

H: No, John, I am not familiar with "Daddy."  

J: Okay, so um, it's one of Psy's lesser-known works and it is um, like, it's -- uh, I mean, I know that Psy is a listen to the Pod, so I wanna be clear that I'm a big fan of his work and I'm grateful to him and obviously that song has 240 million listens so somebody likes it.  

 (08:00) to (10:00)

It's horrible and like,  it -- the music video is kind of funny, but I can't watch the music video in the car, I'm just listening to the song over and over and over -- I've probably heard this song, I would low-ball it at 600 billion times. I am responsible for almost all of the listens to "Daddy" that have ever happened in the world and it's -- oh my God. Oh my God. If I -- and they just think, oh, it's our car. But it's not, it's my car.

H: Right, yes. You should definitely, you should definitely, before you let your children in the car, have them sign a piece of paper that says, "This is not my car." Or just have them say it out loud, because I don't know if they can write yet. But just say, "Daddy, this is not my car."  

J: Yeah. Yeah. Alice can't really -- Alice can't really sign her name yet as such, but I mean, in general, they just -- I love my children, but they don't have great taste in music at the moment, which is weird, 'cause like, you would think that since I'm pretty into the Chipmunks that like, we could maybe find some common ground, but somehow, we can't. Hank, we've got another question. This one comes from Ryan, apparently he's a real Ryan, although I have not seen a driver's license, so it's impossible to know for sure, but Ryan writes, "Dear John and Hank, since the universe is expanding, what does that mean for the space that we occupy? Am I getting larger in ways unrelated to weight gain? Why do we not notice that we are all inflating like balloons? Nouns and other nouns, Ryan. Yes, Ryan."  Which sounds like something someone not named Ryan would say, although I'm inclined to believe that this is a Ryan. In the future, if you wanna email us and get your question answered, the first thing you wanna be is a Ryan and you wanna be able to definitely identify yourself as a Ryan in some way that's extremely compelling to us.

 (10:00) to (12:00)

H: Yes. Go ahead and send proof along, that'll be absolutely fine. Now, the question--

J: We got a lot of false Ryans out there.

H: So the situation, John, universe is expanding, but we are not. Is that okay with you?

J: It seems wrong.

H: Do you need it explained more deeply than that?

J: I thought I was part of the universe.

H: You are part of the universe, but the universe is expanding, but the forces that hold atoms together are not changing and so they -- the atoms are held together as tightly and in the same size and all of the other chemical and atomic interactions are happening on a much different scale, and also gravity and also all of these forces. They happen -- those forces stay the same.

J: So the universe is expanding, but individual elements of the universe are not expanding. Are some individual elements of the universe expanding?

H: Uh, well, I mean, basically if something is traveling, like, things that are moving apart from each other, they move differently than they would if the universe weren't expanding because -- goodness. This is above my pay-grade, John. The -- like, like, so galaxies seem to stay the same size pretty much, but super-clusters, which are like, galaxies of galaxies, like big clusters of galaxies, they are expanding a little bit, but they don't expand as much as the universe is because there's gravity holding them together, so it's really the space, like, the space between the galaxies that we can really see expanding because there isn't, there, like, because the things between -- with that stuff in between them are so far apart that they basically don't affect each other anymore and so you can really see the effect of the expansion of the universe.

 (12:00) to (14:00)

But again, not really a thing I know.

J: So one of the things that I like to think about when I really want my head to hurt is that there are a hundred billion stars in our galaxy, the Milky Way, or somewhere around there, and there are at least one hundred billion galaxies in the universe, so like, our neighborhood has a hundred billion stars which is one neighborhood out of one hundred billion neighborhoods, so that makes me feel like, like, like I definitely get how stuff's happening on a few different scales, you know? Like--

H: Well, in general, like, we've realized things about the universe that are like, oh, okay, let's just -- maybe we should just think about what's happening here, because when we look up there, it's like, ohh, wow, that's weird. That's super cool. That is super cool, but I don't wanna think about it too much because it makes me wonder, like, what -- what am I and do I like, wha -- okay.  It's -- that's outside the scale of our ability to really comprehend.

J: Yeah, like, one of the ones that I'm fond of is that it doesn't really do any good to think about what happened before the Big Bang because there was no time, at least as we understand it, so whatever.  

H: It's a -- there was no before the Big Bang, because time started then.

J: Right. That is such a... like, to me, from -- not coming from a science background, coming from like, a humanities background, that's such a cop-out to be like, oh, no, you don't understand, the Big Bang also created time. Well, like, that -- I'm sure that's true, but it's too weird for me to accept.

H: It does really sound like, oh, you wanted to know the answer to this question? Well, that thing doesn't exist. There is no answer to this question, ha ha ha, done.

J: Yeah, it's like the Zen Buddhist masters used to say that there's no answer to the question because it's a question wrongly put. I have a related question though for you Hank, which also might be a question wrongly put for all I know.

 (14:00) to (16:00)

This question comes from Megan who writes, "Dear Green brothers, Recently, in a SciShow video, Hank mentioned the Big Bang in reference to it creating radio-wave interfering waves that still exist to this day. I could have sworn that I read somewhere that the Big Bang was disproven as a possible theory to how our universe and galaxy came to be. I know that for religious reasons, some people don't believe in the Big Bang and perhaps they could have spread this, but I thought it was disproven by scientists. I guess my question would have to be, Big Bang, do you believe it happened and has it been disproven? Simply, Megan."

H: I, uh, well, again, above my pay-grade. There continues to be discussion. We, based on sort of like, what we -- based on the available data, it seems very, very, very likely that the Big Bang was a thing. Like, we can see the evidence of it having happened, we, like, everything is radiating out from like, a central point kind of, and if you trace all that back, then it indeed looks like it traces back to a moment when everything was sort of compressed into an infinitesimally tiny little piece of space and a super , super, super hot piece of space and --

J: Like sexy?

H: Yeah, like very attractive to, uh, to the average human. And, um...

J: Yeah, mm-hmm. Super symmetrical features.

H: So it's-- I don't know where the uh, I mean things happen occasionally where were like, "Oh, we have new data, and it doesn't fit in with the Big Bang, or it even contradicts the Big Bang hypothesis," and then we have to be like, "Okay, what does that mean for the Big Bang? Should we be examining that theory which explains a lot of stuff or should we try and figure out whether this data is wrong or whether this data will add -- adds to our understanding of, y'know, our understanding of cosmology." But, no, it was not disproven. "Do I believe it?" is a weird question.

 (16:00) to (18:00)

I try to think that like, these are the current best explanations we have for the data we have collected and I try to not have that be about belief, but no, it has not been disproven, though it is very difficult to disprove anything. We can say that a lot of the data that we have is explained very well by the idea of the Big Bang.

J: All right, Hank, you wanna ask a question that's not about science?

H: Yeah. Sure. This question comes from Kayla, who asks, "Dear Hank and John, This past year has been particularly rough for me and I've been dealing with some pretty unpleasant bouts of depression. As of about an hour ago, I've booked a plane ticket to spend two weeks in Amsterdam by myself to kind of try and find myself. I've really wanted to go to Amsterdam after hearing John speak so highly of it, so John," this one is for you, "what are the things a person must see and experience in Amsterdam? Also, any tips for a 25 year old woman traveling by herself? Champagne and bitterballs, Kayla."  

J: All right, Kayla, first off, I love the geographical cure as a solution to all problems. It never works but I keep trying it. I've been trying it for most of my life. It's always failed, but I'm gonna keep after it because I believe in the geographical cure. So, Hank, I once went to my somewhat-hometown of Birmingham, Alabama for two weeks. I decided to go there to find myself in my mid-20s during a really bad period of mental health. I was gonna go back to my high school haunts and walk that world and try to work on the story that was Looking for Alaska and et cetera, and so I got a room at the Motel 6 near my old high school for, I think, 13 consecutive nights and do you know what I did?

H: Did you just sit around and watch TV?

J: I did not leave the hotel room for those 13 days. That was a bad strategy, in retrospect, spending 13 days inside of the Motel 6 in Pelham, Alabama did not significantly improve my mental health, so, Kayla, I would encourage you to try not to do that, to try to, before you go, maybe build some kind of social network so there are some people you can meet up with, maybe Nerdfighters that you can meet up with, maybe fellow listeners to the pod, maybe connect to people on the Nerdfighter Discord channel.

 (18:00) to (20:00)

I don't know what the best way is or some other travel forum, because I think if you can meet people or have things that you wanna do that aren't just tourist things, that'll really help get you through the two weeks so that you don't become further and further isolated. There are a few things that I -- even if you're going to VidCon Europe in Amsterdam and you wanna have some fun things to do, there are a few things I really, really love doing in Amsterdam. One is, if you can drink, I highly recommend going to this bar where there are like, 400 different kinds of the Dutch national liquor Jenever.  It's -- I don't know how to pronounce anything in Dutch despite having spent a lot of time there. I think it's called Proeflokaal Wynand Fockink but it doesn't matter, just Google "Dutch Jenever place in Amsterdam" and you'll get there. There's also great museums in Amsterdam, the Anne Frank house obviously, but also the Stedelijk is one of the best contemporary art museums in the world. The Rijksmuseum has an incredible collection of Dutch masters and Renaissance painting. The Central Library in Amsterdam is one of the most architecturally interesting libraries I've ever been in, a wonderful place to write and think and read. They have a pretty good English language section as well, and then I just loved every morning, walking around the Vondelpark, which is like Amsterdam's central park. It is a big open public space full of lots of interesting people-watching, but also, you know, a nice cafe and -- it's just a really cool park so I recommend that, and you can spend all day in Amsterdam if you want, just walking, you know, the canal streets and people-watching and stopping in cafes and enjoying cups of coffee and since it takes 45 minutes for anyone to bring you a check, you would be surprised how quickly you can kill the day just by having one cup of coffee.

 (20:00) to (22:00)

So, those would be my recommendations, but the big thing I would say is --

H: You really do have to flag 'em down. You have to, like, in Europe, if you want to leave a restaurant, you have to be, "Hello, I am over here and I would like to no longer be in your restaurant!" They don't just come to you with the check. It doesn't...

J: Yeah.

H: ...ever happen.

J: At one point during our months in Amsterdam, I did get up at a restaurant, walk up to the front, and do a very ugly-American thing which was saying, "I am going to leave. I would like to pay for my meal, but regardless, I am going to leave."  

H: Very weird.
J: Yeah, I just -- I do wanna just encourage you one more time, Kayla, though to try to make sure that you're creating a situation where you're not going to stay like, inside your hostel for fourteen days feeling really sad because that might not help out, so good luck with your geographical cure. I still believe in it despite all of my failures.

H: Yes, quite. I will add a very small thing which is that I find museums to be terrible unless I do like, a fair amount of research first. I think museums are more or less built for people who know stuff about the thing that is inside of the museum and so when I go to like, when I go to museums of science, I'm just like, "This is the coolest!" and when I go to museums of art, I'm like, this -- I -- my hands feel like they're going to explode because my blood has stopped pumping and my lymph is no longer being pushed around my body because of the sheer crushing weight of not knowing any of the context of any of this stuff and so I have now found that if I can spend like, even a half hour reading about the museum and some of the stuff that's inside of it before going to it, I feel much less like I hate it.

 (22:00) to (24:00)

J: Fair enough.  

H: You got another question or do you want me to hit you with one, John?

J: I mean, I -- there's a huge variety of questions here, Hank. I can ask you a question, you can ask me a question, we can just end the pod, whatever you feel like.

H: Well, we've got another one -- I got another one that -- it's for you, John, but it's about me so I want to ask it. It's from Liesl who asks, "Dear Hank and John, My name is Liesl and I have been a Nerdfighter for nigh on eight or nine years. Big fan of your content. When I get ready in the morning, sometimes I have old Vlogbrothers YouTube videos playing in the background. Recently, two of the videos I watched were Hank giving videos directed towards John's children: "Why is the Sky Blue?" and "How to Be a Baby Properly." Have Henry and Alice seen any of these videos or any Vlogbrothers videos? And John, when will you make a video providing your nephew with arbitrary and probably dubious advice? moooor-morituri te salu-sal-u-tet... Morituri te salutant, Liesl," which, who knows?

J: Do you know what that sign-off means, Hank?

H: Does it mean "remember you must die?"  

J: No, it means "those who are about to die salute you."  It's something that the Roman Legions used to say to their Caesar.  

H: That's good. That's so good.

J: It's pretty good. "Those who are about to die salute you!" Oh, I'll tell you what, the Romans knew so much about how to die dramatically.  

H: 'Cause John, and it works for everybody, because we're all about to die.

J: I know. I actually think "Those who are about to die salute you" is a really great sign off and I would encourage more people to use it. If memento mori doesn't work for you, maybe morituri te salutant will. So, Hank, I do not think I have shown either of those videos to Henry or Alice. They have watched a few Vlogbrothers videos. They aren't super into them. They like watching yours more than they like watching mine, certainly, and maybe if I showed them some kid-friendly Vlogbrothers content they would be into it, but they like their own YouTube, you know, YouTube Kids is its own little world.

 (24:00) to (26:00)

H: Yeah.  Well, I guess I should probably make some animated Minecraft Machinima and be very excited.

J: Oh, I mean, if you wanted to make some, like, Minecraft videos, Henry would watch that all day and I am not exaggerating.

H: Oh, well, I just have to make sure that they are educational as well.

J: Well, that probably will make Henry like them less.  

H: That is the thing about it, isn't it? Indeed.

J: I wanna ask another question, this one comes from Xenia, who asks, "Dear Jonk (sorry, I don't want to have to choose a favorite)" That's a class way of approaching it. "My name is Xenia and I'm 19 and I'm from Germany writing you from India. I just watched the video you uploaded yesterday on February 14th," by the way, never trust that your question will be answered in a timely fashion, "concerning development and how the overall quality of life is increasing rapidly due to international development efforts. I've noticed that we as a society often tend to see ourselves, in my case, Germany or Europe, as the end goal, as if we have all the answers. One idea that was introduced to us today was the model of two dimensional development, which tries to find a balance between the factors we have considered to be important for development and the impact a country has on the environment. My question is: is it not about time that we changed the way we talk about development? How can we consider ourselves to be a developed country when our love for consumption could irreparably destroy the world we all live in? Referring to countries as 'developed' or 'developing' implies that the former have reached the ultimate goal while the latter strive to reach that standard." So I think this is a really interesting question, Hank, and I wanted to ask it because it brings up important points and I do think that there's something deeply wrong with talking about "developed" and '"developing" countries.  Some people have started to use different phrases.

H: Yeah.

 (26:00) to (28:00)

J: Like "rich countries," "poor countries," and "middle income" countries, which also comes with its own set of problems because, you know, it presumes that rich is the only good end, but that said, just as I think we have to be really careful when it comes to not imposing our definitions of success upon other communities, I also think we have to listen to other communities when they talk about the ways in which they want life to change in their communities, and one of the things that -- and so, to me, that is the key to development, is listening, and I think across cultures, one of the things you find consistently is that people don't want their kids to die, that they don't wanna die in childbirth, that they don't want disabling diseases, and that they want their families to have enough food and access to the right nutrients as well as shelter, and that you do find pretty much everywhere. People wanna have long, healthy, productive lives, and they want their kids to have access to education, and so when those are the foci or focuses, I don't actually know which is the right word, of development efforts, I think that they are good and I don't want to tell other people that consumption is only for countries that are currently rich. Instead, I want to create, you know, a world where because we have far more people who are better educated, that means we have far more innovators who can solve big, difficult problems like the problem of energy for instance, and I also don't want to say that only certain kinds of development should be available to other people, you know? Like, I think there is something a little bit wrong and paternalistic about saying, like, oh, only we should be allowed to be disgustingly conspicuous consumers. I think that that's equally problematic.

H: Well, it's not just -- it's not like the conspicuousness of the consumption, I mean, you look back at the history of America and we destroyed our landscape, we have been very inefficient and then we say to other countries, don't do that, don't use the resources on your land, leave them in place.  

 (28:00) to (30:00)

Don't strip mine, don't do all the things -- all the things that we did in order to build our economy, and yes, like, we want to create a world where those things don't happen, but it's also, like, we are literally, right, you and me and most of the people listening to this podcast right now are probably literally sitting upon a thing that was the result of like, of that exploitation, of the natural world and so when I talk about like, the environment and climate change, oftentimes people will be like, well, how can you also be like, in favor of capitalism and it's because like, we, like, there is the environment and then there's humans and I believe that those, both of those things are important and we have to create solutions for human beings who are in terrible situations and who are suffering, and that is important. It is also important that we preserve an environment that will continue to be able to sustain humanity and also preferably other things, well, for their own sake, well into the future and that's hard. That's hard problems to solve and I don't think -- but I don't think that like, we can say like, don't do that without also coming with a solution to help people grow the, you know, the opportunities for them and their children and their families without doing whatever that thing is.

J: Right and I think one of the ways we're gonna find solutions to those problems is that right now, we have not come even close to maximizing the number of potential innovators on Earth among humans because we -- because the vast majority of people don't have access to really good educational opportunities, and so I think with more kids in schools and more kids in school for longer, I think that you can create a virtuous cycle in which some of these energy problems can be, if not solved, then at least mitigated and, you know, that we may look back on this time as the time when we hopefully became highly motivated to solve these energy and consumption problems and also started to have the human resources to solve them.

 (30:00) to (32:00)

H: Yep.

J: But it is very complicated and it is not easy and I think it is important to consider all the things that markets don't do well and one of the things that markets do especially poorly is value natural resources.

H: Well, John, I've got another question, if you think that it's time for that. It's from Elsa who asks, "Dear Hank and John, When they send people to Mars in 2028," or earlier, by the way, Elsa, "Do you think they will only send people of one gender? What would happen if somebody got pregnant on Mars? What would we do? Would the baby be an alien? Would it stay there? Please answer. This can't wait. Space ships and aliens, Elsa."  

J: Elsa, it can wait.

H: It can, it can.

J: It can wait at least 11 years.

H: It cannot wait, and in fact, I believe that there was just a movie about this topic that didn't do particularly well, but yes, we will send people of both genders to Mars. There has been some little bit of discussion about how it would be better to send only women to Mars because they tend to be smaller and thus easier to shoot through space and also they consume fewer calories and you know, all else being equal, it's good to have -- it's good to be shooting less stuff through space than more stuff. So maybe we'll just take a bunch of small people, but um, but we will send both genders because we want to study the effects of space and life on Mars on both genders, because the, like, the big -- one of the big great things about going to Mars is that you can not only have humans on the surface of Mars studying Mars, you can have those people then come home and get studied and you can have them on the surface of Mars studying each other to make sure that we can indeed successfully and healthfully live on the surface of another planet.  

 (32:00) to (34:00)

But I imagine everybody's gonna be on birth control. Yep. That's the end of that question.

J: Would it be hard to -- would it be hard to have a baby on Mars?

H: Uhhh... you know, John, I don't know that it would be any harder to have the baby on Mars, though certainly we have no idea. It would definitely be very, like, problematic and worrying for the development of the baby once its born and I would not want to --

J: Oh, really?

H: -- would not want to do that without, I don't know, without, like, animal testing, frankly.  I -- we have no idea what --

J: So you're saying that Mars is not a good place to raise children?

H: Um, I'm saying Mars is not a good place to have children, and it's not the kind of place to raise your kids. In fact, it's cold as hell, so.

J: Well, that seems to me like a place that I don't wanna go. Why would I wanna go somewhere if it's not even gonna be a good place for my family?

H: Yeah, I mean, it is, like, like --

J: Let's stay here. On Earth.

H: We've never had --

J: Which is a great place to raise children! In fact, it's the best place in the known universe to raise children. By far!

H: We've never -- actually, I don't know if we've done experiments on animals who are pregnant in space, but I bet we have, so write to us about that.

J: Well, I'm about to Google 'pregnant animals in space' and become a expert in this field. Boom. "Space Born Animals Adjust to Gravity" from 2013. Boom. It was a jellyfish. They took jellyfish to space, some of those jellyfish were pregnant, and their jellyfish children were born and raised in zero gravity, and everything worked out better than expected, so we'll be fine.  

 (34:00) to (36:00)

H: I, uh, I think that--

J: You know what they say? What goes for jellyfish always goes for humans.  

H: We've done it with rats, too, but this article's very long and I'm not gonna read it right now.

J: It has a quote from the main scientist, "I was exposed to the space bug and I got it bad." I don't know if that's a reference to like, when they were in space and they had some kind of flu, but it sounds terrible. I want to avoid space bugs at all costs. God, I am so entirely content to stay here on the planet Earth and just explore its majesty. All right, Hank, I've got another question for you. Are you ready?

H: I'm ready.

J: Or are you still reading about pregnant rats? Pregnant space rats! Pregnant space rats is a pretty good name for a band. This question -- should I take it to a real serious place or should I just -- should we just keep going with the current vibe?

H: Well, let's switch it up, John. Switch me hard. Swerve.

J: Okay, we're going to a real serious place. This question comes from Joshua who asks, "Dear John and Hank, You're both married and seem very happy and very much in love with your spouses. I am also married, but I do not love my wife. I don't hate her or anything, I just don't love her. How do I deal with this? Additional details: we have three kids together and I feel resentful of them, almost like it's their fault I don't love my wife, even though I know it isn't. We're just really good roommates at this point. Sorry, I don't have a cool sign-off."  Joshua, I think you might need to go to therapy. I think, like, you should go to therapy because I think probably a lot of what's happening is maybe not about your children or your spouse, but about stuff that's happening with you.

H: I mean, I wouldn't discount also going to therapy with your spouse.

 (36:00) to (38:00)

J: Right, I would do both, if you have to access to good mental healthcare.  

H: Yeah, I mean, the therapist could help you develop a cool sign-off, but I think that there are more substantial worries at this point.

J: I think you've got three problems. The first problem and the one that's probably easiest to solve is the not having a cool sign-off problem, because we've just discovered one...

H: Right, yes.

J: this very episode of Dear Hank and John, so you can just say, "We who are about to die salute you," that's -- that problem is solved. So then we've got these -- we've got two somewhat larger, more complicated problems. The resentfulness toward the kids, which, I mean, everybody feels resentful toward their kids sometimes, but you don't want to not have that like, joy and pleasure in your life, but I also think, yeah, I mean, obviously, do not come to us for psychological help or for counseling. Hank and I are so far outside of the world of relationship experts, it is not even funny. We know absolutely nothing about this. I will say that I don't think that love is some, like, place that you arrive at and never leave. I don't really buy that vision of love, that it's this thing that you're supposed to feel all the time. Like, that -- you know, like, there's -- when I was in my Catholic Engaged Encounter, Hank, before Sarah and I got married, we went on this one week long Catholic Engaged Encounter that despite me hating every second of it, has had a huge and positive influence on my life. When we were on our Catholic Engaged Encounter, they told us that love goes through this cycle of romance, disillusionment, and content, and I've found that very helpful, because when I'm experiencing disillusionment or content, I tend not to think like, oh, well this is forever, I tend to think like, well, here we are in the cycle, and that's been very helpful to me.  

H: Thanks for throwing the swerve in, John. Gotta keep it interesting here on Dear Hank and John.

J: Speaking of the swerve, Hank, that reminds me, today's podcast is brought to you by the swerve. 

 (38:00) to (40:00)

The swerve: a part of the podcast Hank just invented.

H: This podcast is also brought to you by the song "Daddy" by Psy. It's got a real great music video and you wanna hear it over and over and over again in your car's real nice sound system.

J: I really -- actually, I genuinely wish the song "Daddy" by Psy would at least sponsor me so I could get some money out of this horrible, horrible deal I've found myself in. Of course, today's podcast is also sponsored by the geographical cure. The geographical cure: it hasn't worked... yet?

H: But who cares, 'cause you get to go places. This podcast is also brought to you by the Big Bang theory. Not the television show, the actual system for explaining a bunch of data that we have that is the best current explanation that we've come up with.

J: Wouldn't it be great if the Big Bang could actually sponsor us, either the television program or the concept? Wouldn't it be great if we had like, a regular sponsor like Blue Plate or whatever the hell it is that people have the food uncooked come to their house twice a week and then they apply the heat to it? Ahh, maybe someday, Hank, maybe someday.

H: You know what I like? We should make our own one of those and call it "The Food Uncooked."

J: Here's -- we've got an incredible new concept for you. What we do is we send you groceries, we mark them up quite a bit. We send you groceries and then you turn it into food.  

H: Or, or, or, or! It's "The Food Cooked" and it's this local -- okay, here's what it is. It's a building in your town, a place where you can go inside and they will give you cooked food and it's called "The Food Cooked" It's like Blue Apron, but you go to a place instead of it coming to you and the food is already cooked!

J: I have to say, I actually use one of those services, Plated, and it's freakin' amazing. I love Plated, so I shouldn't make too much fun of Blue Apron, 'cause it's not that different, but, man. 


 (40:00) to (42:00)

We use Plated twice a week and it just -- it allows us to have dinner together, to like, make dinner together and eat really good food.

H: STOP, STOP, STOP. Stop, John, stop!  

J: I'm sorry, it is a good experience!

H: Stop it!  Stop it!  Wait until they sponsor us, jeez!

J: Oh, okay, I will. I will wait until they sponsor us. Plated, I await your thousands and thousands of dollars  I was gonna say hundreds, but I'm not selling myself short anymore. Hank, before we get to the news from Mars and AFC Wimbledon, we have some corrections and responses that are very important that we need to discuss. Number one, we received an email from Lang, who is an actual mammoth paleobiologist, we should just...

H: Oh, gosh, the mammoth thing is still happening.  

J: The mammoth thing is still happening. Here's the thing: I said that I was happy I did not live with mammoths because I like being at the top of the food chain. However, mammoths and mastodons were both herbivores, so they would have had no interest in eating me, and I want to apologize to all the mammoths and mastodons out there. I'm not totally sure whether you guys are extinct, actually, but if you aren't, I'm really sorry, because that was an unfair characterization of you.

H: Can we really, really quickly just end all discussion of mammoths and mastodons before we get something else wrong?

J: Great point. Couple responses that we need to get to. Lots of people wrote in to say that capitalism is not objectively better than other systems, which is maybe true. I don't know. All we know is that Hank and I are not economists. Also, also, Lorena wrote in to respond to our statement that the USA is the only really powerful country in which you would want to live and the only really powerful country that you would want to rule the world. She wrote as follows: "You guys answered this question about how the USA is the only powerful country you'd want to live in and I admit that sometimes I forget about how you still have this huge American pride, so suddenly I got a little sad, 'cause I look up to you so much, but I think that the USA is one of the meanest and most annoying countries out there."


 (42:00) to (44:00)

"It helped military governments in Latin America and we still suffer from this. There are more reasons, but that one strikes me the most."

H: Yeah.

J: "I would rather have my country be influenced by Finland, Norway, or Denmark than the USA. Brazilian girl and frustration, Lorena." Lorena, I want to be absolutely clear about something: we would also rather have the world be influenced by Finland, Norway, or Denmark. We just weren't counting Finland, Norway, or Denmark in our category of powerful countries. I think Hank and I were thinking of three countries: China, Russia, and the United States.

H: Yeah, that's correct.

J: Also, you are absolutely right that the United States has been a foreign policy disaster in Latin America for a long time.

H: Yeah.

J: And full stop.

H: Full stop.

J: But yes, please, Norway, become the most powerful country in the world. Start spending 34% of your GDP on defense and please just take us over.  

H: Hey, they've got a pretty good army there in Norway. I think they have compulsory service still. 

J: There's also an email from Madelyn, Hank, that I wanted to get to, because it just has the favorite -- my favorite quote that I've read in many years. She writes, "Dear John and Hank, I'm not seeking dubious advice, but I was just listening to your discussion about how activism can be a frustratingly long process and it made me want to share something I found recently in Olive Shriner's 1911 book Women and Labor." I'm just gonna read you this quote, Hank, because I think it may stick with some of our listeners the way it stuck with me and with Madelyn. "I would like to say to the men and women of the generations which will come after us: you will look back at us with astonishment. You will wonder at passionate struggles that accomplished so little. At the, to you, obvious paths to attain our ends, which we did not take. At the intolerable evils before which it will seem to you we sat down passive. At the great truths staring us in the face, which we failed to see. At the great truths we grasped at but could not get our fingers quite around. You will marvel at the labor that ended in so little. But what you will never know is how it was thinking of you and for you that we struggled as we did and accomplished the little which we have done. That it was in the thought of your larger realization and fuller life that we have found consolation for the futilities of our own. All I aspire to be and was not comforts me." 

 (44:00) to (46:00)

I just thought that was fantastic.  

H: Mm hmm. That's good.

J: That's it, that's all, I just wanted to read that.  Thank you, Madelyn, for sending that in. Thanks to everybody who emailed us and all the things we didn't respond to, I'm so sorry, but we have to get to the news from Mars and AFC Wimbledon.

H: That's right, John. We got some news from Mars, it's a paper published in the journal Nature, and I'm just gonna read you the abstract because that -- because I can, and I know you wanna hear it. "Abstract: A major knowledge gap exists on how eruptive compositions of a single Martian volcano province change over time. Here we seek to fill that gap by assessing the compositional evolution of Elysium, a major Martian volcanic province. A unique geochemical signature overlaps with the southern flows of this volcano which provides the context for this study of variability of Martian magmatism. The southeastern lava fields of Elysium Planetia showed distinct chemistry in the shallow sub-surface, down to several decimeters, relative to the rest of the Martian mid to low latitudes' average crust and flows in the northwest Elysium. By impact crater counting chronology, we estimated the age of the southeastern province to be 0.5 +/- 0.08 ga younger than the northwestern fields. This study of the geochemical and temporal differences between the northwestern and southeastern Elysium lava fields is the first to demonstrate compositional variation within a single volcanic province on Mars. We interpret the geochemical and temporal differences between the southeast and northwest lava fields to be consistent with primary magmatic processes, such as mantle heterogeneity or change in depth of melt formation within the Martian mantle due to crustal loading."


 (46:00) to (48:00)

It's very exciting, John.

J: Oh, that's great. The best part about that is that nobody's gonna hear the news from AFC Wimbledon because everybody turned off the podcast.  

H: Oh man.  

J: What did that -- what did that -- I mean, can you tell me in a sentence what that meant or will it just become more annoying?

H: It basically -- basically means that this one volcanic area of Mars has lava flows from different time periods.

J: Oh. Wow. That is exciting. Well, the most important third-tier soccer team in England, and arguably the world, AFC Wimbledon, so Hank, you'll recall that last week, when we podcast-ed live from Nerdcon: Nerdfighteria, AFC Wimbledon had just defeated Wallsail thanks to a goal from the Messi from Montserrat, Lyle Taylor, and that meant that AFC Wimbledon had climbed up the table a bit closer towards safety. Remember, it's 52 points over the last 20 years, every team with at least 52 points at the end of the season has not been relegated from League One, so that is the -- that is the goal point total at the moment, and that put us on 43 points and then we had an away game against Scunthorpe. Scunthorpe, currently second in the league, very likely to go up to the championship, the second tier of English football, next year, and that away game against Scunthorpe, it -- it looked terrible because not only were we playing a team ranked very highly, also, we were playing a team that generally is very good at home and furthermore, AFC Wimbledon had not won an away game since October.

H: Hmmm.

J:But Hank, hope is the thing with feathers.


 (48:00) to (50:00)

H: And then you lost the game?

J: And AFC Wimbledon emerged 2-1 victors over Scunthorpe!

H: Oh! Good for you, good job with sports.

J: We won a game away from home in 2017. It was -- it was incredible. It was thrilling. It was everything that you could want it to be. AFC Wimbledon went up 1-0, Dom Polion scored a goal and then -- I think he did anyway. And then, and then, he definitely scored the second goal and Scunthorpe scored a goal in like, the 85th minute but it was not enough. AFC Wimbledon, 2-1 victors, suddenly from a nervous-making position, 40 points after 32 games, suddenly AFC Wimbledon are back in 12th place, 46 points after 34 games, now just six points away from that magical number 52 and at this point, honestly, looking up the table more than looking down the table.

H: All right! Look up that table! Just the way that the scientists are looking down on the Elysium Planetia of Mars to determine the geographical and temporal specificities of Martian volcanoes, John.

J: I wanna correct myself, the first goal was scored by Dean Parrett.

H: Oh, thank you, Mr. Parrett.  

J: Thank you, Mr. Parrett. We appreciate your goals, and Hank, thank you for podding with me. It's always a pleasure.

H: Thank youuuu, John, I had a good time and I feel bad for all the things that we didn't get to answer. Dear Hank and John is produced by Rosianna Halse Rojas and Sheridan Gibson. Our editor is Nicholas Jenkins. Victoria Bongiorno is our head of community and communications and our music is by the great Gunnarolla. You can contact us at We are @hankgreen and @johngreen on Twitter, you can use #dearhankandjohn if you would like to send us stuff that way. We're on Patreon at and we are also living on the surface of the best planet on which to raise your children.

J: That's right. Can't beat it.

H: Can't beat it.

J: Thanks for wa -- thanks for watching? Thanks for watching this visually fascinating podcast.

 (50:00) to (50:29)

Thanks for listening and as we say in our hometown, 

Both: Don't forget to be awesome.

There's no rock and roll on Mars
There's no rock and roll on Mars
There's no rock and roll on Mars
There's no rock and roll on Mars