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Why am I afraid of something I know doesn’t exist? Can I avoid scurvy by sticking my arm in a giant vat of orange juice? What is proper etiquette for a cat birthday party? And more!

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[Dear Hank and John intro music plays]

Hank: Hello! And welcome to Dear Hank and John

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

Hank: It's a comedy podcast. It's about death sometimes, in which two of your favorite people in the whole dang world, Hank and John Green, answer your questions, give you dubious advice, and bring you all the week's news from both Mars and AFC Wimbledon. Hey John, how are you doing, you cutie face? 

John: Um. Well that's a first. 

Hank: [laughs] 

John: To be honest with you, I am shaking like a dove giving birth, because I have just done my first interview-

Hank: Oh! 

John: - for Turtles All the Way Down. Like with a journalist who'd read the book-

Hank: Uh huh. 

John: -and I mean, huagh. I am actually shaking, Hank. I- it's so stressful, because you don't want to say anything stupid.

Hank: Mmhmm.

John: And that of course dramatically increases the chances of saying something stupid. 

Hank: Mmhmm.

John: If the whole time you're thinking, "Don't say anything stupid, don't say-", what are you going to do? Of course, you're going to say something stupid. So, I don't know what I said, but now I'm like, running it all back in my mind trying to think about, did I say anything stupid? Ugh, it's just-

Hank: Well, John, man, you got to know that- you should just walk in to the interview and start out with something stupid. Like, just start out real dumb. And then-

John: Yeah, that's- that is not a good strategy.

Hank: And then you're like, "well, I don't have to worry about saying anything stupid! 'Cause I did that already."

John: Have you seen what the internet does to people who say something stupid in interviews? 

Hank: Oh. I see what you mean by stupid. Now I have a different conception of the situation. 

John: Yeah, I don't want to-  just say something silly. 

Hank: In which case, I am now shaking like a dove giving birth for you. 

John: [laughs] 

Hank: I don't really understand the idea of a dove giving birth? But I imagine anything giving birth, you've got to quiver a little bit. 

John: Now that I think about it, doves don't really give birth-

Hank: No.

John: - so much as they give eggs. 

Hank: You know, John, there's a book that I read to Orin frequently, it's called When Animals Kiss- If Animals Kissed Like We Kissed Goodnight. 
John: Uh-huh.

Hank: And there's a line in it that says "mama python and hatchling would kiss waggling round, twirling and twisting like rope loosely wound." And that upsets me, John, because pythons give live birth and don't have hatchlings. So, that book can just go right in the fires of history for all I care. It's scientifically inaccurate! Animals. 

John: Breaking news, Hank Green advocates book burning in recent podcast. [Hank laughs] Pro book burner Hank Green has just said that he wants to burn a book for one small error. 

Hank: I- oh man. My dove quivering has begun. Oh gosh.

John: Breaking news, Hank Green heating oven to Farenheit 451 to burn local book. 

Hank: [laughs] Local book in fear for its life from Hank Green. Local book burner. 

 Question 1 (2:55)


John: Alright Hank, I don't have a short poem for you today. I do have a book of short poem recommendations. It's Counting Descent by Clint Hill Smith. It has really- it's shaken me up in the best way.

Or possibly shook me up in the best way. I don't have a very good grammar. But I do have this question from Clara [CLAY-ra] not Clara [CLAH-ra].

She wrote that her name is pronounced like Clay dash rah, not Clæ dash rah but I actually don't find that helpful.

Hank: Clayra. It's Clayra. 

John: Clara [CLAY-ra] , who writes, "Dear John and Hank, Me and my best friend share a notebook that we pass back and forth and write in. It was my turn with the notebook and I was writing in it on a Greyhound bus-" wait, Hank I forgot to ask how you are. Are you well?

Hank: Oh sure, whatever. Who cares. 

John: You're in the midst of a very interesting event in your life that you can't talk about. 

Hank: Yeah! And I am so like, proud and unabashedly internally proud of my ability to not be like, "I'm working on a really cool thing I can't tell you guys about!" Like, I don't do that, and I never will do that, and I'm upset that you made me just do it. 

John: Well, everybody on the internet is always doing that, and you do heroically avoid it most of the time but I just forced your hand. 

Hank: [laughs]

John: You're really excited about a thing you can't talk about. Let's get back to Clara's question. "We called it-" Uh, ok, alright, right. So she was writing in this on a Greyhound bus. 

Hank: Yeah. 

John: She shares a notebook with her best friend. "When I got off the bus I realized that the notebook was nowhere to be found. We called all the bus stops and everywhere it could possibly be, but we still haven't found it. This notebook has all the details of our entire lives for the last year."

Hank: Hmmmm. 

John: "I fell so bad. How do I tell my friend I lost it? Notebooks and Diaries, Clara." 

Hank: Uh, yeah. You're going to have to get a new friend. Just, this one's over. All the history that you had together, it doesn't even exist anymore.

It's driving around the country perpetually on a Greyhound bus. And you'll never have it again. It's gone.

John: By the way, I think this is a beautiful premise for a novel. And I think it's a real- but I actually have, unlike you properly helpful advice-

Hank: Oh! Ok, Oh!

John: In the form of a personal anecdote.

Hank: Ok. Well maybe it will help me too, to find the laptop that I left on a flight to frickin' Amsterdam that KLM never found. 

John: So Hank, I was recently on a flight back from Venice, Italy, on Delta, my beloved Delta- as you know, I have a long term relationship with an airline. That airline is Delta. I am patiently waiting for them to sponsor me but so far all my love has gotten me is a lot of money spent on Delta. Anyway, I have this hat that I always wear to the Indy 500.

It is an Indycar hat. It is a very important part of my life. I love the hat.

It's the hat that I feel most comfortable in when I'm in public because it's very hard to recognize me in the hat and I just love the hat. It makes me happy. 

Hank: Mmhmm. 

John: And I left the hat in the airport lounge in Venice, Italy and then got on a plane. And the moment I like - the moment the plane took off I leaned forward to Sarah and I said, "Oh my god. I left my hat in the airport lounge. What are we going to do?" And Sarah was like, "Just contact Delta.

They'll be fine. They'll be cool about it." So I did. I mean like, on the plane I used the wireless, flying over the Atlantic Ocean.

Because of course Delta has amazing wireless-

Hank: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

John: -in their transatlantic flights. And they were very helpful, they were like, "We're talking to the people in the lounge. We're going to deal with this, don't panic. It's going to be ok." And I was like, "I know it's just a hat, but it's an incredibly important hat." It's as important to me as Clara's notebook presumably is to her.

And this was what happened, Hank. By the end of the flight, they were like, "we are concerned, because we have looked everywhere in the lounge-"

Hank: Ah!

John: "- and we have not found it."

Hank: [laughs] Oh my god. "We are concerned-" 

John: And that was upsetting to me.

Hank: Yeah.

John: And then I got off the plane, like when we landed, the plane- it was deplaning. And so I stood up and gathered all of my things and realized that I had been sitting on my hat all along.

Hank: Oh my god. Oh wow, you're insufferable. [both laugh] I didn't even see that plot twist coming, John. Oh my god. That's terrible.

I'm ashamed to be your brother. I- 

John: Long story short, Clara, have you looked in your backpack? 

Hank: [laughs] I encourage you to continue looking. I have, literally right next to me on my bookshelf a collection of notes that I sent- that were sent to me, we sent notes back and forth in high school, and I have them right here. Still have them, and sometimes I do take them out and look at them, and they still kind of smell like high school to me. And I do treasure those memories and it is a shame to lose things.

John: [laughing] I don't think you're making Clara fell better at all! You're making her-

Hank: I'm just saying, I'm not-

John: -feel worse!

Hank: Well, I'm not going to tell you that it's not like, it is a terrible thing to lose things but I've also- I lost a computer that had a bunch of baby pictures on it of my baby, that I'll never, presumably never get back. And that is, like, it sucks. But you can be ok, and you can build all those new memories again, from scratch.

John: Not really though. You really can't build them again. Here's the thing Clara, this sucks, but I also think it is an opportunity for a new creative enterprise where you guys try to recreate the previous notebook [Hank laughs] while also creating a new notebook together.

Hank: Ooh, meta.

John: So you both try to recreate your old memories and you try to make new memories. That's my best advice. It is a bad situation, but you are not a bad person, and I think that your friend will understand even though initially she will be bummed out. And somewhere on a Greyhound bus somebody is like, "I can't believe all of the zany adventures that Clara and her best friend have gotten up to." 

Hank: [laughing] I feel like we're not super helpful. This question comes from-

John: Guys, by the way, if you're on a Greyhound bus listening to this right now-

Hank: Yeah. Yeah.

John: -and you happen to notice Clara's diary, get in touch with us. Because we have her email address. Ok.

Hank: Some, yeah. John: Let's move on to another question. 

 Question 2 (9:13)


Hank: This question comes from Emma, who asks, "Dear Hank and John, I have just been invited to a good friend's cat's birthday party? But I have no idea of the proper etiquette for cat birthday parties. What do you do? What do you get for the cat?

Is there a gift? Hank, I understand you have a cat. What do you do for it's birthday?

Help! Kinda crazy for cats, Emma." John, I don't know what my cat's birthday is because it's...

John: A cat. 

Hank: Well,-

John: I can finish that sentence for you. 

Hank: [laughs] Cameo was a stray.

John: Because it's a cat. 

Hank: Cameo was a stray cat.

John: Because nobody knows their cat's birthday.

Hank: That's not true!

John: It's a cat! It's not like a dog. I mean-

Hank: Oh my god!

John: It's a cat.

Hank: Wow. First of all you make, like, the Delta representative's life a fricken' nightmare searching for your hat in the stupid Delta lounge and now you are offending not just me but every cat person. Why are you making-

John: At least I'm not a book burner. 

Hank: -so [laughs] hard to to be your brother. 

John: I'm kidding. Of course every cat owner knows their cat's birthday and has cat birthday parties because that is a totally normal thing to do in the course of a regular human life. Yes. Of course. 

Hank: I mean so I've never been- Cameo's never had a cat birthday because she was a stray and we got her when she was an adult cat. So we don't know what her birthday was, but I definitely- like, if you want to get the cat a gift you're probably going to want to talk to the owner about what kind of cat gift- and I think that would be cute. Like, I don't think that there is any expectation that you would get this cat a gift. But it might be a nice fun thing to do, and if you want to be like, "what's your cat's favorite kind of toy?" or "what's your cat's favorite kind of treat, I just happened to be next to Petsmart and I was thinking maybe I would get it something for it's cat birthday" but, this is just an opportunity for your friends to hang out.

Like, that's all it is. 

John: Right. This is a celebration of friendship and a cat. And so just go and have a good time and don't worry too much about the etiquette. Hank, I have to ask this very important question.

Hank: Ok.

 Question 3 (11:20)


John: It's from Nat, who writes, "Dear Brothers Green, recently I had one of those moments where I was suddenly confused by a phrase that I've heard a lot but never properly thought about. What do we mean when we say something can be seen from space? When talking about the great wall of China or the pyramids, we sometimes hear that they are visible from space. But where in space [Hank laughs] does that mean?

From the ISS? If so, with the naked eye or with a big telephoto lens? Photos on Google Earth are taken from space but they can show, like, license plates.

Thanks preemptively for helping me make sense of this, Nat."

Hank: [laughing] I love it- yeah, so yes. There are definitely places in space where you can't even see the earth. Like the majority, the vast majority of space.

John: Almost all of space. The whole earth is not visible.

Hank: The Sun isn't visible. The Milky Way galaxy isn't visible. 

John: Great point, Hank. 

Hank: So that's a good point. But where does space start? There's a place, it's 100 kilometers up, we've defined it arbitrarily, it's called the Kármán line. So I guess it means if you can see it from the Kármán line. 

John: Right. 

Hank: Then you can see it from space. And I don't know how high the ISS is, but it's not super high. So that's sort of generally also like, where the space shuttle is, where the ISS is, if you can see it from there that's mostly what they're talking about, because that's where most of the eyeballs have been in space is at the ISS. 

John: Speaking of which, by the way, according to the internet, the great wall of China is just barely visible from low Earth orbit and cannot be seen from the Moon. But many man-made objects can be seen clearly from low Earth orbit without magnification including some dams and city lights and stuff.

Hank: Yeah. Yeah, it is interesting that the great wall of China for a long time was thought to be the only object you could see from space that was made by man, but then it turned out that you couldn't really see it and that there were a bunch of others that you could. 

John: Right. For instance you can see the Bingham Canyon mine, an open pit copper mine.

Hank: Oh, you sure can, yeah. That's a big- I wouldn't necessarily call that a structure so much as the opposite of a structure.[laughs] Destructured.

John: It's a hole. 

Hank: Yeah. There's some pretty big holes, John. We have made some pretty big holes. 

John: I mean, if there's one thing that human beings are good at, it is moving earth. 

Hank: Yeah. Yeah, do you want to know- I don't know where I have told this story. I think I made a Youtube video about it once. That- yeah that's what it was.

There was a test question and it was like a geography test for maybe elementary school and it said "what is the most powerful force on Earth?" and I think that the teacher was looking for maybe water, which shapes a great deal of the surface of the earth. But the person- the student had written "love". John: Mmmhmm.  Hank: Which I then went on to argue that probably, in fact, love being the thing that has created so many humans in both a metaphorical and a rather physical sense, that maybe love is the most powerful force on Earth, considering how fast people are affecting it.

 Question 4 (14:30)


Hank: This questions comes from Julio, who asks, "Dear Hank and John, I have a question for you brought all the way from Guatemala by the magic of the internet. I'm taking a medicine that is only applied on the skin and my body absorbs it. I don't have to take any actual medicine or put it anywhere inside my body, just on the skin, and that made me wonder: if I stick my arm into a jar of orange juice, will I get all the vitamin C I need? Thank you, arm in orange juice, Julio."

John: Now that's a great question. Hank, can I avoid scurvy just by sticking my arm in a giant vat of orange juice? 

Hank: I don't know! I bet- you definitely could if you, like, stuck your eyeballs into it. [laughs] Which on second thought is not a great idea. 

John: If I like opened up my eyes inside -

Hank: Yeah-

John: - a gigantic pool of orange juice and just let the vitamin C seep in?

Hank: Yeah you'd probably get enough vitamin C doing that. I don't know if you'd absorb enough of it through your skin. There's different kinds of compounds that absorb more readily through the skin-

John: Mmmhmm.

Hank: And I don't know if vitamin C- I think it's ascorbic acid? Probably wouldn't be one of those, but, you know, anything is going to go through in some small amount. 

John: Wait. Are you saying that the skin is like a total- I was thinking about this because I used to wear a nicotine patch back -

Hank: Mmhmm.

John: -back in the days when I was trying to quit smoking, before I discovered the magic of Nicorette and went on to chew Nicorette for seven. Long. Years. Before finally quitting Nicorette. 

Hank: [laughs]

John: Anyway. I was thinking about that-

Hank: At least all that happened before vaping, John, and you didn't have to do that instead. 

John: That's true. That's true. So, I was thinking about it because the idea that my skin is not an impermeable sort of structure that protects me from the world is deeply upsetting to me. 

Hank: Yeah.

John: Like, there's something horrifying about knowing that, like, medicine can seep in through my skin because that means other things can too. 

Hank: Yeah, I mean it does seem like there's this definite barrier between the outside and the inside, and your skin is considered by some to be the largest and most important organ in your immune system. It is like- obviously without your skin you are much more prone to infection. But you know, molecules are very small. They're much smaller than bacteria for example and, you know, ascorbic acid is a very small molecule, but there's certain things like how hydrophobic something is or how hydrophilic something is that can affect how easily- and also how big, how large the molecule is- that can affect how easily it goes through the skin.

But that's the nice thing is to remember that the size of a molecule and the size of a bacteria are on completely different scales. So, like, having a poison or a medicine go into your body through your skin is very different from having some foreign invader do it. Which really does need a chink in the armor there. 

John: So you're saying that my skin will at least keep the bacteria away from my body, even though my body is still crawling with bacteria literally and figuratively. 

Hank: Yeah, on all the parts that are covered in skin, yes. 

John: Great. Wonderful. Thanks for reminding me about all the parts that aren't covered in skin. [Hank laughs] Hank, before we get to another question from our listeners, we have to quickly pause- Hank: Oh.

 Response 1 (17:58)


John: -to say that we have received the most extraordinary email response I think we've ever received in the history of this program. It came from Bree, who wrote, "Dear John and Hank, Recently a person named Bree sent in a question with a signoff that was something to the effect of 'completely lacking a signoff.' As a Bree, I just want to let this Bree and all Brees out there know that there is a best signoff for us. It is 'Float like a butterfly, sting like a Bree.' Hope this helps. Float like a butterfly, sting like a, Bree." 

Hank: [laughs]

John: Good holy god, Hank.

Hank: Yeah! Aw man. Can we like-

John: I cannot believe that I missed the opportunity to name Alice Bree. 

Hank: Yep. Well the question is-

John: I am riddled with regrets. 

Hank: Like, Bree is a good one, like, there are opportunities there. There are, you know, there are Bree rhymes. But I'm wondering like, how many name-specific signoffs we can get. I wouldn't mind if we had a section on next week's podcast that were like, that, but with other names.

And they-

John: Right, this week in name-specific signoffs. 

Hank: Yes. Exactly.

John: That's a great idea. 

Hank: So if you - so we're at hankandjohn@gmail.com if you have anything occur to you that you would like to send to us to share, because I really do like this trend. This next question-

John: I love the idea - I want a name-specific signoff, and I don't have a good one. Sometimes when people ask me how to spell my name I always say, "Green like the color, John like the Baptist." That's something. [Hank laughs] But it's not as good as a name specific signoff. 

Hank: No, yeah.

John: Alright. What's our next question?

 Question 5 (19:44)


Hank: It comes from Cassidy, who asks, "Dear Hank and John, I was drinking a glass of wine tonight, and I soon noticed that a tiny little bug guy was swimming around in my glass. Which was mostly just rude, but I'm sure he didn't intend to ruin my drink. My question is, do bugs get drunk? Or rather, what does alcohol do to bugs?

Is it like the best day of their short lives or are they totally unaffected. Please help me because I would like to know if that bug was numbed at all when I poured him down the drain. Bugs and booze, Cassidy." 

John:  [pauses] Yes. 

Hank: Yes. 

John: That is my guess. My guess is that bugs do get drunk.

Hank: Bugs do get drunk! They've done some research on this. They did some bee research where they exposed bees to ethanol and saw that their behavior was affected. It wasn't necessarily the kinds of things you might expect- they weren't like, extra gregarious or- they just did less, mostly.

They did less of everything. [laughs] They were just lazier bees.

John: Oh man. 

Hank: But yeah. So it does appear that bugs get drunk and probably- so these bees were exposed to like 2.5 percent ethanol which is a lot less than is in wine. So there's a really good chance that your fly was pretty wasted by the time he hit the drain. So he may not have even been able to have survived that level of alcohol poisoning.

So you basically, you know, did him a favor, except that probably he just died of alcohol poisoning in the drain. It's not like just being inside of a drain immediately kills you. Unless there's a garbage disposal down there.

I don't know how you did it. 

John: What a way to go. Just died of alcohol poisoning in the drain of Cassidy's sink. What a good life.

Hank: Yeah. 

John: That's how we all- we should all be so lucky, Hank, as to die like that bug did. 

Hank: Oh, no. That's- I want to die not in a drain and not of alcohol poisoning. Those are two- those are my two requests today. 

John: Oh man, I've got so many more requests for how I don't want to die. [Hank laughs] I've got a- sometime I should introduce you to my top ten list of how I don't want to die. Except that I know that if I do that- I'm too superstitious because I know that if I do that then I'm going to be stuck with one of those deaths. And then when like the Indianapolis Star publishes my obituary they'll be like, "he died in a drain of alcohol poisoning just as he begged not to in episode 108 of Dear Hank and John

Hank: [laughing] Yeah. Oh, I actually recently read a story that was exactly that, like a person who said that they didn't want to die in a certain way at a certain age, and they died that way at that age. And it was a bummer.

John: Yeah, no. I, yeah. Aah. I'm going to say it again, in the hopes that I can bend the universe to my will.

I want my last words to be "This sure has been an amazing 145 years of perfect health."  Hank: [laughs]

 Question 6 (22:35)


John: Alright Hank, this next question comes from Ryan who writes, "Dear John and Hank, when I was a kid I was made to be ashamed of liking so-called girly stuff. I've always been big and tall and masculine and I've lived with the expectations that apply to so many men growing up in the 1980s and 1990s. The thing is, I've been able to abandon most of my preconceptions and ignorance over time, and I've worked hard to provide a judgement-free environment for my son in this regard. But I can't get past my own shame for liking girly music.

I don't even believe in the idea of girly. So why is it that when I'm blasting Melanie Martinez in my car I turn the volume down at stoplights. [Hank laughs] Why am I afraid of something that I know doesn't exist. Am I hopelessly doomed to live with the ghosts of homophobia?

Any help would be appreciated. Still trying to figure this part out, Ryan. P.

S. Love the show. You guys have played a big part of my re-education.

I'm very grateful. Give a hug to all the folks who work behind the scenes for me. Thanks again-"

Hank: Aww

John: "- and sorry for lying about my name."

Hank: Oh! Ryan. Ahhh.

John: Ryan! You're better than that.

Hank: Ryan. 

John: You're better than that, Ryan.

Hank: But that was a very nice little message there. That's very sweet to think about all the people who work behind the scenes. 

John: It's very nice. 

Hank: They are great people.

John: I also want to say that "why am I afraid of something that I know doesn't exist" is one of the great questions we have ever been asked, and I do not think we will be able to approach an answer today, Ryan, but that is a beautiful question that I would not mind having tattooed on the inside of my wrist. 

Hank: Yeah. Pulling up at a stoplight is a really weird interaction. Where you, like, know the person next to you is there and they know you're there but you're in your own sort of separate private box spaces. And I feel like sort of separate- like sort of different about it when I'm on a bike.

If I'm on a bike and I pull up next to a car at a stoplight, I'm kind of like, "Hey, I'm basically in your car now." Like, I'm just standing here next to your car, and your window is open, and so it's kind of weird for me not to recognize that you're there, but if I'm in a car, like, we're in our own worlds. And if my world starts to encroach on your world, I feel kind of weird about it. And I used to do this intentionally.

I used to like, sing really loud or play drums load on the dashboard so that the people in the car next to me would see me and I could like, perform for them a little bit, 'cause John, I don't know if you know this, but I a little bit like the attention. And -

John: It is true.

Hank: -as a younger man, liked it more than I even do now. 

John: Very true. Deeply true. I think that when you're pulling up to a stoplight you're afraid of somebody- you're afraid of a stranger's judgment. But I turn down- I always think, like I'm going to keep listening to this music really loudly because I want people to know what good taste in music I have.

But when the moment actually comes, I always find myself turning down the music, even if I'm super pleased with it, because I don't want -

Hank: Mmhmm.

John: - to make it weird for them. I don't want to make, like, their car trip about me. So maybe that's what you're doing, rather than turning it down just out of fear of judgment, maybe there's also an element of "I don't want to make this other person's-"

Hank: Right.

John: "- time in their car about what music I'm listening to."

Hank: Like the opposite of what I was doing, which was very much like, "I am now going to make your private moment about me."

John: Right.

Hank: "Look at me, car person." Which I think maybe is not the worst thing to do because for the most part people are alone in their cars, and maybe they're having some good thoughts, but maybe just have a little bit of a thing for them to experience and be like, "I saw this dumb child driving a Volvo 240 today" and they can tell their family about it. 

John: Right. Maybe.

Hank: But I'm totally in favor of the sort of adrenaline rush of jumping into, like, really loving something in front of a stranger. And that's always going to be a little bit scary but I think that it is something that I would like to see more of. I would like to see more people loving things in front of me. And so like-

John: That, I mean that's - that can be taken out of context so much easier than what you said about book burning.   

Hank: [laughs] I'm-

John: And it's so much more disturbing.

Hank: I'm terrible-

John: I don't even know how to process it. 

Hank: I'm so bad- I'm so bad at interviews. Like, people ask-

John: Oh my god-

Hank: Yeah.

John: Oh wow.

Hank: I'm so bad. I-

John: To get to the question though, I mean I think- I mean to get to the heart of the question- it takes a long time to get past notions that you grow up with. Like, it takes a really- like, I was told when I was a kid that I was girly because I liked reading The Babysitters Club and I still feel like The Babysitters Club was for girls. Even though I liked it. It's really, really hard to get past those entrenched notions that the culture gives you because they're so powerful. 

Hank: Mmhmm.

John: And you're right that they're not really real, but they also are real, because even though they're constructed they're still real and they're powerful. But I think being conscious of it is a huge, like, that's the big first step. And then the second step is slowly dismantling it over time within yourself. But it's work, and it takes time, I think. 

 Sponsors (28:02)


Hank: This podcast of course, it's a good time to mention, is brought to you by slowly dismantling cultural preconceptions over time inside yourself. Slowly dismantling cultural preconceptions within yourself! Hard, time consuming, but recommended.

John: Man, it would be great if ideas like that, Hank, could actually sponsor podcasts. Maybe in the future. Today's podcast is also brought to you by cat birthdays. Cat birthdays!

John supports them and he apologizes for whatever he said that offended cat people. I love cat people. Please buy Turtles All the Way Down available at probablysignedturtles.com right now. 

Hank: This podcast additionally is brought to you by quivering doves. Quivering doves! Apparently they give live birth?

John: [laughing] I got that line from my friend M. T. Anderson. [Hank laughs] And I don't know, when he says it, it's so extremely compelling, but then when I say it, I just sound kind of like a doofus. 

Hank: I assumed- 

John: Just says things like that in life.

Hank: I assumed it was like Emily Dickinson or something, it was so lovely. 

John: I know, well that's how- that's how M. T. Anderson speaks. He speaks constantly as if he is inside of an Emily Dickinson poem.

He's one of the most eloquent people I have ever encountered. Hank!

Hank: Yes. 

John: We also have an actual sponsor today. 

Hank: We do!

John: It's Hover. Hover! And I wanted to ask you if you remember your first ever, like, website that was yours. Your first ever personal site. 

Hank: I mean, I had- so back in the day, it was much harder to get domain names, and so my first thing was on the- what was it called? Back when- back before AOL existed, even. I guess AOL existed, but there were like local companies that provided access to the internet. And-

John: Right.

Hank: So we had one of those and they let you put stuff on their server at like, it was iag.net. It was the internet access group, was the one in Orlando. And then they had like a slash, and then there was, you could put in your own little name there. And that is where I had my Mars website, when I first had my Mars website.

It was like iag.net slash tilda crs, which was our dad's username, slash Mars, was where I had my first ever website.

John: It was a great website. I remember, it was devoted to the idea that we should explore Mars. And people took you totally seriously even though you were like a 13 year old kid. 

Hank: Well that was - yeah.

John: Which is one of the magical things about the internet to me is that it has that great democratizing force. I also had a website where I wrote- like, on that server- where I wrote little pieces, humor pieces I guess, and it was called "Johnny Saw Me Naked"-

Hank: Yeah! I remember Johnny Saw Me Naked. [John laughs] Ah, that was good. 

John: So, anyway, we bring that up because Hover does for people and for the internet what we had in our first websites way back in the day. It lets you create a space that's for you and that isn't controlled by any other social media but that is reflective of you and you can use any of the classic domain names, because now you don't have to use iag.net! You can use any .com or .net or they've also got, you know, everything from .design to .pizza. 

Hank: [laughing] That's good.

John: And if you use our promo code you can get 10 percent off of your first Hover purchase by going either to hover.com/dearjohn or, presumably, to hover.com slash something else, but we don't have to talk about that. 

Hank: [laughing] At hover.com/dearhank you can find your own place, that's your place that you control that, you know, find your domain name that is what you want it to be and isn't one of the many things that is kind of weirdly, I feel like, controlled externally. And I really like having a hankgreen.com. Having a place where it's me and mine. And I can always know that I can control that.

And that can be mine if I need it. 

John: That's right. Alright, so thank you to hover.com for sponsoring today's video, again that's hover.com/dearjohn. That is the best way to get 10 percent off of your first purchase and find a domain that names your passion.

 Question 7 (32:20)


John: Alright Hank, let's answer one more question from our listeners. We've got to get to this one, it's important. This question comes from Alejandro, who writes, "Dear John and Hank, I'm a 17 year old undocumented immigrant in need of dubious advice. Last week I lost my job for the second time this year due to my legal status.

I dropped out of my high school at the end of my junior year because my parents wanted me out of the house by the end of the summer, which is fast approaching. Today I found out my DACA application was denied, and I am headed to the hospital to check on my 16 year old brother who has leukemia. In short, my life is a mess.

I'm also a photographer, and I'm rather successful in the small city I live in. Photography is my passion and I surround myself with creative individuals who share the same interests as I do. My life outside of work and home is enjoyable.

But my problems in life seem to surround two very specific parts of who I am. I'm gay, which is why my parents are kicking me out of the house, and I'm an immigrant, which is why I can't hold on to a job for more than a couple months. My question is, how can I feel like I'm more than that?

I know that being gay and an immigrant are both challenges in my life I will learn from, but my life revolves so heavily around these two topics that I can't help but feel that they are all that I am. Any dubious advice is appreciated. Dum spiro spero, Alejandro." 

Hank: I- so I felt pretty unqualified to answer this question, so I reached out to my friend Julian who is an undocumented immigrant but has his DACA. And he had a lot of really smart and interesting things to say. One, of course, is just in general to be informed about your status as an immigrant in America, and there's a website at informedimmigrant.com which is a good place to go. And I may send Alejandro Julian's whole response, which is very nice and long and detailed, and also includes stuff about how there are ways to work in America, especially if you are, you know, semi successful in a creative endeavor like photography.

If you start your own LLC then there are opportunities for you to basically work for yourself legally. But I think that this is a really wonderful point about identity, that like, when something is affecting you negatively, like statuses that you have or identities that you have, they can sort of take over who you are and sometimes that's really uncomfortable and you just don't want that. And my advice, and also Julian's advice is to look for other identities that you can, and you know, and like, not to say that you shouldn't be proud and excited and love these parts of your identity, but also look at your other identities, like your identity as a photographer and your identity as a fan of, you know, I assume, of this podcast, or other things that you love.

And look for communities where- that surround themselves with those kinds of things. 

John: Yeah, I think that's all really good advice, Hank. The main reason I wanted to share this question is to remind people who aren't going through this experience that there are lots of people in the US who are, and that their lives are valuable and we are lucky to have them in this country.

Hank: Mmhmm. 

John: And that is all.

Hank: Yeah. Thank you John, and thank you Alejandro for writing in, and best of luck, and I'll get you in touch with Julian. He has some good thoughts and ideas that hopefully will be helpful. And he suggested- he asked me to get the two of you in touch. 

 Question 8 (35:51)


Hank: This next and I think last question comes from Natalie, who asks, "Dear Hank and John, I was making toaster waffles just now and when they were finished, I sat down to eat my meal with the mess still laid out on the counter. My brother came back and made himself some waffles. Then he left everything out and never came back to clean up the mess. Who should have to clean it up?

The person who first made the mess, or the person who was last with the waffles. Keep in mind, petty sibling feuds are a real thing, so compromise probably isn't an option. Natalie."

John: Well, Hank, I think we're both going to have the same answer to this question, and so it's not going to be a really interesting debate, but the answer, of course, is that we don't have enough information to answer the question, because we don't know if Natalie is an older sibling or a younger sibling, [Hank laughs] and the answer is that the younger sibling has to clean up the waffle crap. Everybody knows that. 

Hank: I mean, so I shared this question with Katherine last night, and she said to me, "I'll tell you who doesn't clean up the mess is your mom, so don't you dare let this get in the way of your mom still after all these years still having to deal with your bull."

John: That's right, Natalie. 

Hank: Just figure it out. 

John: That's right, Natalie. Figure it out. Don't make your parents do it. That's the only thing we're sure of.

No, I think that the person who last used the waffles has to clean it up, although I would-

Hank: I also feel that way! 

John: I would wonder, Natalie-

Hank: I also, like- 

John: Why didn't you clean it up in the first place, thereby preventing your brother from using waffles at all? That would have been really brilliant. 

Hank: [laugh] I do, like I have this thing and I think it's- I can't be the only one where like, I've left out some stuff, and someone else comes in and uses it and I'm like, "Yeaaaaahhh! I don't have to- that's no longer my responsibility!"

John: Yeah.

Hank: "You would have got that stuff out anyway and made that mess, so now this just worked out perfectly for me." 

John: Yeah, I totally agree. So that's settled. You know what is not settled, Hank?  Hank: What?

 News from Mars and AFC Wimbledon (37:50)


John: The AFC Wimbledon situation.  Hank: Mmm. What's up?

John: It's not good! It's not good!

Hank: Ohh gosh, I'm sorry.

John: It's not good! It's been a very bad-

Hank: Oh no.

John: It's been a very bad start to the season. Two games played. One goal. One point.

Now, that is enough to currently have kept AFC Wimbledon out of the relegation zone. Because there are one, two, three, four, five teams that have played two and lost two. One of whom is the franchise currently plying its trade in Milton Keynes.

So [Hank laughs] I guess that's good news. However, the Dons lost to Shrewsbury over the weekend and it was by all accounts not a particularly inspiring performance. I was not able to watch it because I have not gotten the video thing that you can now sign on for, to work, but I will give you an update when I do get it to work. [Hank laughs] I've heard that it's working for other people, so that's good.

But yeah, it was not a good game by all accounts. Shrewsbury almost scored a number of times but goalkeeper George Long did a good job of keeping the ball out of the net except for that one time and it was a one - nil draw. I think of greater concern is that fact that if you count-

Hank: Wait, what's a one - nil draw, John?

John: Oh sorry. A one - nil loss.

Hank: I was paying attention!

John: A one - nil loss. Good job paying attention, I was testing you.

Hank: Ok.

John: I think of greater concern going into the rest of the season is that if you go back to last season- I think in the last 800 or so minutes of League One action for AFC Wimbledon, we've scored just the once. 

Hank: Hmmmm.

John: Which is not a great - it's not great. It's not great. So hopefully things will turn around a little bit. 

Hank: Yeah did they- did they like shrink down the goal or something? What's happened? Did Lyle Taylor's foot fall off? Is there an issue?

John: [sighs] Well, we lost arguably our best striker from last season, Tom Elliott. I don't know. It's hard to know. Lyle Taylor came on as a substitute in the game against Shrewsbury and did have a pretty positive impact it sounds like but it- ah, it's hard to score goals in soccer, but it shouldn't be this hard.

So yeah, that's the update. What's the new from Mars?

Hank: The news from Mars is that there is a mission that has been hanging out around Mars, occasionally taking little dips into the upper atmosphere called Maven. The Maven spacecraft. And it is about to take another dip, so as we discussed- oddly enough, earlier in this episode- there is sort of a point at which space begins and atmosphere ends. And that's a fuzzy point!

Like, it doesn't just happen. Like, sort of there's a gradient of atmosphere thinning out for a long, long way, and so Maven is going to drop down to I think 125 kilometers above, or maybe 150 kilometers above the surface of Mars. No, 125.

So basically just above what would on Earth be the Kármán line. 

John: Mmhmm. 

Hank: And it sucks up little pieces of gas. And part of what it has done and been really effective at doing is understanding the process by which Mars went from a pretty nice place on the edge of the habitable zone of our star to, you know, a place without atmosphere, without water on the surface, except for some ice, and that happened when Mars's magnetic field shut down early in its history. And after that happened Maven has been really effective in understanding how, kind of devastating the Sun's solar wind has been to the planet Mars. And to, sort of, its potential habitability because since that magnetic field shut down the Sun has been really good at just pushing off any gas around Mars into the interplanetary space.

And Maven has been doing this research for a long time and it's about to take another dip to learn a little bit more. I think this is going to be its closest that it will have gotten to the planet and they want to save these observations for later because as it gets closer to the planet it hits more gas particles and that slows it down and eventually it won't have enough fuel to get back up to a higher, more stable orbit. So Maven's still doing its job and we're understanding a lot more about how ridiculously important Earth's magnetic field has been.

John: Yeah, I'm, as you talk about that, becoming more and more in favor of Earth's magnetic field. [Hank laughs] And also a little nervous about it suddenly disappearing. Is there any thought that that might happen? 

Hank: Uh, No. No, so I have two good pieces of news on that front. One, it would take a long time for Earth's magnetic field to shut down and there would be a lot of changes and signs that it would be happening, so it's a long way off if it is ever a thing. Second, there's actually been some really interesting research lately, and I'm working on a SciShow episode about this right now about creating an artificial magnetic field, potentially for Mars and also potentially for interplanetary spacecraft- the idea being if you put sort of an object pretty far away that disrupts the solar wind, it doesn't necessarily have to have - it doesn't necessarily have to be that huge of a magnetic field generator to sort of deflect those particles so that they won't end up hitting Earth.

Which would also be a great thing to have because our magnetic field protects us from the vast majority of solar high energy particles, but when there's a large flare it can have negative impacts on Earth. So that can be a potential kind of fail-safe to protect ourselves. And I'm super into the idea of protecting ourselves from that here on Earth.

Also when we're travelling between planets where you don't have any protection at all, and also when we're on the surface of other planets that don't have magnetic fields. 

John: I mean, I can't wait for the future. I know that I'm not going to be around for any of this, like the crazy intergalactic future. [Hank laughs] We probably won't have an intergalactic future. But the crazy interstellar future. 

Hank: Yeah. Well probably might not happen- yeah.

John: But I truly do believe that it's going to happen.

Hank: You think that there's going to be a crazy inter-

John: I believe that if we can just make it through the next 200 years-

Hank: Wow.

John: We will have an interstellar future. 

Hank: Wow. That's a cool thought. I mean, I think that we will explore interstellar- like, we will have interstellar exploration. It is very hard- and of course, science fiction has dealt with this in a lot of different ways, but it's hard for me to imagine getting humans to another star.

It's just, that is an engineering feat. But, maybe! Maybe.

John: I don't know, man. I mean, who among us would have guessed that we would have an incredibly reliable Toyota Corolla? You know? 

 Outro/ Credits (45:35)


[outro music plays]  Hank: [laughing] It's true. I mean just-

John: Sorry, I'm just, at this point I'm reaching out for any sponsorship opportunity I can find. 

Hank: [laughs] Oh.

John: I just want a free Toyota Corolla. 

Hank: I mean, John. But we've got Hover. So we can't say nothing, we've got it going on. We've got Hover!

John: That's true. We've got Hover.

Hank: At hover.com/dearhank ! 

John: Or hover.com/dearjohn. Hank, thank you for podding with me. You can email us, by the way, at hankandjohn@gmail.com or you can find us on Twitter. I'm JohnGreen Hank is HankGreen.

God, I don't like Twitter much these days [Hank laughs] but I do go on there. 

Hank: Yeah. Yeah, I do too. And if you've got good signoffs, name-specific signoffs, we'd be very interested in seeing those. If you've got any for John specifically, apparently he's in dire need.

This podcast is edited by Nicholas Jenkins. It's produced by Rosianna Halse Rojas and Sheridan Gibson. Our social media and community manager is Victoria Bongiorno where you can find out more about what she's up to at patreon.com/dearhankandjohn.

And as they say in our hometown- Hank and John together: Don't Forget to be Awesome. [outro music ends]