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Is outer space full of vampires? Am I engaged? Why haven't our mouths evolved to be better at pumpkin spice lattes? And more!

Email us: hankandjohn@gmail.com
patreon.com/dearhankandjohn

 (00:00) to (02:00)


*Theme music plays*

H: Hello and welcome to Dear Hank and John!

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

H: It's a comedy podcast about death where two brothers answer your questions, give you dubious advice and bring you all the week's news from Mars and AFC Wimbledon. How ya doing John?

J: I'm doing well. We're in the same place right now. We're both in Missoula, Montana. Hank right now is opening up one of the 378 pieces of peanut butter taffy we recieved here at the Missoula offices. Thank you, person who sent that. Hank, do you have a name?

H: It says salty road on the package. I don't know who sent it. 

J: Well we're very grateful for it and you could just turn the microphone away and also leave the room because that is the loudest chewing noise I have ever heard in my entire life. 

H: Well, it's really chewy. 

J: Oh my god. I just found out a new fear that I have, or a new thing that causes me anxiety and it is the sound of my brother chewing loudly. So I'm doing well. Hank, for the last three weeks we've been on tour together and I have been engaging in an experiment. I don't know if you've known about this. But I've been engaging in an experiment called how poor does a hotel bathtub have to be for me not to want to take a bath in it.

H: So what are the qualities of a tub you're looking for in a tub?

J: Well there's cleanliness, obviously. That's probably the top of the list for me. And then there's depth and width and length, all of which are important, and of course, in the opinion of America's hotels are important in that, you know, more of them means more water wasted, so they try to absolutely minimize the depth, length, and height of a bathtub, which has meant that I have taken a lot of baths where I was like "I feel like a big person in a tiny, tiny bathtub. I feel like this bathtub was made for three year olds."

H: Just curled up in a ball in the fetal position on your side just being like "how do I get more of my body into the water?" 

J: I can just barely get my knees wet or my shoulders wet. Never both. 

 (02:00) to (04:00)


H: It occurs to me that this may be why I don't take baths, because this is what my bathtubs have always been like in my homes.

J: Oh, no that's one of the first things that I make sure of.

H: I can't get my knees and my shoulders in at the same time.

J: Oh, well then what is the point of going on living?

H: *laughs* Yeah, ok maybe I don't like baths because I've never had a true bath.

J: Oh my god. Imagine being 37 years old and discovering for the first time ever how good baths can be.

H: I've been in hot tubs.

J: Hot tubs are not baths. Hot tubs are filthy. 

H: Hot tubs are taking baths with a bunch of people. Let's all go take a bath together is basically what that means. What you say when you say let's go in the hot tub. What a weird idea. Let's all go take a bath together, but with pants on hopefully.

J: Ah god I don't want to talk about hot tubs. It's funny, for someone who really loves baths, I really hate hot tubs. 

H: I think that's understandable. Cause the bath water, you make it go away. This is my main problem with baths is that I feel like I'm in butt water cause my butt's in the same water. It's like hot butt water. But, in a hot tub, it's like ancient butt water it's like the butt water of potentially thousands of people on different days.

J:Yeah that's what I kind of feel about the hotel bathtub but so far, it hasn't disuaded me and as you know I brought bath salts and bath bombs.

H: I do know this.

J: And so almost every night after the show I'm enjoying some bath salts and bath bombs. Before we get to the questions from our listeners, we just have to mention one thing really quickly which is that very soon after this podcast is uploaded, Hank and I will be... almost all of the tour is sold out except for San Fransisco where Hank and I are going to be on Halloween, it's going to be a Halloween spectacular, there's going to be a costume contest. Hank and I are going to be extensively costumed. 

H: There may be costume changes.

J: My Halloween costume for the San Fransico show is so freaking good.

H: I don't know what it is.

 (04:00) to (06:00)


J: It's so good. I don't want to brag, but it's phenomenal. So if you want to get tickets to see us in San Fransico, you can do that at turtlesallthewaydownbook.com, but you can't get tickets to see us anywhere else. Sorry. 

H: Don't we have Pleasanton?

J: Oh, Pleasanton, yeah. Also in the San Fransico area. There are also tickets available for that. 

H: On November first.

J: Yeah, on November first. Or possibly October 30.

H: I think it's November first but I could be wrong.

J: Who knows. Point being, we are looking forward to the last week of our tour and also looking forward to being back home with our families.

H: The nice thing about catching the tail end of the tour is that we're good now. We've got it sewn up. We know what we're doing. I know where all of my laugh lines are and I might throw a new one in to see how it goes and as the tour goes, I'm like ahh I know where all the best... I know how to do it best.

J: We're better. I wouldn't say we're good yet.

H: I think we have put together a pretty stellar experience, honestly. Like, I walk out of that show and I'm like, we did-- it was tight, there was a lot of ups and downs. Hey I'm not just trying to sell tickets here, but I am trying to sell tickets, in addition to other things.

J: I love the confidence of my brother and also wish for it. Let's answer some questions from our listeners, Hank. This question comes from Matt who writes "Dear John and Hank. Why does the AM/PM change at 12 instead of 1 this makes no sense. Step over the door, Matt"

H: Ahhh step over the door mat. Why don't you just step on the door mat? That's what the door mat's for, Matt.

J: I would step on it.

H: Yeah. I don't care about the bottom of my shoes touching other people's bottoms of their shoes. It's not like a hot tub situation. 

J: No. It's really kind of the opposite of a hot tub situation. I have, like, three layers of protection between me and the door mat.

H: The door mat's not getting to my toes and even if does, what do I care what my feet are experiencing, they're gross anyway. I'm not going to put them in my mouth.

J: Ugh unless you're a baby. We have to cut that Nick. Nick's in the room! For the first time ever, Nick's in the room. So now when I say we have to cut that, Nick, I'm actually speaking to Nick. Nick, we have to cut that. 

 (06:00) to (08:00)


H: Keep it. Keep all of this.

J: Alright. 

H: So I looked this up and then I forgot, which I've done on many different times. So basically AM means before noon and PM means after noon. So the switch from PM to AM happens when it becomes before noon.

J: Uh, yeah. Right. So it is after midnight and before noon at 12:01.

H: And the important thing to note, is that in everywhere else, that's not midnight--it is, it's midnight-- but it's not 12, it's zero.

J: Right, they always talk about o eight hundred hours or zero dark thirty

H: Oh my. 

J: Zero dark thirty being thirty minutes after midnight. Zero daytime thirty??? I'm going to level with you, Hank, I'm not in the military. 

H: Zero day thirty? That doesn't sound like a thing that's happened.

J: I think it's called zero dark  thirty and zero bright thirty. That's my guess. Zero bright thirty. So it's just like, hey everybody, we're going to meet for the big raid at zero bright thirty.

H: Zero dark thirty is a very late or very early time of day.

J: What is the opposite of zero dark thirty?

H: Some unspecified time between midnight and dawn, apparently, according to the online slang dictionary dot com. 

J: Oh yeah, great, the poor man's urban dictionary. 

H: Or. Or, half an hour past midnight. 

J: That seems more like it. Zero dark thirty is half an hour past midnight. But what's half an hour past noon? Is it just twelve thirty? That's what it is, it's twelve thirty.

H: It's certainly not zero day thirty. 

J: Because they use a 24 hour calendar. So that's what it is, it's twelve thirty.

H: Calendar? 

J: Yeah it's a calendar, Hank, a 24 hour calendar.

H: It's a wall calendar.

J: We're moving on to the next question. This question comes from--

H: Do you have the new Apple iCalendar? 

J: Yeah it's great, that's how I get my-- I actually make that mistake frequently when I'm setting my alarm because we've had to get up at weird hours on this tour.

 (08:00) to (10:00)


J: And I always hit calendar and then I'm like, where's my alarm clock, so actually, yes. That is true. This question comes from-- it's your turn to ask a question. 

H: This question comes from our listener Greta who asks "Dear Hank and John, my best friend and I have our first class of the day together and she is a forgetful person."
I am this person, by the way.
"Almost every day she asks me for a pen to borrow..."
I don't know why I never brought pens to school, but I am this person!
"...which is fine with me, but then throughout the class she chews on it."
No I am not this person.

J: Nope. Nope.

H: No, your friend, Greta, is no longer your friend, Greta. This person is not your friend, Greta. 

J: I think I've done this before.

H: Chewed on someone else's pen?

J: Well, I am an inveterate pen chewer, or I was when I was in college and high school. Of course I no longer own or use pens except Sharpies. #sponsored. This whole tour, by the way, I've been signing with--Sharpie sent me 96 free Sharpies because I guess they don't listen to the pod. 

H: [laughs]

J: And the whole tour I've been signing with my green Sharpies that say John Green's number one marker and in almost every city, a bookseller is like "did you get personalized Sharpies made?" And I'm like, I'm not sure if it makes it better or worse that I got personalized Sharpies sent to me.

H: Unasked for, personalized Sharpies.

J: I didn't ask for them in so many words, but I did at reply Sharpie and just let them know that I was a big customer.

H: You are a big customer. So Greta goes on to say: "Uhhhh what am I supposed to do when she gives me the pen back? Take the slobber pen, or just let her keep it?" Yeah, let her keep it. She has now claimed-- she might as well have peed on it. Like, this is her pen now.

J: [laughs] Is that how you claim ownership over your pens? 

H: Yeah I have a drawer and I just pee a little in there every morning. 




 (10:00) to (12:00)


J: These are mine. Hank takes the same approach to ownership as dogs do. 

H: I mean, how else do you mark your turf, man? It's legal. It's like block chain. It's better than block chain, peeing on stuff.

J: Greta, here's the answer to your question: when the person hands you back the chewed pen, you look them dead in the eye and you say "I would like you to keep that pen, and remember to bring it back tomorrow. And remember to bring it back every day for the rest of class."

H: Or, Greta buys, for one dollar and fifty cents, like 25 pens. And then just has a pen supply for her friend and just says "hey, we're buds and I'm just going to keep this in my bag and this is already ear marked and I lost these pens." And if the friend gives the pen back, you say "you keep it" and if they're like "oh I insist that you take this thing that I might as well have peed on," just bring a Ziploc. Place it in there like it's an evidence bag. Close it up.

J: [laughs] Toss it in the trash as a way of making it absolutely clear that what they have done to the pen is unacceptable.

H: No! This is what you do! You bring a Ziploc and then you take the pen from your friend and you place it in the Ziploc and then you write out a little tag with the date and then you zip it up right in front of he, or him, you didn't mention the gender of this person.

J: Then, when they go to visit you in your dorm room eventually, you have this huge framed collection of all of the signed and dated pens.

H: Yeah it's like a sports room where they have every one of the home runs from that year just tacked up but-- a sports room. A locker room I think is the place I was thinking of. 

J: No, it's called a sports room. You know how sometimes people, when their baby gets the first haircut, they keep a lock of the hair from the first haircut. Has Orin had a haircut yet?

H: No.

J: So we did that.

 (12:00) to (14:00)


J: But one time I was visiting somebody, I'm not going to name them, for reasons that will become obvious, and I went into the bathroom and I noticed that they had a huge collection of locks of hair. And I found out that they had saved a lock of hair from every haircut their child had ever gotten until the age of 18.

H: *gasps* We they separately bagged or were they just in a pile? 

J: No they were framed.

H: Ohhhhh. Each individual one?

J: Each individual one with a date below the frame.

H: *Gasps* Until 18???

J: So I came outside and I was like "hey, uh, in your bathroom..."

H: In a public space??

J: It's the guest bathroom. It wasn't like the only bathroom in the home, it was the guest bathroom. They also had a really good art collection, so I thought maybe it's art? 

H: Maybe it's art.

J: So I was like "hey who made the piece with the hair, is that, art?" And they said "oh no, that's our kid's hair." And I was like yeah, oh yeah, of course! 

H: That's totally normal.

J: That's normal. My friend Greta has a pen collection of chewed pens. It's very similar. *laughs*

H: *also laughs* John, do you want to know probably the most embarrassing thing about me?

J: Yeah.

*rewind noise*

J: Alright, so you guys didn't hear the most embarrassing thing because I decided it was too embarrassing for the pod. I made a kind of team decision, actually, not because Hank was concerned about how embarrassing it was, but because it's so embarrassing for me as somebody who loves Hank. So it's one of those things where sometimes you need somebody to come in and care about you enough to say no. So instead, I'm just going to tell you the second most embarrassing thing about Hank...

H: *laughing* Oh no.

J: For a little bit of context, so you can understand how embarrassing the thing that you'll never hear about is. The second most embarrassing thing about Hank is that for about 18 months, he faked a British accent. 

H: That's not entirely true!

J: It is entirely true! 

H: It was like a Canadian British accent. It was like if a British person moved to Minnesota when they turned 7.

 (14:00) to (16:00)


J: He only spoke in that accent, and we would be like "Hank, we notice. You don't sound like yourself." And he'd be like *in British accent* "but whatever do you mean?"

H: *Laughs*

J: So that's the second most embarrassing thing about my brother. This next question comes from Thomas and you'll never guess why I wanted to ask it as I read it. "Dear John and Hank. I pre ordered John's new book with the goal of giving it to my girlfriend for Christmas. She doesn't usually read that much but she's a huge fan of your books so I decided to grab a signed edition as soon as I could. I normally have a hard time picking out gifts for her, which I why I decided to buy her a gift so early this year. Fast forward to this morning when the book arrives in my mailbox. I decided to message one of her friends to try to covertly dissuade her from buying herself a copy, and her friend told me that my girlfriend just this morning went out to the local bookstore and got a copy of Turtles All the Way Down, but she didn't buy it for herself, she got it to give me at Christmas."

H: Awwwwww

J: "So know I know that we both got each other the same thing for Christmas. My question is: should I get her something different, or is it ok to exchange copies of the exact same book?"

H: It is not just ok. 

J: It is adorable! Thomas, how have you failed to notice how incredibly cute this is?

H: You'll be like, "wow, this feels familiar." Continue.

J: "PS is it ok to read a book that you're planning on giving as a gift?" *laughs* 

H: *laughs* that's the better question. Because absolutely, yes, exchange the gift and pretend like you didn't know and it will be cute.

J: Ideally pretend that you didn't know. I think some relationship dynamics dictate that you have to eventually reveal that you knew. But some relationship dynamics don't. I don't know how it works for you, Thomas. But, is it ok to read a book that you are planning on giving as a gift? I think yes, as long as you read it very gently. 

H: Read it gently and maybe also say "I read this."

J: "And I loved it and I'd like to talk to you about it." I hoped you loved it, by the way, Thomas. That was presumptuous of me.

H: "I read this and I loved it and it was perfect and it's got a starred review from the library journal of children."

 (16:00) to (18:00)


J: "I found myself agreeing with the guardian that it might be a new classic." 

H: *laughs* 

J: But I think it's ok to read a book. What I don't think is ok to read a book that you give as a gift, and I've had someone do this for me before, and they thought it was sweet and romantic and I thought it was a little bit presumptuous, was to read the book before giving it to me and to highlight their favorite passages. It's kind of sweet and romantic in a way, but in another way, it affects my read in a way that I don't necessarily like. 

H: I don't know. That's interesting. That's a little bit like a mix-tape to me. So you're not just giving the book now. You're saying this is about me in some way. I'm giving you this book and it's something that I've kind of curated and created for you. 

J: Right, I guess. Maybe it's just that this breakup didn't go that well and now I'm biased by that experience. 

H: I think that there are both good and bad things to that. And I think that is more acceptable if it's a classic.

J: Like Turtles All the Way Down, according to the Guardian. 

H: New modern classic. 

J: Yeah. 

H: This next question comes from--

J: It's available at bookstores everywhere by the way.

H: Absolutely everywhere. You know, I went to the bookstore at the airport in Minneapolis and it wasn't in the front display, and I went to the people and I was like "where's Turtles All the Way Down?" And they were like "well it's in bestsellers in YA" and I was like "just two places? That's all you got?"

J: *laughs*

H: I should have to trip over them to get into the store, come on. Dan Brown is all up in this business, where's my brother? And then the person who I talked to was like "great show last night, by the way."

J: *laughs*

H: She got me to sign the guest book and she was a fan.

 (18:00) to (20:00)


J: Very nice person.

H: A very nice person.

J: Probably didn't need to get hard charged about Turtles All the Way Down placement, which I suspect probably also wasn't her call.

H: Not really her call. This next question comes from Paige who asks "Dear Hank and John. I have a deep burning question that has plagued me. Why have we not evolved to withstand a greater amount of heat in our bodies, specifically, our mouths. The planet's climate is changing and has been for millions of years so shouldn't I be able to drink a pumpkin spice latte at 140 degrees Fahrenheit without burning my taste buds off? Ow! Paige." Sounds like Paige is having a moment right here and needed to email us during it. 

J: Yeah, well, I mean. Here's my suspicion, and correct me if I'm wrong, Hank: evolution, pretty slow and also it tends to focus on major survival concerns.

H: Right. Pumpkin spice lattes: pretty new. Also not a major survival concern. Thouhg, maybe in the future, the way the PSL graph has been going, it does seem like in maybe 2 or 3 years that will be all of food in the fall.

J: I didn't know what the PSL graph was, but then I figured it out from context. It's the pumpkin spice latte graph. *stumbling over pronunciation* latte graph. Latte graph. Mother of god. It's the pumpkin spice latte graph. I mean, that's the new she sells sea shells by the sea shore, goodness gracious. 

H:  You know we actually are better at eating hot food. Our mouths are better at handling heat than our hands are. 

J: Really?

H: Than other skin places.

J: Oh, which is probably an evolutionary thing because if it's good enough for the hands, it's definitely good enough for the mouth.

H: Yep, that's part of it, and also when we started cooking food, you put a lot of hot stuff in your mouth, and you don't want that to be a source of infection. So mouth cells grow back very fast, so when you burn your mouth, it heals much faster than if you burn your skin. So, a little something there.

 (20:00) to (22:00)


J: I am not concerned about-- I have a related question about this. It's about tuatara. It's only tangentially related.

H: Ok. Have you ever given a tuatara a pumpkin spice latte because that sounds interesting?

J: Not yet, but so many experiments are waiting to be done the world's tuatara. Here's my question: tuatara are one of the oldest terrestrial vertebrates still around. Their body forms haven't changed much in 150 million years, but they have this incredibly fast rate of molecular evolution, uh what's it called?

H: They mutate a lot.

J: Their cells mutate a lot, which makes some people think that maybe cells used to mutate a lot more than they do now, but makes other people not think that. Here's my question: since they have this really high molecular evolution rate compared to most newer animals, why haven't their bodies changed?

H: So, you can kind of think of this a little bit like if you get to the bottom of a well, you not might be the deepest you can get in the well, but to get to another place- to get deeper, you have to get all the way back out of the well and go down a different hole.

J: Ohhhhhhh

H: So tuatara might have sort of gotten to as good as they can get without starting over a lot.

J: Right, ok.

H: They are pretty close to as good as they can get for the strategies that they are using.

J: Right, but they're not great, I have to say, at most things. Tuatara are really good at living for a long time and hanging around on earth for 150 million years and those are literally the only two things they're really good at. 

H: The other thing is evolution is spurred by a lot of different things and differentiation is spurred by a lot of different things and you need evolutionary pressure.

 (22:00) to (24:00)


H: So if there isn't a lot of evolutionary pressure forcing them to adapt, then they might not adapt very much. They might just keep all of the things that are working for them working and that's the main goal of being a tuatara. And also because tuatara were just in one place, just on the mainland of New Zealand and surrounding islands, then there wasn't a lot of separation of the species to let them explore different paths. 

J: Thanks, Hank. That's helpful. And also helpful to readers of Turtles All the Way Down, my new book, out now. 

H: If you want to learn more about tuatara, Turtles All the Way Down is available at two different places at the Minneapolis bookstore at the airport.

J: Which reminds me that this podcast is brought to you by John Green's new book Turtles All the Way Down!

H: *laughing* Oh my god.

J: This is the last week, Hank, I will make us plug Turtles All the Way Down relentlessly on the pod.

H: Yeah, we will start doing podcon right after that. We really need to sell some podcon tickets. It's going to be a freaking great time. The agenda is on the website now. Sorry, that's not a sponsor; that's for next week. 

J: *laughs* Podcon dot com! A great place for my new book.

H: It's very confusing this podcast is also brought to you by my fake Minnesotan-British accent. Whyyyyyyy? I'm so glad the internet didn't exist and there are no videos of that.

J: That's a great point, Hank. It could be so much worse because I'm sure as bad as I remember it being, I'm sure it was worse in real life. Today's podcast is also brought to you by our San Fransisco show and our Pleasonton show.

H: *laughs* Oh my god. Actual things that are actually happening that we would love to see you people from California at. And finally, this podcast is brought to you by slobber pen evidence bags. They're just Ziploc bags, but they're available and you can put your slobber pens in them and nail them to the wall and have a hall of fame of slobber pens. 

J: *laughing* 

H: Or just do that and people will come into your bathroom and be like "why are there a bunch of pens in Ziploc bags in your bathroom?" And you'll be like: "It's art." 

 (24:00) to (26:00)


J: This next question comes from Kyle. "I always love it when you shill for yourselves on the pod."

H: *laughs loudly*

J: This is a true question, Hank. You highlighted it. "It helps me to keep up with all the amazing new things you're both doing. What product or service are you making or providing that you haven't shilled for on the pod?"

H: Nothing.

J: "I'd love to hear about it. Only for a while, Kyle." That's a great sign-off. 

H: Also, Kyle knows how to get this question on the pod. 

J: I know.

H: Hey, hey, by the way could you-- anybody want to write in a question and be like "this is your chance to talk about a thing you need to tell people about."

J: There is something.

H: What?

J: Pizzamas. It's pizzamas. The most magical time of the year. Every year for two weeks, Hank and I make a video every week day back and forth to each other like we did back in 2007 and it's a celebration of love, and brotherhood, and also e-commerce. You can go to DFTBA dot com and there's a bunch of pizzamas merch that's only available during pizzamas and after this will never be available again. Every year, there's different pizzamas stuff. This year, we've got lots of amazing pizzamas items available at DFTBA dot com. So there you go, Kyle, just when you thought we couldn't self shill anymore, it turned out I found yet another level.

H: This next question comes from Angali who asks: "Dear Hank and John, I'm in a public health class at my college right now and we recently learned about the influence of vaccines and apparently they're made inside of chicken eggs. I was shocked, but willing to go along until my professor asked us what would happen during an apocalypse. What if a flu pandemic broke out during the apocalypse? Would we try to make a vaccine? Is there a supply of emergency chickens for this situation? Concerned about our world's supply of emergency chickens (among other things), Angali." I don't think that's our biggest concern. Like the flu pandemic after the apocalypse?

J: No, no this is a legitimate concern. Because-- I think about this a lot--

H: *laughing* That's shocking.

J: But once all the primary health facilities sort of break apart, and vaccines are part of that, but there's lots of other things as well, like sanitation especially. 

 (26:00) to (28:00)


J: There will be huge global pandemics that are a big problem. In fact, we already see this, to an extent, in places where there's a big breakdown of the social and political order. Like in Yemen right now, in the end the cholera outbreak in Yemen will probably be the largest cholera outbreak in many decades and it's not because we don't have a vaccine for cholera; we do. It's not because cholera isn't preventable; it is. It's because we aren't using--

H: Becuase we can't get in there to do all the things we need to do.

J: And also that we, as a global community, have chosen not to devote the resources that would be necessary to do the things that we would have to do. So, I am actually worried about that. I think that's legitimate. 

H: Yeah, yeah. I mean, my concern isn't the supply of chickens. I think that we'll probably keep chickens around. Turns out that they're not hard to maintain, though the way that we're currently doing it, maybe. I am concerned that you don't just need a chicken and an egg to make a vaccine, you need a laboratory and you need production facilities and those are the things that I'm more worried about breaking down.

J: Yeah, you need electricity. You need running water, yeah. You need a lot of things that we might struggle to have. Here's the thing though, Angali, if things start to break down like that, we're going so far down. Like, things are going to get so bad that I think Hank's probably right that on the list of worries-- that's the thing about doomsday prepping, Angali, you can only do so much of it because the truth is it's going to be awful. And even if you live, it's gonna suck. Thank's for listening.

H: *laughs* I'm so glad I pulled that question out, John. 

J: I don't know what else to say.

H: I don't have anything else to say either.

J: It would be very very bad. 

 (28:00) to (30:00)


H: Stability is so important and we take it for granted so much.

J: Stabilty is so underrated, political and social stability.

H: Like, we need change. We need to change progressively and actively and continue the change, making the world a more fair and equitable place.

J: But we also need to not have a civil war. It's both. We do desperately need political change, I completely agree with you, the world is deeply unfair and we must make it less unfair, we must make the world more just and that is, I think, the calling of humans. But we cannot also afford to have a complete breakdown of the political stability of earth because if that happens, it would be devastating to human populations and most devastating to the most vulnerable human populations. 

H: So be nice to each other.

J: And also fight, fight, fight, fight, fight to make your government take climate change seriously.

H: Alright, you got another question for us, John?

J: Yeah I got another question for you, Hank. I'm glad we got that out of the way. We've been all over the place today. I mean, this has been an adventure. Where even are we? 

H: Yeah. Is it AM or PM? Who knows.

J: It's zero bright thirty. This question comes from Garnett who writes "Dear John and Hank, My boyfriend and I are planning to become engaged this winter. We've already agreed to marry each other, but we want family there for the actual proposal. It's a secret. Are we engaged? Either this engagement is like a secret snake, we already have it but nobody knows, or it's like a secret fiddle recital, we know it will happen, but it hasn't happened yet." Those are two deep cut Dear Hank and John jokes, so thank you Garnett for listening so closely to the pod. "Please help us solve this riddle of the Schrodinger's engagement. Butts, butts, butts, Garnett." 

H: Oh that's another call back to not a Dear Hank and John joke!

J: That's a great call back. Alright, here's the thing, Hank, is this more of a situation where you have made a commitment to get so good at the violin that you are going to have a violin recital for your family and surprise them, or is this more like a thing where you already own something but you haven't announced to the world that you own it?

 (30:00) to (32:00)


H: Is it a secret snake or is it a secret violin recital? I think it's a secret violin recital.

J: I agree. 

H: Because--and this is a general thing with proposals, it almost seems like it's a proposal. I'm making this proposal and so on some level I want it to be a surprise, but also I don't want it to be a surprise. Because I don't want you to be like 'alright, I have, you know, three seconds to decide whether or not I want to spend the rest of my life with you. I want to have that conversation a number of times, in a number of ways and discuss a number of things before it's like "here's the diamond." Or not diamond, a sapphire from Montana.

J: Is that what you got?

H: No, I got my great grandmother's ring. You didn't get that one.

J: Oh. Hank's always saving money.

H: Mom offered! *John laughs* She said that she came--this dead woman came to my mother in a dream and told her to give me the ring, so I can't say no to that.

J: And Hank's response was "thank's for saving me 500 bucks." Which is what he would have spent on a ring. Anyway, moving on. Yeah, I don't think you're engaged because I think part of being engaged, maybe, is it being known to your family. Like to me, that's part of the process. By the way, I don't think you have to get engaged. I think you can just get married if you want to.

H: Also the great thing about that is that you never have to say the word fiance. Ever.

J: *sighs* I hate that word so much.

H: Like, I'm fine, I just hated using it. I hated saying "this is my fiance Katherine." I'm like, I have to have this intermediate word that I'm going to use for six months and if I say girlfriend, people are going to get mad at me.

J: Yeah, it's an awkward--we used to say partner, but even that is awkward somehow.

 (32:00) to (34:00)


H: Yeah cause they're like "because you're in business together. What do you sell?"

J: No, but then it's more like well are you married or not married and it gets into a whole conversation. I have a new answer to this question, Hank, I've thought about it more and my new answer is that you are engaged literally when you both agree that you are engaged and not until then. That is my new definition of engagement.

H: Ok. I like it. I'm in. This next question comes from Jennifer who asks "Dear Hank and John, If telescopes work using mirrors, does that mean it's possible that outer space is full of vampires? Jennifer." 

J: Great question, Jennifer. Um, a couple of things: I don't know how you feel about this, Hank, but I don't think vampires are real.

H: I don't think that you can just say something like that as if it's known because outer space could be full of vampires. 

J: It could be. 

H: I mean, to be clear, we don't just detect space with mirrors. There are other ways we do it, but the question is would vampires be detected through any of those means. Like, are they the ambient temperature of space? Do they block background radiation? The fact that you can't see them in a mirror makes me think that there's something very weird about vampires on the scale of the way that dark matter is weird. Like, we don't understand how that works. Like, how could something be visible in... something can't be visible standing there but not when the light happens to be reflected off a mirror. It just doesn't make any sense. So I'm thinking, vampires are dark matter.

J: It's a theory. I was going to go in a different direction with this question. The thing this question made me think of is how incredibly hard it is to prove a negative. Like, if somebody says "you're a communist" and then you say "well, no, I'm actually not a communist" and they're like "well, prove it," that becomes very difficult. Right, it becomes very difficult to prove. That's one of the great political strategies of the 2017 Twitter driven political discourse.

 (34:00) to (36:00)


J: You make a wild accusation. And then everyone's like, "no that doesn't make any sense," but then you can keep finding data that makes it so that the accusation isn't completely refuted, so that it is not quite yet irrefutable. And that is a little bit like vampires in space. So when we see ourselves in situations, wither where we are making accusations or looking into accusations, consider the possibility that it might be a vampires in space question. That the thing you're trying to disprove or prove: is it a vampires in space moment, is my question. That's what I would ask you to hold on to. Oh Hank, I'm very discouraged about the political discourse in the United States right now. I know that I've said that a few times in the last year, but I am more discouraged than I have been at any point, I think ever, in my whole life. It's very worrisome to me. Vampires in space.

H: I feel like we-- Occasionally I'll have this moment where I'm like "oh my lord. We are monkeys with guns." We have been given a tool that we do not understand and have not figured it out yet, and it is dangerous.

J: Yeah the social internet is totally a monkeys with guns situation. Where we don't even understand the consequences of it, so we keep pulling the trigger and things keep dying and we keep being like "why did that happen?" Like we don't understand what the trigger does yet You know? It's not really monkeys with guns, it's more like anteaters with guns or something. 

H: Aardvarks with guns. *laughing*

J: Aardvarks with guns. That's what it is because at least monkeys could make the connection between trigger pulling and death. 

H: I feel like a monkey would be like "oh I understand that this is a gun. I point it at stuff and they die." And we're just like POW POW POW POW POW POW POW. 

J: *laughing* Right, right.

H: Ah man, stuff just got real weird in here. Why did everything get so weird? Everything is worse now, I don't understand. 

 (36:00) to (38:00)


J: But it's like a gun where the sound of firing the gun gives you a little hit of dopamine in the reward center of your brain and because we're aardvarks with guns, we're like "man, I love that sound." And so you just keep firing the gun and you're like "god, this sound is great. There are fewer aardvarks in the world right now, but I love this sound! I want keep making it." And then you're like "man, why are all of my friends dying? I LOVE THIS SOUND GIVE ME MORE OF THE SOUND. Now that I'm lonelier because all my friends are dead, I NEED MORE OF THE SOUND! I NEED IT MORE THAN EVER. GIVE ME THE SOUND!" 

H: *laughing* Ahhhhhhh I hate this metaphor so much.

J: Oh my god, Hank, you have stumbled upon a metaphor for the social internet that might just have changed my whole life. It might have to be that I have to get off the internet because not I realize that I'm just an aardvark with a gun.

H: I don't even know how you're pulling the trigger. They don't have fingers.

J: They don't know how they're pulling the trigger either.

H: HAHAHAHAHAHA

J: We have no idea what we're doing, and with that noted, let's move on to the news from Mars and AFC Wimbledon.

H: Ok, John. The news from Mars is great news.

J: Oh, good! 

H: My cheeks hurt due to smiling into the face of doom, but the Curiosity rover's drill, it drills into some rocks and you can get rock powder and find out not just what's on the surface of the rock but also what's inside of the rock. This is a useful tool that broke. It's hard to drill on other planets. I think it's something to do with the stabilizer. So the drill itself is ok, but the thing that stabilizes it so that it can go in and not get stuck broke. So they have been working for a long time on how to maybe get the drill to work despite the fact that the drill doesn't work, and they are doing it. They figured out a way, they think, and they're testing it right now, to drill on Mars again.

 (38:00) to (40:00)


H: It's been almost a year, or more than a year, that they haven't been able to drill and they're basically using some parts of the rover that were not meant to be used to do this to get the drill bit to go in, but have it so that there's-- they're measuring the pressure so that it's not confused about it's connection to the side of the rock as it enters the rock and then pushing to the side of that could make it so that the drill would get stuck and they'd just have to break the drill bit and they would definitely not be able to drill anything on Mars anymore. And that way, the new drilling technique is going to allow them to start drilling on Mars again to see what's on the inside of some new rocks. Now that they're on a different part of the side Mount Sharp, they have moved up the lakebed some more and they can find out more about this wonderful lakebed. They've been basically using a version of Curiosity that is here on Earth, just a mock-up of the exact thing and they can do a bunch of tests and I love seeing the pictures of scientists with the model Curiosity on Earth because you're like "that thing is fricking huge."

J: Yeah, it's a minivan.

H: You forget how huge it is. And it's also like "how did that scientist get to Mars?" Cause you're used to seeing it on Mars.

J: Right. I love that they have to go in and look at the problems and think "ok well so how would I solve that problem if I couldn't touch it? Like how would I deal with this problem if it were millions of miles away and had to fix itself?"

H: And they did it. Engineers!

J: That's pretty awesome. Engineers are amazing. Speaking of amazing, um, that's actually not a very good transition in to the AFC Wimbledon situation.

H: Well, there's different kinds of amazing.

J: Things are amazingly worrisome. AFC Wimbledon, after winning two league games, lost one to the lowest team in the table, which was very worrisome.

 (40:00) to (42:00)


J: At this point, AFC Wimbledon are not currently in the relegation zone. The have 15 points after 15 games, but they are only one place away. They are in 20th and places 21 through 24 in league one all go down to league 2. Of more concern, AFC Wimbledon's leading striker, Quesi Appiah, I don't know how to say his name, I apologize, has had a hamstring injury for a while and it looks like he has had a setback and is going to miss an additional couple weeks. Neal Ardley, the manager of AFC Wimbledon said "If we weren't creating changes and our stats were low, then we would have real cause for concern." Let me submit, that we do have real cause for concern, as our stats are, I would argue, lowish. I mean, 15 games, 9 goals...

H: Not great. 

J: Not great. Fewest goals in the league. I would would say that our stats are lowish. 

H: So how long has this hamstring injury been happening? Is this part of the reason why there aren't a lot of goals or is he your lead striker, but he's never scored a goal before? 

J: He had a few games and he didn't score much, but he only had a few games before he got injured. The truth is, that we are now one third of the way into the season. It is going to be one of those years where it's going to be difficult, and the second season in a new league is usually harder than the first season, and it's going to be hard to stay in league one, but I believe that AFC Wimbledon will do it. Instead of rooting for them to make the playoffs, we're going to be rooting for them to narrowly avoid the drop, and that's going to be the kind of year it is.

H: Alright, I'm sorry John.

J: That's ok. We're just going to get points where we can find them, Hank.

 (42:00) to (43:52)


J: It's going to be ok. Don't panic.

H: Speaking of not panicking, do you want to look at this picture of aardvark fingers? 

J: Yeah. Oh, aardvarks could totally shoot a gun. We'll put those on the patreon, patreon dot com slash dearhankandjohn if you want to get a good look at aardvark fingers. I'm crushing it on the pronunciation today. 

H: Also if you go to patreon, you can get our semi weekly short patron only podcast This Week in Ryans.

J: This Week in Ryans.

H: Which I don't know if we're going to be able to do today.

J: Yeah we're going to do it real quick. 

H:  Alright, I'm ready. I got a Ryan all ready for us.

J: Ok. Hank,  what did we learn today? 

H: We learned that don't chew on your friend's things.

J: We learned that Hank and John have many things currently availible from DFTBA dot com to our tour in San Fransisco to my new book Turtles All the Way Down.

H: We learned all of those things. We also learned that you should keep a lock of you child's hair the first haircut, but not every haircut.

J: And of course we learned that the second most embarrassing thing about Hank is that for about a year, he had a fake British accent.

H: But you did not learn the most embarrassing thing about Hank, which probably is the right call considering the faces that Nick made when we talked about it.

J: I think Nick's going to keep that one in the vault for if he ever needs a favor.

H: Just a raise. 

J: Alright, Hank, thank you for podding with me and thanks to everybody for listening.

H: This podcast is produced by Rosianna Halse Rojas and Sheridan Gibson. Our social media and community manager is Victoria Bongiorno. It's edited by Nicolas Jenkins, who's watching us.

J: Hey Nick.

H: He was there the whole time. I saw him giggling at things. 

J: Our music is by the great Gunnarolla. Thank you again for listening and as they say in our hometown:

Together: Don't forget to be awesome.

*outro music*