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Are hitchhiker ants okay? How do I tell my parents I want to study economics? Who is responsible for calling back after a dropped call? And more! Email us: Thanks to RXBAR for sponsoring this episode! For 25% off your first order, visit or and enter "dearjohn" or "dearhank" at checkout. You Will Be Able to Say a Thousand Words: MarbleLympics:


[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 where two brothers answer your question give you dubious advice and bring you all the week's news from both Mars and AFC Wimbledon. How are you John

JOHN: I'm doing well Hank as you know it's Olympic season which can only mean one thing in our family

HANK: It's the MarbleLympics season.

JOHN: That is actually correct right now in our house we spend 12 hours a day watching the proper Olympics and 12 hours a day watching the MarbleLympics.

HANK: To be clear I love the Olympics I think the Olympics is great and I want to I love these times when this sort of feels a little bit more like we're living in a globally productive society. And we're connected by things that we like rather than things that we hate. And , uh yes but also the MarbleLympics John

JOHN: the MarbleLympics it's just it's just fantastic. Every year Henry and I go all in on the Savage Speeders and every year the O'rangers break our hearts 

HANK: So for the people who don't know what's happening there's a YouTube channel called do you know how to pronounce this John?

JOHN: "yella"

HANK: Jelle's Marble Runs 

JOHN: yeah 

HANK: And they are its it is a channel of marble races and other marble competitions. And uh and this happens all year round but then during Olympic seasons both summer and winter there is there is a MarbleLympics where marbles compete against each other in various events like high jump, and speed downhill speed runs, and other. They have a lot there's a bunch of teams

JOHN: Yeah there's marble curling 

HANK: There's marble curling. Which apparently this year got they they cancelled the marble curling because it was too boring and they're really he's recreating it a second time

JOHN: Yeah well I for one found every I find every moment of the MarbleLympics absolutely engrossing. And I just... it is outlandishly entertaining, impossibly entertaining and it just goes to show you that while times are dark on parts of YouTube on other parts of YouTube the MarbleLympics are showing us all how we can come together and hate everyone who roots for the O'rangers

 HANK: I've been I've been rooting for Team Galactic and that's not going super well so my backup team which is a new team this year at the Midnight Wisps 

JOHN: yeah 

HANK: have been my team and they're actually doing quite well

 JOHN: yeah our backup team is the Oceanics which also 

HANK: Oh! that's Katherine's team and they are not doing well

JOHN: They have not had a good Olympics so far but the arc of history is long and it bends towards the Savage Speeders

HANK: [Laughs] Well I'm really excited I'm really excited to see how the MarbleLympics goes this year. Its fun is especially good viewing for commercial times 'cause when you're watching the Olympics you can't skip the commercials because it's live and also it's the same commercials over and over again and like yes I'm aware that do you want me to buy an exercise bike 

JOHN: yeah 

HANK: ...or whatever

JOHN: There's a lot of lot of Chevrolet commercials man 

HANK: Yeah... yeah ... They would like me to know that Chevrolet has won a lot of awards. and and Look good on ya GM! thanks for making cars that people use

JOHN: Hank I think I'm not gonna say that until and unless GM comes and sponsors this podcast. I do want to say something else though of great importance. You may remember the amazing amazing tiger poem I read, written by a six-year-old, last week here on the pod.

HANK: mmm-hmm 

JOHN: That poem is published in a book and you can buy the book. The book is called "You Will Be Able To Say a Thousand Words" and you can buy it. And it will support 826DC, which is an awesome organization that brings free writing programs for students between the ages of 6 and 18. So we're gonna put a link in the show notes to  that book so that you can buy it I have bought a copy. If that tiger poem is any indication the book will bring me so much joy and consolation.

HANK: Cool 

JOHN: Alright

 HANK: Sweet, excellent. And do you have a poem for us today John? Also you can you can find the MarbleLympics by just googling MarbleLympics or Marble Olympics. It's not difficult to discover if you would like to enjoy this this piece of pure joy. In which you can see marbles competing against each other completely free of you know any of the any of the the human story that goes into the Olympics.

JOHN: Right. Both the great thing and the problem with the Olympics is that it's full of human stories. The great thing about the MarbleLympics is that you get to impose human stories upon marbles. And that, in general for whatever reason it just works much better. I don't have a poem for today Hank we're gonna skip right into the questions.

 Question 1

JOHN: This first question comes from Ellen who writes: . "Dear John and Hank, I have two dogs and two cats. If my dog Winston brings me a ball to throw I throw it and both Winston and one of the cats chase it and the cat gets there first but Winston is ultimately the one who returns the ball to me. In this situation whose ball is i? I purchased the ball Winston is keeping the activity going. But the cat is the one on the other end of my throw. So who is actually in possession of the ball. If a fight should break out between the three of us which one of us has the right to keep the ball. Not Gellin'like a felon, Ellen.

HANK: Well, Ellen I have heard it said, and I don't know what this means, that "possession is nine-tenths of the law," so I guess there's a 90% chance that whoever is holding the ball owns the ball. 

JOHN: Well whoever is holding the ball in a moment probably owns the ball in that moment. The question is legally, who, like who has the right to sell the ball.

HANK: Ah, well I see. So the situation Ellen is that you own both your dog and your cat.

JOHN: That would be my argument. My argument would be that even when the dog owns the ball, you own the ball, because you decide. Like when you say "Winston drop it" and he's like "No" and then you say "Winston drop it" again and he gets that sad eyed look on his face 

HANK: uh-huh

JOHN: That's because he knows he's gonna drop it.

HANK: Right. Or else you're gonna sell Winston 

JOHN: oh god Hank don't take it... Oh God

HANK: Don't sell Winston because he won't give you a ball. John the thing that (that that) interests me most about this question is the idea that, can a ball be owned by no one. 

JOHN: I mean I almost think that it has to be owned by no one in this case. It's a bit of a Schrodinger's ball situation really. 

HANK: Okay. I don't I think the ball is definitely not alive, but also kind of not dead, uh I suppose. 

JOHN: No it's just that the ball is in more than one state at the same time. Like right ball the ball is both Winston's and the cat's. P.S. did the cat not get a name? 

HANK: I don't think the cat was named I think. It seems it seemed to me that it was "one of the cats" and there's multiple cats. And we're not like maybe it's a different cat each time, it's unclear. 

JOHN: That's pretty brutal Ellen. You know to have one named pet in your home, and just refer to your other pet as "the cat" that's brutal.

HANK: Yeah.  Can we can we name the cat? Can we name it like sharpie. Just the first thing that I saw on my desk.

JOHN: That's great. I love it. Yeah, so I think the cat belongs to all of you together, and you have to make votes about its future and you it's a module on situation.

HANK: The ball... The ball or the cat? Is it the cat that everybody owns or it is the ball?

JOHN: Yeah, no. Winston owns the cat, the ball owns the cat, and Ellen owns the cat. And all three of them have to vote about the cat's future. Thats what I'm stickin' with.

HANK: It's a democracy now. It's a co-ownership situation and-

JOHN: yeah

HANK: -and everybody has to an exactly one-third so that nobody has a voting majority there.

JOHN: That's right.

HANK: Though I guess if you get two out of three then you do decide what to do with the (the the) ball. I recently wanted to, John, do a Project for Awesome perk where I get a gather River rocks and I paint them, and put Hanklerfish on them. And then and then I realized that that I didn't own those rocks. And that actually someone did. That being the United States government.

JOHN: oh boy

HANK: Because they own everything? They own the land, you can't just take stuff. It's very strange that everything, it's kind of like everything is owned by someone. And there are these times when like suddenly objects transfer ownership from you, and like sort of implicitly but also maybe legally? Like when you put an item in a trash can, that item becomes owned by the garbage company it's not yours anymore kind of, actually, And if you take, if like a stranger take something out of that trash can they're actually... are they stealing fro the garbage company? or is that owned by no one- I think that they're technically stealing from the garbage company.

JOHN: Can I ask you a follow-up question, Hank?

HANK: Yes, please!

JOHN: If for instance there are two to three hundred thousand aluminum cans, full back doors, rubber tires that appear to have once belonged to four-wheelers, etc. in (in) the White River at any given moment.

HANK: uh-huh

JOHN: Does all of that belong to the government?

HANK: I think so. I feel like it might belong, I feel like it might be my problem. I was kayaking... It got briefly warm enough for me to kayak here, and when I say briefly I mean for like 12 minutes. I was kayaking upriver and I literally passed a door going downriver. It had a doorknob in it.

HANK: Wait, but John. Did you try to open the door? because maybe if you'd gotten the right angle and you could just like open it up there'd be a-

JOHN: No, but-

HANK: -Narnia situation.

JOHN: Yeah, that is exactly why I didn't to open the door. I like my life I'm not trying to fall into some other dimension. I saw Outlander; I don't want to be removed from my family. Uh, no. No I did not open the door. I did immediately think "if I open this door,  I'm gonna lead a completely different life, and go to a different dimension and live in a world probably were like, I don't know, snicker bars are sentient or something" but I didn't (I didn't) open the door. Let's move on to questions from another question from our listeners.

HANK: Okay

JOHN: We've gone too far down the rabbit hole.

HANK: Okay I've also just googled "Who owns trash" so I definitely feel like we need to we need to take a turn (turn turn) into, What did we call it last week? Hard Normal or somethi-

JOHN: Hard normal.

 Question 2

JOHN: This next question... Oh it's you. You ask it.

HANK: It's my turn. This next question comes from Des who asks: "Hey, Hank and John" that's not the name of the podcast Des geez

j; That was a little aggressive Des 

HANK: (like an angry old man) Hey! (normal Hank voice) "When you go somewhere and you accidentally take some ants with you, at home. When you go somewhere and you accidentally take some ants with you, do they just fit right into the ant colony wherever you end up? Or are they put in a constant state of anxiety, because their loved ones are nowhere to be found? Worried about ants, Des" 
Okay first of all do you-

JOHN: Hank Hank! Hank! Hank! Hank! Hank! 

HANK: What.

JOHN: This note has a PS. And you chose not to read the PS. And I cannot believe that you chose not to read the PS, Holy Snood.

HANK: I'm just bad at this John, 

JOHN: God! the PS is "Can't wait to read An Absolutely Remarkable Thing, which is Hanks book it comes out in September and it's available for pre-order now" and Hank just blatantly refused to read the PS, about his own book and how somebody is excited to read it! Okay, now go on. Do ants experience ant anxiety when put into a colony that is not their home colony?

HANK: Well I also... it seems that Des, frequently accidentally takes ants somewhere.

JOHN: Well that's true for many of us.


JOHN: Oh yeah, sure. Picnic basket...

HANK: Oh, Okay.

JOHN: That seems like the major way.

HANK: Okay is this like hitchhikers on the cuff ((on the cuffs) of your pants.

JOHN: Yeah. Just answer the question, you're the science person.

HANK: So usually these ants die.

JOHN: Oh that's nice.

HANK: Well to be clear every ant dies. And that's just how it works. Ants... ants have...There are no immortal ants, we've determined this. Uh, ants have a basically... I don't know that I think they call it like a passport pheromone , maybe? it's what they call it. And (and) for some ant species the passport pheromone is species specific. So any ant can go to another ant colony, and they'll just like "hey what's up, Steve. How's it going. You're an ant, with us now" But (but) many, and in fact I think most, ant species have colonies specific passport pheromones. And if they show up at a new colony they will be killed as an invader. Uhh, I think. But sometimes ants with -this actually happens sometimes- with ants with passport specific, colonies specific pheromones, get incorporated into a colony even though they probably shouldn't. The ants just sort of like " Oh I get it. I see what this is it's not an attack. It's just Steve who you know got here on the picnic basket from the lake ." But it, this all does depend on the ant finding a colony of the same species to integrate into, that don't find a colony they will die. Because they need the support of the colony to survive. And if they find a colony of a different species of ants they will definitely get killed.

JOHN: Okay. All right. So you're saying there's a chance.

HANK: I'm saying there's a chance. Sometimes even two colonies will come togethe,r and form a single colony which is pretty unusual. Because usually, when, usually colonies consider each other antagonistic.

JOHN: Wow that's interesting. I mean I don't want to get too deep into comparing ants to humans "dot dot dot" Let's move on to the next question.

HANK: But before we do that let's plug the YouTube channel AntsCanada. Because if you're looking for weird YouTube channels that are about very specific, but amazing things, AntsCanada
 is a really great one, as well. And there are different clans of ants that are taken care of by this ant guy, and he's really excited. And just it's one of my favorite ways to spend 15 minutes.

JOHN: You plugged AntsCanada last week

HANK: [Laughs] Did I? Okay, Well, now you know what I care about, John.

 JOHN: You've now you (know you've now) officially plugged ads Canada more than you've plugged your own book . 

 Question 3

JOHN: This next question comes from Beth who writes:"Dear John and Hank, my name is Beth and I'm an Optical Dispenser. My job is to help people choose new glasses. And many-

HANK: Wait, wait, wait. Optical Dispenser definitely sounds like a machine.

JOHN: No it doesn't, it sounds like a person. She dispenses opticals 

HANK: Like, like, like a dispen- Like is that (is that) a phrase from another country? To me you dispense, like there's two (two) situations in which you dispense something, one you are a vending machine, two it's marijuana.

 JOHN: Uhh no, I think three, its glasses (back to the question) "My job is to help choose new glasses. And many people I help get a huge amount of anxiety when selecting new glasses." Yeah no joke Beth me too. 

HANK: Oh yeah.

JOHN: "Many people want to change their look but don't know what to look for. Whereas other people very much don't want to change their look and get upset when we don't have the exact same glasses. So I come to you, brothers Green, as Hank really hasn't changed the look of his glasses much, and John has changed multiple times. I'm a big fan of your current pair John they do good things for your jawline." Thank you Beth. "I feel like you may have some excellent dubious advice. How do I get people to feel more at ease when choosing their glasses" Oh, it's not easy. I mean it's funny you should mention that Beth. Because I'm reading your question through lenses that I can just barely see out of. Because I like these glasses but I am nervous to even try to get new lenses into them. Because what if they break and then I have to get new glasses, and it would be such a nightmare. 

HANK: Yeah, I'm looking at your glasses right now John because I could not call them to mind.

JOHN: Sure.

HANK: And they do look nice I think that they do look nice. And (and) they do, do nice things for your jaw line, and I don't think that your neck is disappearing at all the way that some people in vlogbrothers comments for some reason are saying.

JOHN: Well it's fine. It's (it's) good because, the nice thing about people criticizing my appearance is that, I don't actually worry much about my appearance, but I do worry about like what horrible diseases I might have that are resulting and these changes to my appearance. 
So I spent a lot of time googling what might be wrong with neck 
Anyway, moving on.

HANK: Oh no. I worry that my teeth have changed shape over the years. And that they're moving around.

JOHN: Huh yeah

HANK: It's really actually pretty amazing, to have like a least one video of me talking every week for the last 11 years. So I can go and be like "was my tooth like that before or is that new?' 

JOHN: It is very-

HANK: Turns out it has been that way for for at least 11 years. So I think I'm good.

JOHN: Yeah it is a very weird thing to look at your face for several hours a week while editing-

HANK: Yeah.

JOHN: -ones videos and I don't think that it is particularly good for one's overall quality of health. But I like making vlogbrothers videos and I'm grateful for the opportunity. But to get to Beth's question Hank,

HANK: Okay, let's do it.

JOHN: What in your experience, what have been things that people have said that have helped you pick out glasses.

HANK: Well I think it helps to have somebody who you trust a lot. So (so so) in general like establishing yourself as an authority, Is actually something that that can go a long way. And ways to do that are to say like "Hi, I'm Beth I this is this is what I do and (and) my clients include, Nicolas Cage-

JOHN: No, no that's terrible 

HANK: -Lindsay Lohan, uh... Famous glasses wearer Lindsay Lohan.

JOHN: The last time Hank meaningfully engaged with popular culture was apparently 2007. Anyway that is terrible advice. It is good advice to establish your authority. But the way you (you you) do that, I think, is saying "Hi I'm Beth and I am an optical dispenser, and for the last [X] number of years I've worked with people to get them glasses that fit well and that they like the look of and that's what I want to do with you and it may take a while but we'll be patient and we'll get something that you're really happy with" And I think encouraging people in that way. And then I I really like the specificity you used even when talking about my glasses. Where you think, you know, what the glasses bring out what they help with, what the downsides might be. You know, if the lenses are really
 small it might affect your field of vision, etc. Just showing your expertise through calm generous kind readings of the situation. I don't think that's gonna make it an unanxious experience for a lot of people. Because it's a big choice. It's (it's) you know the one thing that I wear every single day, for (for) years at a time. So it is a big important choice in someone's life.

HANK: And it's on your face man. It makes your face look different, and when I take my glasses off people are like "ohhhh" who is that man.

JOHN: Yeah I don't look like myself without my glasses. So I mean I (I) think, one thing I like about your question Beth, is that you obviously understand why your job is important and and why it helps people. And I think if you just bring that attitude to it that you're there to try to help people and try to be a calm presence in a difficult situation I think that's, uh, that's that's the right track to me.

HANK: Absolutely. And (and) then you know. What helps me honestly is having Katherine there. Because Katherine I feel like is the one who has to look at me all the time. And and so ultimately it's more her decision than mine.

JOHN: Sure .

 Question 4

HANK: This next question comes from Niv who asks: "Dear Hank and John, I'm a seventeen year old girl and my parents, at least my mom, is hell-bent on making me study math for my
 undergrad, while my dad is a bit more cool (not only a bit) with me doing economics, the love of my life. I feel like I'm letting my parents down by not being enthusiastic about getting a degree in maths. I love the subject but the syllabi for a good math courses cover all the topics I utterly despise. How do I break the news to my parents that I might not in fact be doing math and that I will be doing economics, to go on to become like the president of a country or a successful businessperson with no regrets. Live long and prosper, Niv"

JOHN: Isn't economics and math the same thing?

HANK: Uh.What I gotta say to Niv's parents is "Come ON!"

JOHN: Yeah! I mean your child could be studying 12th century French poetics. By the way I know there are people in our audience who are studying 12th century French poetics, and I thank you, that is a good and noble work. But I mean, from the perspective of parents who are worried about your (your your) future.

HANK: Whatever they're worried about, yeah

JOHN: -In business

HANK: - its almost like

JOHN: you gonna be fine Niv! Just study economics.

HANK: Is there just this like a (like a) long history? Do you have like (like) generations of mathematicians in your family? Like is your great-great-great grandfather like Gauss, 

JOHN: mmm

HANK: or like some other famous old mathematician. Blaise Pascal 

JOHN: mmm, yeah. I mean even Pascal though wasn't just a mathematician. Can't you make the case to your parents that you're gonna learn a lot of math along the way to your economics degree. And also it seems to me that economics majors are very employable. Like... I... Can you just promise your parents you are going to a math focused economics study.

HANK: Yeah that's clearly not the concern. If you're trying to get a job economics is definitely better than pure maths. Though and often if you have a math degree you're gonna end up working in something related to economics like finance. But in terms of like- Lets like put aside job training I'm not interested in that argument cause' it seems like your parents probably just want you to continue the line of the hundreds or possibly thousands of years of mathematicians in your family. 

JOHN: yes 

HANK: And what (what) you say to that is "I want to do the thing I want to do, and you didn't have a child because you wanted the child to become one particular thing, you had the child because you wanted the child to be able to decide and make good things happen that they wanted to do"  That level of that level of control either is is sort of out like, out sized in your own mind Niv, and (and) you are sort of perceiving to like more pressure than they intend to be putting on you to choose one specific career path, or it's just it's just too much and they should not be doing that. And you should be choosing to do the thing and being,  and feel free to and excited about doing the thing that you love, and you want to do.

JOHN: Alternately I don't know if there's a double major in your country. I know a lot of places there aren't double majors, but it seems like it'd be easy to do a double major in math and economics, because half the classes of the dang same.  Like I took an economics class in college and it was all flippin math. I mean, I maybe I don't understand what math is, but it felt like math to me. There were a lot of numbers, and I had to  use those numbers to create a lot of geometrical curve shapes, so I don't know it felt very mathematical. Anyway we wish you luck Niv I'm sorry that you're going through this difficult time. I hope that you get to pursue all of your passions in life. 

 Question 5

JOHN: I want to get to another question though Hank. This one comes from Helle.

HANK: Yep.

JOHN: All right she writes: "Dear John and Hank my name is Helle and I grew up on a farm that my family has owned for over 300 years."

HANK: Wait is this like the mathematician question except with farms instead?

JOHN: Yes. "I am the second of four children all of whom are now adults. According to Odelsrett, my older brother has first dibs on the farm then me and then our younger sisters. Odelsrett-" By the way which I'm very sure I'm mispronouncing is the ancient Scandinavian thing where that decides how land gets passed down through families, very old -

HANK: Oh my goodness.

JOHN: And it has its own Wikipedia page.

HANK: It does.

JOHN: -"According to that my older brother has first dibs on the farm then me and then our younger sisters.  It has always been expected that one of us should take over the farm (as it is the norm) but all of us have moved away, and I'm pretty sure none of us actually want to be farmers. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with being a farmer it's just not really for me. Our father brought it up a few years ago, that we should decide who gets to take over the farm, and well, is it wrong to want to sell a farm that has been in our family for several hundred years? Do we owe our forefathers to sacrifice enough to keep this farm in our family? There's no guarantee that we would be able to find a buyer that would keep the farm a farm. But I know that I really do not want to be a farmer. Ever since I was a little girl I've been quite squeamish around a lot of the stuff that happens on a farm., and I really have not grown out of it. But have you seen how many movies there are where the people who want to sell the family farm are the villains? No silent E's, Helle.

HANK: Uhh,  I feel like maybe in in Norway there are more of those films, because I haven't seen that many. 

JOHN: I've seen a few.

HANK: But it would appear that like this is a pretty important and big part of Norwegian culture, that I had no idea about. Just from reading the Wikipedia page for Odelsrett. Which I think I just knocked that pronunciation out of the park. And it is a fascinating law and it is the actual existing law in Norway and if somebody who isn't in the family buys the farm the family members have the right to get it back, which is currently about ten years so they can just buy it for the additional price plus the cost of any improvements. If (if) you sell, if you like get rid of the farm, you could get it back potentially. Though there are also rules about making that not a thing. But 

JOHN: I bet we have different opinions about this.

HANK: Hell I mean ever since I came to a, to Montana I have had a different sort of feeling about farms and families and (and) like the the seriousness of this. Not that like I think that this should like this is how you know should it impact you, it's just like my understanding of this has changed a lot. Having known farmers, been friends with generational farmers, and also new farmers. And seen the kind of like the difficulty of that job, it is a very difficult and not particularly thankful job. In which you have to live far away from population centers,  and that is pretty isolating, and it is it is a difficult difficult thing to do for a living. And (and) also the strife and difficulty that it creates within families. When you have this extraordinarily valuable thing, but you don't like the way of turning that you know that huge amount of land, you know compared to what most people own in terms of land, into money is is a really stressful difficult thing. Because you're always taking out loans to buy the seed and to work the land and then at the end of the season hopefully you can pay those loans off and that happens every year and it's just really intense. But also like that responsibility that people feel to their (to their) ancestors, to and to the institution that they have been raised in and part of for their whole lived. But also for like their entire sort of like imagined cultural history, which is a very real thing. Its, the intensity of that is, you know, like I wouldn't have understood it if I hadn't seen it. You know I certainly didn't, I haven't experienced it firsthand but I've seen it secondhand.

J: Yeah I mean my feeling is that you should wait Helle. You shouldn't make the decision now if you don't have to. You know maybe your father is saying "I (I) want to know what the future holds." but I (I) think you can say "well you know right now you (you) have the farm, and we're so grateful that you do and we (we love) we love it and we want to support you in any way that we can, and when it comes time to make a decision we will make a decision. Because I also don't think that you can really know how you'll -not only how you'll feel- but how you're, at least three siblings will feel. When (when) the time comes to really make the decision about, you, know if there comes a time when your father feels like he can't do the work, or can't oversee the work. Then you have to have that hard, hard conversation but I think you have to have it with all of your siblings. Because it is it is so complicated Hank, as you say. I mean there is something very powerful about knowing that this is the place where your ancestors bones are in many cases literally. And (and) certainly that you know you're doing the same work in the same place that they were. There's something (there's something) powerful about that, and something comforting about that but at the same time it's very easy to romanticize that. And Helle, having grown up on a farm knows that in rack (?) the actual work is utterly unromantic.

HANK: [Laughs] Yeah. Can confirm, having our farmer friends.

JOHN: Yeah, I mean.

HANK: Yeah.

JOHN: Yeah you have to slaughter exactly one animal before you completely lose the sense of romance.

HANK: Yeah I agree with you. And it doesn't say, it doesn't sound to me like you've had a ton of conversations with your siblings about this especially. And I would suggest definitely having those conversations sooner rather than later.

 Fake Sponsors

JOHN: Which reminds me that today's podcast is brought to you by: Conversations With Your Siblings!

HANK: Conversations With Your Siblings!, it's (it's) the whole podcast. This podcast is also brought to you by: Generations of Mathematicians, stretches back deep, deep into your family history. And you can't go into economics because of it I guess? maybe 

JOHN: And today's podcast is also brought to you by: AntsCanada.  AntsCanada Hank won't stop promoing it.

HANK: and of course this podcast is brought to you by: The Marblelympics. The Marblelympics is available at Jelle's Marble Runs on YouTube. Where you can spend your commercial time while watching the Olympics watching non-human competitors made of glass.

 Real Sponsor

J: We also have a real sponsor today Hank and I'm actually literally opening up my Rx Bar right now. I don't know if you heard that. but I am so excited about the sponsor because it is a product that I really, really like. I'm gonna have a bite while you talk about it.

HANK: I mean it's kind of shocking to me that you still have any RxBars. They sent us a pack of them and-

JOHN: Oh no I bought these.

HANK: Oh Okay. yeah they are a they're an energy bar. I have to eat fast quite a lot. And (and) I like to actually have a variety of kinds of energy bars. It's nice that we live in a world where that's possible now. And these ones are they are (they are) tasty, they are healthy, they are a really, good sort of intermediate snack, because they're they don't have like too much in them so it's not like I'm eating a whole meal it's not a meal replacement it's sort of like I get me through to the next meal amount of food. And they're easy to eat and (and) I like the taste of them a lot.

JOHN: Oh they're delicious! They're incredible!

HANK:Yeah. They're sort of like the new, the they're sort of they're made a lot of figs is sort of the stuff that binds it all together 

JOHN: And dates 

HANK: Are dates and figs different?

JOHN: I don't actually know, but this is so delicious 

HANK: So they're made of figs, of egg whites

JOHN: Dates, dates, it's still dates.

 HANK: Still dates. They're made of dates, egg whites, and nuts, pretty much. And then there's like flavoring to make them taste good and different from each other. And there's both like fruity flavors like raspberry and blueberry, and more sort of like chocolate flavors like chocolate peanut butter, and that kind of thing salted chocolate so

JOHN: really it just has like very clear ingredients. Like on the front of it, it just says "3 egg whites, 14 peanuts, 2 dates" and the only other things it has in it are chocolate, cocoa, and sea salt. It's just it is a great. I am a genuine genuine fan of these RxBars. Anyway.

HANK: Yeah

JOHN: go to or and enter the promo code DearJohn or DearHank at checkout and get 25% off of your first order. And I'm telling you, you are not going to be disappointed. Especially with the the peanut-y ones, I'm more of a peanut person than I am an other nut person, but they're all honestly they're all really good.

HANK: I do, yeah. They come in 11 different flavors I have had I think all of them I think they sent me all of the flavors and I didn't not like any of the flavors I had. They're good for breakfast on the go snack throw it. I like if I'm getting on an airplane it's really good to have something just in case I'm gonna get hungry suddenly , Pre or post-workout it's really good cause' they're not like too intense and aren't gonna like overwhelm my system and make me feel bad while I'm exercising and give me heartburn or anything, and I just like it. 

JOHN: oh they're delicious again that's or DearHank you enter the promo code DearJohn or DearHank at checkout you get 25% of your first order and you're gonna love it. I'm almost done with mine, Ah.  I've got so much energy to get back to the podcast but I'm talking like a chipmunk because I got a lot of stuff in my mouth. All right let's go!

 (Question 6)

HANK: John this next question comes from Crystal who asks "Dear Hank and John, why should I preorder Hanks upcoming book, An Absolutely Remarkable Thing comes out September 25th, available for pre-order now, 7 months in advance I can pre-order the book in early September at the meantime use that $20 to like, I don't know, invest in the stock market, put it in the bank for small interest, or dig a hole to bury it in the ground. PS it comes out September 25th and is available for pre-order now. Best Regards, Crystal" Aww Crystal, thanks, thanks for doing the hard work for me.

JOHN: Alright Crystal. I want to offer you a couple of futures in which you're going to be very grateful that you ordered Hank’s book seven months in advance. Future number one: the entire world economy has collapsed.

HANK:  okay

JOHN: Everything, the stock market, the umm…. has collapsed but not only that all of the savings accounts . The people, there was a bank run and people tried to get their cash out, and it turned out the FDIC couldn't insure all of the deposits.

HANK:  sure, sure

JOHN: and suddenly the money that you had in the bank is worth pennies on the dollar. But you know what you have Cystal? You have a physical, a really beautiful physical object. A hardcover book that you can use not only for reading and consolation. But also when it becomes necessary to beat off the invaders that are attacking you because the social fabric has completely disintegrated.

HANK:  [laughing] wait, wait

JOHN: Or, if it's an absolute emergency to start a fire

HANK:  or, or, or, barter because everyone knows that this book is worth the amount that it was when you purchased it. So it was, when you bought it, it was worth, you know $20 or whatever.

JOHN: Sure

HANK:  and then now it's still worth $20 actual money even though $20 bill might be only able to buy you like a stick of gum. So this thing is the new currency of the future.

JOHN: that's right in the future people are just going to be handing around hardcover books in exchange for eggs and tomatoes...

HANK:  Not hardcover books John, /MY/ just the one just the one book

JOHN: [hearty laughter]

HANK:  it's basically Bitcoin. It's my book, is it's a crypto currency…

JOHN: That's right it's a great

HANK:  …as well as a book.

JOHN: Crystal get in on the ground floor of this exciting new cryptocurrency. That comes with a physical book

HANK:  [still laughing] if that hasn’t been done yet…

JOHN: [while laughing] It is a no way a pyramid scheme. Crystal but if you don't get in at the very beginning you will lose all of your money.

So Crystal the real reason. Crystal the real reason to order Hank's book now is so that you don't forget to do it later and also because it helps the publisher measure enthusiasm and excitement about the book. And it is very helpful to both the future of the book and the book's author when the publisher believes that there are lots of people who are excited about it. So really if you have been considering pre-ordering Hanks book please do, please do it now really, it's it is, and I'm not just saying this. I wouldn't just say this I would find ways to talk about it that that that weren't dishonest. But I wouldn't be as effusive as I'm about to be. It is a really really wonderful book, and it explores what now feels like so fascinatingly. And it explores what fame feels like and the way that it distorts your worldview. And the way that our general worship of fame has distorted the wider (the wider) culture in really fascinating, moving, brilliant ways. It is a special special novel so you will also be grateful to have been in on the ground floor of the story of An Absolutely Remarkable Thing. But the biggest thing that you can do is help the book and its author by communicating to the publisher that people are excited about it.

HANK:  Yeah and (and) that has happened and (and) so you know the people I'm working with (are) at penguin our have been so supportive and excited. And so I really appreciate everybody who has pre-ordered it really does help. And whether you do that online or whether you go to your bookstore. And
 if you're wondering how you pre-order something in a bookstore you go in and you say “I would like to pre order this book” and they will say “ok I will call you when it's in” and that's that. And it works!!

 Question 7

JOHN: All right Hank we've got a question from MP who writes: “Dear John and Hank when you're on the phone with someone in the call drops who's in charge of calling back the originator of the first call since they started it or should you think of it as taking turns. I often panic and quickly try to decide if I'm the more adult person in the conversation, so I should take the reins and call back. ut even I know that's not a great method. Please help me to adult better. Bad at avoiding social awkwardness, MP.

 HANK:  What (what) happens when (when) we drop a call it's usually like we both do it right?

JOHN: We both call  back at the same time and then sometimes we both get busy signals and then a lot of times I'll be on your voicemail and I'll be like “why don't you pick up your phone we were talking 30 seconds…” and I'll see and I'll be like “oh right he's trying to get to me too okay”

HANK:  yeah yep

JOHN: We need a system for this Hank. It is an inefficient…

HANK:  but whats the system? It is like the younger person ‘cause you have to have some like objective thing. Because the call drops for both of you at the same time. So it's not it's not something to do with the context of the phone call. It has to come from something beyond that.

JOHN: Right

HANK:  So like, whose name comes first in the alphabet kind of thing.

JOHN: I like that it's who's… The name that you usually use to refer to that person, so not necessarily they're given first name, whatever you know, if you call them Shrimp…

HANK:  [bursts in to laughter]

JOHN: … then Shrimp. If you know, if you call them Apple then Apple, whatever it is. The (the) first letter of that name that you use to talk to the person, the person whose name is closest to the beginning of the alphabet, is the person who (who) does the callback. Caveat if more than five seconds pass, then it's a complete free-for-all, because then you start to worry, like, well did they hang up on me on purpose? or did they get in some kind of horrible accident? like are they, is there an emer- that’s where my head goes immediately.

HANK:  Right

JOHN: Is there an emergency? So don't like don't say oh well you know Apple hasn't called me back I guess that Apple just thought the phone call was over. Do call them back because for all you know they might be, at the, you know, like out at the bottom of a crevasse. I once called Sarah after badly injuring my knee while trying to walk up the hill after kayaking and if Sarah hadn't answered the phone, I probably would have just stayed down there for 127 hours.

HANK:   John what if the phone call is between our cousin Mike and our Uncle Mike.

JOHN: Oh that a great, that's something I hadn't thought of that's a great point Hank. What if its Mike talking to a Mike

HANK:  because they have the exact same name

JOHN: yeah

HANK:  Not only they say that same last name too

JOHN: I think it goes to the middle

HANK:  goes to the middle name?

JOHN: I think it goes to the middle name. Now in the case of our cousin Mike and our Uncle Mike unfortunately that is not a tie breaker. So then I think you've got to go to junior or senior and since “J” comes before “S” in the alphabet I think our cousin might call back our uncle Mike in that situation.

HANK:  I think that (that) also would happen, just by virtue of the fact that our Uncle Mike would be like Mike's gonna call me back.

JOHN: oh yeah no I can't see our Uncle Mike really rushing to…

HANK:  do anything

JOHN: … reconnect that phone call

HANK:  yeah, just…

JOHN: I love my Uncle Mike so much, he's an amazing, amazing person. I really, I just, I admire so much about him. He is the coolest, he is such a cool guy, however if (if) there is a disconnected call, the chances that he's gonna call me back are well below zero.

HANK:  Just, negative. Negative chances that you're gonna get the callback from (from) Uncle Mike.


 AFC Wimbeldon News

JOHN: Speaking of negative chances Hank! Can I share with you the news from AFC Wimbledon

HANK:  Oh No! Oh No! Oh I'm sorry, I've been following and I feel like I shouldn’t be. Am I bad luck?

JOHN: I don't know, so good in January so very, very, very bad in February. AFC Wimbledon have slipped back into the dreaded relegation zone

HANK:  Noooooo

JOHN: Currently in 21st place. Just ahead of the franchise currently plying its trade in Milton Keynes. Hank I am NOT a professional scriptwriter of third tier English football.

HANK:  yeah

JOHN: But if I were, if I were, writing the narrative of the 2017-2018 season I think we all know where it goes from here. It comes down to the last of the season on May 5th and either the franchise is going down or the Dons are going down, and the pressure is unbelievable, and I vomit 35 times that morning having flown from the United States to England the night before. And I'm completely unable to enjoy myself and really regardless of the outcome I don't know if I'm gonna be able to be happy. That (that) is where the narrative of this season is headed. There are still 14 games to try to avoid that narrative. But yeah, I mean it's been a very, very bad February. That's uhh the really the only thing that that can be said about it. It might change, hopefully it will change. But the Dons lost 4-2 to Plymouth Argyle, 3-1 to Northampton Town, and that was after a 2-1 loss to Bury. So it's been a difficult week. We've got a game against Bristol Rovers coming up, and then Peterborough. I don't know it's just been a bad month man.

HANK:  Yeah. Yeah. I mean you're scoring goals too, like none of these are these are nil numbers.

JOHN: Yeah,

HANK:  It's like the most recent was like 2-4 and it's like, two would have been good enough in the first half of the season to win like every game.

JOHN: Yeah. Yeah, I know (I know) it's just been it's (it's) just weird. And also I…

HANK:  are they pushing the defense up to try and increase scoring opportunities?

JOHN: Not (not) really I watched (I watched) all three of these games that we've lost. So maybe I'm bad luck actually. Although we also lost to Rotherhum Rotherham? Rotorham? I know everyone's criticizing my pronunciation of it but I'm not gonna back down. Anyway I watched all three of these games and they just like, they don't look, they just look like behind the game, like that they don't look like they're running at the speed that the opponents are running at, they (they) just look kind of confused at the back. I don't know it's frustrating and pretty scary, but we'll see where it goes from here. I mean just really have to hope that the Dons find a way to stay up.

HANK:  Yeah, well umm, I don't know I feel like (I feel like) you just having to run a bad luck and that's gonna come back.

JOHN: I hope you're right, I hope you're right. What's the news from Mars?

 Mars News

HANK:  John so you know the Mars 2020 Rover getting ready to go to Mars. You also know that sometimes pieces of Mars actually end up on earth. And this is one of the ways that we've actually been able to study a little bit more about how Mars, what Mars is like. Because we haven't ever been able to like bring a piece of Mars back for us to hold, but because of you know asteroid impact and (and) you know various times in the history of the solar system. Pieces of Mars have actually been blasted into space and then occasionally one of those pieces of Mars will land on earth, and we will find one. And we've done that a number of times in these Martian meteorites are extremely prized and all of them are of them are you know in scientific institutions and being studied. A piece, one of those Martian meteorites, piece of it is actually gonna be sent back to Mars.


HANK:  On the Mars 2020 Rover


HANK:  And this is not like this is not just a reunification, to say “hey Mars you lost this we found it and we wanted to bring it back to you because you know the possession is nine-tenths of the law so im not saying that this is yours but uh you know it's not exactly ours either so.” But because there's this instrument it's called the Scanning Habitable Environments with Raman & Luminescence for Organics & Chemicals. Which if that sounds like a really awkward acronym it's because it is it acronym for SHERLOC

JOHN: ahhhh

HANK:  That comes out in the end. It needs a calibration target to like basically to know exactly, a bunch of things about this rock and thus it can like calibrate on the rock and then it can like get better more precise data about the rocks that it's measuring on the surface of Mars.


HANK:  And they wanted to use a rock that was Mars like, and so instead of like picking a rock that on earth that had a lot of Martian like, Mars like, properties they are using a piece of Mars that we found on earth.

JOHN: Wow. Wow. 

HANK:  Which is pretty frickin cool

JOHN: That is pretty freakin cool man. That is…

HANK:  Yeah.


HANK:  So yeah um only about 200 Martian meteorites have ever have been confirmed to be… only 200 meteorites have been confirmed to be from Mars so this is a pretty (pretty, pretty) you know next level thing to do but it's very cool.

JOHN: That is cool (that is cool) Well congratulations on your forthcoming reunif- Mars reunification project

HANK:  uh-huh

JOHN: I can only hope that in 2020 when that happens AFC Wimbledon will be playing in the third tier of English football in their new home at Plough Lane. Uh, but time will tell. In the meantime Hank what did we learn today?


HANK:   John we learned that ants have special passport pheromones that allow them to know whether or not an ant should be friends or you kill them.

JOHN: We learned that the marblelympics is arguably the best Olympics but definitely in the top two.

HANK:  [laughs] And we learned that my new book An Absolutely Remarkable Thing, comes out September 25th and it's going to be the next big thing in cryptocurrency.

JOHN: [hearty laugh] and lastly we learned several ways not to pronounce Odelsrett

HANK:  Odelsrett

JOHN: all right Hank, thank you for podding with me, thanks everybody for listening. We're gonna record our patrons only podcast This Week in Ryans right now, over- and you can find out more But thank you again for podding with me and to everybody who listens and sends in your questions. I’m sorry we don't answer more of them, they are an absolute delight to read, and it brings us so much joy to be able to do this every week.

HANK:  and thank you John. This podcast is produced by Rosianna Halse Rojas and Sheridan Gibson. It's edited by Nicholas Jenkins. Our head of community and communications is Victoria Bongiorno. Our music in the beginning and the end and for This Week in Ryans is by the great to Gunnarolla. And as they say in our hometown

BOTH:  Don’t Forget To Be Awesome