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How does science work? Is it rude to turn off the lights while my dog eats? How does wifi work? Do I always dream and just can't remember sometimes? What do I do as an adult? Why do cans explode in the cold but not bottles? Is it okay to get into something good for the wrong reasons? How do I work from home without burning out? Hank Green and John Green have answers!

If you're in need of dubious advice, email us at hankandjohn@gmail.com.
Join us for monthly livestreams and an exclusive weekly podcast at patreon.com/dearhankandjohn.
Follow us on Twitter! twitter.com/dearhankandjohn

 (00:00) to (02:00) John: Hank, we're doing a cold open today. We only do cold opens on important occasions. This time around, there's a couple things. I mean, I do have a new book coming out, it's called The Anthropocene Reviewed, it's available for pre-order everywhere, but that's not really the cause of the cold open. We wanted to come here before the intro and just let...


Hank: Oh god. This is about-- I know what this is gonna be.

John: ...just let everybody know that I made a TikTok.

Hank: Oh my god. I-- [laughs] I make so many-- I make way too many TikToks. But John Green, my brother John Green, makes one TikTok every...month?

John: Every couple months.

Hank: Every couple months...

John: But you know what they all have in common, Hank? They have a variety of topics. But you know what each of them has in common?

Hank: [pause] I'm not--

John: Solid gold platinum banger TikTok.

Hank: It's true. John, John has--

John: All my TikToks go platinum, Hank!

Hank: The only one that didn't is the one where you promoted my book.

Both: [laugh]

Hank: You have 750 thousand followers on TikTok after...5 TikToks?

John: Yeah, so the whole reason I made this TikTok was because I was getting really close to 666 thousand followers, which is a number that, as you know, I find extremely stressful.

Hank: Sure. Uh-huh.

John: And so I was like, "I think I'll make a TikTok, because then either a lot of people will follow me or a lot of people will unfollow me, but it doesn't matter-- either way, it's the same result, which is that we are no longer near that number." And a lot of people followed me because of my really nuanced hot take about how Joe Biden is the 45th president of the United States because we can't keep counting Grover Cleveland twice.

Hank: [laughs]

John: Hank, I want it on my tombstone that Grover Cleveland can't be two presidents.

Hank: Good TikTok. John--

John: If I can make one contribution to this broken country, let it be that Grover Cleveland cannot be the 22nd and the 24th president of the United States.

 Hank: John Green, 1977-2077. "Grover Cleveland is only one man." (02:00) to (04:00) John: [laughs] You know Hank, now that you've said it that way, I'd like to amend my previous statement.


Hank: [laughs]

John: John Green, 1977-2079. I'm giving myself a couple extra years than you gave me, you miserly jerk. "He did not want it on his tombstone that Grover Cleveland was only one person."

Hank: [laughs]

[Dear Hank and John intro music plays]

Hank: Hello and welcome to Dear Hank and John!

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

Hank: It's a podcast where two brothers answer your questions, give you dubious advice and bring you all the week's news from both Mars and AFC Wimbledon. John...

John: Yeah.

Hank: The people from Punxsutawney gave me a call, 'cause they were thinking about sorta spicing up this year's Groundhog Day. They were like, "Oh, what are we gonna do to make this a little more interesting? We really want to mix it up this year." And I said, I said, I told 'em, "Gopher it."

John: [laughs]

Hank: And, and they decided to instead stick with the groundhog.

John: I have to tell you...

Hank: They paid me so much for my advice, but they didn't take it.

John: [laughs] I love the idea of Punxsatawney, like, reaching out to America's influencer to be like, "How can we rebrand Groundhog Day to make it hip and youthful?" And of course the first person they would reach out to would be you.

Hank: Of course, me. Oh, I know everything.

John: Yeah.

Hank: I mean, I don't know that Punxsatawney Phil could make great TikToks, but I know I could make a great TikTok with Punxsatawney Phil if he asked.

John: Right.

Hank: I was recently-- this reminds me of a thing I needed to tell you about that I haven't told you about. I was reached out to by a influencer marketing person, and...it was a very weird email. She asked me to sign an NDA before she'd tell me anything about the campaign, and I was like, "No, I'm not gonna sign a nondisclosure agreement [laugh] for July now that I've got a brand deal, that's too weird. That's- 

John: Yeah.

Hank: Just very strange. So we had a little discussion about that and I was looking at her job title and her job title is lead campaign manager, influencer execution. 

[Both burst out laughing]

John: That's a great- 

 Hank: Now I'm like, way scared off, I'm like I do not want to work with this person… (04:00) to (06:00) Hank: ...ONCE in the NDA, what are you making me agree to. 


John: [Laughs even harder]

Hank: I do not want- I don't love the word influencer, but I do not want to execute influencers. 

John: The great thing about that job title is you wouldn't even have to change it like after the dystopian revolution comes,

Hank: [Laughing] 

John: You're just still be in the business of influence execution just with a slightly different- 

Hank: Yeah, different a different spin. 

John: Yeah, you just emphasize a different syllable, and suddenly it's a whole new job.

Hank: [Laughing] 

John: I can count the number of NDA's I've signed in my life on one hand, and I could count the number of NDA's I've regretted signing on the same hand. 

Hank: Yeah. I mean, that's what I said that I, I have-I have encountered situations where this has turned out to be a problem in the long term, and so it seems a silly thing to do. 

John: [Chuckle] Anyway, there's just some corporations out there that you can't say anything bad about you know, contractually.

Hank: [Laughs] John, do you wanna do some? We went all over. I slept 4 hours last night. In fact, I don't think I've opened the questions yet. Do you want to ask me one?

John: I mean I, I also haven't opened them to be honest with you. I'm on deadline right now. The Anthropocene reviewed book is doing like 100 hours and I'm going to have to spend most of those hours working on it. So let's just, you know what Hank, let's go random this time. Let's let's pick a number and then go from there and see if that question is good and if it's not good, we’ll shame the person who asked it. This first question comes from Grace because the first number I thought of was three. 

Hank: [Snort] OK

John: [Reading] Dear John and Hank, I just read in Hank's second book that science doesn't actually work in breakthroughs. The way we're all taught, how does science work? Do scientists look through specific patterns and collect data or mess around until something cool happens? I've never been in a science lab and I think that whatever goes on in one must be really rad. It's too late at night for me to think of a pun, Grace. 

John: Oh Grace… I've been there. 

Hank: [Laughs] I'm there right now.

John: Yeah

Hank: Although I did come up with that Punxsutawney Phil joke, which I am proud of. 

John: Good joke. 

 Hank: John Science, so science...  (06:00) to (08:00) Hank: ...So a great example of this is a breakthrough that we are living in the middle of right now which is an MRNA vaccine. 


John: Yes.

Hank: So we now have two MRNA vaccines that are powerful, The thing to know about these is that the hard thing was not making them usually the hardest part of making a vaccine is making the vaccine for these MRNA vaccines the hardest- the hard part was testing them. So to get them in and like you know, -to do all of the normal stuff that we do to test safety and efficacy of any medicine- we had to do that and that stuff takes time and that's what took time. Making it literally happened, like within a month of the genome of the virus being published by Chinese Laboratories. So like that, that is the easy easy thing and then the testing was the hard part. But it was only easy because we've been trying to figure out how to make MRNA vaccines for literally 40 years, more than that, maybe 50. And it has been a slow process with lots of you know, fits and starts. Basically, we knew that if we could get MRNA into the cell, maybe the cell would make that antigen so the protein that our immune system would wake up to and see as a potential invader. And then our immune systems would look at it and say ah this thing is bad and we will prime the immune system to attack anything that has this antigen on it. And- so we knew that that was possible, but there's all kinds of complexities in terms of how do you get that actually into the cell? Because our bodies are always looking out for invaders like our immune system would break it down before it could get into a cell and so we had to do all these things to figure out how to actually make an MRNA vaccine work, we did that for 50 years!

John: And along the way there were thousands and thousands of people who participated in this research,  

Hank: Yeah, thousands of people. 

 John: And there were also hundreds or even thousands of breakthroughs that led to the larger breakthrough and that I think is the essential thing to understand about science like, when Newton famously said… (08:00) to (10:00) John: ...if I have seen further than others, it is because I stood on the shoulder of Giants, that's true it's just that like the giants are *everyone* [laugh]


Hank: Right right, there was no individual giant, yeah 

John: And even Newton himself- it's no coincidence that Newton was working at the same time as Robert Hooke and Edmund Halley, and lots of other people and it's no coincidence that the body of scientific literature was getting stronger thanks to institutions like the Royal Society and- and the sharing of published results and stuff like that. We tend to- because we see history, including the history of science so much as a story of individuals and their great individual actions we lose track often of the fact that almost everything that's really important that happens is a process, not an event, and almost all of those processes involve the work and collaboration of thousands or millions or billions of people. 

Hank: Yeah

John: Alright Hank, I think it's time to answer another question: pick a number. 

Hank: Alright 50- we don't- how far do we go? [Laugh] It's not that many questions. 

John: Like 30-35 or something-

Hank: 27 

John: Pick a number under 35- 

Hank: 27, 27 we got from Andrea who asked [reading] Dear Hank and John, is it rude to turn off the lights and leave while my dog is eating dinner. 

[Both burst out laughing] 

[After a while]

Hank: Oh, Andrea 

John: You missed the solid gold name specific sign off, kind of rhymes with pangea, Andrea. 

Hank: [together] Andrea [alone] Andrea, OK, gotcha. Sorry, thank you. 

John: Oh my God. 

Hank: [Laugh] Is it?  I do this all the time. 

John: What a pandemic specific question. 

Hank: [laughs] Is it, is undoubtedly rude to do this to a person,

John: Yes. 

Hank: And we-

[Both burst out laughing again]

John: [still laughing] It's so rude to do it to a person. 

Hank: I think the dog’s probably thinking what the heck man. 

 John: I think the dog would prefer that you either stay in the room (10:00) to (12:00) John: or leave the lights on right? Like I don't think you have to do both, but I don't know exactly what it's like to be a dog, but I do know that when I'm in a room and the lights get turned out unexpectedly, I do not enjoy it. It's not a good feeling. 


(Hank: Yeah, but-). 

John: We actually have a button in our house that you can push, it's called “all off” 

Hank: WoOo  

John: and you can push this button and it turns off all the lights in the house. And occasionally there's a phrase actually in our family called “all offing” someone, which is when you hit the all off button when someone is like reading in the bathroom

[both laugh]

John: or watching television, and suddenly like you're in a dark room and the TV is off and your first thought is inevitably like ah, they’re here. The people who will bring about my Doom have arrived. 

Hank: Yeah, they cut off the power for us, that's what they do. 

John: Yeah

Hank: Everybody knows that 

John: That's what your dog is thinking. So I think the question is, do you want to give your dog that anxiety? And the answer is like probably not. 

Hank: Yeah. 

John: That said, I don't think your dog notices if you get up and leave the room necessarily 'cause dogs love eating so much. 

Hank: They do, well this is the thing I'm thinking is like well, if I had my face down in a bowl of food and somebody turned the light off, I'd be like this is very disorienting but also like just the circumstance is weird. So I don't know what it's like to be a dog. If your dog continues to chomp away like it's probably not bothering your dog.

John: Right

Hank: But there's nothing wrong with extending niceties, even if the dog doesn't care about them.

John: Yes, all of this reminds me of one of my all time favorite quotes that I've never been able to find a source for. Some anthropologists somewhere at some point, at least according to one of my college professors, said the following: 

Hank: Uh huh. 

John: The difference between dogs and humans is that dogs know how to be dogs, which makes me think that Andrea's question is actually a really, really good one. Because what Andrew is really asking is like, how do I be a person to a dog-

[Hank laughs] 

John: [continues] which is still a question of like, how do I be a person and and the truth is Andrea, we don't know.

[Hank laughs]

 John: We don't know how to be people, we're just we're just making (12:00) to (14:00) John: this crap up as we go along. 


Hank: Oh my God, that is so true, and every time I'm like, here's how to be a people, I'm talking out loud but I'm mostly talking to myself.

John: Almost exclusively to myself. A little bit to Hank and then like tertiarily anyone else who's listening. 

Hank: Yeah 

John: [Overlapping] Alright-

Hank: John do you want me to pick a number for you? 

John: Pick a number for me. 

Hank: 17

John: I was worried you're going to pick a number I didn't like but I love 17, it's one of my favorite numbers. This question comes from Eli who writes: [reading] Dear John and Hank can you please explain for me how wireless Internet happens. 

Hank: [Laughs] I can!

John: [Doubtingly] Can you? 

Hank: I mean it goes to some extent. 

John: You're gonna tell me that you can explain how wireless Internet happens... while just so the listeners of this podcast know we've had to stop and start-

[Hank laughs]

John: five separate times because you can't get your phone to work, but *you know how the air conducts Internet.* 

Hank: Ah yeah. I, I know it conceptually.

John: Great.

Hank: That does not mean that I can fix a problem that happens. 

John: [Snort] Clearly. 

Hank: So there's two main things that are happening: one is we have figured out ways for things to communicate with each other and two, we have figured out ways to speed that process up magnificently. So there is very little difference on a conceptual level between what you and I are doing right now- 

John: Yeah

Hank: and how wireless Internet works. And I don't mean talking over the phone, I mean *talking*. 

John: Yeah, OK, that's like- that's like saying there's very little on the conceptual difference that separates the Earth spinning around the sun and you sticking to the surface of the earth like it's true in the largest sense, but there is actually a lotta difference. 

Hank: [laughs then tries to interrupt] Right, let me let me yeah. 

Hank: Let me explain what I mean: Right now there are two radio transmitters in my office. 

(John: Yep)

Hank: Well, there's more than that, but the two that are important are in my computer and in my Wi-Fi router, and they're going “boop boop boop” to each other, and when there's a boop happening, that's a one, and when there's no boop happening, that's that's zero, and they're doing that to each other over radio waves, so they're just radios talking to each other. 

 John: Uh huh.  (14:00) to (16:00) Hank: But instead of going boop boop... boop there going [strangling noises] so that we- like scientists and engineers have figured out how to make the boops go so fast that they could transmit a tremendous amount of data. Now this is basically the same as sending Morse code right like “Boo Boo Boo Doo Doo Doo”, except that in that case I would be the person- like a human being would have to do the taping and the listening and we're just not very good at that. And one thing that computers are very good at is understanding the difference between a boop and a not boop, which is like- we're OK at that, but not- computers are quadrillions of times better at that. And that's the complicated part of how Wi-Fi works. How to compress it, and have it be, have the signal loss be very minimal, but conceptually it's just two radios going boop to each other. 


John: This reminds me a little bit, do you remember when there was a hearing on the Internet in Congress? And I believe it was a senator from Alaska- 

Hank: [with a laugh] Yeah

John: said the internet is a series of tubes. 

Hank: And-

John: And the whole the whole Internet was like: this is amazing. I feel like your- the Internet is a series of tubes-ing in me right now. 

Hank: Well it was a little weird for him to say because it was clear to him that someone had said this, it was clear to me that someone had told him to say that.

John: Right 

Hank: But it's a good simplification, the Internet is a series of tubes in that like only a certain amount can fit through it. 

John: Yes, it's true, it's like a sewer pipe in that it can only hold so much water. It is also different from a sewer pipe in- in critical ways, [laugh] I think like that's that's the problem. Whenever we're sort of creating analogies and metaphors around kind of complicated, especially technical topics, the risk is always over reading the metaphor,

Hank: Yeah

John: because when all you have to ground you in knowledge is the metaphor you're like: 

Hank: Uh huh. 

 John: OK, if the, if the expanding universe is like a balloon filling with air, then is it also like a balloon in this way, no and then you're like, Oh well, I still don't understand then (16:00) to (18:00) John: because it's not really like a balloon filling with air.


Hank: Yeah. But in this case it is really like 2 radios going "boop" to each other. 

John: Yeah 

Hank: And then lots of scientists and engineers working really hard so they can go boop really fast 

John: anyway while Hank and I were trying to answer your question our Internet broke again. 

Hank: [Laughs]

John: We don't know who's Internet is the problem because we don't actually know how the Internet travels through the air. [Laughs]

Hank: [loudly] It's just boops! Just real fast boops!

John: [laughing] Alright Hank I'm gonna give you a number and then you're going to read the question, the number is… 4

Hank: OK. 

John: Another one of my top five favorite numbers. 

Hank: One from all the way back up here, it's from Claire who asks [reading] Dear Hank and John, sometimes I can remember my dreams. Other times I can't. When I am sleeping, am I always dreaming and just can't remember them? From Claire.

Hank: We don't 100% know the answer to this question. I think.

John: I feel like there are definitely times while I'm sleeping that I'm not dreaming.

Hank: Right, it may come down- 

John: but that is what I would tell myself. 

Hank: [laughs] It may come down to what you consider to be a dream and so sleep scientists know for sure that during REM sleep like dreams are different than during other parts of sleep. But there are still like dream-ish things that happen, like oftentimes you'll fall asleep and wake up immediately and you will have had, like you will remember something of what was happening in that moment, and it may not be like a cohesive dream thing it may just be sort of like images or shapes, or you know speaking specifically about last night when I was trying to fall asleep [laugh] at 3:30 in the morning and not being able to do it for some reason, I very rarely have insomnia, but I did last night and there would be, I would like get janked out of sleep by this sensation of, “Oh, I'm falling asleep, yay!” 

John: Alright yeah, yeah. 

 Hank: Which is the worst and then I'd be like oh and there was that weird like, fish mouth, I just saw a fish mouth and like try and concentrate on the fish mouth that will take you back and it wouldn't.  (18:00) to (20:00) Hank: But um-


John: [chuckle] Yeah.

Hank: [laughs] Just think about that. 

John: Yeah. I'm familiar with all, I'm familiar with all of these tricks. I've actually found it helpful and this may just be a construction of mine, but I've found it helpful (because I do have quite a bit of insomnia) to think of sleep as a continuum rather than like an event I enter into and then like emerge from some hours later. 

Hank: Yeah

John: Because then even if I can't like sleep, which I often can't, I can tell myself well, I'm relaxing or trying to and I'm lying down. I'm doing my best.

Hank: John. What is another number that you really like? 

John: If we're just going to go through my five favorite numbers under the number 35, which would be oh just a thrill for me-

[Hank laughs]

John: and I thank you in advance if that really is an opportunity, my next one would be 5 

Hank: OK it’s from Mallory who asks [reading] dear Hank and John uhhh, so I'm gonna be an adult the rest of my life. What do I do with this? I'm so tired, Mallory. 

Hank: Wow this question, is the whole rest of the podcast. 

 John: [Laughs] Well, here's the thing, Mallory. I remember being an adult, like a young adult out of school, dealing with real life for the first time, the utter exhaustion of... like having to pay bills and doing taxes, and living with the bureaucracy of adult life and- and all that stuff and the stress, the constant stress of like you know, keeping your job and getting your paychecks. That's not all of adulthood. Like I feel like when I was 25 I really wish someone had said to me, being an adult isn't one thing. Like you're going to be lots of different kinds of adult in the same way you are lots of different kinds of kid. And they're going to be different things that are stressful and different things that are fun, different things that are hard, different things that are easy, a lot of the things that are really- were really, really hard about being 25 are fairly easy now and a lot of the things that were really, really fun about being 25- (there weren't that many of them), but the ones that they were there were for me, (20:00) to (22:00) John: are not part of my life today. Like the things I enjoyed most when I was 25, I have not done in many years. [Laugh] And like that's I, I think that's normal. 


Hank: Yeah

John: And I don't mean like that- that makes it sound like I mean like hard drugs or something. 

[Both laugh]

John: But no, I don't, I don't mean like that. 

Hank: [Not clearly] Yeah, just the way, yeah? 

John: Or like um obsessive gambling. No, I I mean like I, I mean like going out, you know, late at night with friends. I haven't, like been out at 1:00 in the morning in a while. 

Hank: Yeah, not since Vidcon. That's [laugh] really the only time I do that anymore. 

John: Yeah

Hank: And it's been a while since there was a vidcon 

John: It has

Hank: The old- so like there's a lot of, I think important advice that you can internalize and that you can listen to and decide whether or not it's right for you, but the one piece of advice that I will give you that I think everybody- now it's going to be hard to follow, but everybody can do this and everybody should do this in your- in your early adulthood, you need to floss.

John: Yes

Hank: It’s just going- it’s just kind of like prevent a whole lot of problems for future you. Please do it.

John: And the reason that we're giving you this advice is because we look back and people are like “Do you have any regrets?” 

Hank: [laughing] That's right, yeah. 

John: [overlapping] Whenever I hear a grown adult answer the question “do you have any regrets?” with “no, I don't regret anything” 

Hank: [bursts out laughing]

John: [continues] I always want to be like, are you kidding? No,

(Hank: [overlapping] Yeah, I know-)

John: You don't regret like all the times when you were 24 years old and you didn't floss before going to bed like you don't have any- any regrets. 

Hank: Oh man, oof, 

Hank(?): You don't regret like the money you spent on Heelys. 

[Both laughing]

Hank: John, I bought Heelys! People ask me if I have regrets, Yeah, I got regrets. 

John: [Laughing] Hank I would love it if you were like profiled in a major magazine and they asked you what your biggest regret was that you pause for a second and you're like, well, I guess it is the time I bought Heelys. 

 Hank: [Laughs] I can't wait I, you really do have to have a (22:00) to (24:00) Hank: stock answer to that question 'cause people are going to ask. 


John: I mean the funny thing is, I've been asked that question so many times and I don't have a stock answer for it and I need to invent one-

Hank: Floss!

John: because I hem and haw (?). Not because I'm like struggling to find a regret, but because I'm struggling to pick among the millions of them.

Hank: Look, floss. 

John: All right Hnak, we're going to move on to another number. Another one of my favorite numbers, seven. 

Hank: Oh.. OK, 

John: Oh God, what a great number seven is.

Hank: Yeah, 

John: It's barely even behind 17 in terms of it's almost perfection

Hank: [Laughs]

John: This question comes from Katie writes [reading] Dear John and Hank my name is Kate -alright Kate stop trying to be Ryan- I'm from Maine and I almost left some unopened cans of soda in my car overnight which would have been catastrophic because it's winter here and it can get down into the single digits at night, causing my soda to freeze and explode. As I was filled with relief after remembering to bring them inside, I thought to myself why is this? I know that water expands when it freezes, but when I leave my water bottle in the car overnight it just turns to ice. No message to worry about. Can you explain this to me? Why do carbonated beverages explode when they freeze but my water bottle doesn't? 

 Hank: Ah there are some that- there is a bunch of different things going on here. There are two different questions in this question. One, why does the bottle not break, and two why in the case of soda, does it explode with force rather than just the bottle breaks and there is now like ice. Because I like having a chunk of ice in your car isn't a big deal, but when a soda explodes in your car, it isn't ice. It is wet and it is sticky. So first, why doesn't the bottle break? Now I'm not entirely sure that there's definitely one piece of it, which is that a plastic bottle is, just stretchier and so can a handle- can handle that. If you had a glass bottle, it probably would break 'cause they have very little stretch. And then there's another piece which is maybe that- when when a soda freezes, it kind of forces some of the dissolved carbon dioxide out of solution, which then creates even more pressure on the inside.  (24:00) to (26:00) Hank: I'm not 100% sure about that, but what I am sure about is when  soda does explode, a lot of it is still liquid because the water will freeze, but the corn syrup and a lot of the water that is in solution with the corn syrup will not freeze. What you end up with is basically ice crystals and then sugar so you can actually freeze soda and then suck the sugar out of it, which is something I used to do because that's the kind of youth I was I had just like sweet stuff, and so that that stuff will not freeze and so when it explodes it will be still wet, which is a big problem. 


John: It will freeze, it just freezes at a much lower temperature. 

Hank: Correct, yes, freezes at a different temperature  than the water. 

John: OK Hank, let's keep it going with my favorite numbers. 

Hank: OK

John: Are you ready? 

Hank: Yeah

John: How about 20? 

Hank: OK.

John:  For my son’s birth date. 

Hank: This one is from Newton who asks [reading] Dear Hank and John. I am in need of dubious advice. I've realized that my passion for science was born entirely out of spite. [laugh] For context, I'm trans, and I've always heard the falsehood that trans people don't understand biology. [laughing] And that led me to make it my mission to learn as much as I can when it comes to the field of biology, and this led to a genuine passion in this subject. I'm a high school junior, meaning that I'll have to be thinking about college and what to major in soon. While I want to do something with biology and science, I'm worried about picking a subject where my interests started out in spite. Should I try and pick something slightly less spiteful or go with where my interests are? DFTBA, Newton. 

Hank: Aw man, Newton. There are so many things I got into for the wrong reasons that I love for the right reasons now. Go! Go! Go! 

John: Yeah go! I completely agree with you Hank. How you get started in an interest, irrelevant. If I hadn't gotten rejected from the advanced creative writing class in my college. 

Hank: [laugh] Yeah

 John:  I may not have been so, like driven by resentment to try to write fiction. And eventually I had to develop a better fuel then resentment. (26:00) to (28:00) John: But Newton, it sounds like you've already done that. It sounds like you're already to a place where you're interested in the subject because you're interested in it. How it got started, not as important as where it's going to me. So I think, study biology. I mean, you're a junior so like don't put too much pressure on yourself to study only one thing yet. 


Hank: [Laughs] Yeah

John: But if you want to study biology, do. 

Hank: Yeah and another thing I will say is when you're looking at colleges, if you're thinking about this kind of work, one thing that I didn't do in undergrad that I wish I had done is to look at schools and particularly professors who are doing research that interests you. Instead of thinking like OK, what is the like, best school for biology? Like look at the actual professors who are learning about actual things. Study their research a little bit, and then you could actually like talk about that in applications and be like I'm really interested in the research that some of the professors are doing, like these specific things, shows that like you know you are interested in in not just like being at a school, but in doing specific things and that you understand what they're doing well enough to talk about it. Now that is a thing that I made a mistake of once in my career where I kind of didn't understand it and I fudged it and I should have taken some more time to understand it better because I did not get into that program and I think probably because I fudged it. But, my experience Newton is actually very similar: I got into science because it made me feel superior to other people and I had been made to feel inferior for a variety of other things and also including just being a human, (something that happens to all of us) and that was not a good reason to be into science. And I'm really glad that I moved away from it and now love it for its own sake and for the sake of my curiosity and helping people understand the world and understand the world myself so I am in the same boat. On the other hand, Newton, I got really into rush because there was a girl that I liked who is really into rush and then once we were no longer in a relationship together I stopped listening to rush 'cause I didn't like it so it can go both ways. 

 John Green: Which reminds me that today's podcast is brought to you (28:00) to (30:00) John Green: by Rush:


Hank Green: [Bursts out laughing] 

John Green: Rush, Hank doesn't like them. 

Hank Green: [Still laughing] I'm sorry there's not- Argh, I just don't-  
Hank Green: This podcast is also brought to you by Messenger RNA: Messenger RNA is that RNA that- like shuffles genes to your protein factories so that your body can exist and we've been able to use it to make our bodies better at being healthy!

John Green: And today's podcast is, of course, brought to you by Gopher Day: Gopher Day, a re-branding from your friends in Punxsutawney.

Hank Green: And also this podcast is brought to you by just being people: We don't know how! We don't know how to do this- 

John Green: Cool 

Hank Green: [Overlapping] But we’re- we're doing it anyway. 

John Green: People, trying our best for 250,000 years and then asterisk, we know we could do better.

Hank Green: [Laughs]

[Ad break]

John Green: I think we all know. Alright Hank, give me a number.

Hank Green: Do you- are we out of your favourites? 

John Green: Oh yeah, I mean there's a couple others that are secret favourites I'm not willing to share with the listeners of this podcast, the numbers that are too important. 

Hank Green: Oh, [laughs] So any I should avoid? 

John Green: No, no yeah, of course you should avoid 13... 

Hank Green: OK 

John Green: Uhh, yeah, anything- anything in that category, you get the vibe from a number like 13. 

Hank Green: Ah, how do you feel about 28? 

John Green: Ah, fine I have no opinion. 

Hank Green: [Laughing]

John Green: It doesn't do anything to me one way or another. 

(Hank Green: It’s- OK.) 

John Green: This question comes from Maxine, who writes [Reading] Dear John and Hank. Any tips for working from home? This past fall my office closed down permanently and I've been struggling ever since. At first I thought it was the work itself, but now I'm realizing how much of my burnout is from a total lifestyle change. PTO and per my last email, Maxine. [laugh]

Hank Green: [Laugh] I gotta search my email for-

(John Green: Per my email) 

Hank Green: per my last email to see how many times I've made a big enough mistake to get one of those.

John Green: or “just following up here”. 

Hank Green: [laugh]

John Green: I get a lot of “just following up here” emails. 

Hank Green: Yeah, John, you and I have both worked at home for a long time. Now we have like a mixed situation sometimes too or we do both. 

 John Green: Yeah, but I've worked from home most of the time since 2007.  (30:00) to (32:00) Hank: Yep


John: And at first it was really really difficult for me. I was coming from an office environment where I work 9:00 to 5:00, five days a week and suddenly I had deadlines like I had work. I was working for Mental Floss at the time and also writing my second novel and doing a few freelance things here and there. But I didn't have the structure that I had depended on to help me get work done and also to create a sense of separation between work and not work.

Hank: Yeah

John: Like my friend Shannon, she's working from home which she's not used to doing and I love what she does. She wakes up in the morning, gets up, gets dressed, walks around the block goes back to the apartment and starts working, and then at 5:00 o'clock she goes back outside, walks around the block again, comes back upstairs and stops working. 

Hank: [Laughing] That's great. 

John: It’s great, just like, give yourself a little commute. 

Hank: I think structure is the most important thing to me, and so I think scheduling and like, especially I don't know if there's people in your life who like, might need to know what you're up to at any given moment. Because if there's nothing on my schedule, then like Katherine might say, hey, do you want to go out for lunch? But if there is, then like in that moment I'm like yes, I do badly, deeply want to go out for lunch, but it may be that actually I couldn't 

John: right

Hank: And so I will have set myself up for a problem in the long term. And so I schedule things that don't need to be scheduled. And this was a huge breakthrough for me, especially when I started to schedule things, it was just meetings.

John: Right. 

Hank: So meetings were scheduled, but all of my non meeting activities -which are important- were unscheduled 

John: Yes

Hank: and so they would get not- they would not get done because they weren't on the calendar. So now I schedule the things that I know I'm going to have to do, so like “journey to the microcosmos” recording is scheduled even though it's just me in this chair.

 John: But also I find it helpful to also schedule the things that I don't need to do that I do need to do, like exercise for instance, (32:00) to (34:00) John: or watching AFC Wimbledon I put on my calendar when every AFC Wimbledon game starts. So I'll be like OK, well I can't watch that game today, but I know what's happening or I can be like oh great I can look forward on Saturday morning to watching [quietly] AFC Wimbledon inevitably lose another football game. 


Hank: Yeah, sorry bout that. 

John: [Normally] That's OK. I'm accustomed to it. Also having a to-do list, I find that very helpful as well. That said, there are a million tasks I'm currently behind on so I am probably not the person to be answering this question. All the people to whom I owe emails currently are like what is he talking about? 

Hank: [laugh]

John: I am in no way like a brilliant user of my time

Hank: No

John: Especially when I'm on deadline like this because really the only thing I'm thinking about is the book. You know, like if I have a spare 5 minutes, I'm not thinking about anything other than the book and what stands between where the book is now and where I want it to be and how do I get there. That ability to like obsessively focus around one thing is very useful to me, but it's also- it can be a problem. [chuckle] Like anything, if properly harnessed, it's good, and when improperly used it’s bad so yeah. In fact, even while I was saying this sentence, Hank because I mentioned the book I am now there

Hank: [laughs]

John: I am now trying to figure out this problem-

(Hank: [laughing, overlapping] It’s like- it’s like yeah)

John: that I have in this whispering essay. 

Hank: Yeah. It's like I want to answer that question about sodas, I heard you in the background open up a can of diet doctor Pepper. 

 John: Yeah it was funny. I actually went upstairs, (thankfully you were doing a fairly long monologue) I felt pretty confident in my ability to get upstairs, get a diet doctor Pepper. But when somebody mentions soda... it's like I used a long time ago, I smoked cigarettes and I'm nervous about even saying this because I don't want to trigger someone's desire to smoke cigarettes (34:00) to (36:00) John: -don't smoke, it's really hard to quit- When I used to smoke cigarettes and I would see someone smoking a cigarette on TV like the animal I am. You know, like the mid-level ape that I truly am on the inside I would be like “I want a cigarette” like that silverback gorilla smoking a cigarette and I want to be like him when I grow up. 


Hank: [Laugh]

John: I want to be more like James Dean, I guess I'll go smoke a cigarette. 

Hank: Yeah, I mean when we’re- when I'm in a meeting and like somebody brings up Tiktok or Twitter, either it's very hard for me not to like open up the app. It is like I am not in control of my mind. This is a thing I know, but it is not a thing that I know, you know.

John: Yeah. It's weird, humans are weird. That said, this diet doctor pepper is delicious and I'm grateful. 

Hank: I know I wanna, I want to coke so bad right now, that you're talking about it. 

John: Yeah, sorry, I wasn't really listening to what you're saying, I was on Tiktok. 

Hank: [Laugh]

John: Hank, so many people wrote in to the podcast to, on the subject of whether Grover Cleveland can or cannot be both the 22nd and the 24th President of the United States. 

Hank: Yes.

John: All of your responses that disagreed with me were wrong, and all of the responses that agreed with me were right except for the ones where they agreed with me, but tried to have a caveat. And those caveats were wrong. Grover Cleveland is one man. He cannot be 2 presidents. Joe Biden is the 45th president of the United States. Some of you are like “oh, but he has the 46th Presidency”. No, he doesn't. He has the 59th presidency of the United States.

 Hank: [laugh]

John: We’ve had 59 inaugurations. 

Hank: Yeah

John: So I'm ready to leave it behind. But in case you're wondering if any of you convinced me that that Grover Cleveland can be two people, you did not.

Hank: [Laughs] There were a couple of people who like, had, like very small issues with the fact that he said he was gonna be the 22nd or 24th, but in that case he would be the 22nd or the 23rd because if he didn't count the first time he wouldn't be 24th but like that was-

 John: That was a good point.  (36:00) to (38:00) Hank: Yeah that was just like a small mistake. 


John: Hank, I liked how you were about to say that's just a small semantic detail and then you had to stop yourself because you realize that the whole thing is just a small semantic detail. 

Hank: [Laugh] None of this matters, I recognize this.

John: But you gotta pick the hills you're going to fight and die on and for me it's that Grover Cleveland was not 2 presidents. Hank?

Hank: Yeah

John: The news from AFC Wimbledon is that AFC Wimbledon are winless in 10 football matches now, but- but we tied one. 

Hank: Okay, a point.

John: So we had a 1:1 tie against Crewe Alexandra. 

Hank: Oh God

John: It was not a great- I know what a name. It was not the best performance I've ever seen us get up to. We did score way way, way too early. Joe Pickett scored in the second minute. There was no way that was going to work. and sure enough, it didn't. 

Hank: [Laugh]. 

John: But we got a point out of the game, which as things stand is not the worst thing that could have happened. In fact, at the moment, thanks to that single point, we have emerged from the relegation zone. Albeit only on goal difference. 

Hank: Oh God, well John are you, are you still scoring too early or are you just not scoring?

John: Well for a long time we weren't scoring but then we decided that that was just a disaster like we lost one game four to nothing and so not scoring is even worse than scoring too early. 

Hank: oof

John: So we went back to scoring too early with Joe Picket and you know that got us a tie, so I guess scoring too early is back on the menu basically. 

Hank: [Laughing] Better than not. 

John: Yeah

Hank: Scoring, very hard to win a football game if you don't score goals from my understanding of the process.

John: You've nailed it, Hank. That's one of the central things to understand about football is that the team that scores the most goals almost always wins. 

 Hank: [Laugh] All right, John in Mars news this week it looks like Mars has gone through not one, not two, but at least six distinct ice ages. (38:00) to (40:00) John: Whoa, really?


Hank: Yeah. So this has been a big question people have been curious about for a long time, and Mars has a bunch of debris covered glacier deposits. We've known about them for a long time, so they’re big pieces of ice with stuff on them. But what we didn't know is whether those glaciers were the result of multiple ice ages, or if there's just like 1 long continuous Ice Age: like it started to get cold, got colder, and is now as cold as it is now. And this is a really interesting question for several reasons, but in particular because of it's- the planets tilt. On Earth our axis has a tilt and that creates our seasons. And this is true for other planets as well, but if you change the tilt of that axis, it can lead to the onset of an Ice Age. Fortunately for us, our planet axial tilt is pretty stable, thanks in part to the moon, so big ups to the moon boi. 

John: Thanks moon.

Hank: But Mars changes its tilt a lot, and scientists have estimated that it can be as low as 10 degrees as high as 60 degrees-

John: Wow 

Hank: and that could help set off multiple Ice Ages. To see if mars has a-

John: It’s a big wobble

Hank: It’s a big wobble. It's a scary wobble like it's not the kind of wobble you'd want to be around for. 

John: I- yeah, that makes me not want to inhabit Mars. 

Hank: [Laughing] Yeah, you really- 

John: I mean as if I didn't have other reasons. 

Hank: You really can't like prevent a planet from wobbling either. it's not like oh, it's the wobble has begun everybody leave. [Laughing] Like that’s what you got. 

John: Yeah, I guess you could make a big artificial moon. 

Hank: Yeah, yeah that that would- 

John: [overlapping] That seems like a lot of work though. 

 Hank: be a lot of work, but, who knows the future is- holds many, many unknowns. So to see if Mars even had multiple ice ages, researchers studied images from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter using artificial intelligence to identify, count, and measure how rocks were distributed on the glacier deposits. It turns out that was a lot of work for the AI, so they also recruited 10 humans to count and measure about 60,000 large rocks over 2 summers. So thanks to those ten students who did that. And from that the researchers concluded that the rocks (40:00) to (42:00) Hank: were dispersed in a way that corresponded to multiple distinct ice ages, somewhere between 6 and 20 of them over the last 300 to 800,000,000 years-


John: Wow

Hank: Giving us an idea of how often Mars is axial tilt might have changed in that time. 

John: So Hank, the atmosphere of Mars is now very thin as I understand it, but it used to be quite a bit  thicker. When it was much thicker, would those ice ages have been like water ages? You know? Like, would the amount of water have increased or just the amount of surface water? 'Cause like I guess I, I guess what I'm asking is like less water would have been like sucked up into space right? Because the atmosphere was thicker, right? So like is there a possibility that at some point Mars was like a water planet?

(Hank: [Overlapping] I think there definitely is)

John:  Like Kevin, Kevin Costner's, Waterworld? 

Hank: Maybe not that watery though who knows? But I think that the- like Mars has not had a thick atmosphere for 3or 4 billion years. So somewhere between there-

John: Ohhhh

Hank: So this would have been after that. 

John: Oh, the good old days 

Hank: Yeah 

John: Yeah. The real- yeah 3 to 4 billion years ago. Those were those were the days. 

Hank: [laughing] That's that's when we're talking about there being life maybe. 

But for clarity-

John: The Golden age

Hank: We have, we have fossils of old life on Earth that is billions of years old, so it's not like it couldn't happen. 

John: Which is wild. I mean, it is so weird to me that it took less time between the formation of Earth and the emergence of life, then it took between the emergence of life and the first eukaryotic cell.

Hank: Yeah! That was a big- that was a big jump

John: [overlapping]  that's just blows my mind. 

Hank: There's a lot, yeah. 

John: It was harder to make eukaryotic cells than it was to make life. 

Hank: Yeah. Wow.

 John: We are so weird. Like we are- what a weird, (42:00) to (44:00) John: what a weird branch of the life story humans are. 


Hank: Oh I know

John: People underestimate how weird we are because we are ourselves, you know and so we don't seem that weird to us because we're used to being us. But like Oh my God, we're so- compared to like? 

First off, we're very weird compared to viruses or bacteria, right? 

[Hank laughs]

John: Like that's obvious,

Hank: [overlapping] Well I mean-

John: [unclear] we’re even like- did fairly weird things

Hank: Bacteria are very weird compared to viruses. Like viruses are nothing.

John: Totally, yes. If you pitch the idea of bacteria to a virus, the virus would be like that makes no sense. It's way too complicated. 

[hank laughs]

John: We could destroy them, which they do, 

Hank: They do

John: But then if you pitch the idea of humans to bacteria, the bacteria would be like that's crazy. You can't have organisms with trillions of cells inside of them, including trillions of bacteria. It doesn't, it just doesn't make any sense. 

Hank: Yeah, it's wild. 

John: The brains are going to be made of meat. Their stomachs are going to decide when they're anxious, but only sometimes.

Hank: Yeah, and they're going to need to sleep in order to live- 

John: Yeah

Hank: but sometimes we won't let them. 

John: [Laughs]

Hank: Like last night! 

John: Yeah, they're gonna have to sleep, but sometimes they won't be allowed to sleep. It's great. We've built the best system. Thanks for podding with me, it's always a pleasure. 

[music starts] 

John: Go try to get a nap if you can.

Hank: That's not going to happen for a while. John, thank you for making a podcast- God I'm so confused [laugh] this podcast- we have to go record our patreon only podcast this week in “Stuff

[John laughs]

Hank: And we're gonna have a great time. And I don't know what I'm going to talk about. Actually, do I? I think I do now that I said it.

John: It's at patreon.com/dearHankandJohn.

Hank: This podcast is edited by Joseph “Tuna” Metesh. It's produced by Rosiana Halse Rojas, and Sheridan Gibson. Our communications coordinator is Julia Bloom. Our editorial assistant is Deboki Chakravarti the music you're hearing now and at the beginning of the podcast is by the great Gunnarolla and as they say in our hometown-
Both: Don't forget to be awesome.