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Can a whale use a snorkel? Am I getting one vaccine or two? What is Hank's job? Why do some hoodies have pockets in their pockets? How many popes per square mile does the Vatican have? Is artificial gravity possible? 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)


[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 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, do you know why some fish like to swim in salt water?

John: I don't.

Hank: 'Cause if they swam in pepper water, that would make them sneeze.

John: [sighs] It's not even a joke. There's no pun, it's...

Hank: [laughs] John, I've just been feeling in general like my jokes have been too good lately, so I wanted to toss that one out for you.

John: Ohhh, oh, you're trying to take it down a notch to lower my expectations so that when you, in a couple weeks you're building up to an amazing jokes like Euripides, my all time favorite joke. Like, you have told a good joke in this segment and every time I think to myself, is this like

Hank: Another Euripides?

John: Is this like the tailor who´s named Euripides? No!

Hank: [laughs] That was a good one!

John: No it´s gonna be, fish don´t live in pepper water because they might sneeze. Which.. no part of the joke makes sense. Speaking of no part of anything making sense: how about 2021? Uh.. the project for awesome is ending as we are uploading this but...

Hank: Yeah! You might have a little time to get in and get those last perks.

John: You might have a little bit of time to still get some perks at projectforawesome.com/donate - wonderful perks that will be gone forever if you do not grab them quickly. I mean like, don´t text and drive obviously. Pull over, put the car in park and then go to projectforawesome.com/donate and get your perks. Including an exclusive episode of Dear Hank and John, in case you don´t get enough of this crap.

Hank: Erm.. yeah and thank you to everyone who joined us during the project for awesome. We don´t know how that went because we´re recording before it happened.

John: Hopefully it was okay!

Hank: I bet it was great!

John: Hopefully I survived.

Hank: I think, you´ll be fine. It´s a good ol´ time! Aw, man, I can´t wait for the mars news, this week and next week! Hoohuhuhu!

John: I can´t wait for the AFC Wimbledon news this weeks so... it´s exciting times!

 NewSection (2:09)


 (02:00) to (04:00)


John: This first question comes from Elisabeth who writes Dear Hank and John, would it be possible to train a whale to use a very long snorkel that attached to its blowhole so that it could swim under water forever without coming upr air? What about dolphins in scuba gear? Queen, Elisabeth
I love... I´m not sure that this question came from Her Royal Highness

Hank: Queen Elisabeth? [laughs]

John: But I like to imagine the possibility that queen Elisabeth the second is a regular listener of Dear Hank and John and is very curious about whale snorkels. This seems like the kind of thing prince Charles would be into so I´m a little bit surprised that it´s queen Elisabeth? 

Hank: Yeah! Well, maybe, she´s passing it along. 

John: Hank, you don´t spend as much time as I do thinking about the English royal family. But, man! Do I spend a lot of times thinking about those rascally rabbits. Queen Elisabeth wants to know: Is it possible for a whale to use a snorkel?

Hank: Yeah, I mean I think maybe prince Charles does and she´s just passing it along. 

John: That is exactly right! Prince Charles was like hey, I´m embarrassed to ask this question but I feel like if you ask it you´ll get an answer? I got a history of wacky ideas, mom, but maybe you can, yea

Hank: Yea, there´s a couple of potential problems here. I  mean, one: They´re already very good at this. Like a lot of whales, you´re talking about.. you´d need a Very long snorkel because they gotta go very deep. And you got some physical limitations here. You´d need a rigid snorkel so it doesn´t like push behind them. And then also the volume of the snorkel. If it´s really long, even if it´s really skinny, will contain a lot of air. And so if they´re not... if their lung capacity is equal to the volume of the interior of the snorkel, they won´t actually get air exchange with the outside world. There´s also a giant pressure differential here. That´s gonna be a big problem. There´s a number of limitations. 

 (04:00) to (06:00)


Hank: The Main one though, is that dolphins and whales are already really good at this and they don´t... I´d be like birds evolving more wings. Like, they don´t need more wings, they´re good! Like whales, yeah probably there´s an advantage to being able to stay underwater for longer, especially for like spermwhales who are deep sea hunters. But uh.. for the most part they´ve got it figured out, man! But I do wanna see a dolphin in a scuba suit, for sure!

John: Any time you´re inventing an invention you first gotta ask the question "What problem am I trying to solve?" And I´m just not convinced that in the case of whales or dolphins... like, they Have problems, don´t get me wrong, it´s just that their problems are... us. 

Hank: Yeahh, largely. And i don´t know that uhh... certainly a giant snorkel is gonna increase their ability to avoid us. 

John: I suppose so. Alternatly, we start scanning the ocean for large snorkels. 

Hank: That´s not... I mean, that´s not the biggest problem.

John: I just... I don´t trust humans any further than I can throw is and most of us I can´t throw at all. So I feel like we need to probably harness our resources around doing a better job of understanding and internalizing and acting out the fact that, like it or not, we are now the dominant species on the planet. And we to very large extend decide how things go for whales. At least for the moment. Now I think, in the long arc of history, there´s gonna come a time when the whales decide how things go for us and by the way, if we don´t do a good job right now of deciding how things go for the whales, they may remember that.

Hank: Right, yeah, and also that moment will come sooner because the process of no longer being the dominant species on the planet will be a quicker one. 

John: How long have we been truly the dominant species on the planet? Maybe like 60 000 years? 40 000 years? 

Hank: Oh no, I think less than that! 

John: Oh, I think we were crushing some large predator population 40 000 years ago.

Hank: Sure, yeah, I guess. But like not dominant, we were like a dominant species 

John: We were Top 3

Hank: We were not in control. We were not in control of the world. Well, we´re still not in control but most of what we are not in control of is ourselves.

John: You wanna know what´s in control of the world, Hank? A single strand of RNA. You wanna know what´s running this ship right now?  Like seven hundred nucleotide pairings. 

Hank: And it´s not fair, is it?

John: It´s not fair! It´s not even... I looked at a picture of it and it´s not even smart. I don´t know how long we´ve been the dominant species but one thing I do know is that we are. And at least in my opinion, we need to take this responsibility just a smidge more seriously.

 (06:00) to (08:00)


John: How long have we been truly the dominant species on the planet? Maybe like 60 000 years? 40 000 years? 

Hank: Oh no, I think less than that! 

John: Oh, I think we were crushing some large predator population 40 000 years ago.

Hank: Sure, yeah, I guess. But like not dominant, we were like a dominant species 

John: We were Top 3

Hank: We were not in control. We were not in control of the world. Well, we´re still not in control but most of what we are not in control of is ourselves.

John: You wanna know what´s in control of the world, Hank? A single strand of RNA. You wanna know what´s running this ship right now?  Like seven hundred nucleotide pairings. 

Hank: And it´s not fair, is it?

John: It´s not fair! It´s not even... I looked at a picture of it and it´s not even smart. I don´t know how long we´ve been the dominant species but one thing I do know is that we are. And at least in my opinion, we need to take this responsibility just a smidge more seriously.

 NewSection (6:52)


Hank: Alright, John, this next question comes from Grace who asks "Dear Hank and John, I´m getting my first dose of the Maderna COVID vaccine today, woooh! Due to your previous discussion about how Grover Cleveland is only one man and can therefore only be a singular president, a question occurred to me. Will I be getting one vaccine in two doses or two vaccines? Your thoughts? Not Hazel, just Grace"

John: This is the kind of question, Hank, that we really need to be answering. This is a service we can provide to the people.

Hank: Yes! It´s not like medical advise so much as pedantry. So we are here for that!

John: And it´s very important because it extends my argument that Grover Cleveland cannot be two presidents because he is only one person into new arenas which helps people understand that Grover Cleveland was not two presidents.

Hank: Right!

John: And that! Is the mission of my life.

Hank: But Grover Cleveland was, was inaugurated twice!

John: Sure!

Hank: Which is the case for Ronald Reagon and Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. But there´s a scientific angle here which is that there are some vaccines that are the same vaccines twice.

John: Right!

 (08:00) to (10:00)


Hank: And there are some vaccines that are two different things.

John: Yes!

Hank: In the case of these MRNA vaccines like the Maderna vaccine, it is the same vaccine twice. Basically it´s saying, we´re gonna expose your immune system to this protein that is  part of the COVID 19 virus and your immune system will say uh that doesn´t look great. But, maybe the first time its like, well that didn´t have a significant negative impact on me, I´ll remember it but not as like s serious thread. The second time it comes along, your immune system says Oh! So this is a things I´m actually gonna see more than once. So I´m actually gonna create some robust systems to prevent you from getting this disease.  And that´s why with the MRNA vaccines and with many vaccines,  we have this booster system where it´s like first exposure and second exposure to the same vaccine. Which is the case in this case but not with all COVID vaccines. And  there are a couple that are actually two different things.

John: And in the case of those MRNA vaccines, you´re getting two doses of one vaccine. And so you´re getting a vaccine that comes in two shots which are spaced apart. Now in the case of there being  a slightly different formulation in the booster shot - and this is where it´s gonna get controversial, Grace, so strap in - you are still getting two doses of one vaccine. It´s just that the second part of the vaccine you are getting has a slightly different formulation for the previous part but it is still one vaccine. The only way you can get two vaccines if you´re in this hypothetical group that I don´t think exists yet but has been talked about where like some people might get the first dose of the Pfitzer vaccine and the second dose of the Maderna vaccine. In that case, which I don´t think has happened yet but if it were to happen, that would arguably be two vaccines because that is a Grover Cleveland and a Millard Fillmore both entering your body, not two Grover Clevelands.

 (10:00) to (12:00)


Hank: Yeah though this is another thing, like is the vaccine the individual formulation, or is the vaccine whatever system is used to vaccinate you. So you could make the case that even in the hypothetical which is the thing that people are talking about, like is it just in case measure. 

If there are doses available for one and not the other, would that be a single vaccination but with two vaccines? I guess that would be the case. 

John: To me, yes, that's exactly what it is. It's- the presidency is still the presidency, but in one part of the Presidency, Millard Fillmore has it, and in another part, Grover Cleveland has it. Now, I know that lots of people out there are just going to head off these emails at the past. Lots of people are going to say, if it's two different formulations that it's one Millard Fillmore and it's one Grover Cleveland. Wrong, wrong, wrong. It's Grover Cleveland at one time in his life and Grover Cleveland at a second time in his life-

Hank: Right.

John: A slightly different Grover Cleveland 

(Hank laughs)

John: and he's put on a few pounds. The stress of the presidency has worn him out a little bit, you know? 

Hank: Yeah, he's learned something, yes. 

John: Yeah, he's not the same Grover Cleveland that he was, but he is the same person that he was. 

Hank: And now- 

John: He is the same president that he was and the same vaccine, in my very extended metaphor.

Hank: But you can also make the case that I'm not really the same person I was five years ago. 

John: Hmm

Hank: I oftentimes think I have already had many small deaths. I am not who I once was. In, you know, in some ways I am. But in many ways… I don't know- imight argue that in most ways I am not. 

John: Hm I think-

Hank: Certainly from like when I was five till now, not really similar (?). 

John: But there's a lot of continuity between those. For one thing, you have the same brother the whole time. 

Hank: [Laughs]

John: Incredibly supportive and loving, and gets so little credit, but it's the same person, but for another thing, I agree. Like self is a self is a fiction that we whisper to ourselves to keep going for sure, no doubt. 

Hank: [Laughing harder]

John: But like it's a useful fiction and it's not just a fiction because we change,

 (12:00) to (14:00)


John: it’s a fiction because like we're living inside of a body made out of meat like we're just a series of chemical reactions, so like, I think that you're the same person, but I do relate to what you're saying in the sense that I look back on things that I did, even like five years ago. Like I'll watch like an interview of me during the press junket of “The Fault in our Stars” movie. And I'll be like looking into that person's eyes, and I know what he's thinking

Hank: [Laughs]

John: and I'll just be like, wow, that guy feels very distant from me. Like I do not- I actually feel a much closer connection to the, like me, who at the age of 27 fell in love with Sarah than I do to like the Me who at the age of 38 was on a press junket.

Hank: Right. I often will witness my own self and think: I would not make that decision. 

John: Oh yeah, I mean, all kinds of like the phenomenon where you read your writing from-

Hank: Oh boy

John: 10 years ago and you're like- 

Hank: Oh God 

John: Oh no, no, 

Hank: [Laughs]

John: I hate it.

Hank: Yeah and it's good to have you know 15 years of YouTube videos up there. 

John: [Laughing]

Hank: Just staring you in the face being like who the heck is that guy! 

(John: Well-)

Hank: When he decided to hump this statue of the Elk? 

John: [Laughing]

Hank: Did he have to do it from behind. 

John: Yeah, like both, who is that guy and [laugh] how do I put that particular Genie back in the bottle? 

Hank: Yeah yeah, yeah. 

John: Like how- how do I unake that decision? 

Hank: It's like in which of the things I've done on YouTube truly disqualify me from public office. Like -not like there's one-, but let's rank them. 

John: Yeah 

Hank: Is pumping the elk from behind number one? I feel like it's-

John: very high up there. 

Hank: It's pretty high up there. 

John: I think that an attack ad-

Hank: [Laughs very hard]

John: That was nothing but-

[Hank laughing even harder] 

John: [chuckle] clips of you humping inanimate objects around the city of Missoula would make it really difficult for you to become the- 

Hank: [Overlapping] No! But-. 

John: [continuing] mayor of Missoula

 (14:00) to (16:00)


Hank: No, and then I rebroadcast it all, it's just the same footage of except this is “I love this town”. 

John: [Loud laugh] Context is everything man.

[Hank laughs]

John:  Speaking of which we should probably provide some context for the 85% of our listeners who don't know where what we're referring to, Hank made a video. And I still don't know like the context in which this happened. 

Hank: It was a punishment!

John: OK, Hank made a video where as a punishment he humped, H-U-M-P-E-D, in case I'm not pronouncing it clearly enough, he humped many, many landmarks [laugh] in Missoula, Montana. 

Hank: Yeah, as many as I could. Pretty much everything that is a landmark. 

John: And it seemed like a hilarious idea 12 years ago,

(Hank: [Laughing] It was very funny) 

John: but even now, like if you go and you read the comments like the recent comments, 'cause that video is still on the Internet? 

Hank: Yeah. 

John: Which is part of our policy. When possible, we leave our dumb videos on the Internet as a form of ongoing public shame I guess. 

Hank: Mhm [chuckle]

John: But like when you go and read the most recent comments in that video, it's a lot of people who are like: ah this guy... is America's chemistry teacher? 

Hank: [Laughs loudly]

John: And I realize that we're making all of this much worse by talking about it.

Hank: [more laughter]

John: But one week ago, Darby commented: “I had to pause this and take a short walk in my dorm to get over the secondhand embarrassment in order to finish the video.”

Hank: [Still laughing]

John: The next most recent comment: “It's so bizarre to think that I have visited every single permanent location that Hank is humped.” 

Hank: This is… the only video that lives rent free in my head-

John: [Laugh laugh]

Hank:  I can't- I cannot wait until Tiktok discovers this. 

John: [Laughing] I love the comment from three weeks ago, “wow, you taught me so much in high school”. 

[Both laugh very hard] 

John: Imagine visiting Missoula to try and see Hank Green and ending up... yeah, you saw him. 

Hank: [Laughing] 

 (16:00) to (18:00)


Hank: “Hello should I show this to my science teacher?” 

[Both burst out laughing]

John: “You look like the dude from PBS eons”

Hank: [Bursts out laughing again] 

John: [Through laughter] That's the best one. 

[Both laughing]

John: Anyway, one vaccine Grace that was that was the question. 

[Both laugh]

 Q. 2) What does Hank do for a living?


Hank: Oh God... which John, it reminds me of the question that we got from Ember who asks [Reading] Dear Hank and John not long ago, Hank posted a video of himself finding a taxidermied squirrel on the way to work. My husband overheard me listening to it and was curious because Hank was singing about the squirrel in the video and then he asked what is Hank's job and I realized, I have no idea what on Earth Hank does for a living. 

(John chuckles)

Hank: [continuing] I know he wrote a couple of books and does a lot of podcasts and I think he works for some kind of environmental company at some point. And he sure does talk an awful lot about being busy, so I assume he does something. What does hank do? Feel the burn, Ember.

Hank: Nice!

John: That's good. I don't really know what Hank does, so I'll be interested to see how he answers this question.

Hank: God I- Well, it's it's a- it is an evolving situation. I continue to be doing a number of things. 

I am a professional Tiktoker, that’s new. 

John: Yeah you make money from Tick Tock. 

Hank: I do-

John: You better donate that money to partners in health, otherwise- you have to, it's a requirement. 

Hank: My Tiktok audiences, selected a separate charity, I let them decide where I donate. 

John: Oh, OK, OK. that’s good

Hank: So we, John and I started an educational media company together called “Complexly”. It makes shows like PBS eons and Crash Course and Scishow, and a bunch of other shows. And I run that business, which means a lot of meetings trying to get business, trying to get shows funded, trying to be there for our employees and never being there as much as I should be. 

John: Yeah. 

Hank: And trying to have that company continue existing and I also do that with another company called dftba.com where we help creators create products and merchandise

 (18:00) to (20:00)


Hank: and sell those to their communities. And likewise, I'm plenty of meetings for that business. And likewise, I try to be there for the employees of that company and also I'm not there for them enough. [chuckle] So it is in general too many things and a lot of responsibility and a lot of great people who work really hard and who I am tremendously in debt to.

John: As far as the “how does Hank make a living” portion of the question- 

Hank: Hm, that's a good point. 

John: Hank gets paid a salary by complex. 

Hank: Yep. 

John: and he gets paid a small salary by dftba.com, but the majority of money that Hank makes is from book sales. 

Hank: That is correct. You've got, you've got it in one John. 

John: And people often ask how I make a living, and in my case, I make a very small salary from complexly, and then I make almost all of my money from book sales. So, that's how the money part of it works. 

Hank: Yeah, but my job- the thing that I spend most of my time on is complexity and DFTBA. 

John: Yeah, but that's not where you get the money. 

Hank: [Overlapping] Not where I make most of my money now, which is nice that those companies don't have to have expensive CEOs, they can have me.

John: Yeah. I mean there's a downside. You know you get a cut rate CEO, you pay a cut rate price. 

Hank: [Laughs]

John: [Laughing] I'm just kidding. I'm very grateful to you for being our cut rate CEO, because if it weren't you would be somebody who is way worse, me. 

[Both laugh]

John: Speaking of DFTBA Hank, this question comes from Allison, who writes: [reading] Dear John and Hank. I've purchased two hoodies from dftba.com and both have a small pocket on the inside of the hoodie pocket. What is this pocket for? DFTBA, Allison.

John: I have also noticed this Hank, because I also have some DFTBA hoodies- I bought them, just so I’m not accused of double dealing. I bought them 

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