H.I. No. 106: Water on Mars

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"Water on Mars"
Hello Internet episode
Episode no.106
Presented by
Original release dateJuly 31, 2018 (2018-July-31)
Running time1:38:49
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"H.I. #106: Water on Mars" is the 106th episode of Hello Internet, released on July 31, 2018.[1]

That's why I am the radio and podcast champion. How could anyone ever forget that you're the radio and podcast champion? I can't. I'm looking at my little microphone tray for you, Gapy right now. Pro tip for England. If you have a heat wave that happens every year for about... ...two, two and a half, maybe three months, that's not a heat wave. That's summer. That's what summer is. And you have a heat wave that they don't understand. I don't know. This year has just been one of the worst years where I keep... Not the worst year in terms of heat, but the worst year in terms of me having to listen to English people explain that they don't have summers and this is just a freak occurrence and it doesn't make sense to outfit any of their buildings with air conditioning. I know I've complained about this in the past, but this year, this summer, I really feel like I'm losing my freaking mind over this. And just earlier today, I was in an argument with an English person who was like, oh, when unusual heat wave we're having. I'm like, listen, I've lived here for a decade. Every summer. Every f***ing summer. It's just like this since the first summer when I arrived. And I remember laying on the floor of my apartment, sweating and simply not moving and waiting for what I then, like a fool, believed was the heat wave to pass. But it's not a heat wave. It's just every summer and the city's not built for it. I've decided it's like some kind of self-propaganda that English people do to themselves where they just want to believe that all of England is like northern Scotland all the time. Like they just want to believe it. And so every year when the weather is the same in the summer, which is hot in mid to upper 80s like it is today, it's like pushing 90 in London, which is an ungodly temperature. They still want to believe that it's a freakish occurrence, but it happens every year, every year for 10 years at least. This is summer, English people. You need to build infrastructure to deal with it. Well, technically, if you look at the statistics, this has been, I hate you. I only partly agree with you, but I do partly agree with you. Okay, why do you partly unagre with me? Because we are in the middle of something quite exceptional. Are we? It feels like it's every summer though. This is the heatiest heat wave that I can remember and I think the numbers flesh that out. I've never seen the grass so dried out as it is now. It's like Australia at the moment, all the grass is so yellow and brown. It's because of the length of it without rain. You do get heat, but normally it gets broken up occasionally, but because it hasn't been broken up, everything's dying in the moment. But England is exceptionally poorly equipped to deal with the mildest deviation from what it considers to be normal weather, whether it's wind or rain or heat or anything. It's just the whole country just grinds to a halt. And they always find new things to go wrong. It's like there's a government department for coming up with clever things that can go wrong because of weather, like melting train tracks and weird problems with leaves. Every year, there's a new thing that I'm like, I didn't even know, that could be a problem. And yet because it's temperature is deviated by one degree or the wind has gone five miles per hour faster than it should have, like everything goes wrong. It's a country living on the edge when it comes to weather. It really is. It really is. It feels like we've built all of our infrastructure to handle like a plus or minus five degree variance and a plus or minus a couple knots wind speed and plus or minus a couple millimeters of rain. And if it goes beyond that, it's just a total disaster. This is a famous trait of English people, though. I can't remember all the details and I should because it's part of Australian folklore. But when the first settlers from England went to Australia, they packed as if they were going to be going to England. They packed like warm and cold clothes and all the different types of seeds and things and that they took. And they arrived in Australia and then they planted all their crops based on what they would do in England, even though they were in a different hemisphere. And they just like, they went through years and years of hardship because they couldn't accept that weather changes and different things happen with weather. So it's just an English thing, I think. I guess what you're saying to me is that I'm not going to be able to convince English people that you need to install central air conditioning systems in your retail centers across the country. You don't think I'm going to be able to convince them that this is a necessary thing. No. But also, English people love talking about weather, right? It's probably their favorite thing to talk about, either that or transport and travel on the roads. They love talking about it and English people love to winch and complain. So this is like an absolute perfect storm because they can complain about weather. That's bliss for them. I almost think they don't improve the infrastructure because it would reduce their opportunities to winch about the weather. If it was just like, oh yeah, it's hot today, but luckily we've all got air conditioners and all the public transport can cope with it. There'd be nothing to complain about. I'm sure I've mentioned this before, but it's like, I can't let this opportunity pass where I think you may be right. I do my best to think that people all over the world, like I think they're basically the same, right? The people really aren't all that different. I'm not even sure. I super believe in this idea of cultural differences, but the one that just kills me that seems so stark is what you're saying there. There's something about English people that they love to just state a problem and let it sit there on the table. We're all going to sit around it. We're all going to sit around the table and we're going to talk about that problem. When you go to America, there really is just much more of a can-do attitude of like, hey, there's a problem. What could we do about this problem? Let's propose solutions. Hey, maybe someone can take action. At a bare minimum, someone can sweep this problem off of the table. Now it's on the floor, but at least it's not in our face all the time. I try to think that people are the same everywhere and I think that that mostly holds true, but there is something about English people versus Americans in the can-doidiveness that is clearly different and sort of drives me crazy sometimes. Yeah. I mean, I do think people are culturally different and that difference you point out is definitely true. I mean, how do you think Australians read on the can-doidiveness scale? They've got to be like on the American side. That's my impression anyway. Yeah, Australians are can-do and Australians are also hard as nails. For example, I come from Adelaide. Adelaide can get really, really hot in the summer. Like in the summer, you could have consecutive days in the 40s, Celsius. I'm talking well and well into the hundreds here, Fahrenheit. That's just normal. I lived there and I worked there. And when I used to work at the newspaper, I used to have to wear business trousers and a shirt or a tie every day. And I often walked to work. I remember when I lived in the city, I had like a 15, 20-minute walk to work sometimes. And when I went out on jobs and stories, I had to go outside and work outside in like clothing that you wouldn't ideally wear and hot weather. And I have zero memory of the heat ever being a massive problem or something you would talk about. It was just a thing. But now that I live in England and I've been experiencing this heat wave, even I'm talking about it all the time. And I'm lying in bed thinking, oh, woe is me, I'll never sleep and I dare not go outside and what am I going to do? Like it's infected me. And I grew up in 100 degrees every day, like scorching, scorching desert heat. I think one of the reasons particularly on my mind is is I happen to have a bunch of American friends coming through London this summer. And I had to prepare all of them for like, listen, just so you know, it's going to be what you would regard as a hot day, but nothing unusually hot. But you need to be prepared for the fact that there will be no relief anywhere you go. So you have to bring clothes where you're really prepared for the summertime. And what you're saying there, I think your memory of it not really being a problem is almost certainly a side effect of that fact that if it gets really hot, you have infrastructure to deal with it. It's like when I visit my parents in North Carolina, which is so hot and so humid that to be outside for a couple of minutes in a row in the afternoon is flirting with death. You really, really are. It's incredible. But guess what? You never need to be outside for more than 20 seconds at the most, right? It's like how long does it take you to walk from your car to the building? And it's crazy. It's like, oh, I'm so much more physically comfortable in North Carolina, where it's lethal outside, right? Then in the UK where it's like, it's uncomfortable, but it's uncomfortable always. Like, and there's just nothing that is ever done about it. And it's way worse in that situation. Fair enough. Anyway, we've been English-assized. We're talking about the weather, but I'm in a nice chilly room that I have actually, you know, set up infrastructure so that I am physically comfortable and it's lovely. Did you buy an air conditioner? Yeah. No, we've had an air conditioner for years as long as we've lived here and all of our English friends think we're crazy. But it's like, I've set it up so that I can be recording this podcast in comfort as opposed to being in 88 degree weather as it is right now. I too envy you, I am swatering in the room. I'm in. Why don't you have air conditioning, Brady? I don't know because you don't do that in England. Oh my god. I did go into this department store website about a week into the heatwave and looked up air conditioners and they were all sold out. Yeah, no, that's too late. It's too late, Brady. They're all being bought by Americans abroad or other people who are just dealing with it. This whole time we're having this conversation, like, I just assumed that your house must be air conditioning because you're a practical Australian. No, apparently not. Since when am I practical? I don't know. I just I thought it would be the culture of your people. This should be prepared for warm weather. Wow. Like, and I really crank it down. If I look at the thermometer in my office, it is currently 65 degrees in my office. I've got like a 20 degree temperature differential between the outside and the inside, which is just the way I like it. So, Gray, there's some really exciting breaking news that actually started breaking only half an hour before we started recording. Oh, yeah. Yeah. Apparently water on Mars. That's really awesome. My Twitter timeline has lit up like a slightly orange, huge Christmas tree. You know it's crazy about this. Yes, I do. We've discussed this topic a number of times. I know we've discussed the water on Mars thing. That's the whole joke. But I'm sitting here right now unable to remember what the verdict was from any of those previous conversations. They're like, has water been discovered on Mars? Like, I don't remember. I'm guessing not. It's groundhog day. It's ridiculous. And every time this time, it's different. Okay. What's different about it this time? What's different about the lead breaking news this time, reading? Well, I don't think it is that different. Supposedly like this time, there's actual water and it's not just evidence that there was water there in the past. But dig a little deeper. So you might click on this story, thinking you're going to see lovely vistas of Lake Michigan. But dig a little deeper and you very quickly start running into all the mites and maybes and couldbees and quotation marks. Let me read a little bit of this too. Researchers have found evidence of an existing body of liquid water on Mars. What they believe to be a lake. A lake gray. He's a lake. What they believe to be a lake sits under the planet's South Polar Ice Cap and is about 20 kilometers, 12 miles across. They talk a little bit about what's been found in the past about possible intermittent liquid water flowing on the surface. But this is the first sign of a persistent body of water on the planet in the present day. This one, Brady, it sounds like it's a body of water that we've discovered. But they haven't discovered it. They just think maybe it's under there. It's probably not a very large lake says Professor Roberto Orrese from the Italian National Institute of Astrophysics who is currently having its grant funding reviewed. No, sorry, who led the study. Oh, Brady, is it just in it? The detective they're talking about wasn't able to determine how thick the layer of water might be. But the research time estimate that it is a minimum of one meter. This really qualifies this as a body of water. A lake, not some kind of meltwater filling. Wait a minute. Did you say one meter? Yeah. That's not a lake. That's like a puddle. Well, it's a serious puddle. It's not a lake if it's one meter. Look, people can read the story and decide what they want. Look, I'm not saying there is or is it water on Mars. And do you know what? Even if they did find an exposed lake of water on Mars, like wouldn't it be more amazing if there wasn't water on Mars? I mean, this is a planet in the sort of habitable zone of the solar system. It should have like all the main famous blockbuster molecules and atoms on it shouldn't it? You know, just like there's gold on Earth and methane and all these things. Shouldn't there be a cocktail of stuff on Mars? But anyway, let's just go back to that Wikipedia article of discoveries of water on Mars, which is never ever growing and add this one to the list. And if this one ends up being the one and they find fish or something like that, I will hold my hands up and say, hey, don't I look stupid? But I am very willing to bear in like by the time this podcast goes out, this story will have just quietly slipped under the surface of all that Martian water, never to be heard from again. It's sunk to the bottom of that one meter lake. One meter lake. No one can possibly find it at the bottom of a lake so deep. You know, I made a snarky tweet thinking, okay, here comes the cheer pressure. Brady, you don't understand, this is a big deal, why are you so down on space? And I think even the cheer pressure people are a little bit tired by and most of them would just like, yeah, this happens a lot, doesn't it? I think maybe that's a gaze of just being alive along enough to be exposed to hearing it a bunch of times. It's like, oh, the first time that you're around and you hear about it, it's like, oh, wow, it's so exciting, this has never happened before. But then when you've heard about it for the third time, it's like, well, okay. And all these spacey people who I see on Twitter going, this is a big deal people, this is huge. Whoa, I can't believe it. Are they really that enthused or do they just feel they have like a professional responsibility to push this along? Like surely they're thinking, oh, not again. I mean, as a fairly sciencey person myself, I feel like, why is it a big deal? You need to explain to me how this is a big deal. If there's water on Mars, like, great, I can't wait to turn it into rocket fuel for rockets to bring us back from Mars to Earth. Oh, but Gray, water is a necessary ingredient for life. Maybe I'm a monster, but it's like, I care about Mars exactly as much as it is useful to humans. And if this is the precursor to finding evidence that there's life on Mars or there was life on Mars and they find some, you know, oh, dead bacteria cells. Again, so what? Like, we live on a planet full of life. Like, it's not inconceivable that life can happen. We see it every day. Like, if they start finding like collapsed skyscrapers on Mars, then they will have my attention. Like, they will have my 100% underviled attention. I'll be like, hang on, that's awesome. But if they find, oh, in fact, 60, 100 million years ago, there was like once a cell, but it didn't go anywhere. I'll be like, oh, yeah, probably would have expected that to be honest. Yeah. Cool. Well done. Have a gold star. But it's not going to be like, oh, my goodness, shut the Vatican. Like, everything you think is true is no longer true. It'll just be, okay, yeah. Cool. What next? Brady, I feel like you have become over time a more cynical man about this sort of stuff because of the cheer pressure. Like, I do agree with you. I'm with you on a lot of this stuff. It feels like you're making much stronger statements than the Brady of four years ago would have made. But it's the result of being at the receiving end of like this weird cheer pressure on both sides. We're now like, I need a ruined city on Mars before I'm even going to listen to you people into years. Even that won't impress me anymore. A ruined city. Oh, well, I wouldn't expect that. Yeah. And be surprising if there wasn't a ruined city on Mars. I want an operating train system before I even get out of bed. See, this is what happens people. It would like you got too much cheer pressure, too much promotion. It has the opposite effect. Hey, you become unoculated to it. It's like, my amazement has been depleted. You spent my amazement too early. That's a sad way to think about it. But it is, it is kind of true. Gotta keep your power to dry. This is a PR or you guys are in. Yeah, but the problem is like, everybody's part of the PR thing. Like, this is like a different version of people standing up first to try to get off the airplane. Right? That when you have fewer places that can coordinate, everybody wants to try to grab the headlines that they're the person who's found water on Mars or vertebrates on Mars or an abandoned city on Mars. Like, everybody wants to stand up and be the person to get that. And then it becomes like, well, because everybody's talking about that is like, I'd care so much less. And the threshold for excitement is much, much higher as a result of like the increased noise and increased war for human time and attention. And the thing that makes it worse in this day and age of social media is not only, you know, do the people making the announcement want the attention and the clicks and the eyeballs and the media organizations reporting it and writing stories about it, want the attention and want the eyeballs. But the whole world wants to be the person who breaks the news to their followers with the retweet or with the pithy comment with the retweet. This is a big deal, guys. Have a look at this. So it's not just that I went to the BBC website and I was like, oh, wow, this is a cracking story. That's really interesting. But then everywhere I turn on the internet, my Facebooks and my Twitter's and things like that, everywhere you look, everyone's yelling at you like they're the one breaking the news to. So it's like, okay, like shut up. I guess you haven't spent a lot of time disabling retweets for the people you follow yet. Hey, Brady, I'm definitely going to disable the word Mars and water at some point. That will have the number of tweets in my timeline. I reckon. Anyway, we'll see what happens. I'll be asking great to cut this segment from the podcast if in two or three days like they release pictures of a lake and full of the flamingos. It doesn't matter if they do right because we've already established that our threshold is incredibly high. Like, there's one tiny area where I do disagree with you. It's just that even if they discover, oh, there was a bacteria on Mars somewhere. I do think that's a big deal mainly because it makes, once again, the the Drake equation and the question of why are we alone in the universe even more terrifying because, okay, well, now we have another data point. We like, we can see two planets in the habitable zone and both of them had life at some point. It seems like there should be life everywhere. Why isn't there, which is the thing that concerns me. So I do think that's kind of a big deal, but also at the same time, I'm with you on the lake. I don't care. I don't care if they find a lake full of flamingos until we start actually landing people on Mars. And then it's like, boy, look at all this real estate. We need to do something with it. I'm not saying it's not a big deal if we find out there was life on another planet, but it certainly feels like much less of a big deal than it would have 20 years ago. And I don't know what that says about me or about the world or about stuff, but it just feels like less of a big deal. And I think it's funny that the reason you think it would be a big deal is not because, oh my god, life, you know, it exists. Life finds a way. The reason it's a big deal to you is because now I'm really scared. Now I've got even more to worry about. No, Brady, I think I think you can see that the underlying thread is. Yes, but how does this affect me? Right? And so it's like, what are Mars? Great. Okay, whatever. Can I use that as rocket fuel for my rocket in the future? Oh, I drink it during this British hate wave. Right. No, well, then it might as well not exist, right? It might as well be thrown into a black hole. It doesn't exist. I don't know. I think maybe what you're getting at is like the cheer pressure is part of this. There's something about like I'm visualizing the two sliders in my mind. And the sliders are important. And the other slider is, but how much do I care? I can recognize that things are important. Like water on Mars is important, but I can't move that like I care at all slider in my head. I don't know. I find that there are a lot more topics that I think a younger version of me would have hit that slider of like, oh boy, I'm really interested in I care a lot about this much harder than I do now. And I do think it is kind of like the cheer pressure thing. I think it's a side effect of how many people want you to care about things like that pushes me away. And this again is like an internet thing where there's people everywhere who want you to care about whatever the thing is that they care about the most. And I feel myself like pulling back from a lot of that stuff. And the like space for space sake is definitely one of those areas where I'm like, uh, important maybe, but like, how much do I care? Like not a lot. I don't know if you feel that way, but that's just something I'm aware of is like that pushback. It feels like it's sort of related to cheer pressure. I do have like a slot resistance to like canas, you know, people who are too keen. And that is just a sort of being a grump, I guess. Mars, what can we use it for? This other planet nearby doesn't sound like there's a lot of water there. Doesn't sound like there's life there. Just seems like another, another rock orbiting the habitable zone of our star. Maybe that's what we could use Mars for. It's in the habitable zone. We could get humans living on Mars because right now humans only live on one planet. And one is none. You need a backup of the human civilization. And maybe Mars, that's its ultimate purpose to be Earth's backup. Now, just as the human civilization needs backup, so do your computer files. 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Do it for me so that I can know the listeners of Hello Internet are protected in their data. It's just five bucks a month. There's no gimmicks. There's no add-ons. There's no gotchas. They're just the best. Backblaze.com slash hello internet. Thanks to Backblaze for supporting the show. Thanks to Backblaze for protecting everyone's data. So we last time were discussing the nail and gear that had been etched at a microscopic level onto a 5p coin. A nanoscopic level. I was going to say nanoscopic but I stopped myself because weren't we talking about micrometers? Isn't it literally microscopic then? No, I think maybe you're right on that one. You really pulling out the nerd voice for this podcast. I'm quite congested today. It's actually quite easy to go. It's easier to speak in nerd voice than my own voice. So I could do the whole podcast in nerd voice if you want. I really don't really don't want that Brady. I don't like that guy. No, well, stay off the internet because he's everywhere commenting on everything, especially number five videos. I'm sorry. I feel like you have a lot of channels that particularly draw that guy. I love him. Yes, yes. All views count the same. So yes, you do love him. That's true. Okay, so my bit of feedback is on that coin photo in the comments on the Reddit for the last episode. A bunch of people were talking about how that close-up photo made them feel really queasy. The image that had the spikes and the holes we were talking about. Does it look like stalagged tights and stalagged mites or does it look like a geological feature? My initial description of what was looking like a canyon and down the bottom were like spiky tentacles, like the salak from the turn of the Jedi trying to reach out. Yes, that's right. That was your metaphor, the salak, which is a very good one. I think that works perfectly. So a couple of people were pointing out in the Reddit that as everything exists on the internet and that there's maybe a thing called Tripophobia. Of course, there is a subreddit for it. I clicked on the subreddit and boy, you know, just when you think the internet has like, oh surely there's nothing more that the internet can show me, right? I've ended up in all of these strange places like, okay, this is another one of these very strange places. So it's described as like a fear or an uncomfortable feeling when you look at particular patterns of like holes or small repeated cracks in a thing, particularly those founded nature. So I went, of course, you're like, oh, well, here's a weird subreddit. Let me go start clicking around and clicking on these things. And I don't know if you've opened it up on your web browser. I'm looking at it now, right? I'm looking at it now. Right. So clicking around, what do you think of these photos or some of these things that you're seeing? I mean, I can see how they're like unpleasantish. It's not things of beauty. And I guess there's always a sort of a menace and a spookiness about holes. It doesn't affect me the way that I read other people were being affected by that image, but I get why some people don't like it, but it doesn't freak me out or anything. Do you know how to unread it sort by the type of all times you can see the most tried to put public images? Okay, I'm looking at top of all time and these are more unpleasant. Yes, it's much more unpleasant. Yes. I'll put a link in the show notes for people. What are you doing to me, great? Oh my god, I've shut that tab. Oh, man, I was about to say that this is going to come with the severe. There are some things that cannot be unseen. Oh my god, you beat me to it. Why didn't you warn me? I was about to. And then you were you were reacting in such an entertaining way. I just let it go. Oh god. That was terrible. Do you want to tell the people? No, don't do it, people. That's not just like tripophobia, tripophobia, that's just like grossness in any phobia. It's not like looking at a bunch of knitting needles or something and going, oh, that makes me feel weird. That's just like grossness. I can't get some of the mad in my head. Are you still clicking, Brady? It sounds like I'm never going there again. You know, I can look at stuff. But you don't look at that stuff volunteer. Like, there's no pleasure in that. And I look at some macabre stuff too on the internet. Like, I don't mind looking at things that are dark. But that's like, there's no value in that. Like you, I basically had the same reaction when I opened it up. I was like, John Jesus, what is that? Right? Click next. Oh, God, what is that? Oh, click next. Right. The first couple were all right. And I was thinking, oh, this is fine. And then after that, like the rest in that top 20 or 50 were like horrendous. Who subscribes to that subreddit? Well, 35,000 people subscribed to that subreddit. Just take a deep breath over there. Okay. The ones that you saw were they natural images or were they some of the constructed things? No, they were old natural things. Okay. Yeah. The natural things are more horrifying than the constructed things because it's like, oh, that's a Photoshop job or like they usually things that have gone wrong with people or animals too. Like it's like, you know, it's nature gone wrong. This is actually what I thought was kind of the interesting thing about this is with, it's trying to be like, what is it that your brain is wired for? And this one, I found it very interesting because I kept thinking, oh, I feel like this is probably really wired into people on some level precisely because of what you said there that if in nature, you come across this sort of pattern where a thing that should be smooth actually has a large number of holes in it that's probably really bad. Like that is a thing that has become infested or infected. It's not the way it's supposed to be. I was very aware of like actually when I was in North Carolina a while ago, I didn't grow up in an area where there are snakes but there are lots of snakes in North Carolina. And I was super interested in the fact that my brain was ready to spot snakes. So like if you go out into the park, like your brain is just clearly looking for this little espattered moving along the ground. That's like, oh, this is obviously a thing that's just built into the brain. And I suspect that this phobia is something like that gone wrong that this pattern of circles and holes is like built into the brain as a really bad sign if you see it somewhere. And then I can see that this gets transferred to people when they look at the nail and gear that is made out of these little holes in a surface that it's like they feel uncomfortable because it's this same pattern. And I'm going to give you an example of one. This is not a gross one. This one I'll put in the show notes because I think it's like a safe for work version of this. It's a woman who's done this makeup job on her face. And it's not a gross makeup job. She's just made it look like her face is sort of a bookshelf like with things placed in this shelf on her head. And it's like, man, looking at that, it just feels so uncomfortable to look at. And I think it's the same thing because if you came across someone who had lots of holes in their face, it's probably a really bad sign in the natural world. And they might be infected or have some kind of other problem. Yeah, but if you came across someone with a bunch of spikes on their face or even one weird thing on their face, I agree with what everything you just said, Gray. Like, you know, it all made sense. And clearly this tripophobia or tripophobia or whatever it's called is definitely a thing because it's certainly triggered a lot of people. But when I was watching those extreme ones and I had that reaction that I had, I don't think that was tripophobia or tripophobia or only thing being brought out in me. It was when something else was added to it that it became gross. That when I see a bunch of holes in some skin, I'm like, okay, there's a bunch of holes in the skin. But then when a whole bunch of worms or pests or something suddenly come squirting out of it, that's just gross. Well, it is also just the idea of why is a thing gross or why is a thing repulsive? In the same way that you said why is a thing beautiful? There's something in your brain that's looking for patterns out in the world. The traditional one is things are beautiful when they're symmetrical. And probably we find symmetrical people more attractive because it means that their genes were expressed properly, like there wasn't a transcoding error in reproducing their face and like symmetry is a hard thing to do. I think even for some of the gross ones, it kind of raises this interesting question of you find a thing gross, but why? And the answer is almost certainly because the gross thing is bad news in the past. Even when you say there, it's like, why is it so gross? Because it's bad news. It's super bad news in the past. But I was just going to mention I had the absolute strangest experience because there's one more which is not gross. That makeup one, by the way, I've been sharing at the whole time we've been talking. I'm absolutely mesmerized by it. I love it. It's an amazing makeup job. I find it very uncomfortable to look at. Obviously, the notion of this woman having a whole bunch of holes gouged into her face seems disturbing for a few seconds, but then you just appreciate it as almost pretty. Now I'm looking at the other one. This is a bunch of holes that have been poked into some coconut flesh, but because the coconut has had all the brown hair pulled away from it, so the coconut skin is almost skin colored. It kind of almost looks like you're seeing through some human skin to a bone. The caption says it looks like a knee. Something's gone wrong with a knee. To me, it looks like the top of someone's head and they've had a bunch of holes drilled into their brain or something. When in fact, it's just a coconut. It's just a coconut with the skin removed and then someone's poked a bunch of holes in it. Yeah. I came across this image and this was one of the strangest experiences I've had in a while seeing this image because, and I know you'll love this Brady. This image is straight out of my dreams. All right. People have various recurring dreams. The famous one that I used to think was like a joke until I really like, oh, people really do have this dream is the, oh, you show up to school naked dream, right? Which I never had and I thought was like, is this a joke? But apparently, this is a fairly common one that people have or teeth falling out of your head or something else. Oh, I have those ones. Yeah. I have the teeth falling out of my head one too, which is like, even if I think about it, I can think about what that feeling is like. But man, this one is like, this is straight out of my dreams where like I have had recurring dreams where there's problems with my knees and they're getting holes in them exactly like this. Wow. Interesting. I don't like to talk about dreams. Obviously, I don't think there's any point to it. But I thought it was interesting and it's what got me started down this whole road of like, why would that be a thing that your brain even thinks about? And that's why I was thinking about like patterns of holes as really bad news biologically, which may be like where the source of the phobia is come from. Yeah. But it's like, man, this was just such a strange image to look at because it's like, this could have been pulled right out of my brain and then like made into an image on the internet. It's very strange. Do you have dodgy nays? Like when you run and stuff, do you have nay problems? Would you be getting sore knees in your sleep and your dream brain is going, hmm, let's work with this or I don't think there's anything like that. I think it's just, you know, the random noise in a brain is sort of what dreams are, but it's still like something that your brain is thinking about. In the same way that I suspect dreams like losing your teeth. Like it's a thing that again, super bad news in the past. If you lose your teeth, then it's just like something that brains think about. But I'm pretty sure that most people who have those teeth dreams are clenching their teeth in their sleep. I don't know. I hope you enjoyed your little, your little trip down, try pophobia land. I most certainly didn't put a link in the show notes with a big warning for people before they click it so that you don't before the same feed is breeding. Don't click it people and I'll tell you why, there's no merit to it. You're listening to someone who will watch things about plane crashes and disasters and things until the cows come home. Like I will look at dark stuff because it's interesting. There was no merit to this. Only bad will come from this. Yeah, I can back pretty up on that one. I would repeat that. I found it interesting, but only because I had just a one and a million weird personal connection for an image that I happen to find very quickly. But yeah, this is not artistic. Like this is the corner of the internet that is the gross out body horror corner of the internet. There would be dragons. Not even interesting. Not even like a thinnest gauge type interesting. Always not an amazing thing that happened to a body. This is just like cannot unsee. Anyway, link in the show notes. You know, maybe once in a lifetime you take a photo that rises above the rest and it becomes that photo. The one you make your screen saver. Set as your Facebook banner. You know the one I'm talking about. It's in your favourites folder on your phone so that when you find yet another excuse to shoehorn it into a conversation at the pub, you can call it up in just a few swipes. Have a look, have a look at this one. I have such a photo. It was taken many years ago in Paris. Now, not many people know about this, but if you walk a little way south of the Champs-Sélysay and cross the river, there's a pretty little tower perched over the city. Le Tourerfaire, I believe the local street vendors call it. Now look, I know a lot of people have photographed the Eiffel Tower, but mine was special, okay? And this was before the days of snazzy mobile phones. So I had the photo printed out and framed. It hung on the wall and it was admired every day. Mainly by me, but it was admired every day. And you know what? That just feels old to rare these days. Rare that we print out those classic pictures and let them adore our homes and offices. Give them the pride of place they deserve. And that's even more ridiculous than it sounds because these days you can get your photo fractured. Fractured, I hear you ask? Recent listener? What is this thing you speak of? Well, if you're new to the show, you might not know fracturing is a process whereby your photo is printed onto a piece of glass already to hang on the wall, complete with phone backing and a wall hanger. No frames necessary. Gorgeous, ready to go straight out of the box. It's all done at a factory in Gainesville, Florida. Now I speak from personal experience. These make great gifts for other people or for yourself. You can choose all sorts of shapes and sizes. Upload your pictures to the website, press if you buttons and then it arrives at your house. And if you want to discount on your first order, go to fractureme.com slash HI. That's a discount on your first order. And when you get there, there'll be a quick one question survey. So you can tell the fracture folk you came from Hallow Internet. Don't forget to give us a little nod. That helps us too. Check the website, Tim's. It does a far better job of explaining fractures than I do. Fractureme, fractureme, all one word, dot com slash HI. And if you do get your classic photo framed, be sure to show us it might even be as good as my eyeful towel picture. And if it is, I want to say it. Another story that just broke today, actually, Gray, that I thought might interest you. There's been an ongoing saga. I'm no expert on this, but when does that stop us? Never. There's been an ongoing saga to do with the trademark of the KitKat chocolate bar. This isn't like the logo or anything. It's the physical shape of it. The case is a trademark case because I'm immediately thinking it sounds like a patent case, right? If you need something to be a ridiculous patent, it would be like, oh, I've patented away that you can have four chocolate bars next to each other and they easily break by having a little bit of chocolate between them. And some idiotic patent office would totally grant that. Four trapezoidal bars aligned on a rectangular base is how a top EU legal advisor put it. So KitKat thought they owned this through Nestle, the parent company, Cadbury, which owns various companies and has other chocolate bars that are similarly shaped have been fighting them for years and years over this. And the judgment that came down today from an EU court is that KitKat can't have that design all to themselves. Obviously, these cases go back and forward, don't they, forever, but... Oh, yeah, of course. The latest big verdict that's getting all the headlines today is, sorry, KitKat, you don't own the four trapezoidal bars on a rectangular base. Yeah, these cases never end. Just a few weeks ago, there was a reversal in that monkey copyright case that we talked about years ago and it was like, oh god, these things never, ever end. I mean, I don't know all the arguments here, but I kind of feel like KitKat kind of want to have their cake and eat it too here because KitKat are bringing out all these new things like KitKat chunky and all these different KitKat products and they're branching out. And I think when they start doing that, they lose their claim of saying, this is quintessential KitKat, only KitKats look like this. You know if it looks like this, you know it to KitKat. Surely their case has been weakened by all the KitKat variations they've been bringing out. That's an excellent point because yeah, the purpose of trademark is to prevent customer confusion. That's what it is. The trademark, like a mark that this trade is legit. It's the thing that you think that you're getting. If I was the judge, you know, with my no legal experience at all, I would have laughed KitKat out of the court. I'd be like, get out of here with your trademark case on the fact that you're a chocolate comes in four bars. A trademark to me seems like it really should be a thing that is on or integral to the packaging of the product. I think is it Coca-Cola has a trademark on like the shape of the bottle or something. And I feel like I can just about let that kind of thing slide. I don't know if they've got it, but I could imagine Toblerone would get away with it with their triangular box as well. Yeah, they might get away with it, but I would rule against them just purely out of spite since they changed the way the chocolates are on the inside. There's been movement on that grey by the way. There was a story about that a couple of days ago that will save that for another time. Well, they're dead to me forever, Toblerone. They have been forced into a slight backflip on that. Too late. Too late. You've lost Grey's customer. For the rest of time, they haven't lost my customer because they're just too damn yummy, but I am mad at them. It's like Chick-fil-A in the South. It's like, oh, you're a terrible company, but your milkshakes are so delicious. But they're Kit Kat four bars. There are other bars that do it, you see, and that have been around for a very long time as well. And I mean, I do associate it with Kit Kat, but when you buy a Kit Kat off the shelf, it doesn't look like that. It just looks like a red rectangle. What I'm trying to think in my head is where to draw the line here. And if I can't see it on the shelf, it shouldn't be able to count as a trademark. So you can only see the wrapping of the Kit Kat bar. And then, however it looks on the inside, I feel like, no, that doesn't count towards the trademark. Well, here's an interesting one. The other day, out of desperation, I had some of my wife's vegetarian chicken nuggets. Corn chicken nuggets. They're actually quite good. Yeah, I've had a lot of that vegetarian. It's surprisingly good sometimes. Yeah, their chicken nuggets, the corn chicken nuggets are excellent. They're not a sponsor of the show. They just make excellent chicken nuggets. But interestingly, they have given their chicken nuggets, the same what I presume are arbitrary shapes that McDonald's use for their chicken nuggets. You know, those two or three distinctive shapes that chicken nuggets come in. I only just recently learned this. I never really thought about it before, but yeah, I didn't realize that there's whatever it is. There's four particular shapes that the chicken nuggets come in. And they seem to have copied or replicated it in some way, because they looked just like McDonald's chicken nuggets. Obviously McDonald's hasn't got the trademark on those four shapes. It's not part of the packaging. The chicken nuggets just come in like a box, right? And then you just, I'm sure if I had a bit of time to think about it, I could think of examples where it isn't just the packaging. Like the actual shape of the product itself is trademarkable. Well, okay. I think maybe not trademarkable, but copyrightable. Case in point, animal crackers. Right? Those little animal crackers individually, they're like a little piece of art. So maybe you could copyright the animal cracker design. But a trademark is just like a totally different thing. Like no one else can sell animal looking crackers. And so I know you can come up with your own animal designs and you can copyright them. But yeah, no, the chicken nuggets, I think they come in a box. No, I wouldn't give that to McDonald's. I'm glad that KitKat has been ruled against here. I'm reading about these chicken nuggets. I've seen them describe different ways. It's the bell, the bow tie, the bowl, and the boot. Well, here I see the bell, the bowl, the bone, and the boot. So the bow tie could also be called the bone by the looks of it. Bell, bow tie, bowl, and boot. Who doesn't like the boot most of all? It's the least symmetrical one, isn't it? That one always feels like the treat when you're having chicken nuggets and you're taking them out. When you get the boot, that feels like, ah, that's my favorite. Surely you're the same. I mean, it's been a long time since I've had chicken nuggets. It's been a very long time. But I'm also now realizing that the boot is the one that tricked me into feeling like the chicken nuggets were much more like it, like chicken pieces than what they actually are. Precisely because it's unsymmetrical, it's a bit like, oh, this must be a chicken wing. Well, you also, you feel like you're getting a little bit of extra. Oh, there's a bit of extra chicken on this one. And when you ate the boot, do you eat the bootie topa first or the top of the boot first? Where would you bite into the boot first? What part do you dip into the sauce? I dip to first and then bite the to first. No sauces. I did no sauces and I held it by the little handle bit and ate the big bit and then the little bit. Ah, so you would hold it by the toe and bite the top of the boot? No. No. No. I like that our chicken nugget eating is exact opposite. Would you expect anything else? Yeah, I hope McDonald's has a copyright on that boot shape. I don't know. I think with the corn chicken nugget, so adopting the boot, if memory serves. Well, how can you tell if it's a chicken nugget or corn vegetable impersonator? This is what trademark is for. It's very interesting. The intellectual property stuff matters. You know, it's it's a bit more and more of the economy is. And that's why these fights happen over this stuff. We can't have nugget booting going on, can we? No, we can't. We can't boot booting. Oh, really. So, Gray, as you well know, quite often I end up staying in London over Christmas for various work reasons. And what we would normally do is hire like a nice house through like a nice website where people put up their houses when they're away over Christmas. And we've used one or two companies over the last few years and you have been to these houses because you often come and join us on Boxing Day. So you know, these are like, you know, they're nice houses and it's a very nice thing that we do sometimes, really. I'm always happy when it works out and we get to spend Boxing Day together. So it looks like I may be in a similar situation. This Christmas, so we've started looking for a house and we went through one of the usual companies we go to. Now, the issue is we have our two dogs, Lulu and Audrey who are both very clean and nice dogs, but they are dogs. And because people are putting their houses up, I understand maybe some people don't want dogs in their house, you know, it is their decision. Some people allow, some people don't. So we're trying to find a house we like where the owners are okay with dogs and we always get there in the end. The company that we go through though for the first time this year has kind of like outraged me a little bit. Because they say if the owner says you can have dogs, that's good, but you will have to pay a non-negotiable cleaning fee afterwards after the dogs have been. And that's not uncommon as well. So I thought, okay, you know, the cleaning fee is 700 pounds, nearly a thousand dollars. That's ridiculous. And they came back with this like, you know, people might be allergic to dogs. So we've got to do this like super thorough clean. But I mean, you could clean a space telescope for less money than that, I reckon. Like a thousand dollars. Like if it was like a couple of hundred bucks, maybe maybe I'd think, oh, it's steep but fair enough, you know, you want to do a good job. But I just thought that was absolutely ridiculous. I had little bit of a rant on Twitter about it because I was disappointed. I was disappointed by this. And I thought it was anti-dog. I mean, basically they're saying don't bring your dogs. I think they're being hostile to dogs. And then some people will say, oh, people, you don't understand people with allergies to dogs. This is a big deal. Fair enough. And by the way, if the people who are in the house are allergic to dogs, I hope they're not letting dogs in the house. And I hope they're saying, you can't bring your dogs. But using this allergy card, you know, people have dog allergies. This is serious business. Don't get me wrong. Alleges are a serious business. But we don't spend a thousand dollars cleaning every single place a dog walks into in society. Like we have to manage these things. And be reasonable about it. And you have places, dogs can go and places they can't. But saying you can only bring your dogs if you pay a thousand dollars afterwards to clean this place. I don't know. I spend a lot of my life a little bit disappointed by people's attitudes to dogs. And I get that some people don't like dogs. And I'm absolutely fine with that. But I think some times the anti-dog lobby does my head in. Can you imagine if they said you can only bring your human baby if you pay us a thousand dollars afterwards? Oh, breeding. I know people who aren't allergic to babies. Well, babies have other problems. Like I can assure you, little kids are going to make a bigger mess than my thimble sized chihuahua and my greyhound that will lie in the corner the whole time too scared to move. Do they have rules against peanuts? Yeah, there's a two thousand dollar fee if you want to eat peanuts in the house. If allergies is the argument, that's what they should be having, right? But they don't have that. They don't have a peanut check in the house. They only have a dog check in the house. I should reply to the company and say that. Am I allowed to bring peanuts? Yeah. And if they say, yes, I'm going to say, God, yeah. Yeah. You can totally say that because that's that's what it is. That's anti-dog bias. I mean, Brady, since Mr. Trombers has come into my life, let's just say my mind has been awoken to the anti-dog prejudice and discrimination everywhere in our society. Ah, yeah. You fear it will work if your dog is sick and you call that work and say, I've got a problem because my dog is sick. That'll laugh you out of the room. But dogs get sick. Dogs need to need care and to go to the vet. Yes. But if someone calls up and says, my child is sick, well, don't come back to work for a year. It's fine. You know, I know that humans are more important than dogs. Humans are more important to me than dogs. But the anti-dog-ness. It's crazy. Someone has a child. They get months off from work to take care of that child. You get a new puppy. You ask for a time off from work to help raise it. They're not going to give you that time. Yeah. Exactly. I'm not saying we should give people dog leave. But what I'm saying is we have, as a species, domesticated the species and made it a big part of our lives and eat it if you don't like dogs, I think you're partly accountable for looking after them. Just like I'm partly accountable for looking after human babies that I haven't brought into the world. I have an accountability and I accept that. I love this spiral, like immediately to this civilization-wide problem. That was like my plan. That was my plan. Everything in my brain is saying a port, a port. But no, but I love it. It's like we won't possibly talk about it on the show because it's too fraud of an issue. But for 100% sure, they're like, there should be a thread that keeps civilization together where like you could take care of or reprimand children that aren't yours in a public environment. But like, boy, you certainly can't if you don't want to go to prison. I'm not suggesting that. Right. We'll just move right along from that and keep on going. But no, it's big scale. I agree with you. I have said many times in the show. I think that dogs are in a unique place. They're basically like a symbiotic creature with humans and they're everywhere. And having Mr. Chomper's around one of the things, it's such a, like it's such a minor thing. But I do sometimes get annoyed by like there's a bunch of like local corner shops like where I run errands, like not a big supermarket, but like a little store that just has stuff. And sometimes like if I'm coming home and I have Mr. Chomper's and I just need to get some milk or whatever. It's like I can understand that maybe you don't want dogs in the store, but it always strikes me strange. It's like, but I can hold this dog in one arm and be in and out in two seconds. Like I can grab the milk. I can hand you the money and I can go. And it's incredible to me how on my like walking route, there's nowhere that I can go to get milk where the shop owner won't be like get that dog out of my store. That's like, yeah. But I'm holding him in my arms. Like I'm not bringing a pack of melamutes in here like to shed all the money. Like, and I know it's a legal to have dogs in food preparation areas. Like there were laws about this and fair enough. But I had a shop near me that was like that. And when Audrey was a tiny, tiny puppy like tiny she just didn't know anything about the world. I was carrying her under my arm to buy milk. And this guy said, you can't bring your dog in here. And I never, ever shopped at that shop again. And about a year later they went out of business and I did not shed a tear. Right. You brought Audrey along to pee on the front door. I was like, close to that. That's what was happening. I was like just nipping in to buy like a quick milk. And it was like, it was a tiny shop. And there's it wasn't like a big fruit and veg area where there was like exposed food and stuff. And I fair enough. That's the rose. And I said, okay, I didn't kick up a fuss. And I left. But I never went back. And also like what is more disgusting to have around an exposed food area in a supermarket? A dog in your arms or children like disgusting, disgusting, germy, sneezey children touching thing. Like surely if we're actually concerned about germs and dirt, like the children would clearly be worse. I think maybe both of these things can be okay in this environment. Like if children are allowed, I think a dog should be allowed. I've been to McDonald's where people put their kids up on the counter like their bum is sitting on the counter where the food gets served. I see that and think, yeah, you should be ejected from civilization immediately whenever I see that kind of thing. But yeah, so like I'm so aware of it and I'm aware of it with like parks that have no dogs allowed signs and it's like, all of this kind of stuff. And your particular situation with trying to rent a house, this as with many things we discuss on the show is the multi-party problem, right? That there's like three different interactions here. There's the person who's renting the house. There's you and then there's another company that's involved in the middle. And so like whenever you have three party interactions, it's just less clear and it always gets more complicated. Well, I would climb this a fourth party as well. There's future people who will stay in the house as well who may be like violently allergic to dogs. Look, I don't want to make too big a deal about it because you know, life goes on. And I am willing to pay extra for dogs because society has deemed dogs dirty and require extra cleaning. And I'm okay with that. And by the way, if my dogs did make a mess, I would pay 700 pounds in a second because I would think, wow, that's really bad. But I think setting at the level at that much money at nearly a thousand dollars is either incredible profiteering. Yeah. Or is deliberately hostile to dogs like it's just being deliberately mean and trying to prevent people with dogs having a fair go. And I think it's it's excessive. It's too much. Yeah, I'll agree with you. I'll agree with you. It almost feels like why don't you just say dogs are not allowed. That's clearly what you're going for. Oh, it costs 10,000 pounds to clean up after your dog. Well, and this year and this year a hollywood millionaire with your laptop to which money is no object. So that's obviously who they just allowing for and just someone who just has pet dogs a slot. I'm also very willing to believe that whatever cleaning company they bring in there doesn't know when it's a house the dogs have been in there or it's not a house the dogs have been in there. But like I guarantee you the cleaning company is just on a standard contract of like clean the house and then they just go in and do their regular job and they get much less than 700 pounds. Yeah, I think the in-between company just gets a hold on to that. They just get a hold on to that amount. But yeah, I am with you Brady. I think the anti-dog sentiment in the world is too much. And like yes, dogs can be dirty and dogs can be poorly trained when owners don't properly train them. But all of the arguments I ever seen against dogs like they apply to children and I generally find children vastly more disruptive than dogs in almost any environment where you're going to find both. And so if you have an anti-dog argument like all I hear is an anti-children argument as well. It's like well, why can't we all just get along? During my travels this summer I did a bunch of recreational driving. The kind of driving you can only do in America. Down a beautiful highway through a stunning national park. America is a place where you just can't beat the driving. And one of the things that makes these trips just fantastic is doing the drive while listening to an audiobook. I have very many pleasant memories of listening to particular books and particular locations on trips while driving. It's just fantastic. Audio books are great companions when you're traveling at all times, but particularly when you're driving. There's something just super nice about it. Then I have a great recommendation that I found this summer for you. But of course, where to get audiobooks from, where is the most convenient best location? Well, there's only one answer. And that is audible. Audible has just an unmatched selection of audiobooks for you to listen to, covering everything you could possibly want to read. And one of the things that I really love about Audible and that has become increasingly important to me over time is their integration with Kindle eBooks. You can be listening to your audiobook and at any point in time just open up the eBook version and the whole thing just syncs the locations together. So you'll be on the same page on your eBook as you are where you're listening to the audiobook. This makes things like highlighting relevant sections, super duper easy. And I think that I just never thought that I would do, but I actually do a surprising amount. Is it lets you switch between do you want to be reading this book now or do you want to listen to this book in audio format? I think it's just a great feature. I really love it. Now, Audible is offering Hello Internet listeners a free audiobook with a 30-day membership trial. To sign up for this, just go to audible.com slash Hello Internet or you can text Hello Internet to 500-500 to get started. Now, the book that I found this summer that I really liked that makes a hell of a companion to a road trip is American Wolf by Nate Blakely. It's the story of Yellowstone National Park and how wolves were reintroduced into the area starting in the 1990s. This is a thing that I wasn't really aware of at all, but it made for just an incredibly gripping story. In terms of how the local towns around Yellowstone were affected, all the various groups that were either working for bringing wolves into the park or keeping them out of the park. Then of course the lives of the wolves themselves. It's just a really stunning listen. It was also narrated by Mark Bramhall, who's an audiobook narrator. I'm really growing to like. He's done a few things I've listened to now and they're just great. My recommendation for an audiobook to start your trial with is again American Wolf by Nate Blakely. Once again, to get that audiobook for free with a 30-day trial membership, just go to audible.com slash Hello Internet or text Hello Internet to 500-500. Thanks to audible for supporting Hello Internet and thanks to audible for many, many hours of keeping me company while driving. It's so Brady as the professional YouTubers that we are, or at least that one of us is. Hang on, which one are you talking about? I literally don't know who you're complimenting and who you're besmirching there. How could that even be a question about which one of us is the professional YouTuber and which one of us is not the professional YouTuber? I don't think there can possibly be any question about how I think you go into it with a more professional attitude. I have perhaps a more professional output. I feel like that is almost very kind of you to say. You're like the person who spends weeks and weeks preparing their outfit for the dance, so I'm the person who actually goes to the dance. Yeah, well, for the most part, I've been going to the summer now. We're like not much happens during the summer. Yeah. Well, it's a heatwave. I'm not surprised. It is. Yeah, it's a heatwave. No one can do anything during a heatwave. You so badly want to make that video, but all the metal work around you's melting and yeah, if only. Yeah. But so as professional YouTubers, there's news about the YouTube, which sometimes I feel like we need to discuss. And this time, there is news about YouTube news, which is that you may remember we discussed a few episodes ago that YouTube was concerned about the problem of fake news on their platform. And that they were going to try to instigate a few things to. I don't even know how to say, but I guess from their perspective, they want to have people hear true news as opposed to fake news. Why are you saying that would like a question mark in your voice? Like a mentally kind of getting ahead of myself here because the reason there is a question mark there is the fundamental problem I have with YouTube in particular getting involved and the stuff is it to me just feels like YouTube gets to decide what is the true news that they want people to hear, right? And it's like, okay, well, I don't know exactly how I feel about that. I feel that it's sort of a complicated thing. But that aside, YouTube is launching this 25 million dollar program, which they are categorizing as part of their goal to fight fake news. And it's just a very strange thing that they seem to be doing. They're spending this money and they're talking about using it to bring together news organizations and media experts to advise YouTube on their new features and they're giving money to organizations to help them with their video production capabilities. I don't know what this is. I don't quite understand what their goal is or what are the actionable items that they're trying to achieve here. They have this strange YouTube channel, which is the news lab at Google that has a very sad number of views on their videos. They're just talking about trying to increase the quality of journalism globally with their 25 million dollars and trying to improve it on YouTube and how come they haven't called me? Former news corporation BBC journalist turned YouTuber. They've never picked up the phone to me. I'm here, guys, sitting in a really hot room in England. I wanted to raise this to your attention, partly because I actually think that is a legitimate question because if you are YouTube, you have homegrown people who work in the news business and reading through some of the press reports and then watching some of the YouTube videos on this. They're all focused on this idea of journalism is really struggling in the world and so we're going to give them money to do stuff. We're doubling down on the thing that isn't doing very well. But there are people on YouTube who have experience in this world and who also have success on YouTube. Why isn't YouTube reaching out to them and instead is going to like the traditional media that's having the very problem? I don't know. I just don't understand what they're trying to achieve here. I was just genuinely wondering as someone who has worked as a journalist and someone who also has experience on YouTube and someone who's more familiar with the problem of real news versus fake news. Let's say that YouTube put you in charge of this. They're like here. We have this multimillion dollar fund and we're trying to increase the quality of journalism online. Go. What do you think could be done to try to achieve that goal? Well, here's where I'm going to massively disappoint you and this is why probably they probably shouldn't call me. That is I feel very ill equipped to deal with this problem. And actually, finally enough, I was just thinking this a few hours ago because I was listening to some talk radio in the car and they were talking about the huge problem of fake news on Facebook. And I do think fake news is a really big problem and I would love to see it somehow being dealt with. But the reason I struggled to get my head around it and I kind of am bewildered by it is I can't believe that so many people get their news information from these sources in the first place. Like, there's a huge problem of fake news on Facebook and everyone's reading all these news stories on Facebook and think they're true. And I'm thinking who on earth is using Facebook as they're like source of news like the same place they're going to look at the pictures of anti-morens, new cupcakes and cousin Jimmy's trip to the beach is also the place they're going to find out big important things about the world. Like, I know news organizations have a presence on Facebook but it just seems like the wrong place to be getting your news information to start with. So I don't have a very good understanding of this environment because the fact that people even doing it is bizarre to me and the first thing I would be saying is don't use Facebook as your source of news, you're numbedies. And probably I would say the same thing about YouTube. Like, I know there are good quality new sources on YouTube and Facebook for that matter, I guess. But it just seems like a polluted place to be getting your information. Like, if everyone who was drinking at a watering hole started dropping dead, I would say, hey, maybe we should all stop drinking from that watering hole and go get our water from that lovely clean river over there where we've been getting water for hundreds of years and we seem to have been getting buyer art. And yet everyone's going and drinking from this stinking watering hole all the time and then saying we need to fix this watering hole. I'm a bit perplexed by it. What would I do on YouTube about news? I don't know. Yeah, you could have good new sources, but people are still going to get delivered the cruddy stuff because the algorithm rewards crud. I think the problems probably more algorithmic than content related. The thing with fake news that you're finding strangers that the people are getting their news from Facebook. That's what you're saying there. But like, may I suggest that perhaps what it is is that like that is their only source of news in the sense that they are not going to a newspaper or going to a TV news. It's more a side effect of Facebook has taken up a huge portion of their time and attention and that's just where their information about the world is coming through. Yeah, okay. Yeah, I hear you and you're right, Gray. Here's my answer then. I have got my answer. This is just me thinking on the fly. So this may not be a good idea. I think the solution is human curation of news. Because all of the sources of news that love them or hate them, I think are better in some ways are human curated. You mentioned TV news, curated every night by an editor. Newspapers curated by editors. I'm not saying that these institutions are flawless. Of course they're not. We've discussed this many times. Yeah. But like, I think they're better than what these algorithms are doing on Facebook. I think you need to have a corner of these platforms that are human curated for all the problems that come with human curation. So I think the algorithm should still decide whether or not you're getting a CGP Gray video or the latest cat folding down the stairs and things like that. To a certain extent, as we've talked about before, no human can curate that waterfall. But stuff that's counting as news, there should be editors. There should be somewhere where you can go for human curation. They would probably argue, well, that's the job of a channel. A channel is its own curator and things like that. But that's not how people are devouring content on these platforms. And they know it. And we certainly know it. Everyone else knows it. You don't go to a channel each day like you do on TV on YouTube. You just go to a front page or a recommendation bars and things like that. So all the new sources that I think have any hope in the world do seem to have sensible humans in charge. And I know you're a big advocate of robots and algorithms and humans need not apply. But at the moment, they're just not good enough at it. I'm not going to disagree there. I think it's a very interesting question about, could you possibly try to have an algorithm that could figure out which news is correct? And let's say the answer to that question is, yes, we're certainly not there now. And I don't think we're going to be there for quite a while. Because that's like, oh, that's post singularity level AI. And then we've got other things to be concerned about at that point. I don't think that you're wrong that if there is to be a solution to this problem, it is almost certainly going to involve human creation of some kind. But I get back to what you said before though, which is that if people are just kind of browsing around what their friends are posting on Facebook and they're just like clicking around randomly on YouTube, like how are people going to see what YouTube decides is the correct human created news? Yeah, you're right. And if they have like the news tab or the news corner, they have their nice neat curated trustworthy news. No one's going to go there because they're too busy looking at cats falling downstairs and then stumbling over the new flat earth video. That's what I'm wondering is, is like, how do you get people to do the thing? I don't know, whenever I hear these sorts of projects, I can never help but immediately start thinking, how would you know when you have a succeeded at this task? And like, what are your initial action items for this thing? There's a deeply cynical part of me that looks at this whole program and I can't help but wonder if the actual purpose of this is to give money to news organizations so that they don't write as many bad stories about YouTube. Because I can't see like, what is the thing that's going to happen here? Like, okay, you're going to give money to this list of news organizations, like these traditional media organizations, so that they can improve their video production teams to put more videos on the YouTube. So you think this is basically pork? I'm not saying it's pork. I'm saying it smells like pork. Right? It's got a porky kind of smell. Yeah. As I was digging around into it, the YouTube news thing is a subset of a bigger Google news project, which is it's the same thing but at like one order of magnitude larger. Like, Google's giving money to news organizations because they're seriously concerned about the quality of journalism and they want journalism to be better. And it can't say, nobody, not even me, is like on the other side of, oh, I want journalism to be worse. Now, everybody wants journalism to be better. But what could you do? Like, what are your action steps? And there's just this fundamental problem that a thing that is true and unsensationalized or unmanipulated is always going to lose out to a thing that is more sensationalized. That's practically like a topology. That's what sensationalism means. Is it's the thing that gets more views than the boring version? I mean, I don't get me wrong. I mean, YouTube has given me money years ago to seed and start things like number file. And I think a channel like number file exists because Google put a little bit of money into it at the start to help it get it on its feet and then it becomes self-sufficient. So I do think them putting money into projects can have positive outcomes. So I don't think it's bad that they are giving money to news organizations to train their staff to make better videos and things like that. But it's a tiny, tiny spec. I'll pause you there. And the reason why it smells porcupine to me is, I don't know the details of your situation exactly. But I suspect that you already had educational channels that were clearly getting views when YouTube gave you money. And that to me is almost like what venture capital investing is. Here's a thing that has some success. Can we accelerate its success through money? And what makes this smell kind of porcupine to me is even in all of their own press materials, it's like, oh, the journalism business is in real bad shape. Like fewer numbers are down and they're losing money. It's like now we're putting money into a thing that's going down. I just find that interesting and counter to it. Like I don't think your millions of dollars are going to make video production at any of these companies significantly better. I don't think that money is necessarily the bottleneck in that problem. I think talent is the bottleneck in that problem. And one of the things that the internet has done is given talented people many more options about what they want to do with their lives and their careers than working inside of an organization. Also, these big media organizations don't really want to be on YouTube. Yeah. They want all the money for themselves. They think they can sell the advertising for more, which sometimes they can. They want to keep all of it, not share it with Google. Like, deep down, these organizations don't want to be putting videos on YouTube. They're desperate to put them on their own players that they're monetizing or behind their paywalls. Yeah. I mean, there was one little comment in one of the articles about this that I just I couldn't track it down to an official YouTube statement about it. But it did mention that YouTube is building a custom player that these media organizations can use that they can put on their own site that lets them keep, quote, all the ad revenue. I was wondering about that. I was like, wait a minute. Do you mean all the ad revenue, like all of the ad revenue or like the 60 40 split that we get with YouTube? Like, oh, can I get access to your special player? Oh, no, of course not. I can't. That's not the way that's going to work. But I can say it though because every time I talk with friends of mine who work in mainstream media and I say to them, you guys should be using YouTube more. It's where people are going. It's where all the viewers are. It's like, they just glaze over. Like, no. Why do they get 40% we want to, oh, we don't want to be on them. We want them gone. But that's also why like something about this does smell a little porcupine. YouTube and Google are directly giving money to, you know, the organizations that have caused them a lot of problems over the past years. Laundered through this quote marks video training program. That's basically what it feels like. And I find it really interesting that you know, and going through the history of this podcast, like, that's one of the things that I have been the most wrong about as I was like, oh, this problem with YouTube's ad. This is going to blow right over. It's like, boy, did that not. And it's like the traditional media has caused YouTube just so much trouble. And then I look at this program where Google and YouTube are like, hey, we're going to reach out because we really think this industry needs a lot of money and a lot of help. I don't understand what is really actionable here. I don't understand how even if they give them money and they make amazing videos, how are people going to end up even seeing them? In any way that doesn't end up just being YouTube has some news tab or that they tremendously promote them, which then, I don't know, as a creator on the platform, I think lots of creators on the platform would feel real discontles if YouTube is heavily putting its thumb on the scale for, here are the videos that are news that we think are the quality true news that you should watch. I just don't see how this works out well. The problem is, and this is like I back to first principles here and be on what we're even talking about, is that reporting and finding and getting news is really, really labor, time, and money intensive. Like you need big organizations to do this and those organizations therefore need to make big money and to make big money in news normally, unless you're the BBC, you need lots of advertising revenue and now that everything's fragmented small because of online video, there's no big behemoths, all the big behemoths are dying because they haven't got enough money and there's no one left to make the news and all your other small players that are coming on the scene, you new hip-up starts that want to break into news on YouTube, have got this massive problem that they either have to just regurgitate what they're reading on the internet anyway so it's not original journalism, all they have to do original journalism and get in a plane and go away for three weeks to some war zone and make one video and one video every three weeks doesn't make you enough money to sustain a life on YouTube. So unfortunately the old media system of giant huge news organizations that cost a fortune but make a fortune and advertising was actually quite a good model for reporting and getting news and the brave new world we live in of everyone with a video camera and sitting at a desk is now a star on the internet and everyone can make videos is very empowering and seems very democratic but it's really really bad for true journalism, it's really bad for it and it has created this vacuum into which people can just make crap up. It's like one of the downsides of this new world we live in, a new world which by the way has been great for me, I make a living in it so it's weird for me to complain about it but sometimes we talk about the downsides, I think this is a really big downside and it was almost inevitable. Yeah and again looking at this funding program, I don't see any mention of we're going to give this to big media organizations so that they can fund long-term intensive investigative research projects for their teams. I'm like no no we know we're doing this for video training on the YouTube platform which again seems like do you care about someone spending a lot of time trying to figure out what is the truth and what is not, it doesn't seem like you do. But also when I talk like this I think maybe people have visions that I've got this idealistic version of media organizations where everyone's breaking water gate or they're going undercover in Syria for three weeks and making this once in a lifetime pull at surprise winning piece of journalism. It's much more basic than that like a big newspaper like where I used to work in Adelaide like one of my jobs I was the city council reporter and every day I would go and pick up the council agenda and read through it to see what the council was up to and what the stories were and I would go and sit in the council meeting every Monday night and sit through the committee meetings and hear what was said and you know I would then come back and be bit of a sausage factory and just churn out stories to fill pages on that but I was there and I was independent and I wasn't taking everything from council press releases and things like that. I wasn't breaking world exclusive stories but I was independent and I was there and that's just disappearing all over the world. There's not even local newspaper journalists sitting in council meetings anymore so when local councils are making decisions they're putting out press releases with their spin on it. Those press releases are being picked up by some wire agency that's just churning out a wire story and then some newspapers picking it up and putting it in and we're just regurgitating PR. So like this problem with all the big newspapers dying that's a bigger problem than the problem of no more wood wooden Bernstein. The problem is there's no boring Brady sitting in the council meeting anymore. There's no one driving out when there's a fire or something or like a crime. There's no journalists jumping in the car and driving 20 minutes out into the suburbs just to sniff around and see what happened and when the police say oh there was nothing to say it's no big deal, no story. There's no like accountability because there were no journalists employed to check. So while it is true that now everyone's got a mobile phone and maybe we will record the police brutality or the house fire can be caught by someone on their mobile phone and that's good and a whole new dynamic to reporting. There's no like professional journalists anymore, even crap local ones. Even the crap local journalists are better than no journalists and that's what's just vanishing now. There's this huge void. Well how many crap local journalists do you think you can fund with $25 million? Not many. This is not a problem that can be fixed. This is not just winging. This is gone and now we have to adapt to a new thing. I know it's you just winging but again I'm interested to hear it because what you are saying there is kind of confirming what I I felt like was my cynical take on this news initiative but I think hearing your take on it convinces me that I wasn't just being cynical. The problem is that you as someone who has worked in this field are concerned about are basically unaddressable and this spending program by YouTube is it won't fix that structural problem. It has no hope of fixing that structural problem. What is it for? Maybe it's for YouTube to look good so they can seem like they're fighting fake news. I don't know if you happen to see but I've seen some advertisements from Facebook, these posters that say fake news is no friend of ours and it's a Facebook advertisement. Yeah they've been running all these TV ads as well. It's made a big thing for the last few weeks. It's like I don't know who did that marketing campaign but like hey pro tip don't say the thing you don't want to be associated with in your ad. Did they call it fake news? I thought they called it something else like false news or something. I thought they were avoiding fake but I haven't seen all the ads. I only saw the posters in my head I just read it as fake news but maybe they're calling it false news but it's it's been like you know it's like running a campaign where like murderers are no friends of ours. I was like boy the more these anti-murder posters you put up Facebook the more I wonder like what's going on in your boardroom. I don't know I just wonder if this YouTube news initiative is basically YouTube's version of this like oh we we don't like fake news so much that we're we're spending millions of dollars on real good news that's what we're doing and that's what this actually is and meanwhile the real problem is just totally unaddressed and then YouTube has a carrot to say oh look at this money that we're giving you traditional news organizations maybe you don't want to write bad things about us and a bit of a stick to be like well we can always withdraw this funding. We've heard a lot of complaining from me and I obviously have loyal teeth and some skin in this game from the years gone by. Yeah. 25 million dollar stupid projects aside do you think fake news false news is like a big problem for society or do you think it's just like something we love complaining about or do you think this is like you know big deal problem for the world. I'm a bad person to ask about this because I'm not in the places where people seem to be talking about this. Facebook for me is a theoretical conversation. I'm not there I don't really know what it's like. I'm going to put this in a very gentle way. I do think that fake news is a particular instance of a general problem that I find very concerning. So let me say that first. But I do think that at least from the people that I talk to there's something about the fake news that always strikes me as the person who is very hysterical about fake news seems largely upset that the world isn't going the way they want the world to go. And that is not to say that fake news doesn't exist. Well of course the beneficiary is not going to complain about it. But what I mean is it's like people sometimes focus on things for different reasons. And it's like I think the fake news thing has become such an issue for reasons that are outside of the fake news itself. But what I do find genuinely concerning and that fake news is an instance of is this what I think of as a kind of self propagandization that people do. And that's what we talked about when we discussed the whole flatter thing that people can self propagandize themselves on the internet in a way that would have been very difficult 10 or 15 years ago to do. That you can just keep walking yourself down this path of crazy. And each subsequent step doesn't seem crazy. But you end up at the end of this path that you have walked down. And now you're talking about how the earth is flat. And it's just a huge conspiracy. Like I said, I've had some personal experience with things like that where I've seen people from my perspective step by step turn themselves into kind of crazy people on some topics in a way that I just don't think would have happened if the internet didn't exist. And so that self propagandization is a thing that I find very concerning. But I don't have the slightest idea of like what would be an action plan to try to help with that. Like I wouldn't even know where to begin. And anything that could be remotely practical. But it's a thing that's been on my mind and has been increasing ever since the first video that I made the like this video will make you angry thing was the start of thinking about that. And I just see it more and more. And like I said, I've had things happen in my life which seemed like whoa, this is kind of crazy. And yeah, the fake news seems like a specific instance of that to me. But I think it may be a problem that is just unaddressable in any practical manner. What do you think the level of responsibility is on the platforms, your Facebooks, your Google's, your YouTube's, your Twitter's. Do you think that they should be treated as like common carriers or neutral and this? Or do you think they have a responsibility to act? Well, I get very uncomfortable in this because there's a thing that's happened which I don't quite understand legally. But I thought part of the whole reason that we give companies like YouTube these legal protections where they're not responsible for the material that's posted on them, like this common carrier status is precisely because they don't get involved editorially in promotion or preferential treatment for various things. And that to me always seems like a pretty good trade off. And somehow it feels like we've wandered into a world where YouTube and these platforms get both advantages. Like we still give them all of these common carrier protections. But now we're also asking them to decide how to promote various things. And I get very uncomfortable when a company like YouTube or Facebook or Twitter. I will say even if but maybe especially if they have good intentions starts getting into the public opinion and reality shaping business. Again, there's no good solution here. But I find myself getting real uncomfortable. And this is the problem with my human curation suggestion of course as well. Oh yeah. And it's like I wasn't saying anything during that section. But I do agree with you. Like if you want to try to find out the truth and you want to try to be running some kind of real news organization, you're going to need to have human curation. But it's so contingent on getting the right people to do that. And then also having the right people in the right positions of governance on the platform in order to promote it. And there's just too many contingencies there for me that I feel like well, even if it starts out good, it's a system that is just begging to be corrupted. Yeah. And that's why I get really uncomfortable is like, of course, I agree with what could be the best version of this thing. But I get uncomfortable when a structure is then put in place, which seems to me just immediately corruptible by people who don't necessarily have the best of intentions. That's why I always get uncomfortable with this kind of thing. Or like, oh YouTube is now going to like they've started doing putting these, I don't know if it's the official name, but people are calling them the truth banners. There's a couple of screenshots of them like starting to pop up on YouTube under videos. And what I think is really egregious is the the YouTube truth banner where they're pulling from Wikipedia or an encyclopedia Britannica or some other place. It's directly below the video, but above the title of the video, I'm not saying they, so I don't even know what you're talking about. There's a link in the show notes, which shows an example of one of them. They've started to appear on YouTube in a few places. And again, even if it has the best of intentions, I just get uncomfortable when the platform owner starts putting its thumb on the scale in any way. When they're like, hmm, your video needs a truth banner where we're going to tell people what the truth is. Even if it is in the most neutral and minor way, I don't really understand how is this allowed to exist while YouTube also maintains common carrier protections. This is also really pointless, because it's obviously some talk show host is talking about in Barrako Bama. And then the truth banner just takes you through to Barrako Bama's encyclopedia Britannica page, which tells you when he was born and where he's from. And I don't even know how helpful that is. I don't think it's really helpful. Again, what is it trying to achieve? How will you know when you have had victory on this? If someone says Barrako Bama was the worst president in US history and he made a bunch of terrible decisions and he ruined US trade and foreign policy or whatever and they're going off on this rant, how is me knowing what year he was born and what his middle name is and that he was the 44th president of the United States? Can I help anything? That particular example I think is like a comical example. But who knows where this stuff is going to go? Presumably like they said they're going to start with Wikipedia and now apparently encyclopedia Britannica as well. But it's the mere presence of the banner that makes me uncomfortable as opposed to any of the content that is within it. Because again, it will quickly become like, where do you put these truth banners? That's all I'm saying is like, I get uncomfortable with that kind of stuff, but I don't know if YouTube gave me $300 million and they said, you know, you want to fix this problem of self-propagandization, go, we'll give you all the talent and the world to work on it. I'd be like, I don't know if there is a solution to this. This is a byproduct of a society where there is more information and people have increased communication. So like I think the only way to fix this problem would be to be wind back the technological clock, which I have no interest in doing. So shrug emoji?

References[edit | edit source]

  1. "H.I. #106: Water on Mars". Hello Internet. Retrieved 31 July 2018.