How Quantum Suicide Works


Announcer: Welcome to Stuff You Should Know from Howstuffworks.com.

Josh Clark: Hey, and welcome to the podcast. I'm Josh Clark. With me, as always, is Charles W. Chuckers Bryant, son of Mrs. Bryant?

Chuck Bryant: Yeah, she kept the name.

Josh Clark: Good for her. I like your mom.

Chuck Bryant: Have you met my mom?

Josh Clark: Yeah, I met your mom at the Love Your Mama opening, appropriately enough.

Chuck Bryant: That's right. I thought you said your name was Josh Quark for a second there.

Josh Clark: If that was off-the-cuff, I'll accept that.

Chuck Bryant: I did; I just made that up.

Josh Clark: That was great.

Chuck Bryant: It is not written down anywhere.

Josh Clark: That is great. Chuck said that because we're going to be talking about quantum physics today, and quarks are - it's my understanding, Chuck, that they are the fundamental basis of matter?

Chuck Bryant: Yeah, they make up hadrons, which you may know that because we talked about the large hadron collider.

Josh Clark: Yeah, up until about 30 seconds ago I didn't know why it was called the large hadron collider.

Chuck Bryant: Yeah, well, there's six quarks, Josh. They are known as flavors, which is kind of cool.

Josh Clark: It is cool.

Chuck Bryant: Up, down, charm, strange, top, and bottom, and apparently, charm, strange, top, and bottom you can only produce with a big collision, like the hadron collider.

Josh Clark: Okay, like the large hadron collider, huh, yeah.

Chuck Bryant: Yeah, and there's also anti-quark too, which is the opposite.

Josh Clark: Yeah, those are the quarks that smoke cigarettes and wear leather jackets. Chuck, quarks exist on - they're particles, they're matter, right? They're the building blocks of matter.

Chuck Bryant: That's what I understand.

Josh Clark: So they exist on the subatomic level, smaller than atoms, or below atom depending on how you like the word sub. They exist in this weird world, the quantum world. They bump elbows against photons, which are my favorite subatomic, I guess, particles, and plenty of other weird, strange - it's like this odd parade of physical things, right?

Chuck Bryant: I don't like it there.

Josh Clark: I can understand why you don't because it's a very disconcerting and uncomfortable world. The very comforting ideals and principles of Newtonian Physics, which are what goes up must come down -

Chuck Bryant: Reality.

Josh Clark: The sun's going to rise tomorrow, depending on whether or not you are Robert Hume adherent, David Hume adherent. Just these things that we can depend on, we've come to depend on since Isaac Newton had his breakthroughs.

Chuck Bryant: Sure. I learned a lot about myself reading this, actually.

Josh Clark: Did you learn that you get angry easily?

Chuck Bryant: No, it's like the whole notion of stepping outside reality disturbed me.

Josh Clark: Yes, and what's even more disturbing is that this universe is envisioned by some very, very smart people.

Chuck Bryant: Or I should say what I perceive as reality, by the way. I just want to clear that up.

Josh Clark: Nice. So Chuck, we've done one on the large hadron collider, right, and -

Chuck Bryant: Yeah, hated that one too.

Josh Clark: And this is just like this huge, fancy, multi-billion dollar machine that's new, that's still going, right? Back in the '90s, they didn't have these large hadron colliders to rely on to actually, see, measure, and detect things on the quantum world. They had to use their imaginations, physicists did, and specifically, in 1997 there was a physicist who used his imagination for what's called a thought experiment, where you -

Chuck Bryant: I do like that idea.

Josh Clark: Yeah. This guy's name is Max Tegmark, and he is awesome. He was at Princeton at the time. Now, I think he's at MIT.

Chuck Bryant: Smart guy.

Josh Clark: And he came up with a thought experiment called Quantum Suicide. Will you allow me to explain it as follows?

Chuck Bryant: Please do.

Josh Clark: Okay, so you are a guy and you're sitting in a room, and there's a gun pointed at you, at your head.

Chuck Bryant: I don't like where this is headed.

Josh Clark: It's a kill shot; you're looking at the barrel, right? The guns a little off, I mean, it's a normal gun, but it's hooked up to the new fangled machine, and this machine is set so that it measures a quark, it measures the spin of a quark, right. So let's just say for simplicity's sake, although you've already said this isn't true, let's just say that a quark can only spin clockwise or counterclockwise.

Chuck Bryant: Okay.

Josh Clark: Okay? This machine is set so that every time the person sitting in front of the gun presses a button, the quark is measured. If the quark is measured with a clockwise spin, the gun's not going to go off. There will just be a click. If when the guy presses the button the quark is measured and it comes up with a counterclockwise spin, the gun's going to off. The trigger will be pulled, the bullet will exit the chamber, it will travel several feet across the room into the head of the man sitting in front of the gun, and he will die. Guaranteed death, it's a kill shot, okay? What's weird is that in this Quantum Suicide Thought Experiment, Max Tagmark figured out that if this guy pressed the button every single time, he's going to hear a click. Click, click, click, click, click, no matter how many times he presses it, no matter how long he tries this, all he'll be aware of is this clicking of the gun.

Chuck Bryant

Because he lives.

Josh Clark: Yes. He lives in every single scenario. How can that possibly be? Let's go back to the beginning, that first time the guy pressed the button, okay? What happened in another parallel universe is the gun went off and he died, okay. So with that first experiment, the universe split into two, one where the gun went off and died, one where he just heard a click. Now, if we follow the one where he heard the click -

Chuck Bryant: That's all he knows.

Josh Clark: Every time he presses that button and the quark is measured, the universe splits into two, but he's only aware of the one where he just hears a click because -

Chuck Bryant: Yeah, that's his reality.

Josh Clark: - that's the one where he's alive.

Chuck Bryant: And if he died, he clearly wouldn't understand that because he'd be dead.

Josh Clark: Yes.

Chuck Bryant: So part one of mind melt just started I think.

Josh Clark: That's the quantum suicide thought experiment.

Chuck Bryant: Yeah, I like it.

Josh Clark: It's pretty mind-boggling. It's used to - well, it's pretty exemplary of the goofy, I think you said mind melting ideas that are brought up to explain quantum physics, right?

Chuck Bryant: Which you have to do. You have to use thought experiments because you can't use - it's unpredictable at that level, so you can't use a regular scientific method.

Josh Clark: Right, and one of the reasons why it's unpredictable is because when you look at, say, a quark, if a quark only had a spin of clockwise or counterclockwise, quantum physicists have found that when you observe a quark, one time you'll observe it and it's spinning clockwise, the next time you'll observe it, it's spinning counterclockwise. Or even more unsettlingly, they found that photons, these smallest packets of light, you can look at a single photon at one point or measure it, and it's a particle. You can measure it the next time, the same photon, and it's a wave, so this is kind of like somebody running, walking, and swimming at the same time.

Chuck Bryant: In different directions. Crazy.

Josh Clark: Right. So like you said, it's uncomfortable what they're finding on the quantum level.

Chuck Bryant: So what you got, Josh, is a chaotic situation, and that's sort of how it exists now, but as you pointed out - you wrote this, I should point out. And this is performer; this one is done really well, right?

Josh Clark: Yeah.

Chuck Bryant: You should taught yourself. But some scientists think that the more we learn, that some order will fall into place on the quantum level at some point.

Josh Clark: Well, hopefully yeah.

Chuck Bryant: Hopefully, or else it's just gonna be theory after theory.

Josh Clark: Either that or else, yeah, it's like the laws of Newtonian Physics just don't apply on a certain level, they just apply on the specified level. One of the fundamental tenants that has long been debated is the idea of Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle, right? So one of the things - like, early on in quantum physics in the '20s, there were a lot of guys who were trying to explain why these weird things were showing up, right?

Chuck Bryant: Well, inconsistent at least.

Josh Clark: Yeah, and one of the early guys, one of the early physicists was Werner Heisenberg.

Chuck Bryant: Yeah, Mexican wasn't he?

Josh Clark: Yeah, Werner Heisenberg. He came up with this explanation or this - I guess he pointed out a major flaw with quantum mechanics is that when we observe something, just the act of observing something, we influence its behavior.

Chuck Bryant: Yeah, this is where I started to get a little hinky with this. I understand it in concept, like, even like shining a light on something that small will cause it to change, but it gets a little bit more philosophical than that.

Josh Clark: Well, yeah -

Chuck Bryant: Like simply looking at something will affect the outcome.

Josh Clark: That's a really great point, Chuck. Quantum physics has a lot of philosophy and logic tied into math. It's not just straight-up math. There's philosophy to it.

Chuck Bryant: It sort of appeals to me on that level, but it doesn't make it easier to understand for me.

Josh Clark: Well, this is how Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle was explained to me once. Let's say your blind, and you have this ball, a heavy ball that has a lot of bounce to it, that you've basically learned to see with. You know how a bat uses sonar?

Chuck Bryant: Yeah, to bounce back the wave to find out how far they are from something, sure.

Josh Clark: Right. Let's say you learned to kind of do the same thing, but with a ball, right, and you know that there's a chair across the room and you want to figure out roughly how far the chair is. So you throw your ball at the chair and you manage to hit it, and the ball takes a second and a half to come back to you. Being pretty good at this by now, you know that the chair is about 30 feet away; that's how long it takes for the ball to get back to you in a second and a half with about as hard as you threw it, right? What you've just figured out is the position of the chair or where the chair was when you threw the ball at it. The problem is, is you've just influenced the behavior of the chair. You just threw a ball against it, so you've sent it careening off into space, and now you have no idea where it is.

Chuck Bryant: Yeah, I get that. I get the ball moving the chair. What I don't get is looking at something.

Josh Clark: Well, on this level consider this, with photons, remember the smallest packet of light, may favorite quantum particle? There is a nano machine, which is a motor and it's operated by shooting light at it. So these packets of light that have no mass and no charge, the particles we're talking about are so small, that a photon, a little packet of light can actually influence them. So we use light to see, say. This is a very elementary explanation, but use light to see. If we have the light on, there's photons just bombarding something, right, so if a photon can hit a particle, we know where it's position was when we turned the light on, but we don't know where it is now because the photon just sent it careening elsewhere.

Chuck Bryant: Right, which delves back a little bit into the philosophical. Like, you walk into a dark room and you don't know where the chair is until you turn the light off, but did the light move the chair?

Josh Clark: Right. That's exactly right. That's what smart people have to say about quantum mechanics.

Chuck Bryant: No wonder I don't get it. Okay, I got it.

Josh Clark: But you do get it because you just explained it perfectly.

Chuck Bryant: No, I get it. I was just kidding.

Josh Clark: Okay. All right, so that's Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle, and that's been something that's kind of provided a conundrum for quantum physicists. Not everybody's bought into that, right?

Chuck Bryant: Well, and that's why they had to dream up the thought experiment to begin with.

Josh Clark: Right, okay, so if just observing a particle means we affect its behavior, well then, maybe we should use thought experiments, especially pre-large hadron collider physicists. This is their thought process, right? So this is why Tegmark came up with the Quantum Suicide Thought Experiment, but he came up with the thought experiment to prove another quantum theory called the Many Worlds Interpretation.

Chuck Bryant: Yeah, Hugh Everett, fellow Princetonian, in 1957 - and I know he was stoked because for 40 years, people were kind of like, eh, I don't know about this Many Worlds thing until your guy came along. I call him your guy.

Josh Clark: Well, I've actually chatted with him; he's a good guy.

Chuck Bryant: Oh, that's right; you did, didn't you.

Josh Clark: And he provided a picture in -

Chuck Bryant: It was like 40 years, right?

Josh Clark: Yeah, in 1957 and '97.

Chuck Bryant: Exactly 40 years then, and it support Quantum Suicide. The Many Worlds Theory is for each outcome, each possible outcome to an action, the world copies itself. It splits into a copy of itself.

Josh Clark: Right, and it's simultaneous and we have absolutely no power over it whatsoever. It's a process called de-cohesion. So Chuck, this universe that we're in right now is going along smoothly because there's no choice or option, right? But let's say I'm deciding or not to take a sip of this coffee or not, just making that decision, I didn't just now, but there was de-cohesion when I made that decision not to because in another universe, another parallel universe now exists where I did take a sip of that coffee.

Chuck Bryant: Well, yeah, and the key here is that you don't know that this other universe has been created.

Josh Clark: No. No, and you want to imagine that you can look over to your right somewhere and you see yourself drinking the coffee, but you can't; we're not cognizant of that universe. It's branched off. They're no longer cohesive.

Chuck Bryant: Right, and that supports the Quantum Suicide Thought Experiment perfectly.

Josh Clark: That's what Hugh Everett came up with to explain why a photon could be both a wave and a particle, right? The unsettling part of this is, with Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle, we're in charge. We look at a quantum particle and we affect it, right?

Chuck Bryant: That was with whose, Heisenberg's? Yeah, sure.

Josh Clark: Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle. With the Many Worlds Interpretation, we're just observers.

Chuck Bryant: Yeah, parallel universes happening all over the place.

Josh Clark: So let's say I was the guy who decided I wanted to find out about quantum immortality. That I could just sit there with the gun and actually carry out this thought experiment and see. Consider this, it's entirely possible that if somebody did do this, they could live forever, and only they would know. You know why because as an observer, under the Many Worlds Interpretation, you're just along for the ride.

Chuck Bryant: You sort of have to accept that, don't you, if you support this theory.

Josh Clark: Well, yeah, that's the basis of it. So let's say that I was the guy who sat down in front of his gun and started pressing the button, right, and you're sitting there watching me, you know, maybe drinking a root beer -

Chuck Bryant: Waiting for that fire.

Josh Clark: Yeah, eventually it would happen because you're not doing anything. You're not making a decision. I'm making the decision. You're an observer, a bystander to my decision of pressing that button, right?

Chuck Bryant: Yeah. Isn't that where predictability comes in?

Josh Clark: Probability.

Chuck Bryant: Probability.

Josh Clark: So eventually, just based on the chances of a coin toss, you're going to be witness to that quark being measured running counterclockwise, and the gun going on off and me dying.

Chuck Bryant: I don't want to see that.

Josh Clark: And after that, the universe can't possibly split anymore because you're not making the decision, I'm making the decision to press the button. While I'm dead, I can't make the decision to press the button anymore, so then the universe has stopped splitting for you. That's pretty unsettling because we have no control whatsoever over anything. I mean, I would chalk it up to free will whether or not I'm taking a sip of that coffee, but free will doesn't exist if the universe is splitting into two to accommodate every possible outcome. And just imagine it splitting into more than two. What if there is more than one outcome for a decision?

Chuck Bryant: Like Many Worlds.

Josh Clark: Right, so this is the Many Worlds Interpretation, and that's how quantum suicide basically proves it, by saying if somebody sat down and did this, they would become immortal. It shows the Many Worlds Interpretation as possible, which is what it seeks to do.

Chuck Bryant: Right, and that's sort of the new kid on the block, right, when it comes to explaining this.

Josh Clark: Yes.

Chuck Bryant: Not like the Copenhagen Interpretation.

Josh Clark: Yeah, well, let's take it, Chuck.

Chuck Bryant: Well, that's the one that's been accepted, and still is in a lot of circles, but the one that had been accepted for the last century, basically. You pointed out, too, that this whole thing is really only about a century old or so.

Josh Clark: Yeah, I believe it was Max Plank in 1900 who first -

Chuck Bryant: Which is new.

Josh Clark: - basically founded the field of quantum physics.

Chuck Bryant: Yeah, which was very new on that scale.

Josh Clark: Oh yeah. Newton came up with his stuff in the 18th century, so this is the, I guess, newest field of physics.

Chuck Bryant: Right. So the Copenhagen Interpretation, Josh, is Niels Bohr in the 1920s, or actually in 1920, and it says that a q uantum particle doesn't exist in on or another, but it exists in all states all at the same time.

Josh Clark: Right, and the state of existing in all possible states at once is called coherent superposition or just superposition, right?

Chuck Bryant: Right and the total of all those is the wave function.

Josh Clark: Right, so remember I said this like running, walking, and swimming all at the same time, so the state of running, walking, and swimming all at the same time is called a superposition, and then being able to run, walk, and swim as possible states, that's the wavefunction.

Chuck Bryant: That makes you an ironman.

Josh Clark: It does, but it makes you the optimal ironman doesn't it, right? You just finish the race immediately.

Chuck Bryant: Yeah, everyone else is finished with the running part, and you're dripping wet with your bike on your shoulder. Nice. So Bohr, he proved this - this whole Schrodinger's cat thing, this is a little funny. Schrodinger supposedly designed this to show how silly it was, right?

Josh Clark: He did, but at the same time, he was also - I mean, he was a serious quantum physicist, and he was a huge rival of Heisenberg, actually. Heisenberg said Schrodinger's ideas were crap.

Chuck Bryant: Oh, really? Is that the word he used?

Josh Clark: Yes, and I think - I can't remember what Schrodinger had to say about Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle, but they didn't like each other.

Chuck Bryant: All right, so Schrodinger's box, can I describe this?

Josh Clark: Yeah, and if you didn't get this, this is to the Copenhagen Interpretation what quantum suicide is to the Many Worlds Interpretation. It's a thought experiment designed to theoretically prove that it's possible, okay.

Chuck Bryant: People are like, can't you just talk about ticks being on the nether regions? It's so much easier. All right, Schrodinger's cat, and this is, I should point out, this is a theoretical experiment. He didn't really do this.

Josh Clark: But he could.

Chuck Bryant: Well, sure he could have. So what he did was, he got a box that you can't see into, which is very key as you'll find out. He put a cat in there, theoretically, he put some radioactive material in there, and then he put a Geiger counter in there, and a little device that would, you know, if the radioactive material leaks out, it would smash this poison in there, and it would kill the cat.

Josh Clark: Right. If the Geiger counter sensed radioactive decay, it would trigger this hammer that smashes the poison vile, killing the cat.

Chuck Bryant: But that's just a clever way of setting this up. It's really not important what he did.

Josh Clark: I like being clever.

Chuck Bryant: It was very good, but the point is, he did it within an hour or so where it's still possible. Like, the cat didn't starve to death. The cat could either be alive or the cat could be dead; you don't know because the cat is sealed inside this box, so in theory, the cat is both alive and dead.

Josh Clark: Right, and the other part about that hour is that he determines, say, like over an hour, there was a 50/50 chance that the radioactive material would decay or wouldn't decay, so the Geiger counter had a 50/50 chance of detecting it.

Chuck Bryant: And this is where I have a big problem with all this stuff.

Josh Clark: Yeah?

Chuck Bryant: Well, it's like you pointed out in the article too, and it's what made me think of it, the tree falling in the woods; would you really hear it? I've hated that since I was a little kid. I think it has to do with how your brain is wired because whether or not the cat is alive or dead, just because you don't know the answer, doesn't mean it's both. That's to me, as an English major, musician type.

Josh Clark: In this, though, the cat being alive or the cat being dead, right, that's its wave function; those are the possible outcomes. Since the box is sealed off, like you said, it's very important; you can't see in it, you can't detect anything in it, the cat's in a superposition of both life and death. The point is, what Schrodinger was saying this, and how it supports the Copenhagen Interpretation, and is actually more like the Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle than Schrodinger would have liked to admit, we, the observer, force the outcome, okay?

Chuck Bryant: By observing it.

Josh Clark: We open up the box and the cat's either alive and we that the cat's alive, or we open up the box and the cat's dead and we the cat's dead. The point of Niels Bohr's Copenhagen Interpretation is, so things exist in their superposition, and when we observe them, we force them into basically a choice. We collapse their wave function, we collapse their superposition, and now, they're a live cat or it's a dead cat, but it's because we observed. And until we observe, they're in this state of all states at once.

Chuck Bryant: That's just where I - and like I said, it's gotta have something to do with your brain. My brother was a big math guy, and he used to tutor me some, and he could never understand how I didn't get math, just like I don't understand how they get physics on that level. But I don't understand how someone can't sing on key because to me, you hear the note and you just replicate it.

Josh Clark: You know what I understand?

Chuck Bryant: What?

Josh Clark: What a brain cramp feels like.

Chuck Bryant: Yeah, right now?

Josh Clark: Yeah. So, Chuck, again, the great thing, the comforting thing, the thing that allows me to sleep at night about Bohr's theory -

Chuck Bryant: Aside from Valium?

Josh Clark: And scotch. The part about Bohr's theory that is comforting is that, again, it's up to us, right? Things don't - we can't look at a cat and see it in a state of life and death simultaneously. We force things to happen, and at the very least, things make sense to us in that way. With Many Worlds, again, we have nothing to do with it; it just happens on its own. De-cohesion happens instantaneously whenever there's a decision made by a conscious being, and even worse, time's not linear. It exists in these jumps, starts, and branches, and so for every decision ever made by any conscious entity, that includes rabbits Chuck, the universe is split into every possible outcome.

Chuck Bryant: It's like Lost.

Josh Clark: Oh, it is, and it's the basis of not just Lost, but a lot of other - there have been a lot of other works. What was that one, Third Contact you sent me; it looked like a student film or something like that. It had the -

Chuck Bryant: Yeah, there was some pretty cool little short films though.

Josh Clark: Yeah, just because it's so mind-boggling. The great thing is that quantum physicists seem to have a little bit of a sense of humor, or at the very least, they're well aware that what they're saying is just completely nuts. But they're like, okay, don't kill the messenger. We're just trying to figure out what the hell is going on here, right? Schrodinger called his cat experiment quite ridiculous, and Niels Bohr had a great, great quote didn't he Chuck?

Chuck Bryant: Yes, Josh. He said that anyone not shocked by quantum theory has not understood it. That says it all.

Josh Clark: It does say it all, and I think, also, what it did was it bought quantum physicists some time. Yeah, it's like, you go figure this out while we really go figure this out and then we'll come explain it to you.

Chuck Bryant: You got a little clever there on the last page, which I appreciated, when you said that there are all these different theories, when you're talking about quantum physics, and a lot of them contradict each other. Maybe, if you believe in this kind of quantum stuff, maybe they're all right. Maybe the ones that contradict each other, maybe they're both right depending on what universe you're in.

Josh Clark: Depends. If you're a Many Worlds Interpretation devote, then yeah, that would be -

Chuck Bryant: That would be so quantum.

Josh Clark: Yes, super quantum.

Chuck Bryant: That's so Raven.

Josh Clark: We should be wearing Tron outfits right now.

Chuck Bryant: I saw that trailer the other day, man, Before Inception. Looks really good.

Josh Clark: Yeah. Although, I gotta say, I liked Inception, but it could have been better.

Chuck Bryant: I enjoyed it.

Josh Clark: I did too.

Chuck Bryant: Christopher Nolan can direct and write the crud out of a movie.

Josh Clark: Yeah, but how much of it though is that no one else is making anything even remotely -

Chuck Bryant: Watchable.

Josh Clark: Yeah. You're right. Wow.

Josh Clark: He came along at a good time, didn't he?

Chuck Bryant: Yeah, he did.

Josh Clark: So that's Quantum Suicide.

Chuck Bryant: I can't wait to see the listener mail on this, man. When these physics guys write in, it's - and I'm not making fun of them. I mean, it's really enlightening. They take it really seriously. It's awesome.

Josh Clark: Yeah, sure. Don't forget, Chuck, we met somebody in New York at the Knitting Factory, I believe, who was a quantum physicist, who explained to us how we screwed up the large hadron collider. So if you're out there, I can't remember your name, remind us and -

Chuck Bryant: Was that the hadron, the collider dude who had the -

Josh Clark: No. No, they're a comedy troop.

Chuck Bryant: Oh, much different.

Josh Clark: Hadron and the Collider, they have a podcast; check it out. I guess now it's time for listener mail. Do you have something?

Chuck Bryant: I do.

Josh Clark: All right, it's time for listener mail.

Chuck Bryant: Josh, I'm gonna call this cool Kiva wedding.

Josh Clark: Okay, can I throw something in first? There's something we've overlooked. Too many episodes have gone by in my opinion, but we need to put this out there. Remember Shawn from Virginia Beach, the cubicle guy who was just, I listened to everything, and there was no origin of Hippy Rob. Well, we put the call out for everybody to let us know where Hippy Rob first appeared and in what capacity, and we got a great response. First one to write in was Emmy. Thanks for writing in Emmy, but thanks for everybody for writing in. If you go back and listen to How Squatting Works, and listen to approximately the 2:50 mark, 2 minute, 50 second mark, you will find the origin of Hippy Rob. And if you want to show - he also shows up at about the same place in the earthquake podcast too, and elsewhere, but those were the two largest chunks of the Hippy Rob saga.

Chuck Bryant: He's peppered throughout. Isn't it funny that this dude is just out there existing somewhere, and has no idea? It's like another parallel universe.

Josh Clark: Exactly. Wow.

Chuck Bryant: You're welcome, Josh. This is from Janna in Minnesota, and she says, Josh and Chuck, I'm a huge fan of the show; I wanted to share a story with you. My husband and I recently got married, June 19, 2010 - so mazel tov to that. You know at the reception when people ding the glass to make newlyweds kiss - I'm not sure if it's a tradition in Georgia or not, it sort of is.

Josh Clark: I think it is.

Chuck Bryant: We didn't do that. We had paper cups; no one heard it.

Josh Clark: Did you really?

Chuck Bryant: No. We did have a budget wedding, but we didn't have paper cups.

Josh Clark: Plastic.

Chuck Bryant: PVR in a bottle.

Josh Clark: That's very classy.

Chuck Bryant: Thank you. Everyone else starts to also ding their glass, and then you have to stop eating and kiss. My husband and I didn't like that idea - I don't either. Something about the annoying clanging sound didn't sound like fun.

Josh Clark: Plus it's really demanding.

Chuck Bryant: Yeah, you can't make me kiss; that's what I would have said. I would go abstinent at my own wedding. So we decided that people had to put money in a jar to make us kiss. Great idea. All the money placed in our jar would be donated to Kiva through The Stuff You Should Know -

Josh Clark: The micro-lending site.

Chuck Bryant: The micro-lending site, so -

Josh Clark: The socially responsible micro-lending site.

Chuck Bryant: Yeah, we should also spell that because we get called out because it's such a weird word. It's K-I-V-A.org.

Josh Clark: Yeah, and then /team/stuffyoushouldknow.

Chuck Bryant: Yeah, if you want to donate for our team. So she said it wasn't the biggest fundraiser of all time or anything, they made about $50.00 in kisses and they were happy to donate. So that's two loans right there. I just thought it was cool that we've been included now in someone's wedding day and wedding night, if you remember that other one -

Josh Clark: Bau chicka bau bau.

Chuck Bryant: I guess I'm waiting on us to cause a divorce. That would bring this full circle.

Josh Clark: Yeah. I know we helped somebody through a divorce, didn't we? Didn't we get an email from somebody who was getting divorced?

Chuck Bryant: I don't know, maybe.

Josh Clark: I think we have, and thank you - who was that?

Chuck Bryant: That was Janna from Minnesota.

Josh Clark: Thanks Janna and husband. Congratulations on your wedding. If Chuck and I have hastened the end of your wedding, or have been present at the birth of your kid, whatever, any major life event, we want to hear about it. Send us an email to Stuffpodcast@howstuffworks.com.

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