Is it better to buy local or organic food?

Announcer: Welcome to Stuff You Should Know from

Josh Clark: Welcome to the podcast. I'm Josh Clark. Chuck Bryant is about to vomit. Put the two of us together. You get a stuffy, fat podcast called Stuff You Should Know.

Chuck Bryant: It's so gross.

Josh Clark: Yeah, well, it's true, though, too. And kind of hairy, too, Chuck. Hairy and squishy! It's a bad combination. We're like one of those tumors that kind of grows out of you when you ate your twin in the womb. You know the tumors where they find like hair and fingernails and teeth.

Chuck Bryant: Yeah.

Josh Clark: We're like one of those when you put us together.

Chuck Bryant: Awesome. Yes, we are. Yeah, good stuff, Josh.

Josh Clark: Thanks, Chuck. So Chuck, speaking of all that did you know our first lady planted her own garden outside The White House recently?

Chuck Bryant: I did. I bet she had a little help. But yeah!

Josh Clark: She did, from some local school kids, although I bet they just screwed around the whole time. School kids are useless when it comes to gardening.

Chuck Bryant: They are.

Josh Clark: But yeah, Michelle Obama planted a garden. Apparently, it's the first kitchen garden since Eleanor Roosevelt was in the White House.

Chuck Bryant: Pretty cool.

Josh Clark: Running the show while her polio stricken husband couldn't even get out of bed. So yeah! That, you know Barack keeps keeping compared to FDR, so this is appropriate enough. But the big thing, the big hubbub about all this is that she chose to go 100 percent organic.

Chuck Bryant: Yeah, good move.

Josh Clark: Yeah, in this day and age, that's just a smart thing to do. Right?

Chuck Bryant: And, well, why not is my point, if you're planting your own garden?

Josh Clark: I'll tell you why not. As far as the Mid America Crop Life Association, which is basically a pesticide and fertilizer trade association?-

Chuck Bryant: I'll bet they have a lot of nice things to say about organic -

Josh Clark: They sent her a letter basically saying - they never said the word - and this is from a Times UK article. They never said the word fertilizer or organic, anything like that. They just wanted her to know that America owes its robust physique to all the technological advances in agriculture that have taken place over the years.

Chuck Bryant: Meaning fertilizer and pesticides.

Josh Clark: Exactly. Yeah. So apparently, a lot of people didn't really like the fact that the MACA took it upon themselves to send Michelle Obama a letter, so there is a petition online right now. And at least 100,000 people have signed it, basically telling the MACA to lay off their pesticide propaganda. And I just made air quotes for everybody who can't see.

Chuck Bryant: Interesting. I hope it works.

Josh Clark: I guess it will. I don't know. But the point is Michelle Obama is going organic. A lot of people are. Right?

Chuck Bryant: Yeah, it's sort of the thing.

Josh Clark: It is the thing. So much so that there's now a term, big organic! Have you heard this?

Chuck Bryant: Yeah, Josh. Big organic is like - Wal-Mart is carrying organic food now. That's what you would call big organic.

Josh Clark: Yeah, if you're a mom and pop farmer, you can't sell to Wal-Mart. You just can't do it. It takes huge agricultural concerns that have tens of thousands of acres at their disposal cranking out as much as they can per acre. And it's kind of sad to see organics go that way because it's - that's a pretty big shift from its roots, if you'll forgive the pun.

Chuck Bryant: Very nice, Josh.

Josh Clark: I hate puns.

Chuck Bryant: I do, too.

Josh Clark: For anyone who likes puns, I would strongly advise you to go listen to tech stuff, one of our sister podcasts. Oh, and Strickland isn't completely innocent of his puns either.

Chuck Bryant: Really?

Josh Clark: Yeah. So I guess we should probably get back to talking about organics. Right?

Chuck Bryant: Yeah, good idea.

Josh Clark: All right, so Chuck, is it better to buy local or organic? And actually, we probably shouldn't take traditional factory farm - I guess we'll just call it traditionally grown food out of the equation quite yet. Right?

Chuck Bryant: Right. Non-organic, big farm! Is that what you're talking about?

Josh Clark: Yeah. But I mean - yes. Big farm! The ones that use like pesticides and fertilizers and stuff like that. I'm trying to see if we can get the MACA after us. I want a letter of my own.

Chuck Bryant: That would be pretty cool.

Josh Clark: That would be super cool.

Chuck Bryant: Frame it for the cube.

Josh Clark: Oh, yeah, definitely.

Chuck Bryant: Actually, Josh, when I read this, I thought it was interesting because I wanted to say, "Why not both organic and local?" Which is the pretty obvious thing, but that's kind of not the point of the article.

Josh Clark: Well, let's talk about it first. What's wrong with traditionally grown stuff?

Chuck Bryant: Well, I've got some stats for you.

Josh Clark: I love your stats.

Chuck Bryant: Tha t can illustrate just what might be wrong with it. A conventionally grown apple, Josh, Joshers, may be sprayed up to 16 times with over 30 different chemicals in its lifetime. That apple that you're eating!

Josh Clark: Right before you put it in your mouth.

Chuck Bryant: Which is why you wash the food?

Josh Clark: Shining it on your shirt, I imagine that just kind of smears the pesticides and fertilizers around.

Chuck Bryant: And I imagine running it under a cold tap for a second doesn't do a whole lot, either.

Josh Clark: Yeah, I found a - there's a book on Google books. It's called Super Nutrition for Men. They actually recommended that if you buy commercially grown veggies, what we're talking about, traditionally grown stuff, you want to soak it in a 3 percent hydrogen peroxide solution before you eat it.

Chuck Bryant: Oh, you're kidding.

Josh Clark: And they said that if you really want to go to town, you can mix a half a teaspoon of bleach in a gallon of water and soak your vegetables, and that'll get rid of the pesticides and bacteria and all that stuff that can come along with traditionally grown food.

Chuck Bryant: What happens to the bleach, though? Does it wear off or something?

Josh Clark: You soak it for another ten minutes in just clean water. But I should also say if you do make the bleach solution, you want to use purified or distilled water because normal, hard tap water actually has compounds that can fuse to the bleach and create carcinogens.

Chuck Bryant: Not good.

Josh Clark: No. There's an alternative, though, which we were just talking about. Right? It's called -

Chuck Bryant: What? Organic?

Josh Clark: Yes.

Chuck Bryant: I have one more stat for you, though, before we move on just so people know what they're putting in their body. It's important. The FDA, they actually did this one, and they said that between 33 and 39 percent of our food contains detectable amount of pesticides, and 54 percent of the fruits and 34 percent of our vegetables out of that lot. So that's - you're eating pesticide and chemicals.

Josh Clark: Definitely, and these things can have harmful effects. They've been shown to have harmful effects like headaches, fatigue. There's some pesticides that have been shown to be neural disruptors, which is awful. Yeah, nausea is not fun. You don't eat for nausea.

Chuck Bryant: No.

Josh Clark: No. So okay, we're just going to go ahead and say if you eat traditional farmed food, whatever. More power to you. It's a good idea to know what's in your food. Right?

Chuck Bryant: You should know what you're putting in your mouth.

Josh Clark: You can also make a case for using pesticides and fertilizers and stuff like that. No, you can't.

Chuck Bryant: Well, I think their point is in a big farming situation, it's pretty much near impossible to sustain that without using pesticides.

Josh Clark: Well, plus, also, it usually makes for much cheaper food. It's a lot less labor intensive. If you're using like natural pesticide methods, this is usually much more difficult. It requires a lot more labor, and thus, the price is going to go up. Which is why if you're poor in America, you're not eating organic food.

Chuck Bryant: No, it's definitely a bit pricier.

Josh Clark: Right. So okay, let's talk organic, Chuck.

Chuck Bryant: Yes, the USDA has a program, Josh, called the National Organic Program, fittingly. And they are the people that certify things organic. When you see certified organic, it has to run through them. Your whole operation, you know, the seeds cannot be genetically modified at all or treated with synthetic pesticides or fertilizers. All this is laid out, and if you follow these steps, there's a program. You can be certified organic.

Josh Clark: Right. And actually, the standards are pretty good. They were almost questionable there in 2004, in April of 2004. The FDA issued three directives. Right? And one of them was it allowed fertilizers and pesticides to be used that contain unknown ingredients, and I just made air quotes again. And you could also feed livestock non-organic fishmeal, which who knows what's in that?

Chuck Bryant: Sure.

Josh Clark: And you could also use antibiotics on them. Those are two directives. Then there's a third one. I should say those first two, they didn't stick. There was such a public outcry against them, the USDA repealed them the next month. But there was a third one that stuck that I think everyone should be aware of. Non-agricultural products, including seafood, skin lotion, anything like that that's labeled organic, the USDA said, "You know what? That's out of our jurisdiction. They can say they're organic if they want. We're never going to investigate it."

Chuck Bryant: You know what? This hits home. You know what my wife does?

Josh Clark: Yeah, she makes a fine, fine line of health and beauty products.

Chuck Bryant: Yes, natural.

Josh Clark: Handmade.

Chuck Bryant: All natural, handmade, and she gets her feathers all riled up all the time because she'll see these companies tout things like organic when it's completely falls out of the jurisdiction. Beyond that, just like a lot of huge products, they'll throw things on there like all natural and fresh, and there's really no way to back any of that up.

Josh Clark: No. Apparently, with light beer, too, you only have - it only has to be light in color.

Chuck Bryant: Interesting.

Josh Clark: It has nothing to do with calories or anything like that, although you're led to believe it does.

Chuck Bryant: Really?

Josh Clark: Yeah.

Chuck Bryant: So yeah, it definitely hits home, and I would definitely not be angry if anyone went to and bought some of her products.

Josh Clark: I was gonna ask. Do you have a website to plug? Say it one more time.

Chuck Bryant: Yeah, she does. Well, I probably shouldn't plug because that would mean money in our family's pocket.

Josh Clark: I know. That would stink if we plugged, Chuck. Let's not ever do that. Huh?

Chuck Bryant: So moving on, Josh, is organic better for you? That's the one thing they really haven't been able to prove.

Josh Clark: No, I actually found a real dearth of information, like quantifiable information.

Chuck Bryant: Hard stats.

Josh Clark: Hard stats on things like that. It's just an assumption. Like, okay, you don't have pesticides. You don't have fertilizers. Logically, pesticides and fertilizers have been shown to create health problems. They can, and since they're not there in these certified organic products, then hence these things should be healthier. But the USDA makes no claims to this whatsoever. They're just saying these people followed these steps. Here's the steps that they followed to become USDA certified. We've checked it out, and we've said, "Yes, this product is USDA certified. You surmise yourself whether you want to eat it or pay the extra $3.00 for this dozen eggs."

Chuck Bryant: Right. I think the deal is with this is they cannot prove any nutritional value with going organic. What they can say is if it's organic what it lacks is probably better for you without all the chemicals. But since they can't prove that it's richer in Vitamin C or whatever if it's grown organically, then they have to lay off in that category.

Josh Clark: Right. One of the other reasons people choose organic, obviously, is you get the impression it's much more sustainable. I think you have to rotate crops. You have to compost on site, and these things are good and sustainable, but again, we were talking about big organic. These farms are following these processes, but I don't know to what degree. Just enough to be USDA certified organic. Right?

Chuck Bryant: Right.

Josh Clark: But it's still having a huge impact on the environment through what's called Food Miles. So the average food that we eat in the US I think travels 1,300 to 2,000 miles from where it's farmed to where it's consumed. Right?

Chuck Bryant: Right.

Josh Clark: And a lot of it, actually, there's a huge outcry, I found from researching this, against air transportation.

Chuck Bryant: Oh, really?

Josh Clark: Yeah because apparently, that is the worst way to fly food. It's the worst carbon dioxide emitter. It's the worst way to get food from source to destination.

Chuck Bryant: Makes sense.

Josh Clark: Again, though, I looked it up. I'm like, "What's the average amount of CO2 that's emitted per pound of food or whatever?" There's nothing on there. So all this stuff surrounding this is all very logical and intuitive, but there's no hard facts, which I find frustrating.

Chuck Bryant: I have one cool quote.

Josh Clark: Let's hear it.

Chuck Bryant: This is from a guy at Columbia who has been pioneering local eating for 25 years. His name is Gusal. And his -

Josh Clark: Wait, wait. Does he just have one name like Cher?

Chuck Bryant: Actually, that's just his last name is Gusal. But sure, let's just say that. And Gusal is often quoted saying a strawberry shipped from California to New York requires 435 calories of fossil fuel, but provides the eater only five calories of nutrition.

Josh Clark: Nice. Well done, Gusal.

Chuck Bryant: That's what Gusal says. I don't know if it's true or not. But yeah, that's the whole question. Do you buy local, or do you buy organic? I know that the 100-mile diet in - there's a big local food mov ement going on to try to cut down on the greenhouse emissions.

Josh Clark: Yeah. Do you know much about the 100-mile diet?

Chuck Bryant: School me. I know a little bit.

Josh Clark: So in 2005, this Canadian couple, Lisa Smith and JB McKinnon, they vowed to basically only eat local food. Nothing could have come from more than 100 miles away.

Chuck Bryant: Cool idea.

Josh Clark: It is a cool idea, and it makes sense, but I got the impression from reading about this that they had no idea how difficult this was going to be. They didn't realize there were seasons and sub seasons, and apparently micro seasons. So if you want cherries in the winter, you can go to the grocery store and get them, but you can't if you're on this 100-mile diet! They were saying something like - in this FAQ, they went without wheat for a really long time until they finally met a local wheat farmer, and then they were able to make their own stuff. But part - part of it is very - It can be much more expensive because you're buying all the ingredients rather than a packaged product that was part of one of several thousand, so it's cheaper. And also, it's just much more difficult, and again, labor intensive. But it is a lot more sustainable that you cut down on CO2 emissions. One hundred miles isn't that far as far as food miles goes. And also, you get to know kind of - one of the reasons they say to eat local is the produce is much fresher. So within 24 hours, it's been picked, and you're eating it pretty much right off of the plant and you get to know the people that you're buying from because you're going to a farmers' market, pretty much.

Chuck Bryant: Sure. Well, let's talk about farmers' markets. It's the best.

Josh Clark: Yeah, you're a big, big proponent of farmers' markets. Aren't you?

Chuck Bryant: It's the best. Here in Atlanta, as most people know, actually, in Decatur, we have the Decab Farmers' Market, and I bump into Jerry there sometimes.

Josh Clark: Is that right?

Chuck Bryant: She's a shopper there. Actually, a bunch of people from work I see there. It's the best, man. It's huge, and the cool thing about het farmer's market is not only can you choose from organic, but above every fruit and vegetable is a sign that says where it came from, which is kind of cool. So you know you're getting your avocados from California or Mexico. And usually, each fruit and vegetable has a couple of choices. None of them are very local, though.

Josh Clark: That's surprising because most farmers' markets have a very strict rule that it can only be from that state at least.

Chuck Bryant: Well, this is a little different kind of farmers' market. I think most of those are the ones that are like a local farmers' market that you'll have on Saturdays only, and they'll set up in a parking lot, and the local farmers come and bring their wares. This is a big, huge operation that's been around for 30 plus years. So it's a little different.

Josh Clark: I know there is a state subsidized farmers' market down by the airport. And I think you can only be a Georgia grower to participate there.

Chuck Bryant: Those are awesome. I used to go to one in LA when I lived there. Well, they had the Hollywood farmers' market, which is awesome. Then I went to the one closer to where I lived in Eagle Rock that, same deal. Literally, the farmers pull up their truck and set up their stuff in the crates. And you know, you chat it up with these guys. You feel really good about supporting it.

Josh Clark: Yeah, apparently, I was reading on the 100-mile diet site that there was a study that found that people at farmers' markets have ten times more conversations than people at a supermarket.

Chuck Bryant: I'm surprised it's not more than that.

Josh Clark: Yeah. Well, that actually struck me. I go to supermarkets. I don't normally go to farmers' markets. But I know when I'm there, I'm not there to chat. I go to buy food. So yeah, that's pretty cool. I think I'm gonna check the farmers' market out.

Chuck Bryant: Yeah, they're definitely a little more like - when I'm at the Decab's Farmers' Market, you'll be checking out a pepper, and the lady next to you will just say, "Aren't these peppers amazing?" You know, you never hear that at your local grocery store.

Josh Clark: Is there the heavy, heady scent of patchouli everywhere?

Chuck Bryant: Yeah, and then the lady says that to me, and I say, "Mind your own business, lady. I don't need to hear about what you think about these peppers."

Josh Clark: Yeah, I'll bet.

Chuck Bryant: And I stomp off.

Josh Clark: That sounds like my kind of farmers' market.

Chuck Bryant: It's great. It's very hostile.

Josh Clark: A very aggressive, hostile farmers' market.

Chuck Bryant: Should we talk about co-ops and farm community support agriculture?

Josh Clark: Yeah. Well, that's the big thing about eating local. One of the things the proponents always say is you're feeding the local economy, you're creating local jobs, the money is going back into the local economy or helping local farmers. And that's pretty much the opposite of a globalized attitude. But still, it's okay. To teach his own, of course, Chuck, we always say. So if you're into helping the local economy, eating local is a really good way to do that. Right?

Chuck Bryant: Yeah.

Josh Clark: And one of the places where you can go and really help the local economy is a local food co-op.

Chuck Bryant: Yeah.

Josh Clark: We have one here in Atlanta, Sevenonda, and there's actually a brouhaha that I heard about earlier this year. Apparently, the general manager, they changed the charter. The general manager has a lot of power now, and the board doesn't like some of the choices that he's making. So there's a big struggle. They don't want Tropicana non-organic orange juice for sale next to Heinz Ketchup that's not organic either. And you're like, "What is this stuff doing here? This is a local community food co-op."

Chuck Bryant: Sevenonda has been around for a long time.

Josh Clark: Since the early '70s, I believe. Very cool place. But yeah, so food co-ops. I found this very interesting. The top 100 food co-ops in the US in 2003 made $110 billion.

Chuck Bryant: Isn't that nuts?

Josh Clark: That's $1.1 billion apiece. That's insane to me.

Chuck Bryant: It is.

Josh Clark: I can't imagine Sevenonda making a billion dollars, but I think it's a pretty good food co-op. Right?

Chuck Bryant: Yeah, it's a great one. Pretty interesting!

Josh Clark: It really is.

Chuck Bryant: There's another way to go here, Josh, which is called a community-supported ag riculture, CSA program. And that - my friend Debbie in New Jersey actually is involved in one of these! She writes for our site. And also, another plug, she runs a very awesome blog called, and she is a member of one of these. And what you do is a group of people in a community get together, and they prepay a local farmer. They basically invest in the farm. And the cool thing is - well, some people might not think it's cool. It's a drawback. I think its cool is you don't know what you're gonna get. Every two weeks, you'll get a crate of - you'll go pick up a crate of groceries. And you never know. Like if the lettuce is great, you might get lettuce. You might get kale. You might get carrots. And so I just think it's cool. It encourages people to kind of learn how to cook with new ingredients, and it's like farm to table, and Debbie thinks it's really awesome, and I trust her.

Josh Clark: Good to know. I've got a whole world of food to go explore.

Chuck Bryant: Oh, yeah. Lots! And should we talk about Whole Foods real quick?

Josh Clark: Knock yourself out, pal. I have another thing, too, to follow up with.

Chuck Bryant: This is chalk full, man.

Josh Clark: Yeah, it really is. It's chock full of goodness.

Chuck Bryant: I wouldn't have thought this one would be so chock full. Whole Foods, as everyone knows, is a big grocery store chain that costs a lot of money. Whole paycheck is what some people call it. It's a little pricey. They -- $1 billion a year, Josh, is how much produce they sold in 2006, and 16.4 percent of that came from local sources, which is up about 2 percent from 2005. And I know they're making a big effort, I would imagine, in 2009, it's even higher than that. So even these big companies like Whole Foods are trying to source out local food a little more.

Josh Clark: Yeah, people are getting a lot savvier these days. The fact that the FDA's directives were reversed the next month because there was an outcry - there's a petition online saying, "Leave Michelle Obama alone because she's farming organic," people have gotten a lot savvier. They've realized, "Hey, I'm putting this stuff in my body literally. I should probably pay a little more attention to it."

Chuck Bryant: I got a garden.

Josh Clark: Do you?

Chuck Bryant: Yeah.

Josh Clark: In your little squatting land area.

Chuck Bryant: No, actually, this is on our side of the property. Yeah, John Fuller and I from Stuff From the B Side. He was talking to me about it this weekend. He has a little garden, too. And we're going to try - I know a couple of other people here do. We're going to get a little vegetable exchange going on.

Josh Clark: Very nice.

Chuck Bryant: Yeah, it's fun. The concept of growing your own food, I think - John was just blown away by it. He's like, "Man, this is just the coolest thing. I could put the seeds in the ground, and I could eat it later on." Yes, John, it's farming. We've been doing it for a long time.

Josh Clark: We've been doing it for 8,000 years, 10,000 years.

Chuck Bryant: It is cool, though.

Josh Clark: It is. I'd love my own tomatoes, for sure. That's about all I can grow. That and basil.

Chuck Bryant: Yeah, those are two good things. You're halfway to spaghetti sauce.

Josh Clark: Agreed. So Chuck, there is something that I think we should point out. No matter how you eat, whether it's local or you eat traditional farmed stuff or organic or whatever!

Chuck Bryant: Or McDonalds at every meal.

Josh Clark: Especially McDonalds, actually. That definitely factors into this. There's this concept called ghost acres. Have you heard of this?

Chuck Bryant: You've got me on this one. Dude, this one is awesome.

Josh Clark: So basically, when we think about the amount of acreage it takes to produce food, right, we say one acre of food can produce 20,000 pounds of strawberries on a traditional farm. Ghost acres are all the other parts of land that's required for that strawberry to go through its lifecycle. So you take into account the acreage that the fertilizer factory is built on. You take into account the acreage that the dump, the landfill that's going to accept the strawberry vines is built on. Or the acreage that's polluted by the runoff from this farm! These are ghost acres, and it ups the number of acres required. It's the actual number of acres and the impact it has on the land to produce 10,000 or 20,000 pounds of strawberries or whatever.

Chuck Bryant: That's the real deal.

Josh Clark: It is the real deal. Yeah. So yeah, ghost acres definitely worth looking up, man.

Chuck Bryant: Oh, that's pretty cool. I thought you were going to throw me some stat, like, "Did you know that for every acre, there's ten ghost acres."

Josh Clark: Actually, I think that's about right. I think it's 10.1 per person.

Chuck Bryant: Really?

Josh Clark: Yeah.

Chuck Bryant: Look at you.

Josh Clark: Thanks.

Chuck Bryant: Nice work.

Josh Clark: Thanks buddy.

Chuck Bryant: Have we exhausted this?

Josh Clark: I think we have big time. I think we did about ten minutes ago.

Chuck Bryant: Yeah. Grow your own stuff. It'd be kind of cool. Try to shop locally.

Josh Clark: If so, you can join Chuck and John Fuller's little food co-op.

Chuck Bryant: Yeah, a little farm exchange.

Josh Clark: Can I get in on that action?

Chuck Bryant: Well, you have to grow something.

Josh Clark: Can I just buy some?

Chuck Bryant: Yeah, sure. I'll sell you some zucchini.

Josh Clark: I've got cucumbers growing in the back of my car. Remember?

Chuck Bryant: Right.

Josh Clark: Yeah, that's about it. If you want to know more about growing your own food, we've got all sorts of gardening stuff on the site. Don't we, Chuck?

Chuck Bryant: We do.

Josh Clark: We also have tons of recipes. We have a whole recipe channel.

Chuck Bryant: We do.

Josh Clark: So there you go. All you need to do is come to and say whatever you want to in that little search bar. You should probably type it rather than say it. I don't think we have the listening capability.

Chuck Bryant: Voice recognition.

Josh Clark: Yeah. So what does that mean, Chuck? It's listener mail time?

Chuck Bryant: It is indeed. Josh, this, as you know, we have some fans over in Iraq at Camp Liberty.

Josh Clark: Yes.

Chuck Bryant: Some army dudes and ladies who we're very appreciative of. And this came from Specialist Norman. I can't your last name, Norman, which stinks. But he is a specialist. SPC Norman! He wrote us a while ago. He's a soldier in the army. Currently fettered down in an office job in the greater Baghdad area! Your podcast is not only a ray of sunshine is this sterile environment. It is a rampant light storm pilfered out of Tesla's personal forbidden RND department.

Josh Clark: Oh, it's that guy.

Chuck Bryant: Yeah.

Josh Clark: I love this guy.

Chuck Bryant: That's because he's an awesome writer, and he blows things up. It's like what we want to be.

Josh Clark: He's hyperbolic.

Chuck Bryant: So he says, "We love you, and flattery complete." And he has a couple requests, which hopefully we'll get to one day. He would like to hear something on Dr. Seuss, and the reason why is because he has a new daughter that he has not met yet.

Josh Clark: Oh, God. That's gotta be rough. Holy cow, that has to suck.

Chuck Bryant: I know. Isn't that sad? And Josh, he has only met her through Skype, which is that video conferencing technology. So that's very sad, and Dr. Seuss was awesome, and I would love to do a podcast on him.

Josh Clark: I would, too. Let's do it.

Chuck Bryant: Did you know he died the same day as Miles Davis?

Josh Clark: I did not.

Chuck Bryant: Bad day. I remember getting both of those pieces of news when I was in college. It really bummed me out. Two of my heroes! And then, he wants to hear one on sexual reproduction and evolution. This is a theoretical marriage that I have never been able to tie the knot on. How in the vast realms of evolutionary possibilities did two separate organisms each decide to belch forth half of their genetic material and stir them together? What environmental factors stabilized such a mutation?

Josh Clark: I love that guy.

Chuck Bryant: Dude, he's super smart and cool, and we sent them - Camp Liberty, we sent them 12 t-shirts, and we just got a photo of them wearing the How Stuff Works t-shirts with machine guns and tanks.

Josh Clark: It's bitchin'.

Chuck Bryant: It is awesome, and I hope we can frame it super large and put it in the office somewhere.

Josh Clark: We have to. We should pop it up on the blogs.

Chuck Bryant: Yeah, that's a good idea.

Josh Clark: Okay, let's do it. Let's actually do it this time.

Chuck Bryant: Well, I'll get his permission, and then I'll do it. But -

Josh Clark: Will you actually do that?

Chuck Bryant: Yes. So I want to thank Norman for your service, and you guys are awesome, and thanks for listening and supporting us, and come home soon and safe.

Josh Clark: Hats off to all of you. And if you're in Baghdad or Burma or anywhere, you can send us an e-mail whether you want some free t-shirts or not! Although it would help your case if you're actually -

Chuck Bryant: Defending our country.

Josh Clark: Yeah, that kind of thing. You can send us an e-mail to

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