What is biospeleology?

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

Josh Clark: Hey, and welcome to the podcast. I'm Josh Clark and there's Charles W. "Chuck" Bryant. And there's an echo in here. Echo!

Chuck Bryant: Yeah, it's dark and dank.

Josh Clark: Dank.

Chuck Bryant: Creepy.

Josh Clark: Remember that word? Dank!

Chuck Bryant: I do. Is that not a word anymore?

Josh Clark: Not really.

Chuck Bryant: Okay.

Josh Clark: Hey, how are you?

Chuck Bryant: Good.

Josh Clark: Thanks for meeting me here.

Chuck Bryant: Of course. I got the invitation. I couldn't resist.

Josh Clark: Yeah? Did you like the fact that I gave you the invitation in cutout letters from magazines?

Chuck Bryant: Yeah. Sealed with a kiss! Very nice!

Josh Clark: So, Chuck, we are here in the cave.

Chuck Bryant: Yeah, man.

Josh Clark: And the reason why is because we are talking about something called biospeleology.

Chuck Bryant: That's a big word.

Josh Clark: It is. Say it.

Chuck Bryant: Biospeleology.

Josh Clark: Biospeleology. You've heard of spelunking?

Chuck Bryant: Yeah, I've done minor spelunking.

Josh Clark: Have you?

Chuck Bryant: Yeah, not deep. But I love caves. I think they're really cool.

Josh Clark: So have you gone caving or spelunking?

Chuck Bryant: Probably caving.

Josh Clark: Were there harnesses and ropes and helmets with lights on the top?

Chuck Bryant: No.

Josh Clark: Okay, you went caving.

Chuck Bryant: Yeah, it was me and my brother poking around.

Josh Clark: Spelunking is when you go into a cave and you like, go into a cave and you may die.

Chuck Bryant: Yeah, but it's recreational.

Josh Clark: Yes.

Chuck Bryant: That's what differentiates it from speleology, which is cave research.

Josh Clark: Right. And biospeleology is cave research on the life inside that cave.

Chuck Bryant: Bingo.

Josh Clark: And there is actually quite a bit of life. We only figured this out as recently as the 1700s. But once we did figure it out, we realized that there was some really awesome creepy freaky life in caves. Like you sent me a cool picture of basically a faceless salamander, right?

Chuck Bryant: Yeah, that's the proteus salamander. And that's the one -

Josh Clark: Oh, is that the one?

Chuck Bryant: Yeah, that's the one in the 1700s. They saw this thing and they were like, "Whoa, something's different."

Josh Clark: Well, the first thing I think they noticed that was different was that it was a foot long. And that's a big salamander.

Chuck Bryant: Can you imagine that thing, though, with no eyes?

Josh Clark: No face.

Chuck Bryant: Yeah, no face.

Josh Clark: It's just like a head. Did you ever see - I think it was The Twilight Zone: The Movie - one of those.

Chuck Bryant: Oh, I love that.

Josh Clark: Remember the kid who created this whole cartoon world and he didn't like his sister talking back to him, so she was missing the mouth?

Chuck Bryant: Oh, yeah. That's so creepy.

Josh Clark: And she just sat there and watched cartoons the whole time.

Chuck Bryant: Yeah.

Josh Clark: It is creepy. And the salamander's creepy in much the same way. Slightly less because it's not a human, we're not hardwired to really be disturbed by faceless salamanders like we are mouthless humans. But it's along the same lines, right?

Chuck Bryant: They did that in The Matrix, too. Keanu had no mouth in that one scene. But you could sort of see the makeup and that always bugged me.

Josh Clark: Yeah. It wasn't that good. No. There's also plenty of slightly less exotic life in caves. You've got beetles. You've got worms.

Chuck Bryant: Crickets.

Josh Clark: Crickets. Bats, of course, are the stars of caves.

Chuck Bryant: Oh, yeah.

Josh Clark: And it turns out, from reading this article How Cave Biology Works, I guess most, if not all, of the life in caves is based on - well, basically they're descended from above ground dwelling species.

Chuck Bryant: Yeah, I was kind of surprised. I was also surprised to learn that there were shrimp in caves. For some reason that just - I don't know. I could see cave shrimp being some exotic thing you would find at a four-star restaurant because it tastes different because it's never seen the sun.

Josh Clark: They wear over the shoulder furs and carry big wooden clubs.

Chuck Bryant: But, yeah, you're right. They weren't necessarily born there but they made their way down there in a process called regressive evolution.

Josh Clark: Right. Fans of the Lord of the Rings trilogy will recognize this.

Chuck Bryant: How so?

Josh Clark: Because it's pretty much what Gollum did?

Chuck Bryant: Oh, yeah.

Josh Clark: Remember?

Chuck Bryant: Yeah, yeah.

Josh Clark: I mean that's pretty much regressive evolution within a single organism, which never happens.

Chuck Bryant: "My precious."

Josh Clark: Right. But this is over the course of many generations.

Chuck Bryant: Yeah, they would - not devolve. It's called regressive evolution. They would actually lose features to adapt to the environment rather than gain features.

Josh Clark: Well, I mean, if you think about it, the faceless salamander that had no eyes, if it lives in constant darkness there's no reason for it to have eyes. So it might as well just not have them and maybe put its effort and energy elsewhere.

Chuck Bryant: Yeah. You've seen one of the common pictures of aliens from outer space - you always see - the big head, the huge eyes, and the little nostrils without a nose.

Josh Clark: The Whitley Strieber communion alien.

Chuck Bryant: Right. And then the holes for ears, but no ears! My buddy, Jerry, always thought that these were super evolved humans from the future and we don't need the structure of the nose, we just need the nostrils. We don't need the structure of the ears, we just need the whole. And our brains are getting bigger, so he was like, "That's why they've got the big heads. That's why they don't have a nose, they just have nostrils." And it kind of blew me away. I was like, "Wow. Maybe they are humans from the future."

Josh Clark: He's like, "And George Washington grew him."

Chuck Bryant: Exactly.

Josh Clark: You guys are laying on top of your car.

Chuck Bryant: Right.

Josh Clark: Speaking of aliens, have you ever seen Bad Taste? And speaking of Peter Jackson - crazy!

Chuck Bryant: No.

Josh Clark: You haven't?

Chuck Bryant: No.

Josh Clark: So Peter Jackson, the guy who did Lord of the Rings, he directed this horrible schlock graphically violent movie called Bad Taste in 1988. You have to see it.

Chuck Bryant: Well, he did another one, too. I can't remember the name of it, but same thing.

Josh Clark: Yeah, he started out doing flocky horror movies. It's worth seeing.

Chuck Bryant: What does it have to do with this?

Josh Clark: Aliens and Peter Jackson.

Chuck Bryant: Gotcha. Full circle!

Josh Clark: Thanks for that. We haven't gone off on a good tangent in awhile.

Chuck Bryant: No. That felt good.

Josh Clark: Thanks.

Chuck Bryant: Well, you know what, woodsman? This is very nice out here and all, but I feel like we should get back to the office.

Josh Clark: Yeah, you're right. Let's go, Jerri. [Futuristic music] So, Chuck, we talked about regressive evolution. And it's not just the loss of eyes. You lose skin pigmentation. And you also - we've found that among cave dwelling organisms, their metabolism is super efficient because there's so little food down there that they have to make do with what they have. It's like if you have to have a section of your intestine removed, you basically spend the rest of your life malnourished. Because their metabolism is used to taking it's time absorbing nutrients. So if there's less place for it to go, we become malnourished. These guys are the exact opposite. It's hypermetabolism. So as a result, we're figuring out that we can learn a lot by studying freaks of nature.

Chuck Bryant: Well, yeah. And they said they look at fish. I didn't know that a lot of our water passes through a cave ecosystem at some point. And so they'll study fish and how they live in the water to study water quality that we end up drinking, which is crazy, too.

Josh Clark: Yeah, you're drinking stuff that cave shrimp's been in.

Chuck Bryant: Wow.

Josh Clark: Cave shrimp has pooped in the water that you're drinking.

Chuck Bryant: Monkey meat.

Josh Clark: Bush meat.

Chuck Bryant: Dead Alive, I think that was the movie.

Josh Clark: I think you're right.

Chuck Bryant: It's funny how it comes back like that.

Josh Clark: We also can learn a lot from studying their lack of eyes - abnormal eye development. Remember the Agent Orange podcast? Remember those kids that were born without eyes? How does that happen? What genes are responsible for that? Well, you learn by comparing say an eyeless proteus salamander to a regular salamander and figure out what genes they lack.

Chuck Bryant: It's pretty cool. Humans are smart, aren't they?

Josh Clark: So, Chuck, we started to go into the caves. We figured out why people are going into caves. When they started going in, what are we finding there?

Chuck Bryant: Well, you find one of three categories of species in a cave. Notice I didn't say speshies. People often say speshies. It's species.

Josh Clark: Or warsh.

Chuck Bryant: Warsh.

Josh Clark: Have you ever been one to say warsh?

Chuck Bryant: No.

Josh Clark: Me neither.

Chuck Bryant: The first one is a trogloxene?

Josh Clark: Yeah. Trogloxene!

Chuck Bryant: Trogloxene. And troglos is Greek for cave and xenos is Greek for guest. And so as you'd imagine -

Josh Clark: Or stranger.

Chuck Bryant: Or stranger - and as you would imagine, this is a cave visitor. And the three branches here of the things you'll find there, they categorize them depending on how much time they spend in the cave. So they spend the least amount of time and they can come and go when they want to. And they go in there for specific reasons, like a bear to hibernate, or to nest, or to give birth. So probably for shelter! We're talking bears, skunks, coons, moths. So that's number one.

Josh Clark: Bats, as well, make that list.

Chuck Bryant: Oh, okay. Absolutely!

Josh Clark: Because they hibernate in there.

Chuck Bryant: Right. And poop.

Josh Clark: And poop, which we'll get to in a little bit.

Chuck Bryant: Yeah.

Josh Clark: Because that's important.

Chuck Bryant: So what's number two?

Josh Clark: The next one is troglophiles, which means cave lovers.

Chuck Bryant: Yeah, I live that name.

Josh Clark: It's just like, "Hey, cave, how's it going? You're looking good tonight."

Chuck Bryant: Yeah, they love it so much that they actually enjoy being in there.

Josh Clark: Right. These describe species that are capable of living inside or outside of caves, but they love the cave so they decide to stick around there. So you've got like beetles, worms, frogs, that kind of stuff. These things could live outside of the caves, but they tend to spend their lifetimes inside of caves.

Chuck Bryant: Yeah. And they'll go out to get food a lot of times and then bring it back in.

Josh Clark: Right.

Chuck Bryant: Which we'll also get to. It's a good thing they do that.

Josh Clark: Yes, it is. Man there's foreshadowing going on all over the place. The third one, Chuckers.

Chuck Bryant: Yeah, that's the creepiest one, obviously, is the troglobites. These are the ones that never leave. They can't leave. They will die outside of the cave.

Josh Clark: Yeah, I thought that was a bit of a stretch to go from philes to bites.

Chuck Bryant: Yeah. No?

Josh Clark: Well, you've got -

Chuck Bryant: I'm not up on my Latin.

Josh Clark: - xenos, philes - those were good ones, and then bites. There should be troglobios.

Chuck Bryant: That's good. And these little guys have adapted so well. Like I said, they can't leave. These are the ones that either have eyes that don't work well or don't have eyes at all. Not much pigmentation, like the salamander we talked about was sort of a translucent pink - pinkashu. And they have adapted metabolisms. They don't have a lot of food and nutrients down there, so they don't need it to live.

Josh Clark: Right. They're the ones with the hypermetabolisms.

Chuck Bryant: Right. And what else? Oh, the legs and antennae are longer to help them find food when there is food.

Josh Clark: Right. So let's talk about food. Well, let's talk about the different places you're going to find these things. So I think one of the reasons I like this cave biology article, or cave biology in general, is that everything's divided up so neatly and cleanly. So we've got the three different kinds of organisms. You've got trogloxenes, troglophiles, troglobites. There's also three different segments of a cave.

Chuck Bryant: And they all fit in each one.

Josh Clark: And the second one's a great name, too.

Chuck Bryant: Yeah, the first one is the entrance zone. And you still obviously will have some sunlight coming in and out, recessive sunlight. And that means you can have some plant life, a little bit.

Josh Clark: You've got bears sleeping.

Chuck Bryant: You've got bears sleeping, you've got coons sleeping. They're nesting, laying eggs, what have you. You've got some moths, snails, owls - and it's a cool picture, too. It's kind of creepy looking.

Josh Clark: It looks like a Lee Dempsey picture.

Chuck Bryant: Yeah, I'm sure it is Lee. So that's the first one. The second one is the really good one.

Josh Clark: The twilight zone.

Chuck Bryant: Yeah.

Josh Clark: Isn't that cool?

Chuck Bryant: That's actually what it's called. You're about to enter the twilight zone.

Josh Clark: Exactly.

Chuck Bryant: And you mentioned twilight zone earlier.

Josh Clark: Did I?

Chuck Bryant: Yeah, with the kid who - the mouthless sister.

Josh Clark: Holy cow, man. Wow.

Chuck Bryant: You didn't even pick up on that, did you?

Josh Clark: I feel like I'm about to wake up.

Chuck Bryant: Really?

Josh Clark: Yeah.

Chuck Bryant: And this didn't happen? In the twilight zone, this is the middle zone. And there is a little bit of light and there can be a little bit of plant life, but don't count on it.

Josh Clark: No. But there's going to be plenty of mushrooms.

Chuck Bryant: Oh, really?

Josh Clark: And probably some albino mushrooms.

Chuck Bryant: Well, that's plant life, right?

Josh Clark: Well, it's fungus. So, yeah, it's in the plant kingdom.

Chuck Bryant: And the temperature there is - oh, we should mention the temperature in the entrance zone varies, obviously, according to the weather outside. But it gets a little more static in the twilight zone. I just love saying that. And it's very moist and very cool. And that is where the trogloxene live - spiders, millipedes, bats, moths.

Josh Clark: Right. And troglophiles, you'll find those here as well.

Chuck Bryant: Hanging out?

Josh Clark: Don't you imagine that this is where Rod Serling got the name for Twilight Zone?

Chuck Bryant: I don't know.

Josh Clark: Because think about it, he was talking about this place between this world and another world, that fibrous transition place. This is that.

Chuck Bryant: I'll have to look that up.

Josh Clark: I can't believe we didn't already.

Chuck Bryant: I know. So what's the third one? It's a good one.

Josh Clark: The third one is the dark zone. This is the creepy stalactite - this is where you're going to find no light whatsoever.

Chuck Bryant: Pitch dark.

Josh Clark: No change in temperature. No weather. And definitely no vegetation at all!

Chuck Bryant: Right. Creepy! But lots of troglobites.

Josh Clark: Yeah. You're going to find lots of foot-long salamanders that have no faces.

Chuck Bryant: Did you see The Descent, that movie - kind of a not too great horror movie?

Josh Clark: No. I know what you're talking about, though.

Chuck Bryant: These girls go caving deep deep, and there are these humans from way back when that never left the cave. But they're basically human troglobites that -

Josh Clark: Set in Appalachia.

Chuck Bryant: It was in the woods, sort of. Maybe so.

Josh Clark: The Ozarks, maybe.

Chuck Bryant: Creepy.

Josh Clark: We're going to get some mail for that one, I think.

Chuck Bryant: What, the Appalachia?

Josh Clark: Yeah. The problem with the dark zone is there's organisms running around that are alive and healthy. That flies in the face of this rule of thumb here on planet that everything is kept alive by the sun. If there's no light whatsoever, how are animals in the dark zone allowed to live?

Chuck Bryant: Food chain. Which I guess - she didn't really draw the conclusion that the food chain depends on the sun. But I guess that's what it means, right? The sun still comes into play, just not deep down within there.

Josh Clark: Right. They benefit from photosynthesis distally rather than proximally.

Chuck Bryant: Wow. Look at you, fancy boy. So if there's - how do you get food deep down in the cave? One way is - and I didn't even consider this - by flooding. When the waters rise, it'll wash things in there that the animals can eat.

Josh Clark: Right. And rather than a food chain - I mean, a food chain is actually a good way to describe it, but it's almost like a food bucket brigade. You know what I mean?

Chuck Bryant: Yeah.

Josh Clark: So you have food washed in - leaves, twigs, sticks, or actual food - maybe a dead raccoon. And things feast on it in the entrance zone. And then things that are living in the twilight zone can feast on those things that ate it in the entrance zone. And then it just kind of goes and goes until you finally reach the dark zone. And then they're eating four times removed what washed into the entrance zone.

Chuck Bryant: Right. Well, and that's just one way it gets in, washing. Another way is your favorite thing, guano - bat poop.

Josh Clark: Which is a really good fertilizer?

Chuck Bryant: Is it?

Josh Clark: Yeah. You can usually buy it nurseries.

Chuck Bryant: Oh, really?

Josh Clark: Yeah.

Chuck Bryant: Huh. Well, there's lots of it because I've seen the specials where there's mountains of bat poop.

Josh Clark: Um-hum. Because they're there for months on end, hibernating. And they're all just pooping.

Chuck Bryant: That's all they're doing, eating and pooping.

Josh Clark: And it stinks, too.

Chuck Bryant: Oh, I bet. You can't eat it right away, though, isn't that right? Or they can't just feed on the poop initially. Doesn't it have to decompose?

Josh Clark: Well, it depends. You've got decomposers, microorganisms that are actually eating the poop. So bat guano is a food source for these organisms at the very bottom of the biospeleology food bucket brigade.

Chuck Bryant: The unsung heroes if you will.

Josh Clark: Yeah. So they decompose it. They break it down for themselves, turn it into food for themselves. But they're also leaving nutrients as byproducts. And these decomposers and microorganisms make up food for slightly larger organisms like millipedes, centipedes, and other small insects. And then it just goes up to the apex, which is the predator.

Chuck Bryant: Yeah, it's a food pyramid essentially.

Josh Clark: Which really all ecosystems are.

Chuck Bryant: Yeah, I guess so.

Josh Clark: At the top you have predators. And there's going to be the smaller - well, the larger the animal, the fewer there are of them. If you compare sharks to plankton, there's a lot more plankton than sharks in the ocean.

Chuck Bryant: Yeah, good point. One of the things that really creeped me out, and this one's going to keep me awake tonight - the insects get bigger and bigger - centipedes, spiders, salamanders. Apparently some centipedes are so big that they can feed on bats.

Josh Clark: Right.

Chuck Bryant: That's what I want to see.

Josh Clark : I do, too, actually. And it's kind of like why mess around with guano and wait for the whole food chain thing to happen, just go right to the source and eat the bat.

Chuck Bryant: Yeah. A heck of a centipede!

Josh Clark: Yeah, I'd like to see that, too. We're going to look for some video of that after this, okay?

Chuck Bryant: So how do these guys get in there - and gals, these researchers?

Josh Clark: Very carefully. You've got to look out for crazy hillbillies who have regressively evolved. You have to not fall off of ledges. You have to go through very narrow crevices.

Chuck Bryant: Watch out for bears initially, and I'm sure the entrance zone can be a little dodgy at first.

Josh Clark: Definitely. And I guess, we said that speleology in general is a pretty recent field of science - a couple hundred years old. And we figured out pretty quick, though, that these are almost pristine ecosystems. And when we show up and we're covered in fungi or bacteria or whatever, we introduce that to that ecosystem and can cause it's collapse pretty quick.

Chuck Bryant: Yeah, Debbie Broncum, my buddy whom you've met as well, who wrote this, pointed out that just shedding lint off of your shirt -

Josh Clark: Or dandruff.

Chuck Bryant: - or dandruff off your head can start a reaction that can destroy the ecosystem potentially.

Josh Clark: Right.

Chuck Bryant: Creepy.

Josh Clark: And there's nothing sadder than seeing a footlong faceless salamander die and you know that it was because of your version of smallpox.

Chuck Bryant: You wouldn't know it was sad, though. You wouldn't be able to tell. It would just look like the faceless beast that it was. Are you happy? Are you sad? I have another point to make, but I can't remember it right now.

Josh Clark: Were you going to make the point about the Federal Cave Resources Protection Act of 1988?

Chuck Bryant: No, but go ahead.

Josh Clark: Well, the U.S. passed an act that said if you go into a cave and you spray paint a cave, you go to jail for that. You can't spray paint in a cave.

Chuck Bryant: Well, maybe that was my point. That's pretty recent. I get the feeling, because they didn't explore caves until sort of recently - as far as if you talk about how long science has been around. So I think caves have just kind of been ignored. Or maybe hundreds of years ago they were like, "I ain't going in there." Or maybe they didn't think there was a reason to, there was anything worth finding in there.

Josh Clark: Plus they're just really scary.

Chuck Bryant: I think that's probably it.

Josh Clark: I think that more than anything, that's kept us out.

Chuck Bryant: I ain't going in there?

Josh Clark: Right.

Chuck Bryant: I would like to do this, though - the caves and the cenotes - is that what they're called?

Josh Clark: Yeah, those are -

Chuck Bryant: That stuff is so cool.

Josh Clark: - really neat - cenotes.

Chuck Bryant: Yeah, the underground water, it's fascinating to me. I want someone to email us and say, "Hey, guys. I do this and I'd love to fly you down and take you spelunking."

Josh Clark: I think Coolest Stuff may have done something on cenotes.

Chuck Bryant: Oh, really?

Josh Clark: Maybe. We'll see. So you got anything else?

Chuck Bryant: No, sir.

Josh Clark: I guess the one thing that we took away from this is that, instead of stranger danger, you could also say xenos danger if you're in Greece.

Chuck Bryant: Oh, yeah.

Josh Clark: And they'd be like, "We get the xenos part but I didn't catch the second." If you want to learn about cave biology or biospeleology, you should type in cave biology or biospeleology in the search bar at howstuffworks.com. There's some pretty cool illustrations in there. And -

Chuck Bryant: Or Google proteus salamander, too.

Josh Clark: Yeah, that's pretty cool.

Chuck Bryant: It's creepy, fo sho. I said creepy like ten times.

Josh Clark: I wonder also, we were talking about guano and it being a fertilizer. I wonder if the bat guano fertilizer market is contributing to declining cave ecosystems.

Chuck Bryant: Interesting.

Josh Clark: You have to go in there and harvest it in the dark zone.

Chuck Bryant: Right. I know one thing we did forget. She made a point that they are concerned that climate change is not going to be too good for what's in the cave because they depend on that constant temperature in the dark zone.

Josh Clark: Right. We can get used to changes in temperature. These organisms literally don't experience a temperature change in generations and generations.

Chuck Bryant: I would imagine even a couple of degrees could wipe them out.

Josh Clark: Sure. And plus we've got the white nose syndrome facing our bat populations.

Chuck Bryant: Yeah, what is that?

Josh Clark: We talked about it before, remember? I can't remember how it came up, but we were talking about bats with little fungus on their nose that was killing entire populations of bats. And they're dropping by the millions. And I guess bat researchers are like, "We have no idea what's going on. We don't know how to fight this." And it's actually a big problem. If you hate mosquitoes, brother you'd bett er like bats.

Chuck Bryant: Really?

Josh Clark: They can eat up to six hundred mosquitoes in an hour.

Chuck Bryant: I need to get some bats in my yard.

Josh Clark: You do.

Chuck Bryant: It's awful.

Josh Clark: You can actually put up a bat house.

Chuck Bryant: Really?

Josh Clark: Yeah. They sell them usually at nurseries again.

Chuck Bryant: You know a lot about bats.

Josh Clark: We had a bat in our chimney and we did a little research and found out it's one the worst things that could happen to you as a family.

Chuck Bryant: Bad luck?

Josh Clark: No, just health risks.

Chuck Bryant: Oh, really?

Josh Clark: If you wake up and a -

Chuck Bryant: It's bad luck to have a bat in your -

Josh Clark: It probably is.

Chuck Bryant: Bats in the belfry.

Josh Clark: It's bad luck to run over graves. Really? I heard good. If you wake up in a room and there's a bat in the corner, you have to kill that bat and go right to the hospital. Because people are often known to sleep through being bitten by a bat! Bats carry rabies, so if you wake up you might not know that you were bitten and you need to go get checked out.

Chuck Bryant: I wouldn't sleep through that, buddy.

Josh Clark: People do.

Chuck Bryant: Well, I'm a light sleeper. There's no way.

Josh Clark: Are you really?

Chuck Bryant: Big time.

Josh Clark: Oh, my goodness. I'm a heavy sleeper.

Chuck Bryant: Really?

Josh Clark: Yeah. It's like I got hit in the head with a shovel.

Chuck Bryant: Jerri's laughing in there. I think she's recalling her Guatemala experience.

Josh Clark: Oh, yeah.

Chuck Bryant: The snoring.

Josh Clark: That's right.

Chuck Bryant: Is that it? I think that's it.

Josh Clark: I think that's it, man. Well, then let's go right to listener mail.

Chuck Bryant: There is no listener mail. This is plug fest.

Josh Clark: Okay, yes. Let's do it, Chuck.

Chuck Bryant: Go ahead.

Josh Clark: Oh, I guess we should start with Atlanta. October 13th - the time is still being worked out, but we're going to do a doors open at this time and then trivia starts at this time.

Chuck Bryant: It'll be in the evening hours, of course.

Josh Clark: Yeah. At a place called Five Seasons Brewing Company, on the west side. They have a few locations, but the one we're going to be at is on the west side, not too far away from downtown by Georgia Tech - boo. And we're going to be playing trivia. Anybody who wants to come play us, we're taking all comers. It's free. You've got to buy your own drinks.

Chuck Bryant: I imagine we'll have some SYSK schwag and some How Stuff Works schwag probably.

Josh Clark: We definitely will. There'll probably be some other How Stuff Works podcasters there. We're assembling our team right now.

Chuck Bryant: Yeah, more on that later. But we're sending out some emails to some people that may or may not want to join us.

Josh Clark: Yeah, so please come October 13th. That's a Wednesday, right?

Chuck Bryant: Yeah, it's going to be awesome. It's not to be missed. They've got a cool scene there on the roof. It's going to have the downtown, be nice and cooled off by then.

Josh Clark: Yeah, it's going to be nice.

Chuck Bryant: It's going to be way cool.

Josh Clark: Yeah. So that's that plug, buddy.

Chuck Bryant: And we welcome our friends from Florida. We've already gotten some guff because I said Floridians will be turned away at the door.

Josh Clark: Well, maybe we should say University of Florida people aren't welcome.

Chuck Bryant: If you show up with a Florida Gators shirt, you're just asking for it. That's all I'm saying.

Josh Clark: Okay. There you go. Anything else?

Chuck Bryant: Well, we're going on our trivia tour after that to five or six cities. We're going to end up in Austin and the other cities are being worked out. And we appreciate those of you on Facebook who have lobbied for your city. We're taking that into consideration, of course. And Facebook is a great place to interact with us.

Josh Clark: Yeah, we've got a fan page, Facebook/stuffyoushouldknow. We also have a Twitter feed. It's hit or miss in how funny it is.

Chuck Bryant: I think it's good.

Josh Clark: @SYSKPodcast. And we also have a Kiva team that's closing in, man. We just hit $230,000 in donations.

Chuck Bryant: Really?

Josh Clark: Yeah, we are trying to hit the $250,000 mark by our one-year anniversary.

Chuck Bryant: Oh, we'll make that for sure.

Josh Clark: Which is October 6th, I believe - or 7th.

Chuck Bryant: kiva.org?

Josh Clark: kiva.org/team/stuffyoushouldknow. Team singular, not plural!

Chuck Bryant: And finally, our friends in Guatemala, at COED, they have left the campaign open. If you still want to text $5.00 to 20222 - isn't that how that works? If you text the word stuff to 20222, then you can donate $5.00 and buy - I think we've raised over $15,000 now. The Stuff You Should Know army!

Josh Clark: It's a good cause.

Chuck Bryant: It's a way good cause. And that's a lot of dough for them. That's like three computer centers in full, or textbooks for life for like thousands and thousands of kids. So we appreciate their work and it's an ongoing campaign right now.

Josh Clark: And we have a super cool blog, too, Chuck.

Chuck Bryant: Do we?

Josh Clark: People don't go to the blog.

Chuck Bryant: It's all happening on Facebook these days. You know how it works.

Josh Clark: I like the blog, too.

Chuck Bryant: You know these kids. Well, your blog posts are awesome.

Josh Clark: So are yours. All right. Well, yeah, that's another thing too. I don't know if anyone knows. Every week Mr. Charles W. "Chuck" Bryant does a little roundup, a little additional info about whatever podcasts we released that week on the blogs at howstuffworks.com. So you can check that out every Friday. And that's that, man. If you want to get in touch with me, Chuck, Jerri, or this chair! Let's name this chair.

Chuck Bryant: Frank.

Josh Clark: If you want to get in touch with me, Chuck, Jerri, or Frank the Chair, you can email us at stuffpodcast@howstuffworks.com.

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