Questions and Answers: Volume 17

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Podcast Transcript

There is an old saying that April showers bring May flowers. However, that saying doesn’t really address where the April showers come from in the first place. 

I believe they come from the questions of curious people. When they are answered, they bring tears of joy which manifests in the form of rain. 

So join me today as I shower you with answers to your questions on this episode of Everything Everywhere Daily.


Mike Candelaria asks, “Do you plan on doing episodes that are music centric? Whether the evolution of specific instruments or music types, like the blues or hip hop or jazz?”

I’ve done some music-related episodes before. I’ve done an episode on the history of the piano, and I’ve done episodes on particular pieces of classical music like the 1812 Overture and Beethoven’s 9th Symphony.

You will note that all of these have to do with classical music. One of the problems with doing episodes on music is that it really helps actually to play music during the episode. For certain old pieces of music that are close to 100 years old, this is not a problem.

However, for newer music, it becomes a big problem. If I put even a short clip from anything recorded in the last 60 years, I’ll probably get a copyright notice.

Some of you who are familiar with copyright might be saying that there is a fair use exemption, and an educational podcast such as mine would be a clear case of fair use….and I agree with you 100%.

However, it doesn’t matter. The fact that I would have a valid fair use claim doesn’t mean that I still won’t get a takedown notice from the owners of the rights to the music. Once I get that, it is an enormous hassle that I’d have to deal with, even if I was in the right. 

That being said, I’d love to do some episodes on the origins of contemporary music. I was listening to an interview with record producer Rick Rubin several months ago, and he talked about the origins of hip-hop.

Because hip-hop is relatively new, we know its history in greater detail than we do for other older forms of music. It is a fascinating story that starts in the Bronx in the early 1970s, and one way or another, I’ll do an episode on it someday. 

Nafeesah Scott asks, “I’m still making my way through the podcasts, and I don’t know if these have been answered, but two questions I had were:
1. What’s your process when getting information for the podcast? Where are some go-to sources you started from? Do you add citations in your notes? 2. Why did you choose the major you did in college? Do you think your studies have benefited you in what you did/do now?”

There is no process per se. How I get information will differ from episode to episode. Ideas for episodes can come from anywhere. It might come from a book I read long ago, a movie I watched, an article I read, or something I visited on my travels. 

Once I get an idea for an episode I usually have a rough idea of what the story is and what I’m going to say. 

Much of the research I do at that point is filling in facts and details. Given that I have to produce a show almost every day, and because the episodes are relatively short, most of the research has to be done online.

I do not publish citations or footnotes, because I’m not trying to produce an academic paper. I’m just trying to tell a story in an audio format. Doing full citations would significantly add to the time required to produce each episode. 

In college, I received a triple major in mathematics, economics, and political science. However, most of my time was actually spent on academic debate, which required me to research and understand a wide variety of topics. 

After selling a business, I went back to school in my 30s and pursued majors in geology and geophysics. 

Given what I do now, I’d say my majors gave me a very broad foundation to do a show like this. I certainly never planned to do this so many years ago, but it has worked out well.

Chris Fagg asks, “Have you ever been to Bermuda? And if so, thoughts?!”

I have. I visited Bermuda in 2014. I was in New York and I had a little under a week to kill before an event I had to attend and I really didn’t want to stay in New York that entire time.

So I got a ticket to Bermuda and hung out there for about four days. 

Bermuda, for those of you who aren’t familiar with it, is actually not in the Caribbean. It is out in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.

There is a lot of history on the island, and it is still technically a British territory.

Bermuda is expensive. I’m not going to lie. I enjoyed it, and the place that reminded me the most was Barbados, which has a history similar to Bermuda.

I’d love to go back to Bermuda to explore it more. 

Muninn Myrkvi Ua Ímair asks, “Are you planning on doing an episode on Bhutan? Fascinating place.”

I don’t have any immediate plans, but you are correct that Bhutan is a very fascinating and unique place. Given the episodes I’ve done on individual countries, Bhutan would be make for a great episode. 

Michaela Clarke asks, “When traveling, do you try to adopt the local lingo for things? Like chips instead of fries, take-away instead of take-out… Have there been certain local terms you just feel silly saying in your American accent while abroad?”

I’m a believer in the saying “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.” So, if I’m in a commonwealth country, it is far easier to just use the local words rather than using my Americanisms. So, yes, I’ll say chips, lift, bonnet, aubergine, torch, and whatever other words the locals use, including referring to soccer as football.

It would only sound odd to another American, not to whoever I’m talking to. 

Otherwise, doing so would add needless complications to communication. 

Jeroen De Boer asks, “Hey Gary. Being a teacher, i sometimes use the information in your podcast to give general overview of a topic and get the children interested and excited before they dive in deeper. Have you ever considered teaching?”

Jeroen, the short answer is…..no. At least not in the way that you probably are asking. 

I used to be an academic debate coach in which I worked in schools and had an upfront exposure to the educational system. The one thing I came away from it with was an absolute lack of desire ever to be a teacher. 

I saw the bureaucracy that teachers had to deal with I didn’t want to have to deal with that. 

That being said, between coaching and this podcast, I’d say I am a teacher. The difference is that I don’t lecture in a classroom. 

Alan Massaro asks, “As a seasoned traveler, what’s your go to items you always bring with you no matter where you go? Backpack vs luggage? Always carryon rather than check bags? Thanks Gary! Huge fan of the show!”

What I use as luggage has changed over time. When I started, I literally had a backpack. However, over time, I switched to a soft-sided bag with wheels that I would check on flights. The bag was rather lengthy, and the main reason why I used this bag was because it could fit my camera tripod, which was rather long, and because I was living out of a bag and I had more stuff than most people did when they travel. 

My camera bag was my carry-on, and it held almost all of my electronics. 

However, when I stopped traveling full-time and just did extended trips, then I moved to just traveling with a carry-on bag that held everything. I also travel with a small backpack that I keep with me in my seat and it holds all of my electronics. 

There are a host of things I always travel with, including my laptop, an external battery, and a travel power strip.

Frank Soldano asks, “Has China ever invaded another country (at least in the last 100 years)?”

Yes. China invaded Vietnam in 1979. The Sino-Vietnamese War was a response to the Vietnamese invasion of Cambodia to oust the Khmer Rouge government, which was backed by China. The story of the Khmer Rouge is most definitely going to be a future episode. 

Josh Crawford asks, “During your travels, have you ever been stranded by or experienced any extreme weather or geological events, such as earthquakes, typhoons volcanic eruptions etc…?”

Yes. In 2010, my father was hospitalized, and I was stuck in Spain because a volcano in Iceland was erupting. It canceled all transatlantic flights for days.

I was also in Maui in 2011 when the tsunami hit, which originated off the coast of Japan. It ended up not being that big of a deal, but no one knew that at the time. The tsunami warnings went out and everyone got ready for it, but it ended up being very minimal. 

Nick Bibbee asks, “You must have such a routine with the podcast being able to research and record on the almost daily. Due to Limited time, do you cook your own food, or have you gone back to your travel days and gotten food almost everyday? If you do cook, what does your typical lunch look like?”

I do cook most of my own meals nowadays. However, I do try to get out of the house every day, or else you go stir crazy working in the same place you live. A couple days a week, I take my laptop to a restaurant to work over lunch. Sometimes, I’ll just go to a grocery store to buy something to make for dinner. 

I don’t really have a typical lunch. I might cook a steak, but some days, I’ll go out for sushi, to a BBQ joint, or an Indian restaurant.

Sam Robinson asks, “How many countries have you actually driven in?”

That is a good question and one that I had to think about. 

  1. USA
  2. Canada
  3. Mexico
  4. Argentina
  5. Costa Rica
  6. Ireland 
  7. UK
  8. Netherlands
  9. Belgium
  10. Luxembourg
  11. Germany
  12. Sweden
  13. Norway
  14. Poland
  15. Slovakia
  16. Hungary
  17. Czechia
  18. Austria
  19. France
  20. Spain
  21. Andorra
  22. Portugal
  23. Greece
  24. Macedonia
  25. Kosovo
  26. Serbia
  27. Bosnia
  28. Croatia
  29. Cyprus
  30. Montenegro
  31. Albania
  32. Fiji
  33. Japan
  34. NZ
  35. Australia
  36. Guam
  37. St Vincent
  38. South Africa
  39. Botswana
  40. Swaziland
  41. Oman
  42. Jordan
  43. Trinidad

I had to literally sit down and count, and the number I came up with, which I’m sure I probably missed a few times, is 43. 

Fryxell-Sealey Patrick Brendan asks “You got me through the hell that is factory thirdshift. Bless you for that. My question is why do you think there are so few movies and art forms that deals with factory work. I have my answer would love to hear yours.”

My guess, and this is totally a guess, having done zero research on the subject, is that writers don’t tend to work factory jobs. It isn’t their world, and they don’t know much about it, so you don’t see many works about factory life.  By the same token, not many factory workers set out to write books and screenplays.

It isn’t just factory work. New York and Los Angeles are overrepresented in movies and television by an amazing amount, far more than their populations alone would merit. 

Basically, writers and other artists are limited by what they know. It is difficult to create something about what you don’t know and most people wouldn’t ever think to do it, because they don’t know anything about. 

Turin Turambar asks, “What is your favorite civilization to play as in Age of Empires 2?”

I’d probably have to say the Byzantines, just because of their bonus to walls. However, I like the Britons and their longbow bonus, as well as the Turks and their gunpowder bonus. 

David Lilienstein asks, “How much of what you discuss do you retain? At a party are you a wealth of knowledge on almost any subject? Or, is it more you recall talking about a topic once but cannot remember the details?”

I don’t have perfect memory, but I can speak extemporaneously on a great many subjects that I’ve covered in podcast episodes. Just this week I went into a rant at a local tavern about the origin of the Julien and Gregorian calendars.

I have demonstrated Cantor’s diagonal proof to show that there are infinities larger than other infinities, which is always a bit hit at parties. 


I also have a trick where I can list every country in the world off the top of my head. 

Some things require a very brief refresher. Even just 15-30 seconds of looking over a show script will often bring everything flooding back to memory. 

As with anything, the more you go over any topic and the more you read about it the more you are going to retain. 

Tracy Cameron Baker asks, “The Polymath in you is strong. Is there any single subject that draws you back to it over and over to learn more?”

My interests are always changing based on whatever I’m interested in at the moment. 

The one thing that ties everything together, however, no matter what the subject, is always history. Science, mathematics, economics, and even current events are all tightly intertwined with history. 


I think it is difficult to understand the world or even individual subjects, without knowing the history behind it. To me, understanding how certain ideas were developed helps to understand the ideas themselves. 

That wraps it up for this month. I know there were a lot of questions I didn’t get to as there were more questions submitted this month than every before. If you would like to have your question answered next month, just join the Facebook group or the Discord server, the links to which are in the show notes.