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February 9, 2012 36 mins

Coral reefs are the largest organic structures on Earth, yet they're created through a symbiotic relationship between creatures about 3 millimeters long. Learn more about the the world's coral reefs (and how to protect them) in this episode.

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Speaker 1 (00:00):
Brought to you by the reinvented two thousand twelve camera.
It's ready. Are you welcome to Stuff you should know?
From house Stuff Works dot Com? Hey, and welcome to
the podcast. I'm Josh Clark with me as always as
Charles W. Chuck Bryant, and that makes this stuff you shouldn't.

I just noticed your coldest cleared up. Yeah a little bit.
I still have the um the an interior lining and
very thick alright, um flam. Other than that, I'm yeah,
you sound fine. You know what it was tons of
emergency used to wash down tons of vitamin B stress,
which is like tons of just different vitamin b's. I

ate solar ray um and scotch right single malt Scott
just my secret ingredient um and lots of licene, A
couple of licenes every time, like thousands and thousands of
percentages of daily value. Like just it just makes the
FDA cringe that I did much. That's what I do.

I just load up on like everything like triple it. Yep,
there you go. Take that body, So I'm fine, good
has it? Do same exact thing. And she doesn't like
when I tell her to take vita minutes yeah, but
that you know, you live together, you drink after one another,
you suck face, just like I'll leave like an emergency. Here,

they're like laying around. Oh did I leave that? That's
already dissolved in the water even and it's going down.
You go it, um chuck. Yes, did you know that
I am a certified Scooby diver. I sure did. Oh,
yeah you did. I thought for sure. You're gonna be like, no,
I didn't know. We've talked about this. Yeah, we've even

Scooba dive together him. That's right. That was the first
time I heard about it. I'm not the sharpest tack
in the package. Um, but I say that to tell
you that I was certified at a place called Isla
Mueris off the coast of Cosumel, which just so happens
to also be the home of the second largest barrier
reef known to man. What's it called to humans? I

don't know. It's not called anything, because there's the great
barrier reef and then there's all the other all the
other ones. But this is the second largest, which is
pretty big because there's a lot of barrier reefs, there's
a lot of coral reefs, in the world. But after
reading this article, I found that there is a lot
about coral reefs that I didn't know. Fortunately, we had

Jennifer Horton, who I'm sure you'll remember, worked at the
site for a while. Yeah, she's a great writer. He's
great writer. We had. We had her to explain it
to us, and like, I get coral reefs now. In fact,
Jennifer has written many of the animal related podcasts that
we've done. Um, Bison, I think maybe that probably wrote

a lot of the animals animal migration. Yeah, lots of
good ones. To miss you, Jennifer. I hope you're well.
If you listen, I wonder who are they? Right, remember
those guys I hated those two all right, coral reefs.
This was all new to me. The rainforests of the
Sea of the Equatorial seeds home to about of all

this species. Yeah, that's crazy. In fact, right, um, the
Great Barrier reef has more more kinds of coral um
on like one, just single little outcropping of it. Then
you'll find in the entire tropical area of the Atlantic Ocean. Wow. Yeah,
that's amazing. I don't know why I just said that.

There the Aussies are gonna they're gonna be so stoked
with this podcast. Probably anytime they can like claim to
something like that, they're just like, yeah, yeah, drink exactly.
They're gonna go poor beer on the Great Barrier reef. Um.
It's the coral reefs are very beneficial to humans in
a number of ways. Economically, sure, because there's a lot

of sea life and bus people fishing for shrimp and
lobster and things like that, right in all sorts of
weird ways which will get too later. Um. They also
protect the beach from erosion. They act as natural buffers
from huge waves wave action. That's right. Yeah, well let's
talk about that because you think of when you think

of coral, you think of huge you know, great barrier reef.
It's enormous. It's like, um, I think there's eighteen thousand
miles of coral face face on a Great Barrier reef. Actually,
an individual coral called a polyp um, is about three
millimeters long. Yeah that's small, super tiny for those of

you in America. Uh, they are, Well, science got it
wrong early on. We should go ahead and say that
they um at one point fairly understandably thought that it
might be plant life because it sort of looks like it. Yeah,
like you know, like the coral fan. Yeah, that's a
bunch of those little three millimeter corals building up into

a fan. It looks like it looks like a plant.
So they got it wrong. And they're actually not only
are they real living little sea creatures, but they're carnivores, yeah,
which is you know, you would never think about that. No,
but they're in the phylum Sinidaria nari. Why would they
put the sea there? It's silent, man, you know, I

appreciate a silent letter. I am smarter than my pronunciations
would suggest. I started looking this up because I feel
like an idiot. So they're in the philo of Nidaria,
which means, um that they have stinging cells, barbed stinging cells,
um called nematicist that's right. So um they use this
to catchure their prey. But the prey kind of has

to come to them because they're also sessile, which means
they're fixed to a certain spot. Seriously. Yeah, uh So
it is understand enable also that they got it wrong
because coral has a unique property. It is almost half
plant because there's this algae in the cells Okay, go ahead.

It's called zus anthony, you're right, very nice. Starts with
a Z and there's an X in there somewhere. And
so what happens with there's a very mutually beneficial relationship
between the algae and the polyp. They do a little exchange.
The polyp itself will supply I'm sorry, the algae will

undertake photosynthesis as algae tends to do. As algae will do,
and it will say, hey, mr polyp, why don't you
take all this stuff that i've I've made within your
cell walls and and convert it to proteins and fats
like amino acid and cars and in return, why don't
you give me a nice shelter. And you can also

use some carbon and nitrates and both fates that I
need to produce the photosynthesis to give you the proteins
and fats that you need. So it's what you might
call a symbiotic relationship. One's helping the other. And um,
you can make the case that the coral is getting
the better end of the deal because coral gets about

the energy produced through photosynthesis by the zoos anthely right. Um,
But that also makes the coral more dependent on the
zuos anthely, and the zoos anthely is a algae very
little needs. It's not needy, it's not grabby. It's not
gonna call you up every Friday night wondering what you're doing,

Why you aren't here? Are you talking about me? No? No,
jerry like that one. So um. The the symbiotic relationship
between the zux anthely and the coral polyps also produce
coral reefs. Um. The polyps use some of that energy,
some of that amino acid to create something called calcium carbonate.

And that's the hard stuff. Right, that's limestone, my friend. Yeah.
They produce limestone out of their butt hawks to create
a cup, a little shelter for the polp to stay in.
And since the algae stays in the polyp, it creates
a shelter for both. Right. Yeah, And this limestone secretion
can keep building and building and building because again, coral

stays in the same place there cecile. That's right. And um,
as as long as they're still secreting limestone, the limestone
structure they build will just keep getting bigger and bigger.
Eventually that's just one three millimeter long coral yes, what
you want to do is get thousands together strengthen numbers.

Then you have a coral fan yeah, or a colony,
and then those colonies will eventually meet up with other
colonies uh, and say, hey, you guys interested in forming
a wreath because we're pretty indestructible. Although that's not quite true.
We're more indestructible if we all hook up my brothers,
like you said, strengthened numbers. And when they hook up,

their limestone secretions can start to join together forming a reef.
But they're also um connected by a thin piece of tissue.
You got this one called a sin a sark. That's
what I was gonna go for. I was just tired
of humiliating myself for this episode. I would have called

it a kna sark, So I was a way off.
I'm really glad that Celia can. It's a scene of
sark um and that's how the the coral themselves are
through limestone secretions and through this tissue called the senu sark.
They're connected. But how would they grow? Well, there's two ways, man,
they can reproduce. Yeah, a couple of ways. So right,

it's sexually or a sexually I know which one I choose.
A sexual yeah, because you're cloning. That's pretty remarkable. Anyone
can just get together and you know mate. Right. Sexually,
it's like here's some sperm in another one's like here's
some eggs, and then they get together and then it's

just no, there's not much to it right A. Sexually, though,
they actually do divide and produce identical clones of themselves,
and that's one way they can grow. And the other
way is just to keep pooping out limestone and that
will connect with each other and it just forms a
big o yummy wreath. Yeah. Um. This is not a
fast process though. Like if there's a couple of coral

that are a few inches away, say three inches away,
and they're like, I would like to hook my sineu
sark up to your sin a sark and let's poop
some limestone up together and get this reef going. That's beautiful.
It's gonna take them about a year to get together.
Can you imagine how frustrating that is to be three
inches away and be like, I'd really like to consummate this.
I'll see you next June. I'm not convinced that coral

can experience frustration. You don't think so, I don't. I
think that's all the experience frustration either they or they're
like really really patient. But that three inches of growth
a year um has to take place under very specific conditions.
Remember we said that coral reefs are in equatorial waters. Um,

not the coral themselves, but the zooxanthely are actually very
fickle and picky little organisms, and they like specific conditions,
and as long as the conditions are right for them,
then the coral can grow because remember the coral are
dependent on the zaxanthely to produce the calcium carbonate. That's right, Um,
So what are the conditions chuckers? Well, you said equatorial

specifically thirty degrees north or south. If you have ever
dived in the Bahamas and said, no, that's thirty two
degrees north and they have plenty there. It's because the
warm Gulf waters spitting out towards the Bahamas, which is
one reason the Bahamas is such a fielder spot. I
would imagine, yes, I've never been there. You no, my

folks drove my car back from the Bahamas. Though once
you had a car in the Bahamas, you're supposed to
say you're kidding, You're kidding. I must be the Bahamas
or islands. It's a it's a dead milkman song. It's
pitching camaro Oh that's from Batne Camara. Yeah, it's the beginning. Geez,
I'm a dummy. That's alright, Chuck, I'm not hip. I'm

not hip either, Chuck. Sunlight is another thing that they
need because, and it makes sense if you're gonna undertake
photo synthesis, you need sun. So if the water is
rich in nutrients, believe it or not, that's not great
for them. No, because if you've ever looked through if
you've ever been underwater and seen like a lot of
plankton everywhere, it filters the sunlight, it's dappled, that's right.

And also, as we learned later, um, the more nutrients
there are, the more it will attract uh competition for
those nutrients, and that's not good for me either. No,
they don't like competitions. Basically, there's this little prima donnas
this example. They are the water, since you're near the equator,
should be between seventy three point four and eighty four

point two degrees fahrenheit, and I ultimately, if you put
all these factors together ample like clear water, and between
seventy three and eighty two or twenty three celsius and
twenty nine celsius um, you can get up to about
ten centimeters or three point nine inches of growth in
a year, twice as much on sunny days. Yeah, this
is remarkable, but they're still not going to exceed that

three point nine inches most likely it's not all the time.
But what's cool then is if you think, well, that's crazy.
You know there's some coral that. Um. I've seen coral
reefs and they're big. And if it takes three point
it takes a year to grow about three point nine inches,
say horizontally or vertically, maybe even die diagonally. If it

was like a crazy year for them, Um, it must
take thousands of years for coral reefs to build up.
You would be right, my friend, Which is why scientists
very affectionately consider coral reefs the old growth forests of
the sea. Um. Because when you're looking at coral reef,
you're looking at something thousands, if not tens of thousands
of years old, which my question is how long does

the coral live? So one thing I didn't get out
of this this article. Did you, oh, how each individual coral,
each polypic, Well, I don't know. And are they are
there their cups, the protective cups that they secrete. Um,
are they inhabited by like successive generations, their clones? Maybe?
My guess, and I'm guessing here, is that there are

so many, hundreds of thousands and millions of these so
tightly together that if one of the little guys dies,
it ain't no big thing because he's surrounded by his
living brothers and sisters. But I don't know how long
each one lives though this good question. Someone will know.
Coral sand. If you look at the reef and you think, hey,

coral is obviously the skeleton in here of this great reef. Uh,
it's not just the coral. Coral sand, from what I understand,
is little remnants, tiny pieces of coral that are either
eaten and pooped out or just chipped away because of
erosion and waves crashing and bad weather and stuff like that.
Is that right? Yeah? And um? But the cool thing

is that it doesn't necessarily go anywhere. It can fill
in gaps or holes and then, as luck would have it,
there is a type of algae called coral line algae
that goes and covers it up, and the structure of
the algae acts is like an adhesive that glues the
coral sand. So basically it's like this self sustaining repair

process that's always going on the waves of road the
coral into coral sand. Certain types of fish choose the
coral into coral sand. The saying goes in just drifts
into like little pockets where it gets caught in the
algae lays over it bam strong. Coral and coral sand
is mind which is one of the threats to reefs
because they use it for bricks and cement and roadville.

So if you're mining the coral sand, there's not gonna
be that natural spackle to fill in the holes, and
thus the reef is jeopardized, which is just one of
many ways that research in jeopardy. Apparently one estimate is
that um of the world's reefs could be gone in
the next few decades. That's scary, very sad. I hope

you're scared. I'm scared. Um. This is where I got
a little confused. Was well, let's talk about the kinds
of reefs, because I'm not confused about that There are
basically three categories, depending where they form. The fringing reef
it's most common it's directly from the shore and they
form a border projecting out to the sea. Yeah. It's

kind of like, um, if you go to like marble
Head in Ohio, there's a lighthouse. Yeah, um, I think
it's limestone. It's like it just comes it off the land, right.
I don't understand how that would be because it's in
Lake Erie, which is not fresh water, but who knows.
It's very similar to that. It's like just a rocky
projection jutting out from the land. But it's a coral reef, right,

or if it were a coral reef, that's a fringing
reef reef attached to land. Barrier reef, very similar to
the fringing reef, but it has a gap of water
between the land and in the reef. Correct. And then
my favorite, of course, the atoll. It's a nice one,
which is when at one point there was an island

or volcano and it sunk, but you still have the
circular wreath reef with I guess like a lagoon or something. Yeah,
the reefs keeps building, but the mountain is now submerged.
Pretty cool. Yeah, so you got your three types fringing
barrier and at all. Right, the zones is where I
get a little confused. So all of these reefs um

are kind of broken down into zones. Like remember the biospheleology.
How could I forget? Okay, So you've got like the
different zones. It's very similar to that. You've got the
um back of the reef, and the back is the
side closest to shore. I think that's what's a little confusing.
But it's from the it's from the viewpoint of the

seed um. So you've got just imagine like a line
and then a bump and then another line, and that's
our reef right um on the shore side of the bump,
that's the back of the reef. And this is actually
where the most life is. Yeah. Um. Sometimes it's left
high and dry by low tide, but most times it's

just this little shallow area that's got tons of sunlight.
So there's tons of plankton, which means there's tons of fish.
There's a feeding frenzy, there's diurnal temperature changes. It's just
very pretty. It's what most people think of when they
think about diving. On a coral reef. Right. Then that
bump that's the ridge or the crest o um. That

part the the crest is always exposed at low tide,
and it may be exposed even at high tide sometimes
depending on how big. But it's the tallest point. It
also um serves as the wave break for that function
of um reefs that protect the land. This is what
the waves smack into, so it's gonna be more easily

eroded and probably have more of that natural speckle. Right. Yes,
that was it coralline algae. Probably that was called cora
line yeah or coraline whichever, however you want to say it.
I'm not gonna stress you out, all right, um. And
then there's the four reef that's the the ocean side,

the seaside, right um. And in that part of the
of the four we find the other side of the crest,
the seaside of the crest. There's the buttress zone, which
is awesome if you ask me. And that's where you're
gonna find if you're shark hunting, that's where you're gonna
find like sharks and barracuda and sing things like that. Right,
but does it buttress is that why they call the
buttress n So the buttress, consider a buttress is just

like a jutting projection of coral limestone, right, just jutting out,
and then in between these projections are little channels holes
that can go all the way through. Right. I'm not
quite sure what the physics are of it, but basically,
once a wave goes through this coral reef and hits
short and then gets drawn back out to see these channels,

UM funnel these spent waves back out to sea, and
by funneling them it gives them a more energy, so
then they crash into oncoming waves, which reduces the oncoming
waves velocity. So all this is is in an attempt
naturally to combat the erosion of pounding waves. Yes, a yeah,

it's pretty cool UM. And it's also a really excellent
UM shelter for little fish ees and things like that
they want to go into the channel. So, Josh, we've
talked about the Great Barrier reef uh here and there,
but we should give it its proper do. As the
largest living structure on the planet seen from outer space.

Everyone loves to throw that back around. Yeah, you can
see it from outer space, and that made me look
something up, chuck. Um, that's it's the largest living structure. Okay,
So if if coral reef is an organism, do you
know what the second largest living organism is? Um? My
guests would be Louis Anderson. Is he still with us?

I think so. I don't know why I picked a
comedian that's been out of the loop for that long?
Does a fat joke? Man? That was so many? No,
it's a fungus in Oregon named amarially Ois stay years old.
Takes up four square miles or ten square kilometers, single organism.
Where is it Oregon? It's in our friend Van Austrian's house.

So it's a big mushroom. Yeah. Interesting, didn't that cross?
That is cross? So? Uh, the great Berry Reef? We're
talking fourteen hundred twenty nine miles or clicks and um,
it is not a single reef. It's about three thousand
I got so I'm not sure if that number had
declined since this was written or not. But um, Jennifer

points out, and like you pointed out earlier, the the
full edge of the reef is about um eighteen and
a half thousand miles. So she says, if anyone's ever
told you they've dived the entire Great Berry Reef. They're
dirty liars, Yes, she said, they're lying because there's no
way you couldn't do it in a lifetime. She said.
I wonder if somebody told her that, and she inserted

it in the article. I don't know. It's definitely an
accusation due it is. It's a weird sense. It's one
of the seven natural Wonders of the world. More than
four hundred coral species, two thousand fish species, four thousand mollusks,
and six of the seven sea turtle species. All right
there for the for the googling, nice and the um

the like you said, the Australians are gonna be proud
of this and they should be. Back in ninety five,
apparently it was in some jeopardy and the Australians moved
to protect it as a National Marine Park UM and
that basically ensured its survival. It's still, you know, kind

of in rough shape here there is, as I understand.
But UM six years after that, so let's see, that's
one it became a World Heritage Site UM and one
percent of the eighteen and a half thousand square miles
or eighteen and a half thousand linear miles UM are

open to the public except for that one percent to
just one percent is that ated to research only? Just research,
just pretty cool, not very much. They need bona fide
scientists to dive that part. The rest of it, Jennifer
points out, is divided into national park zones, which is
where you can go, recreate and learn some things. And
then the rest of it is general use, which means

commercial fishing, which I guess there's no better time to
get into the threats than right now. Yes, Um, there
are some coral reefs and trouble UM the Great Barrier reef.
Like I said, it's pretty well protected. But say if
you look at some of the reefs in the Philippines

have been destroyed and five percent, just five percent, are
in good condition on these days, UM, ten percent of
the world's reefs are now beyond recovery, not just because
of human causes, because of the natural causes as well.
Because everything exists on a life cycle here on Earth,
we humans just tend to accelerate it. UM may die

in the next ten is pointy years. So what are
Some of the natural threats are obviously harsh weather like hurricanes,
um el Nino a weird weather pattern. It's going to
increase temperatures, mess with a salinity, a lot more rainfall.
So an El Nino season could can do some serious damage.

Bleaching coral bleaching. When they experience as little as like
one degree rise in temperature, the algae will be ejected
basically from the coral. The algae takes off, oh it leaves. Yeah,
it's like see you in hell, coral. There's a fine
line between injection and and self leaving. The chicken and

egg thing, maybe you think so. The algae gets the
heck out of dodge, turns the coral white. And if
you google pictures, you can see a lovely coral with
like white patches here and there. That's the parts where
it's bleached out and go it. If if this keeps
up long enough, the coral dies because again coral has

a symbiotic relationship where it's dependent on this is Anthony's algae,
and if this is Anthony's leaves, then the coral dies
very sad um. And like you said, it was just
a as much as a one degree temperature increase, right,
not much. There's also predators, like there's things that eat um.

The coral, the polyps themselves, crabs, worms, snails, barnacles, parrot fish.
Those are really pretty I can't do anything about that,
pal that's nature at work. But there are things we
can do, such as not using dynamite when we fish
on coral reefs. It's a pretty good start. There's forty

countries in the world. Over forty countries in the world
that allow blast fishing, people using explosives that they drop
onto the reef to stun the fish so they can
just swoop them up with the net and um basically
go fall like a slack jawed yokel wearing nothing but
overalls while they just bring their nets in. They just

threw dynamite in the water to stunt fish. Well, the
dynamite also has a deletrious impact on the reef structure
as well. You're gonna go to the grave with that one,
aren't you. I saw on Facebook you you put the
apostrophe and you all after the ax it up. You
know what's weird is the iPhone corrects it incorrectly. Oh really, yeah,

Well they don't know, y'all. They're from California. I've always
done why apostrophe A L L? You all y'all know.
See someone pointed out to me on email that it was,
in fact, why a apostrophe LLL? No, it's you all,
so I've been doing it right the whole time. No,
you're doing it why a apostrophe LLL? Because someone told

me to change it. You can't just listen to any
know who. Email fans have a deleterious effect on me.
Deletrious Do you want to look it up right now?
Let's talk about blast fishing again, our cyanide fishing, which
is the ugly step sister of blast fishing, which is
dumping cyanide onto reefs to kill fish. Again, you have

to wear nothing but overalls, no shooting, no service. Over
fishing period has got a negative effect obviously, Yeah, because
you're basically affecting the food chain. You're like, oh, we
like these guys because they're tasty and I'm sure they
won't be missed. Whenever you take any key species out
of a h an ecosystem, you're in trouble. No good. Um.

There's also a runoff as a big one because um,
remember they like clear light, the algae do and uh
or clear water and when they're when the water is
not clear, they shrivel up because they need sunlight for photosynthesis. Yeah,
the pollutants went also. Um, I thought it was gonna
be pollutants because just pollutants are bad, which they are,

but really the reason is polluting sin sewage actually increase
the nutrients so that attracts harmful algae and uh competition
and that's no good. Right, And then we already talked
about the mining. So what can we do, chuck, um,
we We've got a few things we can do. You

can adopt a reef. You can, tons of organizations will
let you do that. In fact, if you want to
go to adopt dot nature, dot org slash coral reef,
you can adopt a reef in the Bahamas, Dominican Republic
uh poooo and Popula New Guinea nice, just like that. Yeah,

you can funnel money to an organization that will take
care of that reef exactly. Um. And that's just one.
I think you can do it through all kinds of places.
And then you say that you can get your congress
person to lobby for stricter oversight of phishing methods. Um.
You can boycott products from countries that allow ast fishing

or cyanide fishing really put the squeeze on the common
in the other country you can kim go to. You
cannot chip off bits of the coral when you scooba
dive because it's just so pretty that you want to
take it home. Yeah, that's a big one. Give it
to your daughter. Yeah, not good. There's a lot of
stuff you can do that you probably should do if
you want to save the coral reefs. That's right, I

have nothing else. Why would you save them? Do you say,
if you don't care about snorkeling or anything like that, Well,
my friend, if you care about the economy, you will
want to save corel res because they are valuable. The
the total value of the asset that is the reefs,
the reef systems in Florida. In Florida alone, just Florida

eight point five billion dollars when you take into account
not just tourism, which is a big part of it,
but also the estimated hundreds and seventies seven thousand jobs
that is all the industries surrounding it UH create. That's
just Florida worldwide, just from tourism and recreation, just tourism
recreation that reefs bring in nine point six billion dollars annually.

So if you like money, then you should support core reefs.
Twelve of Bolivia's g d P is created by reefs. Yeah. So, um,
if you don't have a heart, but money makes you liy,
then that should get you going on saving coral reefs
as well. That's right. So if you want to learn

more about core reefs, including um seeing a diagram of
where the four and the back of the reef is,
you can type in coral reefs in the search part
housetuffworks dot com. It'll bring up this great article by
Jennifer Horton. Um. And since I said Jennifer Horton, it's
time now for listener, ma'am. Every time the name Jennifer

Horton is uttered on the planet, somebody will read a
listener mail somewhere. Quick announcement first, Josh, okay, you know
what you're gonna say. That's right. We want to went
out to our south By Southwest action this year. We've
been invited back somehow. I didn't think that's why it was.
I thought it was about the party were coming up.
Oh no, no, no, that's been UM. We are going

to be podcasting live at south By South West. Jeez,
it's a tough one. It's a mouth for south By
Southwest in Austin, Texas on Sunday, March the eleven, from
three thirty pm. We don't know the location yet, but
we will get that out soon. It's funny. If you're
a badge holder, we would love to have you come

down and here's podcast live. If you're not a badge holder,
take keed Monday March twelve, we're gonna be throwing a party.
Did you write down the dates? I've noticed you've been
getting him right? Nice? Get my little calendar out. Yeah,
we are going to throw a party. We can't really
reveal the details yet, but if you're in Austin, Texas
on March eleventh and twelve, we'll be in town and

there will be something for everybody, badge holder or nonlike. Yes, right, yep,
so stay tuned for details. Got it on Facebook and
Twitter and on the podcast. When we get everything firmed up,
we'll let you know, all right, listener mail, Okay, all right,
I'm gonna call this uh good cause from a good person. Um.

Hello s Y s K team. I want to take
a minute and thank you for helping me in a
really big way. I've been working alone as a volunteer
in Malawi, south of Tanzania Mallowe mallowe uh since September
of two thousand nine, and I happily passed the time
listening to your show during my super long, super Awesome
minibus rides. I am building a library and a small village,

and a big part of my library is an audio
video collection that I've been putting together for the past
few years. Many of the people in the village are illiterate,
so a library full of books just wouldn't do them
any good. So I started to think of ways I
could include everyone in a learning activity. My answer was, UH,
to incorporate documentaries and podcast on a variety of subjects.

So basically, we will choose the topic for the week
and use the podcasts as a way of getting people interested,
then direct them to read articles and books on the topic,
or watch documentaries and have some group discussions. Pretty cool, um.
I really believe in the beauty of being inquisitive and
interested in life, and videos and podcasts really help immerse
people in new subjects. This is the first library of

its kind in the country. Wow, and I'm really hopeful
that it helps to open the world up to people
who are so often cut off. Fingers crossed. And that
is from Diane Bowls, the founder of the Future found.
And if you want to check out Diane's awesome work
she's doing, you can go to the future found dot org. Excellent, Chuck,

very cool. It's Diane Diane in Malawi. Yeah, building building
the only library of its kind of Um, thank you
very much Diane for doing that. Um. What do you
want to hear? You want to hear of other people
making a difference in the world. We always love that. Yeah,
you're a set for that kind of thing, or some
good harrowing scuba diving stories one or the other. Okay,

so um, that's a great one. Chuck, either doing good
in world or not to winking worksoever. Um. That could
be directed to Chuck and I via Twitter at s
hye sk podcast. That's our Twitter handle on Facebook dot com.
If you go to stuff you should know his page.
That's that um, and you can also email us directly.

We both get emails sent to the address Stuff podcast
at how stuff works dot com for more on this
and thousands of other topics. Is it how stuff works
dot com to learn more about the podcast. Click on
the podcast icon in the upper right corner of our homepage.

The How Stuff Works iPhone app has arrived. Download it
today on iTunes. Brought to you by the reinvented two
thousand twelve camera. It's ready, are you

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