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AcademicI’m Antony Davies, Associate Professor of Economics at Duquesne University and co-founder of Paragon Software. AMA!

Nov 28th 2016 by AntEconomist • 38 Questions • 85 Points

We are some of the foremost leaders of the microbiology field, three of us are national academy members. Dan Portnoy is working on Listeria and collaborating with Aduro Biotech to help reach a cure for cancer. Michael Thomashow works to understand the mechanisms to help plants handle freezes and drought, in order to reach the potential of crops. Steven Lory works to understand how soil based bacteria cause diseases. John Mekalanos is the former chair of microbiology at Harvard and works on the mechanisms and vaccine development for cholera.

Here is the link to each of our labs and proof: https://mcb.berkeley.edu/labs/portnoy/Portnoy_Lab/Welcome.html

http://imgur.com/QqHDpIZ

http://mekalanoslab.med.harvard.edu/

http://imgur.com/VhHkwMN

http://lorylab.med.harvard.edu/

http://imgur.com/BwMn27i

https://prl.natsci.msu.edu/people/faculty/michael-thomashow/

http://imgur.com/Cw7Ome3

Q:

As we approach the point where human labor become obsolete and the costs of living (esp in the US) keep going up, where do you see the economy going when it's based on humans selling time/labor?

Is there going to be a split where if we go down one side (socialism) people won't have to work, we just all share what there is, vs the other side (capitalism) where we grow faster than ever?

What will the producers do with all the non-producers as the non-producers continue to vote themselves whatever they want while holding the producers hostage thru the voting system?

What moral authority does a non-producer have to take from a producer and is there any limit to what a non-producer is entitled to take from a producer?

A:

If all Scientology's secrets were revealed tomorrow, which do you think would be most shocking?


Q:

What's YOUR daily routine?

A:

How cooperative are you with other scientists working on the same subject? Do you help each other and share ideas if you share the same goal?


Q:

The economy is already largely based on humans selling time/labor. For decades (though less of late) people have decried America's transition to a "service economy" - as if service is somehow less economically meaningful than tangible goods. But that's what a service economy is - people selling their time/labor.

There will be yet another transition from "service" economy to "creativity" economy. In this transition, more and more people will produce neither goods nor services but ideas. Some will produce art, some music, some designs (software, architecture, etc.).

A:

When you reach the top of The Bridge (OTP 8) you will be told that God is a lie for LRH, and there are more levels ahead, that will cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars. There is no end to Scientology.


Q:

6:30AM - alarm goes off, hit snooze. 6:39AM - alarm goes off, hit snooze. 6:48AM - alarm goes off, hit snooze. 6:57AM - alarm goes off, hit snooze. 7:05AM - get up JUST BEFORE alarm goes off again. 7:06AM - scratch itchy parts. 7:07AM - brush teeth 7:08AM - scratch itchy parts. 7:09AM - decide it's not worth it. 7:10AM - return to bed. 12:05PM - get up again on my own accord, not when some frickin' alarm tells me to. I am my own man! 12:08PM - watch both Hobbits and all three LOTR's. - Rhett

A:

Sorry for deleting my comment it was an accident. but what i said was that i really do my best to help my ex students and collaborators, and I said less helpful to competitors, as the first response quotes. this does not mean not helpful it means less helpful than the extreme amount that I grant to my students.


Q:

I read an NPR article saying that most economists agree with switching to a consumption tax. Do you recommend switching from an income tax to a consumption tax?

A:

Have you seen the HBO documentary Going Clear? If so, would you say it's an accurate representation the church and worth showing to people?


Q:

I've noticed that you guys are slipping in more adult content is this on purpose?

A:

How do you simply but adequately describe the dangers of antibiotic resistance to the lay public? Every time I try to describe it, people don't listen, don't fully understand, or both.


Q:

The important thing to remember is that when you tax something, the economy produces less of it. Tax income and people will work less. Tax consumption and people will buy less.

One benefit of a consumption tax is that it addresses what many people mean when they talk about "the idle rich." Picture someone who works hard and lives frugally. That person will accumulate wealth. But certainly, that's someone who is good to have around. This is a person who contributes a lot to society and asks for little in return.

Now, picture someone who spends lots of money on frivolous stuff. That's really the person we mean when we talk about "the idle rich." The problem is that an income tax hits the first person but possibly not the second. A consumption tax hits the second person more so than the first. So, in that sense, a consumption tax falls where many people really want taxes to fall.

Having said that, a consumption tax is dangerous for political reasons. The income tax was instituted via Constitutional amendment. If we institute a consumption tax, then we need to repeal the Amendment establishing the income tax at the same time. If we don't, we'll end up with both taxes.

A:

Very much so. I thought it was very accurate. I was shocked how accurate it was for not coming from Scientologists. I wanted to see more stories about how it affected children. The systematic recruitment of members' children. I wish it would have told the story of how Scientologists give their children to the "Church." It protects the life source that is continually bolstering the religion. But, I think they did an amazing job and they cleared the path for people like me to speak about it. HBO was very brave in taking it on. As is A&E, as it will be the first network is do a full series about it.


Q:

I think there's always been innuendo on GMM, and that's mostly a function of the unscripted nature of the show. We think our content remains appropriate for most everyone, including our own children. - Rhett

A:

Dan Portnoy: among the problems is that bacteria that are normally of no threat, but are resistant to antibiotics, can then pose a very large threat especially to those who are immunocompromised once the antibiotics are administered.


Q:

How does legal and illegal immigration effect the economy?

A:

Is it true they record your meetings and blackmail you with the recordings?


Q:

Have you ever punched each other in the face?

A:

Stupid question, but is it possible that some peoples immune system is strong enough to kill off Gonorrhea on it's own? Couldn't we start searching for people who have stronger antibodies to create new vaccines? As an example of James Harrison.


Q:

People are resources - each has talents, abilities, and ideas. The more people we have, the more we can produce and the better off everyone is.

Couple this with the fact that immigrants, on average, are a special subset of people. Immigrants (on average) are people who are willing to take the risk to move somewhere where they don't know the people or possibly the customs or possibly the language, and do what's necessary not only to make a living, but to provide for loved ones back home.

These are the characteristics of an entrepreneur. IOW, immigration is a giant filter that predominantly selects entrepreneurial people. That's exactly the sort of people we want if we want to grow the economy.

A:

Yes, every "therapy room" is equipped with cameras and listening devices, as admitted by the "Church." Do they use it for blackmail? No, they use it to discredit you when you speak out.


Q:

Punched, no. Slapped, yes. - Rhett

A:

Dan Portnoy: That is difficult, and is actually part of of the problem in finding a cure for HIV. generally for our purposes though the answer is no


Q:

Question regarding public policy and politics. At an Institute for Humane Studies seminar at Duquesne University, you discussed the "shift towards center" that so many American politicians go through. If I recall, you used Bush-Gore as an example.

Many of made a joke out of President-elect Trump's "Fakes right, goes left." Do you believe that we're seeing the shift towards center from Trump on issues such as the Affordable Care Act and other issues he has seemed to "tone down" on?

A:

How much did you pay to the church throughout your time there?


Q:

Hey guys! Greetings from about 45 minutes north of Burbank! (Aka Lancaster) I have made you part of my daily routine for about 3 years now and it feels weird when I miss a day! My question for you guys is:

The two of you have been friends for a really long time. Do you have a favorite memory together? Rhett, what is one memory about Link that makes you laugh every time? Link, what is a memory about Rhett that makes you cringe every time?

Love you guys!

A:

What have been the most impressive recent discoveries in terms understanding how soil microbes affect human beings? Or how they affect crop development?


Q:

Yes. To get a party's nomination, a candidate has to appeal to the middle of the party. If the party is on the right, that means appealing to something between "far right" and "center." IOW, you have to appeal more to the extreme.

But, once you get the party's nomination, you have to appeal to a broader constituency of voters, and that means repositioning toward the center.

Finally, to govern, you need to compromise with people from the other party, and that means moving further center.

So, yes, I expect President Trump to be far more housebroken than Candidate Trump.

A:

Millions.


Q:

I think the blood oath we took in the cow pasture behind Keith Hills golf course is a favorite. We swore to "create something together" one day. (Not like a baby...like a movie.) But we seriously did take a blood oath around middle school age, not knowing specifically what we wanted to do. - Link

A:

Steve Lory: Soil micro bioms - better understanding of the community of bacteria that is involved in harming or benefiting crops and human health


Q:

To follow up on that, if possible, do you think the Republican-dominated Congress will push towards a more mainstream GOP platform, or will this be more like a divided government in actuality?

A:

Can you imagine a scenario where you may be cast alongside a Scientologist or would it not be allowed?


Q:

How much longer do you plan on continuing Good Mythical Morning?

A:

Can you say anything regarding what that understanding is?


Q:

That's a good question. The Republican party came close to dissolving. These next four years is their opportunity to prove to voters that they can deliver good government. In turn, that would mean adopting a mainstream platform.

As much as I would like to see total repeal of the Affordable Care Act, I believe a mainstream approach would be less extreme than repeal but more extreme than tweaking around the edges.

A:

That would not be allowed from their end.


Q:

until it has run its course. - Rhett

A:

There is a correlation between those communities and the health, but we do not have evidence of causation yet.


Q:

Your nerd background is news to me, so I'll focus there:

What video games, if any, are you currently playing?

What is your favorite DC hero, and why?

A:

Are you still in contact with any friends that are still part of the church?


Q:

Since you guys do a lot of game show style shows on GMM, I'm wondering what would be your dream game show to compete on?

A:

How do microorganisms get lead in them in the first place?


Q:

Space Engineers. Batman.

What's fascinating about the Batman is that he is as psychotic as the criminals he fights. He just channels his psychosis in a different direction. The lesson is that sometimes you can't tell good from evil simply by looking at the ingredients.

A:

I am an SP (supressive person). You are not allowed to be in contact with an SP. I would love to talk to my former friends and see my goddaughter.


Q:

We're still waiting for our call from Wheel of Fortune to appear on their "best friends" episode. ABC holler at us! - Rhett & Link

A:

John M: It is just in the environment around them and enters through diffusion. Most microorganisms actually pump out lead to stay healthy.


Q:

Have you ever seen Zoolander?

A:

When you were a scientologist did you ever get any weird reactions from other famous people?


Q:

Do you guys plan on bringing back ear biscuits soon? Really loved that podcast.

A:

What percentage of your PhD candidates end up doing lab work they truly enjoy? How many of them actually make 50k+ for annual salary?


Q:

No, but people keep recommending it to me. Now I have to go see it.

A:

Weird reactions? No. I got appropriate reactions, "Why are you in this crazy shit?"


Q:

I wouldn't say sooooooon, per se. But we love the podcast format and hope we can find a way to work it in to our schedule in the future. - Rhett

A:

Dan Portnoy/John Mekalanos: I believe the majority of my students enjoy their work while in the lab, after that point, in their first real position perhapse half truly enjoy what they do., and the vast majority make an excess of 50k


Q:

Are you and other economists in your circles warm and fuzzy about crypto-currencies, especially Bitcoin, or completely skeptical and keeping distance? I'm interested in how the current economists "feel" about it.

A:

Was there a secret group of people or friends you had in the church that doubted it? Or did you feel alone.


Q:

Why did you and your families decide to homeschool your kids? Love the show, guys!

A:

What are some common misconceptions about microbes?


Q:

I'm certainly warm and fuzzy about crypto-currencies. But, I sense many economists are indifferent. Crypto-currencies have the potential to prevent central banks from inflating their currencies. If there is always a viable crypto-currency in the wings, as a central bank inflates its currency, people will shift to the crypto-currency.

I don't believe crypto-currencies will replace state currencies, but I do believe that they will become an alternate currency that people will regularly use alongside state currencies.

A:

I felt alone. If you ever confided in friends then you were (as policy dictates)... reported and turned in. Very 1984, very George Orwell.


Q:

We wanted to keep them sheltered from the real world and fully control their thoughts and actions.

Actually, we did it because we liked the flexibility it offered due to our unpredictable schedules, and our wives wanted to be more directly involved in our kids education. - Rhett

A:

Dan Portnoy: the misconception is that they are simple, however they are extremely complex.


Q:

From a personal finance perspective, do you believe there is a such thing as "good debt"?

A:

How are they able to recruit intelligent people into what appears to be an obvious scam and cult?


Q:

How did you guys react to watching Shepard say that he wanted a newborn baby's heart in the Jack in the box? Lol.

A:

What is the coolest thing you have seen or learned in regards to microbio?


Q:

Absolutely. Good debt is debt that increases productive capacity. Where a person is concerned, that's debt incurred to improve job skills, obtain marketable education, etc.

Note: Not all debt incurred for education is good debt. It matters very much (a) what you're studying, (b) what your skill set is, and (c) how hard you work.

A:

Most Scientologists are 2nd or 3rd generation, they were born and raised into an ideology and have been surrounded and isolated. It is all they know. They are victims. Most of the original Scientologists are all out and have spoken out. Unfortunately, their children were indoctrinated by them.... are still loyal, faithful and have cut off communication due to the policy of disconnection.


Q:

I laughed a lot, and swelled with pride as a father. - Rhett

A:

Mike Thomashow: That there are some naturally occurring bacteria that exchange genetic information with plants, and actually change the plants genetics in a way that benefits the bacteria.

Steve Lory: the power of bacteria to cause the death of humans, and the power of humans to combat that.


Q:

What solution would you have for the US to address wealth distribution? 1. Is wealth distribution in the US a problem? 2. What solution path would you suggest to correct it if you see it as a problem?

A:

Do you think there are members of the cult of Scientology reading this AMA?


Q:

I've always wondered, do both of your families spend holidays together? Such as thanksgiving and Christmas?

A:

This has peaked my interest, what do you think is an interesting example of this happening?


Q:

In a free market, wealth distribution is a non-issue. People believe wealth distribution is an issue because (a) they confuse profit (wealth acquisition via voluntary exchange) with plunder (wealth acquisition via coercion), and (b) they confuse money with wealth.

Consider (in a free market environment), someone who provides a service to society and also asks for some of society's resources in return. Now, suppose that society highly values the service this person performs. In turn, society is willing to pay the person a high price for his services.

Suppose also that society places a lower value on the resources the person asks in return - perhaps because the resources are plentiful, or no one else wants them very much. Consequently, society asks a low price for the resources.

This person is exactly the sort of person most everyone would say is valuable to society - he offers more to his neighbors than he asks in return.

But, over time this person will accumulate dollars because the dollars society pays him for his very valuable service outnumber the dollars society asks in return for its resources. The person's accumulation of dollars is evidence that he has provided more to society than he asked.

Many people say that those with wealth have an obligation to "give back" to the rest of us. But, through this example, you see that the person doesn't need to give back. In fact, his accumulation of dollars is evidence that society actually owes him more than he has consumed.

A:

Do I think? I know. Hi Karin Pouw and members of OSA! If any Sea Org member is currently reading this and works for OSA and wants to leave, I will help you... including Karin.


Q:

Since moving to CA, we've done Thanksgiving together each year (along with other LA based friends). But, even though we both go home to NC for Christmas each year, we almost never see each other there. That's pretty much all the family time we have with folks back home, so we try to give them all our time. If we happen to see each other, we pass by one another without speaking. - Rhett

A:

Mike Thomashow: Crown Gall Disease.


Q:

What's your view on Post-Keynesian economics?

A:

What do you think Scientology will look like in 50-100 years? Do you think it has longevity or is it going to come to an end?


Q:

People change over time. Why do you think you guys have been able to be friends for so long?

A:

Thank you very much for doing this AMA! What advice to you have for a senior post doc that would like to stay in academia (in the process of applying for assistant professorships now) but is worried about getting funding in the future? I should mention my postdoctoral advisor consistently had anywhere between 3-4 R01s in the past, however is down to only one and hasn't been able to obtain anymore in the last 3 years despite publishing in immunity, nature immunology, cell host microbe and plos pathogens.


Q:

I'm not a fan of macroeconomics at all. To my mind, macroeconomics is simply microeconomics done poorly. The reason we have various schools of thought (which, by the way, you don't have in microeconomics) is because we have to assume away a lot of important things in order to make the math of macroeconomics work.

So choosing among the schools of thought is really choosing among competing sets of assumptions. If we did macroeconomics correctly, we wouldn't be making any of the assumptions.

And this is where Austrian economics goes right. It starts at the person and talks about the nature of the person and how the person behaves.

A:

I hope that its abusive practices come to an end. I'm all for people believing in things that are decent.


Q:

We okay it with each other before we change.

hmm. I think it'd take a whole book to answer that question. _Link

A:

Dan Portnoy/John Mekalanos: I think if you truly love science you should just go for it, make sure to hold on to much of your post doc research to get you ahead, and do your best to join a program that matches your interests and goals. There will always be money for creative and interesting science with possible applications, however the future of funding is unclear to us as well.

Edit: Please feel free to ask more questions, we love to help people in your situation.


Q:

How come the U.S. moved away from Milton Friedman's ideas despite how logical and effective they seem?

A:

What OT level are you?


Q:

Do y'all wish y'all were in Barcelona now?

A:

Thanks Dan and John for your honest responses, particularly concerning the future of funding. I have interests in cyclic dinucleotide signaling independent of sting or ddx41 as well as examining additional P. aeuruginosa derived pamps in the context of innate immunity. Do you think this is considered "too basic science", particularly since my postdoctoral advisor thinks I should focus more on disease models?


Q:

Because politicians benefit from big government and so will employ economists who can make arguments for big government that voters will buy. Friedman was great at making clear arguments. But they were all for smaller government.

A:

V


Q:

Yes. to walk with you (to walk with you) along the avenue (along the avenue) - Rhett

A:

We don't want to interfere the advice of your advisor as there are many different approaches. Dan enjoys advising and would be happy to help on a more private level, please private message for a more specific response as we don't want to step on any toes.


Q:

Considering that Scientology is consistently painted in such a negative light how did you maintain the commitment to Scientology for so long?

A:

Do your spouses mind when you kiss them after eating something gross, spicy, etc?


Q:

How worried are you guys about antibiotic resistance, a potential 'superbug' of sorts?

A:

Because i was taught to believe that the controversy was due to people being unaware of what Scientology was truly doing in the world which was good things. I also felt the press was focused on making fun of Scientology and not what was important, so it was easy to turn away from the information. And also a major part of Scientology is learning how to fight your critics. If i wasn't fighting I wasn't being a good Scientologist.


Q:

I love to play a game with my wife. It's called, "Kiss me and tell me what animal body part I ate today!" She hates it. - Rhett

A:

Everybody: We all believe this is a very relevant and imminent problem.


Q:

What is something the average citizen can do to help prevent Scientology growth?

A:

What was the worst "will it" episode to date?


Q:

Thanks for doing this! I was wondering if you could recommend any books that are must haves for people interested in microbiology? I have my old textbook from university but I'd like to learn more for fun.

A:

Speak to your local councilmen/women about cracking down on the abuse of its citizens. I believe people have influences, they know judges, lawyers, police enforcement I think everyone bringing attention to these abuses can help. It takes a community to police itself.


Q:

Hard to pick one specific moment, they all have their low points. Throwing something up into a custom barf bucket is a pretty consistent experience. - Rhett

A:

Dan Portnoy: Microbe Hunters by Paul DeKruif, it is the book that made me excited about science, and I give it to every single student who leaves my lab.


Q:

Do the higher ups know it's a scam or do they really believe this crap?

A:

When will Rhett's dad come on?


Q:

Do any of you brew beer and if so what is your favorite yeast strain?

A:

The higher up is singular. And he definitely knows. however I believe most parishioners and Sea Org members (people who work for the "church") are int he dark and believe that they are doing amazing things for the world. And David Miscavige is directly responsible for that fraud.


Q:

Looking to have him on the next time he's in town. Fair warning: He's not nearly as tan as Link's dad! - Rhett

A:

No, sorry.


Q:

Was there a single breaking point that convinced you to leave the church? Or was it a long term struggle with the decision?

A:

RHETT AND LINK!! Seriously would not be able to get through my day without GMM+GMMore. I watch them every night when I get home from work and I'm constantly watching reruns.

My question is: You both used to have successful careers in the engineering field (I believe Link, at least, used to work for IBM?) and now you have successful careers in the entertainment field. How and why did you make that transition? Did you feel you were taking a huge risk making such a big transition? Lets talk about that...


Q:

When you've researched bacteria, have you found any interesting bacteriophages which blew your mind?

A:

Long term struggle, however, seeing the "church" attack those who were speaking out, those who gave their life, life savings, their children to this organization that were once considered exemplary Scientologists or staff members of the church to being liars, bitter apostates, and what ever vile sophomoric, vitriolic adjective they can find overnight says a lot about the organization.


Q:

We never felt engineering was the right fit, and we were pretty much looking for ways to work together in entertainment from the beginning. YouTube provided a way to reach a large audience without having to travel or move (initially). Once we realized we could get paid to make videos (through ads or integrations), we figured we could make a go of it. - Rhett

A:

Dan Portnoy: Not recently, sorry for the bad response edit: a word


Q:

Over the past 10 years, I've seen my parents get deeper and deeper into Scientology. Decent reasoning, science and logic have done nothing to convince them to question the church. From someone who left, is there anything a loved one can do to help a brainwashed member see the truth, without ruining the relationship completely?

A:

Were there any videos that you were particularly nervous to put up due to controversy or bad feedback?


Q:

Will this cure for cancer ever become ineffective? For the example, the Flu virus had evolved and the vaccinations at the time became ineffective.

A:

Fight like Hell. Never give up.


Q:

GMM is not as controversial as some of our older videos, especially our local commercials which touched on resolving racial tension through furniture sales, or promoting a car selling gynecologist Cuban refugee. But, we've never been too nervous about creating controversy because that's not what our work is really about. - Rhett

A:

Cancer is not an evolving system, so it cannot develop across the population to become resistant, however within the particular person the cancer can mutate to be more resistant. edit: The type of cure we are referring to is that of immunotherapy.


Q:

What odds do you give of the whole thing collapsing once Miscavige dies?

A:

Have you ever had an interaction with a viewer that's made either yourselves or your families uncomfortable? You don't have to describe what happened I'm just curious :) Thanks!


Q:

Does the microbiology community have any plans to analyze Donald Trump's "hands"?

A:

The policies of the "Church" are the policies of the "Church." They will not change, and there will be someone right behind him ready to pick up where he left off.


Q:

yes. -Link

A:

HAHA, They are all refraining from answering that one.


Q:

Are people actively being held prisoner against their will?

If so, how upsetting is it that the government and law enforcement does not act?

A:

Hey guys. Big fan so thankyou to you and all the crew! Has there ever been a "Will it?..." episode that you have refused to do?


Q:

Do you think the Spartans will beat the Wolverines next year?

A:

It's very upsetting. I'm only an actress with a short window of interest. So it is up to the authorities who have to do something about it and the judges who are hearing cases of abuse, coerced abortions, being held prisoner, fraud, mental and emotional imprisonment. They won't look at cases to decide its a religion. They have to separate and look at the law. Your doctrine is abusive. It mandates that you abuse people.


Q:

Nope. Think about the things we've eaten!! - Rhett

A:

We have asked a MD/PHD, who practices medicine, their opinion on this question, and she said that you really need to have a love for medicine, if you have a preference for research perhaps you should consider moving to another field.


Q:

What is the most unusual 'corrective action' you've seen them physically do to someone?

A:

What did your family think of you having no beard Rhett ? Xx


Q:

I dont know if im too dumb to grasp the answer (or if you are just blatantly ignoring my question as a joke, but its ask me anything so that would be kinda rude), or if it doesnt make sense

A:

The most abusive thing that I've experienced is seeing the victims being further victimized by an organization that claims these things did not take place... from physical, to sexual, to mental abuse.


Q:

I sent my mom a picture after I shaved, and she replied with "Poor baby. I still love you." - Rhett

A:

OH, our bad we meant to send this response to another question. haha.


Q:

do you remember what your initial reaction was upon first seeing the course materials for OT3?

A:

Hey! huge fan! My co-worker and I watch your shows (anything you guys make) every day. I wanted to ask how it feels to have come so far looking back at where it all started? I get a certain amount of excitement and dare I say pride following what you guys are up to and how successful you have become. And to do it all as life long best friends just makes it that much more special. Keep up the great work! :)


Q:

How have inventions like the life straw and other water filters helped the fight against Cholera.

Also, what are some major hurdles in the development of a Cholera vaccine?

A:

Yes my first reaction was "Are you all fucking nuts?" and then I looked at my mother and said "What kind of bullshit did you get me in?" My only option was to leave, but at the time my family was not ready to go. The "church" told me I didn't need to believe it, just do it. And they always pose this question: "Are you ready to leave everything you've ever known?"


Q:

The first cassette tape I ever owned was Weird Al's Even Worse. I learned all those songs by heart and thought it was hilarious. But I never actively thought "I could do that!" at the time. We're truly humbled that we make stuff that shapes the next wave of weirdos out there.

Now get back to work! -Link

A:

John Mekalanos: 1.anything that provides pure water is an effective intervention in controlling cholera, especially in epidemic situations 2.The major hurdles: there are vaccines already in existence, however they are very difficult to manufacture. This means that the largest hurdle is developing a cheap and easy to vaccine that does not require a cold chain (does not have to stay cold until the admission)


Q:

What do you think happened to David's wife?

A:

Hey guys, love the show. My question is; how long does it take to shoot an episode of GMM - on average?


Q:

With the way that academia is going these days, are you becoming more likely to suggest industry to grads/postdocs than previously? It's approaching 100s of good applicants/tenure track gig at decent schools. As a recent postdoc on the academic job hunt from one of your schools (rhymes with 'Barvard'), shit's getting real out there.

A:

I actually do not know. Ask the LAPD.


Q:

Shooting an episode is usually just about as long as the final product, unless it's a more involved episode with multiple setups. But the prep takes much longer than that (see Link's longer answer). - Rhett

A:

John M: You are correct, that is the way it is going. I am more likely to suggest it but it is of course not the only option. Industry is somewhat high pressure due to need for a product.

Dan Portnoy: They are very different, If you have any interest in teaching you should definitely stick with academia. if you want strict research both will fit your purposes. Personally we all prefer academia due to the cutting edge nature of the science and the freedom of academic pursuit.


Q:

How do the powers that be in Scientology keep their followers from reading anti-Scientology news, or your book? Why don't more scientologists leave?

A:

On average, how much work goes into making an episode of good mythical morning? xx


Q:

What do you guys think is the future of probiotics in topical applications?

A:

Great question. Because very early on in the brainwashing process, L. Ron Hubbard's "technology" teaches you that outside sources (i.e. The news, the Internet, books, magazines) are ALL LIES and hellbent on destroying something decent like Scientology. The AMA, and APA, and all "governments" do not give scientology its due because they have a vested interest in not healing people and not helping people. And Scientology is in the business of making people better. So Scientologists are taught that their safest bet is to get their info from the only true decent people...and those are Scientologists. And if they look on the internet, if they read time mag, they will be met with punishment at their expense. And, as a Scientologist...you have to confess that you've read outside materials, and that will be met with punishment at your expense.


Q:

We shoot each episode pretty much live/all in one go as much as possible. If there's some set change that needs to happen, we may stop rolling for adjustments like that, but most of the time we keep it going. (That's why you'll see us jumble words and mess up...occasionally :)

As far as prep for each episode, there's days of work that goes in to each episode...even for a simpler episode (a list, a game), a writer/producer is assigned to gather info and outline the flow under Stevie's supervision with our input at strategic points along the way. For more production-heavy episodes, you get an idea of the amount of work from watching a GMC episode, but there's still a ton you don't see. And none of this accounts for post.

All that to say, we're very grateful to our Mythical Crew for all the work they do! -Link

A:

John Mekalanos:Topical applications and probiotics are not strongly related because probiotics are generally ingested. That being said there could be a probiotic to help our skin or other topical locations. I am optimistic about probiotics because it is an unexplored field that will largely be impacted by synthetic biology.


Q:

Why do you think there are so many people in the entertainment industry in the religion?

A:

Is Buddy System going to be multi seasonal or a one off?


Q:

What advice do you have for medical students? Have you ever seen "sketchy micro" and what do you think of it?

A:

If you really look at the numbers at the entertainment industry, in comparison to the small number of scientologists that are celebrities, the number wouldn't even register. I think Scientology has done an amazing job convincing people that there is a great number of celebrities in the "Church."


Q:

We have no official announcement to make at this point...but even this morning, we were tossing around ideas for a possible Season 2. Any ideas? -LInk

A:

We have asked a MD/PHD, who practices medicine, their opinion on this question, and she said that you really need to have a love for medicine, if you have a preference for research perhaps you should consider moving to another field.


Q:

Have any other actors come to you for support or help?

A:

Hello Rhett & Link! First off thank you so much for the countless hours of entertainment, education and emotional support you've given us.

Congratulations on Buddy System, I really felt it was a project that came from your hearts and I enjoyed it very much!

I'd like to ask, realistically how much would it affect your synergy as a duo if you guys swapped seats in GMM?

Have a mythical day!


Q:

The microbiome seems like it's an emerging field, with lots of different kinds of research. How important do you tihnk the field is going to be moving forward? Are things like novel therapeutics and even microbiota manipulation going to become a primary focus of researchers or is it simply too nebulous?

A:

The policy of the "Church" does not allow them to come to me. Former high ranking Sea Org members like Debbie Cook and former members like Katie Holmes are forbidden to speak to other SPs. Certain members are forced to sign agreements that does not allow them to speak to ex members.


Q:

You're welcome :) It is always so cool to hear that GMM gives people an emotional boost. If we swapped seats...i think it would really mess with our mojo...but we should try it! what would be a good occasion for that?hmmm --Link

A:

John M: we generally have quite a lot of enthusiasm for microbiom research.


Q:

Do you personally feel like you're being watched/tracked/etc by the church for doing everything your doing?

A:

Link, will your mythical beard ever make a comeback?


Q:

I got a microscope for my 7 and 8 year old. They are bored of the prepared slides that came with it. I remember peeling onion skins and looking at them in biology. Do you have other interesting suggestions?

A:

I am. I'm okay with it because I knew what I was getting into and I knew the policies of the "church" and what would happen by my speaking out against it.


Q:

My face has recently been asking me the same thing. If it were to happen, it'd be over the holiday break...but that beard-in-process might mess up all my family photos :/ -Link

A:

dirty pond water under the right microscope will be flush with bacteria. besides that you can have them scrape the inside of their cheek to try to see their own cells.


Q:

I've been a huge fan since the early days of KoQ (was watching at 11, now 24!). Did you ever find that your religion interfered with your work in a way you would turn town any potential jobs, either for your own religious reasons or advice received from members?

A:

Crazy song idea that got scrapped for being too crazy?


Q:

Why is there no crystal structure (or any structure for that matter) available for T4 DNA ligase? Like, what the hell? There are dozens of ligase structures available but not even a homology model for the one that is most relevant to molecular biology. Blind spot or is it somehow weird?

Secondary question: With the way that academia is going these days, are you becoming more likely to suggest industry to grads/postdocs than previously? It's approaching 500 applicants/tenure track gig at decent schools. As a recent postdoc on the academic job hunt from one of your schools (rhymes with 'Barvard'), shit's getting real out there.

(Grad students looking for a project, this would be a good one).

A:

I was punished for doing Stuff magazine because it was too racy. They would not want us to do anything that would be considered not "becoming of a Scientologist." I see they have since changed their stance of what they believe is "becoming of a Scientologist."


Q:

Many years ago we started writing a song called Barbed Wire Tattoo. Never finished it. I guess we got distracted with it's followup "Fartin' Girl." - Link

A:

We are not structural biologists and therefore do not feel qualified to answer


Q:

Are there any sexual malpractices that occur in the church?

A:

Hi guys! What is the worst injury you've suffered during the making of GMM? Also, will Rhett's massage song ever be released as a single?


Q:

Hello! I am a microbiology major currently because I like the idea of immunology and more! What are some interesting new developments/research in this field related to immunology?

A:

I have read stories on the internet. I was told personally by a few people that I personally know that there was sexual abuse. When I was 16 and working for a "senior Scientologist" who was in his late 30's, he had sex with a 16 year old friend of ours. And the "Church" handled it internally. All abuses are dealt within the "Church" as it is an enemy act in the "Church" to prosecute another member. Please do not take my word for it, just google the words "Scientology and sexual abuse."


Q:

Link gave me a bloody nose. Not on GMM, but during Epic Gun Battle. We've stunned each other with a stun cane a few times. But no serious injuries, thankfully.

As for the massage song, you're going to have to enjoy it in it's native GMM form for now. - Rhett

A:

Everybody: the microbiom influence on the immune system, nervous system and metabolic system. But that is just one of many.


Q:

How are children treated in Scientology?

A:

Your show is very family-friendly and enjoyable for viewers of all ages, what in your personal life wouldn't be considered "all-ages?" For example, enjoying a specific alcoholic beverage, violent movies/tv/video games, if you're nonchalant about cursing, any particular hobbies, etc.

Also, what was your favorite episode to film of GMM?


Q:

For some people, especially the elderly, it is sometimes advised to be on permanent penicillin. Ignoring the antibiotic-resistance facts for one moment, is this sound advice? I always thought that keeping a healthy gut flora is just as important (and gut flora has been linked to immunity too!).. thoughts?

A:

As old spirits in little bodies who have returned to Scientology... children are treated as adults.


Q:

We drink wine, beer, or whiskey on occasion, watch R rated movies, and curse when it's called for. - Rhett

A:

Resident MD: Certain people with take antibiotics prophylactics. Generally speaking the less antibiotics the better, even in the case of some infections.


Q:

You are so brave for telling the truth about Scientology. Why are so many other people staying quiet? What can we do to help?

A:

You mean you're real people???


Q:

What do you think of veganism as a cure to cancer?

A:

Thank you! Watch our show tonight and spread awareness. It is bigger what people think. This religion is massive.


Q:

I wouldn't go that far. -Link

A:

resounding laughter


Q:

What do members actually gain from being a member? How is it made worth all the money and time they invest?

A:

Hey, Rhett and Link, nice to see you here on reddit! On Good Mythical Morning, you’ve talked about growing up in Buies Creek. My mom’s side of my family lives up in Fuquay and Coats, and it’s nice to hear some love about where you grew up. What’s the biggest thing you miss about the area?


Q:

any chance ever that celiac disease can be cured?

A:

They gain a purpose. They gain a group. They gain a sense of accomplishment (awards, certificates). They gain an education that in the real world LRH states would be equivalent to getting a "PHD in life." You become an elitist. That you have all the answers in life. If you have a question about life, you are made to think that Scientology has the answer.


Q:

Shout out to Coats, NC! The soil there. Wow. There used to be a Skats Drive Thru beside the IGA. It was like a half-baked Hardees. Remember that? I'm not sayin I miss it; but I do miss Cook Out, of course Bojangles, and also my extended family. -Link

A:

Everybody: None of us feel qualified to answer that question


Q:

Are you safe?

A:

What's your favorite brand of hot dog? Bright Leaf hotdogs right?!

Sending you Love from Raleigh!


Q:

Hi guys I'm a surface chemist, have you guys done much work into antibacterial surfaces? It's the field I'm hoping to do my pHD in! If you guys have had anu exposure to the field, what do you think of using surfaces to combat AMR?

A:

Yes, I feel very safe. I have the support of my family and friends. And, I feel strangely protected by the world at large.


Q:

I'm more of a Jesse Jones guy. Not a big fan of the red dye on Bright Leaf. - Link

A:

John M: It is an extremely exciting field that has only scratched the surface of its potential. it seems to have potential for AMR but we need to see results before we can say anything else.


Q:

How different would you say your view of Hollywood is now compared to when you were on Saved by the Bell and did your experience with Scientology effect these views versus if you never joined them?

A:

I was wondering how you two feel about being shipped together, I see a lot of being saying that you ship-bait and other things like that.

do you wish people wouldn't ship you?


Q:

Microbiology is my goal. Do you have any tips? I graduate this year and need to put together a CV and list of skills.

A:

When I was a Scientologist I saw Hollywood as a dark, lost bunch of souls that needed saving. Now I see it as any other business and that we're all just trying to do right by ourselves, right by our friends and family and that people outside of scientology are not bad.


Q:

we don't care. we just think it's funny to create awkwardness. it just seems to often be misinterpretted as something else... - Link

A:

Everybody: do as much research in undergrad as possible, that will open many doors.


Q:

What is your overall opinion on organized Religion now? Did your view on say Christianity change?

A:

What is your dream entertainment project now that you've done a scripted musical comedy?


Q:

Is harvard actually that much better than a state college?

A:

Yes my view of religion changed in that I am no longer a bigot against people's religious beliefs when it doesn't harm other people, promote killing people for their beliefs... like extremism. But if religion brings you comfort, hope, and a sense of community, I say "whatever works for you."


Q:

We don't have ONE specific thing we want to eventually make. I'd love to make a movie exclusively using Merle Haggard songs as the soundtrack. We're aiming to continue to innovate when it comes to GMM and also have at least one other major project each year for you to enjoy. We're just beginning to scratch our long-form scripted itch. - LInk

A:

Depends on the person and the school.


Q:

From what I've seen of Scientology, it seems like there is a major difference in treatment between celebrity "followers" and folks in Sea Org who are tortured, locked in the Hole, beaten publicly by Miscavige, etc.

Did the news of this mistreatment find its way to celebrities and general "members" of the Church who weren't in Sea Org? Or were people left completely in the dark?

A:

Hey guys!!! Huge fan thanks for the ama. you are my go to for eating breakfast before work every morning. Thanks for all the laughs.

You two have been best friends since you were kids and have wonderful chemistry, but there has to be something where you guys had a big disagreement or argument about something where you were legitimately pissed at each other, what was it?

PS. Please bring more Randy Dandy Mandy brothers content.

PSS. Sink Mirror almost made me pee myself.

EDIT: for those wondering, the Hilarious Randy Dandy - I got a freaking koala bear! Arent those things going extinct? I dont care! ONE LESS KOALA BEAR!!


Q:

Do you publish what you tried to do and didn't work? So that others can come along after you and continue?

A:

No, and if they did hear about it, we were told that those claiming abuse were lying. Then I would have been interrogated and even punished for asking.


Q:

we get legitimately pissed at each other all the time. I think that's part of a friendship and working relationship like ours. Our creative process often involves fighting with each other about ideas and landing on something in the end. We've never assaulted each other, though, unless you count the one time we got into a slap fight on GMM. - Rhett

A:

John/Dan: generally not but sometimes in the context of another paper it will find it's way in. Research is driven by hypothesis, and we are often wrong in the beginning but that leads to something else.


Q:

As a psychologist, I am curious what you observed as mental health 'treatment' with Scientology? In addition, I am aware the 'church' is against psychology; how was this opposition demonstrated within or by the 'church'? Finally, in your opinion how prevalent are mental health difficulties with the Scientology community?

Thank you for your time.

A:

Hi R+L- love you guys!! What was the biggest cultural shock moving from the south to the west cost. And what happened to your southern accents?


Q:

What do you foresee as the biggest threat microbiologically (is that a word?) to a) humans and b) the ecosystem?

A:

The "Church" doctrine thinks that fields of psychology and psychiatry are a sham. They deny mental illness and afflictions. They promote that you can heal your psycho-sematic issues with their "technology." They will get in the way of people taking medications. They will prevent people from getting the real medical help that they need. and in some cases have caused suicides because of it. Scientology is mentally abusive because we are all taught that we are responsible for everything.


Q:

This whole people thinking that BBQ means a grill has been difficult to deal with.

I think it's safe to say our southern accents haven't been lost...they just go into hiding and we let them out from time to time, especially when things get especially loopy. - Rhett

A:

One very big one would be that of antibiotic resistant bacteria, besides that its the continuing emergence of viruses, including new strains of flu.


Q:

Did being a Scientologist help your acting career?

A:

Hi guys! What is your most favorite song you've ever done?


Q:

I understand that this isn't the focus of your field, but just out of curiosity; say if we were to make Mars habitable for humans, do you think we have to first make soil on Mars to host some microbes?

I always thought it would be interesting to sends some soil microbes and see how Mars changes.

A:

I'm sure there were tools that helped me to be able to communicate better, not be nervous when I walked in the room. Acting classes would have been cheaper. Or maybe staying in Brooklyn a little longer would have been more beneficial to my acting career.


Q:

I'll always love "The Buffet Song" from 2008 because of how it was made. We just asked people dining in a Vegas buffet to walk us through the fundamentals of a buffet. Then we sang what they said verbatim. "I've had prime rib up the kazoo."
We made "The Harry Potter Song" in a similar way. - Link

A:

We think microbes enhance growth on this planet, we and others do not know what will happen on mars.


Q:

Out of all the rumors surrounding Scientology, which one is true and hits home the hardest for you?

A:

Why didn't the zoo press charges?

And are you guys doing the AMA tucked or untucked?


Q:

This is to Dan specifically I guess because it's specific to listeria. So do you work with the food industry or the FDA, or has your work helped, to combat listeria. Also if not what are you specifically researching in regards to listeria?

A:

I don't what rumors we're referring to here. I haven't read anything that has been inaccurate.


Q:

Because we were only 16 at the time.

We're both currently untucked but that can change!

A:

No, I do not. The vast majority of my research for cancer in some way.


Q:

How can we destroy scientology?

A:

Are you really Rhett and Link and not your clones?


Q:

I don't want to destroy Scientology. I only want them to admit to the fraud that they promote, to not deny the confidential upper levels of the religion, so people can decide if they want to spend $250K and their lives doing it. That they admit to the policies of Fair Game. That they allow people to decide for themselves where they get their information. That they admit to disconnection and leave families the fuck alone.

A:

We are the clones but all answers are approved by the real R&L. - clones


Q:

We can (almost correctly) assume that celebrities receive special treatment because of their status - could you elaborate more on that? For instance, how would your experiences in the church differ from someone who is not a celebrity?

And a follow up - do you think that more celebrities would like to break free from the church but are afraid because of the repercussions? Is there any merit to the claim that there's so much dirt on them that could be exposed that they may not want to leave?

Hope you convince others to follow your path!

A:

In your opinion, what is your funniest moment on; Buddy System? GMM?


Q:

We had special course rooms in separate parts of the buildings. Any complaint we had about the outside world was met with agreement from the "Church." We were serviced differently, we had supervisors doing courses in our homes, giving special schedules to celebrities. Staff was interrogated by the Church. Often times there were Sea Org members working for celebrities in their homes, personally working for them. I know of one celeb who had a sea org member working in their home and sea org members were averaging $25/week. The labor laws don't apply to any church therefor they were made to work ungodly hours, forced into interrogations if making human mistakes around the celebrity.

A:

I'm particularly fond of Odell Nobell's backstory, complete with flute solo. - Rhett Slow dancing with a strange man as Peder in episode 8. - Link


Q:

How has your friendship evolved since you started working together full time? Similarly, how has making Buddy System changed your friendship and your working relationship?

A:

I guess we have the opposite situation to most adult best friends. Most people work separately and then get together as friends. We see each other all day every day almost the entire year. We actually have to stop and think to do normal friends stuff, like go see a movie together. But working together on everything, and having shared goals where we depend on each other, has been a key to our sustained friendship. - Rhett


Q:

Any word on Season 2 of Buddy System? (Huge Mythical Beast btw, freakin' love you guys!)

A:

We'd love to do a second season and are currently conceptualizing what that would look like, but as of right now there's been no official confirmation. - Link


Q:

Any advice for fellow engineers that want to switch up their lifestyle like you did?

A:

If you like it, don't quit. The world needs engineers more than guys who eat pig anus for a living. - Rhett


Q:

Hi guys! Out of all the outrageous claims made in Epic Rap battle of Manliness, which one would you most want to actually perform? (I'm partial to modifying my garden hose to dispense nacho cheese)

A:

well, we actually did that one, and it was glorious. - Rhett


Q:

First of all I just want to thank you both for making such good content for us to enjoy along with you and I hope you guys know how important and uplifting Buddy System has been for a lot of people. In a world that can be really heavy, it’s nice to know there are people like you, and the entire production behind RLBS, who can bring such happiness and love into our lives.

I have questions I’d love to hear your answers to:

What skills did you learn/develop whilst making Buddy System that you feel has benefit you the most?

Was the juggle between acting and managing things behind the camera much different on this larger scale than in other content like your sketches?

Rhett are your eyes green, grey or blue man? Nobody agrees with me when I say they’re green.

Much love to you both. Your creativity and friendship is always inspiring to me.

A:
  • writing something of that length, then seeing it come together, taught us a lot.
  • thankfully we had a lot of qualified people helping with many points in the process. It was less stressful than we anticipated. Crazy, but not debilitating.
  • I don't know. Depends on what I'm wearing. I say green most of the time.
  • Rhett