You probably haven't heard of me. I'm just a normal husband and father of 3 that likes to learn, and kind of takes it to an extreme level.

Here's my YouTube Channel I'm currently working on the 100th Smarter Every Day episode. I figured timing was probably right for this if people are interested.

I'd be honored to be given the opportunity to earn your subscription. Subscribers are typically inquisitive types that are open to the idea of a guy from Alabama doing cool science.

I have a BS in Mechanical Engineering and an MS in Aerospace Engineering with a concentration in Rocket Propulsion. I'm a full time Engineer and shoot these videos on my vacation time and edit them when my kids/wife are asleep (tonight I'm doing this AMA while they sleep).

I'm in the passenger seat while Wayne drives us back home to Alabama from hunting in Mississippi. Tethering on my phone, but have a few hours to respond to any questions. I always thought if there was enough interest in me doing an AMA I'd make sure I could reply with video responses on my second channel , but now seems like a good time. Ask me anything.

My Proof Tweet

Also, here's a low quality upload I just made on FunnerEveryDay, the second channel.

Here's the Smarter Every Day Facebook page I am really horrible at facebook, so please be gentle.

Some popular questions are (populating list real time)

  • Lots of people are asking me about my faith with really really long questions. Obviously it will take time to go through those so I'm going to put them off for a bit.

  • "Where do you get the ideas?" -Answer

EDIT Just got home from Mississippi. Let me kiss my wife and tuck my kids in bed then I'll be back at it hard. I promise.

EDIT Back.

EDIT Pie is happening

Update Yeah... 6:30 AM. Back at it. Neato, front page.

Update Just showed my wife how to login to Reddit. She'll answer some as MrsPennywhistle. I expect you to be gentlemen.

EDIT Day 4. Looks like I answered all the questions and all the PMs. Thanks Reddit! You're great!

Comments: 1653 • Responses: 97  • Date: 

GreatBolshy199 karma

"(I also drop cats...)" Reddit would fucking hate you if this AMA got popular lol.

MrPennywhistle261 karma

Cats and Science man! Reddit is smart enough to know I wouldn't dare hurt a cat.

I would send them to space in a heartbeat though if given the chance.

ChadThePoser16 karma

I love watching Col. Chris Hatfield's reaction in the spinning video, you can tell he's about to do it himself right before you cut out.

My children and I really enjoy your channel btw. Thank you for all you do.

MrPennywhistle8 karma

I saw that glimmer in his eyes as well. I believe he was thinking about air resistance at the time.

Axerty13 karma


MrPennywhistle45 karma

IF? That's my favorite poem.

I taped it up in the bathroom stall at work. About 4 times a day, please stare at it. I almost have it memorized. My favorite line paragraph is:

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master; If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim; If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster And treat those two impostors just the same; If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools, Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken, And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

EisenFeuer190 karma

Of all the YouTube science guys you've met and scientists outside of that, has the fact that you're Christian come up? If so, how do they react, and have any deep discussions come of it? Do you feel that you have to hide your faith?

MrPennywhistle730 karma

I'm glad you've asked. Allow me to explain how you can invite Jesus into your heart to become your Lord and Savior....

Just kidding.

I do not have to hide my faith. Most of the people I work with are very professional and respectful when discussion differing convictions. Yes, very deep discussions have happened at many levels and places. Some of the people who help with Smarter Every Day do not share my beliefs, but they understand that I'm not trying to push my faith on anyone, and are happy to lend a hand to assist. My faith leads to my overwhelming curiosity and I think people can accept that without feeling like I'm pushing something down their throats. Believe it or not, /r/atheism actually supported me back in the day when I was asking for votes for the YouTube "On The Rise" contest. People get it. I Love Science. They Love Science. I do my level best to make the most informative and entertaining scientific content on YouTube, and they support that because it's promoting what we mutually love.

My faith is something that I arrived at through serious contemplation and self searching. I am glad to share with people who have serious inquiries, but I've found that people who want to engage in a public forum often have alterior motives. It's not uncommon for me to PM people who ask insightful questions about it on YouTube. More often than not when these discussion happen in a public forum I am quickly dismissed as a brainwashed southern boy who is clinging to a fairy tale he was brainwashed with long ago. Brainwashed individuals are on both sides of the aisle on this issue. Masses go to church every Sunday to for the wrong reasons because they have a surface level understanding of a social structure they've been introduced to through repitition (brainwashing). They know nothing of Jesus.

On the other side of the aisle, people worship clear communicators and desire to propagate anything they hear that affirms their position without ever thinking critically about it for themselves. In short, it's common for people to cling to preconcieved notions without ever honestly challenging why they believe what they believe in their heart of hearts. If you have never done this, I strongly recommend it. Be willing to admit that you may be wrong, and constantly challenge yourself to find the truth. Not the "truth" you want to see, but the actual truth.

webhyperion77 karma

I'm baptized and confirmed (protestant) when I was 16 but I stopped "believing" in God already a few years after. For me, something was just missing. I myself made the decision that I can't believe in something that people just tell me or something that is written in a book. But I also don't claim that God doesn't exist because there is the possibility that he could exist and I'm not denying that. I myself think that currently nobody has the ultimate truth to the existence of God(s) or Godess(es) and so I claim myself to be an agnostic. Nobody can know it and everyone is free to believe whatever he wants.

MrPennywhistle223 karma

It seems like you've made your mind up. Never be satisfied. Always be skeptical and challenge things and try to find the truth.

Darviticus59 karma

Destin, I've been wanting to say this for awhile so here goes.

I consider myself an atheist and my experience has been that: 1. It is very easy to get wound up on the questions of why we should do something and forget to do it. 2. People tend to come to very similar conclusions on how to live life, despite different starting points.

So, preamble over, thank you for everything you do. Your videos are not just educational but some of the most inspiring things I have seen on youtube.

The first thing I did when I got my new (higher resolution) monitor for my computer was go back and watch your dragonfly video. Something about that video just captures everything beautiful in the world for me.

Thank you, you help remind me why the world is beautiful.

MrPennywhistle95 karma

I know what you mean man. That video was very fun to make because it truly was me trying to understand something amazing about the world I had never noticed that was right in front of my face all along. The pterostigma on a dragonfly wing blew my mind once I understood what it was for. Being an Aerospace Engineer and understanding flutter, glide ratio, chord length, angle of attack, vibration dampening and vortex shedding at a whole other level than the average person..... man. I cannot describe the amount of influence those little dots on a dragonfly's wing has on me as a person. The design is simply incredible... and this sort of thing influences how I've made certain conclusions in my life. I studied this for myself several months ago Phil Torres taught me about the musculature a year ago and I studied the entire wing design months later. It happened today. I was dove hunting and thinking about how the birds fly and trying to figure out distances to calculate my "fire solution".... and a dragonfly flew by. It happens every time. I instantly stop what I'm doing and watch them, trying to find the pterostigma. I am truly in awe by that creature and the design of its wing. I agree with you, the world is beautiful.

PS And then I killed 8 dove.

traffick15 karma

You throw a bible verse in every video of yours I've seen, some would argue that's a subversive way of preaching.

MrPennywhistle89 karma

I reference it because it is a source of joy, determination and inspiration for me. If we spend 15 minutes exploring something awesome that we all enjoy and learn from and people are upset by something that lasts 2 seconds at the end of the video when everything else is over.... well... they probably are missing the point of my efforts. I'm mature enough to filter what I see and determine people's intentions. I hope others are the same.

edit grammer

naroays5 karma

Hi Destin, I love your videos, but I respectfully disagree with the Bible quotes. While it is an inspiration for some, it can also be seen as a tool of oppression for others. Personally, my view is that religion and science are not compatible for a number of reasons and should be completely separate.

That said however, if it makes you happy, and because it's your personal videos, feel free to do it as long as you continue covering interesting subjects!

Two of my favorites are the ones you did on the shockwave propagation and bubble formation when the gun is fired underwater; and the one on helicopter blade stalls! I love the way you capture all these phenomena with the high speed camera, and then go ahead and explain the physics of what you show.

MrPennywhistle8 karma


Thanks for your respectful disagreement! I also respect you. I'm very careful about how I pick the verses, and hope you do not feel oppressed by them. That being said, I am aware that something that is a source of freedom and insight for me could somehow be viewed as something used to enslave by others. Feel free to PM me if you'd like to discuss and educate me on a more personal level. I'm always willing and ready to listen. It may take me a few days to clean out my inbox, but I'll look for you.

Sappho_Paints170 karma

Hi Destin! What do you think of the Hyperloop proposed by Elon Musk? Is the science behind the propulsion sound, and do you think the project is feasible?

MrPennywhistle541 karma

When I was a young boy my dog was hit by a car. I really loved him, so it became clear to me that the most important issue facing our world was dogs being hit by cars. I proposed to my father that we enclose all roads with long clear tubes and allow the cars to drive inside them. So yeah, Hyperloop sounds awesome.

I'm a big fan of disruptive high-stakes innovation.

I_will_fix_this110 karma

You just gave me another reason to love Elon Musk...and you

MrPennywhistle271 karma

RIP Nickle the dog

-beleted-40 karma

Awww he was named for an element!! Or a coin but I like to think of the element more.

Edgar4llanPwn51 karma

Nickel is the element.

miltonsnead7 karma

In the U.S. "nickle" and "nickel" are just alternative spellings of the same word that is used for the element, metal and coin; similar to the way center and centre are alternative spellings of the same word.

MrPennywhistle22 karma

Smarter Every Day as a new way to kill a pun thread?

nickleplated12 karma

I'm sorry about your dog, but I love that you spell nickle that way.

MrPennywhistle32 karma

It rhymes with pickle doesn't it?

MrPennywhistle176 karma

I do not see dog fatalities factored into the analysis.

immorta1132 karma

Hey Destin love your videos! What is the most interesting factoid that you know?

MrPennywhistle423 karma

There are over 6 billion people on this planet who have thoughts, dreams, desires, and the desire to love and be loved.... to these people, these feelings are just as important as mine are to me. It's really hard for me to understand how self centered I really am.

r0ugew0lf95 karma

I've always been really interested in all your adventures and am really envious of what you do. My favorite video of yours is the one where you walked around Machu Picchu with the GoPro on your head and the binaural recording device.

My questions are: What was your favorite adventure/video and are there any trips you're looking forward to or want to do?

MrPennywhistle144 karma

I also love the binaural MP video. I didn't know that was possible until Gordon from A Shell In The Pit taught me about it and outfitted me. Seriously awesome.

One of my favorite videos was Why you didn't die at birth for obvious reasons. I really love my family and am really pumped when I can include them.

I'm always looking forward to my next adventure. I save up money for quite a while and plan the trips far in advance. Recently people have been helping me fund the adventures, and that's a really big deal.

Something I want to do? I want to be an astronaut. Many people say this... But I really mean it. I meet the criteria, and I will continue to submit as long as they accept applications.

BioGeek21 karma

What are the criteria for becoming an astronaut and in which areas are your qualifications / skills lacking if you look at the persons that got selected for the candidate program?

MrPennywhistle154 karma

Let me google that for you. Technically I am very qualified. A PhD would really help. That being said, I cannot hold a candle to the people NASA selected. They are the best for the job, which is why they were selected.

This really is what Smarter Every Day is all about. I cannot simply say at this point "wow, those people are so amazing I can never be that good" and give up. If I continue to grow and develop as a person EVERY DAY perhaps some day I will be deemed worthy. Presently I am not worthy.

TimTheSauropod24 karma

The wallpaper I made in 30 seconds. Thanks for being inspiring Destin.

MrPennywhistle14 karma

Whoa. Wow... that's pretty deep.

mrpink00091 karma

Hi Destin, I don't have a question, just keep up the good work. Also greetings from the UK.

MrPennywhistle79 karma

Ah, Mr. Pink. We meet again.

Lite-Black67 karma

  • Your videos from the Amazon and Machu Picchu were amazing, and must have taken a lot of effort/money, what kind of video/series would you make if you had unlimited funds/time?

  • What advice wold you give to people who want to teach science through demonstration?

  • Do you have any more collaborations planned?

MrPennywhistle191 karma

  • I was recently asked this question and I had no good answer. I'm equally fascinated by butterflies in my backyard and by the impact drill on the Mars Rover. WHO AM I KIDDING I WOULD GO TO THE INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION

  • Wear safety goggles.

  • Man yeah. I visited the Mars Rover and the Jet Propulsion Lab. I got a cool video there that I haven't got around to uploading. I can't believe I'm sitting on footage of the Mars Rover. What's wrong with me? Just kidding. If I revealed all the things I've filmed over the last 2 years and haven't uploaded you wouldn't believe me. Fatherhood takes priority.

Drezemma17 karma

All jokes aside, I would be really interested in whatever advice you could give to people who teach science through demonstrations. I tutor a high school freshmen class that lacks the scientific background to even apply the scientific method. Some of these students are special needs students, but the large majority are filled with students who are genuinely disinterested in science. Is there any advice you can give me and my fellow science tutors to inspire students, or at least make them think, "Hey, science is actually kinda cool!"?

MrPennywhistle26 karma

Get on their level man. My son asks me to play trains with him often. My wife has instructed me that its really important that I actually, physically get on the floor on his level and play trains. She's pretty insightful.

Design an experiment about something they love that can only be solved with the scientific method. Also, I was serious about safety goggles.

lessleading66 karma


You are always so damned happy in your videos! It's wonderful to see you still have your sense of wonder!

What drives you to find the next concept to discover?

Tah muchly, Al

MrPennywhistle93 karma

I typed a huge answer to this. Where did it go?

I did a TedX talk once in Huntsville. Click Here to Watch it. I didn't do that great, but I guess it gives you a little insight into my mind.

mysteryguitarm62 karma

Hello Destin!

No questions -- just thank you for inspiring me to take my videos further!

Can't wait to do something big with ya!

MrPennywhistle51 karma

Ladies and gentlemen..... The great Mystery Guitar Man, Joe Penna

(slow clap)

rcmotorsect49 karma

If you were able to send something into space(<1 Pound, <8 inches) what would it be?

MrPennywhistle120 karma

I invented something in my garage that would be incredible. I haven't patented it yet so I won't talk about it. Seriously though, it is my goal to send it so I will continue to worth through the process.

messyhair4244 karma

Hi Destin, your videos are great, I especially love the helicopter physics series, but I find them stimulating. The great group of educational channels on Youtube (Smartereveryday, vsauce, crashcourse, thebrainscoop, periodicvideos (, scishow, pbsideachannel, asapscience, vihart, and probably more I've missed) are my favorite part of the Internet, so thank you for being a part of that.

What topics do you have coming up, other than the preview of Australia? How do you come up with your ideas?

MrPennywhistle42 karma

I am glad you are stimulated.

I would consider myself friends with all the people you mentioned (like... phone number friends). You forgot Henry from MinutePhysics, Derek from Veritasium, and CGPGrey.

texasjac38 karma

Hey Destin. I am a senior in high school right now and am taking all the math and science that I can. I am interested in working with the Aerospace industry, but am not sure what I should major in. Should I just get straight to it and major in Aerospace Engineering or should I major in something like Mechanical or Electrical Engineering?

Thanks for doing this AMA! Keep up the good work!

MrPennywhistle98 karma

Mechanical Engineering. If your University of choice offers an ElectroMechanical focus that would be even better. With a Mechanical Engineering degree I have worked on Jet fuel pumps for fighter jets, Machines that mass produce snack cakes, and rockets. Mechanical Engineering is extremely versatile in my opinion if you're savvy with Electronics to buttress up your skills.

So yeah... Mechancial.

Just a note, there's no reason you must get a 4 year degree. I have TONS of respect for skilled tradesmen. My father was a skilled Tradesman. These people are making more money these days because the scientist/engineering market is becoming saturated as America forgets how to actually do stuff with their hands. Just a thought.

Just for me, if you do become an Engineer... make sure you're one who actually is capable of Engineering, not just giving presentations.

SuckyPoemWriter31 karma

Hello Destin! Hope you're still working on your postcard room cause I have one on the way soon.

What exactly do you do for your job? and what is your official job title?

Also you once said you don't have a cool accent, and I just wanted you to know you're wrong about that.

MrPennywhistle49 karma

Yep! Still working on the room. We're trying to work on a way to share all the postcards on a Google map digitally. It's quite time consuming to digitize, sanitize personal info, etc. I'm still working on it, but fatherhood is priority 1.

My official title is "Flight Test Engineer".

Haha... I 'preciate it.

bbrantome30 karma

You've made almost a hundred videos that have both enlightened me and confused me to no remorse. Out of all those videos, what was the most fun to make?

MrPennywhistle75 karma

I really enjoyed the helicopter series because I was truly trying to learn that information. I made several videos with several people. I consulted real military pilots (like... tons of them). I had multiple revelations right there while recording the video all throughout that series.

Also, the pre-production process for this video was enjoyable.

wazoheat42 karma

Also, the pre-production process for this video[2] was enjoyable.

MrPennywhistle31 karma

There is a 100% chance that you're a man.

wazoheat13 karma

An immature man at that! Thanks for all the knowledge Destin, you make our work at /r/askscience easier when we can just link to your awesome explanations :D

MrPennywhistle17 karma

Thanks man, I'm glad to hear that you use them on occasion. I tried to get flair in there one time but they never replied.

Borian9 karma

the helicopter series is just pure awesome, I watched it more than 3 times and had one of the photos as my wallpaper for a long time

MrPennywhistle8 karma

I left a reply here somewhere to a link to the higher quality images on the facebook page.

BioGeek29 karma

At the end of some of your videos above your logo there briefly flashes 'Proverbs 4' (Get Wisdom At Any Cost). Does this means that you're religious and if so:

  • what's your take on religion?
  • how is being religious compatible with an always wondering, inquiring mind like yours?

MrPennywhistle55 karma

I answered this on Brady's video interview once upon a time here. That being said, I had just woken up and did not completely answer the question to my own satisfaction. In the interview it seems like I'm placing the burden of proof on "disproving God's existence" which is dangerous territory for those who don't know me. For me personally, the order in nature is so overwhelming and statistically improbable that God is evident to me. To take that step is one thing, but to take yet another and believe in Jesus of the Bible is quite another. This answer is quite deep for me personally and something I arrived at over an extended period of about a year and a half. I have a son named after an individual who once tested God. This is not something I have arrived at by setting this wondering, inquiring mind that you observed properly off to the side. Belief in Jesus is something that I surrendered to much like how Japan surrendered to the US during WWII. It wasn't until significant overwhelming personal understanding of defeat that the decision was made. Up til that point every inch was fought for to the death.

Babykickenpro28 karma

First i want to say I LOVE YOUR VIDEOS and thank you for continuing to put out wonderful content.

Have you ever played Kerbal space program? If you haven't it is definitely a game thats down your alley :P

MrPennywhistle65 karma

I've heard that. Does it factor in things like the Tsiolkovsky equation and Kepler's laws?

Note: I may or may not be tricking people into learning with those links.

SoulWager31 karma

Those are implicit in the game mechanics, while you can calculate your ∆v from the rocket equation, trial and error is also a perfectly valid way to play the game. You can take the game as seriously or casually as you want. There are also mods that will calculate ∆v as you're building and flying your rocket.

There are some tradeoffs made between realism and playability. The two biggest are the size/density of planets, and that gravity isn't n-body. Gravity is simulated with conic patching, so you only see gravity from one planet/moon/sun at a time, and don't see Lagrange points.

MrPennywhistle43 karma

You had me at ∆v.

Confirmed, this is awesome.

ILikeSciencyStuff20 karma

Just dropped by to say that I love your work.

In particular I find your explanations on fluid dynamics very interesting and fascinating(honey coiling, vortex shedding etc).

If I may be so bold as to suggest a topic: Helium superfluidity.

Thanks again for doing what you do so well.

MrPennywhistle50 karma

Thanks! Feel free to ship the equipment necessary to do this to my PO box.

Gal1ifrey19 karma

Have you applied to subbable?

MrPennywhistle49 karma

I want to talk to the Green Brothers about it. Right now I have a sponsorship with for a few more months. I'm quite happy with their support, but I experience the same issues internally as the great /r/cgpgrey Explained in this video.

ooger17 karma

^ This. Let us give you money.

MrPennywhistle21 karma

There's been a link to the kids college fund on the channel page for several years now. I will be doing posters in a unique way to celebrate the 100th episode. You might want to wait for that.

Gal1ifrey18 karma

What was the most difficult video to make?

MrPennywhistle52 karma

Stop and think about what kind of wife I must have to support me through all this. Keep in mind at this time Smarter Every Day was a losing proposition for us. The goal was to one day make money for college for the kids. At this point it was a money sink. My wife is amazing and really believes in me.

Nine_Cats3 karma

Has it been an okay source of income more recently? The the underwater AK vid I've been watching them as they came out, today I've been going through all your old vids. Your style is perfect!

MrPennywhistle4 karma

My YouTube monetization has been hosed up lately. Its' quite strange. The sponsorship has been very helpful.

MadnessBunny17 karma

Where do you get all the different ideas for your videos?? They're great!!

MrPennywhistle47 karma

This is the question I get more than any other. In short, I don't seek out the ideas, it's just how my mind views the world. I'm interested in nearly everything. It's hard to describe. When I try to explain how my mind works I just say that I'm a "tinker thinker". When I was younger my Dad climbed a huge radio tower to change a light bulb at the top because the other guys in his HAM radio club were scared of heights. When he got back down to the bottom, the guys that were keeping me told him that I kept asking questions about how grasshopper legs worked. I was 5 or so I'm told. I don't know how to answer your question. Basically I'm really curious and attracted to people who know more than I do about virtually any topic. I'm glad you enjoy them!

NoWaitItsThis29 karma

How DOES a grasshopper leg work?

MrPennywhistle64 karma

Upcoming video. It's amazing. Really amazing.

cathedrameregulaemea5 karma

Hey Destin.. you're awesome :D If you're still reading this.. then a question. You say

I'm interested in nearly everything.

So, how d'you ever get anything done? Since there's no limit to the kind, and the number of questions we can ask about any phenomenon, how d'you ever decide to objectively investigate one particular question? i.e. How d'you discipline yourself and constrain scientific inquisition to select ONE experimental variable (among the many that govern each situation)? And how IN-THE-NAME-OF-HOLY-EVERYTHING can you ever get yourself to edit a video to have a finite length, thereby concluding that the current video's 'answered' a question, when. really, each answer raises more questions? :)

Let me clarify with an example that illustrates what's going through my head while watching one of those videos: take the Bat flight one for example.

He's inside a hollow... whaa? Strangler vine? How did the tree trunk decompose without falling over and tearing down the vine? Where's the vine getting its mechanical support from? Haha..hmm..Bats pee? I know birds expel fluids through feces.. but yeah, I guess they are mammals after all..Damn.. he should really wash it off.. wonder what pathogens/toxins it carries... do bats use urine to mark territtory? Do flying animals even HAVE a concept of territtory? Uhh..yeah..I've seen pigeons chasing other pigeons away...but that's from a perch..hmm.. Great..more carcasses... wait what? Owls regurgitate round bony pellets.. how is the relative spatial information conserved? They've been tossed and turned in the gizzard...PIV FTW! Bats swim?!! Awesome. Why? Wait..they nest in caves, so small bat-lings when learning to fly often flop down into water at the cave floor? Adaptation? Can they take off from water? Probably not..

... and so on.. Every experience leading to a ton of questions, whenever I shine my cognitive thought on it.. and the process of questioning becoming an experience in itself, leading to more. And MORE. Ceasing Pausing only when I fall asleep/forget/get hungry enough to have to go eat.

So... how d'you ever get anything done? :)

MrPennywhistle3 karma

Man I really enjoyed reading your inner monologue there. Seriously, thanks for that! I never thought about what the viewer is thinking. It's one big exploration to me. At some point I just chop it off and send it to the presses!

I enjoyed that.

wquennelle5 karma

Hi Destin I have a couple of boys about 8 now who have the same kind of of inquisitive nature that you describe in yourself. I feed this as much as possible and your videos are a big help. What would you say is the best way to foster their interest in discovery?

MrPennywhistle14 karma

I answered this earlier but can't find the reply. I said to buy them a really nice microscope (super duper nice) and get them a boomerang and make them play outside. Buy them an old bicycle and let them take it apart. Stuff like that.

2ndLaw16 karma

Would you rather drop 1000 cat-size horses or 1 horse sized cat?

MrPennywhistle29 karma

What height and orientation? How many variables am I able to control?

MrPennywhistle44 karma

Doesn't look like you're going to answer. I'm going with cat sized horse if it's long hair because he can limit his terminal velocity better and doesn't have a clavicle and has a better chance of survival. Horses always break their legs doing simple stuff.

panther51313 karma

Destin, I'm a more recent fan of yours having just started following you since the Prince Rupert's Drop video. I just wanted to stop by and say that you have made learning about so many topic an assure joy. (although my legs still might be crossed from your video on priapism)

MrPennywhistle16 karma

An now we know why the "if it lasts longer than 4 hours it's an emergency" statement on Viagra commercials is so important. Sergei is awesome. I'm so glad he took the time to teach me that.

caekles13 karma

No question, just a deaf user here wanting to thank you for implementing captioning software on your videos. :)

MrPennywhistle10 karma

That's very awesome! Andrew Jackson is the man to thank (as you know from the note at the end). Awesome dude!

UnknownChaser13 karma

Destin, what do you think has been your favorite thing to learn/teach about?

MrPennywhistle92 karma

How to be a good father. My wife has a Master's degree in Child Development and we both take parenting very seriously. I fail at parenting often, but it is my heart's desire to get it right. I include my children in videos often because I want other people to see Fatherhood as a very important role. Many of society's problem could be helped by solid families led by solid husbands and fathers. 100 years from now someone may not know my name or that I ever existed, but the world can be different if I properly invest in the life of a child.

THEfogVAULT13 karma

Well then, sort of creepy that your last sentence is word for word the exact same phrase my mum once said to me when asking her why she had children.

MrPennywhistle53 karma

Go brush your teeth and put your pajamas on.

ZeMilkman3 karma

Many of society's problem could be helped by solid families led by solid husbands and fathers.

I can't wait for SRS on this one.

MrPennywhistle4 karma

I give up, what's SRS?

xixoxixa13 karma

My kids and I absolutely love your videos.

I told my daughter that you are doing this AMA and told her to ask a question, so from 8 year old Kaitelynn, 'Why did you choose to make smarter every day?'

She also wants you to know that her favorite clip is the one of the macaws from South America. After she watched it, her and her brother and their friends tried to fly down the staircase.

Gal1ifrey13 karma

If you had a time machine would you go to the future or past?

MrPennywhistle28 karma

The past. I've always wondered what Rome was like. Think about it... they probably had chain restaurants. I would love to be an apprentice to a Roman Engineer for 3 months.

Wait... how far into the future am I allowed to go?

Vaginal_Rights12 karma

Hey Destin!!! I love all of your videos! I was wondering what your favorite adventure was, and if you have any other awesome videos coming up that you wouldn't mind talking about. Other than that, thank you SO much for making science so interesting and easy to learn and understand. Thanks for making me smarter every day.

MrPennywhistle21 karma

This guy lives really close to me. We know each other now. I've been over to his house enough times that I know what his wife's sweet tea tastes like. In the south you know if wives make their tea too sweet or too bitter. So yeah, imagine what we did together.

ChemaShimaV211 karma

Hi Destin! I have been watching your videos since that chicken head tracking video. Really interesting stuff! I love how your channel has grown over time. I look up to you and I hope I could grow up to be an interesting father like yourself!

I am a current college student and my question (well... more of a request) is: Will you do more videos about insects (or arthropods in general) in the future? Your videos influenced my decision to take an entomology class this semester!

MrPennywhistle11 karma

Man that's awesome. Short answer is YES.

Bkm7211 karma

Probably never heard of you? Hell, I learned about you FROM reddit. I Subscribed after I watched the guns shot underwater vids. Awesome stuff!

MrPennywhistle11 karma

Cool man. Glad to hear it!

The Narwhal bacons at midnight.

Sreent11 karma

Destin, big props! I love your videos and have used a screencap from the nighttime helicopter video as my background since that video was made. I also particularly enjoyed the video on the prince rupert's drop. Great job illustrating the varying tension forces on that one! What's coming up soon in the smarter every day world?

MrPennywhistle15 karma

Here's a link to the higher res versions on the Smarter Every Day Facebook page. I post stuff there from time to time that people on YouTube don't see (like this AMA).

tantam0q9 karma

Forgive me if this is an obvious question, but what's behind the mouse logo at the end of your videos? Is it Reepicheep from Narnia, perchance?

MrPennywhistle25 karma

Inspired by the character I would say. He's a character willing to fight and die for what is right, even in the face of overwhelming opposition. He always does what is right, even if it is difficult. His goal is to be beyond reproach and to serve others completely. That character really resonates with me in a deep meaningful way.

thaFalkon8 karma

What made you decide to make educational YouTube videos?

What are your recommendations for getting a small YouTube channel off the ground?

MrPennywhistle19 karma

I really enjoy communicating ideas to others. More specifically, I enjoy learning, and I enjoy teaching. My first video was educational. Well, technically it was educational.

I recommending being real and posting good content. Get to the point and don't take yourself too seriously. If you're not doing it simply for the fun of it, don't start. If your goal is to grow and become huge and become important you're probably in it for the wrong reasons.

coljnr98 karma

Hey Destin! I met you at VidCon, and hung out at your booth for a while watching you blow up stick bombs. I'm sure you've answered this on your channel somewhere, but what is your educational background? And what line of work are you in apart from YouTube?

MrPennywhistle24 karma

Cool man, thanks for hanging out! I had a lot of fun with you guys. How cool was it that Gavin hung out with us too?

I'm an Engineer. More specifically, I test rockets. I have a BS in Mechanical Engineering and a MS in Aerospace Engineering with a concentration in Rocket Propulsion. I'm more knowledgeable on solid propulsion systems thank liquids if that matters to you.

No_poli8 karma

Hey Destin, I hope your still answering questions and I hope you really mean it when you say "ask me anything" because this one isn't going to be an easy one.

I have enjoyed your videos for some time and love each and everyone of them. My question is in regards to your current furlough. I understand that times are tough when things like this happen. I also think it is an amazing idea to use your channel as a means to help your family while you go through this.

On your last video we saw you go to Australia. I know you mentioned that your airfare was paid for, but a trip like that even with airfare covered incurs many other expenses that must come out of your pocket. So here it is; how can I, as your fan, be convinced to sign up for an ad you promote on the basis of going through hard times when I see you go on trips like Australia?

Thank you in advanced and thank you for all your videos. People like you really make the world smarter everyday.... (see what I did there?)

MrPennywhistle38 karma

First of all, the furlough has been lifted. (Hooray!)

Feel free to contact the owner of the Science Alert facebook page and ask him what he paid for and what he didn't. Seriously.... I encourage you to.

You know what? I'll just tell you the story.

Ten years ago when I married my wife I wanted to take her to the "Moon Palace all inclusive resort" in Cancun for our honeymoon. I had only had my job for a few months before our wedding, so the money wasn't there. We went to Asheville North Carolina (shout out to the 1900 Inn on Montford Bed and breakfast). I told my wife that for our 10 year anniversary I would take her "somewhere big.... like New Zealand or Australia big". My grandfather had taken me to New Zealand when I was younger after cutting down some bad timber for pulpwood and I really wanted to take my bride there some day. 9 years rolls around and we start rat holing money for Australia. We know how much we have to save. Meanwhile, the President and Congress decided to play a game of chicken with the chips on the table being federal employees jobs. Neither side blinked and they each blamed the other. I was told I would lose over %25 of my pay for a significant amount of time. I go into provide for the family preservation mode. Australia is no longer an option. We reallocate those funds in preparation for impending doom, cut back on our retirement contributions, and button down the hatches (we are very conservative financially). I secretly feel like a failure for not being able to take her to Aus. Meanwhile, people of faith would say that non-coincidentally National Science Week plans in Australia start to develop. Chris from Science Alert calls me and asks me if I would be willing to come to Australia to explore science education in Australia....oh by the way (unbeknownst to him) it happens to be right around my 10 year anniversary (I kid you not). I roll the dice and say "only if you will bring my wife over as well". Two days later he confirmed. I did a happy dance, said a prayer of thanksgiving, and told my wife who broke down in tears because of how emotionally involved we were at this point. We knew it would be special so we planned for it.... we saw it being taken away by foolish people so we planned for it.... we accepted the outcome... yet we were still provided for.

So there...

how can I, as your fan, be convinced to sign up for an ad you promote on the basis of going through hard times when I see you go on trips like Australia?

It has become very clear to me in a very specific emotional and personal way that my needs (and sometimes even my purest dreams) will be provided for whether or not you support me. If you have any apprehension whatsoever about investing in me or Smarter Every Day, by all means DO NOT. Keep your money of skills (some people offer help in the form of art or caption translation) set aside for helping yourself and those around you in your immediate monkey sphere. If, however you feel that for whatever reason Smarter Every Day is a good thing and is worth helping and you have spare to help, I am very appreciative. One other note. I'm not trying to trick you into doing something I don't agree with. That's not my style. If you listen to the tone of my ad, you will see that I'm genuinely trying to tell you something that will help you. That being said, I'm extremely happy and thankful to be given the opportunity to generate funds for my family by working very hard (I cannot explain how much effort goes into these videos). I will continue to do this as long as I am capable.

No_poli8 karma

Thank you for your honest answer. I honestly didn't think this would be answered at all. I'm sure I am not the only person that had this question. I also have a family and I also understand things like buckling down right now (also government job), and the wish to take your wife somewhere you've always dreamed of (I also could not take my wife on a honeymoon). I will still watch anything and everything you put out. And when the time comes I will also like to contribute for what you have done for many people wanting to learn something. Again thank you!

MrPennywhistle14 karma

Seriously though, learn you wife's love language. For some reason keeping the kitchen counter clean is important to my wife. I don't get it, but it's important to her.

thelug3r7 karma

If you were to go on the mars colonization and you could only bring 5 non-essential items, what would you take?

MrPennywhistle26 karma

A towel is essential, so I won't mention that.

  • Probably something that I can always get better at but never master, like a guitar (I cannot play a guitar).
  • Some form of method to communicate back at very high bandwidths.
  • A library of some sort (psychologically this may be deemed essential)
  • Photos of people I love.
  • Some method of writing down or storing information in a manner that could stay on the surface for a long time. A scribe pen and sheets of metal?

wquennelle7 karma

Hi Destin I have a couple of boys about 8 now who have the same kind of of inquisitive nature that you describe in yourself. I feed this as much as possible and your videos are a big help. What would you say is the best way to foster their interest in discovery?

MrPennywhistle13 karma

Buy them a microscope. Like.... a good one. A seriously good one. I just did that. Also, buy them a boomerang and make them play outside.

FrenchTheLlama6 karma

Hey Destin! I loved your video with Henry (which is actually what brought me to your channel). Are you thinking of doing a collaboration with other science youtubers like Veritasium, Vsauce, CGPGrey, etc.?

Also, have you ever tried Kerbal Space Program? I think you'd like it. /r/kerbalspaceprogram is a cool place, too.

MrPennywhistle10 karma

There are two types of collaborations on YouTube. The first is the one where both parties are simply working with each other to boost each other's subscriber base, or power. It's like two highlanders fighting except neither dies and they both get more powerful.... "cross-pollinations" I call it.

The second type is what I like to do. It's the "I really like this guy and we really want to work with each other and we are glad we will help each other but we're really doing this because it's fun and awesome." Those are the types I like to do. That being said, Derek and I have shot footage for one, I've worked with Michael in the past, and Grey and I are both too busy to stop and think about something we talked about long ago. These are really the best kind. If they happen they happen and it feels right. If they don't, they don't.

yellowsnow695 karma


MrPennywhistle24 karma

Time manageme....

karate_kid1065 karma


MrPennywhistle4 karma


Obeh5 karma

Where do you find the motivation to upload youtube videos without making a personal profit. I understand it is for your kids college funding, but you spend all your time and effort on top of you job to make some of the best videos on Youtube. Thanks for the AMA! Big Fan!

MrPennywhistle13 karma

To be transparent, I would argue that I Do make a personal profit. There is money going into an account for my children's education. I now use a portion of this money to help Smarter Every Day run itself without affecting the normal flow of our family finances. Often making Episodes involves something fun, like taking the family to the zoo or the McWane center (science museum in Birmingham), which I rationalize to myself is also educational for the kids. I use these funds for these types of things without reservation.

I'm about to offer up some really awesome posters. These funds will probably be split between SED operation and college fund.

The money comes from advertisements on YouTube and more recently the sponsorship.

When someone donates through the paypal link on the Channel page, these funds go directly to the College fund investment.

Hey Wife... are you getting all this? I finally typed it out so we have it down now.

The_Dude_425 karma

Thank you for creating Smarter Everyday, you provide quality science explanations plus high speed video plus the occasional redneck awesome (SC native here). I found your channel shortly after you made the helicopter series and now I'm checking my Youtube everyday in hopes that you have something posted even if it's a preview video a minute long. I suppose my first question is, what would you like to record or make a series about next? Even if it's something completely outrageous or silly? Oh and this isn't so much a question as a desperate plea to see you in person but would you ever want to film performance or flow arts in high speed? I know of a fire performance troupe in Augusta, GA and I think it would be pretty cool to see their stuff in slow motion. Oh and loads of fire, that's always nice too.

MrPennywhistle6 karma

Thank you for taking the time to actively seek out my videos. I really appreciate that. I update Facebook and Twitter often to keep people who really want to keep tabs on what I'm doing.

It has been well documented that I enjoy fire.

scslmd5 karma

Hi Destin, Subscribed to your YouTube channel back when you mounted the camera to the chicken head and tuned in ever since. Keep up the excellent work and I hope you get to make more interesting videos in the future.

MrPennywhistle18 karma

I tell you what... you play with your chicken on the internet once and no one ever forgets.

Life Protip: Don't play with your chicken on the internet.

ThePolish5 karma

You are AWESOME! I've been subscribed since the Detonation vs Deflagration video oh so long ago. You have a great way to teaching things that would otherwise go right over a lot of our heads.

My question for you, have you or do you plan to do anything in regard to materials that go into machines in the aerospace industry? My thinking is, as with anything that gets "corrosion tested" materials that are selected for use in space and aircraft must go through some sort of treatment and testing before finally put to use.

Aside from what I think would be the obvious like weight considerations, how does each alloy get vetted as a contender to finally be the skin of a plane or the body of a rocket?

Edit: by the way... ROLL TIDE!

MrPennywhistle3 karma

It depends on where on the body of the air/spacecraft the material is located. I did some work back in the day (internship in Mississippi) on the internal workings of fuel pumps for fighter planes. Did you know fighter planes use their own fuel as a working hydraulic fluid? I didn't either! (14 years ago). This reduces weight by not requiring an entirely secondary plumbing system in the plane for hydraulic fluid. Now, what problems does this create? The viscosity and lubricity are vastly different, yes? Pumping this fluid at the pressures and flow rates required just became really freaking hard. Therefore, the internal workings of these pumps are modern marvels of mechanical engineering.

I distracted myself during my answer. I'm just going to leave it at that for now, understanding I didn't really answer your question to your satisfaction. Suffice it to say, yes.

BlueFlag4 karma

Have you ever done anything with firearms?

MrPennywhistle4 karma

Um... yeah

Gal1ifrey4 karma

How is your family doing?

MrPennywhistle7 karma

We're doing well, thank you for asking.

thenerd404 karma

Destin, I wanted to tell you that my father teaches a class relating to guns and uses many of the underwater gun shot videos as teaching materials and everyone in the class loves them so keep it up. Out of all the things you've posted I've found all the ones relating to guns the most interesting and I look forward to more in the future.

On to the question: If you were allowed into the astronaut program what would be the first thing you did in space?

MrPennywhistle4 karma

Probably change my diaper from launch.

In those situations I'm pretty task oriented. I would be following the operating procedures by the book until given the go ahead to explore. I haven't thought about that really. It's not about getting to play in space for me, it's about doing amazing science in a truly unique environment.

Earnest_214 karma

What was it like working with Gavin and Dan of the Slowmoguys?

MrPennywhistle21 karma

(Setting up the cameras and gear) Like walking through a cool autumn forest and descending a slowly falling hill. What's this? A gentle stream? Let us cross this stream and listen to the babbling brook as the tiptoe across the slippery stone train through the shortest distance across.

(Immediately after everything is setup) WHY AM I ON FIRE.

bob112224 karma

Love the videos man, subscribed ages ago. It's not just the content but its also your delivery, perhaps you should consider teaching later in life!

MrPennywhistle7 karma

I already do!

Edit on YouTube

Pedropz3 karma

Hi, Destin. How are you? I'm a big fan and really enjoy your work, keep the videos going!

I can't think of good questions, so I'll only make a silly one:

  • What is the reason for your username? (I don't know if you already answered this, but what can I do...)

Cheers from Brazil!!!

MrPennywhistle16 karma

A long time ago I created a Pseudonym named Josiah Pennywhistle. Every time I was asked to fill out junk maily type stuff I would fill it out on behalf of Josiah Pennywhistle. When I go to my mailbox, if I get mail I keep it. If MrPennywhistle gets mail, it goes directly in the trash. I basically created a spam filter for myself for real life mail. I really like the name because it's whimsical and old fashioned at the same time. Reminds me of the type of guy who would wear a monocle and wrestle a bear at the circus, then have a smashing good time with his fine fellows. Anyways, in the early days of my YouTube channel I would put "PennyWhistle Productions" on my videos so I would be able to search for them on Google and find them easily. It gave me something Googleable I could tell my friends and family so they could find them. Later on I decided to brand my channel something easier to grab hold of for like minded people and I dropped Pennywhistle Productions.

Josiah still gets live credit cards in the mail (I throw them away).

Great question.

Edit: Wresling a bear instead of boxing a bear.

bdfull3r3 karma

I love your videos ever since i stumbled upon then in college as a work study w couple years back. My question is what aspect of sciences physics and YouTube would you want to experiment with but you r audience wouldn't be too receptive of?

MrPennywhistle3 karma

I'm going to keep that information close to vest so it just happens and people don't expect it. The last spider video I did was pretty difficult for me to film personally because I was uncomfortable but in the end I decided the information could be helpful to people everywhere.

idleway3 karma

Would like to know, what kind of camera you use the most?

MrPennywhistle3 karma

Canon 60D. Just ordered a 70D because it can autofocus!

r1ckjam353 karma

What is your favorite type of bagel?

MrPennywhistle9 karma

My wife is partial to english muffins, but I really enjoy a good 'ol plain bagel with strawberry cream cheese. Toasted, of course.

deltaflip3 karma

If you were ever given the chance, would you work with Gavin Free and Dan Gruchy of Slomoguys on a video?

sallyshipton5 karma

He did! Here and here.

edit: link formatting.

MrPennywhistle2 karma


wsbking3 karma

As a 14 year old with a passion for science, I have been looking into starting a youtube channel. Any pro-tips?

MrPennywhistle7 karma

Do it because you love it and would do it even if no one was watching. Do not do it for personal glory. Do it to serve others.

Floodman113 karma

Hey Destin! I've been a fan of SED since I saw the Helicopter deep dive at the end of last year. I just want to thank you for all of your work and sacrifice to put on my favourite youtube channel by far!

Questions: Where do you come up with the ideas for various episodes? Some of them (like the prince rupert drop) are things that I would have never heard about otherwise!

Also, how did you get involved in doing all of the (brilliant) slo-mo videos that you do?

Thanks for all your work! Hope you enjoyed Australia

MrPennywhistle6 karma

I'm glad you enjoy them!

Ideas just happen. I usually don't actively seek them out. They jump out of the grass and bite me like a snake.

I've been working with High Speed Cameras (many different models/brands) at some level or other for about 10 years as part of my engineering job. I prefer phantoms for several reasons.

Hardrockgod2 karma

Destin, what made you decide to do the SmarterEveryDay videos? Also keep up the good work I love watching yours and minutephysics videos.

MrPennywhistle8 karma

I enjoy teaching so I made videos. I decided to label them as Smarter Every Day when I started to take it seriously and wanted to give people a "brand" or "handle" to attach mentally to what I do. I took a marketing course in undergrad and that was one of the only things I remember. Brands are important.

stephysite2 karma

How did you get started doing the videos? Any apprehensions to doing them?

MrPennywhistle8 karma

I bought my wife a MacBook for Christmas in 2006. It had iMovie on it... I wanted to understand iMovie. The rest is history.

alexkasmira2 karma

Hey Destin, When you see some of the really bright professors Brady or Derek bring onto their shows (and I'm sure you're in contact with some as well) you contemplate going back for your PhD in any field at some point, or ever think about getting a position doing research at a University?

MrPennywhistle8 karma

I've done quite a bit of research in my day (don't think lab coats, think bleeding knuckles, turning wrenches, tuning high speed motors, jet fuel lubricity analysis, lots of rocket things) so I don't want to bear down and do a 2 year long project or anything in some cave.

Yes, I have contemplated getting my PhD. My wife wants me to. Right now time with my wife and children is more valuable than a degree to boost my ego. The only reason I want one is to boost my qualifications on my astronaut application.

leroybivins2 karma

As a fellow 'Bama man, I just have to say "Roll Tide"!

What are some of your other favorite channels on youtube?

And what advice would you offer to a mechanical engineering major?

MrPennywhistle10 karma


I enjoy watching all the videos from my fellow science communicators. Most of us who create videos have secret people that we watch on YouTube. I know Brady is fascinated by some young rapper with very few subscribers. I love watching Flula's videos. Ben Krasnow, holy cow that guy in amazing.

Try not only to make good grades, but try to UNDERSTAND. Understanding is more valuable than knowledge.

pupdogtfo2 karma

Hi Destin, I love your channel and spent several hours watching it the very first time I saw a video of yours. You seem like an amazing dad. What's your advice for being a parent?

MrPennywhistle6 karma


Do you understand the gravity of the question you just asked me?

Let's give this a shot.

Love them.
Love them enough to discipline them even when it's hard.

Also, get on the same page with your spouse and help each other remember priorities. My wife is good at reminding me and keeping me in line.

Nine_Cats2 karma

Which video did you have to take the most takes of before you got it right? Which video was the hardest to make?

MrPennywhistle4 karma

Not sure about the takes thing. I don't write scripts so sometimes when i'm talking in my office I mess things up alot. It's probably something I did there.

Answere your other question here.

Joweepod2 karma

What is the single greatest thing you've experienced while traveling?

MrPennywhistle2 karma

That's easy!



I'm combining them because they are the same thing... Helping those who cannot repay me.

NekoMimiMode2 karma

I've been subscribed to you for a long time. I love your videos. I don't have a question, just wanted to let you know. ^_^

MrPennywhistle3 karma

Thank you very much man. It makes me feel good to know that.

chem_dawg2 karma

hey Destin, thanks for doing this ama. i love your videos. i have gone to work extremely tired multiple times from staying up too late watching them. my question for you is: how nervous were you when making the videos of you shooting guns under water? i have shot and owned guns my entire life, and my dad always told me that they would explode underwater because the force from the explosion of the powder would be too rapid to move the slug out of the barrel when it was filled with water. did you consider that as a possibility? or how did you know that they would not explode?

MrPennywhistle4 karma

Hey man thanks for watching. I appreciate that. Looks like you're a night owl like me. Of course I considered this. Every weapon I or Dan from TheSlowMoGuys fired underwater by hand had been tested by me in a remotely fired fixture prior to operation underwater by hand.

siddysid2 karma

You're cool, yo.

How should we inspire students to learn sciences? The current system is whack. How do we improve it?

MrPennywhistle10 karma

I'm a product of the current system. The key is the parents. Interested parents help make interested kids. Apathetic parents make apathetic kids.

I understand the whole "nature vs nurture" child development debate on a detailed level (my wife knows it better), but you'd be surprised how much Love and time can influence a child. I regret not spending more time with them.

Russian_Airsoft_Guy2 karma

Tell me Mr. Smarter Every Day, boxers, briefs, or tighty whities?

MrPennywhistle9 karma

Boxer briefs. Duh.

fuckyeahbfunk1 karma

Hey Destin! My husband is inquiring if you would ever come to Montana for an experiment. I'm not sure what kind, but we're always watching your videos and big fans :) I think he secretly just wants to hang out with you and do sciency things.

MrPennywhistle1 karma

I also enjoy hanging out with people and doing sciency things. Where I go and when depends on many things. I always try to stack multiple opportunities into one trip to maximize time at home. Funding for travel is always a limiting factor.