Judge John Hodgman Ep. 161: Cold Case


Should a couple in Berlin install an air conditioner in their new apartment? Dominik enjoys the heat, while Laura prefers a cooler climate.

For more on LUFTZUG and a "Zuglufttier in Form einer Katze", click here.

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Thanks to Jason Puckett for suggesting this week's case name! To suggest a title for a future episode, like us on Facebook at Judge John Hodgman. We regularly put a call for submissions.



Luftzug in French

Just want to echo the other commenters - luftzug, unlike the show suggested, is definitely not a german-exclusive concept. Being married to a french woman has taught me the lethal danger of "courant d'air", which when I lived in Paris was a constant demon restaurant patrons feared whenever anyone opens the door for more than 0.5 second.

Japanese drafts

I can't speak for all of Japan, but as a Texas who moved there, they also warned me of the dangers of sleeping with a fan on or air blowing on my face/body of any kind. I took my chances.

I love some AC. Now more than ever. But I did go for several years in two different countries (Japan and Brazil) who did not use it. I survived. But now I'm back in 'Merica and enjoying my AC life.

Same same

We have a similar conceptualisation of 'draft fear' in Pakistan as well

Yeah, I'm more like Dominik

Yeah, I'm more like Dominik in that I have a high preference for warmer temperatures, but I empathize with Laura. I grew up in the Arctic, where temperatures in the winter reach -50 C (with windchill), and since I moved south, I've met many people who just assumed because I grew up in the cold that I was comfortable with it. I. Hate. Cold. We weren't out frolicking in the freezing winds, we were inside with our thermostats jacked to 25 C or in our cars with the heat jacked to the max. I'm the happiest little camper when I'm in a warm environment. So Laura's comfort zone being in A/C land? I hear that!

Two internet marketers go on

Two internet marketers go on a successful internet podcast/courtroom and talk about Tropical Islands Resort at great length.

Was this entire case just their attempt at buzz marketing for that resort?

Living without AC

I grew up in Texas, and my first summer without air conditioning seemed like madness. But I grew to love it. You keep the blinds drawn when the sun faces them, open them when the light is the other way. And hopefully you can convince the boyfriend to open the windows, because open windows are awesome. I lived in Russia at one point with those European windows you described (which are also great for people with pets, it's sort of heart-stopping when you see your cat attempting to lean out a 9th story window). I think if the boyfriend can get over the fear of drafts, and the girlfriend can let go of the notion that you need air-conditioning to survive, they'll have a very pleasant summer.

As always, JJHO is one of my favorite radio-dramas

How did you guys manage to book Kumail Nanjiani to read the part of "Dominik"? Didn't recognize the actress who played Laura, though...


I'm pretty sure Judge John Hodgman has actual people submit actual cases. I don't think it's an acting thing. However, I'm willing to consent to the fact that, because Dominik is German, they hired a translator. But this isn't a matter of who "played" who. I'm fairly certain that Laura "played" Laura. This is, after all, a court podcast, not a show, so I doubt the use of actors.


Wow, it's amazing to know that a culture far more advanced than mine (I live in Chile) is afraid of something so similar. Here, people tend to be afraid of "wind currents" or "corrientes de aire" that can be formed between 2 open windows, if you sit in one of those currents you may get "aire" or "air inside your back". As absurd as it sounds, people here created or copied a way to pull out the air from your back, with a not so bloody form of Cupping.
Normally the pain you may feel in your back could be a muscle strain, but here, we have a more esoteric explanation for it.

Tropical Islands Video

It's totally worth watching the video along with the Judge, but difficult to synchronize since he paused in the middle.


Fan death


I was surprised the fact that Germans are not alone in their trepidation regarding moving air did not come up; please note South Korean's sort-of-well-known fear of FAN DEATH. http://askakorean.blogspot.com/2009/01/fan-death-is-real.html

a fan,


I was surprised it didn't come up as well. My family is Chinese and my mom feared leaving the fan on overnight for this very reason.

Enjoyed the pun,

Oh, the fear is real: we in

Oh, the fear is real: we in Sweden have learned to "lufta" our apartments and dread the Draft! FEAR TH DRAFT! THE DRAFT IS REAL!!

Kindred Spirits [of the Window]

While Judge Hodgman's ruling was wise and just, I wanted to offer the following tip in case the summer without cooling doesn't work out for Laura. I wish I could avoid buzz marketing, but a portable air conditioner was one of the best things I've ever bought. I lived in a house without AC in California, and between being on the top story and having a dark red roof directly above my bedroom, it would frequently get between 85 and 90 degrees in my room. I couldn't sleep, and felt almost feverish. I ended up getting a Sunpentown (it's a pretty odd name for an appliance brand, is it not?) portable AC that made me cool, comfy, and very happy. I ended up shipping it home after I moved back to the East Coast, and it's also a life saver when the central AC breaks. http://www.sunpentown.com/sihoun.html I think I had a 9,000 or 10,000 BTU model, although it's not listed on that page. I'm not sure how it compares to the old timey robot AC box Laura was considering, but it made an uncomfortable situation an absolute pleasure.

Also, I think it's worth including whether one likes a hot or cool room while sleeping in online dating profiles. I consider it to be a deal-breaker if a woman doesn't share my preference for a cool bedroom, and I'm clearly not the only one with similar biases.