Butterfly challenge, Ukraine update and happy take, world’s oldest pants

Mar 9, 2022 Episode 89

Western Monarch butterfly challenge, India’s crimson rose butterfly pit-stop, Ukraine update and happy take, world’s oldest pants

Episode Transcript

OPENING STING – LEELA: “New, new, newsy – Newsy Pooloozi!”


LEELA: Hello and welcome to Newsy Pooloozi – the news pool for curious kids and adults!  I’m your host Leela Sivasankar Prickitt and, as ever…

MAMA: I’m here – the trusty sidekick.

LEELA: And big story explainer. And my mother.

MAMA: Mother? OK. It is true – I am your mama or mother. Otherwise called Lyndee Prickitt.  

LEELA: And this week on Newsy Pooloozi –

We’ll have a quick update on what’s happening in Ukraine as well as a happy take on the kindness being shown to refugees fleeing the fighting. 

And, don’t worry – we have a lot of other news too.

Fluttery news, as it happens.  

Yes, it’s time to take the monarch challenge – as in the butterfly – which is on its way up north for spring. And scientists need your help tracking it. We’ll tell you why, but also…

Have you heard of the crimson rose butterfly – it’s also famous for its migration, which includes the prettiest pit-stop in the world. 

And, if you think you know someone who wears some really old jeans (like my mama), think again. You won’t believe when the oldest pants in the world were made, never mind HOW.

All that and more. But first, it’s time for…

BIG NEWS STORY STING – VARIOUS VOICES: “The big news story of the week!”

MAMA: Alright, first and foremost let’s get the tough news out of the way with an update on what’s happening in Ukraine.

LEELA: Take it away, Mama.

MAMA: Well, so far it’s believed that two million people have now fled Ukraine, taking refuge elsewhere.

But with a population of 43 million people – do the math and you’ll realize there’s still millions left behind.

Since Tuesday there’s been a “humanitarian pause” or “humanitarian corridor.” That’s where all sides agree to stop fighting for a short time to let the civilians leave the area or get the food and medical help they need.

Meanwhile, businesses are trying to put pressure on Russia to stop its invasion with McDonald’s, Starbucks and Coca-Cola the latest Western companies to stop their work in Russia

But the big news is US President Biden earlier announced a complete US ban on buying Russian oil, gas or coal. It’s hoped to deal a “powerful blow” to Putin – but it will probably also mean gas prices are about to increase.

LEELA: There’s not much good news there.

MAMA: No… but there is a lot of good going on. And it’s important to remember that. So let’s give you one that’s made the headlines here in India.

LEELA: For that let’s go to our New Delhi correspondent Reyaansh Zaveri who has the details.

REYAANSH: This is a story about an Indian techie, his wife and two young girls who’d lived in Ukraine for seven years. 

As Russian troops began to invade, they saw a notice on Twitter about another Indian couple with a two-month-old baby, who were desperate to leave.

But guess what? 

They didn’t speak any of the local languages and were trapped amongst the chaos.

And did I mention the weather was below freezing?

Well the techie’s family took in the other family, so they could journey together.  

It took three long days, including standing on a train for 9 hours with nothing to eat but a few crackers.

But they did it – because they did it together. 

In New Delhi, I’m Reyaansh Zavari reporting for Newsy Pooloozi!

LEELA: Thanks, Reyaansh. Of course this couple are among the thousands of people showing such kindness to the Ukrainian refugees.

MAMA: Actually, probably hundreds-of-thousands of people. There is a lot of good in the world. In fact, one photo that went viral this week was of the dozens if not hundreds of strollers, or baby buggies, left at train stations for parents coming in with children to use.

MAMA: Now a lot of you might have heard about the great monarch migration.

LEELA: And we’re not talking the ‘da-da-da-daaaaa’ kind of monarch – as in kings and queens – we’re talking about the monarch butterflies. You know – the orange and black ones.

MAMA: That can fly between 50 to 100 miles a day, together, en masse –

LEELA: And by mass we mean hundreds of thousands of them together all at once.  

MAMA: You’ve probably seen videos, or pictures –

LEELA: – most likely a screen-saver –

MAMA: – of this natural phenomenon.

LEELA: And if you haven’t, then Google it now! Well, after this podcast, please.

MAMA: They’re the only butterfly known to make a two-way migration as in leaving home for the winter and returning.

LEELA: Because they can’t handle the cold –

MAMA: They leave North America and head south for the winter.

LEELA: Hello California and Mexico!

MAMA: And now they’re on their way back up north for spring and summer.

LEELA: What a life!

MAMA: Well, like so many creatures of this world – from bumble bees to koalas –

LEELA: Which are not bears!

MAMA: The Western monarch butterfly is under threat. Their numbers have been dropping for the last 40 years.

LEELA: The usual reasons humans taking over the countryside, pollution, climate change…

MAMA: But there’s good news! Last year, their numbers increased.

 LEELA: Wahooo! But, uhhhm, why 

MAMA: That’s the question. Or should I say the mystery. Or even – the challenge.

LEELA: Aha! In fact –

BOTH: The Western Monarch Mystery Challenge.

MAMA: Yes, for those who live in the western states of the US – your help is needed. So let’s cut across to our Washington State correspondent, Ezra Graham.

LEELA: Also of the News Nerds podcast. Tell us more about the mystery challenge, Ezra.

EZRA: That’s right – Monarch butterfly populations across North America are in serious decline.

To preserve and protect them better the Western Monarch Milkweed Mapper needs YOUR help. 

Because monarchs and their host plants are found all across the western U.S., the best way to document them is to get AS MANY of us on America’s west coast to start snapping.

Yes, they need volunteers to take any and all pictures of the brown and black butterfly.

What next, you ask? Well, then you upload your photos of monarchs and milkweeds to their website. 

Ideally also try to identify the milkweeds using the “milkweed key,” found on the Western Monarch Milkweed Mapper website.

Yes, we’ll have a LINK in our transcript and show notes.

Submitting this data will help researchers determine the distribution and conservation needs of monarchs and milkweeds.

Which means we’ll have this mighty migration – truly a natural wonder of the world – around a lot longer. In Montana, I’m Ezra Graham of News Nerds, reporting for

LEELA: Thanks a lot for that – Ezra!

MAMA: And that’s not the only butterfly story we have – oh no! After the break we’ll hear about ANOTHER fluttery phenomenon closer to us here in India.  

WORLD WRAP STING – LEELA: “What’s that? I’ll tell you what. That’s the halftime bell! Which means… It’s time to hear what’s making news around the rest of the world. Hold on tight, it’s around the world in 80 seconds.”

MAMA: It’s a case of “rain, rain, go away” in Australia as residents on the east of the country prepare for more downpour. For over a week they’ve been battered by record-breaking floods with overflowing rivers and dams and, of course, power-cuts – forcing thousands to leave their homes.

In Brazil scientists warn that the Amazon is at a critical tipping point. If the rainforest is cut down any further it could transform into a dry savanna. Analyzing data from the last three decades, found that thousands of the trees are finding it harder to recover from droughts, fires and deforestation. 

In sports news, the US Major League Baseball says it’s canceling this season’s first two games for all teams. Why? The baseball club’s owners and players can’t agree on how much players should be paid. This is the first time since 1995 games have been canceled because of a union dispute.

They might be slimy and eat your potted plants… But slugs and snails will no longer be classed as pests by Britain’s Royal Horticultural Society. It says that though they receive the most complaints about the gastropods, slugs and snails are a crucial part of a garden’s ecosystem.

LEELA: As ever, thank you so much for that whippity-whappity-zippity-zappity wrap of what’s making headlines elsewhere in the world, Mama.

MAMA: You’re most welcome. And now – before we get back to butterflies – if you haven’t heard of the dorkiest twist on fairy tales, then you’re really missing out. Here’s something you gotta add to your playlist, guys.

LEELA: Ohh yeah..

DORKTALES PROMO: Hey fellow story lovers, this is Jonathan Cormur tumbling into your potfeed to let you know the season three of the Dorktales story time podcast has begun… And just like our friends at Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory, we’ll be unlocking new fairytales, fables and untold hero stories that will surprise you! Prepare for unexpected special guests! Find geeky twists and turns around every tale! Come with me and Mr. Reginald T. Hedgehog, into our world of pure imagination. Find  our scrumdiddlyumptious stories wherever you listen our podcast or visit us at dorktalesstorytime.com 

MAMA: Now it’s time for…

NATURE STING – VARIOUS VOICES: “It’s the call of nature. The call of nature. It’s the call of nature. Get on your safari suit. Or squeeze into your scuba gear. Squeeze into your scuba gear. And get ready to hop into a jeep. Or submarines. Because Mother Nature is calling. Nature. Mother Nature is calling!”  

MAMA: Indeed, she is. Now earlier we heard about the phenomenon of the monarch butterfly migration.

LEELA: And the Mystery Monarch Challenge!

MAMA: Yep, but did you know that here in India there’s a pretty spectacular fluttery migration too?

LEELA: It’s not a two-way migration, like the monarchs, but…

MAMA: These are, arguably, more beautiful butterflies migrating in south-east India with a pit stop on a tropical beach.

LEELA: That’s one pretty pit-stop! Which is sadly, though, a little far from us.

MAMA: So, for more details, let’s head over to our South India correspondent –

LEELA: Sahasra Sridhar – take it away, Sahasra!

SAHASRA: Thanks, you guys. The crimson rose butterfly – which native to this part of the world  is a beauty. As its name suggests, it has the brightest red – or crimson – body you’ve ever seen.Its fluttery wings are black with splashes of white and, yes, more crimson.

And every year thousands of them descend upon the pristine beaches at the ABSOLUTE most southern tip of India – for one large… pit stop!

They’re on their way to Sri Lanka – the island nation just south of India. 

It might only be 15 miles (or 25 kilometers) away – but for a butterfly, that’s a long way to go without a break.

So, like elegant race car drivers, the butterflies land on a tropical flower – for just about 30 seconds, sucking nectar to get them on their way.

Sometimes they might hover around longer, though, waiting for the right wind conditions. Either way it’s not just one of the prettiest pit-stops in the world.

It’s the difference between life and death for the crimson rose: between a successful ocean-crossing versus a crash-landing into sea!

From South India, I’m Sahasra Sridhar, reporting for Newsy Pooloozi!

LEELA: Thanks a lot for that report, Sahasra. I’d like to cover that story IN PERSON next year – sounds like an amazing site!

ODDBALL STING – VARIOUS VOICES: “Step right up, step right up… Have a go at the lucky dip machine… What’s it gonna be today, eh? An oddball, no doubt!”

LEELA: Odd and old. Play the music, Mama. Once upon a time – 8 years ago – an old tomb was being excavated in Western China.

What did they find?

A 3000-year-old mummy! Who knew there were mummies in China?! No ordinary mummy either.

Not only was he buried with an axe, but he was wearing pants!

Not so unusual, you say?


You see, most people at the time –women AND men – wore skirts and capes.

Trousers were worn really just for horse riding.

Meaning this mummy was most likely a… warrior.

Well, talk about vintage clothing!

Now a team of archaeologists and fashion designers, obviously, who’ve been studying the mummy pants, have found them quite revealing.

Because three different textile techniques from different regions of Asia were used – showing this dude got around!

Not only that, but one of the textile techniques is something called twill, which is a type of weaving that’s super durable, or should I say strong, and – get this – is still used TODAY to make denim!

That means the jeans we wear today might not be so different from what super warriors of the past wore.

Talk about a long-lasting fashion trend!

Who knew a pair of pants could be such a treasure trove.

I’m not sure we can say the same about my mom’s old jeans, though…

FAB FACTS STING – LEELA: “And it’s time to wrap up the podcast with the top five fab facts heard today. Here goes…”

MAMA: FAB FACT NUMBER 1 – Scientists are asking for help in tracking the Western monarch butterfly – which is on its way up north for spring. How far can these orange and black fluttery insects fly a day?

Between 50 to 100 miles a day.

LEELA: FAB FACT NUMBER 2 – Though last year was a good one for the butterflies, their population had been dropping for the last 40 years. Why?

Humans taking over the countryside,humans making pollution and climate change

MAMA: FAB FACT NUMBER 3 – India and Sri Lanka also have a beautiful red and black butterfly that likes to migrate en masse, making a beautiful pitstop along a beach. What’s it called?

The crimson rose.

LEELA: FAB FACT NUMBER 4 – Scientists discover how the world’s oldest pants were made – using three different textile techniques from different parts of Asia. How old are those pants?

Over 3000 years old!

MAMA: FAB FACT NUMBER 5 – One of the textile techniques is a type of weaving that’s super durable and is still used TODAY to make denim. What is that called?


LEELA: And that almost brings us to the end of this episode of Newsy Pooloozi! But first…

MAMA: Thank you to all those who wrote in with your suggestions for what you’d like to learn on DIY.org – we could only award annual subscriptions to the first three responses. But pay attention to our social media pages – there might be more on offer soon!


If you enjoyed this dip in the whirlpool of news and information then do subscribe to our podcast on Apple Podcast, Spotify, Stitcher, Alexa or wherever you get your podcasts. While you’re at it… Give us a good rating. Or better still, leave us a review.

Alrighty then… See you next week in the happy, splashy giant Newsy Pooloozi!