Carnival & Lent, Kenya’s ancient tools, Australia’s new spiders, “Lord of the Ring” frog

Feb 22, 2023 Episode 139

Carnival season ends, Lent begins, Kenya’s 2.9-million-year-old tools, Australia’s new spiders, Ecuador’s “Lord of the Ring” frog

Episode Transcript



LEELA: This week… the carnival ends and lent begins, 3 new spiders discovered down under, Kenya’s 3-million-year-old tools and introducing the Lord of the Ring amphibian.

OPENING STING – LEELA: “Hey, hey, hey. Listen up. New, new, newsy – Newsy Pooloozi!”


LEELA: Hello and welcome to Newsy Pooloozi – the splishiest, splashiest pool of news around.

MAMA: World news at that.

LEELA: You said it! I’m Leela and my sidekick here is…

MAMA: Hi I’m Lyndee. Otherwise known as Leela’s mom.

LEELA: You said it. Again. And this week…  Christians around the world are wrapping up their season of carnival and many are begin Lent. We’ll tell you why they party and why they stop.

We’ll also have a special report from Germany about how the festivities there have a special twist.

Also, some of the world’s most ancient tools ever are discovered in Kenya we’ll tell you where and why it’s important.

Speaking of discoveries, three new species of spiders are discovered where else, but Australia – 2 are “ferocious hunters” and another one looks like a “sweetie.” Kind of.

That’s not all – a new species of legless amphibian is discovered in South America and it’s so, ummm, peculiar looking it’s being given a rather lofty, or should I say, lordly name.


LEELA: Alrighty then, let’s dive on in. First up, is…

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

MAMA: Today marks the end of the carnival season and the start of Lent.

LEELA: Lent – isn’t that an Easter thing? And wait, how has it been carnival season and I didn’t know about it!

MAMA: Well, location, location, location. If we lived in New Orleans and the US or many South American cities, especially in Brazil, and even across Europe and few other Christian pockets around the world you’d know for sure it was carnival season because it would sound a bit like this for weeks.

LEELA: What is that?

MAMA: Madi Gras in New Orleans of course.


LEELA: Madi what?

MAMA: Madi Gras – spelt m-a-d-i and g-r-a-s. But – hold on. I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s back up.


MAMA: So, the Christian carnival season actually starts at the end of Christmas.

LEELA: Christmas?!

MAMA: Yep, you know there’s actually 12 days of Christmas.

LEELA: Yep, you won’t let us take the decorations down until the 12th day of Christmas passes.

MAMA: Certainly not. So, the day after is called the Epiphany.

LEELA: As in, a lightbulb goes on in your head when you have an idea or an ‘epiphany’?

MAMA: Well, a moment of sudden realization, yes. But in biblical terms, it’s known as the day the three wise men, or kings, visited Christ. After he was born that’s why it’s also Three Kings’ Day.

LEELA: And there’s carnivals to celebrate that?

MAMA: Well, not really carnival is more about when the season ends then when it begins.


MAMA: See it ends, well, today – Ash Wednesday. Which is about 40 days before Easter.

LEELA: Which is also the start of Lent. That’s when you have to give something up, right?

MAMA: Right, in olden times the Catholic Church forbade people from eating food that came from the flesh, so meat, eggs, milk, cream, fat.

LEELA: They became vegans?!

MAMA: Well, not in those terms, but, yes, it was a period of abstaining from things that gave you pleasure even, or especially, parties!

LEELA: Oh… I’m beginning to understand now… Carnival season is all about enjoying the things you have to give up.

MAMA: Exactly!

LEELA: Like staying up late and watching lots of videos the last week of summer, because you know you won’t be able to do that when school starts.

MAMA: You got it. And what day is the biggest party of all then?

LEELA: Oh! The Tuesday before “Ash Wednesday.”

MAMA: Bingo! And for some people, like in New Orleans, that’s called “Fat Tuesday” others say, Shrove Tuesday to others, and others even Pancake Day in Britain.

LEELA: Because they really know how to party…

MAMA: Yes, with pancakes indeed. Well, every country and community have their different take and that’s what makes this world so darn interesting, you know. For instance, in Germany it’s known as carnival a “Fasching” and for many it’s more like an end-of-winter-here-comes-spring party. And that’s not all! We have new reporter, Nandini Parikh, who lives in Germany and has this report.

NANDINI: In modern times, people celebrate Fasching as the end of Winter. There are big parades and street carnivals across all major cities in Germany.

People dress up in costumes and show a completely fun side of themselves.

One will also find groups of people dressed in the same costumes and taking part in the parades. This also signifies a sense of unity.

So, if you visit any German speaking cities don’t be surprised if you see people dressed as pirates, animals, clowns, fairytale’s characters, or anything else one can imagine. It’s not Halloween but Fasching and Carnival time.

LEELA: Oh, wow – that’s so interesting, Nandini!

MAMA: Yeah, thanks so much for that report, Nandini!

LEELA: I thought doing this podcast for the last 2 years I knew most of the world’s celebrations, but there are soooooooooo many.

MAMA: I know, right? Well, if you know of a celebration or festival being celebrated in your corner of the world, then tell us all about it.

LEELA: Visit the contact us page of our website, newsypooloozi.com – that’s pool, like a swimming pool, p-o-o-l-o-o-z-i.

[SOURCE: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/culture/article/mardi-gras-fat-tuesday-origins-traditions



MAMA: And now a story from the past.

LEELA: And when she says past, she means 2.9 MILLION years ago.

MAMA: Yes, tools that have been buried for millions of years along the shores of Africa’s Lake Victoria, and Kenya have been discovered. These tools have been the oldest example yet of our ancestors’ technological prowess.

LEELA: Prowess is a fancy way of saying you have great skills at something. And did they ever!

MAMA: The tools were not just used to do ordinary things like pound vegetables and fruit, but also butcher huge hippopotamuses. 2.9 million years ago!

LEELA: Impressive.

MAMA: This is evidence tools were used by other branches of early humans not just the ancestors of Homo Sapiens, as in, you know, us the species to which all of us modern humans beings belong.

[SOURCE: https://www.discovermagazine.com/the-sciences/researchers-unearth-3-million-year-old-tools


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.”

US President Joe Biden issues a rallying cry that, quote, ‘Ukraine will never be a victory for Russia.’ This comes after he made a surprise visit to the Ukrainian capital. He says democracies around the world are growing stronger in the face of autocracy, which is a system where one person has power.

Facebook and Instagram are going to start charging for verifying accounts, following Elon Musk’s lead as he did the same at Twitter, which charges for its two-factor authentication.

Attention Minecraft fans get ready to dig, discover and blossom. Mojang, the makers of the videogame, say new features will be in the next update, that’s 1.20.

And did you see the picture of the cheetah with three heads? Ok, I should say the three cheetahs standing so close together it creates quite the optical illusion. A wildlife photographer spent six hours in the rain getting this picture, but, wow, was it worth it. Yes, there’s a link in our transcript!

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

MAMA: As ever, you’re welcome, Leela. And now…

LEELA: Warning stand back all arachnophobes!

MAMA: As in people who are deeply afraid of, as in have a phobia of, spiders.

LEELA: Like me!

MAMA: Yes, this story is not for you arachnophobes!

LEELA: No way! Because three new spider species have been discovered in Australia. And they aren’t pretty.

MAMA: Well, that’s debatable one looks like my favorite British candy – liquorice all-sorts, you know, those black candies with baby blue, pink, and white highlights. Yum.

LEELA: Well, you wouldn’t want to eat these, trust me! For more on this story let’s cut across to our new correspondent, Teya Chandra who just happens to be part-Australian, and ummm, also not a spider lover… Sorry, Teya!

TEYA: Thanks, Leela!

I’m happy to be part of the team, but – yikes! – what a story.

So, a few days ago, a team of 20 scientists and teachers went to south-eastern Australia on what was basically an 11-day spider-hunt.

Not my idea of fun, but they wanted to catalogue – as in make a detailed list – of new spider species.

So, what did they find?

Oh, none other than a spider that wraps itself around a tree-branch in camouflage, blending in so well that it becomes, and I quote a “ferocious hunter!”

Horrible! And then there’s the tiny jumping spider that they say looks like a “liquorice-all-sort” candy. Ok, it’s a bit disco looking, but still not what I’d call cute.

And did I mention the other so-called “warrior huntsman” spider with a shield on its chest.

While spider cataloguing might not be my idea of fun, it is good these little creatures have been discovered.

Because if a species isn’t known, it can’t be protected from going extinct.

And then what would people like me and Leela have to be scared of?

I’m Teya Chandra, reporting for Newsy Pooloozi!

LEELA: Thanks a lot, Teya! Well done for covering a story about a topic that freaks you out!

MAMA: Yeah, nice to have you on board. Of course, we are looking for a correspondent who is living in Australia too so if any of you are interested in joining the Newsy Pooloozi team, then get in touch with us!

LEELA: Either ping us on social media – Insta, Twitter, Facebook, you name it or write to us directly at contact@newsypooloozi.com. That’s p-o-o-l  o-o-z-i.com.

[SOURCE: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-02-16/three-new-spiders-species-discovered-alpine-australia/101985382


MAMA: And finally, let’s see what the lucky dip machine has for us this week.

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: Well, I think the Lucky Dip Machine was feeling bad that our new correspondent had to do a story about spiders, which she cannot stand, and, so, ummm…

MAMA: Oh, no – you’re turn now?

LEELA: Uh-huh (says nervously).

MAMA: Oh. I think I know what this story is about then…


LEELA: Yes, I do not like frogs.


LEELA: But – what to do? There’s some BIG, and, well, kind of ODD frog news. And I gotta give the news even if it… (shivers) I can’t bare it!

MAMA: Go on Leela You got this you can do this.

LEELA: Yep. Cue the music, Mama. I need all the extra help I can get!


LEELA: Scientists in south American country of Ecuador discovered a newfound species of stream frog. This is no ordinary frog, no.

But a tailless amphibian with pale pink eyes and gold-speckled toes that…  looks like a creature Middle-earth… as in something from a Tolkien book.

You know, JRR Tolkien as in the author of “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings”?

That’s why the researchers who discovered it named it Hyloscirtus tolkieni – but already it’s being nicknamed the “Lord of the Rings” frog.

To be precise H. tolkieni is 2.6 inches long that’s 6.5 centimeters and though it has a grayish green and yellow color, it’s covered in black stripes and spots. And has very intense dusty pink eyes with black irises.

MAMA: Well, done you got through it that’s makes me very hoppy. Get it.

LEELA: Oh, that’s a bad one, mother. But, speaking of being happy, do you know why frogs are so happy?

MAMA: Nope.

LEELA: Because they eat whatever bugs them.

MAMA: Bahhdumbumpboo!

[SOURCE: https://www.livescience.com/otherworldly-lord-of-the-rings-frog-discovered-in-the-mountains-of-ecuador]

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 – Carnival season for many Christian communities is over – which day marks the end of the season?

Fat Tuesday, Shrove Tuesday or Pancake Day

LEELA: FAB FACT NUMBER 2 – And what comes after carnival for 40 or so days, which marks a period of abstaining from something that gives you pleasure?


MAMA: FAB FACT NUMBER 3 – Researchers unearth -2.9million-year-old tools in Kenya, providing evidence tools were used by other branches of early humans not just the ancestors of Homo Sapiens. Who are Homo Sapiens?

Us! As in the species to which all of us modern humans belong.

LEELA: FAB FACT NUMBER 4 – Three new spider species have been discovered in Australia, including a camouflaging hunter that wraps itself around a tree-branch. What’s the word for people who are afraid of spiders?


MAMA: FAB FACT NUMBER 5 – A previously unknown species of frog is discovered in Ecuador and named after fantasy author J. R. R. Tolkien for its “middle earth” looking features. What books is Tolkien most famous for?

“The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings”

And don’t forget, if you want to test yourself later on, then go to the Lucky Dip page of our website,  newsypooloozi.com, that’s pool-o-o-z-i, and take this quiz online in your own time!

LEELA: And that brings us to the end of this episode of Newsy Pooloozi!

MAMA: Except to say…

LEELA: Thanks for the reply to us reading your email, Saffron!

MAMA: Yeah!


LEELA: If you enjoyed this dip in the coolest pool of news and information then HIT that subscribe button on Apple Podcast, Spotify, Stitcher, Alexa or wherever you get your podcasts.

MAMA: While you’re at it… Give us a good rating. Or better still, leave us a review! Go on – we’ll read it out loud if you do…

LEELA: Alrighty then, see you next week in the happy, splashy giant Newsy Pooloozi!