Cricket history, microplastics, fungi footwear, yummy mealworms
Jan 20, 2021 Episode 30
In this week’s podcast the big news story is how India’s cricket team made cricket history while playing against Australia.
Plus, hear about microplastics polluting the Arctic, fungi footwear from Adidas, and mealworms for dinner!
P.S.: Missed our episode last week on the US Capitol, the world’s oldest fast food outlet at Pompeii, and rice ATMs in India? Check it out here.
OPENING STING – LEELA: “New, new, newsy – Newsy Pooloozi!”
LEELA: Hello and welcome to our 30th episode of Newsy Pooloozi – Wooohooaa! I’m your host, Leela Sivasankar Prickitt. And this is my co-host and Mama –
MAMA: Lyndee Prickitt. And as we’re currently broadcasting from London…
LEELA AND MAMA TOGETHER: “Hullo”!
LEELA: What do we have in the weekly whirlpool of news and information…? Oh, it’s a packed show all right. First of all, against all odds, batting through pain, broken bones, racist abuse and more the Indian cricket team pull off a stunning victory in Australia, that has the entire country beaming with pride and don’t worry, American listeners – this is more a story of grit than the nitty-gritty of cricket!
We’ll also find out what disturbing little things are swirling around the Arctic Ocean and we’re not talking about icebergs or seals. We’ll tell you how to be a “fun-gi” on the court, or in the field, with the new “mushroom-leather” athletic shoes. And you won’t believe what the European Food Safety Agency has approved as “new grub” So, let’s get cracking with the
STING: the Big News Story of the Week.
MAMA: It’s not often that our big story of the week is about –
SPORTS STING: It’s time to play ball… Score… Sports news!
LEELA: That’s right sport leads the week in India where the cricket team made history, with one of Test Crickets greatest victories.
MAMA: And even if you have no idea how the game of cricket is played, you’re gonna want to hear about this win, because it really defies belief. And some are saying defines modern India.
LEELA: So, let’s go over to our cricket-crazy reporter, Yuvraj Singh Sahni, who’s been glued to the screen for days.
MAMA: And days and days we should first say that cricket is that bat-and-ball game invented by the English, played in all white uniforms in super long matches. In fact, a test match is a grueling series that can go on for five days and is considered the most thorough “test” get it of a team’s abilities. And by the end of this particular test, India didn’t even have to win, they could have settled for a tie and still held the trophy for the series.
LEELA: But, oh, they weren’t going to settle for a draw, were they? With all the odds stacked against them they played to win. Take it away, Yuvraj.
YUVRAJ: Thanks, Leela. India’s cricket team have made sporting history. Not just in India, but around the world. You see, by the end of this major Test Match in Australia, India was forced to field almost an entire second-string side. Why?
Well, India’s biggest names were all out, either because of poor performance or injuries from a broken arm to side strains and back problems. And they had no captain either! Because Virat Kohli had to rush home for the birth of his child.
Never mind all the restrictions from the COVID-19 pandemic to contend with too. But that’s not all.
There were racists taunts from Australian fans to endure also! On top of all that one player, Mohammed Siraj, made his debut just weeks after his father died!
Oh, and did I mention, that host Australia hadn’t lost at the Gabba cricket ground for over 30 years?
You would think, with all that to endure, India’s B-team would have buckled as they had nothing going for them. But no. The young players showed courage and grit, chasing 328 to win with just 18 balls remaining for an historic 2-1 win! In New Delhi, I’m Yuvraj Singh Sahni, reporting for Newsy Pooloozi
LEELA: Thanks, Yuvraj! What a triumph!
MAMA: Commentators around the world are waxing lyrically that means saying really nice things about the young Indian players some saying thank you for playing so beautifully “take a bow” said the Sydney Morning Herald while others got political, like the UK Guardian, who equated the courage and grit of the young Indian players with India itself the world’s youngest democracy.
LEELA: And noisiest!
MAMA: True! Well, Newsy Pooloozi has many cricket enthusiasts on its team, so let’s cut to Bangalore and hear from twins Adhyant and Nirbhay Singh Chauhan on what this win means to them.
TWINS SOUNDBITES (not transcribed)
LEELA: Thanks, guys! The nasty old coronavirus has meant the victory parties are a little quieter than normal, but the triumph is still putting smiles on faces… Now it’s time for…
STING: For the world of wow, wow, wow… In other words – science!
MAMA: So, guess where this is…
SFX of Arctic
LEELA: Ummm, somewhere cold?
MAMA: Oh, yeah.
LEELA: And wet?
MAMA: Uh huh.
LEELA: Oh! Listen that might sound like a cat with a funny tummy, but it’s a sweet little seal. This is the Arctic! And – polar bears! They’re so pretty. But, a little scary to be honest.
SFX: washing machine
LEELA: (shouts) Wait! What’s that?
MAMA: That? Oh, that’s a washing machine.
LEELA: What… Wait a minute! Hang on a second…
SFX: CUTS OUT
LEELA: Oh, thank goodness that’s over. There are washing machines in the Arctic??
MAMA: No, not really washing machines but definitely the waste that comes from it.
LEELA: Huh?! The old, dirty water?? Ewww! You mean our dirt!
MAMA: Well, not our ordinary dirt that just dissolves, or biodegrades. But microplastics which are the tiny fibers or threads that are often too small to see with our eyes they are aplenty.
LEELA: Oh, yeah! You’re talking about the scientific study, by a group called Ocean Wise. They found microplastics in the Arctic Ocean in, all-but-one, of the 97 samples they studied.
MAMA: They took the samples from a vertical column of water to really gauge the full extent of the problem. They didn’t just want to skim off the top of the surface. And doing so they used some super cool technology called “Fourier Transform Infrared Spectron my (FTIR).”
LEELA: Infrared is that light we humans can’t see.
MAMA: Right, and it basically means that the scientists could confirm whether a particle was synthetic or not.
LEELA: Synthetic as in fake.
MAMA: Yep, you’re on a role. But it also meant they could determine just what kind of plastic it was too. And get this almost 75 percent of the microplastic fibers found in the Arctic
LEELA: That’s three-quarters.
MAMA: Were polyester, a common material in synthetic clothing.
LEELA: Uhhhhh! Like my bathing suit?
MAMA: Or the sports leggings I wear. Or even – shux – the pants I have on and probably part of the sweater you’re wearing.
LEELA: Uh oh.
MAMA: Yeah… well the researchers believe the fibers mostly come from Europe and North America. They say our washed clothes are creating a cloud of microplastics right through our oceans, not just the Arctic which of course gets consumed by our fish.
LEELA: OK I’m not buying polyester clothes anymore!
MAMA: Big talk, girl. But I like it. We should try to be more mindful about the clothes we buy, for sure. And you know we don’t have to wash our clothes until they really need it.
LEELA: Like every month?
MAMA: Uhhhhh… maybe more often than that. Especially in the Indian summers!
LEELA: Anything else we can do?
MAMA: Actually, I’m so glad you ask that yes there are filters we can buy for our washing machines to act like a sieve or strainer, catching the microfibers so we can dispose of them in a better way.
LEELA: Can we get that?!
MAMA: OK you research it. I’ll buy.
MAMA: Well, we can’t just talk the talk.
LEELA: I know action speaks louder than words.
MAMA: Ok, I have an idea I let’s make a public pledge on this podcast that we promise to research it and try to get it.
LEELA: And use it.
MAMA: OK, deal? We’re now committing ourselves publicly!
LEELA: Let’s shake!
SFX: “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.”
STING: “It’s time for… Technology News, technology news, tech news!”
MAMA: Now… earlier we talked about how our polyester clothes leeched microplastics into our water and oceans when they’re washed. But polyester isn’t the only material giving environmentalists pause for thought.
LEELA: Oh, yeah, fur coats are way out of fashion…
MAMA: Well, yes and no but what about leather?
MAMA: Yes? well. And it’s not just leather coats or bags, but leather shoes that don’t sit well with everyone.
LEELA: Don’t you mean, they don’t “stand well!”
MAMA: Ha good one. Yes, leather shoes don’t stand well with lots of people in India who revere the cow and think of the cow as holy or with vegans in general, who don’t eat or use animal products. So, guess what one major athletic shoe manufacturer is using instead?
LEELA: Ummu… Banana leaves?
MAMA: Not far wrong…
MAMA: To find out more let’s go to Porter Robbins our sport and tech correspondent out in LA.
LEELA: Porter, tell me what how can you make good sports shoes without leather???
PORTER: Well, Leela, sustainably is the name of this game and major sporting goods want to play!
Soooo, move over leather and enter mushrooms! Yep, those ugly rubbery things adults like to put on their pizzas and in their pasta can actually make shoes!
Or at least “mycelium” can that’s the vegetative part of a fungus that produces mushrooms. This isn’t the company’s first vegan footwear either. Last year Adidas launched plant-based versions of several sneakers. And guess what? They became bestsellers!
To make the fungi footwear Adidas is working with the biotech start-up firm Bolt Threads.
They’ve tied up global brands, like Stella McCartney and Lululemon. Celebrities are in on the sustainable clothing game too… from singer John Legend to actor Natalie Portman, who have both invested in mushroom-leather companies. No matter who wins the sustainability game, whoever wears these shoes will have no problems being a “fun guy.” Get it… fungi… fun guy…! In Los Angeles, California, this is Porter Robbins reporting for Newsy Pooloozi
LEELA: Thanks, Porter. And now we go from fungus to worms…
STING: Step right up, step right up… Have a go at the lucky dip machine… What’s it gonna be today, eh? And odd ball, no doubt!
LEELA: Brexit the British withdrawal from the European Union is, naturally, causing some upset at the borders.
MAMA: Yes, since the start of the year, many Britons are realizing that leaving the European Union might have cost them more than they realized.
LEELA: Like their lunch! “Let go of your lunch, ma’am… Drop your apple, now!”
MAMA: Ferry passengers leaving Briton and heading into Europe have had ham sandwiches, tinned sardines, fruit and veg confiscated by customs officials at EU ports. Which is standard for most country borders, but it’s just one of the many things Britons haven’t had to worry about until now.
LEELA: On the other hand, they don’t have to worry about this squirmy tidbit of news…
LEELA: Mealworms may soon find their way onto European tables, after becoming the first insect, approved in the region, as a human food. Rich in protein, fat AND fiber, they’re actually beetle larvae, not really worms and are already used in Europe as a pet food ingredient. “Here kitty kitty has some crushed meal worms…”
But now… the decision by the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA) paves the way for the yellow grubs to be used. They can be eaten whole or dried in curries and other recipes, like as a flour to make biscuits, pasta and bread. Ewww not for me thank you. So, maybe there are some upsides to not being part of the EU, eh?
MAMA: Leela just because it’s been approved for use doesn’t mean it HAS to be used. And you eat animal meat what’s the problem with worms?
LEELA: Hmmm… Worms are squirmy!
LEELA: So, Mama… What’s worse than seeing a worm after biting an apple?
MAMA: Excuse me?
LEELA: Seeing half a worm!
STING: “And it’s time to wrap up the podcast with the top… five fab facts heard today. Here goes”
FAB FACT NUMBER 1
MAMA: Cricket is a bat-and-ball game invented by the English, played in all white uniforms in matches that can go on for days. And test cricket matches are what…
A test cricket match is a grueling series that can go on for five days and is considered the most thorough “test” of a team’s abilities.
FAB FACT NUMBER 2
LEELA: Microplastics have been detected in the Arctic Ocean but what are microplastics?
Microplastics are the tiny fibers or threads of plastic that are often too small to be seen with our eyes.
FAB FACT NUMBER 3
MAMA: What kind of technology is used to determine the exact type of plastic found floating in the Arctic?
Fourier Transform Infrared Spectron my was used to determine just what kind of plastic was found in the Arctic ocean 75 percent of which were found to be polyester, a common material in synthetic clothing.
FAB FACT NUMBER 4
LEELA: An alternative to leather is being developed using what material for making sports shoes?
Mycelium – that’s the vegetative part of a fungus that produces mushrooms and can be used to make “mushroom leather” a vegan alternative.
FAB FACT NUMBER 5
MAMA: Mealworms have been approved in Europe to be available as human food. They’re Rich in protein, fat and fiber. But they’re not really worms, are they?
Mealworms are actually beetle larvae, and they’re already used in Europe as a pet food ingredient. But now they can be used whole or dried in curries and other recipes, like as a flour to make biscuits, pasta and bread.
LEELA: And that brings us to the end of this episode of Newsy Pooloozi!!!!!
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