Apr 13, 2022 Episode 94
The lowdown on Easter, digitally unwrapped mummy, swimming Spinosaurus, rickshaw rooftop garden and stuck temple thief
OPENING STING – LEELA: “New, new, newsy – Newsy Pooloozi!”
LEELA: Hello and welcome to Newsy Pooloozi – what the New York Times likes to call a “news variety” show. I’m your host Leela Sivasankar Prickitt and, as ever, I’m joined by the big story explainer and sound effects finder, otherwise known as my Mama.
MAMA: Hello, hello – I’m Lyndee Prickitt.
LEELA: And Happy Easter everyone – this week on Newsy Pooloozi we’ll give you the low-down on the religious holiday with the pagan name and answer the mystery of why a bunny, and not a chicken, is the giver of eggs.
That’s not the only news this week – wanna know what a 3,500-year-old mummy looks like but afraid you might, you know, destroy it in the process? Never fear, technology is here…
And big news for dinosaur lovers – it turns out one of the most popular dinosaurs might not just have been able to walk the earth, but also able to… well you’ll have to listen to find out what!
And a double dose of oddball news from India – find out what a rickshaw driver puts on his roof to keep his cool and what happens to a thief who tries to steal silver from a temple – you could say the gods got angry!
Let’s kick it all off with…
BIG NEWS STORY STING – VARIOUS VOICES: “The big news story of the week!”
MAMA: This Sunday marks one of the biggest spring festivals on the calendar – Easter.
LEELA: Which means – candy!
MAMA: Hey, that’s Halloween.
LEELA: And Easter! Chocolate bunnies… candied Easter eggs…
MAMA: Yes, OK. But not only that. In fact, we’re going to delve into our archive and play a bit from one of our most popular episodes last year’s Happy Spring and April’s Fool episode.
LEELA: Oh, yeah – they were the same week last year, because Easter is not on a fixed date, but moves with the moon.
MAMA: Yep, it’s always on the first Sunday after the Full Moon that occurs on or after the spring equinox.
LEELA: And, uhhh, what is the Spring Equinox again (laughs nervously)?
MAMA: In the Northern Hemisphere, the spring equinox happens when the sun crosses the equator, heading north.
LEELA: Huh. Alright – let’s play our Easter archive and everyone can hear how young I sounded – just last year!
MAMA: So, most people probably know that after Christmas, Easter is the biggest Christian holiday. It marks the resurrection – or coming back to life – of Jesus Christ, three days after he was crucified, or killed, by Roman soldiers.
LEELA: Two-thousand years ago!
MAMA: Almost. Of course, long before that people were celebrating the arrival of spring, so it’s no surprise many of the folk or Pagan traditions of spring festivals blended into Easter. Which, by the way, some people think is named after Ēostre or Ostara, the Pagan goddess of spring. Either way – the new life, spring theme is clear. And Christians would say Jesus represents the dawning of a new way. Hence – the egg.
LEELA: Uhhh, how did you get to that?
MAMA: Well, new life comes from an egg
LEELA: Ah. But the fancy decorations and yummy chocolate bit?
MAMA: Ah! Well, that’s interesting. Decorated Easter eggs were first recorded in the 13th century. You see, the church didn’t allow people to eat eggs the week before Easter, known as Holy Week. But, of course, the chickens didn’t get the memo. They continued to lay eggs.
LEELA: Extra eggs for all.
MAMA: Yes, Since the eggs came during Holy Week, people thought they were pretty special. So, they’d decorate them.
LEELA: Cool. And… the chocolate bit?
MAMA: Well, I think in the last few hundred years, if you wanted to make anything special and fun – you turned it into something sweet.
LEELA: Still, the big question is… why is it an Easter Bunny that gives out eggs? I mean, I know a LOT of bunnies are born in spring, so I see the connection there. But rabbits don’t lay eggs. So why the Easter Bunny and not the Easter Chicken?
MAMA: I know, right! Well, the encyclopedia skips over that. But some have speculated it came from that Goddess of spring Ostara, the German version is said to have transformed a bird into a rabbit, giving it the magical ability to lay colorful eggs. But it’s just a theory.
LEELA: I’ll take it…. Well, I’ll take it. And I’ll take some chocolate eggs and other Easter candy in my Easter basket from the magical Easter bunny too!
MAMA: Oh, yeah. And a new Easter dress. That’s what we always got on Easter morning. Not from the bunny though. Usually, my mother was up all night sewing them!
MAMA: Yep. Don’t expect that.
LEELA: And if you want to hear all of last year’s Happy Spring episode – number 40 – in which we also talk about the Hindu festival Holi, then do visit our website, Newsypooloozi.com. That’s n-e-w-s-y-p-oo-l-oo-z-i. I repeat p-oo-l-oo-z-i.com.
MAMA: Now, it’s time for the ancient world to get a little help from high tech.
TECH STING – LEELA/MAMA: “It’s time for…. Technology News, technology news, tech news!”
MAMA: Mummy news, in fact.
LEELA: (In British accent) and we’re not talking about you, “mummy,” are we?
MAMA: Ha, ha, no we are not.
LEELA: We’re talking about ancient Egyptian rulers wrapped in bandages to preserve their bodies for hundreds, or I should say, thousands of years to take them on their journey to the afterliiiiiife.
MAMA: Yes, that’s what we’re talking about. In fact, the only royal Egyptian mummy found in the 19th and 20th centuries that hasn’t been unwrapped for study.
LEELA: And why not? Will the Egyptologists – as in the people who study ancient Egypt, like me one day, maybe – would they be cursed IF they do???
MAMA: No, but since this particular mummy, decorated with flower garlands and an enchanting wooden face mask, is sooooo fragile, archaeologists don’t dare expose the remains, for fear he’ll fall apart.
LEELA: Yikes. I think that would produce a curse, yeah actually.
MAMA: Never fear, technology is here…
LEELA: Is this one of those “power of AI” stories?
MAMA: CT scans to be exact.
LEELA: What? The mummy was scanned? Next, you’re gonna tell me about a digital computer’s printed another one.
MAMA: Hmm-hmmph. Not yet. But the power of tech, Leela, is certainly magical. So of course, we have to go to our tech-meets-art correspondent, Nick Von Hindenburg, for this one.
LEELA: Take it away, Nick.
NICK: Thanks, Leela! So back in 1881 the mummy of King Amenhotep the First was unearthed.
He ruled 3,500 years ago for a pretty peaceful 21 years.
Interestingly, according to hieroglyphic texts, his tomb had been raided long-long ago.
Well, get this, four centuries after he was mummified, ancient priests and embalmers lovingly repaired the injuries inflicted by the tomb robbers.
Well, fast-forward a couple thousand years or so to today…
SFX OF TAPE FASTFORWARDING
And he’s unwrapped again.
Only this time – not by tomb raiders but tech magicians.
Using CT scans, or computerized tomography to be exact, scientists from Cairo University captured loads of x-ray images from different angles around his body.
Then, a little computation here and there and…
SFX OF COMPUTER NOISES AND MAGIC WAND
Presto! The images were combined to form a 3-D image of King Amenhotep!
It was like digitally ‘peeling off’ the mummy’s facemask, bandages, and then the mummy itself.
Of course, this isn’t the first time that scientists are, virtually, getting “under the skin” of mummies. But it is the most detailed probe so far.
Well, that’s a “wrap” from me. I’m Nick Von Hindenburg, reporting for Newsy Pooloozi!
LEELA: A wrap. Ha! Good one, Nick. Let’s hope this story helped everyone unwind a little bit!
MAMA: Unwind hahaha… I thought I was the pun-master here… But, hey, did you know that you too can be
mummified when you die?
MAMA: Yep, no lie. You can contact a place in the US state of Utah to arrange the procedure for around US$70,000. Pets are cheaper, around US$4,000 for a small animal. What do you say?
LEELA: Yeah… no.
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: As the war in Ukraine rages the US accuses Russian President Vladimir Putin of genocide, which means
Deliberately killing a large number of people from a particular nation or ethnic group with the aim of wiping them out.
On a happier note, a cat that miraculously survived Russian attacks in the Ukrainian capital was adopted by the country’s Ministry of Internal Affairs.
It’s official – the U.S. Senate confirmed Ketanji Brown Jackson as the first black woman to sit on the Supreme Court as a justice. Check out last week’s episode to hear more about her.
In the UK the police are going to make the country’s Prime Minister and Finance Minister pay a fine for having gatherings in government buildings during the COVID lockdowns.
And what is the one scent people all over the world agree smells the best? Well, it certainly isn’t cheese… it’s vanilla! An Oxford study also found that sweaty feet, cheese and apple juice are among the least-liked odors. Hmm. I could think of a few more…
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: As ever you are most welcome.
LEELA: Now it’s time for…
NATURE STING – VARIOUS VOICES: “The call of nature. Get on your safari suit. Or squeeze into your scuba gear. And get ready to hop into a jeep. Or submarines. Because Mother Nature is calling!”
LEELA: Technically this story is history more than nature.
MAMA: Well, we can say ancient nature.
LEELA: Yes, folks, we’re talking dinosaurs. Two big Dino stories for you.
MAMA: Yep, first up – in the US state of North Dakota in a place known to be rife with Dino fossils
LEELA: That would be the fossil site of Tanis.
MAMA: Indeed. Well, scientists there have found a stunningly well-preserved leg of a dinosaur – complete with skin…
LEELA: Yihhhh. I mean, cool!?
MAMA: That’s not all. The paleontologists –
LEELA: Scientists who study dinosaurs.
MAMA: Thank you. They believe the remains of these creatures were killed by the giant asteroid that struck the Earth 66 million years ago, wiping out the dinosaurs.
LEELA: And ushering in the rise of us mammals!
MAMA: Yes! That’s right. Scientists are super excited by this well-preserved Dino leg – because there are very few specimens from the actual cataclysm that killed them off.
LEELA: But that’s not all the Dino news, is it?
MAMA: Nope – for this we can go to our new nature correspondent, Mirabel Power.
LEELA: Take it away, Mirabel.
MIRABEL: What do you think of when somebody says dinosaur? Maybe a tall ferocious beast that ruled the world millions of years ago, or maybe a meek little herbivore who spent its days munching on leaves. But did you ever think of a dinosaur SWIMMING?
A new study shows that the well-known four-legged Spinosaurus might have been semi aquatic! For those of you who don’t know, semi aquatic means that they lived both on land and in the water!
How do they know this? Well, one way is by comparing Spinosaurus bones to modern animals that we know swim, like whales, hippos, and otters. Isn’t that cool?
So, the Spinosaurus had withdrawn nostrils, short hind legs, feet like paddles, and a tail that resembled a fin! These things are common in swimming creatures, so that shows that maybe Spinosaurus had a swimming side to it. But many other scientists still didn’t believe this, so they decided to delve deeper!
They looked at 250 different species of animals, from elephants to hummingbirds and they saw that animals on land had hollow bones, kinda like a doughnut, but animals who swam had very dense bones, like whales.
They looked at 250 different species of animals, from elephants to hummingbirds and they saw that animals on land had hollow bones, kinda like a doughnut.
But animals who swam had very dense bones, like whales.
And guess what kind of bones the Spinosaurus, and its relatives Baryonyx and Suchomimus, had? Yep, dense bones like swimmers!
So, this new study strongly points out that the Spinosaurus was probably a great swimmer!
Who knows, maybe they even had a Spinosaurus swimming Olympics? Now that would have been a site to see!
In Florida, I’m Mirabel Power, reporting for Newsy Pooloozi!
LEELA: I’d like to see that too, Mirabel. Thank you so much for that report!
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: And we have another two-for-the-price-of-one deal for you this week. Two oddballs have popped out of the lucky dip machine and both are from here in India.
MAMA: Oh, close to home!
LEELA: Indeed-y-deed. Where it’s super-hot already.
LEELA: We’re burning up over here, folks, it’s already hit over a hundred degrees Fahrenheit – that’s 40 degrees Celsius – in many parts of the country. And it’s only mid-April! So it’s no wonder one rickshaw driver got creative to stay cool.
MAMA: And for those who don’t know what a rickshaw is?
LEELA: Ah. A little-bitty three-wheeler taxi with no windows and a very rickety roof. Otherwise known as a tuk-tuk, a scooty, or, surprise-surprise, a three-wheeler. And while the roof might be rickety that didn’t stop one rickshaw driver from turning his rooftop into a garden to provide him shade and deflect the heat. Never mind look cool, get it, cool.
MAMA: I heard ya. I like it.
LEELA: And did I mention the potted plants down by the seats with leaves trailing up the side of the open carriage.
MAMA: Ohh nice – and of course we have a link to this in our transcript, so you can see for yourself.
LEELA: As for the other oddball. Well, guess what happened to a thief in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, who carefully crawled into a temple, yes a temple from a teeny-tiny window, swiped some silver ornaments and tried to crawl out again?
MAMA: Ummm… the temple gods cursed him?
LEELA: You could say that. because he got stuck, didn’t he?! Only half his body could get out. What a site that must have been as it was (coughs) broad daylight and he was supposedly pleading with people passing by to help him.
MAMA: Oh, my. That’s really funny and really pretty sad.
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 – Happy Easter! A Christian spring festival with a name many think came from the pagan goddess of spring, who’s called what
LEELA: FAB FACT NUMBER 2 – Easter is not on a fixed date, but is always on the first Sunday after the full moon that occurs on or after the spring equinox. What’s the spring equinox?
In the Northern Hemisphere, the spring equinox happens when the sun crosses the equator, heading north.
MAMA: FAB FACT NUMBER 3 – Archeologists have digitally unwrapped the only royal Egyptian mummy found in the 19th and 20th centuries that hasn’t been opened for study. What’s the special name for those who study ancient Egypt?
LEELA: FAB FACT NUMBER 4 – Scientists find the fossil of dinosaur killed in an asteroid strike at a well-known fossil site in the US state of North Dakota, which is?
MAMA: FAB FACT NUMBER 5 – A new study shows that the four-legged Spinosaurus might have been able to swim because it was found to have what kind of bones?
Dense bones, like whales.
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 we’re at the end of this week’s dip in the Newsy Pooloozi!
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