Nov 1, 2023 Episode 163
Electric road in Sweden, Taylor Swift makes a new chart, slang expression Rickrolled explained, Pennsylvania mummy given big burial
LEELA: This week… Forget electric cars – what about electric roads, plus Taylor hits a new chart, Rickrolled explained and a mummy’s buried.
OPENING STING – LEELA: “Hey, hey, hey. Listen up. 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, yes, joining me as my road-trip companion, podcast producer and… mother!
MAMA: Hello, hello. I’m Lyndee Prickitt. And, yes, it was good to get on the road last week and see some of India during the start of festival season.
LEELA: Speaking of… The big Hindu holiday of Diwali is around the corner, so we’ll be taking the next couple weeks off too.
MAMA: But we do have a special Autumn Festivals compilation we’ll put out for you and, of course, if you want to know more about Diwali then check out episode 71 and episode 20 when Leela sounded really young and so cute… awwww.
LEELA: Mom – I’m right here.
MAMA: I know… you’re a big girl now. Sorry I mean, young lady.
LEELA: Alright… getting back to this week’s news…
They’re charging on the move in Sweden. We’ve all heard of electric cars but what about electric highways that charge cars as they drive ON THE ROAD?
And move over men… The billionaires (mostly) boy’s club has a new member – here’s a clue, she really likes to “shake it off.” And is my idol!
Finally, with Halloween just behind us – how about a spooky tale of the American mummy that’s just had a funeral?
LEELA: OK – let’s do this. First up, it’s the…
BIG NEWS STORY STING – VARIOUS VOICES: “The big news story of the week!”
MAMA: Hey, Leela?
LEELA: Hey, Mama.
MAMA: Did you know there are magical school buses these days?
LEELA: Magical school buses? Ummm… Isn’t that just a very cute children ‘s TV show?
MAMA: Well, not magical like The Magic School Bus. I mean everyone knows that’s not really possible, sadly. What I mean is there are electric buses and cars that could be charged on the road… WHILE travelling.
LEELA: Whoa. But that sounds that sound pretty magical. I mean, I don’t see how that’s even possible!
MAMA: I know, right?! But it’s been recently introduced in Sweden. As our new environment tech correspondent, Krisha Bang, is about to tell us.
LEELA: Well, take it away, Krisha!
KRISHA: Thanks, Leela!
As you know, most cars have combustion engines and run on fossil fuels, which are dirty.
You’ve probably seen the black smoke that comes out of the exhaust, right?!
SFX OF MUFFLER ON CAR
Well, with so many people on Earth running cars, it’s really dirty and bad for the environment, contributing to global warming.
And just imagine how polluted and harmful the air is for our lungs when we inhale this same air full of black smoke?!
That’s why we’re hearing so much about electric vehicles.
Though EV batteries require precious raw materials and are often charged with fossil fuel electricity, when their quiet motors run, they’re much cleaner.
SFX OF EV CAR
And charging them can be a pain…
So, what if the ROADS were electric too?!
You heard me right.
The project called “EVolution Road, is from a Swedish company called Elon Road nothing to do with Elon Musk or his company Tesla, by the way!
It’s called dynamic, or conductive, charging and it works for all electric vehicles – from buses to cars to trucks – regardless of their make or model.
And it’s already being tested in the Swedish city of Lund.
How does it work?
Basically, the electricity flows to the vehicles through a metal strip that’s built into the road.
Well, there’s this little strip of metal that hangs underneath your car.
And then you drive on top of a long metal strip that’s been built into the road.
When the metal on your car rubs on the metal on the highway – ta dah! – energy is created, and your battery gets charged!
Pretty cool, huh?
Talk about efficient!
This idea makes a lot more sense than putting charging points everywhere, right?
Apparently, this electric road machinery is also very easy to install, if a little on the pricey side.
And it works in any climate.
Whether it’s super-hot India or snowy Sweden – doesn’t matter – it still charges the EVs.
Oh, and did I mention, that this technology is only switched on when a car sends a signal to the antenna receiver in the road?
And when the car drives off the metal strip, it’ll immediately switch off.
So, while crossing the road, you don’t have to worry about your hair standing up after being electrocuted.
SFX ELECTRIC SIZZLE
It also shuts down immediately if someone tries to tamper with it.
Super cool tech – or should I say, sizzling hot technology.
I’m Krisha Bang, reporting for Newsy Pooloozi
LEELA: Awesome story, Krisha. And welcome aboard – we do love someone who likes to have “pun” with us!
MAMA: Yeah, thanks a lot for this story, Krisha! Speaking of… now let’s talk about another “spark.”
LEELA: Oh, yeah. It’s time for…
ACE STING – LEELA/MAMA: “Now it’s the ace part of our podcast: Arts, Culture and Entertainment. Darling.”
MAMA: Well, over to you, Leela, as this top entertainment news is all about your idol, Queen Slayler.
LEELA: Of course, I’m talking about Taylor Swift. The pop star has entered another chart. One that’s more typically dominated by middle-aged men.
LEELA: Thanks to the amazing success of her ongoing Era’s tour and the new re-release of her album, 1989 along with all her other re-released albums, the megastar is no longer just a millionaire. She’s entered into billionaire zone.
Financial experts estimate she’s now worth $1.1 billion – having made a third of that since just June.
LEELA: I know, right? Especially because she’s earned this money – not through inheritance, like many others of the list but through musical talent and hard work.
She joins other female music icons like Beyoncé, Lady Gaga and Madonna.
MAMA: Now it’s time for…
WHY’S IT CALLED THAT STING – VARIOUS VOICES: Why [in different languages] is it called that? Why’s it called that? Words and phrase explained/defined and decoded.
MAMA: Yes, we have the second word in our new series…
BOTH: Slang explained!
LEELA: Yes, we’re still thinking about the right introductory sting for that…
MAMA: And, yeah, if there are any musicians or creative folks out there who want to have a go or give us any suggestions – do drop us a line.
LEELA: That would be email@example.com or just go to the Contact Us page on our website, which is also newsypooloozi.com.
MAMA: That’s newsypooloozi.com – p-o-o-l o-o-z-i.com. So, as promised last month, we’re now tackling one of the most common and, well, confounding as in totally weird and confusing – phrases in pop culture.
LEELA: Which has been around for nearly 20 years! And is way more than just a word. In fact, it’s really a prank that turned into a thing so big it’s gone from teenagers to governments using it!
MAMA: And it has a pretty complicated and surreal backstory – as like a dream where things make no real sense.
LEELA: Without further ado…
MAMA: Yes! OK. Drumroll, please.
SFX OF DRUMROLL STARTING
LEELA: Ummm, drumroll? Don’t you mean… Rickroll?!
SFX OF DRUMROLL STOPPING
MAMA: Yes, this month’s slang explained is Rickroll. And really, in order to explain it, you’re gonna get a few other words and phrases defined too.
LEELA: Three for the price of one!
LEELA: So, to me, who was just playing that song – by some old 80s dude, Rick Astley. To your friends or singing it to them and once you done you are like I rick rolled you.
MAMA: So, when you say that 80s song to you mean “Never gone give you, never gonna let you down, never gonna run around or desert you…”
LEELA: Uhhh… No…. stop… you’re so embarrassing.
MAMA: It is embarrassing, and I might just have to edit that out. But what worst about rick rolling is that its torture because it’s an earworm and its worst
LEELA: And an “earworm” in case you didn’t know is when a piece of music worms its way into your ear and into your brain – and YOU CAN’T GET IT OUT!
MAMA: Like, all day. Like the other one “Baby shark, do-do-do-do…” Earworms are seriously annoying.
LEELA: Tell me about it. But, anyway, a Rickroll is more than just an ear worm.
MAMA: Oh, so much more. It’s really a surreal prank. Or to be more specific, it’s something called a “bait-and-switch prank,” if you please.
LEELA: Which is basically false advertising!
MAMA: As the name suggests, something acts as bait – like a message from a friend suggesting she’s got a spare Taylor Swift concert ticket for you.
LEELA: That’s the bait. So, of course, you click on whatever link she’s sent you.
MAMA: Only… it’s switched. It’s not Taylor tickets…
LEELA: It’s Rick! Usually, a YouTube video of him singing THAT song.
MAMA: Though it’s evolved to be even just a picture of him or sometimes even just a few lines from the song.
LEELA: Or even an outline of his big 80s hair.
MAMA: I know. So, that’s bait and switch. But where, you’re asking, did the “roll” bit of this story come into it?
LEELA: Well, that’s even more odd.
MAMA: The bait-and-switch phenomenon is of course a nasty sales trick used, probably, for centuries. But the surreal modern they twist, as in turning it into an odd prank, has been used by computer nerds for a while now. In this case, with an imageboard community known as 4chan.
LEELA: Imageboards are websites, or web pages, where users can post images relating to a particular issue or topic and reply to other users’ posted images.
MAMA: Well, try and follow this if you can, somebody back in the day thought it was funny to switch out the word duck for egg on the imageboard when anyone tried to search for an eggroll.
LEELA: They got the word duck roll instead. Duck Roll. Just hilarious, right?
MAMA: Totally. Well then that naturally evolved into am IMAGE of a duck with wheels for feet.
LEELA: Voila: duck roll. Hilarious.
MAMA: And when that got old… Rick Astley and THAT song came up instead. The Rick switch-and-bait is said to have first happened in 2007 when someone posted a link of THAT video instead of the promised sneak preview of a newly released video game, Grand Theft Auto IV.
LEELA: And naturally called it a Rickroll. And because TONS of people wanted to see the video game sneak preview – but saw Rick instead, Rickrolling just took off.
MAMA: And it just kept rolling and it hasn’t really stopped. In fact, I have it on good authority that some of our favourite kid correspondents where rickrolled by their parents when they were given their first email account.
LEELA: Very funny.
MAMA: Even the White House under President Barak Obama – in response to a reporter complaining about a dull briefing – replied with, “Sorry to hear that. Fiscal policy is important, but can be dry sometimes. Here’s something more fun.”
LEELA: Which, of course, was a link to THAT song.
MAMA: Which is really never (sings) gonna give you up, it’s never gonna let you down, it’s never gonna run around or desert you…
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: So, with both Halloween and the Day of the Dead this week, I think we can handle a story about something on a related, sort of scary, or maybe just deathly, topic.
LEELA: Yes, I’m talking about mummies.
MAMA: Ha – guess you´re not talking about the people who raise children in the U.K… You know Mummies, like mummies and daddies…, get it?
LEELA: Mother! Or should I say, mum. No. I’m talking about a very famous mummy in the town of Reading, Pennsylvania.
MAMA: That’s in the eastern U.S.
LEELA: Yes, and in this town, there is a very famous mummy.
MAMA: Whoa. No, way!
LEELA: Yes, way.
MAMA: I mean it’s not Egypt or anything. Who knew! So, by mummy you mean, a dead human body that’s been embalmed – as in preserved with chemicals to prevent its skin and bones from decomposing. Right?
LEELA: Bingo! It all goes back to the year 1895. That’s when police say a man – who was not from the town – was caught burglarizing a home.
Of course, he was thrown in jail and, sadly, died there. But all that time no one knew his real name, because he gave the police an alias when they arrested him.
MAMA: And alias means a fake name. He gave the police a fake name, so they wouldn’t know who he really was, right?
LEELA: Exactly. So, when he died, police gave his body to the local funeral home where it was supposed to be prepared for burial.
MAMA: What do you mean “supposed to be?”
LEELA: Well, that’s just it. Instead of the usual way to embalm a body, the local mortician –
MAMA: That’s someone who preserves and prepares dead bodies at funeral homes.
LEELA: Yes, the local mortician, experimented on the body with some heavy-duty embalming products and the result…
MAMA: Was a mummy!?
LEELA: Yes! The result was that, after a few days, the body started to mummify!
MAMA: And when bodies mummify, the skin becomes hard and leathery.
LEELA: Yes, amongst other things… Suffice to say, it was so interesting to observe, that the funeral director got permission from the police to keep the body.
MAMA: Keep the body. Ewww. I mean well I guess all in the name of science…?
LEELA: Yes, and, eventually, well, ummm, tourism.
LEELA: Because year after year, the body mummified even more. And people started hearing stories about “this American mummy” and began visiting the town.
Eventually even school children would come with their classes.
And with so much interest, the mummy was given a nickname, “Stoneman Willie.”
MAMA: Stoneman Willie Uh, Kinda makes sense or not…
LEELA: Which brings us back to today… After so many years as a tourist attraction, authorities say the time had finally come to give this anonymous stranger some respect with a proper funeral and burial.
MAMA: Instead of treating him like a freakshow I guess ha.
LEELA: Exactly. Well, maybe. Depends how you view it. See, they held a ceremony AND a parade marching his casket all through town.
LEELA: But it was actually so lots of people could say goodbye and, you know, rest in respected peace. Finally.
MAMA: Shame they never found out who he was though.
LEELA: Oh, but that’s the cool part. They did, believe it or not! The funeral home finally confirmed a long-held rumor that the man’s name was… James Murphy.
MAMA: Ah! James Murphy! Sounds like a nice Irish lad. I mean, I know he was a thief. But sometimes I can´t help but see the good in people. I guess you can say it´s the “mummy” in me.
LEELA: Oh, mother you can resist. Can you?
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 – FAB FACT: A company in Sweden designs electric roads to charge electric vehicles while they’re being driven, using a technology that allows the electricity to flow to the vehicles through a metal strip built into the road. What’s that kind of charging called?
Dynamic or conductive charging
LEELA: FAB FACT NUMBER 2 – We explained the history and usage of the slang – which is more of a prank – called “Rickroll” in the podcast this week. What old sales trick is it based on?
MAMA: FAB FACT NUMBER 3 – Superstar Taylor swift has made it to a new chart – the billionaires of the world chart – not through inheritance but talent and hard work. What other talented female popstars are billionaires too?
Beyoncé, Lady Gaga and Madonna
LEELA: FAB FACT NUMBER 4 – A thief who died in jail and was embalmed gets a proper funeral in Pennsylvania after years of being a tourist attraction. What does embalm mean?
To preserve a body with chemicals to prevent its skin and bones from decomposing.
MAMA: FAB FACT NUMBER 5 – This was done by the town’s mortician back in the 1800s in the name of curiosity and science. What’s a mortician?
Someone who preserves and prepares dead bodies at funeral homes.
And if you’re an educator and wanna to test your kids’ listening skills… then have a look at our quiz online. Go to the Lucky Dip page of our website, newsypooloozi.com, that’s pool-o-o-z-i, and let the kids take this quiz online or surprise them with an in-class pop quiz!
LEELA: A fun one though.
LEELA: And that almost brings us to the end of this episode of Newsy Pooloozi!
MAMA: Don’t forget – we’ll be taking off next couple weeks of weeks for Diwali, but we will have our special Autumn Festivals compilation we’ll put out for you to tide you over.
LEELA: In the meantime, why not tell a friend about us? Share your love of the world and – of course – stay curious.
Alrighty then, see you next week in the happy, splashy giant Newsy Pooloozi!