Finland’s woody batteries, Taylor Swift concert, “fish-lizard” fossil, Autism Day

Mar 22, 2023 Episode 143

Finland’s forest of wood used to make batteries, Taylor Swift sings 44 songs in 3 hours, deciphering “fish-lizard” fossil and World Autism Day

Episode Transcript



LEELA: In world news this week… Finland’s woody batteries, Taylor rocks it, what is autism and the fish-lizzard fossil.

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, 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: This week, we hear about Finland’s creative way of making cleaner… batteries

Taylor Swift dazzles her fans at her first concert in years, singing 44 songs in just over 3 hours.

World Autism Day is coming up – we’ll give you the low-down on the autism spectrum.

And have you ever heard of the fish-lizards? Neither had we – and it sounds horrifying. Listen to the end to hear all about it – if you dare!

Alrighty then, let’s dive on in. First up, it’s the…

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

MAMA: So, Leela. During the lockdown, when you had online school, what was one of the things that we suddenly all stopped using? Something that was a total necessity before COVID, but used very little during the pandemic.

LEELA: Eye contact? Conversation skills?

MAMA: Ha, ha! Good one. Come on, something more tangible, more concrete.

LEELA: Ok, public transport.

MAMA: Good one. At something you used to use in school, like all the time? Ok, let me put you out of your misery – paper! With everything online, less people used paper.

LEELA: Oh, yeah.

MAMA: And it’s a trend that’s continued. I’m quite happy not to have reams of receipts stuffed in my bag after I go shopping, for instance.

LEELA: I hear ya. But, well, that must be a blow for paper production companies!

MAMA: You’ve caught on quite well, haven’t you? Yes, it definitely has been, so one Finnish paper company decided to do something about it and find other things they can do with the trees they usually use for paper instead!

LEELA: Oh, cool! What?!

MAMA: Well, for that we need to cut across to Ameyaa Kohli, our Finnish correspondent, to give us the story.

LEELA: Well, take it away, Ameyaa!

AMEYAA: Thanks, you guys!

Like you said as we become a more digital world, the demand for paper is really dropping.

That means paper producers need to find new ideas to make money.

So the Finnish paper company, called Stora Enso, found a new use for the part of wood that holds the tree together, called lignin.

Lignin is basically the glue in the tree that makes wood hard and not mushy!

Well, guess what?

Lignin contains carbon.

And carbon is a great material for a vital component found in batteries.

Yes, we’re talking about: electric vehicle batteries being made from wood!

OK, well, part of the battery, made from A PART of wood – but still, how crazy is that?

This is super helpful because – as you’ve said on this podcast many times – making electric car batteries isn’t easy.

Finding the rare materials needed can be dangerous and bad for the environment.

Well, this invention, called “Lignode,” could be a safer and more sustainable option!

I guess we could say it’s a real “positive”innovation!

Get it?

Positive, like a positively charged battery?

This is Ameyaa Kohli, reporting for Newsy Pooloozi!

LEELA: Very clever… Thanks a lot, Ameyaa! I guess this company will be charging ahead with their wooden battery soon. Get it…?!

MAMA: Oh, you girls. You’re so sparky!

[SOURCE: https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20221215-the-batteries-made-from-wood



ACE STING – LEELA/MAMA: “Now it’s the ace part of our podcast: Arts, Culture and Entertainment. Darling.”

LEELA: Well today we have a story about my absolute idol, “Taylor Swift.”

I’ve collected all the data – including listening to episodes of “13, a Taylor Swift Fan Podcast.”

As our listeners will know, we covered the story about Taylor Swift’s Ticket Master mayhem in episode 136.

But today as a full-on Swifty (that’s the name for Taylor Swift fans!) I am proud to announce that on Saturday 18th Taylor Swift had her 1st show of “The era’s tour” at Arizona State Farm stadium with over 80,000 fans, Showing up!

It’s been five years since Taylor has last toured and she started it out emotionally, saying, and I quote, “I can’t even go into how much I’ve missed you”

She’s just THE BEST!!!

She ALSO somehow pulled off performing 44 songs – from throughout her eras – in just over three hours.


And topping that, the tour broke the record for most concert tickets sold in one day at 2.4 million!!!!!!!

Unfortunately, she hasn’t announced her international dates yet.

Taylor, please come to India!

[SOURCE: https://www.usatoday.com/story/entertainment/music/2023/03/18/taylor-swift-kicks-off-eras-tour-arizona-44-song-set/11490795002/


LEELA: Well thank you so much for that – wait for it… that whippity-whappity-zippity-zappity wrap of what’s making headlines elsewhere in the world, Mama.

MAMA: Anytime, Leela.

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: A 6.5 magnitude earthquake rocks Afghanistan and parts of Pakistan with tremors felt as far away as India. (Yes, we felt it here!). At least a dozen people have been killed, but the full extent of the destruction is not yet known.

Russia and China’s leaders are pledging to strengthen ties between their countries after two days of meetings. But there was little progress made about ending Russia’s war in Ukraine, even though China has portrayed itself as a potential peace maker.

Millions of people in California are battling heavy floods as the US state braces for another week of storms. This comes after residents have been battered by floods, landslides, snow and, of course, power outages since December.

And it’s the war of the chatbots…Google launches BARD AI Chatbot to compete with Microsoft’s Bing Chat and the opensource ChatGPT (which we featured in episode 140). Want to know which one is best and nonbiased, well, ask them all!

LEELA: Well thank you so much for that – oh, let’s go Mary Poppins today – for that whippity-whappity-zippity-zappity wrap of what’s making headlines elsewhere in the world, Mama.

MAMA: Anytime, Mary. So, Leela.

LEELA: So, Mama.

MAMA: You know we talk a lot about life being full of spectrums, right? Like you can have extroverted or outgoing people at one end of the spectrum and introverted, as in more self-contained, people at the other end.

LEELA: Yep. And because it’s a spectrum, most of us fit somewhere in between.

MAMA: Exactly. There’s another spectrum we should all be aware of and that’s the Autism Spectrum Disorder.

LEELA: Yeah, I’ve heard of autism.

MAMA: Well, since April 2nd is World Autism Awareness Day, we thought we’d go into a little detail about autism and its spectrum.

LEELA: Good idea.

MAMA: With a special report from our new correspondent Nandini Parikh.

LEELA: Well, take it away, Nandini!

NANDINI: Thanks, Leela!

So, you may have heard the word “autism” but might not really understand it.

Well, it’s basically a developmental disability that causes differences in the brain.

In other words – it means the brain functions differently.

You’ve probably seen people who find social interaction difficult, right?

Maybe they’re unable to concentrate or do what you might consider simple tasks.

Maybe you’ve even seen people make repetitive movements or sounds, called “stimming,” without recognising it?

Well, they could be on the “autism disorder spectrum.”

And, like you said, a spectrum means some people require more support than others.

Autistic children are often bullied or isolated.

So be kind to those around you who are different or a-typical.

Make an effort to be tolerant and inclusive wherever you can!

This is Nandini Parikh, reporting for Newsy Pooloozi.

LEELA: Thanks a lot, Nandini. I really didn’t know a lot of that.

MAMA: Yeah. And it’s good to be aware of our differences.

LEELA: Yep. The world would be a boooooooooring place if we were all the same.

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: This is one of those – you gotta see it to believe it stories. As in see the artistic representation of this… this… thing!

MAMA: Ah, Leela… what?!

LEELA: Well, it’s not everyday you get a podgy dolphin-like body but with a long creepy mouth of a lizard – enter the ichthyosaur.

LEELA: So let me begin at the beginning – 250 million years ago…(!) when who knew there were some ancient “fish-lizards” swimming in our oceans.

OK, so some scientists knew, of course. But they didn’t realize these darling things were actually as OLD as they were.

See, researchers discovered the fossilized remains of one on a remote Arctic island in 2014.

And after spending almost ten years studying it, they now think the fish-lizards may have come BEFORE the “Great Dying.”


So, scientists previously assumed these fish-lizards had emerged with all other marine reptiles – AFTER the Permian mass extinction event, also known as the “Great Dying.”

When – as the name suggests – nearly ALL life on Earth was wiped out 251.9 million years ago.

But this new study suggests these sea monsters survived the “Great Dying” – making us reconsider what we know about Earth’s earlier mass extinction.


MAMA: And sticking with the ocean and speaking of things you have to see to believe – check out the “invisible” 3D printed super-yacht. OK, of course, it’s not really invisible and it’s not even been made yet, but the clear and reflective glass will make it a stunner. Yes, we’ll put links to both of these stories in our transcript, which is found on our website.

[SOURCE: https://www.livescience.com/worlds-oldest-ichthyosaur-remains



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 – The Finnish paper company, Stora Enso, is finding a new use for the part of wood that holds the tree together – creating sustainable batteries. What’s that part of the tree called?


LEELA: FAB FACT NUMBER 2 – This part of a tree contains a great material that is a vital component found in batteries. What material is that?


MAMA: FAB FACT NUMBER 3 – April 2nd is World Autism Day. But what exactly is autism?

It’s a developmental disability that causes differences in the brain – in other words it means the brain functions differently.

LEELA: FAB FACT NUMBER 4 – Taylor Swift recently did her first concert of her Era’s Tour in Arizona, singing 44 songs in over 3 hours. What do Taylor Swift fans call themselves?


MAMA: FAB FACT NUMBER 5 – The oldest “fish-lizard” fossil ever discovered suggests these sea monsters – officially called ichthyosaurs survived the “Great Dying.” When was that?

251.9 million years ago

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 almost brings us to the end of this episode of Newsy Pooloozi! But first…

MAMA: We have MORE Apple Podcast reviews to read! Thank you Michael Alcantar, who wrote:

LEELA: “I love this show! I like listening to the news and especially during the night and the news is funny but also serious.”

MAMA: And Riahj8, who wrote:

LEELA: “I love your podcast! I love this podcast so much – can’t wait for more episodes.”

BOTH: Thank you, thank you, thank you!

MAMA: We’ve also got some messages in our mailbag, we promise to read out next week!


LEELA: If you enjoyed this dip in the coolest pool of news and information then why don’t you tell a friend about us?

MAMA: Spread the joy of being curious about the world!

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