Giraffes do math, cannibal fish, nonstop runner, conductor no duchess

May 17, 2023 Episode 151

Giraffes do math, Oregon twilight-zone fish wash ashore, Cambodian runner who didn’t stop, Welsh conductor not duchess in disguise

Episode Transcript


LEELA: This week – giraffes do math, cannibal fish wash ashore, the runner who didn’t stop and the conductor who’s not duchess in disguise!

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


LEELA: Hello and welcome to Newsy Pooloozi – the news pool for people who like to stay informed with…  A SMILE. Oh, yes, we have another helping of wacky world news for you this week. I’m Leela.

MAMA: And I’m Lyndee.

LEELA: And on Newsy Pooloozi this week…

A Spanish study reveals that giraffes use math to make predictions – wild or what!? Well, we’ll tell you how.

On the Northwest coast of the US cannibal fish from the twilight zone are washing ashore. You think I’m making this up, don’t you? But no, this is not a storyline from a TV show, but real news, folks.

We’ll also have the heroic tale of the Cambodian runner who didn’t give up.

And the oddball story of the Welsh conductor who was not a princess in disguise.

LEELA: Alrighty then – let’s unravel the wackiness of this week’s world news. First up, it’s the…

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

MAMA: Now – some of you might be familiar with that great children’s book, Giraffes Can’t Dance.

LEELA: Ooooh, I loved that story.

MAMA: I know, it was always a favorite. So, in case you’re not familiar with it, it’s about giraffe –

LEELA: Named Gerald.

MAMA: Gerald the giraffe, yes, who’s laughed out of a big jungle dance party because, well… giraffes are the world’s tallest living land animals.

LEELA: I know, they can grow up to 18 feet or 5.5 meters – that’s taller than three adult humans!

MAMA: I know. They not only have exceedingly long necks, but also very long legs. So that means poor Gerald doesn’t dance the way the other animals do. But then he meets a musical cricket, and finds out that –

LEELA: “Everyone can dance if they find the music they love.”

MAMA: And, sure enough, Gerald the giraffe can dance. And so well the entire jungle goes to watch him in awe.

LEELA: Such a great story.

MAMA: Well, there’s part two. Only it’s real life. Turns out giraffes can’t just dance but they can also do math!

LEELA: What?!

MAMA: So, we’ve known for a while that different primates can do some basic math and even some fish can count, and bees can tell apart odd and even numbers. Did you know?

LEELA: I did not know that… Impressive.

MAMA: But no one thought GIRAFFES – which have quite a small brain for mammals given their body size – that they might have a special ability to use simple math, well statistics, actually to make predictions. Until now. Yep. Some Spanish researchers have given giraffes a math test.

LEELA: Oh, lucky them!

MAMA: Well, of course, they’re animals so there were no numbers, or anything.

LEELA: Let me guess – there was food involved!

MAMA: Oh yes that’s smart

LEELA: That’s a kind of math test

MAMA: Yeah right, So, here’s how it worked. They showed the giraffes two clear containers, each with yummy bright orange carrots which giraffes love, apparently and green cucumbers which they’re not so crazy about. Now one container had a higher proportion of the thing they loved.

LEELA: Carrots!

MAMA: Exactly. And the other one had more cucumbers. So, here’s where it gets interesting. The researcher would use one container with their right hand and take out one item but not let the giraffe see.

LEELA: They kept it in a closed fist.

MAMA: Right.

LEELA: And then they did the same with the other container and their other hand.

MAMA: Bingo. Then they held both hands out to the giraffe to let them guess which hand was more likely to have their favorite orange carrot.

LEELA: So, they had to size up the proportion of each container’s contents… and see which had a higher chance or probability of having the carrot. And could they?

MAMA: Ohhh they could indeed! Of course, this experiment was done using several variations, but each time the giraffes were able to successfully choose the hand that picked from the container with the highest proportion of their favourite snack.

LEELA: Clever creatures! So, a big brain is not necessarily a sign of a smart brain.

MAMA: You said it! And it might be that basic math might be more common in the animal kingdom than previously thought. And now, staying with animals, but the wetter variety… Let’s have a little more of this…

[SOURCE: https://www.iflscience.com/giraffes-may-have-smaller-brains-but-they-can-do-stats-just-as-well-as-primates-68752

https://www.bbc.co.uk/newsround/65495340 https://www.natgeokids.com/uk/discover/animals/general-animals/ten-giraffe-facts/]

NATURE STING – VARIOUS VOICES: “The call of nature. Get on your safari suite. Or squeeze into your scuba gear. And get ready to hop into a jeep. Or submarine. Submarine. Because Mother Nature is calling! Nature.”  

MAMA: So, Leela.

LEELA: So, Mama.

MAMA: Have you ever heard of the lancetfish?

LEELA: I have not.

MAMA: Well, it’s quite the fish, let me tell you. First of all, do you know what a lancet is?

LEELA: Uhh, actually I do not.

MAMA: Well, it’s a small, broad surgical knife or blade which is sharp on both sides and at the top.

LEELA: So, let me guess, this fish is pretty dangerous?

MAMA: Bingo. It’s a predator, or some say…

LEELA: Cannibal!

MAMA: Exactly. But that’s not all… It lurks in the depths of the sea known as the “twilight zone”.

LEELA: Deh-neh-neh-nahhh.

MAMA: But guess – they’re mysteriously washing up on the beaches of Oregon – a state in America’s northwest.

LEELA: Ewwwww…. Sounds like we need to head to our West Coast reporter, Anna Kelly for more on this story.

MAMA: You got it.

LEELA: Over to you, Anna.

ANNA: Thanks a lot, Leela.

Yes, you would not want to run into one of these fish on a swim in Oregon.

They might have pretty fins that look like the sail of a ship, but these large fish – which can grow to 7 feet long – also have bulging eyes and fiercely sharp teeth that look like daggers!

Hence the name – lancet.

Luckily for us, these cannibal fish usually lurk deep in the cold and dark mid-water ocean depths known as the…   “Twilight zone.”

But not now.

At least not for some unlucky ones.

Oregon State Parks officials say several of the fish have been spotted – washed up – on the shore in the last few weeks.

And no one knows why…

According to live science there are three theories.

One – the fish became injured or ill so couldn’t swim very well and just got pushed to shore.

Two – a storm washed them in.

Three – they’ve experienced a phenomenon known as “temperature shock” — where a fish is suddenly exposed to water that’s much colder than they’re used to.

The question is – is this a fishy tale or just a Twilight Zone mystery?

From the NorthWest Coast of America, I’m Anna Kelly, reporting for Newsy Pooloozi

LEELA: Hey thanks a lot Anna for that story. Keep us posted what happens.

[SOURCE: https://www.foxweather.com/earth-space/lancetfish-found-oregon-state-parks



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: With 130 miles per hour winds, Cyclone Mocha rips through the South Asian countries of Myanmar and Bangladesh. While around 30 people have died so far, authorities say early storm warnings have saved thousands of lives, though many are still unaccounted for.

The merits and pitfalls of artificial intelligence is being debated in the US Capitol Hill where senators are asking will AI be a positive invention like the printing press or a negative one like the atom bomb? Testifying before a Senate committee is the creator of ChatGPT, who’s calling on lawmakers to regulate AI.

Staying with tech news, the European Union approves Microsoft’s mega purchase of video game maker Activision Blizzard, deciding the deal won’t stifle competition. Some experts say the Microsoft-Activision merger is good news for cloud gaming platforms, but the blockbuster deal still has to pass through British and US regulators.

And a pretty pair of old ceramic jars purchased at a London thrift store for $25 are actually worth a bit more than that… because it turns out they actually date back to the 18th century Qing dynasty and could sell for around $60,000!

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 speedy girl. And now…

SPORTS STING – VARIOUS VOICES: “It’s time to play ball… Score… Sports News!”

LEELA: So, it’s not every day that the person who finishes last in a race becomes the most praised person in her country.

MAMA: But then again, it’s not every day that someone not at her physical best enters a race anyway 5000-meter or 3-mile race and then very soon falls to last place and then despite this…


LEELA: Yes, a massive downpour.

MAMA: And yes, she still keeps going and doesn’t give up.

LEELA: Which no one would have blamed her for, really, given the circumstances.

MAMA: But instead – beating back the pouring rain and tears

LEELA: She decides to keep going and finish the race.

MAMA: Bou Samnang was competing for her country in the Southeast Asian Games. Which her country was hosting the 20-year-old mother of one always loved running even though she grew up with only one pair of shoes, no sports shirts and running on dirt tracks.

LEELA: She’s also struggled with her health, as she has anaemia, or a lack of red blood cells, and actually was feeling weak on the day of her big race.

MAMA: Her trainer told her not to run, but she was determined to represent her country in the big regional competition, which was being hosted in the capital city, Phnom Penh.

LEELA: And that’s why she didn’t quit even when the odds were all stacked against her.

MAMA: She says, “I had the right to abandon the race, but first I have a duty to represent Cambodia. So, I did not give up.”

LEELA: And seeing the video of her tearfully crossing the finish line in the torrential rain has made her a national hero.

MAMA: Showing that coming first isn’t the only way to win hearts.

[SOURCE: https://www.france24.com/en/live-news/20230513-the-last-placed-runner-who-became-toast-of-cambodia


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: Oh, yes. This is an odd story about rumors.

You know, as in not the truth – but just wild speculation about something.

Because that’s what happened after last week’s coronation of the UK’s King Charles III when loads of people began to speculate on social media, of course that a rather square-faced, older gentleman with very shaggy, grey-blonde hair, a very large mustache and, of course, sunglasses… was not in fact… a man… at all.

But instead, was the Duchess of Sussex, Megan Markle, the wife of the king’s second son, Prince Harry.

Yes, the Internet went wild with rumors that she had put on a disguise to attend the coronation. Despite having announced that she would not be attending the event with her husband.

Alas. This is not true.

None other than the Welsh composer Sir Karl Jenkins has come out to say he is not duchess in disguise… but a real man, who had a real invite to attend the coronation as… himself.

He was invited because a song he composed based on an old Welsh folk song was to be played at the ceremony, which more than 18 million people tuned in to watch.

Including, most likely, the Duchess of Sussex – since she was not there in person – even in disguise.

[SOURCE: https://www.bbc.com/news/articles/cljgg9801w5o


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 – According to a Spanish study, giraffes use simple math to make predictions. What other animals are known to have some basic math or counting abilities?

Various primates, some fish and bees

LEELA: FAB FACT NUMBER 2 – This is impressive as giraffes have quite small brains for mammals given their body size – they are the world’s tallest living land animals. How tall can they grow?

Up to 18 feet (or 5.5 meters) – that’s taller than three adult humans!

MAMA: FAB FACT NUMBER 3 – Officials are stumped in the US state of Oregon after cannibalistic ‘twilight-zone’ lancetfish wash ashore on the beaches of Oregon. Where is the twilight zone for this fish?

The cold and dark mid-water ocean depths known as the “twilight zone.”

LEELA: FAB FACT NUMBER 4 – These lancetfish are named after a lancet, which is what?

It’s a small, broad two-edged surgical knife or blade with a sharp point.

MAMA: FAB FACT NUMBER 5 – A Cambodian runner who was last place but refused to quit despite not feeling well and a massive downpour of rain is winning hearts all over the world. Where is Cambodia?

Southeast Asia

And if you’re an educator and you want to test your kids’ listening skills… then try the text version of this quiz online. Go to the Lucky Dip Blog 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 we shouldn’t tell them. And we are almost done for the week…


MAMA: Except we have our all-important shout outs!

LEELA: Oh, yes, we do. You know who you are!

MAMA: First, one from Apple Podcast – from Clara Sandager apologies, Clara, for taking a few weeks to read this out, who wrote:

LEELA: “Woohoo! I just listened to my first episode, and I love it!!!!!!!!!!”

MAMA: Thank you very much, Clara!

LEELA: Thank you. And we also got an email from Sariyah Leigh, who said – in all-caps – “I LOVE YOUR PODCAST!!! It helps me sleep every night! I LOVE YALL!!!”

MAMA: OMG – well we love y’all too!

LEELA: Seriously – this makes our day!

MAMA: I would sing, “Thank you,” but Leela’s banned me from singing on the podcast unless I tickle her like crazy… But really, Clara and Sariyah, thank you so, SO –


MAMA: So much for these reviews. It really keeps us going. And for those who do send us emails, it’s awesome if you’re able to review for us too on whatever listening app you use as it helps other people find us.

LEELA: True – or you could just tell a friend or two about us yourself!

MAMA: Ah, and there’s that!


Alrighty then, folks, we’ll see you next week in the happy, splashy giant Newsy Pooloozi!