Glaciers, haunted houses, baseball season and cocoa snow

Glacier gloom, pencil power, drive-in fright, US crazy league season and Switzerland’s cocoa snow

Aug 26, 2020 Episode 09

Hear what Greenland’s melting glaciers means for you, the high-tech power of low-tech pencils, Japan’s answer to socially distanced haunted houses, the crazy league season in US sports and how it snowed cocoa in Switzerland.

Like this episode? Then don’t forget to check out our previous story on the storm season, Kenyan boy genius, a real-life cat burglar and more!

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Episode Transcript



LEELA: “Newsy Pooloozi!”




LEELA: Hello and welcome to our ninth episode of Newsy Pooloozi.


MAMA: Number 9, number 9, number 9.


LEELA: I’m your host, Leela Sivasankar Prickitt. And the person who loves saying what number episode we’re on… is… my mama.


MAMA: Number 9, number 9.


LEELA: (stage coughs)


MAMA: Yes, and I’m also the sound-effects engineer and big story explainer…


LEELA: Oh, yes, she is… And together, this week on Newsy Pooloozi, we’ll be talking about…

big news for planet earth… the technical power of… pencil-on-paper…

Japan’s scary entertainment in the time of coronavirus…

How America’s major league sports are having… a crazy league season…

and how it’s snowing cocoa in Switzerland


But first, let’s catch up with the big news stories getting people excited in their corners of the world…

WORLD WRAP STING – LEELA: “Hold on tight, it’s around the world in 80 seconds.”

MAMA: First it was the US Democratic Party holding their rather unusual virtual convention or meeting… Now it’s the Republican’s turn. Both parties are hoping to drum up enthusiasm ahead of November’s big, general election.


NASA is tracking down the source of a small leak on the International Space Station. It was detected almost a year ago, but didn’t interfere with normal operations. Apparently, a little bit of air always leaks over time, requiring more nitrogen and oxygen to be sent up during cargo missions.


Firefighters in the American state of California are battling blazes and… a bull… Yes, Ferdinand the bull wasn’t clowning around when he ran up crew off a fiery field. The longhorn was clearly shaken up by the blazes, but luckily managed to make his own way to safety.


And two years after being stuck up a little boy’s nose, a rather snotty piece of Lego finally escaped. When the 7-year-old boy from New Zealand inserted the tiny piece of up his nose two years ago, his family took him to the doctor, who saw no sign of it and sent them home.

Remember only fingers go up your nose!


LEELA:  Whoo… Thanks for that fast flash around the world. And now it’s time to tackle…


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


MAMA: I’m afraid it’s not good news… Greenland’s ice caps have melted so much they’ve reached the point of no return.




MAMA: Alright let’s break this down. Here I’ve brought this.


LEELA: A globe!


MAMA: Yep. I love globes, don’t you.


LEELA: Hey stop! there’s India!


MAMA: And halfway around the world is…


LEELA: America!


MAMA: And in the middle going this way at least is…


LEELA: England! All the places I’m from.


MAMA: Yep. Ah! We could spend hours doing this… but… What’s at the top?


LEELA: The North Pole – Santa’s grotto!


MAMA: (laughs) Yeah… Let’s stick with the official name please…


LEELA: OK…. The Arctic!


MAMA: Right. And the bottom?


LEELA: Antarctica!


MAMA: That’s right. The Arctic is at the top. And the opposite of that is ANT-Arctica.  And they’re both covered in…?


LEELA: Snow.


MAMA: And…


LEELA: Ice! Or I should say, glaciers…. Goodness, glaciers!


MAMA: Yep. And they are going, going, and one day will be gone. Well, some anyway. Listen to this…




MAMA: This is the sound of ice melting in a lake in the Swiss Alps those are huge mountains Europe. Every summer the ice melts and drops into the lake. But, come every winter, it freezes up again.


LEELA: Yeah, that’s the seasonal cycle.


MAMA: Now that was happening to the Arctic ice caps too. For a long, long time. Even long after the industrial age came along do you know what industrial age is?


LEELA: Uhhhhh…


MAMA: Basically, when humans got so clever, we started making massive machines to do the heavy work for us making things like clothes and bottles and even pots and pans, lightbulbs and farm equipment on a mass scale instead of by hand. And soon came bigger boats and trains and… now cars and computers. Which overall has all been pretty good for humankind but not so great for…


LEELA: The earth!


MAMA: Quiet, because all that machinery produces…


LEELA: Pollution!


MAMA: Yep, where there is energy, there is exhaust. And for most of its 4.5 billion years of existence… the earth never had to deal with such mammoth amounts of human-made pollution entering its air never mind the land and sea. And as we’ve discussed before, some of this pollution is what we call greenhouse gas, which is …


LEELA: I know! It’s like air that enters a greenhouse: it heats up the area, but doesn’t leave.


MAMA: Yep, greenhouse gases trap heat in the Earth’s atmosphere. Which means things warm up…


LEELA: Like glaciers.


MAMA: Yes. But here’s the thing… For the first 150 years of the industrial age the glaciers in Greenland also called the Ice Sheet managed OK. Enough snow would pile up each winter to balance the ice melted in spring and summer. Just like in the Swiss Alps.


But…. according to this new study, that all changed 20 years ago… when the atmosphere stopped producing enough snow to rebuild the glaciers have melted into the sea. And the worst part is… according to the Ohio State University team behind the report… Even if we were to stop global warming in its tracks right now these ice caps still continue to disintegrate.


LEELA: Bad news for Santa. But for the rest of us… Greenland is far way, isn’t its Mama?


MAMA: But don’t forget everything on earth is connected. Melting ice means the sea level rises. And though that’s not a big deal for us here in landlocked Delhi, actually millions of people around the world are threatened by the rising ocean.


LEELA: Because they live on islands.


MAMA: Yes. Or people who live by the sea, like Florida. Or in really boggy, marshy places, like next door to us in Bangladesh. Or even Venice in Italy.




MAMA: Now some people believe that the earth is strong and will adapt. That might be so. The earth is strong and has adapted but what about us humans?


LEELA: Hmmmm…  This is depressing.


MAMA: Yep. News sometimes is. But we can’t hide from it. Remember information is power. You have to know the problem to start doing things to solve it.


LEELA: Yeah, like recycling.


MAMA: I think you’re on to something.


LEELA: And using less plastic! And not letting the water run when we’re washing our hands. And walking instead of driving when you can. And reducing plane travel. And buying sustainable products…


MAMA: You got it! When she’s on to something, she doesn’t let it go…. Now for some high-tech news about a low-tech tool.


STING: “It’s time for… Technology News, technology news, tech news!”

LEELA: And for this week’s report, we need to cut across to Jackson Hosking, our technology correspondent, who’s gonna to tell us about, wait… ummm… “wearable devices that are drawn onto paper… with a pencil… and stuck to our skin…” Huh?


JACKSON: Hey Leela, this week we’re going back to the basics…. GOOD OLD-FASHIONED PENCIL AND PAPER!


LEELA: Wait a minute Jackson, aren’t you our tech reporter?


JACKSON: I had you there for a second, didn’t I? Well, this story is still, somewhat related to tech and health…


LEELA: Pencil and paper for tech and health? OK, so now I’m really confused!


JACKSON: Well, let me ask you this… what would you do with a piece of paper and a pencil?


LEELA: Well… I’d probably start drawing the outline for something wild and exciting… maybe next week’s Newsy-Pooloozi illustration!


JACKSON: Exactly!! That’s what MOST of us would do… But scientists in Missouri, USA, use pencils and paper for a totally different reason to draw wearable devices, like a thermometer, to monitor our bodies!


LEELA: Monitor our bodies? OK, Wait a minute… I could draw a space rocket, but that doesn’t mean it can REALLY fly into space…!


JACKSON: I hear you! It’s some pretty clever science. But, first, do you know what a pencil is made of?


LEELA: Uhhhhh… lead? And wood.


JACKSON: Aaaaaa-eeehhh (sound of a “wrong” buzzer). Don’t worry, that’s what most people think. But actually, pencils don’t contain lead. It’s just that back in the olden days they thought a similar element was lead, so they called it that. Then scientist realized it was actually graphite.


LEELA: Why, thank you for the fab fact, Jackson. But, ummm, what on earth do graphite pencils have to do with wearable technology?


JACKSON: Well, those American scientists discovered that they can use graphite pencils and draw special wavy patterns on normal office paper… stick it to a person’s skin… and then analyze it to tell things about a person’s body. Like their temperature or their heart rhythm or even their sleep patterns.


MAMA: SFX stick onto skin and friction


LEELA: Say what???


JACKSON: The overall science it is pretty complicated. But basically…   When you draw something with a pencil, pressing it onto paper… well they’re rubbing together, aren’t they, creating friction? And that friction creates energy… And pencils high in graphite encourage this flow of energy… as a conductor… to power special sensors on a person, which can be analyzed from the paper.


LEELA: Whooooaaa… So, I can do that with this… here, this… my school pencil right now???


JACKSON: Well, most writing pencils these days are usually made up of powdered graphite mixed with a binding clay. This really only works with a pencil that’s almost entirely graphite 93% to be precise.


LEELA: Wow. Never underestimate the power of a pencil-on-paper, huh!


JACKSON: Especially when teamed with scientists! And here’s the other cool thing the paper used can decompose. Which is much better than all those mechanical sensor machines ending up in landfills, right?




LEELA: Wow, Jackson. So, this could be good for people’s health and the environment….

I think I might just start scratching my own rocket drawing… Who knows? If I create enough friction on the paper, with my pencil … maybe I can conduct enough energy to get my rocket into space…!!!!


JACKSON: Ha! Ha! I think there’s a bit more to it than that, but good luck, Leela!


STING: Now it’s the ace part of our podcast: Arts, Culture, and /or Entertainment.


LEELA: So, did you know that many people in Japan love to be scared?


MAMA: Huh?


LEELA: Well, haunted houses are very popular in Japan. And it’s apparently a summer thing.


MAMA: That’s funny we associate scary festivals, like Halloween or the Day of the Dead, with autumn.


LEELA: I guess because it gets really hot in summer, people like a good fright to “chill” them off.


MAMA: Ha hahaha! Very good.


LEELA: But of course, the nasty old coronavirus has “scared” people from going, because haunted houses are usually in dark, cramped, close quarters… all the better to scare you with!


MAMA: Not exactly good for keeping a safe distance from others…


LEELA: Not at all! But also… what happens when you get scared???


MAMA: My knees shake.




MAMA: I have to pee.


LEELA: Mama!


MAMA: Well…


LEELA: The moment when someone or something comes out of the dark…


MAMA: Ahhh… I jump!


LEELA: You scream!!!


SFX: Screaming


MAMA: Oh yeah. That’s true.


LEELA: Also, not very sensible in the time of coronavirus. Screaming usually means spitting – or, rather, spreading “droplets of air” everywhere.


MAMA: That’s a horror story on its own.


LEELA: Exactly, but some clever people from a company called the “Scare Squad” have found a way to frighten people, errr, safely.


SFX: Of Car


Move over drive-thru fast food or drive-thru movies… Enter the drive-thru haunted house!

Visitors drive into a giant garage in the big city of Tokyo, they turn off their engine and the garage shutter close behind them. It’s pitch black. They’re given a set of speakers to hear a spooky tale.

Complete with zombies, gouges and goblins at your… window.


SFX: Knocking the door


LEELA: Not for me! No thank you!


MAMA: But you’re in your car, so it’s not that scary.


LEELA: Yeah, but at least in a haunted house or a ghost train you can move, as fast as you can, to get OUT!  Here you’re stuck in the car with nowhere to go for 13 unlucky minutes! Anyway, it’s not my thing. But good job to the Scare Squad… for beating the virus. In fact, I think they’ve knocked it out of the ballpark.


STING: It’s time to play ball…. Sports News”


LEELA: So, there’s no denying that the pandemic has hit the sporting world hard.


MAMA: Games have been cancelled, seasons delayed and fans lost on Saturdays and Sundays without games to go to.


LEELA: But in America, that’s only half the story.


MAMA: Yep, politics is playing a starring role in the major leagues too this year.


LEELA: In fact, I think it’s safe to call it the “crazy leagues” this year.


MAMA: Nothing is normal in American sports right now.


LEELA: So, let’s go to our US Sports reporter, Porter Robbins, for a wrap on the unusual happenings in US sports.


PORTER: You said it, Leela. Nothing is normal in the major leagues this year! Here’s a rundown of the weirdest things happening so far.


SFX: Whistle



PORTER: In baseball the players on are on the pitch. But there are no fans in the stands because of the pandemic. And so, what have many teams opted to do instead??? Place card-board cut-outs of pictures of their biggest fans in the seats obviously!!!


Yes, in the stands are card-board-cut-outs of fans! Or sometimes animals. It might sound crazy, but since they can’t sell tickets… this is the next best way fans can support their team.





PORTER: The national basketball league took a more high-tech approach to get fans in the stands.

Ticket holders could log into a video conferencing app and then be seen on virtual stands during the live broadcasts. I’d call that a slam-dunk!





PORTER: It’s not just the pandemic effecting the games. Black Lives Matter the movement fighting against racial inequality is making its way onto the court too. Well, onto the shirts of basketball players to be precise. Instead of their names… they have slogans printed.

Like, “Justice Now” and “Say their names,” referring to the people killed by police.




PORTER: And forget that famous baseball song, “Take me out to the ballgame. “It should now be, “Take me out to the polling place. “That’s right. The Dodgers Stadium is one of baseball’s most famous ballparks. And this November it’s going to be turned into a voting center to help in America’s general election. Several other teams have made similar offers. Why not? It’s not liked any fans will be in the way! Reporting from Los Angeles, California this is Porter Robbins, for… Newsy Pooloozi!


LEELA: Thanks for that round-up of unusual sports news, Porter. OK… I’m gonna have a nap now.


MAMA: A nap? Since when do you… Are you feeling ok?


LEELA: Oh, I’m great. But I know this last story is just a dream, (yawn) so night, night.


MAMA: Humuhumu. Leela! It’s time for the Lucky Dip, the odd ball the last story… come on!


STING: Step right up, Have a go at the lucky dip machine… What’s it gonna be today, eh? And odd ball, no doubt!


LEELA: it’s dreamy, Mama. Just listen to this report from our chocolate correspondent, Ameyaa Kohli.


AMEYAA: I don’t know about you, but I loooooove chocolate! If my mum let me, I’d have chocolate morning, noon and night. But she doesn’t let me, of course…!

Some of my favorite chocolate comes Switzerland, a country in the middle of Europe.


It’s full of beautiful mountains and yummy chocolate factories!

Well, a few days ago, the most fantastic thing happened at factory for the chocolate maker called Lindt.

They were roasting “cocoa nibs” – they’re the little-bitty pieces of cocoa beans from which all chocolate is made.


All of a sudden… The system that removes hot air from in the cooling room malfunctioned! That’s a fancy way to say… it stopped working properly. Somehow the chocolate nibs were sucked out of the building and… Into the town!  And… it was a windy day!


So… the cocoa nibs were flying everywhere: landing on cars and streets… sprinkling chocolate all over the place! It was snowing cocoa!!! Sadly… it didn’t last very long. Soon it was all gone, as if it were just a dream…  But the pictures prove it was real.


Within minutes of this chocolate spread, residents of the town were posting pictures on social media.

Some were even writing poetry about this magical malfunction. In chocolate heaven, this is Ameyaa Kohli for Newsy Pooloozi!


LEELA: Thanks, Ameyaa! Told ya, so, Mama! It was like a dream. So that almost brings us to the end of our podcast… but…………. We’ve got our new segment… Ewww la la…


MAMA: That’s right. We now wrap it all up with a rundown of the best


LEELA: You mean, most fabulous.


MAMA: You’re right. The five of the most fabulous


LEELA: Fab for short.


MAMA: Yeah…! FIVE FAB FACTS heard on today’s show.


LEELA: Here goes…….



LEELA: The earth is 4.5 billion years old.



MAMA: The industrial age is when humans started making massive machines to make, or manufacture, things from clothes and pots and pans to farm equipment, bigger boats, trains and… now cars and computers to name of few.



LEELA: Greenhouse gases trap heat in the Earth’s atmosphere. If we didn’t have them, planet earth would be too cold. But when we have too many – like now – the earth warms up and creates havoc.



MAMA: The glaciers in Greenland also called the Ice Sheet have been losing more ice each year than the yearly snowfall can rebuild.



LEELA: Pencils don’t actually contain lead but a similar element called graphite. People just thought it was lead long ago and even when they realized their mistake the name stuck.




LEELA: Hey, Mama.


MAMA: Yes ma’am?


LEELA: You know… Knock knock.


MAMA: Who’s there?


LEELA: Broken pencil.


MAMA: Broken pencil who?


LEELA:  Never mind, it’s pointless.


MAMA: Very funny….


LEELA: And that brings us to the end of our ninth episode of Newsy Pooloozi!!!!!

If you enjoyed this dip…. in the whirlpool of news and information… then do subscribe to our podcast, and while you’re at it… Give us a good rating.


Or better still, leave us a review – on: Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Podcast Republic, or where ever you get your podcasts. And if you want to get in touch, drop an email to… contact@newsyjacuzzi.com. See you next week in the Newsy Pooloozi!