Hangry fruit flies, clean air breakthrough, Spain’s robot chef, “sky pool” scares

Jun 16, 2021 Episode 51

Fruit flies get hangry, Delhi teen creates affordable air purifier, Spain’s robot chef creates a stir, London’s sky-pool gives heebeegeebees

Episode Transcript



OPENING STING – LEELA: “New, new, newsy – Newsy Pooloozi!”




LEELA: Hello and welcome to our 51st episode of Newsy Pooloozi. Oh, yes, indeed. We are getting super close to our one year anniversary.


I’m your host, Leela Sivasankar Prickitt.


MAMA: And I’m Lyndee Prickitt – the sidekick.


LEELA: This week on Newsy Pooloozi – it’s the story of hungry and furious fruit flies – yes, scientists prove flies have anger management issues too! And you’ll never believe how they express it.


Also, meet the Indian teenager whose fondness for tinkering has led to a revolution in domestic air purifiers – meaning more people can afford clean air!


In Spain robots enter a very special domain – here’s a clue.




And – summertime means pool time… but find out why a state-of-the art swimming pool in London is giving people the heebeegeebees.


But first it’s time for…


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


SFX of chewing food


LEELA:  Uhhh, Mama?  (whispers) We’re recording – we’re supposed to be doing the big story!


MAMA:  I know, I know. I’m just soooo hungry! And you know how I get when I haven’t eaten…


LEELA: Oh, boy, do I ever! You get snippy and snappy.


MAMA: Yeah… But so do you!


LEELA: Yeah…


MAMA: Cranky and snotty.


LEELA: Says you, snippy and snappy.


MAMA: Ratty, catty.


LEELA: Batty!


MAMA: Bratty.


LEELA: Irrationally strict.


MAMA: Hmmph! Irrationally fussy.


LEELA: Irritable.


MAMA: Irascible.


LEELA: Too fancy. Basically –


MAMA: We’re talking about being –




LEELA: Duuun-duuun-duuun!


MAMA:  And we’re not alone.


LEELA: Yes, most dog owners know food aggression can be a problem for dogs.


MAMA: And scientists have found monarch caterpillars turn aggressive when there isn’t enough milkweed to go around.


LEELA: Who knew?

MAMA: But, get this, even the humble little, but very annoying, fruit fly shows hanger.


LEELA:  Well that explains why they’re so pesky!  Like, look at your banana peel! There’s already four fruit flies buzzing around it.


MAMA: I know, sorry. Let me throw it away. Only now… I’ve taken away their food source and –


LEELA: They’re gonna get hangry?


MAMA: Exactly. So say a group of scientists from the University of East Anglia (UEA) and Oxford University, who teamed up for this study. So they put fruit flies – officially named Drosophila melanogaster, if you please – into different containers, all given different amounts of food, at different lengths of time. They found that hungry male fruit flies became angrier and more hostile towards each other when there was a longer wait between meals.


LEELA: Wait – how could they tell this? Do they speak the Drosophila melanogaster language? (Whispers) Were they saying bad words to each other?


MAMA: No. They don’t speak Drosophila melanogaster language. Yet. But, even more interesting, these flies got physical. Lunging for each other and swatting at each other with their front legs – using them like…




MAMA: Swords! Not surprisingly this gesture is called “fencing behavior.”


LEELA: Whoa…!


MAMA: And, of course, they also spend more time defending any food patches they’ve claimed. The hungrier they got, the more combative they became.


LEELA: In other words, hangry.


MAMA: Yep. That’s not all. Curiously the researchers also discovered that flies who had less food earlier in their life, were generally less aggressive when they got older.


LEELA: Oh, that’s interesting. And I guess that was pretty easy to tell considering – did you know – that fruit flies only live for forty to fifty days. On average.


MAMA: Oh, look at you with that fab fact! Well, maybe that’s another reason these little pests are often used for biological research in everything from disease disorders, genetics to the evolution of life. But, rest assured, in this study the researchers said that no flies were hurt during their experiments.


LEELA: But they did get hangry!




LEELA: So any listener of Newsy Pooloozi would know that pollution is a big problem in the developing world.


MAMA: Just like it was for the Western world during the industrial revolution.


LEELA: Because when there’s massive amounts of growth – building roads, airports, office-complexes and new homes – it takes a lot of energy and means a lot of pollution.


MAMA: And of course it’s not just that – but many factors that lead to pollution. As we explained in our pollution special –


LEELA: That would be Episode 16.


MAMA: One of my favorites, actually, in which we explained that in India pollution is –


LEELA: Like a monster with many-many heads!


MAMA: Yep. And Delhi is one of the worst places this monster roars.


LEELA: Tell me about it. We have to have air purifiers on in every room of the house  so we don’t sneeze all day!


MAMA: I know… But, there is some good news.


LEELA: From a super clever 19-year-old from New Delhi!


MAMA: You got it. Let’s cut across to our new correspondent, Sahasra Sridhar, for more on this story.


SAHASRA: Thanks, Leela!


As you said, pollution is so bad in parts of India, that many people were walking around in face masks long before COVID 19 came into our lives.


Like 19-year-old Krrish Chawla from New Delhi,  who has really bad dust allergies and has been relying on masks and air purifiers to help him breath better.


Then one day, when he was 14-years-old, the curious Krrish dismantled an air filter.


SOUNDBITE OF KRRISH CHAWLA:  “Being a very curious kid I used to love opening up gadgets, opening up phones, opening up televisions. So used to open up all these machines and one day I did the same to an air purifier.”


Well, when he opened up an air purifier, he couldn’t believe this expensive device was just a simple fan and a special HEPA filter that sucked in the dirty air out, trapped the pollutants, and pushed out clean air.


HEPA, by the way, stands for: high-efficiency particulate air.


So a HEPA filter is thousands of tiny fibers arranged into a mat – to trap teeny-tiny pollutants that can only be seen with a microscope, but which damage our lungs.


So if it was just a box with a filter, why was it costing anything from R15,000 to R60,000 rupees – that’s $200 to $800 dollars?


That’s DEFINITELY not affordable for most Indians.


Krrish thought clean air should be a necessity, not a luxury.


Two years of brainstorming and testing over three-hundred prototypes, Krrish created his own affordable air purifier.


And, get this, it’s not only super affordable at a fraction of the price of other air purifiers, it’s also 98% plastic-free!




But that’s not all.


Krrish says this device also cuts the airborne spread of the coronavirus too!


SOUNDBITE OF KRRISH CHAWLA: “Now that the various institutions, like the WHO and CDC, have said that Covid is also airborne and some institutions have said that portable HEPA air purifiers are more than enough  for greatly reducing the effect of airborne COVID – and capturing it.” 


SAHASRA: He’s so far sold around 4,700 units in India and donated 500 to hospitals and retirement homes.


In the autumn he’s heading to Stanford to study engineering.


No surprises there!


I’m Sahasra Sridhar, reporting for Newsy Pooloozi!


LEELA: Totally. Thanks a lot for that report, Sahasra.


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: Mysterious pink snow in the Alps mountain range is a red alert over climate change. These so-called “blood glaciers” are blooms of algae, which is how the glaciers protecting themselves from ultraviolet light. But French scientists says there are more blooms than ever before.


One of the richest women in the world gives away more of her fortune. Billionaire MacKenzie Scott, ex-wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, has donated another $2.7bn to charities she says ” have been historically underfunded and overlooked.”


A herd of elephants migrating through 500 miles across China have become social sensations as more adorable pictures – taken from drones – show them sleeping during their long journey. Local police are using food and other distractions to keep the 15 graceful beasts out of the cities.


And move over Jonah – a lobster diver in the US Cape Cod area says he spent half a minute in the mouth of a humpback whale! The diver says he was about 45 feet underwater when he suddenly felt a ” huge bump and everything went dark.” Thankfully, he was spat out.


LEELA: Thank you kindly for telling us what’s making headlines around the world. And now…




TECH STING – LEELA/MAMA: “It’s time for Technology News, technology news, tech news!”


MAMA: More specifically, robot news!


LEELA: (sounding like a robot) I love robots. I want to be your friend.


MAMA: Well, you’re welcome to be my friend if you vacuum my floor and put away my clothes.


LEELA: Can they do that?!


MAMA: Vacuuming, yes.




MAMA: Putting away our clothes – especially yours thrown in every corner of every floor… No. Not yet.


LEELA: Drat!


MAMA: But – get this – they could help with dinner.


LEELA: Oh, sweet!


MAMA: Tell me about it. The kitchen might be the heart of the home, the place to lovingly make bread and cookies, but if we could get some help with the drudgery of dinner after dinner, man oh man, I’m all for it.


LEELA: Don’t you mean, “robot, oh, robot?”


MAMA: OK, miss pedant, good point. Basically robotic arms have been used in factories for years, making things like cars  and computers. But now in Spain they’re entering the kitchen. As you can imagine, when it made Spain’s most famous rice dish – paella – it made quite a stir.


LEELA: I think that means we need to head to Barcelona, where our Spain correspondent, Marcky Grañena, has the details.


MARC: There’s a company in Spain that makes robots for restaurants.


Br5 makes hospitality robots.


Their newest one is called Paellro…


It can make one of Spain’s most popular dishes-Paella!


Imagine a big robotic arm… kind of like the ones they use to make cars…


But instead of working with steel, it cooks paella.


It picks up a container of meat, and dumps it in the pan.


Then it picks up a container of rice, and dumps it in the pan.


Then it picks up a container of vegetables, and dumps it in the pan.


Then it picks up a container of … well you get the idea.


After that, the robot arm shakes the pan. And it cooks.


20 min. later ….. y esta! Vamos a comer!


A few famous chefs said it was pretty good.


That may be. But I´ll take Iaia’s version over the robot any day!


For Newsy Pooloozi this is Marcky Grañena in Barcelona


LEELA: Thanks a lot, Marckie. Now I’m getting hungry. Maybe your Iaia – or grandmother – can whip up some paella for us, what do you say?


MAMA: Oh, yeah.




MAMA: And finally… let’s see what the lucky dip machine has in store for us!


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: Odd for sure. The big debate raging in London right now about their new state-of-the-art swimming pool, I mean, “sky pool,” is whether it’s fantastic or bonker-brains!


MAMA: Huh?


LEELA: Oh, you know, the new pool that recently opened in London which is basically a water-filled bridge that hangs between two 10-story apartment buildings. Swish apartment buildings, I might add.


MAMA: Oh, that one. (shivers)


LEELA: Well, you’re not alone on that score, Mama. The mere thought of it is giving loads of onlookers the heebeegeebees! Both the real-life spectators, walking underneath the Embassy Gardens apartment and those seeing pictures of it on social media.


Of course hanging pools aren’t new – several cities have them, but they’re just ledges, little corners of a pool hanging over a building. This is a fifty-ton, 82-foot-long, see-through waterway that stretches from one flat rooftop, across a city street, to another roof.


MAMA: Oh my gosh. I don’t know… 50 tons of water is reeeealllly heavy!


LEELA: Don’t worry. The designers did loads and loads of tests to make sure it wouldn’t come crashing down.


MAMA: You know, I’ll be honest. I’m a fairly adventurous person, but I think I’d swim quickly across once and get the heck out.


LEELA: Not me. I’d be there all day – if only I were in London and someone invited me! As for our three English correspondents… Well, Maya Bull agrees with me. But Jackson Hoskings and Gwen Rose are, uhhh, pretty certain it’s not for them.








LEELA: Well, I’ve got good news for you guys – it’s not made of glass but acrylic – an eight-inch-thick acrylic frame, with a nearly 12-inch-thick base, in fact.


MAMA: Acrylic. As in – plastic? As in the plastic bucket of ours which just broke from the weight of the water in it?


LEELA: Well, technically it’s a form of plastic, yes, but did you know acrylic is stronger than glass, and doesn’t erode as fast, AND is resistant to shattering.


MAMA: Somehow I think I might be in the heebeegeebee category on this one.


LEELA: Not me. In fact, when we make our Newsy Pooloozi – I’d like it to hang from a building too, please.




16.10 FF


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 – Scientist in England have found that fruit flies get hangry. Besides humans and fruit flies, what other creature have researchers seen showing signs of aggression when hungry?

Monarch caterpillars turn aggressive when there isn’t enough milkweed to go around.


LEELA: FAB FACT NUMBER 2 – Speaking of fruit flies – what’s their average lifespan?

Fruit flies only live for forty to fifty days on average.


MAMA: FAB FACT NUMBER 3 – Fruit flies are often used in for biological research, like what?

Everything from disease disorders and genetics to the evolution of life.


LEELA: FAB FACT NUMBER 4 – A teenager from New Delhi has created an affordable, eco-friendly air purifier that uses a HEPA filter traps microscopic pollutants that damage our lungs as well as airborn viruses, like COVID-19.  But what does HEPA stand for?

HEPA stands for: high-efficiency particulate air.


MAMA: FAB FACT NUMBER 5 – A new “sky pool” made of an eight-inch-thick acrylic frame, with a nearly 12-inch-thick base, hanging like a bridge between two buildings in London, is giving people a fright. But which is stronger – acrylic or glass?

Acrylic is stronger than glass, doesn’t erode as fast and is resistant to shattering.


And don’t forget, if you want to test yourself later on, then go to the Lucky Dip page of our website,  newsyjacuzzi.com, and take this quiz online!


LEELA: And that almost brings us to the end of this episode of Newsy Pooloozi!!!!!


But first – have you let us know what your favorite story of Newsy Pooloozi is? We’ve almost done a year of this whirly-swirly podcast and we want to take stock of what’s worked and what’s popped. But mostly, we have a special birthday episode coming up and… we need your input. So go on, leave us a message on our Instagram or Facebook page or direct to our website contact@newsyjacuzzi.com – whatcha waiting for?




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Alrighty then, see you next week in the Newsy Pooloozi!