Happy Eid, COVID kindness, biggest plane, butterfly back, sheep-V-lawnmowers
May 12, 2021 Episode 46
Muslims celebrates Eid, COVID making us kinder, plane on path to rocket launch, Duke of Burgundy butterfly, sheep V lawnmowers
OPENING STING – LEELA: “New, new, newsy – Newsy Pooloozi!”
LEELA: Hello and welcome to Newsy Pooloozi. I’m your host, Leela Sivasankar Prickitt and this is my side-kick (and Mama!).
MAMA: Hello, hello. I’m Lyndee Prickitt.
LEELA: This week on Newsy Pooloozi…
Eid Mubarak – don’t know what that means? Well, a quarter of humanity is celebrating it, so we’ll put you in the know.
Also, no doubt the nasty old coronavirus is rotten – but on the flipside – COVID is making us kinder!
And the world’s biggest plane took its second test flight – putting it on the path to launch – well, you won’t believe what it wants to carry!
In Britain a rare butterfly… flutters back from “the brink of extinction.”
And sheep versus… a lawnmower. Yep, they both munch grass, but which does it best?
But first it’s time for…
BIG NEWS STORY STING – VARIOUS VOICES: “The big news story of the week!”
MAMA: Eid Mubarak.
LEELA: Umm… come again!
MAMA: Happy Eid!
LEELA: Oh, Eid – as in the big Muslim festival!
MAMA: Indeed. Though technically Eid means celebration and “mubarak” means blessed – so, it’s the holy celebration.
LEELA: Ahhh, that’s why Muslims call it the Holy Month of Ramadan.
MAMA: Or some say, Ramzan. Which is always in the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, which shifts according to the moon.
LEELA: Yeah, so a lunar calendar.
MAMA: Well, to be precise, yes! So it was in the ninth month back in the year 610 that the Quran – or the holy book of Islam – was first revealed to the Prophet Mohammed by Allah.
LEELA: That’s the name for God in Islam, right?
MAMA: Exactly. And to mark this holy month Muslims all across the world – and we’re talking 1.8 billion people, so almost a quarter of humanity – don’t eat or drink anything –
LEELA: That’s called fasting.
MAMA: Uh-hu. From sunrise to sunset – for the whole month.
LEELA: Not even water?
MAMA: Not when the sun is out.
LEELA: But that’s when you need it most! Why, Mama?
MAMA: Well, let’s ask our correspondents Nyla and Nuwi Farooqi, who are super excited about their festive season.
LEELA: Come on guys – tell us more about this fasting festival.
NYLA: Thanks, Leela! Well, luckily for us, kids don’t have fast.
NUWI: Neither do older people or anyone who’s ill.
Nyla: But our parents do! Every day during the month of Ramzan, they had to wake up before sunrise for a special breakfast called Sehri.
NUWI: Then they couldn’t eat or drink ALL day long.
NYLA: It’s not easy, but our Mama says that the act of fasting teaches Muslims self-control, sacrifice and empathy for those who don’t have enough to eat.
NUWI: Only when the sun sets could they break their fast.
NYLA: That’s called Iftar.
Nuwi: Leela, you should see the goodies on the table at Iftar – all sorts of snacks, like samosas, kebabs, chicken wraps, burgers, fruits and of course juicy dates! It’s such a feast!
Nyla: Ramzan is one of the five pillars – or essential practices – in Islam.
NUWI: Mom prays namaaz five times during the day and reads the Holy Quran.
NYLA: She says that during this special month, Allah listens to all our prayers. So, our parents have been praying for the pandemic to end, of course! During this holy month, Muslims also do a lot of charity.
NUWI: It’s called “Zakat,” which is another important pillar of Islam. Then, when the month ends – we get to celebrate with Eid-Ul-Fitr, which translates into “Festival of Breaking the Fast”.
NYLA: On the day of Eid, first we help clean the house.
NUWI: But then we get to wear new clothes and spend the day with our friends and family, eating delicious food. Yummy!
NYLA: We also get gifts or money from our elders.
Nuwi: I wish the pandemic was over – then you could have joined us for Eid, Leela.
NYLA: Next year, OK? In Sitapur, Uttar Pradesh, I’m Nyla.
NUWI: And I’m Nuwi.
NYLA/NUWI TOGETHER: Reporting for Newsy Pooloozi!
LEELA: Thanks a lot for that eye-opening report. I’m totally up for a big Eid feast together. One day…
MAMA: Yeah, thanks a lot girls! One of the things I really enjoyed learning about was the pillar of Islam called Zakat – or charity.
LEELA: Giving a helping hand.
MAMA: Yeah, it’s really the glue for so many communities. And fits in perfectly with our next story.
LEELA: And for that, we need to hop into the…
KINDESS CORNER STING – VARIOUS VOICES: “Kindness corner. Cool. They did what? Seriously? What? How cool is that! No way! Cool.”
MAMA: This has been a truly hard year for all of us.
LEELA: You can say that again.
MAMA: This has been a truly hard year. (laughs) It’s no doubt the nasty coronavirus is awful. But studies show there IS a rather pleasant side-effect?
LEELA: It’s official – COVID is making us kinder!
MAMA: According to a new survey, conducted by OnePoll in conjunction with the Eyes of Hope charity, 74% of Americans –
LEELA: That’s nearly three-quarters.
MAMA: – say this year has made them more selfless and aware of the needs of others than ever before.
LEELA: More kind.
MAMA: Yep. And more generous. 87% of Americans donated money to someone in need even though most of them were experiencing their own financial difficulties.
LEELA: And it’s not just money people are giving away.
MAMA: That’s right – it’s their time and their love. Some helped strangers cross the street, others have taken their neighbor’s trash to the curb, shoveled out the snow from their neighbor’s drive and even walked other people’s dogs.
LEELA: And it’s happening here in India too.
MAMA: Yep. We can go on about how tough things still remain as Indian cities and villages alike are struggling to care for the influx of COVID patients, but boy oh boy, everyday there’s a new group of people getting together to start some initiative, like figure out how to get oxygen to those who need it most.
LEELA: Or making food for those stuck at home and sick.
MAMA: And even loads of businesses are at it, sourcing oxygen tanks.
LEELA: Or turning their factories into places that can make and fill the tanks.
MAMA: Some are also turning parts of their warehouses into treatment centres.
LEELA: Feels good to help.
MAMA: That’s right. And maybe when things settle down here, the tourism industry will do what they’ve done in Mexico. Where a fancy resort is giving away all-inclusive holidays to a hundred healthcare workers to say thanks. How’s that for kind?
LEELA: Impressive. Ahhh! What I wouldn’t do to be on a resort.
MAMA: One day, babe. Speaking of impressive…
SFX OF AIRPLANE
LEELA: What’s that?
MAMA: That? Oh, that’s just the biggest plane in the world.
LEELA: Whoaaa – it’s like two planes in one?! Like two little planes, or sleek jets, but connected by one verrrrrry long wing.
MAMA: You said it – the planed is named Roc – as in R-O-C – with the longest wingspan ever built at 385 feet (or 117 meters). But that’s not the really cool thing about this plane from a company called Stratolaunch, which went on its second test run in the dessert of California.
LEELA: Oh… California, huh? I have a feeling we’re about to hear from our LA correspondent, Porter Robbins.
MAMA: You got it.
LEELA: Alright, Porter. What’s cooler about this mega plane than having a wingspan longer than a football field?
PORTER: You’re right, Leela.
The Roc plane has an impressively long wingspan, which would take me at least 30 seconds to RUN across – and I’m pretty fast.
Not that I would be allowed to run across a $400 million dollar plane.
And the super cool thing about this plane isn’t that it has six engines either.
Or 28 wheels.
Or that while it looks like it has two cockpits, the pilot and co-pilot only sit on the right side of the plane.
All that is interesting – but what is really super cool is… the Roc is built to carry… (wait for it)…
SFX OF ROCKET
Yep, you guessed – it’s an airborne “space launch platform” – built to launch hypersonic rockets from the center of the wing!
Because in order to fly at hypersonic speed – which is five times the speed of sound (in other words: fast!) – it’s a lot easier if you’re piggy backing something that’s already speeding along, right?
The Roc needs to do more tests before it starts work as a carrier.
But after this successful 3-hour-run, here in California’s Mojave Desert, it’s on the path to being a “space launch platform in the sky.”
In Los Angeles, California, I’m Porter Robbins, reporting for Newsy Pooloozi!
LEELA: Thanks a lot, Porter. Keep us posted.
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: Tensions grow in Israel after rioting breaks out, as conflict between Israeli forces and Palestinian militants intensify. Israel has declared a state of emergency in the central city of Lod.
In the US, 40 states are officially asking Facebook to abandon its plans to launch a version of Instagram for kids. Why? They reckon social media – and I quote – “can be detrimental to the health and well-being of children” under the age of 13.
Speaking of American kids – US authorities have just said children aged 12 to 15 could get the COVID-19 vaccine. It’s seen as an important step for getting kids back to school safely
Good news about the debris from a Chinese rocket that was circling around the earth – it’s landed without injury, to any humans anyway. Where? The middle of the Indian Ocean. Luckily most of its components were destroyed when re-entering the Earth’s atmosphere.
And down under, in Australia, construction workers found a moth as big as two adult human fists while working at a school in Queensland. Staff and students weren’t surprised because their school is on the edge of a rainforest and they’ve seen plenty of creatures popping in to class. This time, though, the discovery did spark creativity with students writing a story in which their teacher is eaten by moths.
LEELA: Thanks for that zippity-zappity whippity whappity wrap of new around the world. And now it’s time for…
SCIENCE STING – LEELA: “The world of wow, wow, wow… In other words – science!”
MAMA: Ten years ago, it was one of Britain’s rarest butterfly species, living in tiny colonies on the chalky, limestone hills of Devon in the south of England. But it’s been bouncing back.
LEELA: The butterfly species is known as the “Duke of Burgundy” – though it’s not the color burgundy or maroon at all!
MAMA: Nor does anyone know much about the duke it was named after.
LEELA: And you might think it’s an ordinary brown and orange butterfly, but it’s actually quite rare.
MAMA: And it was fluttering towards extinction until a few years ago.
LEELA: Here to tell us all is Gwen Rose, of the Gwen Gets to Work Podcast, in fact. Take it away, Gwen.
GWEN: Thanks, Leela.
You might think this story is about a rare butterfly species, known as the “Duke of Burgundy.”
But it’s actually about a farmer from Devon in the south of England.
The organic dairy farmer called, John Hisock, in fact.
He sells a lot of his dairy products to the major supermarket chain Waitrose.
But only… (pause) if he leaves at least 10 percent of his land to wildlife.
Because it helps the environment!
So, Farmer Hiscock fenced off one of his big hills and left some cattle to graze there.
And of course, there were no pesticides, no sprays, and no chemical fertilizers used anywhere near there.
Well that created the perfect condition for wildflowers to grow – wildflowers that a certain kind of caterpillar and butterfly like.
Yep, slowly-but-surely, more and more Duke of Burgundy butterflies started to hang out on the Devon hill.
Ten years ago, it was Britain’s rarest butterfly, but now it’s grown by 25% over the last decade!
In the south of England, I’m Gwen Rose, reporting for Newsy Pooloozi!
LEELA: Thanks, a lot Gwen Rose. Your name perfectly fits this story, I’d say!
MAMA: Yeah, talk about “flower power.”
LEELA: Well, it seems like flowers aren’t the only power nature has – sheep poo is pretty potent too.
MAMA: Ooookay… Random.
LEELA: No, well, maybe. It’s what the lucky dip machine has picked for us today!
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? And odd ball, no doubt!”
LEELA: Not an odd ball, but a powerful pellet of poo – sheep poo to be precise.
MAMA: Ummm. OK. Should we tell people to stop eating right now?
LEELA: Oh, come on.
LEELA: It’s not so bad. Just looks like a lump of slightly squishy coffee beans.
MAMA: Leela. Move on. I’m sure there’s a point to this story.
LEELA: Oh, yes. The point is the poo. OK. Not just the poo. Mainly the fact that sheep are constantly munching on grass to make the poo. But the poo helps too.
MAMA: OK – get on with it. What is this story?
LEELA: Alright – cue the music, Mama. This is the tale of The Sheep – du-du-du-dunnnnn – Versus The Lawn-mowers. Du-dunnnnn!
MUSIC – PASTORAL
LEELA: The University of California–Davis campus – is in the midst of a bold experiment.
It’s letting sheep, or more precisely ewes – which is the official word for female sheep (spelled ewes in case you were wondering) – graze in a one acre field.
The quaint, wooly creatures will eat the grass till their hearts are content.
But they’ll also eat pesky old weeds.
And, naturally, they’ll poo, which will fertilize the earth, never mind provide some nice grub for insects, which are beneficial to the landscape.
Oh, and did I mention their walking of their dainty little sheep feet help xxxxx.
MUSIC – INDUSTRIAL
Meanwhile, in the acre of grass next door modern human’s methods are being used.
Pesticides to kill the weeds and, well, as the name suggests, pests.
Then fertilizer to help the remaining grass grow despite its chemical bath.
And when the grass needs a trim, no mouth will munch its way, down, oh no.
SFX OF LAWN-MOWER.
That’s the job of the gas-powered lawn-mower.
It’s exhausting. (Coughs) Get it?
OK, OK. I’m sorry – I’m not being very balanced here – can you tell I’m on the side of the sheep?
But, if I’m being fair, maybe the sheep, while natural, aren’t the most efficient way to go in an urban, city setting?
That’s why this pukka academic experiment is being conducted throughout the summer.
We’ll keep you posted on this exciting competition.
So come baaaaack for more!
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 – Muslims around the world marked the Holy Month of Ramadan in which the devoted fast all day for the whole month, meaning they don’t eat or drink anything from sunrise to sunset. And how many people are there practicing Islam in the world?
There are 1.8 billion Muslims – that’s a quarter of humanity.
LEELA: FAB FACT NUMBER 2 – The “Festival of Breaking the Fast” in Islam is called Eid ul Fitr. And when you wish someone Eid Mubarak, what’s it mean?
Literally, Holy Celebration. But really – Happy Eid!
MAMA: FAB FACT NUMBER 3 – The world’s biggest plane – the Roc – took its second successful test flight in California, putting it on the path to being a launch pad for hypersonic aircraft from the center of its wing. How fast do hypersonic aircraft fly?
Hypersonic speed is five times the speed of sound (in other words: fast!).
LEELA: FAB FACT NUMBER 4 – A species of butterfly in southern England was on the brink extinction until letting cows graze on a field with no pesticides or fertilizer brought them back. What is that species called?
The Duke of Burgundy.
MAMA: FAB FACT NUMBER 5 – The University of California – Davis campus are in the midst of a bold experiment – testing if sheep can keep a lawn better than a lawn-mover. But what is the female word for sheep?
Ewe – spelt e-w-e- – is the official word for a female sheep.
LEELA: And that almost brings us to the end of this episode of Newsy Pooloozi!!!!! But first we want to say THANK YOU so much for those of you leaving us reviews and sending in comments in to our website.
MAMA: Yes, we were really touched by this message into our website from Stewart 50, who wrote:
“May I say that the ‘statement of witness’ made by the Covid suffere, Ananya, was very moving. In its quiet simplicity and its authenticity, it had more power than a lot of more dramatic interviews.”
LEELA: Whoaa – that was nice!
MAMA: Wasn’t it?
LEELA: Oh – we have another shout-out. Of a different kind. Like a mysterious cooking kind.
MAMA: Like, possibly, a promo from one of your favorite-ever podcasts?
LEELA: Oh, you know it!
MYSTERY RECIPE PROMO (not transcripted)
If you enjoyed this dip…. in the whirlpool of news and information… then do subscribe to our podcast on… Apple Podcast, Spotify, Alexa or wherever you get your podcasts. While you’re at it… Give us a good rating. Or better still, leave us a review. Go on, it helps other listeners find us!
Okie-dokie then – see you next week in the Newsy Pooloozi!