ISS splashdown, Bezos-v-Bridge, Barcelona bike bus, shoulder-blade power

Feb 9, 2022 Episode 85

ISS splashdown set, Jeff Bezos’s takes on “De Hef” Dutch bridge, Barcelona bicibus, Guinness Record breaking shoulder power

Episode Transcript

OPENING STING – LEELA: “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 Mama! Otherwise known as my producer.

MAMA: Why, hello – I’m Lyndee Prickitt. And, yes, I also help look after Treasure – Leela’s darling new cat.

LEELA: I have a kitten! Who lives in my house! And sits on my shoulder! And who’s too-too-too-too sweet. Meeeeooow!

MAMA: (Coughs) Hey! We’ve got the news to do.

LEELA: Oh, right, yes. (Coughs) This week on Newsy Pooloozi…

Let’s talk about a dramatic ending – 2031 has been set for the end of the International Space Station and it’s going to PLUNGE into the sea. We’ll tell you where and why.

In the Netherlands, it’s Bezos versus the bridge – find out why the billionaire’s new yacht is being pelted with rotten eggs. 

Staying in Europe, peddling to school on a “bus” is becoming a thing. How’s that work, you say? Well, keep listening to find out.

And finally, a couple of super-strong and super skinny guys give new meaning to the words, “a shoulder to lean on!”

LEELA: But first, it’s time for…

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

MAMA: So folks, it’s official – the International Space Station is set for retirement.

LEELA: It’s gonna go out with, maybe not a bang, but definitely with a splash!

MAMA: Yep, after nearly 25 years circling the Earth –

LEELA: Zipping along FIVE miles every single second!

MAMA: And already circumnavigating the Earth 100,000 times!

LEELA: Circumnavigating is a fancy word for going around something, by the way.

MAMA: Thank you. Well, NASA is calling it a day.

LEELA: Well, not today. In 2031 – so it’s got nearly nine years left of being our laboratory in the sky.

MAMA: True. And it’s been quite the cosmic crash pad for astronomers studying our skies – exceeding almost everyone’s expectations by doubling its expected lifespan! And it’s not going to take it easy, waiting out retirement. Oh, no. NASA says it’s entering its most productive decade, staying busy with experiments undertaken both on behalf of researchers and private contractors. 

LEELA: Speaking of everyday astronauts and the private sector space race, Mama…

MAMA: Yes – it’ll be private companies, which have the money and the know-how, that’ll most likely build the next generation space stations – with the assistance of national space agencies, like NASA, ESA and ISRO.

LEELA: You’re talking about the European and Indian space agencies.

MAMA: Yes. That way those agencies can save a lot of money to spend on other missions.

LEELA: Like heading back to the Moon. Or Mars!

MAMA: Quite possibly.

LEELA: So how do they de-orbit a huge space capsule – with massive solar panels spread out as wide as a football field – anyway?

MAMA: Well, the plan is for the space station to leave the Earth’s orbit, causing it to fall back home and safely crash into the Pacific Ocean.


MAMA: Well, splash, technically.


LEELA: Right – a splash-landing sounds better to me. Hope they get all the boats and ships out of the way.

MAMA: Well, it’s actually an area in the South Pacific Ocean called Point Nemo – nemo which is Latin for no one. It’s also known as the “oceanic pole of inaccessibility,” which is a fancy way of saying there’s no human activity there for miles and miles and miles. In fact, it’s not unusual for deorbited satellites to splash-land there.  

LEELA: So it’s like the space-junk cemetery – the “oceanic graveyard of inaccessibility”– for satellites. Get it, sad-a-lites?

MAMA: (laughs) Very good…

MAMA: And now to the Netherlands in Europe where Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos is at the center of a big fight brewing in the city of Rotterdam

LEELA: That’s home to Europe’s largest port, so it’s no wonder it’s famous for boat building.

MAMA: Big boats and fancy big yachts.

LEELA: And when we say big, we mean BIG.

MAMA: We mean Bezos’ boat is too tall to pass under a grand, historic bridge that stands between the shipyard where it’s being built and the open water, where it wants to sail away. For more on this story let’s go to The Netherlands, where Tofunmi Fagade is standing by to tell us more. 

LEELA: Take it away, Tofunmi!

TOFUNMI: Thanks, Leela.  

The City of Rotterdam was originally thrilled that a local company – Oceanco – was building a swanky yacht for Amazon founder, Jeff Bezos.

At 417-feet (or 127 meters) long, it will be the largest sailing yacht in the world.

But it also has three masts reaching 229-feet (70 meters) up into the sky.  Uh-oh!

That makes it too tall to pass under the Koningshaven Bridge – affectionately known as “De Hef.”

Now, they could trim down those massive masts or even build them later – you know, once the vessel is out of Rotterdam.

But, no. 

Instead there are plans to hack off part of the 140-year-old bridge!

And loads of Dutch people are not happy about this.

Ok, to be fair, the idea is to temporarily take down the middle section of the bridge, so the mega yacht can pass.

And make Bezos pay for it.  

But Dutch people who like to preserve things the way they were – are still outraged.

How mad are they?

They’re vowing to throw rotten eggs at the $500 million dollar yacht when – or should I say IF – it passes through the dismantled bridge.


In the Netherlands, I’m Tofunmi Fagade, reporting for Newsy Pooloozi.

LEELA: Thanks a lot, Tofunmi! 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: Russian President Vladimir Putin is telling world leaders there’ll be no escalation, or rise, in tensions on Russia’s border with Ukraine. Russia has denied any plans to invade its neighbor, despite assembling more than 100,000 troops near its borders.

The Canadian city of Ottawa is under a state of emergency as police try to contain a group of protesting truckers, angry over being told they must be vaccinated. They’ve been honking horns and snarling up traffic for two weeks as they refuse to go home.

The 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics is underway with a lot of special snow. Since the region gets little natural snowfall, for the first time ever the Winter Olympics is taking place on artificial snow. The games, which include figure skating, skiing, snowboarding and hockey, will run through February 20.

And finally, Britain’s Queen is celebrating 70 years on the throne – that’s what’s known as a platinum jubilee. One of the events to mark the reign of the much-loved 95-year-old monarch will be a nationwide baking competition seeking out a new dessert dedicated to the Queen. UK residents aged 8 and over can enter.

LEELA: As ever, thank you so much for that whippity-whappity-zippity-zappity world wrap of what’s making headlines elsewhere in the world, Mama.

MAMA: You’re most welcome. Now to Spain where therés a new craze to pedal on a bus to school

LEELA: What kind of bus is that, you ask? Well, OK. It’s not quite a bus.

MAMA: No. But the rest of the traffic on the road treats it like a school bus.

LEELA: Let’s get the details from our Spanish correspondents, Nina and Marky Granena, in Barcelona. Take it away, guys.

MARKY: HEY! What’s that coming around the corner!

NINA: It’s the bi-ci bus! A group of kids and adults on bikes riding to school! Well, the bici bus isn’t really a bus, though.

MARKY: It’s just a big group of people riding through the neighborhood. And when the “bus” passes your street, hop on your bike, or tricycle, or scooter, and join the group.

NINA: They ride all the way to school. And back home again at the end of the day. They listen to music… or sing songs.

MARKY: And the police even stop traffic to let them drive on the roads!

NINA: Yeah, the group can get pretty big, like 150 people!

MARKY: What a great way to have fun and save the environment!

Hey, Nina, why don’t WE join the bici-bus?

NINA: Marcky, we live next door to our school.

MARKY: Ohhhhh yeah.

NINA: In Barcelona, this is Nina Granena

MARKY: and Marcky Granena


LEELA: Thanks a lot you guys. I wish they’d do that in New Delhi – I’d love to safely ride my bike to school.

MAMA: Totally. It must be a site to see too – a 100 or so little kids with school packs on their backs, all cycling to school at the same time.

LEELA: Ahhh!

MAMA: So interestingly, this scheme has been popular in other Spanish and European cities, for a while now. But it’s suddenly started to expand in the bike-friendly city of Barcelona – which also has nice weather all year round.

LEELA: So, you could say it’s really “taking off.”


LEELA: 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: Odd doesn’t quite cover the weirdness of this story. 

MAMA: Well we don’t call them “oddballs” for nothing. What’s the lucky dip machine spit out this week, then?

LEELA: Well, you’ve heard that phrase, “We all need a shoulder to lean on?”

MAMA: Sure.  So true.  

LEELA: And that’s because it’s nice to lean up against a shoulder, right?

MAMA: Yep.

LEELA: Could it also be because shoulders are particularly strong?

MAMA: Well…

LEELA: I didn’t think so.  Because as body parts go, the shoulder muscle isn’t exactly the strongest. 

MAMA: No, that would be masseter, or the jaw, muscle, believe it or not – though it’s very debatable. 

LEELA: Right… And yet, aren’t humans great at doing THE IMPOSSIBLE?


LEELA: So, imagine a piece of wood, roughly the size and shape of a reading book, placed in between your two shoulder blades – otherwise known as your scapula. Attached to this wood, is a long rope. And at the other end, it’s attached to… wait for it… a CAR!

MAMA: Wheeoooo… whaaaaat?

LEELA: Which you pull down the street.


LEELA: I know.  Total bonker brains! And the record for pulling the heaviest vehicle EVER was done right here in India.  Jai Hind! 

MAMA: OK… Go, India!

LEELA: Uh-huh. Let’s cut to our sports correspondent, Yuvraj Singh, who has the details. 

YUVRAJ: Yes, Leela. In 2016, 18-year-old Abhishek Choubey*, from the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, used his protruding shoulder blades – protruding means they stick out, A LOT! –  to pull a Hyundai Accent car, weighing…

MAMA IN OFFICIAL VOICE:  2358 lbs, which is 1070kg.

YUVRAJ: For which he was entered into the Guinness Book of World Records. AND just two weeks ago, Abhishek was at it again – trying to break his own record. 

LEELA: But now there’s a new shoulder-stunner on the block, right? 

YUVRAJ: Right! From all the way around the world in the island nation of Cuba – 22-year-old Christian Castellanos claims he’s broken Abhisheks Guinness record, using his super-strong-scapulas to drag the slightly heavier –

MAMA IN OFFICIAL VOICE:  2425 pound (or 1100 kg) vehicle down a street for 25 meters.

LEELA: Whoaaa…

YUVRAJ: That’s not all. He says he’s also crushed 82 beer cans between his shoulder blades – in ONE MINUTE, beating the Guinness record by 14 cans. But he’s still waiting to hear from the Guinness folks whether he’ll make it into their book or not.

LEELA: Mewoozers! Thanks for those details, Yuvraj!  And what’s really astonishing about this – is that both of these guys are what we might call “super skinny!”

It just shows strength is not only about big muscles!

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 – NASA says the International Space Station will splash-land into the sea in 2031. When did it first go into orbit?


LEELA: FAB FACT NUMBER 2 – The ISS will plunge into the South Pacific Ocean at a place called what?

It’s called Point Nemo – the oceanic pole of inaccessibility, in other words, a spacejunk graveyard.

MAMA: FAB FACT NUMBER 3 – Dutch preservationists say they’ll pelt rotten eggs at Jeff Bezos’ $500mn yacht if a bridge is temporarily dismantled to let it pass through Europe’s largest port city, which is?


LEELA: FAB FACT NUMBER 4 – A young Indian and Cuban both try to break the world record pulling the heaviest car using the power of their shoulder blades, which are also called what?


MAMA: FAB FACT NUMBER 5 – In fact the shoulder muscle is far from being the strongest muscle in the body. Though it’s debatable many say the strongest is one of the jaw muscles, also called?

The masseter muscle

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: A very belated thank you to fateofisen – which we believe is a Dungeons and Dragons podcast from New Zealand we’ve gotta check out  – who left us the best review ages ago on the platform Podchaser  – giving us five stars and writing: 

LEELA: “Upbeat, cute and INFORMATIVE. What a perfect podcast package. Highly recommend to anyone who has interest in expanding their knowledge of the world around them.” 

MAMA: Thank you, thank you –

LEELA: Thank you!

MAMA: These reviews absolutely make our day and really give us the juice to keep on producing Newsy Pooloozi!


So – what are YOU waiting for? Why don’t you spread the love AND get some good karma by leaving us a review wherever you get your podcasts? We promise to find it and read it out loud.

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