Meteor material (remade!), Earthshot prizes, Word of the Year, Taylor-V-frogs, epic gingerbread house
Dec 7, 2022 Episode 128
Out of this world material is made in a lab (!), Earthshot prizes, Word of the Year, Taylor-V-frogs, epic gingerbread house
EPISODE – 128
LEELA: This week… Out of this world material is re-created, winning eco innovations, Oxford Dictionary’s word of the year, “ribbeting” news about Taylor Swift and an epic gingerbread house!
OPENING STING – LEELA: “Hey, hey, hey. Listen up. New, new, newsy – Newsy Pooloozi!”
LEELA: Hello this is Newsy Pooloozi. And I’m Leela.
MAMA: And I’m Lyndee.
LEELA: AKA, my Mama. And what a week of wacky news we have for you.
First, have you heard how scientists have recreated an out-of-the-world substance made from an alien meteor that could help save the planet?
Speaking of the environment, we’ll tell you about the super cool five prizes given to eco-warrior-inventors.
And have you heard what the Oxford Dictionary’s word of the year is… or has your lazy goblin-mode stopped you from finding out?
In Australia a new and odd album might hop past Taylor Swift in the charts.
And find out what some school kids in America do to get out of taking a test and writing a report.
Wheww – we are packed with wacky news. So, buckle up and let’s begin with…
BIG NEWS STORY STING – VARIOUS VOICES: “The big news story of the week!”
MAMA: So, ten points if you know what tetrataenite is.
LEELA: Uhhh… no idea!
MAMA: Well, you’re not alone. Because it’s a material that doesn’t exist! Well, at least not here on earth.
LEELA: (makes alien noises)
MAMA: Yes, tetrataenite, a primarily iron-and-nickel compound, is from “out of this world!”
MAMA: In other words, it’s only found on Earth when alien meteors crash here and leave it behind.
LEELA: Ah! Meteor magic!
MAMA: You got it. Magic material that holds the potential to revolutionize green energy.
LEELA: Say, what?
MAMA: Well, let’s back up a minute. A vital component of building renewable energy, you know, a cleaner way of getting the lights on in your house and fuel for our travel is permanent magnets.
SFX OF LIGHT SWITCH AND WHITE NOISE
SFX OF ELECTRIC CAR HUM
LEELA: Magnets? Like the things stuck to our fridge to keep photos and recipes there.
MAMA: Yep. That’s the one
LEELA: What on earth do they have to do with cars and lights?
MAMA: Well, magnets, and magnetic materials, have an ability to generate electricity in a cleaner way than fossil fuels. The most powerful are rare earth magnets. But, umm, well…
LEELA: They’re rare!
MAMA: Exactly. And not just that, extracting them generates a gigantic amount of toxic waste. And most of its in China, which makes a lot of green energy dependent on China.
MAMA: But if you can make an alternative material in a lab…
MAMA: Oh, indeed. Teams of researchers – from University of Cambridge in the UK and Northeastern University in Boston have done just that: made tetrataenite in a lab!
LEELA: And how is that even?
MAMA: Well, actually, it was done ages ago, but not on a large scale. Whereas this team found that adding another chemical element, called phosphorus, to the mix did the trick!
LEELA: Huh, this kind of sounds like a sci-fi movie: the alien meteor that saved Earth!
MAMA: Yes, but the researchers say they have to run more tests for the next five or so years, to see if the lab-made stuff is as strong as the
LEELA: Out of this world tetrataenite.
MAMA: Exactly. And now – staying with “saving the earth.”
TECH STING – LEELA/MAMA: “It’s time for…. Technology News, technology news, tech news!”
MAMA: Once again, this is where tech meets the environment.
LEELA: We’re talking tech smarts used to help save our planet.
MAMA: Following in the green footsteps of his environmentalist father, the now King of England, Prince William created The Earthshot Prize, designed to find and fund the solutions that will repair our planet this decade.
LEELA: As in asap! There’s everything from a start-up that provides cleaner-burning stoves to women in Kenya to reduce unhealthy indoor pollution – which is something we need here in India too.
MAMA: Plus, an Australian program that combines 60,000 years of indigenous knowledge with digital technologies to protect land and sea.
MAMA: Seriously. And joining us to tell us a little more about the five winners this year is Zachery Fox Devol. An 11-year-old with his own podcast about the environment called We the Children. Take it away, Zach.
ZACH: Well, I think the top five winners are incredibly diverse. But I’d have to say my favourite is the winner of Build a Waste-Free World – a UK company called Notpla. We’ve all heard how plastic is such a big problem in our world. Well, Notpla has a plan. They’re making an alternative to plastic made of seaweed and plants that disappear naturally. They make biodegradable food containers, paper and edible bubble designs to replace single-use plastic bottles.
LEELA: So cool
MAMA: It is. We did a similar story in Episode 95 about an Indian company that’s made a machine making it easier to harvest seaweed. So, Zach, I believe you had another favourite winner, a company called 44.01, which you think will have a big impact. What do they do?
ZACH: This company removes CO2 permanently by mineralizing it into a rock called peridotite. The process is natural, but it takes nature a very long time. This company accelerates this process by pumping carbonated water in the seams of the rock. The process of mineralization removes CO2 forever, which is incredible as removing CO2 in order to limit global warming.
LEELA: Oh, I like that one too.
MAMA: And, lastly, Zach – tell us about the idea that can be rolled out super quickly right here in India, in fact, Kheyti – who’s created greenhouse-in-a-box, helping farmers who have very little land that’s often at the mercy of droughts.
ZACH: Plants in these greenhouses require 98% less water than those outside. That’s incredible! It offers shelter from unpredictable elements and destructive pests. Plus, the yields are seven times higher more than doubling farmers’ incomes.
LEELA: Thanks a lot, Zach! Be sure to check out his podcast, We the Children.
MAMA: And as if that’s not enough news for you guys this week…
LEELA: The Oxford Dictionary has announced its first word of the year – as voted by the public.
SFX OF DRUMROLL
LEELA: The winning word is… “goblin mode.”
LEELA: Yes, it’s a slang term describing – and I quote – “unapologetically self-indulgent, lazy, slovenly, or greedy” behaviour. In fact, I’d say sometimes a parent might use it on a child.
MAMA: Yes… I can see that. But, really? Goblin mode?
LEELA: Usually, I believe it’s used in reference to oneself – you know, like, “Tonight I’m in total goblin mode.”
MAMA: Huh. And I reckon it’s probably another pandemic effect, you know, when we all embraced goblin behaviour. By the way – here’s a fab fact for you. Did you know that work began on the dictionary in 1857, but it was only published almost 30 years later in 1884 and that too only instalments, a few words at a time.
LEELA: Huh – sounds like they were really lazy if it took them 30 years to do the dictionary! Sounds like they were in… goblin mode!
MAMA: No way – there were just soooooooooo many words to include.
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: After days of unusual protests against strict Covid restrictions, China says people with asymptomatic or mild Covid will now be able to quarantine at home rather than in state facilities. This marks a major easing of its zero-Covid policy.
In India a thousand crocodiles are on the move. Why? Well, there were too many of them at a breeding centre leading to some nasty croc fights, so they’re shifting to a zoo located nearly 1,200 miles away.
Ever wondered why you have to stick your phone in aeroplane mode when flying? Well, soon you won’t have to anymore in Europe. Authorities say the change will take effect by July, though the specifics of how are unclear.
And it’s official. Baguettes, those long loaves of French bread, have made the United Nations “Intangible Cultural Heritage” list, which recognizes items that are extremely important to a country’s history and culture. Hear the whole story in Episode 42 when we covered this nomination.
ACE STING – LEELA/MAMA: “Now it’s the ace part of our podcast: Arts, Culture and Entertainment. Darling.”
LEELA: More Taylor Swift news, folks. But this one is especially “ribbiting.”
MAMA: Yes, you heard her right. In Australia the massive pop star is up against a particularly powerful opponent.
LEELA: No, not another celebrity.
MAMA: Not Katy Perry or Kanye West or even BTS. But hoping to knock the singer from the number one spot on the Australian pop charts is none other than the likes of… this.
SFX OF FROG
LEELA: You see, Scientists want to raise awareness of the declining frog population in Australia – which has seen a steep fall since the 1980s – by releasing an album of… frog sounds. Ribbit.
MAMA: The 50-minute-long album, called The Songs of Disappearance, is made up of frog calls collected from over 17,000 submissions by researchers and citizen scientists.
LEELA: Doesn’t really sound like they have a decreasing frog problem… but still!
MAMA: And this album isn’t as crazy as it sounds. Last year an album of endangered birds was hugely popular, going to number 2 in the charts. And they’re hoping this album will leapfrog ahead of Taylor.
LEELA: Well, I’m sorry – I know it’s a good cause, but I love Taylor, so I hope – or should I say – hop not.
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: Some kids will do anything to get out of doing homework. Well, you know… sometimes…! Well, cue the music, Mama.
LEELA: We have a modern-day Christmas tale to tell. So, we all love this time of year when holiday lights are up in the West anyway and kitchens are full of…
MAMA: Mmmmm… good smells, like vanilla, ginger, cinnamon.
LEELA: Cookies! I mean, if you’re not baking cookies at this time of year, what’s the point?
LEELA: And what is the most epic Christmastime cookie?
MAMA: Ginger snaps?
LEELA: Nice. But I said, epic!
MAMA: Oh, I know. Gingerbread House.
LEELA: Indeed! Which, by the way, became popularised thanks to the famous fantastical children’s story, Hansel and Gretel written over 200 years ago, in 1812.
MAMA: But… Did you know it was the 19th century German immigrants who brought the tradition to the US?
LEELA: Interesting. Well, but three high school students in the state of Utah were given a choice between taking a test, or writing a three-page essay or… building gingerbread house, what do you think they opted for?
MAMA: Uh, the essay.
LEELA: Wrong! You know they ran to the grocery store and bought not one or two packs of graham crackers and tubs of frosting. But dozens. And dozens. Because their Gingerbread house ended up over three feet tall and nearly six feet long!
MAMA: Well, I guess you can’t call them slackers. Or in goblin mode!
LEELA: No way! It took them nine days to make!
MAMA: And did they put anything inside their massive house?
LEELA: Just their teeth!
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 – Scientists make material that is out of this world called tetrataenite, which is primarily made up of what two compounds?
Iron and nickel
LEELA: FAB FACT NUMBER 2 – This material could help the renewable energy sector by providing an alternative to what materials the sector relies on?
Rare earth magnets
MAMA: FAB FACT NUMBER 3 – Oxford English Dictionary announced its word of the year – goblin mode. When was the dictionary first published?
1884 and then only in installments
LEELA: FAB FACT NUMBER 4 – Conservationists in Australia are going to release an album of frog sounds to raise awareness of the declining frog population in Australia – which has seen a steep fall since when?
MAMA: FAB FACT NUMBER 5 – Some high school boys from the US state of Utah created a massive gingerbread house instead of writing a paper or taking a test. But what immigrant population first made gingerbread houses popular in the US and when?
The 19th century German immigrants
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: That almost brings us to the end of this episode of Newsy Pooloozi! But first…
MAMA: Shout out to Camilleplays27, who sent us a lovely email, saying:
LEELA: “I’m new to your podcast and I only watched 1 episode and I love it so much!!!!
MAMA: Why, thank you Camille. But… Do you think she really means “she watched?”
LEELA: We do now have a YouTube channel where we jazz up our podcasts with some pictures and clipart –
MAMA: And a quick on-screen hello from us.
MAMA: Or… does she mean she LISTENED to the podcast?
LEELA: Good question! We want to know! Write in again and tell us, Camilleplays27!
MAMA: Either way –
BOTH: Thank you, thank you, thank you!
LEELA: You can send us a note too or leave us a review on your favorite podcast platform and we’ll read it out for you too.
MAMA: And don’t forget to check out our website – that’s newsypooloozi.com – p-o-o-l o-o-z-i.com
LEELA: Alrighty then, see you next week in the happy, splashy giant Newsy Pooloozi!