Notorious RBG, data at sea, Delhi’s ballet dream, the master gobblefunker and a leopard in the house

Sep 23, 2020 Episode 13

Who was the supreme rebel girl, RBG? Also hear the story of the data center sunk at sea, the success of the boy who learned ballet at 17, a taste of the words created by the master gobblefunker Roald Dahl and the sleek leopard who surprised guests at a fancy lodge in South Africa.

(Special thanks to Amaira and Anaira Mirza for their joint work on this week’s fabulous artwork!)


Episode Transcript

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




LEELA: Hello and welcome to this week’s Newsy Jacuzzi – a whirlpool of news and information for curious kids and adults interested in…


MAMA: Engaging world news told in a fun way.


LEELA: I’m your host, Leela Sivasankar Prickitt. And that was my mama…


MAMA: Sometimes also known as Lyndee Prickitt. And since we’re broadcasting from India.




LEELA: We have a packed show, so let’s dive on in… to the Newsy Jacuzzi. As tributes are being to paid America’s Supreme Court Justice, we find out why Ruth Banard Ginsburg was called Notorious…


Microsoft’s experimental underwater data capsule resurfaces… we’ll tell you how well it performed during its two years at sea…


An Indian boy who only learned ballet when he was 17-years-old… is now on his way to the English National Ballet School just three years later…


We’ll also find out what a gobble-funker is and who’s the Master gobble-funker of all time…


And a rather scary guest tip-toed into a South African resort, frightening guests as they ate their breakfast. Whewwww…. But first up, today, we’re gonna go straight to our…. big news story of the week!!!


LEELA:  A lot of you especially our American listeners have probably heard the news that an American Supreme Court Justice, one of the most famous “rebel girls” in the world… Ruth Bader Ginsburg… passed away.


MAMA: Rebel girl… (laughs) That’s one description for her. Well, as people pay tributes to her across the world, Leela and I decided to discover more about the woman called the Notorious RBG.


LEELA: Let’s tell it like a story, Mama.


MAMA: OK. Once upon a time, 87 years ago… Ruth Bader, the daughter of Jewish immigrants, was born in Brooklyn, New York City. When she grew up wanted to become a lawyer.


LEELA: But people said, “Don’t be ridiculous, woman can’t be lawyers.”


MAMA: She smiled politely, but didn’t listen.


LEELA: Instead in 1956 she was one of only nine girls allowed into Harvard Law School with about 500 guys.


MAMA: She graduated at the top of her class, but no one would hire her as a lawyer.


LEELA: Because she was a woman.


MAMA: Then even when she went for simple job, when she said she was pregnant, she was told she wouldn’t be hired.


LEELA: What? Can’t you work when you’re pregnant?


MAMA: Of course you can. But, at the time, she just thought that was the way it goes for women.


LEELA: Didn’t she reb-el, or should I say re-bell?


MAMA: Not yet. But then she took a trip to Sweden where she saw… female lawyers and female judges including one hearing a case in court while she was 8 months pregnant!


LEELA: Ah ha! Then she realized!


MAMA: Yes… and she did become a lawyer… for people fighting against an unfair and unequal system. For instance, a woman doing the same job as a man, but being paid much less. Or a man who was looking after his child, but not given the same rights as a mother would be. And… even when she didn’t get the change, she wanted with her first big case…


LEELA: Instead of being mad and pouting in a corner… (make pouting noises, tsk…boohoo) She decided the only way to make change was case by case. And eventually she made it to the top!




MAMA: She went from lawyer, who argued more than five landmark cases before the supreme court, to being a judge on the Supreme Court…


LEELA: Who are called justices.


MAMA: That’s right! And courts are places where people go if they break the law, which are rules made by the government. Right?


LEELA: Right. Like if you steal something. Or really hurt someone!


MAMA: Exactly and if you’re accused of breaking a law, you go to a local court. And if they can’t decide or you don’t think you’ve had a fair judgment; you can go to a bigger court… all the way up to the Supreme Court.




LEELA: So, you have to be really, really smart… and tough… to be a justice.


MAMA: Yep, but even in the Supreme Court she didn’t always get the outcome she wanted and would dissent, or disagree, with the other Justices.


LEELA: And she did 20 push-ups a day.


MAMA: And was known for working way into the wee hours of the night most nights of her life.


LEELA: And didn’t stop working even when she got cancer twice. No wonder she was given a rock star name…


MAMA: “The Notorious RBG!”


MAMA: Rap star, to be precise. Yep, one of her students was so amazed with a dissent she’d written, that they put it on social media, giving Ginsburg the nickname a play on rap star Notorious BIG’s name. Which made her even more of an icon.


LEELA: And she wore really fancy collars over her black robes.


MAMA: That’s true.


LEELA: And was a terrible cook, who loved opera.


MAMA: Yep, she left the cooking to her husband, who was also a lawyer and known for being her biggest cheerleader.


LEELA: So, what happens now she’s gone?


MAMA: Ewww well… The President of America gets to pick Supreme Court justices. And it’s a big deal, because the decisions they make can affect the people.


LEELA: So, President Trump.


MAMA: Well, it’s a big tricky, because there’s a big election in just two months. And last time, when President Obama had ten months left in office, Trump and the Republicans said it wasn’t fair to decide until after the election. But this time, they’ve changed their mind.


LEELA: Uh-oh… drama…


MAMA: Yep… this is a story that’s going to get big and ugly before there’s any resolution. So, for this week, let’s remember Ruth. I’m sure we’ll discuss the debate about her replacement before too long.


SFX: Court sound


LEELA: OK… after all that… I think we need some of this…


ACE STING – LEELA/MAMA: “Now it’s the ace part of our podcast: Arts, Culture and Entertainment. Darling.”


MAMA: A few weeks ago, we heard about the ballet boy from Nigeria, who’s video of him dancing barefoot in the rain went massively viral…


LEELA: Well, have a great ballet boy story right here in New Delhi.


MAMA: His name is Kamal Singh and he’s not some child prodigy. His dad is a rickshaw, or tuk-tuk, driver. And while he was an active kid, he was mostly interested in martial arts not the high art of ballet.


LEELA: But then he saw the Bollywood movie, ABCD – Any Body Can Dance, which included some ballet. It was the first time Kamal had seen ballet… And he was hooked.


MAMA: The movie also included a small part by Delhi-based choreographer, Fernando Aguilera. So what did Kamal do?


LEELA: He Googled him, of course! And showed up at his dance studio, naturally!


MAMA: And now… after three years of hard, serious work… He’s got a spot English National Ballet School of London. After a year of training, he’ll have the chance to enter the English National Ballet Company as a professional dancer. Not bad for the son of a rickshaw driver…


LEELA: Who never even put-on ballet shoes until he was 17 years old!!! I’m impressed. I started ballet when I was four!


MAMA: Well, we caught up with Kamal before he sets off to the big smoke in London


LEELA: First I asked him how tough it’s been coming into the art later in life…


KUMAL: (not transcripted)


LEELA: Are you excited or nervous about going to London? I love London I’m quite jealous…


KUMAL: (not transcripted)


LEELA: So, I have to ask you I’ve seen videos of you dancing you’re soooo good. You make it look so easy… do you ever make mistakes????


KUMAL: (not transcripted)


LEELA: Ahhh… phew. I’m not a machine either, but I don’t quite dance like you yet… Thanks, Kamal! Have a great trip.


MAMA: And here’s the sweetener to this story… Kamal’s trip nearly didn’t happen. It cost money to attend this prestigious academy, never mind live in expensive London.


LEELA: But his ballet teacher, and a handful of people at his Delhi dance studio started a funding campaign.


MAMA: They didn’t ask for much, but within days they got the minimum amount to at least start him on his journey. If you’d like to donate… then you can find out more about Kumal and his journey –


LEELA: And see the video of him dancing!


MAMA: On our website – www.newsyjacuzzi.com – go to our Lucky Dip page and you’ll find all the information you need.


LEELA: And now it’s time for…


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


MAMA: So, some great news for the environment.


LEELA: Wait – I thought this was tech news.


MAMA: Well, you know how connected the world is…


LEELA: Oh, I get it!


MAMA: What does your tech need to operate.




MAMA: Well, that’s true! Thank goodness the computers aren’t running us yet. Phew. But what else does it need…


LEELA: Oh, juice. I mean, electricity.


MAMA: Exactly. And lottttts of it. So, did you know that for every Google search we do, it’s the same amount of energy as using a lightbulb for 3 minutes!!!


LEELA: Yep, I knew that from the TV show Connected.


MAMA: Well, multiply that by the world’s computer users and you’re talking a lot of electricity. And… that’s just from our end, the users… What about where all that information comes from?


LEELA: You mean, the cloud – that’s not really a cloud!


MAMA: Right. And as you know, simply keeping all that data in the ‘cloud’ which is really hundreds of data centers all over the world…


LEELA: Wait, Mama should we say what a data center is?


MAMA: I was hoping you would say that! Imagine a huge grocery store, OK, but instead of being full of food it’s full of rows and rows and rows of computers, or hard-drives, stacked on top of each other… that contain a chunk of the information available through the internet the text, the pictures, the audio like us and videos.


LEELA: Got it.


MAMA: Now there are hundreds of these data centers in the world – some are even as big as shopping malls. And they consume A LOT of electricity. And by the way, these hard-drives and servers get hot…so they need ventilation… that means space to breathe, or rather, breathe out (breath out) to let out all the hot air from inside them they work hard, you know. And if they overheat, they break.


LEELA: (talking like a robot) System malfunction. Error: 404 not found.


MAMA: And that’s not good. So, these data centers use a lot of air conditioning to keep them cool.


LEELA: That’s a LOT of electricity.


MAMA: Yep. So some clever people at Microsoft had a “cool” idea.


LEELA: Literally!


MAMA: In this instance, yes. Their idea was to build a waterproof capsule and sink it off the coast of somewhere cold.


LEELA: Aye! That would be Scotland then.


MAMA: Bingo! The Northern Isles, to be exact.


LEELA: And did it work?


MAMA: Did it ever! It’s been answering internet questions from under the sea for two years! Without excessive air conditioning!


LEELA: Wahoo!


MAMA: Now it wasn’t the biggest data center it was just a long cylinder that would fit on truck. But it was big enough to hold 864 servers.


LEELA: So, wait. Was it attached to something?


MAMA: Right, so it was lowered down off the coast with some electricity and high-speed internet cables connected to a it and nearby wind and solar energy station.


LEELA: And when they brought it back up, were barnacles and algae attached to it?


MAMA: Yes…! But nothing got inside. In fact, without clumsy old humans wandering around, the machines and cables never got bumped around. And, since there were no humans, there was also no need for oxygen. Which we love, but computers aren’t as fond of… All and all this underwater data center had just one-eighth the failure rate that means a tiny amount compared to the ones on land.


LEELA: Score!!! Here’s to more tech stories that are good for the environment!

But first…  let’s hear what’s been making news around the world…


SFX: Halftime bell


LEELA: Now… You might have notice we’re shaking things up a bit this week……What’s that??? I’ll tell you what – that’s the halftime bell… which means it’s time to hear what’s making the news in the rest of the world…….


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


MAMA: A sad milestone has been crossed as 200,000 people have now died in the US from the coronavirus. India’s case load is almost as high, though its death toll is half, while in the UK new restrictions are being imposed as COVID-19 cases rise…


Marine rescue teams are rushing to save around 300 whales beached, or stranded, off the coast of Australia. Nearly a hundred of the mammals are likely already dead. While these whale beaching’s are common in the region, it’s unknown what draws the whales to the shore.


Over in Hong Kong it’s better news as rare pink dolphins yes, pink dolphins are returning to the harbor. This is thanks to fewer ferries and speed boats running between the island and the Chinese mainland due to the pandemic.


And it doesn’t stop there… a bottlenose dolphin, who was trapped in a pond in the US state of Louisiana, has been released back into the ocean. The dolphin came 9 miles inland two weeks ago with a surge of water from Hurricane Laura.


Speaking of hurricanes, it’s been such a busy storm season… the letters for naming them have run out. And as any listener of Newsy Jacuzzi knows… the weather people now go to the Greek alphabet. With the latest storm, Beta, brewing in the Gulf of Mexico.


MAMA: So earlier we heard about the Delhi Ballet Dream, right? Well, that’s not the only ace story we have this week, is it? Should we run the sting again?


LEELA: Oh, why not! Let’s go crazy.


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


LEELA: Since it’s September and we both recently had birthdays, making us both Virgos, we thought this was the right time… to look at one of the most famous Virgos… in all of children’s literature.


MAMA: And the reason we like this Virgo, who lived last century, so much is……. Aside from writing terrific fantasy stories, like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,


LEELA: Or Mathilda! Or the Fantastic Mr. Fox the first chapter book I ever read!


MAMA: Well, this writer is also famous for having made up tons of fabulous, I mean, splendiferous…  words. In fact, he’s a master gobblefunker.


LEELA: Ah, whaaaat?


MAMA: Oh, you know when you play around with words and create new ones.


LEELA: We are, of course, talking about… Roald Dahl.


MAMA: Who… here’s a little fab fact for you – was not only a children’s writer and a master gobblefunker, but was a fighter pilot for the British in World War II before he became a writer.


LEELA: That explains his sense of adventure! Well, there’s a Newsy Jacuzzi reporter who’s probably even more crazy for Roald Dahl than we are… Maia Sodha, it’s over to you!


MAIA: You said it, Leela. I love Roald Dahl and his writing so much I can’t stop reading his books! He was a master storyteller. He mixed folklore with fantasy and even horror… to enchant us That’s a fancy word for putting a spell on us! That’s what his writing does.


He even makes readers believe the most unlikely people can be heroes. And he didn’t just make up stories. Have you read “Charlie & the Chocolate Factory” or the “The BFG” (that means the big friendly giant)? Well, then you’ll know very well how Roald Dahl made up the funniest, wackiest words around.

Heard of gigantic us?


MAMA: Gigantic us


LEELA: something that is grand and spectacular.


MAIA: Well, that’s thanks to Mr. Dahl! But there’s more…Ever hear of an Oompa-Loompa?


MAMA: Oompa Loompa


LEELA: – A very little person, who makes candy


MAMA: Hmmmm…


LEELA: but… sings sarcastic songs Hmmmm……




MAIA: What about Zozimus? Scrum-diddly-umtious? And my personal favorite… horrigust?


MAMA: Zozimus


LEELA: The stuff that dreams are made of.


MAMA: Scrumdiddlyumtious


LEELA: Food that is too, too delicious (obviously).


MAIA: And my personal favorite horigust


MAMA: Horrigust


LEELA: What you get when something is both horrible and disgusting.


MAIA: But this is only a short list of his tongue-twisters, which always bring a smile to my face!

We’d be here for hours…  if we went through ALL the words he made up. five-hundred words! So, I’d better end here and hand it back to you, Leela, now you can continue your splendiferous show.

Happy reading, everyone! This is Maia Sodha, reporting from Mumbai for the Newsy Jacuzzi.


MAMA: Well, Thank you for that whizzpopping report, Maia!


LEELA: Ahhh, Mama. I think you mean phizz-whizzing report.


MAMA: Oh? Do I?


LEELA: Hmmmm. I think so. Phizz-whizzing means excellent or splendid. But, ummm, whizzpopping, well that’s when air comes out of your… bottom… with a popping sound. So, you were saying ‘’Thank you, Maia, for that farting report.”


MAMA: I did not mean that…. (laugh)


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: As if Roald Dahl and his gobble funking wasn’t strange enough…


MAMA: Here’s a story about a hotel guest that some tourists will never forget…


LEELA: Once upon a time… a few days ago… at a swanky luxury hotel in South Africa… guests were enjoying a quiet breakfast. When what did they hear… but some monkeys. Vervet monkeys, to be precise, also known as savanna monkeys. First one, then two, then a whole cackle…


SFX: Monkeys sound


In monkey language this means watch out, there’s a predator in the house! And, did you know, their language skills are pretty advanced, because they have different calls for four different animals – leopards, eagles, baboons and pythons. This one means…


SFX: Monkeys sound


Well, that would be telling. And the poor guests at Singita Ebony Lodge didn’t speak monkey, so they had no idea what was in store for them. Until they saw the sleek prance and spotted paws of a leopard. Yes, a leopard, in the lodge! At breakfast.


Everyone froze as this creature walked majestically through the chic open-air dining rooms.

Up-and-down the various tree-house like balconies tail high in the air, seemingly sniffing out some good food.


Fortunately for the tourists, nothing on the menu or no one sitting at the tables seemed to catch the leopard’s fancy. And it sauntered right back out that means walking in a slow, super relaxed way.

Like a cool cat, in fact.


STING: “And it’s time to wrap up the podcast with the top… five fab facts heard today. Here goes”



MAM: Many countries including India, Britain and the US – have a Supreme Court, which is the highest court in the land.



LEELA: In the USA the president gets to nominate the candidates to the supreme court with the approval of the Senate.



MAMA: A data center is a physical place that stores hundreds or thousands of hard-drives, servers and other computer components. It can be a room in a building or several buildings put together.



LEELA: One Google search uses the same amount of electricity as a LED light bulb on for 3 minutes.



MAMA: Roald Dahl was a fighter pilot in World War 2 before he became a writer and a master gobblefunker, who made up 500 words.




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

But… before we go… we have some shout-outs to make!


MAMA: First up… since we featured a fabulous children’s writer today –


LEELA: The Master Gobblefunker, Roald Dahl!


MAMA: We thought it would be a good time to tell y’all about another podcast to check out this is for anyone who loves children’s books – it’s called, Book Power for Kids, produced by a family whose name is Power, get it? With three kids who each take turn reviewing and acting out their favorite books.


LEELA: Sometimes I know the books they’re talking about… But sometimes they introduce me to books I’ve never ever heard…


MAMA: And that’s a good a thing, right?


LEELA: Right.


MAMA: Now, also, it’s high time we start to say thank you… Thank you, thank you –


LEELA: Thank you!


MAMA: To our supporters and those of you who’ve taken the time to review us. Let’s do India this time.


LEELA: That would be you, Caroline from Tamil Nadu!


MAMA: Seriously, our number one fan we’ve never met her but she regularly emails us – in her online review she said, “This show is the path-breaking…” and the “fun-filled method of learning is simply amazing.” Aaaahhhhh!


LEELA: We love her. And there’s also one… from a boy here in New Delhi, though I’ve never met him, called Aiden-Krishna. Read that one.


MAMA: He says, “The ocean episode was amazing and interesting. I am looking forward to staying in a sea station!! The episode made me feel much more energetic because it was exciting. I reallyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy enjoyed it!!!!!”


LEELA: Thanks, Aiden Krishna! Now… Keep in coming… Now What about you? Yes… YOU. You listening… Have you subscribed, rated and reviewed us… on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen?? Oh, please do! That’s the best way for new listeners to find us. And if you do…. We might read your review…  out loud too!


And with that, it’s a wrap… See you next week in the Newsy Jacuzzi!