Ocean voices, ancient cave art, stolen Van Gogh and lying down competition

Sep 20, 2023 Episode 158

Sounds of the sea and what they mean, ancient cave art discovered in Spain, stolen Van Gogh is returned and Laziest Citizen Competition

Episode Transcript


LEELA: This week… the sounds of the sea, an ancient art discovery, a returned stolen masterpiece and the lying down competition!

OPENING STING – LEELA: “Hey, hey, hey. Listen up. New, new, newsy – Newsy Pooloozi!”


LEELA: Hello and welcome to Newsy Pooloozi – the coolest pool of news and information for kids.

MAMA: And adults!

LEELA: (Laughs) Yes! A shout-out to all our adult listeners. So, in case you don’t know, I’m your host Leela Sivasankar Prickitt…

MAMA: And I’m the sidekick, producer and mama – Lyndee Prickitt.


LEELA: This week…

The oceans speak. Yes, it’s a noisy place, apparently, as scientists learn more and more about the sound sea creatures make and what it means for the health of our planet.

Over a hundred ancient drawings are discovered on the walls of a cave in Spain that could hold clues about the ancient artists and the world they inhabited. (Sings mysterious tune.)

A stolen painting by one of the world’s most famous artists is returned… in a bloodied pillowcase!

And a crazy competition is underway in the southeastern European country of Montenegro, where participants have already spent 30 days just… lying down on mats.


Alrighty then, let’s dive on in. First up, it’s the…

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

MAMA:  So, we all know that most land animals make a noise like (barks) right?

LEELA: Oh, my gosh mummy! You scared me!

MAMA: And that those animals often use sounds exactly for that purpose, right? To shock and scare. But also… to attract… (meows and purrs – or tries to!) And we’ve kind of heard that even some sea creatures make noises. Like, of course, dolphins.


MAMA: But we’re learning more and more That it doesn’t end there. In fact, the ocean is a cacophony of noise, would you believe?


LEELA: Well! I had no idea. But maybe it’s because my ears don’t work very well underwater being, you know, full of water.

MAMA: That is a very good point and perhaps that’s why we’re humans so behind in knowing the sounds of the sea. But, hello, technology! So, for a while now researchers have been using underwater sound recorders called hydrophones.

LEELA: That makes sense as hydro is a suffix that means water, right?

MAMA: Prefix, you mean. As it’s before the word. But also, these hydrophones keep getting better and cheaper. So, researchers can leave them down in the murkiest marine environments and capture audio.

LEELA: Even in the deepest depths of the ocean, like The Mariana Trench, the deepest place on earth?


LEELA: Whoa.

MAMA: But also, artificial intelligence is now helping scientists listening to tons of recordings in super quick time and piece together similarities and patterns across the world to help identify different creature’s, well, you know voices.

LEELA: Good old, AI. I think.

MAMA: In fact, a research team from Goa right here in India at the National Institute of Oceanography, is leading a lot of this machine-learning.

LEELA: Good old India!

MAMA: Of course, we know some of the basics, like with land creatures, there are sea creatures that use sounds to attract mates. Like here’s the male damselfish.


LEELA: Eww la la. Although… Gotta say that sounds like a frog.

MAMA: And of course, there’s the “get out of my territory or I’ll bite your head off” noise from the clown fish.


LEELA: Huh. Can’t say it’s very scary, but then, maybe they hear differently down there?

MAMA: Yeah, that’s a really interesting point. Or maybe, their fishy bodies have different acoustic abilities?

LEELA: Got me! All I know is that it stands to reason that if you can’t see very well – and let’s face it, most of the ocean is in darkness, right?

MAMA: Yep, true.

LEELA: Than you gotta rely on sound.

MAMA: We just have to be able to learn to translate it, that’s all. And eventually with more research we could not just map out the sounds of the sea and but even discover new creatures. Like there’s a “mystery buzz” that has everyone perplexed. And never mind there are so many unknown fish like this…


LEELA: I guess all these recordings help scientists monitor the ocean better and be able to help if they spot a problem.

MAMA: Exactly! Did you know that scientists can tell the health of a coral reef by the sounds they make?

LEELA: I did not.

MAMA: Yeah. In fact, they can tell when a reef is dying more from the way it sounds than the way it looks.

LEELA: Whoa… I guess this is super important because the ocean covers almost two-thirds of the Earth, right?

MAMA: That’s right. And it plays a huge role from helping clean the air we breathe to helping produce the food we eat.

LEELA: Well, one thing is for sure. I think that “Sounds of the Sea” album, that some people use to help sleep, might just need updating…

[SOURCE: https://sea.mashable.com/science/23238/google-wants-you-to-listen-to-coral-reefs-it-just-might-help-restore-them




MAMA: And now let’s move out of the ocean and into a cave… A well-known cave in Spain in fact that’s popular with hikers and spelunkers.

LEELA: Spelunkawhaters?

MAMA: Spelunkers – those are people who make a hobby of exploring and studying caves. Which they’ve been doing for years in one giant cave in eastern Spain. But little did they know what was hidden inside…

LEELA: Oh… That sounds like a story for our Spanish siblings, Nina and Marky Granena…

MAMA: Yep, you got it.

LEELA: Over to you guys – tell us all!

NINA: When archeologists first discovered the art inside the Coves Dones cave in 2021, they knew it was gonna be a big deal.

MARCKY: But now they know even more about the drawings, and can say, without a doubt, it’s a REALLY big deal.

NINA: Researchers discovered more than 100 drawings of animals dating back 24,000 years.

The paintings were made using clay, which was hardly ever done back then.

Usually, cave people would use a rock to carve the pictures into the wall.

MARCKY: But this time, they smeared their hands into some clay, and used it to draw! Messy! I like it.

NINA: There are pictures of horses, deer, and something called an or-rock.

MARCKY: That’s an extinct wild bull.

NINA: Well, whatever it is, there are lots of them.

And if I’m being super honest, you can’t really tell what the animals are.

MARCKY: That’s true. But back in the day, it must have been awesome! Looking at cave art must have been like reading a comic book!

Now, why do I have the sudden urge to do some finger painting?

From Barcelona, Nina Granena and Marcky Granena for Newsy Poolooooooozie!

LEELA: Thanks a lot, you guys – best sign offs ever!

MAMA: Seriously! You know how to make Newsy Pooloozi pop!

[SOURCE: https://www.sciencealert.com/giant-cave-of-prehistoric-art-has-been-hidden-since-the-stone-age

Archaeologists Discover More Than 100 Ancient Drawings in a Spanish Cave | Smart News| Smithsonian Magazine]

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: Libya is reeling after last week’s devastating floods with the death toll soaring past 11,000. Search-and-rescue efforts continue, and international aid effort picks up, as thousands of residents are now homeless.

Canada and India are so annoyed with each other they’re sending senior diplomats, or representatives, home. The spat is over Sikh activists living in Canada, which India accuse of planning attacks against India, while Canada is accusing India and being involved in an activist’s assassination.

Five Iranian Americans who spent years in prison in Tehran are on their way home to the United States. Widely regarded as hostages, the five were released after a deal was struck to let Iran receive money for oil it wasn’t allowed to get due to sanctions.

In an unusual neeee-neeeew-neeee-newwww congressional hearing on UFOs in Mexico, lawmakers hear testimony that – quote – “we are not alone” in the universe and were shown the alleged remains of non-human beings. Most experts, however, disagreed with the assessment of the remains, which was found five years ago in Peru.

SOURCE: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-66841137



LEELA: Well, thank you so much for that – wait for it… that whippity-whappity-zippity-zappity wrap of what’s making headlines elsewhere in the world, Mama.

MAMA: Oh, I know you get tiring hearing that even you perhaps no idea what you are saying excepted due you say every week but in case anybody is new she is saying that whippity-whappity-zippity-zappity wrap of what’s making headlines elsewhere in the world, Mama.

LEELA: Exactly…

MAMA: Anytime, Leela. And now for a little bit of this…

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

MAMA: So Leela, if I ask you to tell me some of the most famous painters in the entire world, who would you say?

LEELA: Picasso. And the sunflower guy… ummm… Vin… cent? Yeah, Vincent Van Gogh and that other flower guy… the blue and purple pond…

MAMA: Waterlilies. Claude Monet.

LEELA: Yes, him! And of course, the Mona Lisa guy…

MAMA: That would be DaVinci. Excellent. Vincent Van Gogh, or Van gof, was the name I was looking for. Well, what if I were to tell you one of his paintings that was stolen a few years ago and was returned to an art detective in a bloodied pillowcase?

LEELA: I would say… Ewww.. It’s intriguing, to say the least.

MAMA: Yes, so for more on this Holland heist story, let’s cut across to our Amsterdam correspondent, Tofunmi Fagade.

LEELA: Alright then – tell us this crazy tale, Tofunmi!

TOFUNMI: Thanks, Leela.

It all started in the pandemic when everything was shut down and an art thief decided to break into his local museum in the Dutch town of Laren, southeast of Amsterdam.

This just so happened to have a painting by the country’s most famous artist, Vincent Van Gogh.

Now most of us know him for his sunflower paintings, right?

Or, of course, Starry Night – you know, the twirly night sky with bright stars.

Well, this dark landscape painting – known as Spring Garden – looks nothing like those.

Still… being a Van Gogh it was worth some money.

So, with a sledgehammer and pillowcase in hand, this art thief broke through two layers of protective glass doors, cutting himself in the process, but swipes the pricey painting off the wall.

However, it turns out getting rid of a famous painting isn’t so easy!

And it went from one criminal gang to another and another until…

One day… the main art detective on the job had…  a visitor.

The detective was attending a party when a stranger, standing under a tree, caught his attention and basically said he wanted to get rid of the painting – because it was too much trouble trying to keep it hidden!

Eventually, the stranger knocked on the art detective’s door and hands over the painting – in the same old pillowcase, stained with the blood of the art thief.

Luckily, it seems none got on the painting, which was returned in pretty good condition.

I’m Tofunmi Fagade in Amsterdam, reporting for Newsy Pooloozi.

LEELA: What a crazy story, Tofunmi! Thanks! But I mean, who’d be an art thief anyway, huh?

MAMA: Totally. Apparently, in the art world they say that art isn’t really stolen but temporarily kidnapped, because no one ever really wants to keep it.

LEELA: Yeah, it’s not like you could hang it on your wall and show to your friends.

MAMA: Indeed. As if that story wasn’t wacky enough… Let’s head over to the Lucky Dip machine and see what oddball it spits out for us this week.

[SOURCE: https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2023/sep/12/indiana-jones-of-art-world-recovers-stolen-van-gogh-painting


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: So, Mama.

MAMA: So, Leela.

LEELA: What’s the oddest competition you’ve ever heard of?

MAMA: Ooh! Well, there’s loads of cookie competitions – that’s a bit of a speciality of ours, as we just discussed with the gravy wrestling championship a couple weeks ago.

LEELA: Episode 156, yes. And there’s the cheese rolling contest, never mind, longest beard. And the gross Toe Wrestling competition?!

MAMA: Which I covered for Reuters TV almost 20 years ago! And trust me, it’s toe-tally disgusting, geddit?

LEELA: Wow, that’s a long time ago, Mama.

MAMA: Sure was… anyway, what have you got up your sleeve? Something even weirder?

LEELA: Oh, yeah. Here’s a hint.


MAMA: A sleeping competition? I know a few people who’d be good at that…

LEELA: Are they lazy, by any chance? Because if so, for perhaps the first time in their lives, they could be rewarded for it.

MAMA: What?

LEELA: See, it all started 12 years ago as a kind of satire.

MAMA: Satire. Fancy words. Which means…?

LEELA: Well, it’s when you humor as a weapon…


LEELA: To attack a person, an idea or even a behavior that you think is bad or silly.

MAMA: Yep.

LEELA: So, this competition started as a satirical response to a negative stereotype about the country of Montenegro.

MAMA: Oh, I love saying that – Montenegro. That’s in that region of southeastern Europe called the Balkans, right across the Adriatic Sea from Italy, right?

LEELA: That’s the one. Well, there’s a thing about calling Montenegrins lazy.

MAMA: Oh. That’s not very nice.

LEELA: No. Well, one Montenegrin decided to lean into the accusation, holding a drumroll please – a Laziest Citizen Competition!

With a cash price. For doing nothing. “Ready, set… stop.” The rules are simple.

You can eat, sleep, use your phone, read or do whatever you want – as long as you’re just lying down on a mat. In a room with other participants near you.

MAMA: Oh, man. Weird. I mean, how do… you know…

LEELA: Right. You do get a bathroom break once every eight hours.

MAMA: Phew. Wait – they have to wait 8 hours?

LEELA: The previous lie-in world record was a mere 117 hours – just under 5 days – in 2021. Well, this competitive, super driven and dedicated lot have already clocked over 700 hours just lying around – yes, do the math, that’s over 30 days. Insane.

MAMA: I would literally GO INSANE if I sat around doing nothing for 30 days doing nothing.

LEELA: Nope. No sitting allowed. You’d be out. This is a purely lying down championship.

MAMA: Weird.

LEELA: So far seven contestants are left, battling it out. Thankfully, no one’s reported any health issues so far, but then again. I’m not sure they’ve really been able to check…

[SOURCE: https://english.jagran.com/world/laziest-person-contest-in-montenegro-crosses-26-days-as-seven-contestants-still-lying-down-for-almost-463-hours-10100342


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 – Artificial Intelligence is helping scientists understand the sounds of the sea and identify the “voices” of many sea creatures. What is the name of the recording device these researchers use?


LEELA: FAB FACT NUMBER 2 – These scientists can even record sounds from the deepest depths of the ocean, including which place is the deepest spot-on earth.

The Mariana Trench

MAMA: FAB FACT NUMBER 3 – Cave art that’s 24000 years old has been discovered in Spain in a giant cave popular with spelunkers. Who are they?

People who make a hobby exploring and studying caves

LEELA: FAB FACT NUMBER 4 – Montenegrins compete in a lying down contest of the laziest citizens. Where is Montenegro?

It’s in a region of southeastern Europe called the Balkans, right across the Adriatic Sea from Italy

MAMA: FAB FACT NUMBER 5 – The competition was started as humorous response to the negative stereotype that Montenegrins are lazy. What’s that called when you use humor as a weapon?


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 like a swimming pool so 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 we have a review left on Apple Podcasts to read out…

MAMA: Yes, this is from Rainbowkids436 – from quite a few weeks may be even months ago as our summer break cause us some delay… so profuse apologies as in a lot of apologies.

LEELA: As in a lot, a lot of apologies and a lot of things – for writing – “I’ve been listening almost a year and I love you, podcast! Please shout out!”

MAMA: Ouuuuuut! Sorry, very bad, bad, joke.

LEELA: Well mama means is…… THANK YOU!!!!

MAMA: Thank you!


LEELA: And what about those who haven’t left review what’s holding you back?

MAMA: Yeah, pls do take a moment or two to rate and review us on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or whatever you listen to as most do have a rate and review facility and it really does help others find us!

LEELA: Go on – think of the good karma you’ll get! And, of course, we’ll try to read at least one out every week! OK then – we will see you next week in the happy, splashy giant Newsy Pooloozi!