Apr 6, 2022 Episode 93
How Saturn’s losing its rings, who’s Ketanji B Jackson, Finnish treasure hunters get ready, ghost village appears in Spain
OPENING STING – LEELA: “New, new, newsy – Newsy Pooloozi!”
LEELA: Hello and welcome to Newsy Pooloozi – the news pod for curious kids and adults! I’m your host Leela Sivasankar Prickitt and I’m joined by my trusty sidekick – my one and only Mama.
MAMA: Hello – I’m Lyndee Prickitt – finder of the weird sound effects to make our stories pop in your ears.LEELA: In a good way. We hope!
MAMA: We hope!
LEELA: This week on Newsy Pooloozi the most recognizable planet in our solar system – after Earth, of course – is losing its rings. As they’re being gobbled up and you’ll never guess by what.
The US Senate is on the verge of confirming the first black female judge to the supreme court. We’ll give you the low-down on Ketanji Brown Jackson.
Spring is in the air and that means a group of ground-breaking treasure hunters are getting ready to chip away at what they say is the last bit of rock… protecting an ancient treasure trove in Finland.
You won’t believe what emerges after a drought dries up a lake in Spain. Yes, it’s an odd one and kinda spooky too. You gotta listen to the end to hear what appears.
And did we manage to April Fool you last week? We’ll reveal which one of last week’s wacky world news stories was our April Fool.
But first, it’s time for…
BIG NEWS STORY STING – VARIOUS VOICES: “The big news story of the week!”
MAMA: If I say Saturn what is the first thing that pops into your head?
LEELA: That big planet in our solar system.. Pretty far from Earth with those super-sleek rings that make it stand out as the coolest looking planet in the Milky Way with sunglasses
MAMA: Yes! And those rings might look sleek from afar, but they’re actually rings or belts of ice, rock and dust which are… slowly breaking apart and disappearing!
LEELA: (sings) Tragedy!
MAMA: Yeah… maybe not that tune okay…. Luckily, it’s a tragedy that won’t happen for a while.
LEELA: Not in our lifetime, huh?
MAMA: Certainly not. But now scientists now have a good idea when – we’re talking about one hundred million years from now.
MAMA: But what’s really interesting is just why, or how, these rings are vanishing.
LEELA: Are they being sucked up by a distant black hole?
SFX OF SUCKING
MAMA: Uh, no. Thank goodness – cos, you know, that wouldn’t be good for us here on Earth, either. So let’s back up a second. Scientists don’t actually know why Saturn’s rings formed at all. The prevailing theory is that one of Saturn’s older moons got too close to the planet and it started to shred into pieces.
SFX OF SHREDDING-SUCKING-WHOOSHING
LEELA: But that’s just a hypothesis – an educated guess.
MAMA: Right. What astronomers do know is that these rocky rings won’t last forever because of something called “ring rain.”
LEELA: Ring rain?
MAMA: Yep. It’s a destructive process by which parts of the belt are being sucked into Saturn by gravity, and then – vaporized.
SFX OF WHOOSH
LEELA: Vaporized – as in something solid, like the ring rocks,or even liquid for that matter being turned into gas or vapor.
MAMA: Bingo – and it’s estimated that 10 tonnes of so-called “ring matter” is falling into Saturn every single second.
LEELA: Wait a minute. So basically, Saturn is eating up its own rings?!
MAMA: You could put it that way, I guess…
LEELA: Naughty Saturn! Sorry, but this is a tragedy.
MAMA: (Sings) Tragedy – when you lose control and you got no soul, tragedy.
LEELA: Thought you didn’t like that song!
MAMA: Ah! The things I do for this podcast…
LEELA: And now – let’s come back down to Earth.
MAMA: To the United States – where the highest court in the land –
LEELA: That would be the Supreme Court.
MAMA: Yes, the final voice on cases that are appealed and challenges to the US Constitution.
LEELA: Which consists of 9 judges otherwise known as “justices.”
MAMA: Absolutely. And so therefore should reflect society. Nearly 4 in 10 people in the US are not white, and yet, just two of the nine sitting Supreme Court justices belong to a racial minority.
LEELA: Hmmm – and how many of the nine are women.
MAMA: Good question. Just three.
MAMA: So, when a justice retires or dies the president gets to nominate a new one. And that’s just what happened when 83-year-old Justice Stephen Breyer announced his retirement, President Biden nominated the first black woman to replace him.
LEELA: Aha – that would be Ketanji Brown Jackson. But who is she?
LEELA: Alright Avery and Jackson, take it away.
JACKSON: Okay okay! Who is Judge Jackson? What’s her story, where is she from?
AVERY: Well lets see, she was born in Washington DC on September 14th 1970.. She attended Harvard University for both undergraduate and law school
JACKSON: Ohh she is smart smart
AVERY: Yes judge Jackson was smart, even as a child she was a speech and debate star… But like many black women Judge Jackson still faced haters, once Judge Jackson told her high school guidance counselor she wanted to attend Howard the guidance counselor warned Judge Jackson should not set her sights so high
JACKSON: That was not cool! Not cool at all
AVERY: No, but she had great parents.. who believed in her, Both of her parents were teachers and former public school administrators.. and when Judge Jackson was in preschool her father left his job as a history teacher and entered law school-she gives him credit for her love of law
LEELA: Thanks, you guys!
MAMA: Hold on – we’re not done. Ketanji B Jackson still has to be confirmed.
MAMA: Well, the President may get to nominate whomever he wants to replace an empty Supreme Court seat, but the Senate – which is voted in by the public, right – the Senate has to vote to confirm the nominee.
AVERY: Confirmations are not easy. They grill you.
JACKSON: Basically, they ask you a ton of questions, nonstop: What’s your shoe size? Do you like dogs? What’s your favorite song? Do you like McDonalds?
AVERY: Well not questions like that, but they do ask a lot of questions.. Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee will interrogate Judge Jackson about her legal career and record
MAMA: Thanks, guys. So that grilling is over but the voting has ended in a tie.
MAMA: It’s actually a 22-member Senate Judiciary Committee, which votes, and is evenly split between Democrats and Republicans. But they’ve voted along party lines for an 11-11 tie.
MAMA: But it’s really just for show, to be honest. Because now it goes to the whole senate, which is also evenly split, but one Republican, Susan Collins from Maine, has said she will vote for Ketanji.
LEELA: So, history is about to be made!
MAMA: Well, it’s not a done deal – so we’ll keep ya posted. Now – for those who want to know more about how Washington works but in an entertaining way – boy do we have another great podcast series to recommend. This is edu-tainment at its finest!
FINA MENDOZA PROMO (not transcribed)
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: Amid allegations of war crimes, including violence against civilians, in the Ukrainian town of Bucha, the US and the EU are set to impose more sanctions on Russia. Ukraine’s President Zelensky outlined a list of alleged Russian atrocities, or violent acts, when he gave a speech to the United Nations Security Council.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk buys a 9.2% stake in Twitter, becoming the single largest shareholder. This comes days after the billionaire conducted a poll asking his 80 million followers if Twitter “rigorously adheres” to the principle of free speech.
Electric cars could be charged in just nine seconds with new quantum technology. Scientists at the Institute for Basic Science (IBS) in South Korea say quantum physics offers a solution where all the car battery’s cells are charged at once.
And in case you missed this… Tourists in Venice are being given water guns to squirt away seagulls. Nope, it’s no April Fool but an innovative idea by the Venice hoteliers’ association (AVA), which wants to find a humane way of stopping the seagulls snatching food from people dining outside.
LEELA: As ever, thank you so much for that whippity-whappity-zippity-zappity wrap of what’s making headlines elsewhere in the world, Mama.
MAMA: You’re most welcome.
MAMA: What would you think if I told you that a team of people had found over 50,000 gems and 1,000 ancient artifacts?
LEELA: Well I would certainly think you’re narrating a pirate story or something of the sort. Aaargh!
MAMA: Well – with all those gems, you’d think so. But what if I tell you it isn’t a story, but that a team of treasure hunters are actually on the brink of finding a hidden stash of treasure worth nearly 20 million dollars?!?
LEELA: What! Is this another April Fools?
MAMA: (laughs) No! This is for real. After 34 years and more than 100,000 hours of digging, a gang of amateur treasure hunters think they’re just a few yards, or meters, away from the Lemminkainen Hoard! They have to take a break in the winters – because the cave fills up with freezing water.
MAMA: But spring is in the air and they’re getting ready to go back out and dig.
LEELA: I think we need to go to our Finnish correspondent, Ameeya Kholi, to give us the whole story.
AMEYAA: Thanks, Leela! Just 20 miles outside of Finland’s capital is the massive Sibbosberg cave.
People think it holds an underground temple containing a big, buried treasure. How big?
Well, around fifty-thousand gems – yes, emeralds, rubies and diamonds! And did I mention the several 18-carat gold LIFE-sized statues? It may sound like a Hollywood story, but it really is true!
For decades treasure hunters have attempted to find it. But it gets sooooo cold in Finland, they can only go looking during the summer – before the cave begins to fill up with freezing rainwater.
For over 30 years, one group called the “Temple Twelve” – have spent every summer, six hours a day, seven days a week. Using just spades and shovels, they removed tonnes of rocks and granite from the cave’s entrance.
And – guess what? They say they’re just a few meters away! This is Ameeya Kohli, reporting for Newsy Pooloozi!
LEELA: Wowzers, that would be one big booty, for sure! Ha ha ha. Keep us posted, Ameyaa – make sure we’re the first to know if they find it.
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: This story is a bit odd and, well, spooky.
MAMA: Oh, why?
LEELA: Well, what would you think if a drought came and dried out a body of water – only for mud-covered buildings to appear out of the cracked earth.
MAMA: Yeah – creepy.
LEELA: Honestly, this sounds like another April Fool’s story – but it’s totally real. And since it comes from Spain, I’m gonna hand over the Oddball mic to our favorite Barcelona correspondents, siblings Nina and Marky Granena, who have the whole story of the abandoned village that reappeared after 30 years. Take it away, guys!
NINA: It was 1992 and the government in north western Spain had an idea. They wanted to start using hydro-electric power, which is electricity created by waterpower. Pretty cool, am I right?
NINA: Well in order to do this, they had to build a reservoir … which is kind of like a big lake, but I’m talking about a really, really big one!
MARKY: Ok…… but how do you make a lake?
NINA: Imagine a river running through the space between two mountains…the valley. You take a dam and block the river, and all the water starts filling up the valley. And voila! You have a big lake that can be used for hydroelectric power.
MARKY: Ah! I see.
NINA: But, wait. There were people living in that valley. There were homes, shops, schools, everything!
MARKY: What happened to them?
NINA: The government asked all the people to move. They promised to buy them new houses ¡in another town, so everyone said “ok.” So, After that, they blocked off the river, and that valley started filling up with water. All those shops and schools and homes where people used to live, got flooded. And there they sat at the bottom of the reservoir lake for years and years.
MARKY: Until now. I´ll take it from here, Nina. So, what happened is… there was a drought. And all the water dried out from that giant man-made lake!
NINA: It’s a little more complicated than that- it’s actually called Evapo-transpiration…
MARKY: Anyway, the water level started going down. As the water disappeared, the houses and shops at the bottom of the lake started to reappear. Like a lost city. And it’s kind of creepy. Like a ghost town.
NINA: Mom says it’s more like discovering the treasures left in the tub after your bath.
From Barcelona, I’m Nina Granena.
MARKY: And I’m Marky Granena.
BOTH: For Newsy Pooloozi.
LEELA: Wow – what a story!
MAMA: And what a team. That’s the second sister-brother duo we’ve had today and I like that dynamic. Thanks, guys!
LEELA: Yeah, let us know if any treasures appear in the cracked earth of that Spanish village.
MAMA: I think you’re mixing up this week’s stories.
LEELA: Come on! You never know!
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 –Saturn is losing its rings. Astronomers predict they’ll be mostly gone in about 100 million years. But what are the rings, anyway?
Ring belts of ice, rock and dust.
LEELA: FAB FACT NUMBER 2 – Scientists don’t actually know why Saturn’s rings formed. The prevailing hypothesis is that one of Saturn’s older moons got too close to the planet and it started to shred into cosmic shrapnel. What’s a hypothesis?
An educated guess.
MAMA: FAB FACT NUMBER 3 – Saturn’s rings are being sucked into the planet by gravity and then vaporized – poof, they’re gone. What does vaporize mean?
When something solid or liquid turns into gas or vapor.
LEELA: FAB FACT NUMBER 4 – The confirmation of Ketanji Brown Jackson as the first black woman on the US Supreme Court is one step closer. How many judges, or justices, sit on the USA’s highest court?
MAMA: FAB FACT NUMBER 5 – A ghost village submerged for 30 years under water suddenly reappears when a drought empties a reservoir. What’s a reservoir?
A man-made lake.
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… Did you manage to guess which of our wacky world news stories last week was the April Fool? I’m happy to say we stumped most of you…
MAMA: Yes, it’s hard to believe it wasn’t elephant dung being used to make an adult beverage called gin.
LEELA: Or the washed-up 100-year-old Greenland shark that was… a mere teenager.
MAMA: Or the Brazilian pop star advising her fans to let rip on the fart front after she was hospitalized for holding in her flatulence.
LEELA: Or even the Filipino sailor who uses his own hair clippings to make portraits.
MAMA: Nope it was the Indian PR stunt that wasn’t – no pig was used by an aviation company in India to prove that their drones were so sturdy even pigs could get a ride.
LEELA: April fool’s!
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Alrighty then, see you next week in the happy, splashy giant Newsy Pooloozi!