Jul 7, 2021 Episode 54
Hear the top five stories our loyal listers nominated as their favorite covered on Newsy Pooloozi during our first year!
OPENING STING – LEELA: “New, new, newsy – Newsy Jacuzzi!”
LEELA: Hello from Newsy Jacuzzi – the world news podcast for smart kids and curious adults – which turned one year old last week and we’re still celebrating.
I’m Leela Sivasankar Prickitt and, yes, my loyal and loving sidekick – otherwise known as my Mama – did give us cake to celebrate last week.
MAMA: Oh – that is such a kind lie. You made the cake, cos I was too busy.
LEELA: You made the icing.
MAMA: Yes, and I ate most of it too.
LEELA: Well, still, it was a joint, lopsided effort. Like this podcast.
MAMA: Yep. And, listeners, you might remember that we asked you to nominate your favorite stories covered on Newsy Jacuzzi in our first year.
LEELA: Which we put in the repurposed Lucky Dip machine to let it do the math.
MAMA: Mmmm-hmmm. And started the countdown last week with 10, 9, 8, 7, six. And now…
LEELA: Here are the top five stories of Newsy Jacuzzi’s first year as nominated by our most loyal listeners.
MAMA: And if you remember there was a little bit of a cheat at the end of last week’s episode in that the pollution segment was nominated even though it actually contained three separate stories.
LEELA: Well, we’re at it again. Story number 5 is also a segment that contains several stories in one, but, hey, you nominated it that way, so what can I say? Go on, play the segment, Mama!
SFX OF DOGS
LEELA: Yep… There’s just SO much dog news these days!
MAMA: From the historical
LEELA: to the emotional AND the tech-no-logical
MAMA: to the faithful. So, let’s begin.
LEELA: At the beginning. Really!
MAMA: As in about 21,000 years ago when dogs were not domesticated.
LEELA: That means they were not pets but… predators.
SFX of wolf
MAMA: Siberian wolves to be precise, according to new investigation published in the US Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).
LEELA: Yep, they reckon at the height of the last brrrrrr Ice Age
MAMA: Around 21,000 to 17,000 BC
LEELA: It got soooo cold in Siberia which is that freezing part of northern Russia that reindeer, wild horses, and bison, died off there in the Ice Age… leaving the wolves very hungry. So, what did those clever carnivores do?
MAMA: They started hanging around and eating the leftovers of those funny two-legged creatures.
LEELA: That would be humans!
MAMA: And, according to another recent study this one coming from the Finnish Food Authority, published in the journal Scientific Reports homo-sapiens were carnivores, meat eaters, yes, but by no means exclusively. Their bodies couldn’t process a diet of only meat. So, there would have been a lot of scrappy leftovers.
LEELA: Which those wolves were quite happy to help themselves to.
MAMA: And the scientists reckon the ancient humans would have happily done this for a few reasons… first it meant they both weren’t trying to hunt the same animal.
LEELA: Yeah, I get that. How many times have you thrown a dog a bone, so it wouldn’t bother your picnic?
MAMA: Oh, yeah. But also, wolves have super-duper hearing and would start to make a fuss if they heard something.
LEELA: Ah, so they were the first-ever guard dogs?! “Yes, you’re a good little wolfy, aren’t ya?”
MAMA: Exactly. And… then, of course, some clever human realized that if you could tether, or tie, a piece of wood on a rope to those wolves
LEELA: You mean a sleigh!
MAMA: Bingo! Which could transport your supplies or firewood or even
LEELA: And that’s how wolves became part of the family: domesticated!
MAMA: Yep, they started to lose their blood-thirsty hunting instincts and developed all sorts of other genetic quirks which give us all the different breeds we have today.
LEELA: But it all started with the Siberian Grey Wolf!
MAMA: So, the researchers reckon.
LEELA: From predator to pet!
MAMA: And… communicators too! Another study this one by some Hungarian researchers also published in Scientific Reports show how some dogs are able to learn human words.
LEELA: Uhhhhh… wait, don’t we know that already? Most dogs know “sit” “stay” “no” “biscuit, Buddy, cookie!”
MAMA: Yes, but that’s after a lot of training. Some “genius” dogs can learn new words after hearing them just four times Leela. Especially when they learn them during play.
LEELA: Oh, like “Lookie, Lookie – here’s a fluffy frog called Fru-Fru. Isn’t Fru-Fru funny? Fru-fru is also very green and very fast. Go! Go get Fru-Fru! There’s a good girl.”
MAMA: Yeah. Something like that. There’re speculating it’s the way children learn new words around 2 or 3 years old. But not all dogs. Twenty other dogs couldn’t do this
LEELA: So, there are “genius” dogs!
MAMA: So, it seems.
LEELA: Now if only dogs could talk so we could know what they were thinking… Wait didn’t we do a story months ago about an app that could do just that?
MAMA: Funny you should say that. We did indeed the Australian-developed Happy Pets app which reckoned it could determine a pet breed and emotion based on its face. But we have an update on that story.
LEELA: Oh, you mean a top-up, get it?
MAMA: Oh, top up, I like that!
LEELA: Let’s call it “top up time.”
MAMA: Ok, whenever we update a story it will be Top up time! So, the top up is that a South Korean tech firm has gone one step further.
LEELA: Oh! That sounds like…
TECH STING: “It’s time for…. Technology News, technology news, tech news!”
MAMA: The South Korean smart dog collar can tell you what your dog is thinking or at least it takes a good guess.
LEELA: For more on this story let’s go to our Asia Tech correspondent, Yuching Liu
YUCHING: Thanks, Leela. This new technology is from a South Korean start-up called Petpuls Lab. Get it? It sounds like people but it’s actually PETpuls. It’s also pretty different from the Australian App, Happy Pets, in two big ways. First of all, it’s both software and hardware.
There’s a special artificial intelligence or A.I. – dog collar which has a microphone and WIFI that communicates with your smartphone. And instead of analyzing, or studying, your dog’s face to read its emotion, Petpuls listens to the bark! After all, that’s how dogs talk, right?
For over three years developers gathered different types of barks, analyzing the dogs’ emotions: happy, relaxed, anxious, angry and sad. They studied 10,000 samples from fifty different breeds of dogs! All of which they fed into a computer and developed the first-ever “A.I. voice recognition technology.”
This allows the app to listen to your dog’s bark and give back a pretty good guess at what it means! It’s also tracks your pooch’s exercise and rest. Like a “Fit-bit” for dogs! I’d say that’s a pretty cool canine collar, wouldn’t you? I’m Yuching Liu reporting for Newsy Jacuzzi!
LEELA: Thanks, Yuching! Super cool canine collar indeed!
MAMA: Yeah, that’s a real breakthrough. Dog-talk-translator this year it might be Hindi or English one next!
LEELA: Oh, yeah…! Well, there’s one dog in Turkey whose loyalty and devotion needs no translating did you hear that story?
MAMA: Oh my gosh, I love this story “Boncuk” the dog who followed the ambulance taking its owner to hospital and despite being sent home several times kept returning practically a week later until her human was released.
LEELA: Ahhh… hard to think these faithful friends were once predators.
MAMA: Number 4
MAMA: Well… What’s really important now is to remind ourselves, that for the vast majority of the people who get COVID19, it’s like having a bad cold or flu. And then you recover. Especially for children.
LEELA: Three of my closest friends got it! Two were asymptomatic – that means they don’t have any symptoms. Phew. But our very own correspondent, Ananya Kazmin Roy, had a fever for several days last week. We’re happy to say she’s much better now and wants to share her story!
ANANYA: (Not transcribed)
LEELA: Thanks, a lot, Ananya. You don’t know how happy I am that you’re doing better! Which was no fun. But she’s better now. In fact, she was exercising today and attended her online craft class.
MAMA: And the more adults who can get vaccinated, the more chances we have of stopping the virus from spreading and mutating further – wherever you are in the world.
It’s now officially the Year of the Ox. According to the Chinese New Year, that is, which is celebrated by millions and millions of people from China and Taiwan to Vietnam and South Korea, never mind people from those countries who live around the world.
LEELA: Around 1.5 billion people.
MAMA: by some estimates, or rough calculations, yes. Which is over a fifth of humanity.
LEELA: That’s a lot of people.
MAMA: Indeed. It’s a huge holiday. The question is…
LEELA: Ummm…. Why are they celebrating a new year in February…?!
MAMA: Seems confusing, doesn’t it? But The holiday is based on the ancient Chinese lunar calendar, which is based on the cycles of the moon, as opposed to the solar calendar, which is based on the sun’s position in the sky.
LEELA: And that’s what most of the world officially uses. But because these holidays are so old, they’re based on the old Lunar calendar.
MAMA: And that’s why Chinese New Year can also be referred to as the Lunar New Year AND the Spring Festival – because the first new moon of lunar year occurs sometime between the end of January and the end of February.
LEELA: So this year it was February 12th.
MAMA: Indeed. And because that’s the night of the new moon –
LEELA: It’s dark!
MAMA: So – you light lanterns and set off fireworks to banish the darkness and ward off evil. And by the way, only happy thoughts please – no crying or arguing over the whole festival, which is about two weeks. Even using scissors is discouraged, because it’s seen as cutting ties. And this is a period to be reunited with family.
LEELA: As our very own correspondent, Yuching Liu, is about to tell us!
Yep – Chinese New Year is a BIG deal for us.
Markets and shops are usually shut all over China and Taiwan, as people visit their families.
We usually travel to my grandparent’s house for a special hotpot feast.
That’s when a big simmering pot of stock is placed on the table, with all the ingredients laid out on special plates around it – so everyone can create their own noodle soup combination.
For dessert we have Chinese radish cake and sticky rice cake too – yumm!
But, of course, since the coronavirus is here, we couldn’t go anywhere and had to celebrate on our own this year… bummer!
But we did put a red diamond-shaped paper, with Chinese words on it about fortunes and blessings on our door.
Come the 15th day of the month, we celebrate the “Lantern Festival.”
We would usually buy or make paper lanterns, release them in the air, guess lantern riddles, and my uncle would set off firecrackers.
Oh, and of course, we’d eat rolling dumplings called “yuanxiao.”
I love Chinese New Year, because I can have fun with family I don’t get to see very often, eat delicious food and – oh, yeah! – get the red envelope filled with MONEY!
I’m Yuching Liu, reporting for Newsy Jacuzzi
LEELA: Thanks, Yuching! I can see why you like this holiday! So, Xin nian kuai le, or, happy new year!
MAMA: Ooooooo, nice one. I guess.
LEELA: And… Out with the rat, in with the ox!
MAMA: Oh, yes, and that’s the other thing – every year gets something called a zodiac sign – there are 12 Chinese zodiac signs – named after an animal with its own unique characteristics.
LEELA: Well, I’m happy to see the back of the rat.
MAMA: Yes… well, the rat symbolizes optimism and friendliness.
LEELA: Uhhh, that didn’t happen!
MAMA: Well, the year is meant to say a bit more about individuals born that year than how the world plays out necessarily, but still… the Ox is considered a natural leader who is bright, patient, and cheerful. Jolly good.
MAMA: Number 2.
TECH STING: “It’s time for…. Technology News, technology news, tech news!”
LEELA: And this week guess what – our tech news is also our oddball to end our show with. Because this is supposed to be some odd technology.
MAMA: What? Well, you planned this one this week. What have you got up your sleeve?
LEELA: You all know, Jackson Hosking our tech reporter, right? He’s been on this podcast a lot! He says there’s a dinosaur in his kitchen!
MAMA: Ahhh, is he playing with his stuffed toys at the table…
LEELA: Mama, he’s our TECH reporter not Peppa Pig’s little brother!
MAMA: Ok, is he playing with his robotic dinosaur then?
LEELA: Ah huuuh huuuhh hooo… no, no, no… way cooler than that?
MAMA: Alright, let’s get him on.
SFX OF PHONE CALLING
LEELA: Apparently, there was a Tyrannosaurus in his kitchen, Mama! Hope it never saur-us! Get it..? Dinosaur.. saw us…?
JACKSON: Ha, ha! Good one Leela!
LEELA: Hey, Jackson!
JACKSON: Hey you guys. Are y’all up for a blast from the past? How about a T-Rex or Triceratops… stomping through yourhome? It can be done! Trust me!
LEELA: …I trust you… but I don’t know if I understand you…
JACKSON: Technology, my friend. Thanks to the clever people at Google who’ve added dinosaurs to their feature of 3D animals, you can have them right there in your house.
LEELA: 3D Animals? Aren’t all animals in three dimensions, Jackson?!
JACKSON: Very funny. I mean 3D – as in seeing their height and width and depth – on your smartphone or device, instead of the normal flat image we usually see. And, not just that – you can see these crazy creatures AS IF they’re in your own room.
JACKSON: How do we combine our everyday real world… with a 3D image of an extinct dinosaur…?I’ll tell you how! Get your phone or device out.
MAMA: Here…. There you go…
JACKSON: In the search bar of the Google app, type the word dinosaur… or choose a specific dinosaur.
And if you don’t have the Google app, simply do the same search at Google.com When I type in dinosaur, I see a picture of a T-Rex in the search results and it reads: “See a Tyrannosaurus in your space”.
LEELA: Hold on, let me do that…
JACKSON: If a 3D result is available, you’ll see the words… ‘View in 3D’ next to a picture of a mall cube or box.
LEELA: Yep, I see that…
JACKSON: Click on those words: ‘View in 3D’
LEELA: Hold on… I have to give it access to use my camera… Can we do that, Mama?
MAMA: OK, we can always change it later.
JACKSON: Now wait for it to load…. wait for it… This may take a few seconds.
LEELA: OK, we got it.
JACKSON: Cool. Now, tap the screen and follow the instructions, pointing the phone’s camera
towards where you want the animal to appear… In my case, our kitchen, after lunch, with a sink full of dirty dishes. … And then BAM !!!
LEELA: Aaaahhhhh!!! Get it out…. Ahhh! It’s looking at us! Mama!
This huge Tyrannosaurus appears on the scene! At first just his massive foot thuds into view, taking up most of the screen… You can make the dinosaur bigger or smaller… and move it around… by touching
MAMA: Yeah, it’s cool, it’s cool isn’t it?!
LEELA: No it’s not!!! Ahhhhuhuhuhuhu
JACKSON: My tyrannosaurus stomped its way directly to the kitchen sink as if it was about to wash-up, or rather SMASH-UP, the dirty dishes! That would’ve pleased my Mum!!
LEELA: HA! Yeah, right! Whoa… it’s about to eat my Secret Seven books!
JACKSON: Watch out, Leela!
LEELA: It’s OK. I’m not looking anymore… Scaaaarry!
MAMA: That is cool. Not just that it’s in 3D – which makes it look so real – but that it’s appearing like it’s in our own room, you know?
LEELA: Yeah… actually it’s really kinda cool. Besides the fact it’s scary.
JACKSON: Totally… You can also access all these fun facts too. Also, it’s not just about dinosaurs… here’s a whole list of creatures that you can try by searching for Google 3D animals I’m gonna do a tiger next. What about you two?
LEELA: Bunnies? Kitties? Ahhhh… Cutie Pie… Can I pet you?
MAMA: Cute, but not as real, somehow. I think the scarier ones are better. Try a tiger!
MAMA: Oh, let’s see if they have lobsters – that’ll be perfect for our next story.
LEELA: Jackson, I thought that no story could be better than your shocking pub story two weeks ago… But this one is the best.
JACKSON: Pretty…. Sizzling, don’t you think?!
LEELA: (laugh) Sizzling – very good!
MAMA: Yeah, that dino was certainly wired!
LEELA: Oh, no, here we go again.
Thanks, Jackson. That was Jackson Hosking, our tech reporter from the south of England.
MAMA: Super cool story. Sadly no 3D red lobsters yet, though.
LEELA: But we can tell you about a blue one before we wrap up the show…
MAMA: Number 1.
ODDBALL STING: Step right up, step right up… Have a go at the lucky dip machine… What’s it gonna be today, eh? And oddball, no doubt!
LEELA: Well, the second story is about as cheap as it comes. A cheap head-butt, to be exact.
MAMA: Ahhheemmm… Leela.
LEELA: But, Mama, really. I promise I’m not making this up. In the African country called Botswana, farmers have a BIG problem with lions.
LEELA: Not eating them but their cattle.
MAMA: Oh. And that means their livelihood, or the way the earn their money.
LEELA: Yeah, so you know what they do, Mommy? Hunt down the lions and kill them.
MAMA: Hmmmm, not surprised.
LEELA: But that’s kind of sad, too, because eventually they’ll be no more lions. Like what happened in India.
MAMA: Yep. Hunters killed most of India’s lions. Disease is killing the last few.
LEELA: Well, a team of con-serv-ationists –
MAMA: Scientists who want to save or conserver wildlife.
LEELA: – from Australia went to Botswana with a crazy idea. Mama, you read this…
LEELA: This is what Dr Neil Jordan from the group said…
“Lions are ambush hunters, so they creep up on their prey, get close and jump on them unseen. But in one case, the impala (that’s the animal the lion was hunting) noticed the lion. And when the lion realised it had been spotted, it gave up on the hunt.”
MAMA: Ahhhh… so if a lion’s prey – the impala or this case, the cow – looks at the lion, it’s game over. The lion goes away.
LEELA: Exactly. So that gave them a crazy idea…. What do you think they did?
MAMA: Well, given the cheeky phrase you used at the top of this report, I’m guessing –
LEELA: They drew an eye on each of the cow’s butt cheeks! Making it a…
MAMA: Head butt. Did it work?
LEELA: Well, a scientific study is underway. Half of a herd of cows is going to be stamped with the eyes to see if they make it back home each night. They’re also using fancy GPS devices to monitor the cows and lions, so they can learn more about where the cows are most at risk.
MAMA: You know, actually Leela, this isn’t the first time a predator goes away when it thinks it sees the eyes of its prey. Remember in your butterfly book it says there are some patterns resembling eyes on butterfly wings that are known to deter birds. And actually, now that I think about it, I’ve heard here in India, woodchoppers in the forest wear masks on the back of their heads to ward-off man-eating tigers. So I guess the logic is the same. Wow. So this is so fascinating.
LEELA: But this particular story is more than fascinating… It’s pretty cheeky too, wouldn’t you say?
LEELA: And that’s all for this week’s special birthday celebration marking one year of Newsy Jacuzzi.
MAMA: We hope you’ve enjoyed this look back at some of the stories you’ve liked best from our first year. And we thank you so much for listening.
LEELA: And telling your friends about us – super cool.
MAMA: And a little bit of news about the rest of July. We know that it’s summer or monsoon for most of us in the northern hemisphere.
LEELA: And that means – it’s time to go OUT AND PLAY!
MAMA: Yep, so we’re going to be taking it a little easy for the rest of the month.
LEELA; But the news doesn’t stop.
MAMA: No it does not. So never fear – we’ll be taking quick dips in the Newsy Jacuzzi.
LEELA: Five minute whizzes around the world of science, tech, arts, cultural, sports, politics and even some odd news nuggets too – to make sure you’re informed with a smile. After all, you gotta have some cool things to discuss with your friends and family right?
MAMA: And that’s not all. As five minutes might be too brief – don’t worry – we’ve got you covered. Since all good birthday parties like to give ‘back-presents’ –
LEELA: At least they sure do here in India.
MAMA: For the next three weeks we’re going to share some of our favorite Kids Listen podcasts – factual content like ours –
LEELA: Though you should seriously check out all the fictional storytelling podcasts too!
MAMA: So stay tuned for some awesome content.
LEELA: Alrighty then – see you in the Newsy Jacuzzi for some quick dips and guest podcasts!
– ends –