Weird voting, suffrajitsus, detect pet’s mood and make cats smile, Starman and space nugget

Oct 21, 2020 Episode 17

US election fight enters last the round, but voting will be weird. Find out who the suffrajitsus were. Also, can you tell what your pooch or puss is thinking? A new app can! And find out how to make your cat smile. Plus weird things in space from The Starman to a chicken nugget!

Episode Transcript

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




LEELA: Hello and welcome to Newsy Pooloozi – all the world news that’s fit to… bubble. I’m Leela Sivasankar Prickitt.


MAMA: And I’m Lyndee Prickitt.


LEELA: This week on Newsy Pooloozi it’s all about voting in elections, communicating with pets and strange things up in space…


That’s right, we’ll figure out how people are voting and who’s votes count in the big US election…

We’ll also take a dive back in time and find out how women got the right to vote and who the suffragists were… hiyaa!! Ooops, I gave it away.

There’s also tech news for pet lovers a new App tells you what your pet is thinking…


And not just that find out how you can make your cat smile (sort of) …

And it’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s a… a special nugget up in space and a Starman circling around Mars…

So, let’s get cracking. First up is, of course, the…


STING: it’s time to tackle… the Big News Story of the Week.


LEELA: What you doing, Mama?


MAMA: Well, I’m voting.


LEELA: For what? Your favorite ice cream from Chubby Cheeks?


MAMA: Ahhh, no… Salted Caramel would win by a landslide, obviously. Whereas what I’m voting for…. It could be tight.


LEELA: Whooooaaa…. Is this your ballot for the US Presidential election?!


MAMA: Yep, where is the round of the election fight…




LEELA: In the red corner we have republicans Donald Trump and Mike Pence up against democrats Joe Baiden and Kamla Harris in the blue corner!


MAMA: You’ve been paying attention.


LEELA: Oh yeah. And even though there’ve been elections all over the world from New Zealand to Bolivia it’s the US election fight that the world is watching…


MAMA: Because what happens in America can affect so many other countries in so many different ways.

LEELA: And there is less than two weeks to go until.


MAMA: Election day (laughs)


LEELA: But you’re voting now?


MAMA: I always vote early. Because I live overseas. Just like thousands of Americans. We’re used to voting my mail or even by email depending on which state we come from. And, it’s not so unusual even Americans living IN America vote by mail in fact 25 percent of votes were by mail in the last election.  Lot of people don’t realize that.


LEELA: But that number will go up this year, right, because of the nasty old coronavirus and people being afraid to go vote in crowded places?


MAMA: You got it. And some people are voting early the old-fashioned way with special electronic voting machines in places that opened up early.


LEELA: Yeah, we’ve seen videos of people standing in line, sometimes all day long, to vote!


MAMA: I know! These are strange times. The craziest thing will be that unlike in past elections where pretty much we’ve known who’s won within a few hours it could take days for all the votes by mail to come in and be counted.


LEELA: Unless one candidate gets a lot more votes than the other person.


MAMA: Yes and no. It’s true if there’s a clear winner in the race, way ahead of the other candidate, it will be easier to call, to tell who’s one. But it’s not necessarily the person who gets the most votes.




MAMA: Well, let’s cut across to some of our podcast cousins… for a bit more on this. There’s that cool general knowledge podcast for kids called Curious Kid a little like us in that it’s a child-parent team and they’ve just produced a full episode on how the US election works. Take it away Olivia.


LEELA: …and her dad, Jacob.


CURIOUS KID SNIPPET (untranscripted)


LEELA: Thanks, you guys!


MAMA: If you want the deep dive on that, do look up Curious Kid singular, as in just one kid) for the full scoop. But in a nutshell the electoral college is a way of redistributing the votes a little bit across the 50 states, even the ones with very few people in it get represented.


LEELA: Hmmmm…I’m not sure that seems fair!


MAMA: Well, it’s meant to make sure that candidates don’t ignore rural places and just focus all their attention on crowded states, like Texas and California. But… there were miles and miles of land turned into states over a hundred years ago just to make sure one party got more representation, so…. There are many people who believe there needs to be reform.


LEELA: It’s complicated.


MAMA: It can be. But the most important thing is…


LEELA: To vote!


MAMA: Indeed. Yes!


LEELA: and if you don’t vote you lose your right to complain, right?


MAMA: You said it. It’s a privilege of democracy to elect your leaders. And it’s not a right we always had… Long, long ago it was only the rich or those born to certain parents who got to vote to make decision.


LEELA: Royalty.


MAMA: Yeah. And even when America and other countries were founded a democracy loads of people weren’t allowed to vote?


LEELA: What? Like who?


MAMA: Like me! In fact, it was only a hundred years ago in America that women were granted the right to vote with the 19th amendment or change to the US constitution of laws. And they had to fight to get it.


LEELA: Fight?


MAMA: Yep. And now we’re going to have another guest from another American podcast Mick from the terrific history show with the best name ever:


LEELA: The Past and the Curious.


MAMA: Because, you see, the struggle for women’s suffrage, which is a fancy way to say the right to vote, began long before 1920. And it wasn’t just in America…


MICK: Last century women all over the world women were fighting for the right to vote. And in Britain when I say fight, I mean fight. Some people were so angry about women speaking out and demanding suffrage that the women were often attacked, even beaten, or arrested. While in jail, many went on hunger strikes which means they refused to eat and authorities had to devise terrible ways to force them to eat. In Britain many of the suffragist women learned martial arts, like jiu-jitsu, to protect themselves while protesting. This was called suffragist. In America, other things helped change people’s minds.


Susan Anthony, one of the early leaders of the movement, would never have the right to vote in her lifetime, but she knew a good thing for women when she saw one. To her and many others, the bicycle was the most important invention in women’s independence, because women started leaving the home on their own, and did so not in dresses, but pants or trousers, for you British listeners!.


What was at first a scandal, became the norm. And often that’s how movements happen …gradually. These cultural changes, along with the hard work of women who challenged the powers in America daily with letters, one-on-one confrontations, and huge marches in Washington DC.




MICK: Led to the ultimate goal of the 19th Amendment. It’s important to note however, that the 19th Amendment did not grant all women the right to vote in America. Many African American and Native American Women would not have the right until The Voting Rights Act of 1965.


MAMA: Thanks so much for that Mick! Do check out the Past and the Curious for more stories of America history and lore.


LEELA: Yeah, my favorite was the history of the potato chip.


MAMA: Oh, yeah. I liked the ghost ship… and the history of bloomers. And while we’re shouting out… there’s a pretty cool website just created by a network of homeschoolers, called theyellowroses.com that celebrates 100 years of women’s voting rights and has some cool craft ideas and even better the Suffrage Storybook Theatre for anyone who wants to hear more.


STING: “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: Google is in the naughty corner… The US government has filed anti-competition charges against the tech company, accusing it of not playing fair in the open market.


A 12-year-old Canadian boy made the discovery of his lifetime when he was hiking with his father and found a dinosaur skeleton, part of a Hadrosaur, dating back 69 million years.


Speaking of discoveries, the figure of a massive cat has been discovered in the south American country of Peru. Scientists believe the geoglyph was made by digging the outline deep into the desert floor some 2000 years ago. It’s not alone, but joins other geoglyphs in the Nazca area.


Staying in Peru… some people just never give up… A Japanese tourist was about to visit the ancient mountain city of Machu Picchu when the pandemic shut everything down. So, the boxing instructor decided to hang out teaching local children his moves while he waited. Well, he was rewarded by being the first person up in seven months.


And talk about a grueling long-haul flight… a GPS tracker reveled a big, noisy bird called a godwit flew 11 days from Alaska to New Zealand nonstop. The incredibly efficient birds shrink their internal organs to lighten their load before migration.


LEELA: And thank you very much for that trip around the world in news. And now…


STING: “It’s time for… Technology News, technology news, tech news!”


SFX:  of Maia barking


LEELA: Mama, are you finally agreeing to let me have a dog???


MAMA: Er, not exactly. That’s one of our very animated and talented tech reporters getting ready to bring us a super cool story about pets and artificial intelligence.


LEELA: Eewwwww


MAMA: But first do you know what artificial intelligence or AI as it’s also called actually is?


LEELA: Yeah, like robots. Or computers that play chess.


MAMA: Well, sort of… It’s when computing is used to make a device do something on its own. So, whether a computer playing chess or robot that looks like person, or a self-driving car or even household appliance. Like an AI vacuum cleaner is programmed to constantly scan a floor for any small rubbish to suck up.


LEELA: Oh, cool can we get one of those! But wait what’s this got to do with dogs?


MAMA: Oh, yeah! Well, for that we need to go to…


LEELA: Ah! Maia Sodha, one of our tech correspondents. Take it away, Maia!




MAIA: Thanks, you guys! So, here’s a question, how many times have you played with a pet and wondered what they were thinking? Well, thanks to a new app this can now happen!


It was developed by some super smart professors from the University of Melbourne (Mel bun) in Australia. It’s called Happy Pets. But those aren’t the only emotions it can detect.

It uses artificial intelligence and something called facial recognition.


Here’s how First the developers took loads of pictures of animals, so that the app could tell the difference between an animal and a…  car… or a human! ((Maia giggles))


But they had to take even more pictures, so that the app could learn to tell the difference between different breeds, like a Chihuahua and a bulldog. But here’s where it gets interesting.


They also took pictures of animals when they were in different moods. Then they assigned these different emotions to the pictures, basically teaching the app how to tell the difference.


For example, if a dog tightens its eyes and mouth, while changing the position of its ears in a particular way, that’s a sign of being scared. And there’s several more emotions than scared… there’s happy… sad… angry… or just neutral, like a chill-laxing kind of mood. So, now you can know the difference between your pet’s whimper… and whine. In Mumbai this is Maia Sodha, reporting for Newsy Pooloozi!


LEELA: Thanks Maia!


MAMA: Yeah, thanks! Super cool tech news. Maybe you should use that on your cats



LEELA: Yes, please! Can we get it, please, please?!


MAMA: We’ll see…


LEELA: But, actually, mama, I know how to communicate with my cats.


MAMA: Right, of course you do….


LEELA: The Happy Pets app isn’t the only animal news this week… But for that… we’ll have to head outside… Because it’s time for…


STING: For the world of wow, wow, wow… In other words, Science!!!!


LEELA: (talking to cats) Here, kitty, kitty… Hello, my lovelies.

MAMA: So, Leela, how many cats do you have, or I should say how many stray cats do you care for…


LEELA: Seven. And they’re not stray, they’re mine. You just won’t let them live inside, that’s all.


MAMA: Well, they’re not exactly domesticated… they’re pretty wild.


LEELA: Hmph. Do you know what a group of cats is called?


MAMA: No, actually, I don’t.


LEELA: Clowder.


MAMA: Huh. Didn’t know that.


LEELA: And there’s another word for it…

MAMA: Go on.


LEELA: A “glaring” … As in… glare.


MAMA: Oh, yeah, that’s more apt! I can see them glaring right now.


LEELA: Hey… (talking to cats) Is my mama being mean to you? Well, I still love you… Yes, I do!


MAMA: (coughs)


LEELA: Oh, yes. A “glaring” is used if the cats are… let’s say… uncertain of each other.

MAMA: And then glare.


LEELA: Mama! Yes, alright…


MAMA: I’ve got one.


LEELA: What?


MAMA: Another fab cat fact…


LEELA: Let’s hear it, then.


MAMA: You know cats have been domesticated since prehistoric times, like 10,000 years ago before things were even written down. Historians believe the ancient Egyptians domesticated cats, and used them to retrieve the birds they hunted, and of course for catching rats and mice and then the trend spread over to Europe.

LEELA: Well, I wonder if any of those ancients knew the cat eyes trick.


MAMA: The what?


LEELA: Well, a new study from England’s University of Sussex has confirmed something cat-lovers have known for a long time that, yes, you can bond with your cat by sending them a slow blink.


MAMA: Really?


LEELA: Oh yeah. You can get your cat to smile back. Look… By narrowing my eyes… really slowly… And giving a little blink. See! Little Rascal smiled back.


MAMA: That? All she did was blink black… She didn’t exactly show you her pearly white teeth, thank goodness.


LEELA: Mama…… it’s a smile for a cat. That’s how they do it. And, according to the study, it makes the owner more attractive to their pet. Isn’t that right, Little Rascal?


MAMA: Well, cats aren’t the only creatures whose communications is being studied… Another team of scientist confirmed the amazing bond between dogs and humans. When a dog owner, or pet parent, says “I love you” their dog’s heart rate soars. Cuddling your pooch also has a calming effect on both owners and pets.


LEELA: Well, I think that study needs to include cats next time too!


LEELA: And since we’re nearly at the end of the show, it’s that time we do the… Odd News of the week.


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: Oh yes, the lucky dip machine is in a spacey mood today…


MAMA: What? These nothing odd about space stories. It’s all very straight-lace science stuff up there.


LEELA: Oh, yeah? Well, then sit back and buckle up, cos we’re going on an odd cosmic journey.

You won’t believe the two things seen in space recently… First up, what’s been zipping across our solar system lately? None other than The Starman.


Yep, this is not a joke. But it’s also not a man. Or a woman. But a mannequin, of course.

Dressed in an astronaut’s suit and seated inside a red Tesla Roadster! It’s been cruising across the Milky Way since being blasted into space almost two years ago.


Starman’s snazzy vehicle actually belonged to Elon Musk, the founder of SpaceX and Tesla, before it was repurposed for greater things. It’s traveled nearly 1.3 billion miles. Well, now Starman is near Mars.

But that’s not the only weird thing in space…


Move over Starman… we’ve put mannequins, astronauts and even chimpanzees into orbit…

But that’s nothing compared to the latest space traveler… The chicken nugget… reaching heights of more than 110-thousand feet above Earth! And if that wasn’t odd enough… how did it get there, you ask? Oh, no, not a rocket… but a balloon!


No ordinary birthday balloon, mind you. It was filled with hydrogen that’s lighter than air, so it could carry the little nugget up complete with satellite tracking AND a camera. Really! Even chicken nuggets are obsessed with selfies! And what scientific endeavor prompted this hour-long cosmic journey, you may ask? A 50th anniversary… of the supermarket chain. I guess it was a birthday balloon after all.


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



LEELA: Voting by mail is not uncommon in the US – twenty-five percent of Americans did so in the 2016 election.



MAMA: US elections are not determined by the number of individual votes but by election delegates, known as the electoral college, in an effort to ensure states with a small population can have a strong voice.



LEELA: Suffragettes were people campaigning for women to get the right to vote. Sometimes they had to use martial arts, like jiu-jitsu, to protect themselves while protesting, which was nicknamed suffragist.



MAMA: This year is the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, which was the change made to the US Constitution to allow women the right to vote, although many African American and Native American Women would not get the right until of 1965.



LEELA: A group of cats is called a “clowder” or when the group of cats is uncertain of each other it’s called a “glaring.”


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


MAMA: And instead of shoutouts from our listeners, we’ve got a special message to play at the end of our episode… so keep listening…


LEELA: Keep listening and… keep rating and reviewing… Not just because we love hearing from you, but subscribing and leaving a review on Apple Podcast, Radio Public or wherever you get your podcasts, helps other people find us.


MAMA: Oh, and don’t forget about our new Facebook community page @NewsyPooloozi – feel free to join the conversation and leave us a message there too!


LEELA: Alrighty then. See you next week in the Newsy Pooloozi!