Why we get colds, bad weather kindness, Australia’s acrylic nail ban, human hair recycled

Jan 4, 2023 Episode 132

Hear new study on why we get colds, US bad weather brings out heroic kindness, Australian students banned for acrylic nails and Belgium recycling.

Episode Transcript



LEELA: Happy 2023, everyone! It’s cold in the northern hemisphere, but we have winter news that will warm you up, plus Australia’s nail saga and Belgium’s wacky recycling.

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


LEELA: Hello and welcome to Newsy Pooloozi 2023.  This is episode 132, but out first of the new year.

I’m your host, Leela Sivasankar Prickitt. And…

MAMA: I’m Lyndee Prickitt.

LEELA: And boy is the year kicking off with some cool stories – emphasis on the word coooool.

There’s ground-breaking research about what causes the common and, no, Daddy, it’s going out with wet hair in the cold

And though the winter weather has been brutal for many parts of North America and Canada, the stories of heroism and generosity will warm your hearts.

A big scandal about a ban on acrylic nails at a school in Australia is causing controversy.

And you’ll never guess what some Belgium environmentalists are recycling now. But first up is…

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

MAMA: (Sneezes) Haaacheewww! It’s cold up in the northern hemisphere.

LEELA: Winter storms and, yes, actual blizzards swept across part of the US and most of Canada. Brrrrr.

MAMA: Yes, 2022 certainly went out with a blast…

LEELA: Of cold weather!

MAMA: And with cold weather comes…

LEELA: Cold and flus. Haaacheeewwww!

MAMA: It’s no fun at all getting sick, but there is some good and pretty big news on the cold and flu front.

LEELA: Like a real, pukka, scientific breakthrough about why we get them. And it’s just because you go out without a jacket on or with wet hair in the cold. Not entirely, anyway.

MAMA: Nor is it just that in winter we’re all inside and so more likely to breathe each other’s air and spread each other’s germs faster.

LEELA: Nope.

MAMA: A group of scientists may have found one of the major biological reasons we get more respiratory illnesses in winter as in illnesses that affect the lungs and other parts of the respiratory system.

LEELA: Turns out it’s COLD AIR itself that’s the problem!

MAMA: Yeah, it’s the cold air because it damages the immune system’s response to the noise. And you know what the immune system is, right?

LEELA: Yeah, like your body’s ability to protect you from germs and viruses and creepy stuff like that.

MAMA: Right – it’s the organs and other processes of the body that provide resistance to infection and toxins. So according to the study published a few weeks ago in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, reducing the temperature inside the nose by as little as 9 degrees Fahrenheit –

LEELA: That’s 5 degrees Celsius for all your metric system people!

MAMA: Thank you. Well, that colder air kills nearly half of the billions of virus and bacteria-fighting cells in the nostrils.

LEELA: Wait, what? Oh, right. I forgot for a second that our body has lots of GOOD bacteria and viruses, the ones that actually are like microscopic security guards fighting the BAD bacteria and viruses that try to enter the body.

MAMA: Exactly.

LEELA: So, the study shows that cold air kills off half of our biological security guards? Uh-oh!

MAMA: Uhh indeed, But, this study so far has just been done using human tissue but only in a lab. So… it’s still early days.

LEELA: Still – stay warm, people!

MAMA: Yes. But easier said than done for those poor folks stuck in winter storms all across the US and Canada.

LEELA: Many of you have experienced your coldest Christmas on record! Burrrr!

MAMA: Yes, it’s been super-super tough for thousands of people stuck in blizzards.

LEELA: Some even on Christmas Day.

MAMA: Yep and now they’re saying that millions of people are at risk of tornadoes, believe it or not, in the South as the winter storm threatens intense snow and dangerously icy conditions in the Midwest.

LEELA: Yikes. But… I believe this storm has brought out the best in people… Cue the sting, Mama.  

[SOURCE: https://www.jacionline.org/article/S0091-6749(22)01423-3/fulltext


KINDESS CORNER STING – VARIOUS VOICES: “Kindness corner. Cool. They did what? Seriously? What? How cool is that! No way! Cool.”

MAMA: Yes, the stories just keep pouring in of people’s kind, heroic and generous deeds. First shout out to Jay Withey in Buffalo, New York – which is in the northeast of the US, bordering Canada – who set out to help a friend trapped in the blizzard but got stranded himself, knocked on the doors of ten homes, seeking shelter for the night.

LEELA: Even offering $500 to sleep on the floor… but was refused!

MAMA: Two other stranded people approached him and gave him shelter in their truck. But then he saw a school and had an idea.

LEELA: No – he did not want to study! He broke a window and told his new friends to join him inside. But he didn’t stop there.

MAMA: nope, He went out into the storm finding more people in need of shelter.

LEELA: 24 total strangers, in fact! They survived for nearly two days including Xmas Day on apples, juice and granola bars. 

MAMA: Ah, it chokes me up about these kinds of stories! Also in Buffalo was the generous barber, Craig Elston, who saw the arctic storm getting worse and told his clients to stay put. He also welcomed those desperate for shelter. But he didn’t stop there.

LEELA: He went on social media and invited anyone in the area seeking shelter to come on over. Here’s a tissue, Mama.

MAMA: Oh, gosh, these stories really get me. And the McDonalds also in upstate New York

LEELA: On a street called Sweet Home Road, no less.

MAMA: That also ended up giving shelter –

LEELA: And Big Macs!

MAMA: To over 50 people over Christmas. And the ten South Korean tourists who spent Christmas with a New York family whose door they knocked on for seeking  help.

LEELA: And let’s not forget about the cat-lover who rescued a partially frozen kitten in Michigan.

MAMA: You know, the world is way more full of good than bad. We must never forget that.

LEELA: And in these cases, it takes heart-warming to a whole new level.

[SOURCE: https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/christmas-spirit-enfolds-korean-tourists-during-blizzard-after-they-knocked-on-this-guys-door/




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: The US House of Representatives is in chaos after failing to choose a new leader, called the Speaker of the House. This comes after the Republicans gained more seats than the Democrats in an election, meaning they get to choose the speaker. But, so far, the nominee Kevin McCarthy hasn’t got enough votes.  

And while it might be cold in so many parts of the US, in Europe temperatures have reached an all-time high. It’s 66 degrees F in Poland, which is usually covered in snow in winter. And in Spain it’s a balmy 77 degrees. 

Tens of thousands of people are in the Vatican to pay tribute to the former pope Benedict, who is lying in state, ahead of his funeral. The German led the Catholic Church for eight years before becoming the first pope in nearly 600 years to step down in 2013.

And scientists at the UK’s Natural History Museum revealed some of the new animal and plant species they uncovered in 2022, including frogs the size of a coin, 19 new species of stick insects and 84 beetles. Experts hope that by giving them scientific names, they can be better protected. 

LEELA: Thank you so much for that… whippity-whappity-zippity-zappity wrap of what’s making headlines elsewhere in the world, Mama!

MAMA: ah, I’ve missed that while we took a little break. You’re most welcome, Leela. And now for a rather nail-biting story coming out of Australia.

LEELA: You said it. Dozens of students in a public school in the big city of Sydney were banned from an end of year ceremony because… wait for it… they were wearing false fingernails! Long acrylic nails.

MAMA:  Which is against the school dress code that all the kids and their parents are well informed of. But… Seems a bit harsh that the girls were stopped from entering the hall for the final year 10 assembly.

LEELA: And put in two classrooms at the back of the school. Not just that either. None of these girls were mentioned in the ceremony. And a lot of them had awards to receive too.

MAMA: Many of the girls had their nails done for a big dance the week before and since there was another big function a few days later, they didn’t want to change them. Needless to say the kids AND their parents are not happy.

LEELA: And now nails are a hot or should I say brittle topic around the country.

MAMA: By the way, speaking of nails, did you know that acrylic nails were actually invented by a dentist?

LEELA: What?!

MAMA: Yep. In 1954. The dentist Fred Slack broke a nail and created an acrylic nail as a temporary replacement. He knew he was on to something, perfected the concoction and voila!

[SOURCE: https://9now.nine.com.au/today/sydney-school-bans-students-from-attending-graduation-over-fake-nails/19eb2ae2-7d8e-4bda-aea7-0b8ad4e6d399


LEELA: And finally, let’s see what the lucky dip machine has lined up for our final story today.

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: Oh, yes, this is not your normal story. At least not for the subject matter.

MAMA: Uhhh, OK.

LEELA: So you know how you go to a hair salon and there’s tons of, well, hair being swept up from the floor?

MAMA: Sure.

LEELA: Swept up and thrown away, because, yuck, who wants old hair?

MAMA: Yeah, totally.

LEELA: Well, the Hair Recycle project in Belgium does, actually.


LEELA: Yep, they’re staking out hair salons across the country and asking to bag up and take away those stray strands of hair.

MAMA: Why???

LEELA: Turns out human hair is pretty good at absorbing oil and other hydrocarbons polluting the environment.

MAMA: I did not know that.

LEELA: Neither did I! Well, they feed these locks and tresses into a machine that turns them into matted  kinda creepy looking squares that can be used for all sorts of things.

MAMA: Like? Please don’t say pillows.

LEELA: Yeah, goose down or feathers are fine, human hair: ick. These eco-warriors put human fluff to better use. These squares can be placed in drains to soak up pollution in the water before it reaches a river.

MAMA: Clever.

LEELA: Or they could just be turned into bags. You know, like jute bags, only…. made of us, not the jute plant.

MAMA: I guess matted into a thread, they wouldn’t look too creepy. But it could make shopping a, you know, hair-raising experience.

[SOURCE: https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/human-hair-recycled-belgium-protect-environment-2022-12-28/]

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 – Scientists at Stanford University School of Medicine in California may have found the biological reason we get more respiratory illnesses, which are what?

Illnesses that affect the lungs and other parts of the respiratory system.

LEELA: FAB FACT NUMBER 2 – Turns out it’s the cold air that causes a lot of colds – because it actually damages the immune response of the nose. And your immune system is the organs and other processes of the body providing WHAT to infection and toxins?


MAMA: FAB FACT NUMBER 3 – Winter storms grip the US and Canada this holiday season with many heart-warming tales of heroism and generosity coming out of upstate New York in particular. Where in the US is New York state?

In the Northeast, bordering Canada.

LEELA: FAB FACT NUMBER 4 – A school in Australia banned some students from attending an end-of-year event because of wearing acrylic nails. A guy called Robert Slack invented acrylic nails in 1954. What was his profession?


MAMA: FAB FACT NUMBER 5 – Human hair is being recycled in Belgium to help protect the environment because hair is very good at absorbing what?

Oil and polluting hydrocarbons

And don’t forget, if you want to test yourself later on, then go to the Lucky Dip page of our website,  newsypooloozi.com, and take this quiz online!

LEELA: And that almost brings us to the end of this episode of Newsy Pooloozi. But first I have to share a HUGE HIGHLIGHT of last year with everyone.

So most listeners probably know by now that I’m a BIG Taylor Swift fan, which means I’m also a fan of 13 – A Taylor Swift Fan Podcast. (Highly recommended for any Swifties, subscribe now!) Well, I had to write in and tell them what a fan of THEIR podcast I am and then this happened!!!


LEELA: OMG!!! MADE MY YEAR. Thank you, 13 – A Taylor Swift Fan Podcast!

MAMA: Seriously. You really made her day. And, mine too.

LEELA: Year, year. You made my year!!!


MAMA: If you enjoyed this dip in the pool of news and information then tap that subscribe button on whatever podcast platform you’re listening to us on. And, while you’re at it, why not tell a friend about us?

LEELA: Go on – spread the love of wacky world news! Alrighty then, we’ll you next week in the giant, happy, splashy Newsy Pooloozi!