Jun 2, 2021 Episode 49
Maldives floating city to combat rising seas, Russia and US race to get dramatic in space, cicada update (they stink!), snail snot soap
OPENING STING – LEELA: “New, new, newsy – Newsy Jacuzzi!”
LEELA: Hello and welcome to Newsy Jacuzzi – your whirlpool of news and information. I’m your host, Leela Sivasankar Prickitt. And joining me – as ever – is our big story explainer, sound engineer, researcher, writer and, yes, also my mama, Lyndee Prickitt.
MAMA: Hello – wow that’s a big list!
LEELA: Well, I could go on.
MAMA: Please don’t.
LEELA: Oh, okay. But only because we have a lot of news to get through today!
First up, we’ll have a special on-location report from the island nation, most at risk, of “falling off the map” because of climate change. Yes: the Maldives, which has a clever plan of building a floating city. But will it happen and will it work?
In a science and entertainment “mash-up,” find out how Russia plans to “get dramatic” up in space.
We’ll also have a rather colorful and kinda “icky” update on those cicadas, swarming over the eastern part of the United States.
And finally you’ll never believe what one French soap-maker’s secret, slimy ingredient is!
But first it’s time for…
BIG NEWS STORY STING – VARIOUS VOICES: “The big news story of the week!”
MAMA: So we know that the climate is changing and the planet is getting warmer.
LEELA: Ice caps and glaciers are melting and oceans are rising.
MAMA: And, over the next century, this is going to affect 40% of the world who live within 100 kilometres of a coast.
LEELA: Forty percent? That’s almost half the world!
MAMA: I know. And it’s the low lying places that will feel it the most, especially archipelagoes and atolls.
LEELA: Uhh, come again?
MAMA: You know, archipelago is a super fancy word for a big group of islands. And there’s a special type of archipelago called an atoll, which is a ring-shaped set of islands or coral reefs. And do you know why it’s ring-shaped?
LEELA: Oh, I know this! Because underneath is a volcano that erupted millionnnnns of years ago and the ring is what remains.
MAMA: Bingo. And there are a couple archipelago nations made up of nothing but these islands and atolls, making them really low-lying places on earth, so super vulnerable to the swelling ocean.
LEELA: You mean, the Maldives – otherwise known as paradise!
MAMA: Correct, the Maldivian islands are some of the most beautiful places on earth.
LEELA: With white sand and water, so calm and clear, you could practically read a book underwater.
MAMA: Totally. I mean, if you had, you know, a waterproof book.
LEELA: Yeah, there is that.
MAMA: But if global warming continues, then many Maldivian islands could be covered by water.
MAMA: And, by the way, did you know the Maldives archipelago consists of 1190 tiny islands scattered across the Indian Ocean, 185 of which are inhabited.
MAMA: Well, various plans are underway to try and bolster – or support – the nation islands. But there’s another idea.
LEELA: Oh, you mean that crazy-cool notion of building floating cities?!
MAMA: You got it. But this isn’t the first time big ideas have been “floated.” That’s why we want to –
LEELA: What, “dive deeper” into this story?
MAMA: (laughs) You got it. That’s why we’ve commissioned this special report from paradise.
LEELA: That would be Shaiba Jamsheed then. Take it away, Shaiba!
SHAIBA: Thanks, Leela!
Welcome to paradise!
Unfortunately we pay a high price for our natural beauty.
Because most of my country – eighty percent in fact – is less than a metre above sea level!
That makes us extremely vulnerable to severe weather, especially nasty storm surges, but also to the swelling sea.
Which is happening more and more every year.
The government predicts we could lose entire islands because of climate change and rising sea water.
In 2014, more than 100 of the our inhabited islands were already showing early signs of erosion.
And around 30 islands where showing severe signs of erosion.
Did you know that one of our former presidents even held a cabinet meeting underwater to draw attention to this problem?
Over the years there’ve been lots of suggestions – like building sea walls – but not often the money to make it happen.
Well, now the government says plans are underway for the world’s first floating island city!
And we have help too – from Dutch Docklands, a company famous for making buildings that float, based in that other low-lying country, the Netherlands.
Here are the details:
The new city will be constructed on about three-quarters of a square mile, in an atoll lagoon near the capital.
There’ll be about a thousand homes to begin with, plus shops, restaurants, a school and hospital, which will be in the middle of the atoll and anchored to the surrounding islands.
That should help protect it from high tides.
The neatest thing is the design – everything will be arranged in a hexagonal rows, kinda like the shape of coral reef.
How cool is that?
But the big question here is, when will construction begin?
And – can I move in, please?!
I’m Shaibha Jamsheed in Male, the capital of the Maldives, reporting for Newsy Jacuzzi!
LEELA: So now we have a story that’s a little bit of this:
SCIENCE STING – LEELA: “The world of wow, wow, wow… In other words – science!”
LEELA: And – strangely – a little bit of this:
ACE STING – LEELA/MAMA: “Now it’s the ace part of our podcast: Arts, Culture and Entertainment. Darling.”
LEELA: You got it. This is a story where art meets science. Up in space, to be precise.
MAMA: Oh, OK.
LEELA: Get this, Russia is about to shoot a movie IN SPACE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
SFX SCIFI MUSIC
MAMA: Whoa, you mean not like “on a set” that LOOKS like space?
LEELA: Nope, according to Russia’s Roscosmos space agency, it’s actually going to be on the International Space Station! Which, as I’m sure most of our listeners know, orbits our Earth 220 miles out in space.
MAMA: Astronauts are going to be actors IN space? Talk about moonlighting!
LEELA: No – real actors are going to go to space not astronauts acting like actors. And, by the way, astronauts in Russia are called cosmonauts, in case you didn’t know.
MAMA: But, what if they don’t know anything about space?
LEELA: Well, they’ve already chosen the two actors, camera director and overall director who are
going to be extensively trained. They’re about to start training flights on a zero-gravity plane and undergo parachute training, amongst other things.
No fair – I wish I could go on a zero-gravity plane.
Anyway, they’ve also already titled the movie, which is going to be called Challenge. And the first bit of filming will happen as early as October.
MAMA: Whoa, so this is going to happen before that “Space Hero” reality TV show that the US company
Axiom Space is hoping to produce in 2023, which we reported on in February?
LEELA: Right. Axiom have also teamed up with the Discovery Channel for a series they’re calling the, “Who Wants To Be An Astronaut.” But while Axiom have signed a Space Act Agreement with NASA, it’s not clear if any of the winners will actually get to go up into space or just be trained for the mission.
MAMA: Huh, OK. But anyway, it still sounds like a new space race is brewing – which country will be first to put TV stars in space, Russia or America?!
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: Cyber criminals attack again! The world’s largest meat processing company, JBS, is the target of another ransom-ware attack. The hacked computer networks caused some operations in Australia, Canada and the US to shut down for a short time. And, yes, this could lead to temporary meat shortages and price hikes.
Variations of the nasty coronavirus get a name change. To avoid the stigma of one country being associated with a mutation and since the official scientific names, like B.1.351, 20H/501Y.V2, is a bit of a mouthful for the rest of us, the World Health Organization has said it’ll use the Greek Alphabet instead, as in Alpha-beta-gamma-delta, etcetera.
Big news in China. Their famous one-child-policy – which for decades meant couples were only allowed to have one baby per family – has been extended again. In 2016 China allowed couples to have two babies and now they’ve said, why not have three! This comes as the Asian giant is worried soon there’ll be more older people but not enough younger people around to help look after them.
An 11-year-old girl and her father swim five nautical miles after their yacht was overturned in suddenly stormy seas off the coast of Australia. The girl had a broken leg, but she powered on. And don’t forget – it’s winter down-under, so it’s cold water too. After four and a half hours they weren’t far from the shore when they were rescued. Phew!
LEELA: Thanks a lot for that… zippity-zappity-whippity-bappity wrap of world news. Whew! Now I believe we have an update on our big cicada story from four weeks ago. Play the sting, Mama.
TOP-UP TIME STING – VARIOUS VOICES: ”Go on give me a top up, please? It’s top-up time. Top-up time! Top-up time! Top-up time! Top-up time! Top-up time! Now? Yeah, now. It’s top-up time.”
MAMA: Yes, Periodical Brood X Cicadas have arrived.
LEELA: The noisy insects spend most of their life underground, sucking sap from the roots of trees.
MAMA: Then after 17 years –
LEELA: Which is now!
MAMA: They crawl up through holes to spend the last six weeks of their life, flying around – on a mission to mate.
LEELA: And they don’t only make a racket – they make a mess and I believe they’re pretty stinky too! As our Maryland correspondents, Andy and Alina Tidwell are about to tell us.
ANDY: Well, Leela. The funny thing is they don’t have much of a smell, but, when they shed their skins and die, they really start to stink up the place. Sometimes it smells like a dead animal, in our yard
LEELA: Oh, gross! I didn’t realize they smelled so much. But I guess a lot of dead bugs would start to stink! Alina, can you describe what they look like?
ALINA: When they first climb out of the ground, they are ugly brown bugs without wings. Then they climb up on something quite tall, like grass or trees. And then they start breaking out of their skins. They look really white, at first, and then they turn black with red eyes and a mix of black, yellow and clear gray wings.
ANDY:. The pee droplets are unbearable.
LEELA: Uhhhh, wait a minute! Did you MEAN pee droplets as in urine?
ANDY: Yep. I sure do. When you walk under a tree it can feel like mist falling, it’s like rain, that’s how bad it is. There are thousands of cicadas in just my little yard. There are so many that I have to keep my eyes peeled so I don’t step on them. My dog thinks they are the tastiest treats. We can’t keep her happy inside the house, she only wants to be outside gobbling up cicadas. I think cicadas are really cool, but I wouldn’t want to eat them! There is a chocolate covered cicada shop, not far from my place. Eating them sounds gross and disgusting, like something for dogs and not humans.
ALINA: At first, I wasn’t so sure about the cicadas, but now I really like them. I like to hold them and snuggle them. Sometimes they tickle me, when I hold them. I think cicadas are really cool!
LEELA: Uhhhhh – well, I’m glad, Alinea, you’ve bonded with these bugs! All I can say is, it’s probably a good thing I’m in New Delhi. Thanks a lot, you guys!
MAMA: Yeah, that was an awesome update. Thanks! And as we said earlier, it was our big story in Episode 45, four weeks ago, so if you want to know more – go back and have a listen to that.
LEELA: You can find all our episodes on our website, which is newsyjacuzzi.com
LEELA: And finally… let’s head over the lucky dip machine and see what it has in store for us.
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 you’ll never guess what a French cosmetic maker is putting in soap, as a special ingredient to make skin shine and – well, for you older folks, look younger. Any guesses?
LEELA: Something that contains molecules of the proteins collagen and elastin, which have anti-aging and skin-healing properties. Apparently.
MAMA: OK, I got it, milk from a donkey!
LEELA: Uhhh, no. Something that glistens. Well, you could say.
MAMA: Oh, ummmmm….
LEELA: In a sort of slimy way.
MAMA: Ewww…. Oh, wait! I know. Whale blubber!
LEELA: Getting closer in terms of the texture, but no.
MAMA: Oh, I don’t know!
LEELA: Alrighty then – cue the music, Mama.
LEELA: No, I think we need something slower.
LEELA: Nope, probably even slower.
MUSIC SLOWER STILL
LEELA: And slowwwwer.
MUSIC SLOWER STILL
LEELA: Yes, that’s the right pace. Snail pace, to be exact.
MAMA: Oh! Soap made with snail snot?
LEELA: Snail mucus is the term we’re going with, Mama. Although it’s uncommon in Western cosmetics, snail mucus has become a more common ingredient elsewhere, like in Korean beauty products. It’s thought to have “anti-aging properties,” thanks to the molecules of collagen and elastin. Aside from that, snails also use their slime to repair their shells when damaged. So imagine what it can do for our skin!
At least that’s what the former computer technician, Damien Desrocher thinks.
And HOW he gets this mucus is even, well, slimier!
MAMA: Oh, no.
LEELA: Oh, yes. Afraid so. The 28-year-old soap-maker has to lightly rub or, in fact he says, “tickle,” the slippery suckers to get them to produce slime bubbles. Yuck or what?
LEELA: And, get this, a single snail only yields about 2 grams – that’s just a quarter of a teaspoon – of slime.
Meaning, when he makes a batch of 15 bars of soap – he’s gotta get the slime from 40 snails!
And as he aims to produce 3,000 snail-slime soap bars a year – it’s no wonder he keeps sixty-thousand snails in his backyard. Yiiiick.
LEELA: And by the way, you may or may not know that the French also like to eat snails.
MAMA: I do indeed know that. I’ve tried some myself.
LEELA: Oh! I didn’t know that. Were they good?
MAMA: Ehhh – not my thing. But I did eat them at an English pub’s French night, so maybe it wasn’t the best preparation.
LEELA: I see. Well, do you know WHY the French like eating snails?
LEELA: Because they don’t like fast food!
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 – The Maldives archipelago is one of the country’s most at risk from the rising sea levels brought on by climate change. But what is an archipelago?
It’s the super fancy word for a big group of islands.
LEELA: FAB FACT NUMBER 2 – And there’s a special type of archipelago, which is a set of islands or coral reefs, shaped in a ring. What’s that called?
MAMA: FAB FACT NUMBER 3 – And how many tiny islands make up the Maldives archipelago?
There are 1190 tiny islands scattered across the Indian Ocean, but only 185 of which are inhabited.
LEELA: FAB FACT NUMBER 4 – After 17 years of sucking tree sap underground, swarms of noisy insects, called cicadas, have emerged in the eastern states of America. What’s their full name?
Periodical Brood X Cicadas.
MAMA: FAB FACT NUMBER 5 – The slime from snails is being used by a French soap-maker, because snail mucus contains what proteins that are said to have anti-aging and skin-healing properties?
The proteins collagen and elastin.
And don’t forget, if you want to test yourself later on, then go to the Lucky Dip page of our website, newsyjacuzzi.com, and take this quiz online!
LEELA: And that almost brings us to the end of this episode of Newsy Jacuzzi!!!!! But I believe we have a shout-out?!
MAMA: We do, indeed. We got a lovely little note to our website from Caleb Gutierrez, who wrote to say he really likes our podcast.
LEELA: Thank you, Caleb!
MAMA: And – he’s even suggested a story idea – bees are dying at an alarming rate. And, you won’t believe the knock-on-effect that has on our ecosystem. I think we need to cover that, don’t you?
LEELA: Oh, totally. Great idea, Caleb. Thanks!
MAMA: And if anyone else has any stories they think we should be covering – we’re totally open to ideas, especially if we know it’s something YOU want to know more about. So…
LEELA: Drop an email to email@example.com or visit our website newsyjacuzz.com or leave us a note on social media – @newsyjacuzzi.
Okie doke – that’s it folks! See you next week in the Newsy Jacuzzi!