May 26, 2021 Episode 48
US openly investigate UFOs, burger journey sums up humanity, online drama workshops all the rage, crazy croquet word dispute
OPENING STING – LEELA: “New, new, newsy – Newsy Jacuzzi!”
LEELA: Hello and happy international burger day – on Friday, that is – boy do we have a mouthful for you on this week’s Newsy Jacuzzi.
I’m your host Leela Sivasankar Prickitt and I’m joined by the big story explainer, who I sometimes also call “mama.”
MAMA: Hello, hello.
LEELA: Speaking of hello – is anybody out there? Beep-beep-beep, hello, my extraterrestrial friends!
It’s official, the US government finally, openly recognizes the need to research unidentified flying objects, which, by the way, go by a different name these days. We’ll tell you all.
If aliens make it to earth, I think they should have a juicy burger – a dish that we think sums up earthlings pretty well.
MAYBE LATER: Scientists in Finland discover a better way to make batteries for electric vehicles.
What’s all the drama about? We’ll hear about the dramatic pandemic craze that’s taken off from Holland to India.
And, You say tomato, I say tomahto. What happens when two towns share the same river but pronounce it differently? They battle it out, of course.
But first it’s time for…
BIG NEWS STORY STING – VARIOUS VOICES: “The big news story of the week!”
LEELA: The US government has finally agreed to look into UFOs, which are in our skies!
LEELA: Well, it’s true in the real sense of the term: unidentified flying objects. “Unidentified” just means we don’t know what they are, right?
MAMA: OK. That’s true. Although you know the phrase has changed now, right?
LEELA: Yep – “UFO” was sooo last century.
MAMA: So are “flying saucers.”
LEELA: Oh, yeah! Exit flying saucers and UFO and enter:
SFX OF WHOOSH
LEELA: UAP – as in an “unidentified aerial phenomena.”
SFX OF METEOR WHOOSH
MAMA: That’s right. That’s what the US government wants to call it now. And phenomena means?
LEELA: Remarkable things that don’t always have a clear explanation. So just because we call it a UAP doesn’t necessarily mean it’s an…
SFX SCI-FI NOISES
LEELA: Extra-terrestrial being, otherwise known as alien! Though it could be!
MAMA: It could be. But while UFOs, now UAPs, are often assumed to be “aliens” – especially in pop culture, they’re really just –as you said – any flying object that can’t be classified as a known aircraft. So they could be new technology and-or spy-craft from foreign countries or maybe even an optical illusion.
LEELA: No fun.
MAMA: I’m just saying. We don’t know.
LEELA: But several US Navy pilots say they’ve seen the same thing flying in the sky repeatedly. So it could be visitors from another world.
MAMA: Could be. Look, there’s no denying that whatever they are the US government is now – openly – taking them seriously. See, interest in UFO sightings by the military, which is in charge of national security, that isn’t new. But it’s always been secret.
LEELA: What’s called “classified information.” As in unavailable to the general public.
MAMA: Exactly. Then in April last year the US Department of Defense openly released three videos showing what it described as UAPS seen and filmed by some of its Navy fighter pilots. They were unusually shaped objects that flew at high speeds, often moving around in ways that baffled aeronautic experts and had no visible propulsion or propellers keeping it up.
LEELA: But that’s not all, right?
MAMA: Right. Two of the pilots said that as their jets approached the mysterious object to take a closer look, it began to mirror their jet’s movements. Then, when the pilot got to within a half-mile of the UAP, it suddenly vanished.
LEELA: That’s gotta be aliens!
MAMA: Well, these Navy videos that defy explanation have certainly sparked some questions and concern – whether the sightings are the from foreign spies or –
MAMA: Yes, either way the government should know. So in December, US senators asked the Department of Defense to investigate the UAPs and deliver an unclassified report – that means open to the public – to Congress within six months, which is almost up..
LEELA: So the report is due sometime in June?
MAMA: That’s right.
LEELA: I can’t wait…!
MAMA: You and a lot of other people.
SFX OF SPACE NOISES
LEELA: Well, if ever any aliens do make it to Earth – and make their visit known – then I know just what to give them as a show of humanity.
SFX OF FRYING
MAMA: Should I get the ketchup?
LEELA: Yes, please. And some tomatoes. But hold the mustard and onions for me.
MAMA: What are we talking about?
BOTH: International Burger Day, of course!
MAMA: But more than a designated day, we want to take a look at the burger – past, present and future – because we think it says a lot about humanity’s evolution.
LEELA: Where we came from and where we’re going.
MAMA: First, the past. In case you didn’t know, the exact story of the burger is a bit unclear and disputed.
LEELA: Because everyone wants a bite (get it?)!
MAMA: So people have been eating cooked meat on bread for centuries. And the German city of Hamburg was known for its meats. Well, a lot of Germans immigrated to the US in the 19th century, taking their cuisine with them. So restaurants started to offer “Hamburg Style” chopped-steak. Around the same time ground beef was taking off too.
LEELA: What we call keema in India.
MAMA: Or minced meat in Britain, yeah. This was spurred on by new, small meat grinders being produced and sold. But it’s the introduction of the bun that’s disputed. Lunch wagons and roadside restaurants in Texas, Connecticut, New York, Ohio and Wisconsin have all claimed to serve up the first burger on a bun.
LEELA: That’s a lot of different states.
MAMA: Luckily, there is clear documentation that the burger as we know it was on the menu in 1904 at the St. Louis World’s Fair, introducing millions of Americans to new foods, including – by the way – waffle ice cream cones, cotton candy and iced tea.
LEELA: Oh! What I wouldn’t do for some cotton candy.
MAMA: I hear ya. Then it was American fast-food chain White Castle in Kansas in 1921 that set the burger on its mass path.
LEELA: Not McDonalds?! The chain that sells – did you know – 75 hamburgers every second?
MAMA: Nope – that didn’t open till 1948. But, it’s an important part of the story because its national and then global success has meant the humble sandwich burger is now available in just about every country on earth.
LEELA: Not India!
MAMA: Well, yes and no. The beef burger isn’t available at McDonald’s or Burger King here, because the cow is considered a sacred animal to many Hindus. But that’s what I think is so fascinating about the burger. It’s flexible.
LEELA: Oh, you mean there’s the chicken burger, lamb burger and even the veggie burger – like a veg patty or halloumi cheese instead of meat?
MAMA: Bingo! See the burger shows how people and customs have moved all over the earth, but with each move comes a fusion, or a mix, of cultures.
LEELA: OK, that’s the past and the present. What’s the burger’s future?
MAMA: Well, it’s humanity’s future, you could say. Food made in a lab.
LEELA: Ahhh, you’re talking “in-vitro” meat because it’s made in a test-tube in a lab.
MAMA: Because keeping enough animals and land and water needed to produce the meat the world wants to eat isn’t really possible. Let’s hear from our Boston correspondent, Ari Kelly, who took a bite out of the lab meat story for a food episode on his own podcast At Your Level.
ARI: “Lots of scientists… …I think in vitro meat is the way to go.”
LEELA: Thanks, Ari.
MAMA: He’s onto something. Growing real meat in bioreactors is a booming industry with investment growing six times in the last year with dozens of new companies starting. And a study that shows 80% of people in the UK and US are open to eating meat produced in a factory rather than a field.
LEELA: I hear what you’re saying, though I might just stick with my halloumi burger for now.
MAMA: OK, but, again, see how the burger adapts? It’s a dish that says a lot about our civilization.
LEELA: And it’s yummy – so I think aliens might like it for that too.
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: Powerful aftershocks from a recently erupted volcano are rocking the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), in central Africa. The eruption has killed over 30 people and displaced hundreds of families.
The online shopping giant, Amazon, is being sued by Washington DC. The lawsuit accuses Amazon of charging third-party sellers on its site fees of up to 40% of a product’s price, as well as stopping them from charging less on other platforms.
French study shows dogs were able to detect the presence of the coronavirus in humans with 97% accuracy. Of course we knew this when we covered the story of dogs in Finland being used at airports for this very reason. Still, expect to see more canines screening for the virus in crowded places.
As Japan struggles with a new outbreak of the virus, with just two percent of its population vaccinated, the US has issued a warning against travel to the Asian nation despite the upcoming Olympics. But the games will go on, according to organizers.
And “wonder woman,” I mean, gymnast Simone Biles breaks another flipping record. The new move is called The Yurchenko double pike, which saw Biles sprint before doing a roundoff onto a springboard, then a back-handspring onto the vault so fast that she shifts into a double backflip before landing on her feet. As you do.
LEELA: Thanks indeed for that 80 second trip – or there abouts – around the world to see what’s making the headlines. Now, for some drama-rama.
ACE STING – LEELA/MAMA: “Now it’s the ace part of our podcast: Arts, Culture and Entertainment. Darling.”
MAMA: So we’ve been talking a lot about the ways people have been keeping themselves entertained, during the pandemic.
LEELA: Despite being stuck at home. Which we still are here in India, by the way.
MAMA: Which is why I signed you up for…
LEELA: An online theatre workshop, waaahooo!
MAMA: Yep – it’s become a thing. I know there are online workshops for just about everything now, but theatre workshops are proving to be one of the most successful trends.
LEELA: For those dramatically inclined dahlings.
MAMA: Of which there are plenty. Because if you don’t have a stage – there’s always the small screen.
LEELA: Yeah, you can “zoom into character” – get it?
MAMA: And one of the coolest aspects is how international it can be. Since you’re not relying on being on a stage, your drama troupe –
LEELA: Troupe is a group of performers. It’s French. In case you didn’t know.
MAMA: Thank you. Your drama troupe can be all over the world.
LEELA: Which is why we’re going to hear from a Netherlands drama troupe, called Theater4Kids, who run international workshops for kids all over the world.
KIDS: (NOT TRANSCRIBED)
LEELA: Thanks so much you guys! I can’t wait for my online drama troupe to debut its play!
MAMA: And we’ll put a link to this fab dramarama workshop, called Theatre4Kids @kidsoftheatre up on our Facebook page, in our transcript and on our website.
And finally… let’s see what our lucky dip machine has for us – to end the show this week.
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, yeah – this is really an oddball, trust me. So earlier we were speaking of burgers and tomatoes. I say tomato, you say:
LEELA: I say methane gas, you say:
LEELA: Rebels and:
LEELA: But what about when mispronunciations –
MAMA: Pronunciations. Corelary-corollary. Panoply-panoply.
MAMA: Sorry – I’m an American who’s lived in England and now India, I have a looong list. You collect Legos, I collect word disputes.
LEELA: Right… Anyway! What about when such disputes take place between people who live along the same river, which they insist on pronouncing differently?
MAMA: Oh, that’s gotta be the United Kingdom, the land of one language and dozens of different dialects, or accents.
LEELA: You got it!
Cue the music, Mama.
In the middle of fair England is an idyllic river that winds its way from the pretty city of Peterborough to the city of Northampton.
They are not even 50 miles apart and yet…
Peterborough calls it the River “Neen” and Northampton calls it the River “Nen.”
It’s spelt N-e-n-e, by the way.
SOUNDBITE OF LOCALS (not transcribed)
You would think it was a minor disagreement.
After centuries, they finally decided to battle it out.
In a vicious, brutal way: a match of… croquet.
Yes, as in that old-fashioned, cute little game, most famously played by Alice in Wonderland.
Oh, aren’t the English so quaint?
But, really, it was agreed that the winner of the game – that would be Northampton – gets to have the river called its way for the next year.
So, out with Neen, let flow the River Nen.
And, by the way, it turns out this battle wasn’t really about the river at all, but a way to inspire more of us to play… croquet!
But, only, as long as you pronounce it the right way!
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 US government has finally agreed to look into UFOs, unidentified flying objects. But the preferred term by the US military now is “unidentified aerial phenomena” or UAP. But what exactly does phenomena mean?
Phenomena are remarkable things that don’t always have a clear explanation.
LEELA: FAB FACT NUMBER 2 – The US government has unclassified Navy videos that show UAPs and an investigation is underway, which will be delivered to the US Senate. What does it mean to be unclassified?
“Classified information” is top-secret – unavailable to the general public. When information is “unclassified” it’s open to the public.
MAMA: FAB FACT NUMBER 3 – It’s International Hamburger Day this week – but where was the hamburger as we know it said to have come from?
While “hamburger style” chopped meat is said to have come from the German city of Hamburg, it is in the US where the burger found its buns, though exactly which city is in dispute.
LEELA: FAB FACT NUMBER 4 – There is clear documentation that the burger as we know it was on the menu in 1904 at the St. Louis World’s Fair. What other foods were introduced to millions of Americans there?
Waffle ice cream cones, iced tea and cotton candy. Yu-mmmmmy!
MAMA: FAB FACT NUMBER 5 – Online drama workshops have really taken off in the pandemic, which means that drama troupes can be based all over the world. What is a troupe again?
Troupe is a group of performers. It’s French. In case you didn’t know.
LEELA: And that almost brings us to the end of this episode of Newsy Jacuzzi!!!!!
MAMA: But – we want to say a big thank you to the digital magazine called “Best Startup UK” for including us in their list of the “20 Best British News Podcasts of 2021.”
LEELA: So cool!
MAMA: As ever, we’ll put a link to this on our Facebook page and website.
LEELA: Yeah, and don’t forget to check our website out! And did you know that anyone can go on our website on the Contact Us page and leave us a message right then and there.
MAMA: Yep. And we know there are some kids who listen thanks to their teachers – and you’re not allowed to use your school email IDs, so try putting in your parents. Don’t worry – we won’t send them any junk mail, promise!
If you enjoyed this dip…. in the whirlpool of news and information… then do subscribe to our podcast on… Apple Podcast, Stitcher, Spotify, Alexa or wherever you get your podcasts.
And don’t forget to tell a friend about the whirlpool of news and information – imagine the conversations you’ll have about pronouncing words correctly!
Alrighty then – we’ll see you next week in the Newsy Jacuzzi!