April 19, 2021

Olympics, Oscars, and Outside


Episode 23 of Thank The Week for 19 April 2021.
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Transcript
Announcer:

Thank The Week. With your host, Craig Williamson.

Craig Williamson:

Hello, and welcome to Thank The Week, the positive news podcast. This is Episode 23 for the week of the 19th of April 2021. What's coming up? Well, we've got some lovely science and how it can help improve the world. We've got a look forward to the Olympics in Tokyo this year, got a new laptop to talk about, and an apple event that's coming up this week. I've got some very sophisticated testing notes for you. I've bought a new gadget, and I'm going to tell you about. And I'm going to tell you a little bit about some of the trips I've been on this week. And we'll also have a guest appearance by Catrina Parker from the Quirky Pop Podcast. So let's get started.

Announcer:

News

Craig Williamson:

Exciting news this week about the whitest ever paint. Now, you might be wondering, why should you get excited about that? Well, a professor from Purdue University in the US has invented a pen that has 98% reflectivity. And the idea is that if you can paint a lot of roofs with this in very hot countries, then it bounces more light away from those buildings, meaning that they heat up less quickly. And therefore you use less air conditioning. So that is a really positive thing for climate change. Because we were going to be using less energy and power to cool our homes if things are cooled with a white pen like this. So I think they beat their previous record, I think they had that about 96%. So this is quite an important step forward. A couple of percent improvement doesn't sound much, but it does make a big, big difference. Now this paint, they say is actually using pigments that are similar to those used in normal pen. So it uses something called barium sulphate. And that can help to reflect a lot of sunlight and their whole hope that it could be mass produced, so that it could be used extensively around the world. So that's some good news. If you like watching paint dry. Now I have a couple of interesting competitions to talk to you about. Previously, you might remember places like NASA run these big competitions to try and reduce the cost of landing people on the moon, for example, or sending people into space. Well, there are a couple that are interesting, I think one's perhaps a bit more immediately useful than another. So this first one is a US government run competition. And there's half a million dollars at stake here, if you can design a less annoying face mask. So what they're looking for is new, innovative designs for first masks to help protect people, obviously, face masks are everywhere, due to the COVID pandemic, but the designs haven't really advanced that much. So what they've done is set up the mask Innovation Challenge to try and get people to think outside of the box and come up with some completely new ideas for how to design a face mask. And it's going to be in two phases. So the first one is about design. So it could either be a redesign of an existing Master's op mask or something completely new. And there are going to be up to 10 winners each receiving $10,000. And then there's a second phase, which is a proof of concept phase. So people actually produce a brand new mask design, and they submit actual prototypes for testing. And up to five winners will split a prize pool of 400,000 pounds. So this has been organised by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health in the US. And yeah, I think it's just a really good idea to foster innovation and get people thinking about how masks can be more comfortable and more effective at their job. And obviously, I think there might be around for a bit longer. So looking forward to seeing what comes out of that one. The next competition is a little bit more niche, if you like. So this is about making human flying machines. And there is a competition to build a human propelled flying machine that will cross the English Channel. So it will go from England to France. And it will only be powered by humans. So there was actually a crossing, I think it was a California who crossed the channel back in 1979. So think about something with huge wings, a big propeller on the front, and someone frantically cycling to turn that propeller as fast as they can, so that they don't drop out of the sky. And I think that particular successful attempt back in 1979 took almost three hours. So quite a significant amount of time to be rapidly pedalling your legs to try and get that across. But there's a new competition. And there are already several teams entered. There's one from Wiltshire in the UK and warm from Bordeaux University, apparently, according to the telegraph this week, and the price does not seem that significant. So when you think what you can earn for designing a new little first mask, if you actually managed to complete the crossing in the fastest time you win 50,000 pounds, that's not huge is it? And 10,000 goes to the second fastest and 5000 to the fastest female pilot as well. So that's quite an interesting challenge that's going to take place later this year. You might want to take part if you've got a good idea for a flying machine then have a look at the article, I'll put a link to it in the show notes at thank the week.com slash 23 COVID vaccine rollout continues to progress fast here in the UK and also in the US in the UK all over 50s have now been offered their first doors, which means that we've now moved on to offering them to those in their 40s. Now I am in my 40s. And I was a little disappointed actually because they started rolling out to people in their late 40s. So people 45 or over. And it was quite interesting, because I found myself genuinely disappointed that I wasn't included in that I'd heard it was going to roll out to people in their 40s I was kind of hoping it would be everyone in their 40s. But they've done it in two little trenches. So the first one is 45 or over, which I'm not part of, but I will be part of the next group. So I am actually looking forward to getting my first vaccine. And I'm sure you will hear all about it. And hopefully, how I took it very bravely, and didn't cry and didn't pass out. And all the rest of it. But yeah, really good news, vaccines getting down and down through the age groups

Announcer:

Sport

Craig Williamson:

It's not long now till the Tokyo Olympics. And it's just under now 100 days, they celebrated the 100 day countdown last week, and he still being called Tokyo 2020 Olympics, even though it's in 2021. We're going to have this with several events this year. I think it's happening with the European football championships as well, they're still going to be called euro 2020. I guess people have printed a lot of materials done a lot of design. And perhaps that would just be a bit too expensive and cumbersome to change, but we'll forgive them for that. So the countdown is bigger than the Olympics have their opening ceremony on July the 23rd, which is a Friday. And then their closing ceremony just over two weeks later, on Sunday, the eighth of August and a tonne of sports to look forward to. You've got the traditional kind of football, basketball, baseball, softball, but then it's the other ones that are a bit more unusual, like artistic swimming, perhaps or perhaps BMX racing. Things like the modern pentathlon, we've got rhythmic gymnastics, trampoline, gymnastics, Water Polo, even sort of a whole range of sports that suddenly we can get really worked up about, especially if there's someone from our country who's doing well, there's nothing better than cheering someone on from your own country who's doing well in a sport that you've not really heard about. But Sunday, you take a really keen interest in so really excited for the Olympics. They're gonna hopefully have some fans in the stadium, although not foreign fans. So if you don't live in Japan, it's not time to be booking any travel to Japan, unfortunately for the Tokyo games, but yeah, something to look forward to. There's going to be so much great sport to look forward to this summer. So start getting excited for that. And for adrenaline fueled sport, you know, I'd like to mention a little bit about snooker. Well, the world snooker championship has begun. We've got just under two weeks left now it started last weekend. And I think the great thing for me is I just literally watched the first session start. I'm recording this on Saturday. And there are fans in the crucible Theatre in Sheffield here in England. And I believe that's the first fans we've had in any sporting event for some considerable time. So it's just fantastic to be able to see that changing. I think they're using the snooker championships as a bit of a test case. So people are having tests before and afterwards. And they're keeping very closely monitored, just to make sure that there's no COVID outbreaks, but they're starting at 33% capacity. And the intention is in just under two weeks time that there's going to be 100% capacity, so they're going to try and fill the stadium for the final which will be really incredible to see people packed in to a stadium as before, so yeah, looking forward to seeing fans get back to all sporting events over the coming months. In football last week, we had the conclusion of the quarterfinals of the Champions League and the Europa League, and the semi finals are now all set. So in the Champions League, the first semi final will be Paris Saint Germain against man city, and the second will be Real Madrid against Chelsea, and the first legs of those take place on Tuesday, the 27th of April and Wednesday, the 28th of April. And in the Europa League, we have Villareal playing Arsenal in the semi final and the other one is man united against Roma. So nice to see British clubs in both semifinals of the Europa League and the Champions League and the Europa League games. The first legs take place on Thursday, the 29th of April. coming up this week. We have a smattering of Premier League football throughout the week, but I'm going to focus on Sunday that Sunday the 25th of April because it is the first major silverware that's up for grabs. It is the EFL Cup here in the UK, and it is taking place on that Sunday between Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur. So tune into that on Sunday for some real silverware. And yeah, I think that should be a great game. Jose Mourinho for Tottenham under quite a bit of pressure at the moment so really a lot riding on them winning a trophy this season. So look forward to that on Sunday

Announcer:

Tech

Craig Williamson:

Last week, Microsoft announced their new laptop, it's the surface laptop for and as you can guess, is the fourth version of their surface laptop. And I do like the surface laptops I've never had one was kind of fancied one because they just look so sleek. And they've actually got material on the keyboard and the rest rest, which is just really unusual. There's not many people doing that they use an L cantera. fabric. And it just gives a real premium quality feel to the laptops, they do tend to be quite expensive. And these new ones are no exception. And I believe these are a fairly minor upgrade from the surface laptop three, they've just got new processors, so they now do have an AMD processor option. Or you can have the Intel 11th Gen processors as well, they have already started shipping. And the prices start in the US at $999 for the AMD version, and $1,299 for the Intel version. And these do come in 13.5 and 15 inch varieties. So that's the new surface laptop for which is now available. If you like Apple tech, and maybe you have an iPhone, then you might be interested in the event that's coming up this week. So Apple have announced they have a spring loaded event, which is going to happen on Tuesday, April the 20th. They never release any information on what's going to be released in the events, they just announced the events, get everyone all worked up. And then we have to guess what's coming. So if I was to guess what's coming, and when I say I mean, the articles I've read on the internet, essentially, I think we're looking at an upgrade to the iPad Pro line, probably a fairly minor upgrades from what I can hear, there may be a new display technology called mini led coming to the larger iPad Pro, and possibly 5g as well so that you can use that out and about with the fastest possible speed. So look out for potential new iPad pros. Also some talk of the air tags, which are something a bit like the title tags that you may have heard of, they're effectively things that you can attach to your key ring. And you can use them to track items or to keep yourself from losing items. So there's an associated app that you would open and it would show you where all your little tiles are or where you were last able to connect with them. So your phone would connect with them through Bluetooth to know where they are located. So yeah, look out for that nothing's promised, it could be none of that. It could be all of that. We'll have to wait and see there might also be an upgrade to the iOS operating system. I believe it might be 14.5. That's due out soon, some that could be released at the same time as well. Who knows that's the joy of these events. Get excited about it. tune in on Tuesday, April 28. It kicks off at 10am pacific time. And let's see what Apple's got to say

Announcer:

Entertainment

Craig Williamson:

I promised you some sophisticated tasting notes and you probably wondering has Craig tried to a cheeky little red wine, is he maybe going into the port? Well, I can unfortunately reveal that I'm not that sophisticated. I'm going to tell you about a new flavour of Coca Cola, because that's, that's the level of my tasting notes. And it's quite exciting. So I'm a Coca Cola fan. Well, fans a bit strong. I drink Coca Cola, I don't necessarily go advertising their products. I do have a T shirt, a Christmas t shirt that has centres coming and it's got the Coca Cola Christmas lorry. So maybe I am a fan if I've got a T shirt, I'm a fan. Okay, I'm a big fan of Coca Cola, and they have released a new flavour this week. And it's actually a new variation on there zero sugar and Coca Cola keep chasing people to try and get them to switch from their full sugar version to a zero sugar version. And they keep messing with this recipe for their zero sugar. So I think it last happened here in the UK back in 2017. They rebranded from Coke Zero to Coca Cola, zero sugar, and now they've changed it again. So again, the Canon is very different and actually I think the previous can had quite loved black on it but this new one is very red so it looks like the traditional full sugar Coca Cola can and they've changed the flavour again but it's still Coke Zero it says on the side but also in bigger letters Coca Cola, zero sugar, so I'm not too clear whether we call it cooks here or not. But I do not like any artificial sweeteners in my soft drink. So I tend to drink the full sugar cork, the full sugar Pepsi, and that's what I enjoy. And whenever I have something like a Diet Coke, that artificial sweetener leaves an awful aftertaste in my mouth, and I really don't enjoy it. But I thought I will try the new Coca Cola, zero sugar. And you know what, it wasn't too bad and actually that aftertaste was not that pronounced. I did actually compare it This is how in depth I'm getting two and a half. This is showing what what real Coca Cola found how I did compare it to some diet Coca Cola, which has a very strong aftertaste for me, and that really lingered in the mouth but when I switched back to the Coke Zero sugar, kind of a cleaner taste, it was obviously lacking something which is effectively the multiple spoonfuls of sugar that I enjoy in the full sugar, Coke, but he wasn't too bad. And actually, for a zero calorie alternative, I think I would certainly consider having Coke Zero in the future might not be my first choice. But certainly if I want to drink a few more soft drinks, because I don't tend to drink coke very often, because of the high sugar content, I do take it steady. But maybe I could increase my intake by switching to some Coke Zero. So if you want to try something new and sophisticated, that is Coca Cola, zero sugar, the new flavour out now here in the UK, drinks are entertainment. And we did establish this before I did have a beer in this section. But just to bring it back to something a bit more traditional entertainment. I just wanted to mention, it's the Oscars ceremony this Sunday, April the 25th if you're into movies, and it's quite interesting, because I think obviously 2020 was quite a barren year for movies. Because of the closure of so many cinemas around the world wasn't really profitable for many new movies to come out. So it will be interesting to see what happens at the 93rd Academy Award. So if you want to tune into that, that is going to be this Sunday, April 25. And you can watch it in the US on LBC.

Coverage starts at 6:

30pm. Eastern Time. 3:30pm pacific time. And here in the UK. That means 1130 at night, which might be a bit late for me. But normally wake up on Monday and see the news and see who's won the Oscars. So look forward to the academy award ceremony on Sunday.

Announcer:

Guest

Catrina Parker:

My name is Catrina Parker and I'm the host of Quirky Pop, a podcast that talks about quirky pop culture beings with a hint of social science. One good thing that was great for me this past week was the quality time I got to spend with my kids. I've been really busy. So I made sure that I took some time to make it happen. We decided to get some takeout and watch a comedy special. It was a fun night. One thing I'm excited about in the coming week is my mini vacation with my whole family. Even my cat Gallifrey we're gonna drive a few hours away from home for a change of scenery. visit a museum or two and just spend some time together. You can find Quirky Pop on most podcast outlets, you can follow me on Twitter, and Facebook @QuirkyPodcast on Instagram @QuirkyPopPodcasts, or visit my website at www.quirkypoppodcast.com

Announcer:

Life

Craig Williamson:

So I bought a new gadget this week, which is always very exciting. And unlike getting my hands on new technology, I'd send you this has been out for quite a while and I had heard about it but it just wasn't really on my radar is something I was interested in. But then I saw a news article that changed my mind. So let me explain more. What I have bought this week is the Facebook portal TV. Now this is like a bit of a webcam. Now, I realise I'm talking a lot about webcams recently. But this is a bit different. And I'll try and explain why. But it's kind of like a webcam that goes on top of your TV. So the idea is that this brings video calling to the biggest screen in the house, which means it's going to be a lot more comfortable for making those calls with family and friends. So not really for work related purposes, I wouldn't necessarily say but for those kind of social calls, where you're in your lounge in your living room, and you just want to kind of kick back and have a call with someone. So this goes on the top of your TV connects to your TV with HDMI cable, and it's powered up as well. And then it gives you a really, really clean, simple interface to do video calling. Now it's made by Facebook and Facebook don't have the best reputation for privacy. And it's quite funny when you when you get this thing and you read on the box. And then when you instal it, everything is banging home about how good the security is how they don't share any of your information. It's like they're really trying a bit too hard because they know they've got such a bad reputation. But he does apparently have quite good security credentials. And it does have an easy way to cover off the camera, there's a there's a little shutter that you can slide over it if you're worried about the camera looking at you when it shouldn't. And there's also a button you can press on the side, which will disconnect the camera and the microphone as well if that bothers you, but I've given up my life to Google and Facebook A long time ago. So those worries are probably a bit in my history now. But anyway, so you plug this thing in connected to your TV and then you log into your Facebook account. You don't need a Facebook account to set it up. But it is just so simple to use really clean interface. Really simple to make video calls. Now you can do that using Facebook Messenger. So if you know anyone else who's on Facebook, then you can do a Facebook Messenger video call with them. You can also just do a voice only call but video is where it really excels. Also, you can connect it to your WhatsApp account. So if you've got WhatsApp on your mobile phone, you can link it to that and then anyone who you know have access to through WhatsApp, you can do a video again or a voice chat through your TV. Now, what really made me look out for this last week was that there was a news article announcing that they've now released zoom for the portal TV. And I do have quite a few social zoom calls. So suddenly, the thought of being able to have that zoom experience in my lounge on the big screen TV without having to get my laptop all hooked up to the TV, which I can do, and I have done. But it's a bit of a faff to have to do that every time, this thing is now permanently there on my big screen TV. And it's so simple to use. And now it's got that zoom functionality as well. Now, what I really like about this is the camera is not just like a little fixed field of view camera, like you'd have on your laptop, it has a very wide angle, so you can view the entire room that you're in. But it's intelligent enough to recognise how many people there are. And if there's only one person, for example, sat on a sofa, then it will very gently zoom into that person. So you end up with quite a nice closeup of that person. And that's who's featured in the video. If someone else walks into the room, then it very slowly pans out so that you can see other people in the room. So if there's a group of you, it will frame automatically, it is just one of you, it will frame automatically. Also, if you get up and walk around the room, if you're that kind of person, or perhaps you've got this in a kitchen or in a dining room, and you want to get up and you want to be maybe cooking while you're having your chat, then the camera follows you around as well. And in a non creepy, non non non Facebook invading your privacy where, but it's just a really well implemented solution. And it's a very high resolution camera, so it doesn't lose any resolution. It's not like this is a really blocky digital zoom and it's artificially zooming in, it's actually got a very wide field of view, with lots of megapixels over that. So you can then just frame that down into a high definition stream and move that around as you move around as well. So really impressed with this. The reason I pulled the trigger on this last week, as well as the zoom functionality was there was a great deal going on. Now the prices are similar in pounds and dollars. So I'll leave off the currency and just tell you the numbers. But the normal price is about 150 for one of these devices. And often they'll have a deal where you can get 50 off if you buy two. Now Amazon had a bit of a sale as well. So they were 120 each, but I also got the 50 pound off for buying too. So for my mind, that was just terrific value. I think it worked out at 95 pounds each. Now I think the best I've ever seen these is about 100 pounds each and then you could get the 50 off. But yeah, I think for me, it was just a very simple decision. And especially because my mum likes to make video calls quite a lot. So the idea was, well, I'll buy to take advantage of that deal. And then I can set my mom up with one as well. And then she can have more comfortable calls rather than mean stooped over her iPad at home as well. So that's the Facebook portal TV all installed in my house, and I'm really enjoying it so far. And I was able to instal my mums as well, because this week was the week that we had off work. And if you remember from last week, it's the final week of the kids Easter holidays. me my wife had some time off as well. So we did have a good week, we had a few nice trips out, we went up to see my mum, and she's part of our bubble. So effectively part of our family household. So we also had my wife's parents come down. And we all met in my mom's garden. And we had a nice lunch outside there. And just yeah, spent some really nice time together. Haven't seen the parents for many months indeed. So really nice to see everyone again and catch up. And of course, it gave me the chance to set up my mom's Facebook portal TV as well. And then spend a while teaching her how to use it. And I think she's really getting the hang of it. So that was all good news. But yeah, really nice to see family again, obviously get the kids down to see their grandparents as well. So yeah, we had a really nice time with that last week. We also did a bit of non essential shopping, which was good non essential shops finally open in England again. So we got out and had a little wander around the shops in our local town which was nice. And we had a trip to the beach, which we'd love the seaside and the kids enjoy the seaside as well. Although we didn't get Henry out with us this time. It's a bit too early for his liking. He is really becoming quite a teenager at the moment, but we had a good time anyway. And the first thing we did was we found a lovely spot of beach, some really nice Sandy strips of beach down in Bournemouth which is our, our local beach, enjoyed it down there so ourselves up on the beach. What's the first thing you do? Well, you take a selfie, of course. So I got my phone out. We took a selfie and yes, just some nice pictures. Lovely blue sky. It was crispy. It was maybe 10 degrees Celsius, maybe 50 Fahrenheit but it was so beautiful, clear blue sky sun was shining. It just felt really nice. So got the pictures and got the selfies. And then I noticed on my phone that I had five Reception. So you can imagine my excitement. Not only am I at the beach, in the sand with the sun beating down on me, but I've got 5g reception. So of course, the next thing you've got to do after taking the pictures, if you see you've got 5g, you've got to load that speed test that, haven't you and see how fast the connection is. I had 300 megabits per second. Yes, on a beach. That was fantastic. 300 megabits per second. So yeah, excited by that. What What, what am I going to do next? I've taken a selfie. I found out I've got 5g. Of course, I've got to call my mom on her portal TV, and see how good that connection is. And we had a lovely video chat. I got to show the beach. She got to hear the waves. And yeah, it was just a really good way to use the technology that has been accumulated during the week. So yeah, really nice time at the beach. had a wonderful day out with the family. And yeah, looking forward to I guess everyone getting back to normality next week, the kids are back to school, and I am back to work as well.

Announcer:

Harper

Harper Williamson:

This week, I would like to talk about some cooking and baking that I have been doing. Earlier today I made rocky road. So we went out to our Aldi to get some of the ingredients that we hadn't already had. And then we put them together which was crushing up some plain digestives, and think that was 200 grammes and then melting 200 grammes of dark chocolate preferably dark chocolate, and then think of it's like 135 grammes of butter or margarine, and I can't remember how much golden syrup. But you melt those three ingredients together in a pan until you can't see any more chunks of chocolate. So I melted them. And then you put all the ingredients together, as well as a 100 grammes of marshmallow if I hadn't already said, and you can put other things like raisins and stuff in there as well. But I don't really like raisins. So we just go for the plain option. And you put all the ingredients together and just fold them in. And then once it's all evenly spread out, you put it into a square brownie tin that's lined and everything and just flatten it out and put it in the fridge for two hours. So it's in the fridge. Now I think there's like an hour left, until we can then take a towel. So I'm really excited to try that because we've been meaning to make rocky road for a while because most times if you buy, they always have raisins in and I don't like raisins. And the second thing is on the Monday night I'm going to be making dinner. The meal that I'm making is from this step by step cooking guide for children to use. It's called meatball cheer batter. Basically, it's meatball sandwich. So I'm looking forward to doing that because it's the first day back at school and it would be nice to have a meal that I've made myself.

Announcer:

Random

Craig Williamson:

What special days we got coming up. Well, Tuesday, April the 20th is National look alike day. Do you have a look alike? Do you know someone who looks like you? I've been told this to people I've been told I look like one is probably you'll have to Google this one. This is a snooker player called Nigel Bond. And yes, I'm not too flattered by that one. I have to say if you google Nigel Bond, you'll get an image of that. And the other one is a bit unusual. And I'm not sure whether I agree with it or not. But someone once said I looked like Hans Gruber. And that was when I had a bit of a beard growing or a bit of longer stubble. Hands grew but obviously the German terrorist in the diehard movie but yeah, again, I don't think I see that. But often it's other people that see these things in us anyway. Celebrate your look alike. On Tuesday, April the 20th. Wednesday, April the 21st is world stationery day. And I'm not talking about staying still I'm talking about stationery with an ER y. So this is what you write with what you write on. And I love stationery. I had a reputation growing up as a lover of stationery. My brother always used to make fun of me because I would always buy pens and notepads and that kind of thing. And I haven't lost my love of stationery. Although I tend to use it less and less because so much is on computers these days. But I do like a nice pen and I do like a nice notebook. So maybe that's time to treat yourself on world stationery day Wednesday, April the 21st. Thursday, April the 22nd is Earth Day and as well as being a global climate summit on that day. It is also Earth Day You can find out more at Earth. dare.org. And yeah, I think this is really, really relevant, obviously, all the time, but especially now there's lots going on about climate change. And this will have a whole host of live activities going on the Earth Day website, if you're interested in that. Maybe you want to hear a bit more about white pen, who knows there might be a special session on that. So find out more@earthday.org that's Thursday, April 22. Earth Day. And we finish off this week with April the 25th. That's Sunday, it is hug a plummer. This is wrong for so many reasons, obviously, due to COVID. You should not be hugging people, especially strangers who come into your house to fix a leaky tap. That's just not the done thing. Secondly, even if COVID didn't exist, it just feels a bit bizarre to offer a hook to your plumber at any time. And you know, unless the plumber is your spouse or your significant other. That just does not seem the right thing to be doing. But maybe we should change it to a plumber Appreciation Day. And we can all thank the plumber in our life who comes to our rescue and fixes our leaking sinks, toilets, and bathtubs. So Sunday April 25 is hug a plumber day. Thank you so much for listening as ever. Links to all the stories are in the show notes at thank the week.com slash 23. Please do tell a friend about thank the week and share that positivity as much as you can. I look forward to seeing you next week. Goodbye!

Announcer:

Thank The Week. Discovering positivity and excitement in every week of the year.