Friday, 7 October, 2022

Record rains as flood warnings issued; the world’s next mega-continent; Nobel Prizes aplenty; and worm recyclers to the rescue!



Amasia – the mega continent of the future


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Here we go again …. That was the overwhelming feeling amongst Aussies up and down the east coast yesterday as the rains continued to fall and emergency services warned of widespread flooding across at least three states.

NSW was on high alert yesterday after days and days of unstinting rain … unstinting is a fancy word for non-stop. Rain that was filling up rivers and dams and threatening to cause the sort of flooding that threw the state into chaos earlier this year. All thanks to two nasty, moisture-laden weather fronts which collided over central Australia earlier this week and are now dumping their sodden load. Sodden is a fancy word for wet. Look at us expanding our wet weather vocab …

Sydney even broke a new record for rainfall yesterday – while parts of regional Victoria also got soaked and damaging winds lashed parts of Tasmania. 

And the heaviest falls are yet to come – with the weather bureau predicting lots more rain to fall, especially on NSW, over the weekend. Potentially seeing a cancellation of the biggest car race on the Aussie rev-head calendar, the Bathurst 2000. 

It’s all thanks to the weather system called La Nina deciding to hit us for the third summer in a row … what’s La Nina? As luck would have it, we put out an excellent Squiz Kids Shortcut on the rainy phenomenon just this week – available to all classrooms that are Squiz Kids for Schools subscribers and parents who have signed up to our Apple Subsriber Specials. Not yet a subscriber? There are free trials to both: links in today’s episode notes. 

Now stay dry and safe out there people. 



Each day, we give the world globe a spin and find a news story from wherever it stops … and today we’ve landed in … the future … where a whole new continent called Amasia is expected to exist. 

Clever researchers from Curtin University in Western Australia have predicted what the Earth will look like in 300 million years … and they reckon by then, the continents of North and South America and Asia will have merged into one mega-continent, joined at the bottom by the continent of Australia. 

So you know how all the countries and continents of the world sit on tectonic plates – which are constantly, gradually moving? In 300 million years time, its believed the American and Asian continents will have drifted so close together that they will create one ginormous body of land. Called Am-asia – see what they did there? – it will fuse Australia and even Antarctica into it – pretty much making the Pacific Ocean as we know it all but disappear. 

I’ve stuck a link in today’s episode notes to a map showing what it could look like … because neither you nor I will be around in 300 million years to see it for ourselves …




Close your eyes and imagine bugs crawling around a rubbish tip… bacteria growing in stinky compost… and the spit of a waxy worm. Gross, right? Well, hold on just a second. You might find worms, bugs, and bacteria disgusting, but scientists have discovered that they could revolutionise plastic recycling. 

This week, a scientist from Spain who happens to keep bee hives, announced a new discovery. He’d cleaned out a wax worm invasion from his hives, and put the worms in a plastic bag. Within hours, there were holes in the plastic! After running experiments, his team realised that the worms weren’t just chewing the plastic—there were two proteins in their spit that were chemically breaking it down. Now the team is investigating ways to use those proteins to deal with the millions of tons of plastic waste plaguing our planet. Meanwhile, other scientists are looking at how bacteria in compost might break down plastic… as well as certain bugs living in rubbish dumps … even butterfly larvae. 

Creepy crawlies to the recycling rescue. Who knew? 




Remember earlier in the week I told you about the Nobel Prizes? Handed out in the country of Norway each year to incredible people in the areas of medicine, physics and chemistry, literature and even world peace? 

Yesterday we learned that this year’s Nobel Prize for chemistry has gone to a trio of scientists who have devised a way to connect molecules like you and I connect Lego pieces. 

What’s a molecule? It’s a group of two or more atoms held together … teeny tiny bits of matter that make up pretty much everything on Earth. 

The work of these Lego chemists could mean that medicine works better in humans – which could mean more effective treatment of diseases like cancer. 

So, really important, clever work. 

Also announced overnight was the winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature .. which went to French author Annie Ernaux.

And later tonight, Australian time, the big one will be announced. The Nobel Peace Prize – awarded to the person in the world who’s done the most to promote world peace. So no small thing. We’ll probably cover that off in Monday’s pod. 

Meanwhile: Nobel Prize winners …  Squiz Kids Salutes you! 




Hey teachers … do we have a back to school offer for you!!  … Our Squiz Kids for Schools program produces a daily set of classroom resources tied to this very news podcast … curriculum-aligned, differentiated for all abilities and delivered to your in-box the day before – so you can plan your lessons with ease. It also comes with access to our excellent Squiz Kids Shortcuts – deep dives into topics in the news, this week’s is all about La Nina – as well as Squiz The World – the podcast that takes kids to a different country each week – exploring the language, people, food and culture. Lots of teachers across the country have already signed up .. and as a special back-to-school promo offer, we’re giving any one who wants it access to Squiz Kids for Schools for all of Term 4 for only $39.95 .. check out the link in today’s episode notes.  


This is the part of the podcast where you get to test how well you’ve been listening …

  1. The spit of what sort of animal is being used to break down plastic?
  2. What’s the name scientists have given to the mega-continent expected to form in 300 million years’ time?
  3. What’s the name of the prizes handed out in Norway to people achieving amazing things in their fields of work? 




It’s October 7 … today is World Smile Day .. where we’re all encouraged to perform an act of kindness today that makes a person smile .. go on, i dare you.

It’s also the first week back after a long school holiday break – which means getting through all of today’s birthday shoutouts, this weekend’s birthday shout outs AND finishing off the belated birthday shout outs for all of those Squiz Kids who celebrated a birthday over the school hols … for which we’re definitely going to need the ol’ birthday reggae tune … hit it … 

And it’s a happy birthday today to …Chloe from Woongarrah, Alison from Sorrento, Anouk from Dungog, Clara from Epping, Emma listening over in Vietnam and Elwood listening in Taiwan.  A special belated birthday wish to Heidi from Caloundra West and apologies for missing your shout out yesterday! 

Not forgetting those Squiz Kids celebrating birthdays over this weekend…Maddie from Shoal Bay, Conner from Craigburn, Lilliane from Clovelly and Louis from Templestowe,  

And today’s school holiday belated birthday shout outs go to … Evie and Joseph from Bronte, Hugh from Wandon, Lara from Jerilderie, Matt from Broadford, Eli from Abbotsford, Cadel from Exeter, James from Walpole, Demi and Mjay from Cannon Hill, Harrison from East Lindfield, Summer from North Curl Curl, Mackenzie from Albany Hills, Malachi from Gordon, Oscar and Ruby from Melbourne, Elizabeth from Mosman, Sebastian from Greystanes, Archie from Joondalup, Sam from Brisbane, Oscar from Adelaide and Lucy from Wanniassa. 

And finally … special classroom shout outs to our most recent Squiz Kids for Schools members…. Ms Fry and her grade 6 class at Mundubbera Primary School, Ms Lowe and Grade 5 at Brighton Grammar School and to homeschooler –  Sarhn McArthur.  Welcome to all of you!

The S’Quiz Answers:

  1. Worms
  2. Amasia
  3. Nobel Prizes