Monday, October 23, 2023

Earthquake rattles Melbourne; Japan’s skinny sumos; South Africa beat England: twice; and look out for spider zombies!


Squiz Kids Shortcut to… Earthquakes and Volcanoes:

Lab reanimates a dead spider’s legs to act as a claw:



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Did you feel the earth shake under your feet over the weekend? Did your house sway just a little bit in the wee small hours of yesterday morning? Then you’re one of the hundreds of thousands who live in Victoria and were woken by a magnitude 5 earthquake that struck near the Great Ocean Road. 

More than 7,000 residents of Melbourne, Bendigo, Geelong and even down to King Island in the Bass Strait were woken by the earthquake which is only the fifth recorded earthquake in Victoria measuring magnitude 5.

Magnitude is the measurement scale for earthquakes. A two or three is small, an eight is big and very destructive. A five is getting up there ..

Happily, there were no reports of injuries or damage to property. And if you’re keen to know more about what makes Earthquakes and Volcanoes tick – check out our excellent Squiz Kids Shortcut on the topic – a link to which is in today’s episode notes. 

Aussie PM Anthony Albanese was packing his suitcase yesterday preparing for a big and important trip to Washington DC – the capital city of the USA – where he is going to meet American President Joe Biden.

America is what’s called a ‘key ally’ of Australia – which is a fancy way of saying we look out for each other and each other’s interests. 

And it’s not the only trip our PM has planned. Pretty much straight after he gets back from Washington he’ll be back on a plane and heading to China to meet Chinese President, Xi Jinping … the first time in seven years an Aussie PM has visited China.



Each day we give the world globe a spin and find a news story from wherever it stops. And today we’ve landed in Japan .. where skinny sumos could seen be in the stadium.

Sumo wrestling is a national sport in Japan – and a really important part of Japanese heritage and culture. Traditionally, sumo wrestlers have been bigger, heavy folk. But when the recent intake of professional sumos this spring attracted a record low number of participants – the sumo wrestler’s association decided they needed to make the competition more accessible to all body types. 

Because, afterall, just because you’re skinny doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be allowed to wear a big cloth nappy type thing and hurl yourself at complete strangers for the entertainment of an entire nation… right?



All things considered, it was not the best weekend to be an English sports fan … poor old England was knocked out of the Rugby World Cup yesterday morning, going down in the very last minute of their semi-final against South Africa – losing by 16-15. Ouch.

It was a bit more of a clear cut loss for the English cricket team, again against South Africa, in the World Cup in India at the weekend. England could only manage 170 runs in response to South Africa’s 7-399 – losing by a record 299 runs. Ouch.

It was an altogether happier day at the office for Aussie swim sensation Kaylee McKeown who broke not one but two world records over two days in the World Cup swim meet in Budapest. 

The 22yo from Queensland beat her own 100m backstroke record yesterday – and on Friday smashed the world record for the 50m backstroke event. Go you good thing!




With Halloween just around the corner, you’ll probably start noticing lots of spider webs popping up all over the place. Love them or hate them, spiders are pretty interesting critters with lots of cool talents and attributes. And recently, some curious and clever scientists at Rice University in the USA discovered that even when they’re dead, they could be very useful to humans. 

Have you ever seen a dead spider with its legs all curled up? Well, that’s because spiders have muscles that pull their legs in towards their bodies, but they need to create pressure with the fluids inside their body to stretch those legs back out. So when they die, their legs naturally curl up. Scientists have created spider zombies by injecting air into the bodies of dead spiders which causes the legs to splay out. They then release the air pressure and voila, the spider becomes a robotic claw capable of picking up delicate items. There’s a link to video in your episode notes. And yes, it’s as creepy as it sounds ..


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

  1. What swim stroke did Aussie Kaylee McKeown just break two world records in?
  2. What was the score in the England v South Africa rugby world cup semi final?
  3. What’s the capital city of the USA?





It’s October 23  … today is World Snow Leopard day … how cool are snow leopards? It’s also the final match of the Constellation Cup where the Aussies play New Zealand in the big netball match-up — go Diamonds!


It’s also a special day for these Squiz Kids celebrating a birthday today and tomorrow… 


Olivia from Ivanhoe, Heidi from Beecroft, Victor from Traralgon, Zoe from Tempe, Serah from Chatswood, Skylar from Burpengary, Mahi from Forest Lake, Eden from Launceston, Nate from Canberra, Nicole from Vermont South, Sabrina from St Helens Park, Mela from Bellbrae, Conner from Tumbi Umbi, Elena from Wahroonga, Julian from Kensington, Matteo from St Ives, Olini and Shreya from The Ponds, Annie from Abbotsford, Julia from West Hoxton, Cameron from Elwood, Elsie from Walkerville, Miller from Boronia, Quinn from Echuca and Hallie listening in Taiwan and Missy listening from Texas, USA.


And belated shoutouts go to…. Kelahani from Adelaide, Tahlia from Melbourne, Senaree from Grovedale, Hilda from Currumbin, Elliana and Bella from Warrandyte, Jackson and Jaxx from Helensvale and Evie listening over in Totnes in England. 


Classroom shout outs go to … class SP2 and Mrs Graham at St Pius X Primary School in Warrnambool, class 4 Blue and Mr Murphy at St Thomas More Catholic Primary School in Ruse, class 5/6K and Miss Walker at St Michael’s Primary School in Deniliquin, years 5 and 6 with Mrs Willow at St Augustine’s Parish School in Narromine, class LA15 and Mr Morrison at Atwell Primary School and class 6JR with Ms Raina at Mt Carmel School in Yass. 


And a special shout out to Alex, James and Marcus from Riverview – and also to my good friends at Cannon Hill State School – who it was great to visit again on Friday…


The S’Quiz Answers:

  1. Backstroke
  2. 16-15
  3. Washington DC