Monday, 10 May, 2021

Chinese rocket splashdown; Italy’s human-eating hyenas; the dog saved on Mother’s Day; and here come the gaming grannies.



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What were you doing yesterday lunchtime? Maybe celebrating Mother’s Day? Well if you were the remnants of a Chinese rocket that had been orbiting earth for days and threatening to come crashing down, you did just that. Smashing into the ocean near a country called The Maldives, smack bang in the middle of the Indian Ocean – and thankfully not hurting anyone. 

As we reported last week, the world was on alert to see where the rocket would land. China had sent it up into space a couple of weeks’ back, to transport a piece of a space station they are planning to build up there – and instead of disposing of their space rubbish properly, they let it fall back down to Earth and hoped it didn’t hit anyone on the way down. Clearly someone needs to explain to them the importance of not littering. Especially up there in space.  

The rocket was carefully monitored by lots of countries all weekend – and lots of amateur stargazers too – but despite reports, the United States military denied it had prepped missiles to blow it up in the sky if it looked as though it might come down and crash on land anywhere near a town or city.

There’s a link in today’s episode notes to a video which explains just how much space junk there is orbiting above our heads as we speak. A space agency in America says that it is currently tracking some 20,000 pieces of space junk spinning around above the Earth, ranging in size from a mobile phone to a space station. Good grief.
Someone needs to get up there with a big garbage bag.




Each day we give the world globe a spin and find a news story from wherever it stops – and today we’ve landed in Rome, the capital city of Italy – where archaeologists have discovered a cave filled with the bones of ancient humans who’d been attacked and eaten by a pack of hyenas. Yikes. What a way to go …

The bones belong to Neanderthals – a species of human that existed in Europe and Asia until about 40,000 years ago. We’re talking about humans that are often portrayed as ‘cavemen’. And according to archaeologists – who are people who study fossils – these bones belonged to a bunch of unfortunate Neanderthals who died after encountering a pack of hungry hyenas. Because life on earth for humans, 40,000 years ago, was a lot more intense than it is for most of us today. I don’t know about you: but I don’t see a whole lot of hungry packs of hyenas where I live. Except for my kids, when they’re really hungry…




First they took over Facebook, now they’ve got their eye on your favourite gaming console … a new report out of the United Kingdom has found that grandparents have taken up gaming in greater numbers than any other age group during the past year. 

According to the report, the COVID lockdown has seen lots of grandparents turn to online gaming as a way of keeping in touch with grandkids they’ve otherwise not been able to see. And just as kids tend to get hooked on Animal Crossing and Minecraft and Mario Kart and Roblox – the over 60s have also found themselves being drawn into the gaming universe. 

Imagine being beat by your grandmother in Mario Kart? Go gaming grannies! 




And it was a very Happy Mother’s Day for one dog owner in Tasmania yesterday when her precious German Shepherd was rescued from a mine shaft that it had fallen into.

The dog, called Bear, had wandered off from his home in the early hours of yesterday morning. His owner found him at the bottom of a mine shaft and called the Tasmania Fire Service to help. Rescuers lowered a ladder into the mine shaft and climbed down to carry Bear back to safety. 

And talk about coincidence: the rescuer was the local brigade chief, Todd Russell – who made headlines 15 years ago when he was stuck down a mine shaft for almost 15 days. Spooky.




Hands up if you’re excited about the NAPLAN tests beginning this week? What? None of you? How odd. Well then you should at least be excited about the fact that our very special Squiz Kids Q+A with Peter Titmaniss – one of the grown-ups responsible for putting together the tests – goes live today. That’s right, our very own Amanda Bower sat down with Peter and put your excellent questions to him .. including my favourite from Robbie, from Year 3 in Albany Primary School in WA, who asked “Can you tell us the answers?” 

It’s a great insight into the test, and an especially good thing to listen to to prepare, if only because the man who sets the test says to relax and treat it like any other day at school. 

If you’re listening to today’s episode on an app – it should play automatically afterwards. Otherwise it’s available on the Squiz Kids website. 




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

  1. What was the name of the country in the Indian Ocean closest to where rocket remnants landed yesterday?
  2. What sort of animals do archaeologists believe made a meal of ancient humans in a cave south of Rome?
  3. What was the name of the German Shepherd rescued from a mine shaft in Tassie yesterday?




It’s May 10   … National Clean Your Room Day in the United States … and yes, technically, the United States is a long way away – but I think all parents listening will agree it’s a national day we should adopt here. Like, everyday, even.

It’s also a special day for these Squiz Kids celebrating a birthday today …. Beau from Rosebery, Will from Willoughby, KJ from Regents Park, Anika from Moorabbin, Maïwenn from Chatswood, Tylor from Forster, Grace from Albany Hills, Nicholas from Baulkham Hills, Grace from Sydney and Rachel, who’s listening in all the way from Baltimore Maryland, in the United States. 

And some belated birthday shoutouts to… Ashleigh from Flagstaff Hill, Winter and Leo from Glossodia, Noah from Albany Hills and Hunter from Singapore.

Classroom shoutouts…Miss Cole’s 4G class at Glendenning Public School, Mr Collins and Year 4C at St Mary’s Primary School in Young, and class Alfa Romeo at Oran Park Public School. And some special shoutouts to 7/8 teacher Ailish at Nelson Park School, who celebrated a birthday last week, and Miss O’Keeffe’s Room 9 class at Goomalling Primary School, who have just welcomed new student, Shynikwa. 


The S’Quiz Answers:

  1. The Maldives
  2. Hyenas
  3. Bear