Monday, 15 August, 2022

Secret girls schools in Afghanistan; China’s kangaroo astronaut; mystery caves on the moon; and squirrels that sploot.



Everybody do the sploot: 


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It’s a Monday – and that means all the excitement of whole week of school stretching out in front of you.

And while some of you might groan at the prospect of being in school – stop for a moment and think about this. 

Today marks one year since the Taliban took control of the country of Afghanistan. Aghanistan is a country in Central Asia – just to the south of Russia. You might remember last year scenes from the capital Kabul as thousands of people tried to flee the country rather than live under the rule of the Taliban.

One of the reasons people there didn’t want to live under Taliban rule is because girls are not allowed to go to school. Boys can get an education – but girls cannot.

But according to reports, a network of secret schools for girls has sprung up around the country – with some brave teachers risking getting into lots of trouble – determined to give girls the education they deserve. 

It means the girls have to sneak into the schools – and all of the learning has to take place in secret. But even though they’d be in trouble if they were found to be going to school – the schools are packed everyday. A sign of how precious school is for those who aren’t allowed to access it. 


Each day we give the world globe a spin, and find a news story wherever it stops. And today, we’ve landed in China … where a kangaroo in space has captured the hearts of a nation.

A new Chinese movie called Moon Man tells the story of an astronaut stuck on the Moon with … you guessed it … a kangaroo.

Which of course makes perfect sense.

The comedy has made over half-a-billion dollars in ticket sales since it was released two weeks ago – with audiences in the world’s most populous country in love with an Aussie marsupial.

The world’s most populous country is another way of saying China has the biggest population in the world – with more than 1.4 billion people living there. 

As well as giving Chinese movie goers a good laugh – the movie is also expected to spark the country’s interest in coming to Australia to see kangaroos in real life .. which, is altogether easier than going to moon to see them …




Scientists studying the moon have found a series of caves up there on its surface which they say could mean we’re able to establish lunar bases sooner than planned.

Did you know that the surface of the moon heats up to about 120 degrees during the day – and drops down to minus 173 degrees at night?

Even by Melbourne standards – where it hail-snowed on Saturday – that’s cold!

But the discovery of caves on the moon – which researchers think might even be connected by tunnels – could provide the sort of shelter humans need to live up there long term.

It’s thought the temperature inside the caves hovers around 17 degrees celsius – which is much more manageable.

I mean, that’s the sort of temperature that even a kangaroo could cope with.



If you saw a squirrel splooting, what would you do? 

Don’t worry, I didn’t know what splooting meant before yesterday, either. But thanks to the New York City Parks Department, it’s my new favourite word. You see, right now it’s hot in NYC. Really hot. And concerned animal lovers have been worried about squirrels that they’ve seen lying face down on the ground, arms stretched out in front of them, legs stretched out behind. They really do look like they’re dead. But in fact, they’re just splooting. Which means stretching out and cooling off! Squirrels’ bellies have the least fur on their bodies, so when they lie face-first flat on a cool surface, they are dumping heat from their bodies. So, if you see a squirrel splooting—do nothing. Or, maybe take a photo. I’ve put some in your episode notes, showing that other animals like to sploot too. Maybe I’ll sploot immediately after this podcast …


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

  1. What have scientists discovered on the moon that could make it easier for humans to live there?
  2. On which part of the squirrel is the least amount of fur?
  3. In the Chinese movie Moon Man – what animal is an astronaut stuck on the moon with?




It’s August 15 … birthday for Hunger Games actress Jennifer Lawrence – you might know her as Katniss Everdeen. And for sportslovers –  on this day back in 1903, the Wallabies played their first ever rugby test agains the New Zealand All Blacks. 

And it’s a happy birthday today to … Miranda from Mount Riverview, Yusef from Sydney, Nick from Northbridge, Conner from Eltham, Cooper and Ellanor from Quirindi, Maddi from Yarrawonga, Daniel from South Kingsville and Zachary from Canberra 

And a belated birthday shout out goes to George from St Mary’s and Dylan from Bondi.

Classroom shoutouts today go to…Miss Tolime at Singleton Heights Public School, Year 6 and Mr Waugh at Mount Saint Patrick’s Primary School in Murwillumbah, Mr Bailey and class 3B at Mt Terry Public School, to Mrs Lanzafame and class 3L from Holsworthy Public School – who are on a winning-streak with the answers to the S’Quiz!  Well done class 3L. Lastly a shout out to Emmaus class from St Peters Campus in Maitland and happy birthday to classmate Bella. 


The S’Quiz Answers:

  1. Caves
  2. Bellies
  3. Kangaroo