Monday, 17 August, 2020

Puppy adoptions skyrocket; oil spill ship splits in two; Aussie breaks English Channel swim record; and the search for UFOs.



Mauritius oil spill





It’s been a strange old time on the coronavirus front, with not much in the way of good news to report when it comes to COVID-19 – but something of a silver lining to the coronavirus cloud was revealed yesterday following reports that adoptions of rescue dogs had skyrocketed in the pandemic.

Dog shelters at the weekend reported a shortage of pups available for adoption and waiting lists pushing out for months, amid a spike in the number of people stuck at home and looking for the sort of companionship that only a dog can provide.

The RSPCA in Victoria has been especially busy – reporting that it has had more than 20,000 online applications from people wanting to adopt a pooch.

And in good news for older dogs and pups with special needs – who usually take longer to find a forever family – the pandemic has even seen them be adopted out in record numbers. 

And while we’re on the subject of relatively upbeat COVID news, the Federal Health Minister, Greg Hunt, yesterday Australia was close to getting access to one of the more promising vaccines currently in development – the one being researched by Oxford University in the UK.

The Health Minister said he believed the government was close to reaching a deal with Oxford Uni to produce the vaccine locally, once it had been properly tested. The Oxford vaccine is due to be manufactured from next month and already has orders for 400 million doses, with Mexico and Argentina reaching agreements in the past week.




Each day we give the world globe a spin and find a news story from wherever it stops … and today we’ve landed in Mauritius .. where the container ship that ran aground on a coral reef a couple of weeks ago, and started leaking oil into the sea – has broken in half.

Dramatic photos from the island off the coast of Africa shows the tanker stuck on the reef and slowly sinking as the constant battering of waves and the back and forth of tides slowly break the ship in two.

Locals in Mauritius have been frantically trying to contain the oil spill, creating home-made floating barriers to stop it from spreading. The race is now on to pump out some 160 tonnes of fuel oil which remains on the ship, before it is claimed by the ocean. 

The next step will be removing the ship from the reef entirely – a job that authorities say is likely to take months. 

There’s a link to a photo gallery in today’s episode notes. 




Take a bow Chloe McCardel … the Aussie marathon swimmer from Sydney yesterday broke the men’s record for the most number of crossings of the English channel – clocking up her 35th successful swim.

That’s to say, she’s now swum from England to France 35 times .. a distance of some 34 kilometres, a swim that she managed to complete in 10 hours and 40 minutes. 

Swimming across the English Channel is one of the great long-distance swims in the world – and hundreds of people attempt it each year. 

Now that she’s broken the men’s record – Chloe has her sights on the women’s record. 

English swimmer Alison Streeter holds that record, having successfully swum across the Channel 43 times. 

So, you know, only nine more swims to go, Chloe.




The idea that we’re not the only life form in the universe was given a kick along at the weekend following the news that the Pentagon – the headquarters of the almighty United States military – had set up a division dedicated to UFOs.

The Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Taskforce is the fancy name just given to a new division whose job it will be to investigate reports of alien encounters – and assess whether they pose any sort of threat to humankind. 

Last April, the Pentagon released a series of videos of UFOs – from lights flashing across the night sky, to strange, silver, cylindrical objects flying at incredible speeds through the clouds. 

Maybe Men In Black wasn’t so far-fetched after all …




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

  1. Which animals are in high-demand as the COVID lockdown continues in Victoria?
  2. What’s the name of the channel that Aussie Cloe McCardle has just swum?
  3. The US military have set up a new agency to search the skies for what?




It’s August 17 ….. National Black Cat Appreciation Day in the United States .. where we are all encouraged to stop and appreciate how cool black cats are – and try to get over the superstitions that maintain they are bad luck or the preferred pets of witches. 

It’s also a special day for these Squiz Kids celebrating a birthday today…. Bella from Sydney, David from Bundoora, Hamish from The Gap, Stella from Orange, Mavis from Yarraville, Luca from Wembley Downs, Annabelle from Bondi, Emma from Barmedman, Lucas from Emerald, Jared from North Bondi, and Riya from Glendenning.

 And some belated birthday shoutouts…Alexandra from Putney, Kaitlyn from Carlingford, Lexi from East Fremantle and Joseph from Ultimo.

Happy birthday one and all!

Classroom shoutouts…5D at Barnier Public School, Stage One at St Philomena’s Catholic Primary School in Bathurst, Class 4W at Murray Farm Public School with Mrs Rennie, who celebrated a birthday last weekend, and a special shout out to the students in Prep L and Prep J at Box Hill North Primary School for completing their first 100 days of school last week.


The S’Quiz Answers:

  1. Dogs
  2. English Channel
  3. UFOs