Monday, 18 July, 2022

Are masks coming back to school?; Europe’s heatwave; rare whale sightings; and a four-year-old helps win at the Tour de France


Class C Orca spotting: 

Who is Migaloo?

Michael Matthews crosses the line: 

Nadia Comaneci makes Olympic history on July 18, 1976: 

Your Shortcut to the Tour de France: 

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As kids around the country trooped back to school for Term 3 (yay!) – COVID and the flu are ganging up and doing their best to spoil the party (boo), with the country’s politicians meeting over the weekend to decide, among other things, whether masks should once again be worn at school.

Both the Queensland and NSW governments said at the weekend that they were strongly urging teachers and students to wear masks in the classroom, as all over the country the dreaded coronavirus takes advantage of the cooler winter temperatures to make a most unwelcome comeback.

Thankfully – with so many of us vaccinated – a COVID resurgence doesn’t pose the same sort of health emergency as a year ago – but it’s still making plenty of us sick. 

And get this: there could soon be more RATs in schools! No! Not the furry variety with the big front teeth .. I’m talking about Rapid Antigen Tests – those super-awesome do-it-yourself COVID test kits where you get to stick a massive cotton bud so far up your nose it feels like it’s touching your brain.

What a time to be alive!


Each day we give the world globe a spin and find a news story from wherever it stops .. and today we’ve landed in Portugal. And Spain. And France. That’s because each of those Mediterranean countries is in the grip of a terrible heatwave. Imagine having days and days of temperatures above 45 degrees! And of course, where there’s heat, there can often, sadly, be fire. Thousands of people have been evacuated from northern Portugal, southern Spain, and the Gironde region of France, as firefighters battle multiple separate blazes. We’re no strangers to heat and fire here in Australia, and our thoughts are with all the people affected. 


The waters off Victoria played host to an exciting new visitor last week when a pod of Type C killer whales were spotted by whale watchers.

The Type C orca is the smaller variety of killer whale – it eats fish instead of other mammals. And while it’s common to find them down in the waters around Antarctica, last week’s sighting off the Gippsland coast of Victoria was the first time in that state. 

Scientists reckon the pod could have ventured into warmer waters to get rid of an algae which grows on them in the freezing waters of the South Pole, and makes them look yellowy orange instead of black and white. Eugh.

And in other whale news: environment officers confirmed late yesterday that a rare white humpback whale whose carcass has been found on a Victorian beach is not Migaloo – the famous albino humpback. Carcass is a fancy word for dead body… and given Migaloo has been a crowd favourite since 1991, when he was first spotted frolicking off our coast, there are a lot of people happy that this carcass is not his. I’ll put a link in your episode notes to more info about him.



As always, it was a busy weekend for sport! 

First up, it was victory for Aussie cyclist Michael Matthews yesterday, when he won stage 14 of the Tour de France. It’s always a big deal for a rider to win one of the Tour’s 21 stages, but victory was even sweeter for Michael after he had frustratingly crossed the line second in stages six and eight. For a while yesterday, it looked like that might happen again… but Michael overtook his rival in a thrilling, exhausting final climb in the French mountains. What motivated him? His four-year old daughter. Michael said he thought about her all the way to the finish line, because he wanted to show her why he was away so much training and cycling. I’ve put a link in your episode notes to the last kilometre of his race… imagine cycling for more than four and a half hours straight!

If you want to know more about the Tour de France, including why there are so many winners at just one sporting event, jump into our Shortcut to the Tour, available to subscribers. I’ll pop a link in your episode notes. 

In other sporting news – the Wallabies lost to England in a rugby test decider in Sydney on Saturday night – boo – and Prime Minister Anthony Albanese is backing a bid from our closest neighbours, Papua New Guinea, to form the 18th NRL team. Yay! 


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

  1. What kind of whales have been spotted off the Gippsland coast? 
  2. To whom did Michael Matthews dedicate his Tour de France stage win? 
  3. What sort of weather event is sweeping across parts of southern Europe?




It’s July 18… and on this day in 1976, 14-year-old Nadia Comăneci made Olympic history by scoring a perfect 10 score on the uneven bars in gymnastics. She ended up doing that SEVEN times. I’ve put a link in your episode notes to footage of her incredible performances. 

July 18 is also a special day for these Squiz Kids celebrating a birthday today… Ruby from Cannon Hill, Anugraha from Craigburn and Piper and Arlo who are holidaying together at Thredbo.  

And because a bunch of you celebrated your birthday over the school holidays … we’ve got a backlog of belated birthday shout outs which we’ll be working our way through all this week … starting today with… 

Alannah from Exeter, Oliver from Forest Lake, Delia from Craigburn, Olympia-Lightning from Brisbane, twins Jade and Olive from Tasmania, Harvey from Dianella, Ahran from Adelaide, Emily from Sydney, Hugo from Perth, Atticus from Heidleberg, Mitchell from Wallaroo and Ella from Launceston. 

Classroom shout outs go to class 5R at Engadine West Public School, class 6C and 6B at Maleny State School, class 6B with Mrs Taylor and Miss Anderson at St Luke’s Anglican School in Bundaberg and finally to class 6 Green and Mr Cox and Saint Joseph’s Catholic Primary School in Corinda. 

The S’Quiz Answers:

  1. Type C killer whales, or orcas
  2. His daughter
  3. Heatwave