Monday, 21 June, 2021

It’s the shortest day of the year; High-wire valley walk in Yosemite; introducing the dinosaur fish; and beware the gamer scorpion bite.



Champ the president’s dog

Highliners in Yosemite National Park

Coelacanth: the dinosaur fish


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If you’ve got a list of things to get through today – you might want to get your skates on … as today is officially the shortest day of the year. 

It’s called the winter solstice. And to get all sciencey for a moment, it’s the day when the Earth is tilted at its maximum away from the sun for us here in the Southern Hemisphere. It means, it’s the day of the year that we receive the least amount of sunlight. 

That same science – and that same tilt of the Earth’s axis – means that in the northern hemisphere – it’s the summer solstice today – which means for them it will be the longest day of the year. 

And have you ever noticed that the further south you go in Australia, the fewer daylight hours you get in winter .. meaning its gets darker in the afternoons earlier than further north? That’s also because of the Earth’s tilt and how that impacts how much sunlight different part of our continent receives. 

And because today is the shortest day of the year – logic dictates that tonight will be the longest night of the year. If anyone is looking for me today, I’ll be in my Oodie …

It will be a sad day at the White House today, after news at the weekend that Champ, the US President’s dear old dog passed away. 

Losing a pet – as some of you may know – is a really difficult thing to go through. Pets have a way of becoming cherished members of our families – and saying goodbye is never easy. 

In a statement to mark Champ’s passing, President Joe Biden and his wife Dr Jill Biden said: “We love our sweet, good boy and will miss him always.”

There’s a link in today’s episode notes to photos of Champ – farewell buddy. 




Each day we give the world globe a spin and find a news story from wherever it stops. And today we’ve landed in Yosemite National Park in the United States where two brothers have broken a new world record in a tightrope walk across a rocky valley above a 500 metre drop.

The sport is called highlining – and it involves stringing a length of really thick, three centimetre wide nylon across a gap and walking across it, ideally without falling. Mostly it’s done in parks – on a rope stretched between trees – a few metres above the ground.

But brothers Dan and Moises Monterubbio stretched a length of nylon, just under one kilometre long – from one side of a valley in the Yosemite National Park, to the other. 

Wearing a safety harness – the brothers both attempted to do the walk but were blown off the line by the wind. Luckily, the harness caught them and saved them from the whole falling to certain death thing. 

Eventually, after several attempts, Moises walked the entire length of the line without falling … it took him 37 minutes to walk the almost 900 metres – which frankly must have been exhausting. Now that’s what I call incredible balance and core strength .. 

There’s a link in today’s episode notes to photos of the remarkable feat.




A dinosaur fish that’s still living in the darkest, deepest part of the ocean today, has been found to have a life span of 100 years – with scientists finding this week that the coelacanth grows more slowly than any other animal on the planet. 

The coelacanth lives at the bottom of the ocean. It’s really quite an ugly looking fish, and it’s believed it has been around since the days that dinosaurs walked the Earth. Around 400 million years. Which is a really, really, long time. 

In keeping with a fish that has been around since dinosaurs were a thing, the coelacanth takes a really long time to grow from  a baby fish to an adult. And when females of the species fall pregnant – the pregnancy lasts for five whole years. In humans, pregnancy lasts for nine months – in elephants it’s about a year and a half. 

There’s a link in today’s episode notes to photos of the coelacanth .. not a fish I think I’d want in my fish tank. 




Ernie, Bert, Oscar and Big Bird have welcomed a new family to Sesame Street – and in a first for the kids’ TV show, this family has two dads. 

Married couple Dave and Frank and their daughter Mia are the newest additions to what is arguably the most famous street in the world. A nod, according to makers of the popular kids show, to the many different shapes and sizes that families come in. 


And in other pop culture news: the annual report of injuries associated with gaming has been published in the United States .. and it seems frustrated siblings hurling the controller across the room at brothers and sisters are responsible for most hospital admissions related to video games. Gamers who fell over while celebrating were also high on the injury list, as were gamers who went to hospital complaining of pain in their hands, backs, necks and wrists from playing too long. But the most surprising gaming-related injury recorded last year? That would be the 15 year-old girl who was bitten by a scorpion while playing a video game at home. Ouch.

This is why I play board games … much safer .. no one ever had to go to hospital being hit with a Monopoly piece — that I know of …




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

  1. The name given to the shortest day of the year is the winter what?
  2. How many years do scientists believe the dinosaur fish, the coelacanth live for? 
  3. Which poisonous insect bit an unsuspecting video gamer in the United States last year?




It’s June 21 … Prince William’s birthday, World Music Day and Go Skateboarding Day … as well as the winter solstice .. it’s all happening today. 

It’s also a special day for these Squiz Kids celebrating a birthday today… Daniel from Newcastle, Ananya from Oran Park , Phoenix from Abbottsford and Immy from Lane Cove

Belated birthday shout outs to Zander from Barmedman and Ivy from Abbotsford. 

Classroom shoutouts … Mrs Thornton’s and Mrs Wheatley’s 3TW class at Our Lady Queen of Peace at Graystanes, all the Year 5s at West Ryde Public School, class 5W at Baulkham Hills Public School, Mrs B’s Year 6s at South Newman Primary School and Ms Green and everyone at 5RG at Albany Hills State School. 


The S’Quiz Answers:

  1. Solstice
  2. 100 years
  3. Scorpion