Monday, 9 August, 2021

Australia’s world-beating Olympics; Moving a pharaoh’s boat; who wants to live on Mars?; and finding Jack – the outback labrador.



Moving a pharaoh’s boat:

Pretend Mars:

Jack the wandering labrador:


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And so, with a closing ceremony last night wrapping up proceedings in Tokyo, another Olympic Games has come to an end. Ohhhhh. What are we going to watch now? 

It’s the question that will be on everyone’s lips if the viewing figures are any indication. From the opening ceremony to day 11 of competition  – an estimated 19.95 million Australians tuned in to watch Channel Seven’s coverage of the Games. That’s 50% more than tuned in to watch the last Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, in Brazil. 

And no wonder: given that our athletes turned in the equal best performance for an Australian team in the history of ever. Seventeen gold medals, seven silver medals and 22 bronze medals put Australia at a remarkable 6th position in the world on the medal tally. That’s sixth out of 206 countries that competed! The US came in first, followed by China, Japan, Great Britain, Russia and then us. 

Which is pretty amazing given we are a country of only 25 million people compared to the USA’s 328 million people, Russia’s 144 million and China’s 1.4 billion people. That’s billion with a b. 

In sporting terms, that’s what’s called ‘punching above our weight’. 

The next Olympics will be held in Paris in three years’ time. Then Los Angeles in 2028. Then it will be our turn to play host with the Brisbane Olympics in 2032. What fun!

What’s not so fun is the continuing lockdowns in Victoria and Greater Sydney as that dastardly Delta variant of the coronavirus continues to mess everything up.

Queensland kids go back to school today .. (cheer) … oh come on … some of you must be excited to be back? High school kids in Queensland are traipsing off to school in masks today. Meanwhile our friends in Greater Sydney remain in home learning mode – and Squiz Kids in Victoria are back to online learning this week too. Keep listening for our Home Learning Herograms.. 




Each day we give the world globe a spin and find a news story from wherever it stops. And today we’ve landed in Egypt … where a massive operation is underway to move a boat that is over 4000 years old and used to belong to a pharaoh.

Pharaohs were the kings of ancient Egypt. You’ve heard of the pyramids right? They’re basically massive burial monuments, dedicated to the glorious kings of ancient times. And when a pharaoh died, he or she was laid to rest inside the pyramid – along with all the worldly possessions they might require. And in the case of King Cheops, he was buried with a massive wooden boat – called the solar boat – which it was believed would help him sail across the solar skies after his death. How cool. 

The boat – which is considered the oldest and longest wooden object made in human history – is being moved to a new museum just outside Cairo, the capital of Egypt. There are links to photos in today’s episode notes of the massive effort being undertaken to move this most precious and remarkable piece of human history.  


How does the prospect of spending a year living on Mars sound? Not so enticing? Then how about just pretending that you’re living on Mars for a year? Because that’s what the American space agency NASA is advertising, calling for anyone who might be interested in locking themselves inside a specially-constructed Mars space station on a pretend planet Mars built inside a warehouse in Texas, in the United States.

The structure – or habitat, as it’s called – is named Mars Dune Alpha. It’s a replica of what NASA would eventually build on the planet Mars for humans to one day live and work in. But before they build one on Mars, they’ve built one here on Earth and now want volunteers to go and live inside it and pretend they’re on the red planet for a year. It means eating only space food and going on pretend space walks into a pretend Martian atmosphere – and having only very limited contact with the outside world. 

You’ve got to have a masters degree in science or engineering – which is a really impressive qualification to get. Or be an accomplished air force pilot or astronaut. If you had access to Netflix, a PS5 and a huuuuge library full of books i haven’t yet read – I’d think about it. 



Now, my dog Louis and I love a good story about a man and his dog, and this one’s a cracker. And if you’ve ever see the movie Red Dog – you’ll appreciate this one. After a week spent searching the hot, dry northwest of WA, a man has been reunited with his beloved labrador, Jack. 

Jack and his owner Len Simpson had been traveling around Australia together, all the way from their home in Tasmania to the Kimberley. Each night, Len let Jack out of camp for a wee, but one night, Jack didn’t come back. 

For a whole week, Len searched near their campsite … meanwhile, his daughter in Victoria posted on social media that Jack was missing. The post was shared thousands of times, and a young traveler in the Kimberley saw it and decided to help. She brought supplies out to Len, and she put up posters all over the place. When Jack was found—miraculously alive, after seven days of no food and water—no one could get Len on the phone, so the young woman went and picked up the dog, and made sure the two were reunited. 

Len is thrilled, and grateful to the young woman who helped him. As for Jack, he’s not telling anyone what he did on his one-week walkabout… a dog’s gotta have his secrets, right Louis? 

There’s a link to photos of Jack in today’s episode notes. 




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

  1. What position on the medal tally did Australia get at the Tokyo Olympics?
  2. In which country is a pharaoh’s boat being transported to a new home?
  3. What was the name of the dog who went missing in the Kimberley for five days? 




It’s August 9 … birthday of tennis ace Roger Federer and pop singer Shawn Mendes … and on this day 123 years ago, Corn Flakes were invented…

It’s also a special day to these Squiz Kids celebrating a birthday today Ethan from Abbotsford, Emmy from Chifley, Alex from Springfield, Anthea from Moonee Ponds, Holly from Daw Park and Hudson from Onkaparinga Hills.

Belated birthday shout outs go to …Kaayna from Forest Lake, Dashiell from Shoal Bay and Ellie from Meadow Creek.  

Plus!!  … Because our friends in Victoria and Greater Sydney are in still in lockdown – we’re continuing to send out Home Learning Herograms …to the hard working Junior School students of 5 Blue at St Patrick’s College in Strathfield and their awesome teachers, Mr Fields & Ms Nabkey.

Also to the Grade 6 students at St Mary’s Catholic Primary School in North Sydney. 

A home learning herogram to Ms Dwyer and her 3/4 class from Saint Patrick’s Primary School in Port Fairy – where the students are really looking forward to getting out of lockdown and back into the classroom.  And one last herogram from Matilda to Ms Cai and her classmates of Class 3M at Marrickville Public School. Matilda says thank you for being so supportive over the home learning period – you are the best!

Plus a couple of classroom shout outs to those of you not in lockdown…

A shout out to n 3/4 S and 3/4 K at Broken Hill North Primary School.  Also to Mr K and Year 4 at Hammond Park Primary School in Western Australia.


The S’Quiz Answers:

  1. Sixth
  2. Egypt
  3. Jack