Thursday, 11 March, 2021

Green energy revolution; the great pirate boat journey; Cameron Smith says bye-bye; and a space station on the Moon.



Toy pirate ship found off Miami – TV report:

Ollie and Harry Ferguson’s website:


Squiz Kids Instagram:

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Squiz Kids is proudly supported by the Judith Neilson Institute for Journalism and Ideas.






Have you ever stopped and thought about where the electricity comes from that turns on the lights or TV or keeps your fridge running in your house? Some of it comes from power stations – and a lot of those power stations are fuelled by coal.

Yesterday it was announced that one of the big coal-fired power stations in Victoria would close down earlier than planned, partly because of the continued rise of renewable energy sources such as wind and solar – which is to say, electricity that’s generated by wind and sunlight. The more solar panels people put on their rooftops and the more batteries they install to capture the power, the less reliant we’ll be  on the electricity produced by these big coal-fired  power stations. 

Environmental activists welcomed news of the power station’s early closure, as they have long been critical of the  burning of coal which contributes to climate change. 

But the power plant that’s closing provides one fifth of Victoria’s electricity – and renewable energy sources are not yet up to the job of replacing that. Plus, the power station keeps about 500 locals in a job – and that’s no small thing. All big things to wrestle with as we move from fossil fuels – like coal – to greener forms of energy generation. 




Each day we give the world globe a spin and find a news story from wherever it stops. And today, we’ve landed off the coast of Miami – in the United States, where a little girl has found a toy pirate ship and a message in a bottle that was set afloat by two brothers in Scotland – almost 7000 kilometres away.

Brothers Ollie and Harry Ferguson launched Project Pirate Ship – pushing out into the North Sea near their home in Scotland a toy pirate ship fitted with a GPS tracking device and a message in a bottle. A GPS tracking device is an electronic device that sends a regular signal from the toy boat to a satellite allowing anyone who wants to to follow its progress across the world’s oceans. 

In the four years since it was launched, the boat has turned up in Sweden and Denmark and even travelled to Africa. When the original boat got lost at sea, a new one was launched – and that’s now sailed from the Caribbean to the south coast of the USA – where a little girl and her dad have just found it. 

There’s a link to a news report about the adventure, in today’s episode notes. As well as a link to Harry and Ollie’s website – their story is amazing. Maybe we need them for a Squiz Kids Q+A, what do you think? 




There was an answer yesterday to one of the most asked questions in rugby league when Melbourne Storm and Queensland Origin legend, Cameron Smith, announced he was retiring.

Widely regarded as one of the greatest players ever to pull on jersey – and respected as much for his playing skills as his impeccable off-field behaviour and the respect with which he always carried himself, Smith’s announcement outside Melbourne’s AAMI Park yesterday – as he unveiled a statue of himself – brings to an end a career that spanned 19 NRL seasons and saw him play 430 games. That’s a whole lot of tackling, scoring and playing the ball. 

The boy from Brissie played his entire NRL career for the Storm – but was always regarded by Queenslanders as one of them – especially at State of Origin time.

Smith’s announcement comes as the league season kicks off for another year tonight when the Melbourne Storm take on the Rabbitohs – with another veteran, Benji Marshall pulling on the Souths jersey for what many expect will be his last season.  




If you’ve ever thought you might like to go and visit the Moon one day – or maybe even live there for a bit – then your dream came one step closer to reality yesterday after Russia and China announced plans to band together to build a lunar space station.

Lunar is the adjective used to describe anything related to the Moon. In Italian, the word for moon is ‘la luna’ and French, it’s ‘la lune’.

Under the plans being drawn up by Russian and Chinese scientists, the space station could either be in orbit around the moon, or located on its surface – and it would be a scientific base from which explorers from all countries of the world could meet and explore the Moon. 

The United States is already busy planning to send humans to the Moon by 2024. It’s starting to sound crowded up there. 




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

  1. In which part of the world do the toy pirate boat brothers Harry and Ollie Ferguson live?
  2. For which NRL team did league legend Cameron Smith play before his retirement yesterday?
  3. Name the two countries who are banding together to build a lunar space station.




It’s March 11   … birthday for Voice Kids judges, Joel and Benji Madden – because, you know, they’re twins and all. How cool are twins? 

It’s also a special day for these Squiz Kids celebrating a birthday today… Aidan from Albany Hills, Carlos from Derrimu, Luca from Torquay, Riaan from Oran Park, Alex from Canberra, Ruby, Leonard and Jack from Cloncurry, Emelia from Abbotsford, Charlie from Crookwell, Emma and Shelley from Wentworth and Oliver who is listening all the way over there in  New Plymouth in New Zealand.

And a belated birthday shoutout to… Linden from Newcastle.

Happy birthday one and all.

Today’s classroom shoutouts…  Grade 3/4 White from St John’s Catholic School in Richmond, class 5G from Maroubra Junction Public School, Miss Grava’s 4G class from Our Lady of Lourdes school in Baulkham Hills, the Year 4/5/6 class at Walpole Primary School, and class 3/4W from Balgownie Public School.


The S’Quiz Answers:

  1. Scotland
  2. Melbourne Storm
  3. China and Russia