Thursday, 15 July, 2021

Lockdown extended for Sydney; exam cheats pardoned; Usain Bolt beaten by a computer; and Mando dominates



Usain Bolt vs. Lady on Couch:

Naomi Osaka’s Barbie:





We thought it would happen, and now it’s official: the lockdown for Greater Sydney and surrounding regions has been extended until at least 30 July, meaning that school kids there will be doing at least the first three weeks of Term 3 remotely. What a bummer. And Victoria is on high alert after 8 new local cases were reported in Melbourne. This Delta variant of the coronavirus is definitely making things tricky, because it’s so contagious. 

And it’s not just Australia that’s worried about it – it’s also causing case numbers to rise again in the United States, after months of decline. 

And in France yesterday, more than one MILLION people made vaccination appointments in just one day, after the government announced that, starting next month, people wanting to go to a restaurant, shopping mall, or get on a plane or train would have to show a pass proving that they were vaccinated, or had recently tested negative. 

So even though COVID is causing a lot of problems it is also prompting some positive action… And sometimes you’ve gotta look at the positives in a tough situation…  



Each day we give the world globe a spin and find a news story from wherever it stops .. and today we’ve landed in Algeria, North Africa, where yesterday the President pardoned dozens of high school students who had been jailed for cheating on their exams. 

Yes, you heard me right. Kids in their final year of high school were caught cheating on their final exams, and were put in jail a few weeks back. President Abdelmadjid Tebboune decided yesterday to release them in time for them to spend the Muslim holiday, Eid, with their families. 

Cheating on exams has been a huge problem in Algeria for the last five years. After massive scandals in 2016 and 2017, when students had shared leaked questions and answers on social media, the government responded by shutting down the entire internet for the whole country during the five day exam period. That’s what’s happened every year since then, but even so, at least 64 people were charged with cheating this year, and they were sent to jail. Yikes. 




When you hear the name Usain Bolt, what do you think? Fastest man in the world? 100m world record holder? Olympic gold medallist, eight times over? Pride of Jamaica? 

I bet you didn’t think … Used Cars. 

But yesterday, Usain Bolt came out of retirement to run one race, which was really an advertisement for the American company CarMax, which buys and sells used cars online. 

CarMax launched a campaign saying that it would give people “Usainly fast offers” for their used cars, and challenged Usain to an 800m race. His competitor? A customer, who had to get an online quote for selling her car before Usain crossed the finish line. 

And so they both did some stretches at the starting line, then the customer sat down with her smart phone and Usain started running. 

A big clue that this wasn’t really a race is that there was no clock or official time. And it seemed awfully convenient that Usain crossed the line just seconds after the customer got her quote. 

The race was live streamed on Usain’s facebook page – I’ve put a link in your episode notes. 

Speaking of famous athletes, tennis champ Naomi Osaka also turned her athletic appeal into commercial success this week, when a Barbie doll in her likeness sold out within hours of launching. Holding a tennis racket and wearing the same outfit Naomi wore when she won the Australian Open this year, the doll cost US$29.99. Naomi did not play in this year’s French Open or Wimbledon for mental health reasons, but she’s expected to take the court again in front of a home crowd at the Tokyo Olympics. There’s a link in your episode notes if you’d like to check her out in Barbie form. . 



Star Wars and Marvel fans, rejoice! 

The Mandalorian, Disney’s series about a Bounty Hunter in the Star Wars universe, won 24 Emmy nominations yesterday, tied for highest nominations with the Netflix series The Crown—which is a drama about the British royal family. 

The Emmys are the most prestigious TV awards in America. The second highest nominations were for Wandavision, which is part of the Marvel universe… and also owned by Disney. So, it was a great day for Disney. 

The winners will be announced in September. This is the way. 



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

  1. Which country announced that a vaccination pass would be required to go to a restaurant? 
  2. What sold out within hours of launching this week? 
  3. It’s always a bad idea to cheat on exams. But where can you go to jail for it? 



It’s July 15 … and on this day in 1799, the Rosetta Stone was discovered. Basically, imagine a gigantic stone dictionary, with the same decree carved into it in Egyptian hieroglyphics, Egyptian script, and Ancient Greek. Before it was discovered, no one knew what the ancient Egyptian symbols meant, so it was a key that unlocked the past. 

Today is also the birthday of kid actor Iain Armitage, who played Young Shaggy in Scoob!, and is starring in the upcoming Paw Patrol movie. 

It’s also a special day for these Squiz Kids celebrating a birthday today…Sarah and Stella from Albany Hills, Banjo from Freshwater, Jennifer and Koji from Abbotsford, Marcus from Templestowe, Lucy and Mia from Blackmans Bay and Josie from Cherry Brook.

Belated birthday returns go to Edie from Wahroonga, Momo from Abbotsford, Ivy from Camp Hill, Quinn from Cronulla and Ailyn who is listening to Squiz Kids all the way from The Maldives.

Classroom shout outs today go to…. 2T & 4B at Beecroft Primary School, Miss Barkers Year 4 class from St Brigids in Coonamble,  Class 3/4V at Stanmore Public School,  Class 3AD at Our Lady Queen of Peace in Greystanes, and finally Miss Hamilton’s 5/6 L Class at New Lambton Public School.


The S’Quiz Answers:

  1. France
  2. Naomi Osaka’s Barbie doll
  3. Algeria