Thursday, 16 September, 2021

History-making space flight; New name for New Zealand; when whales walked the Earth; and why it’s good to argue.



Walking whale:


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It’s a big day for rocket enthusiasts and lovers of space today, as the first space tourists in the world prepare for lift off. 

All going well – and providing the weather gods are smiling – the SpaceX rocket ship will blast off from a place called Cape Canaveral in the United States, taking it with it four paying customers. 

It’s like a plane ride, or a bus trip – but with zero gravity. 

It’s the first time in the history of space travel that the astronauts in the spaceship has been entirely made up of civilians. What’s a civilian? It’s an ordinary person like you or me. Normally, astronauts are fighter pilots or specially trained members of the military whose job it is to go into space.

On today’s flight will be a businessman, a professor, an engineer and a medical specialist. It’s being described as the beginning of the space tourism era – which is to say, one day in the not too distant future, travelling in a rocket ship into space could be as common as it is today to travel on a plane to another country.

The four citizen astronauts will spend three days in space – spinning around the Earth far above our heads – at an altitude of about  575 kms. Altitude is a measurement of how high something is above ground level.

And in another piece of history, the captain of this space flight is Dr Sian Proctor .. who will become the first Black woman to ever pilot a spacecraft.

If you look up into the night’s sky in the next few days and catch a glimpse of the rocket spinning above you, be sure to give it a Squiz Kids Salute.  



Each day we give the world globe a spin and find a news story from wherever it stops, and today we’ve landed in Aotearoa… which is what we’ll be officially calling New Zealand, if a petition to change the country’s name is successful. A petition is when people collect signatures in support of something, then submit their request to authorities. This particular one collected more than 25,000 signatures in its first day. It was started by the Maori party—you probably already know this, but the Maori are the indigenous people of New Zealand. They were living there long before Europeans arrived, just like Aboriginal people were in Australia.  

The Maori Party is asking the New Zealand government to change not only the name of the country, but also the names of cities, towns, and places back into Te Reo Maori, which is an official language of New Zealand. Their goal is to expose more people to Maori language and culture. Prime Minister Jacinta Ardern hasn’t commented on the petition yet, but she has said in the past that she welcomes people using the name Aotearoa. We’ll have to wait and see if it becomes official.




Whales … gentle giants of the oceans, right? Great lumbering beasts that move with grace in water, but are stranded out of it.

Well, that wasn’t always the case, according to Egyptian paleontologists, who have uncovered the remains of a whale that walked the Earth some 42 million years ago. 

With its long snout, four legs, sharp teeth and powerful bite – the prehistoric whale walker was a fearsome hunter and would eat pretty much any animal it could chase down and sink its teeth into – on land or in the sea. 

It’s believed the ancient whales lived on the edge of the sea – hunting in and around the water. Eventually though, over a period thought to have been about 10 million years, they moved deeper and deeper into the water and evolved into the swimming-only creatures we know today.

I’ve stuck a link in your episode notes to an artist’s impression of the walking whale. 




A today we’re giving a great big Squiz Kids Salute to arguments.

Not pull-each-other’s-hair and shout-each-other-down arguments. But thoughtful, reasonable, quiet differences of opinion that lead to discussion and debate.

The release of a new book yesterday, arguing in favour of polite arguments, revealed that the Wright brothers – who are widely regarded as the ‘fathers of human flight’ – which is to say, they invented the very first planes that allowed humans to fly – were raised in a household in which arguments at the dinner table were encouraged.

The brothers’ father would give them a topic each night at dinner – and make one brother argue one side of the argument, and the other brother argue the other side of the argument … and then swap.

It’s called debating – and maybe you do it at school. And rather than it being about trying to force someone to believe something, it’s an exercise in stretching the brain and allowing yourself to be open to new possibilities and new ways of thinking. And that’s something I will argue until i am blue in the face that we could all do with more of. 




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

  1. What is the name of the brothers who are widely recognised as the inventors of the first aeroplanes? 
  2. In which country have paleontologists found the remains of a walking whale?
  3. A petition has been started in New Zealand to change the country’s name to what?




It’s September 16 .. it’s Nick Jonas birthday … it’s also Independence Day in Papua New Guinea, and Yom Kippur – an important holiday in the Jewish calendar.

It’s also a special day for these Squiz Kids celebrating a birthday today … 

Beau from Hughenden, Lily from Fadden, Hugo from Bolwarra, Neve from Perth, Annabel from The Rock, Lilly from North Strathfield, Finn from Albany Hills, Jackson from New Farm, Lachlan from Lower Mitcham, Olivia from Abbotsford, Mitchell from Geraldton, Cameron from Tyabb and Ella from Hamlyn Heights.

And belated birthday shout outs go to ….Mickey and Koby from Five Dock.

Plus!!  … Because our friends in Melbourne, Canberra and most of NSW are in lockdown – we’re sending out Home Learning Herograms ….and as this is the last week of term 3 we wanted to include as many classroom herogram’s as possible – so we’re going to test run a little Lockdown background music … hit it …

And it’s a home learning herogram to… 

Years 5 & 6 and Miss Wade at Trinity Catholic School in Harden;  to stage 2, Mr Smith, Mrs Smith and Mr Gab at Beresfield Public School;

to all the teachers and students at Bolwarra Public School and also to the Grade 3 students at St Albans Meadows Primary School. 

Arthur and Isla would like to thank their teachers Mrs Wilson, Mrs Thatcher and Mrs Arjona at St Brigid’s Catholic Primary School in Gwynneville. 

Izzy, Rosie and Ruby send a shout out to all their friends and teachers at Gladesville Public School.  And Saxon sends a home learning shout out to his class KW at Bletchington Public School in Orange.  Herograms go to Mr Scott from Spring Terrace Public School also in Orange, to classes 6E & 6K at Kiama Public School and to class 4D and Miss Hall at Truganina College in Victoria.  

Lastly to class 5 Melaleuca from Westport Public School in Port Macquarie who have been patiently waiting all term for their shout out – your teacher Mrs Moore is very proud of your hard work during lockdown. 


The S’Quiz Answers:

  1. Wright Brothers
  2. Egypt
  3. Aotearoa