Thursday, 2 December, 2021

Economic bounce on the cards; the world’s most overdue library book, Matildas hold their own; and why ducklings swim in a line.



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There was a glimmer of good news among the COVID headlines yesterday, as there was evidence the Australian economy performed better in the past few months than was widely expected. 

Gross domestic product or GDP as it’s called, is a measure of how much value has been added to the economy over a period of time. The more that GDP grows, the healthier the economy and – at in theory at least – the better off we are as a country.

And in the three months leading up to September, that number shrank by only 1.9 percent. And while something shrinking that’s meant to be growing may not sound like a good thing, the shrinkage was a lot smaller than economists expected – what with all the COVID lockdowns we’ve had and the impact that’s had on stuff being made and bought and sold. 

It’s a little bit like celebrating the fact you got a D on your report card instead of an F … or at least that’s how it seemed yesterday as economists said things were looking up for next year, and that the economy was in good shape for a rebound. So huzzah to that! 



Each day we give the world globe a spin, and find a news story from wherever it stops. And today we’ve landed in Boise, Idaho – which is in the middle of the United States of America – where a library book that was borrow ed 111 years ago has been returned.

The librarians in the Boise public library tweeted a photo of the book – called The New Chronicles of Rebecca – noting that the overdue fine when the book was borrowed in 1910 was two cents a day – and given the book was 111 years overdue – that meant a fine of over $800. But they were just happy to have the book back and dismissed the fine. 

The New Chronicles of Rebecca must either be a really long book, or have been borrowed by a really slow reader. 




A question mark continues to hang over where exactly in Australia the fifth Test of the upcoming Ashes cricket competition will be held. It was supposed to be staged in Perth – but state border closures there and COVID restrictions mean none of the players can get there. Melbourne’s MCG and Sydney’s SCG have both put their hands up – eager to host the series of games.

Meanwhile the Matildas have made up for their three-nil loss on the weekend to world champion women’s soccer stars, Team USA by drawing one all in Newcastle on Tuesday night. A goal in the last two minutes of play by Kyah Simon equalised the game for the Aussies.

It wasn’t quite as close a game when Latvia took on England in the World Cup qualifier yesterday in the UK. England won 20-0. Ouch. 

The Womens’ World Cup will be held in Australia in 2023 – and it will be a feast of excellent soccer action … and yes, you may officially start getting excited … 




Ever wondered why ducklings swim in a row behind their Mum? No – it’s not that their Year 1 teacher was super strict about lining up properly to get to assembly. It’s all about physics. 

Physics is the branch of science that deals with motion, energy, and matter. And when those fuzzy little ducklings swim behind their mama, they’re saving a lot of energy! A researcher built a computer model that simulated the waves created by a mother duck swimming, and realised that if a duckling was in just the right spot, it’d be able to ride the waves created by mum’s kicking, and not need to kick as much itself. And because sharing is caring, each duckling in the row passes the waves along to the next… as long as they pay attention, keep up, and stay in line. If they get distracted, they fall behind and have to work harder. Which, come to think of it, does sound like something my year 1 teacher would have said.




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

  1. What was the name of the book returned 111 years after it was borrowed?
  2. What does the abbreviation GDP stand for in economic speak?
  3. Which two Aussie cricket grounds are vying to host the fifth Ashes test?




It’s December 2 .. birthday of pop star Britney Spears and rugby league player Payne Haas … and safe to say a birthday is pretty much all those two have in common.

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

Luke from Cannon Hill, George from Melbourne, Lewis from Glen Innes, Jordi from Albany Hills, Asher from Abbotsford, Renee from Bonnyrigg, Anais from Western Australia and a special birthday shout out to Holly in Graceville – who has been very patiently waiting to receive her prize for the recent Andy Griiffiths competition. 

Classroom shout outs today go to…class 4P at Queanbeyan Public School, class Koalas at Franklin School in Canberra, class 4M at Birkdale State School and to class 2/3T at Vacy Public School, to class 4/3A and Miss Ashcroft at Wilkins Public School in Marrickville and to Grade 5 and Mr Marini at Mount Waverley Heights Primary School. Finally the students in class 3 Carr/Sutherland at Santa Sabina College in Strathfield, wish their teacher Mr Carr all the best for his move to the mountains and to thank him for being an amazing teacher. 


The S’Quiz Answers:

  1. The New Chronicles of Rebecca
  2. Gross Domestic Product
  3. MCG and SCG