Thursday, 28 July, 2022

Aussies go for gold at the Commonwealth Games; Polish scientist declares war on cats; Space junk falls to Earth; and why pigs like to dance.



Brisbane Olympics – Digital Time Capsule 


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On your marks… get set… it’s a GO for the Commonwealth Games! 

The green and gold athletic army is on the march again, this time to Birmingham, England, where the twenty-second Commonwealth Games get underway today. Well, here in Australia the opening ceremony is VERY early tomorrow morning, but over in Birmingham, it will still be today. 

Sports lovers here in Oz will be getting up early and going to bed late for the next 11 days, watching what promises to be Australia’s best Commonwealth Games yet. This week’s Shortcut is all about it, so if you haven’t already, jump in and have a listen – there’s a link in your episode notes to a free trial of our special Squiz Kids subscriber content. Amanda and Claire will fill you in on WHAT, exactly, the Commonwealth is – the answer to that will surprise most of you—HOW these games are different from the Olympics; and WHO to watch in the Aussies’ chase for gold. 

What makes the Commonwealth Games different from ANY other  international multi-sport events is that para-sport is integrated. That means that athletes with disabilities are competing at the same games, and at the same times as able bodied athletes. 

So if you have a ticket to, say, the swimming on Day One, you’ll be watching the able-bodied and para swimmers. And every medal won by a para-athlete counts towards their country’s overall total… which is good for Australia, because we have para-athletes like Ellie Cole in the pool, Madison de Rozario on the track, cyclist Jess Gallagher, powerlifters ​​Hani Watson and Ben Wright, and many, many more. The Aussie team’s motto for these games is “Bold in Gold” … at the last games, our team of 469 athletes won a total of 198 medals, including 80 golds… let’s see what our 435 athletes do over the next 11 days. 


Each day we give the world globe a spin and find a news story from wherever it stops .. and today we’ve landed in Poland .. where a scientist has gotten himself in hot water for declaring war on kitty cats. 

To get yourself in hot water is an expression that means to get yourself into trouble. Which is what has happened to a Polish scientist from the country’s main research institute who has declared the domestic cat an ‘invasive species’ – claiming they kill 140 million birds in Poland each year. 

Understandably, there are a lot of cat owners in Poland who are none too happy their moggy has been declared an invasive species …. Which is the scientific name given to a species whose impact on ecosystems is so destructive it is considered a pest. 

In a TV debate last week, the scientist admitted he was a dog owner … but said he had nothing against cats. 

I checked with my dog Louis to see what he thought – and he tells me he thinks all cats are pests. Except for Snuggles and Muffin next door – and Gaudi the curious cat down the road – and his old friend Biscuit. But the rest he says he can take or leave.



If you’ve got a bike helmet lying around, you might want to have it handy next week as large chunks of rocket ship could be crashing to Earth.

On Monday, China sent a rocket into space carrying a module of the space station it is building up above our heads. Now that the rocket has done its job and plonked the bit of space station into orbit – it has been left to fall back down to Earth.

That’s 20 tonnes worth of rocket we’re talking about – making its way back down to terra firma. 

Now, the average rhinoceros weighs half a tonne … so twenty tonnes of rocket falling to earth is roughly the equivalent of forty rhinos falling from the sky – which is kind of terrifying.

China has said they have no way of really knowing where exactly the space junk will fall – but hope that most of it will burn up on contact with the Earth’s atmosphere. Here’s hoping. 

Because of the science controlling these things, astronomers are pretty confident Australia is out of the strike zone of falling debris – so helmets shoudn’t be required – but cities like Lagos in Africa and Jakarta in neighbouring Indonesia might want to keep their eyes up next week. Fingers crossed… 



Pigs like to dance. And in the same way that pop music makes us move and groove while lullabies soothe us and send us to sleep – it’s exactly the same with pigs.

At least that’s the findings of a pig farmer in Belgium – who noticed when he played upbeat music to his pigs they wagged their tails danced around and generally seemed happier. The same farmer reckoned lullabies calmed his herd down at the end of the day. 

The findings have sparked interest from a bunch of Belgian scientists who want to see now if the farmer is right – and specifically whether pigs who dance to music each day are happier. 

The farmer reckons, however, his don’t like rock music at all. Pigs aren’t head bangers … you heard it here first. 




Before we get into the S’quiz, a quick message from the Australian  Olympic Committee… who are making a Digital Time Capsule of kids who dream of being part of the Brisbane 2032 Olympic & Paralympic Games

You know what a time capsule is, right? It’s something you create today, to look back on in ten, twenty, fifty or a hundred years’ time. 

And the Australian Olympic Committee wants YOU to record a video and submit it for inclusion in their Digital Time Capsule.

A video of you describing how you’d like to be a part of 2032 Games. 

It could be as an athlete, a volunteer, a team doctor, a dancer in the opening ceremony or even an engineer who helps to build the stadiums. There is a role for everyone to be a part of Brisbane 2032.

To be part of the Digital Time Capsule, you just need to upload your video to and voila! – you could be watching that video back in 10 years’ time. And kids, don’t forget to dream big! … I’ve stuck a link to the time capsule in today’s episode notes.”


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

  1. In which city in England will the Commonwealth Games take place?
  2. Which country owns the rocket that’s expected to crash to Earth next week?
  3. In which European country has a farmer discovered that pigs like to dance?




It’s July 28 … an historic day for Australian television as the last ever episode of the long running soap opera Neighbours goes to air. It’s all happening tonight on Channel 10 – expect to see the likes of Margot Robbie, Kylie Minogue and Delta Goodrem, all former Neighbours stars, making a special appearance tonight … 

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

Ben from Ashmore, Tayte from Blacktown and Caleb from Craigburn.

A belated birthday shout out goes to Lucy also from Craigburn. 

And today’s classroom shoutouts are going to … Cannon Hill State School and the wonderful Mrs Phelan who is also celebrating a birthday today, to Grade 5 and Miss Tully at St Joseph’s School in Chinchilla, class 3/4 and Mrs Khalafs at Craigburn Primary School, Room 8 with Mr Johnston at Newton Primary School in Spearwood, class 3/4 and Mrs Kenny at Saint Thomas More Primary School in Mount Eliza and lastly a shout out to all the grade 2 students at Reddam House in Sydney. 


The S’Quiz Answers:

  1. Birmingham
  2. China
  3. Belgium