Thursday, 29 July, 2021

Aussie gold rush rolls on; the world’s biggest sapphire; searching for aliens; and Pokemon: the TV series.



World’s largest sapphire:

The asteroid from another solar system:

International Tiger Day:


Squiz Kids Instagram:

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Sixty seven minutes was all it took yesterday for Australian athletes to win five Olympic medals … including another three glorious gold.

It was all about our rowers yesterday as the men’s and women’s coxless fours both stormed home in their respective events to win gold.

What in the wide world of sports is a coxless four? It’s four people rowing in a boat, without a cox. In rowing, a cox is a person who sits at the end of the boat shouting instructions to help the rowers keep time and pace.

First it was the Aussie women rowers who edged out the Netherlands to claim the gold medal. Then it was the turn of our men’s team, who took an early lead in their race and kept Italy and Great Britain at bay to cross the line first. 

Attention then swung back to the swimming pool – where Ariarne Titmus claimed her second gold medal of the Games, once again beating America’s Katie Ledecky in the 200 metre finals. I reckon she can probably have a rest now ..

And before anyone at home had time to catch their breath, the Aussie men’s and women’s men’s 4 x 200 metre relay team turned in a strong swim to claim a bronze medal.

Here’s a fun fact: all of the medals we’ve won so far at these Olympics have been either in the water or on the water … perhaps not surprising for an island nation … a country that’s girt by sea … And yes. That’s a deliberate reference to the Aussie anthem – ‘cos seriously, where else would you ever use that word?




Each day we give the world globe a spin and find a news story from wherever it stops. And today we’ve landed in Sri Lanka, the island nation off India, where the world’s biggest sapphire cluster has been found, by accident .. in someone’s backyard. 

A sapphire is a precious gemstone, and they’re often found in clusters. This one’s a whopper: weighing in at 510 kilograms, it’s said to be worth $100 million dollars. 

It was found in the backyard of a man living in the city of Ratnapura, which – happily enough – means “City of Gems” in the local language. The massive gem stone was stumbled upon by men who were digging a well – which is a hole that is dug to access water. Dig for water, find a sapphire – win-win.

Sri Lanka earned about half a billion dollars exporting gems last year. Even so, it took about a year to clean and value the cluster. 

And get this .. it’s one very old rock. Experts say the Serendipity Sapphire, as it’s been called, is about 400 million years old. “Serendipity” is a word  that means finding good fortune when you’re not expecting it… which pretty much sums up the whole stumbling upon a massive sapphire in your backyard scenario. 

There’s a link to photos of the mega-sapphire in today’s episode notes. 



Hold onto your hats Pokemon fans .. there’s talk in TV land that a live-action Pokemon series may be in the works.

According to reports yesterday, the big streaming company, Netflix, has been having a chin-wag with Nintendo – the company that makes Pokemon. And the discussion has been all about bringing Pikachu and friends to a small screen near you. What’s a small screen? That’s another way of describing a television … the cinema is the big screen, and the TV is the small screen. Not sure what that makes the phone and Ipad screens – but anyway. 

There’s no news yet on when it might be released, but it’s thought that with Netflix recently announcing its soon going to be offering mobile games, the Pokemon and Nintendo collaboration would be a no-brainer.



You’ve seen the movie Megamind, right? Or Monsters v Aliens? Stranger Things? Maybe you’ve sat with your parents and watched the movie ‘ET: The Extra Terrestrial’? Then you’d know that for as long as humans have walked the Earth we’ve looked up into the night sky and wondered if there are other life forms out there. Well, a bunch of scientists in the United States are planning to redouble their efforts to find out once and for all. They’ve launched a new research project that will look for evidence of alien technology. And one of the things they’re focussing on is a strange shaped rock that entered our solar system four years ago, called Oumuamua – which is Hawaiian for ‘new visitor’. The asteroid came from a different galaxy, is shaped like no other asteroid we’ve ever seen and behaves like no other asteroid we’ve ever seen – including accelerating through space at odd intervals. Could it be evidence of alien technology? A sort of spaceship, even? There’s a link in today’s episode notes to a cool video explainer of Oumuamua … how spooky!




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

  1. Australia won two gold medals in the coxless fours event yesterday: what sport does this event belong to?
  2. What sort of enormous, precious gemstone was found in a Sri Lankan backyard?
  3. Which popular online game might be being made into a TV series?




It’s July 29 .. International Tiger Day … roar!! … a day dedicate to these most beautiful big cats and efforts that are being undertaken by conservationists to save them from extinction .. check out the link in today’s episode notes. 

It’s also a special day for these Squiz Kids celebrating a birthday today .. Jeremy from Ashmont, Hayley from Cannon Hill, Tom from Mansfield, Brady from Croydon Park, Sophie from Ashbury, Jared from Balgownie, Archie from Fig Tree and Max from Western Australia.

Belated birthday shout outs go to …Xanthe from Kensington, Marley from Preston, Sebastian from Jindalee, Katelyn from Perth and twins Farid & Faud from Ashmont.

Plus!!  … Because our friends in Greater Sydney are in lockdown at the moment – we’re sending out Home Learning Herograms ..  

Starting with Mrs Karpik, Miss Swain and Miss Nasr who want to send a herogram to the Grade 3 Students from St Christopher’s Catholic Primary School in Holsworthy  – they are incredibly proud of their students and their positive attitudes during a really hard time. 

There’s another herogram here for Miss LeRay of class 6L at Lakes Grammar School for helping the kids get through homeschooling.

And Matilda in 3M at Marrickville Public School wants to send a herogram to Ms Cai and all the students doing online class collaborations which are keeping each other happy during the Greater Sydney lockdown.

And not forgetting a few classroom shout outs to those of you not in lockdown … Miss Dunlop and Miss McKendry’s 3/4 class at Hinton Public School,  Mrs Hicks and the 5/6 Dragonfly Class of Corowa South Public School, Miss Rees’ Year 3/4 Class from St. Patricks Primary School in Bega and lastly Miss Barker’s Year 4 Class at St Brigids Primary School in Coonamble. 


The S’Quiz Answers:

  1. Rowing
  2. Sapphire
  3. Pokemon