Tuesday, 28 February, 2023

Fighting cyber crime; China’s population problem; a sad anniversary; and Nepal’s Kung Fu nuns.


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Today’s Quick Links: 

Kung Fu Nuns homepage: https://www.kungfununs.org/ 

Two days with the Kung Fu nuns: https://www.nytimes.com/2023/02/26/world/asia/nepal-kung-fu-nuns.html 


Dig Deeper: 

10 Careers in Cyber security: https://www.coderacademy.edu.au/blog/career-tips/top-10-careers-in-cyber-security 

Australia’s plastic problem: https://www.smh.com.au/national/redcycle-declared-insolvent-but-plastic-stockpiles-under-control-of-supermarket-giants-20230227-p5cns1.html



China’s population problem: https://www.pbs.org/newshour/show/how-chinas-population-decline-could-alter-the-global-economy

Lismore, one year later: https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2023/feb/20/the-never-ending-fallout-of-the-lismore-floods-people-are-just-worn-down 


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Australia needs some new, crime-fighting superheroes… and YOU could be one of them! The federal government announced yesterday that it was creating a national cyber office, and hiring a cyber security coordinator, in its efforts to make Australia the most cyber secure nation in the world by 2030. 


What does cyber secure mean? Cyber security is the practice of defending computers, servers, mobiles, data, and other electronic systems from malicious attacks. You might remember that last year, there were two massive hacking attacks on the Australian companies Optus and Medibank Private, which resulted in thousands of Australians’ private information being made public. Not good. 


As we conduct more and more of our business online, keeping our information private is absolutely crucial. We all know that we should keep our passwords to ourselves, but there’s not much the average consumer can do to make sure that the companies who HAVE our information keep it safe. So the new cyber office, as well as all big companies, are going to need to employ a LOT of computer experts to keep Australians’ info safe. How old will you be in 2030? Probably old enough to have picked your year 11 and 12 subjects… maybe you’ll even be at uni… If you love computers and coding, you might want to think about cyber security as a career! 


While we’re talking about careers, Australia also needs some clever scientists to think of a new way to recycle soft plastic. Remember how Coles and Woolies used to have big bins out the front to collect plastic bags and wrappers for recycling? And maybe you’ve noticed those bins aren’t there anymore? That’s because the company they were sending the plastic had secretly stored more than 124,000 tonnes of plastic, instead of recycling it. The supermarkets have now agreed to take the plastic back, and hold onto it – in storage – until a new method of recycling can be found. Hmm… cyber crime fighter … recycling innovator…  so many interesting jobs to choose from! 



Each day we give the world globe a spin and find a news story from wherever it stops, and today we’ve landed in China, where there’s been a lot of talk lately about where babies come from… or to be precise, where MORE babies could come from. You see, China’s population is shrinking – even though it’s the world’s biggest, with 1.4 billion-with-a-B citizens.

Back in the 1970s, the Chinese government was so worried about being able to feed and support its huge population that it told people they could ONLY have one child, and ONLY if they were married. It’s hard for us to imagine here in Australia that a government could control those kinds of private choices, but for decades, that’s how it was in China.  


But now, China needs more young people to keep the country going. First, the government lifted its one-child policy to allow two children… then three… and this month, a new policy took effect  in some parts of the country, allowing people to have as many children as they want – including people who aren’t married. But China is one of the most expensive countries in the world to raise a child, and so far, most young people are saying Bù, xièxiè. Which means no, thank you. 




Today is the one-year anniversary of the first of the devastating floods that hit northern NSW and south east Queensland last year. Those floods set a lot of records that no one wants to hold: for example, the floods were the most expensive disaster in Australian history, and the second-most expensive disaster in the WORLD last year for insurance companies. 


People pay for insurance so that if disaster strikes – like fire, or flood – the insurance company will give them money to rebuild their house, or shop. And those companies paid out more than $5 billion to people affected by the floods. 


One year later, many flood victims still have not gotten their lives back. A survey released this month found that just over half were living in the unfinished shells of their flooded homes, one quarter were in caravans, sheds, or with friends and family; and almost one in five were in tents or temporary shelter.  One half, plus one quarter, plus one fifth… that doesn’t leave very many people fully recovered, does it?  




What are three action words that you associate with “kung fu”? I’m going to go with punch… kick… and fight. 


Okay, now how about three words that you associate with “nuns”. Hmmm. Quiet… calm… spiritual. 


The two things don’t seem to have much in common, but believe it or not, the Himalayan nation of Nepal is home to a religious group known as the Kung Fu Nuns. They are a group of Buddhist women who are fighting for gender equality within their religion. For centuries, while male monks were leading prayers, the nuns were only allowed to cook and clean the temples. But the Kung Fu nuns’ believe their martial arts skills prove that they are mentally and physically just as capable as men. Each day, they swap their red religious robes for kung fu uniforms, and battle with swords, machetes, nunchucks – now there’s an appropriate name – and more! Since 2008, about 800 nuns have completed the toughen-up training. On top of that, the Kung Fu nuns are also fighting for the environment—walking for hours to pick up plastic, leading prayers about climate change, and cycling thousands of kilometres to promote green transport. 


They are some seriously awesome women – I’ll put links to pictures and video in your episode notes. 



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


  1. Coles and Woolies are about to receive thousands of tonnes of what?
  2. Which Himalayan country are the Kung Fu nuns based in? 
  3. Which country’s government is trying to convince people to have more babies? 





It’s February 28 – and on this day in 1935, nylon was invented. Nylon is a type of plastic used to make rope, fishing line, swimmers, raincoats, and much, much more. It was originally intended as a cheap alternative to silk, but nowadays, it’s basically everywhere. 


And it’s a special day for these Squiz Kids celebrating a birthday today… 

Reed from Forde, Mia from Oran Park, Gracelyn from Lake Bolac, Elliot from Camden Park, Jojo from Carlingford, Harrison from Ormiston, Abby from Cherrybrook, Mikayla from Bayswater, Taylor from Hawker, Marshall P from Burpengary, Jett from Floraville and Andrew-Michael from McKinnon. 


Belated shoutouts go to… Andreas from Brisbane, Vedan from Hornsby, Ekta from Cannon Hill, Sadie from Bathurst, Molly from Paddington, Georgia and DJ from Orange and, an extra special belated birthday to Teddy, from Nowhere Creek. In case you’re wondering, Nowhere Creek is Somewhere… it’s a tiny town in the Victorian goldfields, about two hours north west of Melbourne. I love learning about new places! Thanks, Teddy!  


Classroom shoutouts go to…class 4P at Floraville Public School, class 5/6B and Miss Baker at ​​Toukley Public School, grade 2 with Mrs B and Mr H at Lake Bolac College, Year 5 and Mr Makeham at Saint Patrick’s Catholic Primary School in Gundagai, class LA10 with Alexis at Richmond West Primary School and lastly to class 5/6OH with Mr Onans and Miss Horsford at Freshwater Christian College in Cairns. 


The S’Quiz Answers:

  1. Soft plastic
  2. Nepal
  3. China