Tuesday, May 12, 2020

School bells ring again; robot dogs patrol Singapore parks; Schoolboy skateboard sensation; and Lego Masters birthday cake.




Singapore’s robot dog:


Brazilian skateboarder:


Hamish’s amazing birthday cake:







Can you hear that? It’s the distant ring of the school bell … signalling that school’s back – and the learning-at-home regime brought about by the coronavirus is coming to an end. Of course, if you’re a school kid in WA or South Australia or the Northern Territory – you’ve been back at school for over a week. But to your peers in NSW and Queensland – yesterday was the first day back on school grounds for many students – with hints from both of those state leaders that the resumption of normal schooling for all age groups is but weeks away. In Tassie, all primary kids will be back in a couple of weeks, and in the ACT, you’re going back over the coming three weeks. The odd one out is Victoria, where the government is finalising a plan to have kids back before the end of Term 2. 

Encouragingly, there was a hint yesterday from Victoria’s premier Daniel Andrews that kids sport could be set for a restart within the coming weeks – albeit with strict social distancing guidelines in place – limiting rebooted training sessions to 10 players at a time and with a strict ban on any contact. So tackling is out. 

And while that’s not ideal: consider this. The 67 million people who live in France were yesterday able to leave their apartments without a permit for the first time in weeks. So you know, everything is relative.




Each day we give the world globe a spin and find a news story from wherever it stops. And today we’ve landed in Singapore … where authorities have created a robot dog to make sure people are continuing to social distance.

Called Spot, and armed with cameras and sensors and a voice recording telling people to stay at least one metre away from one another, the robot has started patrolling a popular park in Singapore. 

The authorities there say it’s a safe way to keep Singaporeans safe during the pandemic – and a cost effective way to patrol parks without needing rangers to constantly pound the pavement. 

The same authorities were at pains to point out that Spot was not recording details of anyone it encountered, and that no data was being collected. 

If you’re a fan of robotics, news of Spot is possibly the best thing you’ll hear all week. If you’re even vaguely freaked out at the prospect of robots taking over the earth, maybe not so much.




The coronavirus lockdown has worked out pretty well for 11 year-old Brazilian schoolkid Gui Khury – who has just become the first skateboarder in history to perform a 1080 on a vertical ramp … 

A 1080 for those of you who don’t know – and yes, until yesterday, that included me – means launching off the lip of a skate bowl and doing three complete turns in mid-air before landing and skating cleanly away. 

Three full spins equals three times 360 degrees, equals 1080. That’s your home school maths lesson for the day.

Gui said he’s had plenty of time to practice since schools were closed in his home town of Curitiba.

Breaking records is something of a habit for the 11 year-old. Three years ago he became the youngest person to perform a 900 – which is two-and-half mid-air spins – at the ripe old age of eight. 

How did Gui celebrate? With a meal of mac and cheese. Simple tastes. I like his style.  




All that hanging around with Lego Masters seems to be paying off for TV host Hamish Blake – who has once again set the internet alight with his cake making skills.

Each year, Hamish is set a birthday cake-making challenge by his son Sonny. And this year, it was to create the Cave of Wonders from Aladdin.

Which – if you know anything about Aladdin and/or anything about cake making, is no small feat. The Lego Masters host pulled it off with aplomb – complete with purple icing and a cave that lit up from inside. Well played, sir. Well played. There’s a link to a photo of the finished product – and a very happy six year old – in today’s episode notes. 




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

  1. What’s the name of the robot dog patrolling parks in Singapore?
  2. In which sport did an 11 year-old Brazilian kid just ‘do a 1080’? 
  3. What popular TV show does Aussie comedian Hamish Blake host?

(answers below)




Today’s birthday shoutouts… Amber from Kings Langley, Elsie from Croppa Creek, Jimmy from Ascot Vale, Gemma from Tingalpa, Lily from Albion Park, Peter and Arki from Abbotsford, Jasmine from Engadine

Jazz, Luciana and Caitlin from Melbourne, Hermes and Cassidian from Sydney, Alliyah from Redlynch, Ollie from Marion, Max from Launceston, Annabel from Lane Cove, Oscar from Coogee, Theo from Walpole, Niviara from Gooloogong and Peter from Loftus. 

 And some belated birthday shoutouts… Noah from Cairns, Nevena from Epping and Helena from Sydney. 

Happy birthday one and all.

Classroom shoutouts…4/5MI at Como West Public School, Sacred Heart Catholic School in Cabramatta, 5 Yellow at St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School in Enfield, Mrs Stokol’s 5/6 class at Lysterfield Primary School, and Burwood Public School.

The S’Quiz Answers:

  1. Spot
  2. Skateboarding
  3. Lego Masters