Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Who runs our neighbourhood?; Peru’s giant desert cat; Lachie Neale and Mwai Kumwenda’s modest beginnings; and why magpies don’t swoop in Tassie.



Giant cat in Peruvian desert: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/oct/18/huge-cat-found-etched-desert-nazca-lines-peru

Big City Birds project: https://www.spotteron.com/bigcitybirds/info

Squiz Kids Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/squizkids/?hl=en

Got a birthday coming up and you want a shout-out? Send us an email at [email protected]






Who’s in charge of our neighbourhood? That was the question that was answered yesterday when the Lowy Institute released its Asia Power Index.

So, you know that Australia is its own continent, right? The closest continent to us – with the exception of Antartica – is Asia – and what happens there is really important to us as a country. And who has the greatest influence in Asia is also really important.

According to the Lowy Institute – which is what’s called a think tank, which is a bunch of smart people sitting around producing reports like these – the dominant country in Asia is still the United States (which is impressive given it is a long way away from Asia) – but that by the end of this decade, China will have overtaken it. 

Where does Australia sit on the league table of influential nations in Asia? We’re currently sitting at sixth place – ahead of South Korea and Singapore, but behind Japan, India and Russia.

There’s your fix of geopolitics for the day. You’re welcome.  




Each day we give the world globe a spin and find a news story from wherever it stops … and today, we’ve landed in the deserts of Peru – in South America – where researchers have uncovered a giant cat on the side of a hill. 

A drawing of a giant cat, that has been scratched into the side of a hill and forms part of one of that country’s most famous tourist attractions, the Nazca Lines.

Named after the Nazca tribe who lived there over 2000 years ago, the lines criss cross the desert in elaborate patterns – and in many cases, form massive figures in the dust – a monkey, a bird, a spider and now a cat. 

The discovery was made last month and the etching gradually restored in the past couple of weeks. There’s a link in today’s episode notes to this reminder of how amazing human civilization has been through the ages.




A special sports-themed edition of Squiz Kids Salutes today as we recognise the humble beginnings of two of Australia’s newly crowned sporting greats.

It’s a big salute to AFL player Lachie Neale – who was yesterday basking in the glory of winning the Brownlow Medal for the league’s best and fairest player in 2020.

Neale comes from a tiny town on the South Australia and Victorian border, called Kybybolite – with a population of 107. From playing with the Kyby Tigers local footy club, to being the recipient of the prestigious Brownlow – Lachie’s is a remarkable story of just how far skill, passion and dedication can take you.

So too is the story of netball’s newest star, Mwai Kumwenda. The Melbourne Vixens goal shooter was so important in her team’s victory in Sunday’s grand final – shooting 47 goals from 50 attempts – that she won the Most Valuable Player award. 

Mwai started playing netball in her home country of Malawi – in Africa – where she played on dirt courts using a netball made from melted plastic bags. 

Passion, skill and dedication – she’s got it in spades – and we salute her too. 




Two native birds rate a mention in today’s Animal Kingdoom – cockies and magpies.

Let’s start with cockies – after the news yesterday that an Australia-wide community project has been launched to study the cockatoo and the ways it has adapted to living alongside humans. Called the Big City Bird Project, it is calling on all amateur bird watchers in big cities to report on the behaviour of certain bird species, including the cockie, and how they’ve adapted to living in urban areas. Did you know that cockies are thought to be at least as intelligent as chimpanzees? There’s a link in today’s episode notes to the Big City Bird Project. 

And in other bird news … did you know that magpies swoop Aussies in every state except Tasmania? Of the 3000 or so magpie swooping attacks recorded in Australia last year, only one of them occurred in Tasmania. Bird experts have no explanation as to why. Maybe it’s because life is generally more chill down Tassie way.




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

  1. In which South American country are the Nazca Lines?
  2. Name the winner of AFL’s Brownlow Medal.
  3. Which Aussie bird is thought to be at least as intelligent as a chimpanzee?




It’s October 20 … International Chef’s Day – where people all over the world celebrate the important role that food and the people whose job it is to prepare it play in our lives. Mmmm food…. Give it up for a chef near you today people. 

It’s also only 66 sleeps ‘til Christmas … eeek!

Plus it’s a special day for these Squiz Kids celebrating a birthday today … Matilda from Dubbo, Joshua from Canberra, Hayden from Madora Bay, Takaiden from Wallacia , Sarah from Holland Park, Jaydah from St Helens Park, Cameron from Kempsey, Jacob from Wahroonga, Eleanor from Albury, Timo from Ashwood, Eve from Kew East, Arabella from Ashgrove, Alexa from Paralowie, Jordan from Elderslie and Fred from Norman Park.

Today’s belated birthday shoutouts go to… John from Camp Hill, Charbel from Sydney, Stephanie and Alicia from Ringwood East, Hamish from  Bolton Point and Ava, Charlotte and Oskar from Murwillumbah. 

 Happy birthday one and all!

Classroom shoutouts… 4C from Balgowlah North Public School ,

5/6W at Coolah Central School, Mrs Ritchie’s Year 3 class at Merredin College in WA, 5/6H at Beresfield Public School, Class 1A at Haileybury Brighton, where their teacher Mrs Anderson is celebrating a birthday today — and finally, 2T at Berowra Public School – with their super dooper replacement teacher, Ms Dewar. 

The S’Quiz Answers:

  1. Peru
  2. Lachie Neale
  3. Cockatoo