Wednesday, 16 September, 2020

Sydney Olympics remembered; the ship with no crew; Adelaide hosts its first State of Origin; and the search for life on Venus. 



Sydney Olympic flame:

Ship with no crew:

Squiz Kids Instagram:






If you happened to be wandering by Sydney Olympic Park yesterday and saw a massive cauldron suddenly alight with flames – there was no need for alarm.

It was simply a ceremony to mark the 20th anniversary of the start of the Sydney Olympics.

At every Olympics, the Olympic flame burns for the duration of the games in whatever creative flame-holder the host city devises. 

At yesterday’s anniversary ceremony the cauldron from the Sydney Olympics, which were held in the year 2000, was re-lit, in the presence of swimmer Ian Thorpe – who won three gold medals at the Sydney Olympics – and paralympian Louise Sauvage who won nine gold medals at four separate Paralympics in her chosen sport of racing. 

And while this year’s Olympic Games in Tokyo were cancelled due to COVID – there’s hope it will be good to go next year. And if the Olympic gods smile – we may even have the Olympics back on home soil in 2032 – with Brisbane among cities of the world hoping to host the planet’s biggest sporting event. 




Each day we give the world globe a spin and find a news story from wherever it stops … and today, we’ve landed in Plymouth, a port city in the United Kingdom, where a ship with no captain or crew is about to sail across the Atlantic Ocean to America.

Reports say it’s the world’s first Atlantic crossing by a ship controlled solely by the computers on board. Artificial intelligence – which is to say, computers that have been programmed to think and react like a human brain would – have complete control over the ship – and will navigate it the 5000 kilometres from the UK to the US. 

The computers have been programmed to recognise pretty much anything they might encounter at sea – including other boats, whales, seagulls, and even weather events – and make decisions accordingly on where to steer, how fast to travel and which course to take. 

There’s a link to an excellent video explainer in today’s episode notes. 




Squiz Kids in Adelaide – are you ready for a dose of rugby league State of Origin? Because though you may prefer your footy to be of the Aussie Rules variety – the people who run rugby league (the form of footy that’s much more popular in NSW and Queensland) is sending the biggest clash on its calendar your way.

State of Origin is the name given to the three-match series where the best rugby league players in the country pull on the blue jersey for NSW or the maroon jersey for Queensland, depending on which state they come from.

And yesterday it was announced it’s being played in South Australia for the first time in its history, when Adelaide Oval hosts the first game of the series on November 4. Which should give you South Australians just about enough time to study the rules and learn the difference between a dummy-half and a prop. Trust me, it’s a thing.




Could there be life on Venus? That was the question being asked yesterday after astronomers announced they had detected the presence in Venus’ atmosphere of a gas which – here on Earth – can only be produced by living organisms.

What the what? We’re talking about a gas called phosphine. And we have it down here on earth — it’s a gas that is produced by decaying matter in swamps, and even in the guts of penguins. 

And while the gas itself is not a living thing: scientists are now trying to work out if it was produced by a living thing on Venus.

Which would be all sorts of amazing: given that the surface temperature of Venus is 460 degrees celsius. The scientists are working on the theory that if there are living things on Venus producing phospine, they could be living in the clouds that swirl above the super hot surface of the planet – where temperatures average a comparatively cooler 30 degrees celsius. 




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

  1. Which Aussie city is hoping it might get to host the 2032 Olympics?
  2. Which Aussie city will host this year’s first State of Origin footy game?
  3. Which planet in our solar system have scientists turned their attention to, believing they may have found signs of life? 




It’s September 16 ….. Birthday of Jonas Brother and Jumanji star, Nick Jonas. You probably know him better as Seaplane McDonogh.

It’s also a special day for these Squiz Kids celebrating a birthday today… Chloe, Noa and Maeve from Sydney, Coco from Melbourne

Victoria, Veronica and Bentley from Oran Park, Tanishka from Wentworthville, Samara from Inverell, Lilly from North Strathfield, Jackson and Zachary from Brisbane, Riley from Abbotsford, Xavier and Agustin from Blackburn, Mya from Naremburn, Bohdy from Spreyton, Nate from Karalee, William from Nyabing, Lachlan from Lower Mitcham, Wade from Adamstown, Amelia and Charlotte from Beecroft, Aanya from Coogee, Eva from Five Dock, Rylan from St Albans, Angus from Stockton, Hamish from Sheoak Grove, Ella from Hamlyn Heights, Taj from Mackay, Nate from Karalee, Alex from Boorowa and Amira all the way from Koror in Palau, which is part of the Pacific Islands.

Happy birthday one and all!

And so to classroom shoutouts — remember – we want to dedicate the next couple of weeks’ worth of classroom shoutouts to Victorian school kids who are home learning … so if you’re a teacher of or a student in a class in Victoria and you want to give your students or classmates a shout out – drop us a line at [email protected]

Today’s Victorian classroom shout outs go to …  Mr Muscatello’s and Miss Barbetti’s class at St Francis Of The Fields Strathfieldsaye; Prep M with Mrs Maxwell at Deepdene Primary School, who, Mrs M tells us have been so resilient during remote learning this term. And a special shoutout to Ms Henderson at Whitehorse Primary School in Melbourne, who is celebrating a milestone birthday today. We hear she is a much-loved prep teacher who has the most positive attitude! 

A great big Squiz Kids salute from all of us to all of you … 

  The S’Quiz Answers:

  1. Brisbane
  2. Adelaide
  3. Venus