Wednesday, 2 February, 2022

Get set for the Winter Olympics; Tonga’s special delivery; Squiz E sniffs out a fake Facebook post; and the polar bears playing house.



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Whip out your parkas and put on your beanies! There may be a heatwave in parts of Australia today, but up in China the first events of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics kick off today, two days before the official Opening Ceremony which happens on Friday.

Three thousand winter sport athletes from 190 countries will compete in this year’s Games – to be staged in venues spread across China. Australia is sending a grand total of 43 athletes to compete in the Winter Games … which is a lot less than the 472 we sent to compete in the Summer Games in Tokyo last year – no great surprise given how little snow we get here. And also why countries like Norway, Sweden, Finland and Canada – where it snows a lot – traditionally do very well at the Winter Olympics.

As a form of protest against the Chinese government’s track record on human rights, Australia will not be sending any government officials to the Games – joining countries like the United States, Britain, Canada and New Zealand in what’s called a ‘diplomatic boycott’. To boycott something means to not attend on purpose to make a point.

There are seven new events in these Games, including big-air freestyle skiing and snowboard cross. Australia’s medal hopes rest with our snowboarders and moguls skiers – those are those skiers who go really quickly down a very bumpy hill – and for the first time, we’ll have athletes competing in curling ..  where athletes push brooms in front of a heavy granite stone to coax it towards a target. 

There’s so much more to learn about these Games — which is why I’ve teamed up with Amanda, from Squiz Kids for Schools, to record a Squiz Kids Shortcut to the 2022 Winter Olympics. It’ll be available on Friday to teachers who have signed up to Squiz Kids for Schools, and to parents who have signed up in Apple podcasts to our special Subscriber Content. There are links in today’s episode notes if you want to find out more.



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 waters off Tonga, which has been in the news a lot lately because of the gigantic underwater volcanic eruption in January that caused tsunamis all over the globe. A ship from the Australian navy has just delivered 40 tonnes of emergency supplies to Tonga, but it’s had some trouble. 

First, COVID hit personnel on the ship, so they had to do “contactless” delivery using helicopters – sort of like getting contactless takeaway when you’re in isolation, but on a much bigger scale. Then yesterday, the ship had a major power outage! Specialists are on their way to the ship to try to fix it, and there’s backup power to make sure food doesn’t go off and the people on the ship can keep working… even on Sundays. 

And if you’re confused by what that means … then you’ll have to listen to our very first episode of Squiz the World, a new weekly deep-dive podcast where Amanda takes us on an audio excursion to every country on our planet. She’s taken a squiz at Tonga, where there are some really interesting laws about what you can and can’t do on Sunday. The episode is included in, you guessed it, your subscription to Squiz Kids for Schools, and in our Apple Subscriber Content. Check it out.



Imagine you were walking past an abandoned house and saw movement in the windows. Would you be scared? Excited? I bet you would not think that there were polar bears inside! But that’s exactly what a photographer discovered when his yacht sailed past an abandoned Russian weather station in the Arctic recently. Using drones with nice quiet propellers, he took incredible photos of the big white bears as they made themselves at home in the decrepit buildings. Decrepit is a fancy word for falling apart. An expert told him that polar bears are very curious animals, and will always go through unlocked doors and windows… but there’s also a history of humans hunting them, so they could have been seeking the protection of a building. I’ve popped a link to the photo essay in your episode notes, so you can see these beauties for yourselves. 



Every Wednesday, we check in with Squiz-E the Newshound  – to see what fishy stories he’s sniffed out on the Internet… and this week he’s discovered that fact checkers all over the world have turned their sights on New South Wales. Recently, a NSW man posted a long message on Facebook claiming that his seven year old son had died after receiving the Covid vaccine. Many people were understandably sad and angry that this had happened, and shared the post. But they had forgotten Squiz-E’s advice to stop, think, and check before sharing. It turns out the hospital mentioned in the post never had a patient matching the kid’s description; no ambulance had picked up the kid; and there were no official reports of any death. The whole thing had all been made up to scare people from getting vaccinated. The Facebook account has now been deleted.

Good dog, Squiz E!  



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

  1. Which Pacific island nation was the scene of an underwater volcanic eruption in January?
  2. What sport will Australia compete in for the first time at the Beijing Winter Games?
  3. What sort of animals have set up house in the Arctic? 




It’s February 2 .. .It’s World Read Aloud Day, World Wetlands Day – and Groundhog Day in the United States – where a groundhog called Punxsutawney Phil predicts how long the winter is going to last …

It’s also special day for these Squiz Kids celebrating a birthday today … Mailey from Konnongorring and twins Saxon and Scout from Canberra.

Belated birthday shout-outs for Squiz Kids who celebrated birthdays over the summer holidays also go to…Lilyana from Greystanes, Ewan from Canberra and Joss, Neil, Leo, Nicholas, Lachlan, Nina and Grace – all from Ivanhoe Primary School in Vic.

And today’s classroom shout outs go to…class 4W at Cherrybrook Public School, the grade 5 & 6 classes at Neutral Bay Public School and to all the students at Hazel Glen College in Melbourne.

And finally – special shout outs to 2 new Squiz Kids for Schools subscribers…. Ms Mules and her Grade 4 class at Glenhaven Public School and Carmen Liu and her son Jayden from Sydney. Welcome aboard!


The S’Quiz Answers:

  1. Tonga
  2. Curling
  3. Polar Bears