Wednesday, 8 June, 2022

Lettuce farmers in crisis; seaweed farms booming; beware the apps that track; and a showdown for two footy codes.


Seaweed shakes:
World Ocean Day Smackdown:
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We begin today’s podcast with breaking burger news… due to the recent floods in New South Wales and Queensland causing a lettuce shortage all over the country, KFC has announced that its burgers will now feature a mix of cabbage and lettuce. 

Which, for those of you who don’t like anything green, will be no biggie. But it’s a really big deal to lettuce farmers, who have seen a series of natural disasters—droughts, fires, floods—almost destroy their businesses. You may have heard your parents talking lately about how expensive fruits and vegetables are at the moment… iceberg lettuces usually cost about $2.80 each, but lately have gone for as much as $12!  

The fancy economics phrase for that is that supply is not meeting demand… meaning that farmers’ crops have been so devastated that they can’t grow enough of the green stuff for everyone who wants it, and that makes prices go up. 

The farmers are calling on state and federal governments to step in and support them, so that they don’t shut up shop… and leave us with cabbage on our burgers forever. 



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 Central American country of Belize, where other kinds of farmers are doing a booming trade, thanks to seaweed shakes. Yep, while Aussie fast food chains are putting cabbage on our burgers, Belize is seeing growing international interest in the seaweed drinks they’ve been making for generations… check your episode notes for pictures.  

It turns out there’s a particular kind of seaweed that grows on the Belizean coast which is rich in minerals, protein, and fibre. Add milk, vanilla, fruit or chocolate, and you get a sweet, creamy shake that tastes nothing like the fishy, stinky stuff we find on the beach. Even better, Belize’s new seaweed farms are sustainable, trap carbon—meaning they help fight global warming—and are bringing back marine wildlife. And yes, they’re exporting to Australia. Want a seaweed shake to go with that cabbage on your burger?




Oh good…  our faithful newshound is back in the studio, as he is every Wednesday, to talk us through what fishy stuff he’s sniffed out lately… and I don’t mean seaweed.

Squiz-E has just come back from Canada, where he was learning about the naughty things that a coffee and donut chain called Tim Hortons was doing to customers who had downloaded its mobile app. Whenever you download an app, you need to stop, think, and check on its data collection … meaning when, if ever, the app is going to record where you are, and what you’re doing. 

Tim Hortons told its customers that it would only collect information when they were using the app, to place an order or find a store. But actually, it was collecting information constantly, figuring out where users lived, when and where they went to work, and even when they went to a rival coffee shop… all in an effort to try to target advertising and win customers back. 

As soon as an investigation was launched by the Canadian government, Tim Hortons stopped the data collection, and it’s now promised to delete all the information. Still, it’s a good idea to remind your parents to stop, think, and check when, and what, all their apps are collecting! 




If you live in Queensland or NSW, you won’t be able to move today without bumping into the State of Origin … it’s the big rugby league contest held every year between the two rival states – it regularly attracts record crowds to the stadiums in which it’s played – and record TV ratings – so it’s definitely a thing.

Tonight’s clash is the first of three games in the series. It will take place at Stadium Australia in Sydney – and having won three out of the last five series, the NSW Blues are going in slight favourites. Not that anyone’s told that to the Queensland Maroons – who have stacked their team with Brisbane Broncos and North Queensland Cowboys players .. two teams that are firing in the NRL competition at the moment. Be you blue, be you Maroon – may the best team win. And be you from one of the other states in our fair land that couldn’t give two hoots about rugby league … as you were.

Of course … the State of Origin is not the only game that will be carefully watched today. As we put this podcast to air this morning, Australia’s Socceroos are locked in a do-or-die World Cup tussle against the United Arab Emirates in a city called Doha – which is a Middle Eastern country called Qatar. If the Aussies win, they go through to play Peru for a place in the World Cup. If they lose: it’s all over, red rover. We’re holding our breath … 



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

  1. Which secret ingredient is in Belize’s special shakes? 
  2. Lettuce is being replaced by what on KFC burgers? 
  3. Which team are the Socceroos playing in their do-or-die game this morning?




It’s June 8 … World Oceans Day! It’s down to the Sea Turtle and the Dolphin in the Ocean Smackdown… there’s a link in your episode notes to cast your vote! And if you’re keen to learn about the Deep Sea, check out this week’s Shortcut… Bryce and I go 1000m below sea level, and then a whole lot further, to learn about marine snow, bioluminescence, and more. It’s available to all SK4S and Apple Specials subscribers. Not a subscriber? Get into a free trial … links in your episode notes. 

June 8 is also a special day for these Squiz Kids celebrating a birthday today…

Hamish from Cannon Hill, Charlie from Frenchs Forest, Oscar-Ted from Cardiff, Lavinia from Macleay Island, Nellie from Camberwell, Scarlett from Bowral, Sachin from Castle Hill, Indigo from Altona, Archie from Brighton and Madona from Richmond. 

Classroom shoutouts are going to… classes 3T and 3H at St Joseph’s Primary School in Kempsey, year 5 and Mrs Boardman at Noranda Primary School, Mrs Slay’s class at Windsor Public School, class 5/6B and Mr Barratt at Petersham Public School and class 4/5A with Mrs Abbott at Bathurst Public School. 

The S’Quiz Answers:

  1. Seaweed
  2. Cabbage —apparently, raw cabbage juice cures headaches…
  3. United Arab Emirates