Wednesday, August 2, 2023

The Matildas great big win; Siberia’s napping nematodes; Tracking animals in the wild; and Tonga’s sky-high heroine.



The most important animal you’ve never seen – Nematodes:

Australia’s favourite animal sounds:

Pawgust – supporting Guide Dogs in Australia and New Zealand


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I know this is a bit unconventional for the Lowdown, but I’d like to apologise to my neighbours for all the ruckus coming from my place on Monday night. The Matildas were just too good, scoring a whopping four goals to Canada’s nil to make their way into the knockout round of 16 teams in the Fifa Women’s World Cup; going through at the top of our group along with Nigeria. 


Hayley Raso scored twice before Mary Fowler and captain Steph Catley got a goal each. And even though she was available, superstar striker, Sam Kerr, did not need to take the field as she continues to recover from a calf injury. Fingers crossed she’ll be right for the next game.


And it seems that I’m not the only one who’s been shouting, as possibly every one of the 38,000 Colombian-born Aussies attended Colombia’s match against Germany at the Sydney Football Stadium on Sunday night. Arriving hours early, wearing canary yellow shirts, banging drums and blowing whistles, they may have been the Colombian team’s secret weapon because the team, ranked 27 in the world, beat the Germans (ranked 2nd) by two goals to one. The last time the German team lost a game in the group stage was way back in 1995.


So there’s definitely something to be said for making a bit of a ruckus when the Matildas play again next Monday night. Come on!!!



Each day we give the world globe a spin and find a news story from wherever it stops. And today, we’ve landed in Siberia, which is way up north. In fact, some of Siberia even falls within the arctic circle. It can get really cold, so who could blame some worms for taking a really long nap? Ok, so I know that doesn’t sound newsworthy, but what if I told you that they had been napping for 46,000 years!! That’s so long ago that Neanderthals were painting their caves, and mammoths were a thing!


The worms are a species of nematode or roundworm. Not the pink wriggly ones you see in the garden, but the microscopic, parasitic variety that live in your gut and might give you, or your dog, an itchy bum if you don’t wash your hands before eating (listen to your Mums kids!) 


They had been frozen in the earth all this time in a state that’s kind of like hibernation. Scientists know how old they are because they’ve been able to date the plant material they were found with. And when they were thawed, they started wriggling around and chowing down on a meal of bacteria. 


That wouldn’t be my first choice of meal after 46,000 years, but I don’t want to yuck their yum.




Oh hey, it’s great that you could join me on this little walk through the bush. I love it out here… the way the sun dapples through the leaves and the smell of the eucalypts on the breeze and… what’s that? I think it was a curlew… oh and there’s a green tree frog… and a…koala?

It’s getting a bit crowded out here…let’s head back inside.

[Door opens and closes]

Bioacoustics, the study of sounds that occur in nature, is really important because it can help us identify which animals live where, even when we can’t see them. The sounds give us clues as to how the animals are doing and how they’re communicating which each other.

With National Science Week just around the corner, the good people at  ABC Science are looking to discover Australia’s favourite animal sound.

They have a whole heap of recordings on their website, and you can listen and vote for your favourite sound. I’ve stuck a link in your episode notes.

Maybe you can discover who’s been living in your neighbourhood.



Do you look up and take notice if a plane flies over your house? Have you ever run outside to take a look?

Growing up on a tiny island in Tonga, Silvia McCloud did just that. I love that her name is McCloud by the way because that’s where she’s ended up. Silvia has become the first Tongan woman to earn her pilot’s licence.

Her childhood home had no electricity or flushing toilet and Silvia didn’t even know that it would be possible for her to become a pilot. She thought that was a job for, quote, ‘clever people’.

But after moving to Australia, learning how to read a map, use a washing machine and drive a car, Sylvia’s husband surprised her with flying lessons for her 32nd birthday. By the time she was 37, Sylvia had achieved what she had never thought possible, working as a full-time pilot for Royal Tongan Airlines and making those pilot announcements in her native language. 

Now, Sylvia McCloud has written a book about her achievements. And her advice? “Never look to the top of the mountain, …  just focus on that step in front.” Sounds like great advice to me.

Squiz kids salutes you Sylvia!



Look out Canberra – I’m coming for ya. Announcing SQUIZ KIDS LIVE! – where your favourite podcast comes to life on stage in a fun-filled show for all the family.

Tickets go on sale today for our first ever live show – presented by me, and featuring a bunch of special guests, quizzes, a bit of educational content, Squiz Kids merch – and our first ever, super fun Squiz Kids Disco. 

Our first of what I hope will be many live shows around the country is happening in Canberra on Saturday October 14 … and personally – I cannot wait to meet you all.   

There’s a link in today’s episode notes for more information and how to buy tickets. All I would say is: hurry! Because there’s only a limited number of tickets and they’re gonna sell fast. I mean, we’re not talking Taylor Swift fast – but you’ll want to get in early so as not to miss out. So get booking already!



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

  1. Which team beat Germany for the first time in 28 years, in the group stage of the FIFA Women’s World Cup?
  2. How long had those Siberian nematodes been napping for?
  3. What is the name for the study of the sounds of nature?





It’s August 2 – or should I say Pawgust 2, because that’s what Guide Dogs Australia and Blind Low Vision New Zealand are calling this month. They’re asking people to walk or run – presumably with your precious pooch if you have one, to raise money to support Guide Dogs. I’ve stuck a link in your episode notes if you want to learn more. That really deserves a round of a-paws. [Mum joke buzzer] Yeah, ok, that wasn’t one of my better jokes.


It’s also a special day for these Squiz Kids celebrating a birthday today … Paige from Junee, Deon from Cannon Hill, Aloysius from Plumpton, Magenta from Heathpool, Isaac from West Pennant Hills, Louise from Bella Vista, Ivy from Burleigh Waters, Asher from Doncaster and Penny listening in Thailand.


Belated birthday shout outs go to …. Kruz from Browns Plains, Sam from Darwin, Areti from Thursday Island, Vihaan from Chatswood, Chada from Carlingford, William from Brighton East, Ollie from Warrawee, Jack from Duffy, Daniel from Ithaca Creek, Janelle and Tane from Schofields and Jocelyn listening over in Nashville Tennessee! 


Classroom shoutouts today go to … year 3/4 and Ms Lise at Chiang Mai Future School in Thailand, class 4H and Mrs Harrison at Henschke Primary School in Wagga Wagga, upper primary and Miss Carter at Gumeracha Primary School in South Australia, class 4LA with Mrs Loncar, Ms Abraham and Ms Day at St Michael’s Catholic Primary School in Baulkham Hills, class 3/4 with Mrs Harriet at Scotts Head Public School and lastly to class 5JG at Albany Hills State School and a happy birthday to their teacher Mr G. 



The S’Quiz Answers:

  • Colombia
  • 46,000 years
  • Bioacoustics