July 21 - 27, 2024: Issue 631

Sunday Cartoons

Sunday cartoons and animations returns this year. This Issue:The Muppets "Mahna Mahna" on The Ed Sullivan Show

Beaches Young Filmmakers Comp. 2024

Now in its 20th year, we’re excited to be running the Beaches Young Filmmakers Comp.  Open to ages 12 – 24 years, the Comp is a great way for young people to experience film. It's a great opportunity for sharpening or developing talents, creating imaginative short films while competing for a prize pool of $3000 plus industry supported prizes. Finalists films will be screened at HOYTS.

Registrations now open

Key events and dates
  • Team registrations: Now open
  • Filmmakers Workshop: Sun 4 Aug, 1030am The Collaroy Swim Club (above Collaroy Surf Club)
  • Secret rules revealed: Fri 9 Aug, 5pm
  • Film submissions open: Fri 9 Aug, 5pm
  • Film submissions close: Sun 11 Aug, 11:59pm
  • Finals and Awards Night: Thu 29 Aug, HOYTS Warringah Mall
  1. One team member to register your team
  2. One team member to pay $50 + booking fee for the team entry
  3. Each team member to complete the Participant Consent and Indemnity form.
  4. Register for our free Filmmaking workshop (optional, but highly recommended)
  5. Check this webpage on Fri 9 Aug, 5pm for the secret rules, and the items and phrases you need to include in your film.
  6. Don't forget to check the Competition rules and guidelines. Start filming!
  7. Submit your film by Sun 11 Aug, 11:59pm

Beaches Young Filmmakers Comp Workshop
When: Sunday, 4 August 2024 - 10:30 am to 12:30 pm
Where: The Collaroy Swim Club 1054 Pittwater Rd., Collaroy
This workshop is for those participating in the Beaches Young Filmmakers Comp

Register your team and join the kick-off event for a filmmaking workshop.

Get ready and get the edge as industry professionals talk about writing, producing, tech (phones and cameras), videography, cinematography and editing.

Stay for team brainstorming after the workshop, where they will be on-hand 12.30 - 1.30pm to answer questions.

Pizza included. Not mandatory, but highly recommended.

Open to ages 12 - 24 years
For young people  age 12 - 17 years attending the workshop, Guardian permission will be needed at checkout. The Guardian must complete this section to make the booking.

Pricing: Free for registered teams

Newport Pool Surf: 14 and 15 July 2024

film by Pittwater Pathways

Avalon Beach Bike Facility: Have Your Say

Comments opened: Mon 8 Jul 2024
Comments close: Sun 11 Aug 2024

Council states it has collaborated with Avalon Beach residents to find out what they value most and what features make Avalon Beach such a special and unique place. Through this collaboration, Council developed the 'Avalon Beach Place Plan, My Place: Avalon', which was adopted in 2022.
The place plan sets out a number of short, medium and long-term actions for Council to implement, including:
Action item 13: Create an off-road bicycle facility aimed at young people.

The bike facility would be a designated space for bike riders of a range of abilities and confidence levels, encouraging healthy and active lifestyles.

Council have identified two sites where a bike facility could be installed:
  1. Des Creagh Reserve
  2. Avalon Beach Reserve.
Council states both sites are large enough for a bike facility and installation of a bike track and landscaping is permissible under the Plan of Management. They are easily accessed on foot, bike and by car or public transport, and close to other complementary recreational facilities and amenities.

The strengths and constraints of each site are summarised on Council's webpage. Council states they want to hear from you to see which site you prefer for a bike facility.

Images: Location and options plan - NBC

Surfrider Foundation Northern Beaches: SURF SWAP & REPAIR MARKET

Presented by Surfrider Foundation Northern Beaches in partnership with the Northern Beaches Council.
Sunday August 11 2024: 12-4pm

Join us for our annual coastal community marketplace to swap, sell, repair or repurpose your preloved surf gear and support sustainable surfing on the Northern beaches.
+ Meet the shapers and makers of quality, sustainable, durable hollow-wooden surfboards, reef friendly sunscreen brands and local innovators of upcycling waste into surf art & accessories.

Soak up the winter sun and enjoy cool tunes, great coffee, and delicious eats from the wonderful local Ocean St - cafes Driftwood Cafe, Black Honey or enjoy a Surf Swap Burger special at the Narrabeen Sands Hotel.

The Sands hotel will be hosting a Happy Hour afterwards from 4 -6pm for everyone to celebrate the day.🍻

So much to love!:
  • Marketplace - Trade your preloved surfboards, stand ups & surf gear (wetsuits, fins, leg ropes, helmets, booties, covers etc)
  • Repair workshops - Learn how to do a minor board fix-up (don’t forget to bring your board
  • Upcycling - drop off your end of life wetsuit at the Rip Curl collection stall
  • Sustainable surf brand stalls - showcase of Australian brands leading the way with innovative sustainable solutions for reducing the environmental impact of surfing.
  • Creative cool surf art & accessories made from waste
  • A Beach clean up with Emu Parade - Do your bit to clean up the beach in return for a free coffee or hot chocolate
A waste free event. BYO refillable water bottle & reusable coffee cup #beoceanfriendly 

Sustainable Surf Brand Stallholders - Sine Surf, Varuna Surf, Patagonia, Rip Curl, WAW Handplanes, Sunbutter sunscreen, Surfboard Souls Manly, Pittwater Eco Adventures, Surfsock, Boomerang Bags Northern Beaches.

How was popcorn discovered? An archaeologist on its likely appeal for people in the Americas millennia ago

Could a spill by the cook fire have been popcorn’s eureka moment? Paul Taylor/Stone via Getty Images
Sean Rafferty, University at Albany, State University of New York

Curious Kids is a series for children of all ages. If you have a question you’d like an expert to answer, send it to curiouskidsus@theconversation.com.

How was popcorn discovered? – Kendra, age 11, Penn Yan, New York

You have to wonder how people originally figured out how to eat some foods that are beloved today. The cassava plant is toxic if not carefully processed through multiple steps. Yogurt is basically old milk that’s been around for a while and contaminated with bacteria. And who discovered that popcorn could be a toasty, tasty treat?

These kinds of food mysteries are pretty hard to solve. Archaeology depends on solid remains to figure out what happened in the past, especially for people who didn’t use any sort of writing. Unfortunately, most stuff people traditionally used made from wood, animal materials or cloth decays pretty quickly, and archaeologists like me never find it.

We have lots of evidence of hard stuff, such as pottery and stone tools, but softer things – such as leftovers from a meal – are much harder to find. Sometimes we get lucky, if softer stuff is found in very dry places that preserve it. Also, if stuff gets burned, it can last a very long time.

Corn’s ancestors

Luckily, corn – also called maize – has some hard parts, such as the kernel shell. They’re the bits at the bottom of the popcorn bowl that get caught in your teeth. And since you have to heat maize to make it edible, sometimes it got burned, and archaeologists find evidence that way. Most interesting of all, some plants, including maize, contain tiny, rock-like fragments called phytoliths that can last for thousands of years.

green plant stalks with reddish tendrils
The ancestor of maize was a grass called teosinte. vainillaychile/iStock via Getty Images Plus

Scientists are pretty sure they know how old maize is. We know maize was probably first farmed by Native Americans in what is now Mexico. Early farmers there domesticated maize from a kind of grass called teosinte.

Before farming, people would gather wild teosinte and eat the seeds, which contained a lot of starch, a carbohydrate like you’d find in bread or pasta. They would pick teosinte with the largest seeds and eventually started weeding and planting it. Over time, the wild plant developed into something like what we call maize today. You can tell maize from teosinte by its larger kernels.

There’s evidence of maize farming from dry caves in Mexico as early as 9,000 years ago. From there, maize farming spread throughout North and South America.

Popped corn, preserved food

Figuring out when people started making popcorn is harder. There are several types of maize, most of which will pop if heated, but one variety, actually called “popcorn,” makes the best popcorn. Scientists have discovered phytoliths from Peru, as well as burned kernels, of this type of “poppable” maize from as early as 6,700 years ago.

cobs of popcorn over popped kernels, one showing popping on the cob
Each popcorn kernel is a seed, ready to burst when heated. Rick Madonik/Toronto Star via Getty Images

You can imagine that popping maize kernels was first discovered by accident. Some maize probably fell into a cooking fire, and whoever was nearby figured out that this was a handy new way of preparing the food. Popped maize would last a long time and was easy to make.

Ancient popcorn was probably not much like the snack you might munch at the movie theater today. There was probably no salt and definitely no butter, since there were no cows to milk in the Americas yet. It probably wasn’t served hot and was likely pretty chewy compared with the version you’re used to today.

It’s impossible to know exactly why or how popcorn was invented, but I would guess it was a clever way to preserve the edible starch in corn by getting rid of the little bit of water inside each kernel that would make it more susceptible to spoiling. It’s the heated water in the kernel escaping as steam that makes popcorn pop. The popped corn could then last a long time. What you may consider a tasty snack today probably started as a useful way of preserving and storing food.

Hello, curious kids! Do you have a question you’d like an expert to answer? Ask an adult to send your question to CuriousKidsUS@theconversation.com. Please tell us your name, age and the city where you live.

And since curiosity has no age limit – adults, let us know what you’re wondering, too. We won’t be able to answer every question, but we will do our best.The Conversation

Sean Rafferty, Professor of Anthropology, University at Albany, State University of New York

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Could people turn Mars into another Earth? Here’s what it would take to transform its barren landscape into a life-friendly world

An artist’s illustration of what a terraformed Martian landscape might look like. Mark Stevenson/Stocktrek Images via Getty Images
Sven Bilén, Penn State

Curious Kids is a series for children of all ages. If you have a question you’d like an expert to answer, send it to curiouskidsus@theconversation.com.

Is it possible that one day we could make Mars like Earth? – Tyla, age 16, Mississippi

When I was in middle school, my biology teacher showed our class the sci-fi movie “Star Trek III: The Search for Spock.”

The plot drew me in, with its depiction of the “Genesis Project” – a new technology that transformed a dead alien world into one brimming with life.

After watching the movie, my teacher asked us to write an essay about such technology. Was it realistic? Was it ethical? And to channel our inner Spock: Was it logical? This assignment had a huge impact on me.

Fast-forward to today, and I’m an engineer and professor developing technologies to extend the human presence beyond Earth.

For example: I’m working on advanced propulsion systems to take spacecraft beyond Earth’s orbit. I’m helping to develop lunar construction technologies to support NASA’s goal of long-term human presence on the Moon. And I’ve been on a team that showed how to 3D-print habitats on Mars.

To sustain people beyond Earth will take a lot of time, energy and imagination. But engineers and scientists have started to chip away at the many challenges.

A rocky brown landscape and a yellowish sky.
A photo taken of the bleak Martian surface by NASA’s Perseverance rover in June 2024. NASA/JPL-Caltech

A partial checklist: Food, water, shelter, air

After the Moon, the next logical place for humans to live beyond Earth is Mars.

But is it possible to terraform Mars – that is, transform it to resemble the Earth and support life? Or is that just the musings of science fiction?

To live on Mars, humans will need liquid water, food, shelter and an atmosphere with enough oxygen to breathe and thick enough to retain heat and protect against radiation from the Sun.

But the Martian atmosphere is almost all carbon dioxide, with virtually no oxygen. And it’s very thin – only about 1% as dense as the Earth’s.

The less dense an atmosphere, the less heat it can hold on to. Earth’s atmosphere is thick enough to retain enough heat to sustain life by what’s known as the greenhouse effect.

But on Mars, the atmosphere is so slight that the nighttime temperature drops routinely to 150 degrees below zero Fahrenheit (-101 degrees Celsius).

So what’s the best way to give Mars an atmosphere?

Although Mars has no active volcanoes now – at least as far as we know – scientists could trigger volcanic eruptions via nuclear explosions. The gases trapped deep in a volcano would be released and then drift into the atmosphere. But that scheme is a bit harebrained, because the explosions would also introduce deadly radioactive material into the air.

A better idea: Redirecting water-rich comets and asteroids to crash into Mars. That too would release gases from below the planet’s surface into the atmosphere while also releasing the water found in the comets. NASA has already demonstrated that it is possible to redirect asteroids – but relatively large ones, and lots of them, are needed to make a difference.

Terraforming Mars would likely take centuries.

Making Mars cozy

There are numerous ways to heat up the planet. For instance, gigantic mirrors, built in space and placed in orbit around Mars, could reflect sunlight to the surface and warm it up.

One recent study proposed that Mars colonists could spread aerogel, an ultralight solid material, on the ground. The aerogel would act as insulation and trap heat. This could be done all over Mars, including the polar ice caps, where the aerogel could melt the existing ice to make liquid water.

To grow food, you need soil. On Earth, soil is composed of five ingredients: minerals, organic matter, living organisms, gases and water.

But Mars is covered in a blanket of loose, dustlike material called regolith. Think of it as Martian sand. The regolith contains few nutrients, not enough for healthy plant growth, and it hosts some nasty chemicals called perchlorates, used on Earth in fireworks and explosives.

Cleaning up the regolith and turning it into something viable wouldn’t be easy. What the alien soil needs is some Martian fertilizer, maybe made by adding extremophiles to it – hardy microbes imported from Earth that can survive even the harshest conditions. Genetically engineered organisms are also a possibility.

Through photosynthesis, these organisms would begin converting carbon dioxide to oxygen. Eventually, as Mars became more life-friendly to Earthlike organisms, colonists could introduce more complex plants and even animals.

Providing oxygen, water and food in the right proportions is extraordinarily complex. On Earth, scientists have tried to simulate this in Biosphere 2, a closed-off ecosystem featuring ocean, tropical and desert habitats. Although all of Biosphere 2’s environments are controlled, even there scientists struggle to get the balance right. Mother Nature really knows what she is doing.

An illustration shows an astronaut on Mars, standing in front of a red, white and silver modular habitat.
Right now, Mars is a forbidding world, with a minuscule atmosphere, extremely cold temperatures and no liquid water. angel_nt/iStock via Getty Images Plus

A house on Mars

Buildings could be 3D-printed; initially, they would need to be pressurized and protected until Mars acquired Earthlike temperatures and air. NASA’s Moon-to-Mars Planetary Autonomous Construction Technologies program is researching how to do exactly this.

There are many more challenges. For example, unlike Earth, Mars has no magnetosphere, which protects a planet from solar wind and cosmic radiation. Without a magnetic field, too much radiation gets through for living things to stay healthy. There are ways to create a magnetic field, but so far the science is highly speculative.

In fact, all of the technologies I’ve described are far beyond current capabilities at the scale needed to terraform Mars. Developing them would take enormous amounts of research and money, probably much more than possible in the near term. Although the Genesis device from “Star Trek III” could terraform a planet in a matter of minutes, terraforming Mars would take centuries or even millennia.

And there are a lot of ethical questions to resolve before people get started on turning Mars into another Earth. Is it right to make such drastic permanent changes to another planet?

If this all leaves you disappointed, don’t be. As scientists create innovations to terraform Mars, we’ll also use them to make life better on Earth. Remember the technology we’re developing to print 3D habitats on Mars? Right now, I’m part of a group of scientists and engineers employing that very same technology to print homes here on Earth – which will help address the world’s housing shortage.

Hello, curious kids! Do you have a question you’d like an expert to answer? Ask an adult to send your question to CuriousKidsUS@theconversation.com. Please tell us your name, age and the city where you live.

And since curiosity has no age limit – adults, let us know what you’re wondering, too. We won’t be able to answer every question, but we will do our best.The Conversation

Sven Bilén, Professor of Engineering Design, Electrical Engineering and Aerospace Engineering, Penn State

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Why do some planets have moons? A physics expert explains why Earth has only one moon while other planets have hundreds

Some planets, such as Saturn, have more than a hundred moons, while others, such as Venus, have none. NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute via AP
Nicole Granucci, Quinnipiac University

Curious Kids is a series for children of all ages. If you have a question you’d like an expert to answer, send it to curiouskidsus@theconversation.com.

Why do some planets have moons and some don’t? – Siddharth, age 6, Texas

On Earth, you can look up at night and see the Moon shining bright from hundreds of thousands of miles away. But if you went to Venus, that wouldn’t be the case. Not every planet has a moon – so why do some planets have several moons, while others have none?

I’m a physics instructor who has followed the current theories that describe why some planets have moons and some don’t.

First, a moon is called a natural satellite. Astronomers refer to satellites as objects in space that orbit larger bodies. Since a moon isn’t human-made, it’s a natural satellite.

Currently, there are two main theories for why some planets have moons. Moons are either gravitationally captured if they are within what’s called a planet’s Hill sphere radius, or they’re formed along with a solar system.

The Hill sphere radius

Objects exert a gravitational force of attraction on other nearby objects. The larger the object is, the greater the force of attraction.

This gravitational force is the reason we all stay grounded to Earth instead of floating away.

The solar system is dominated by the Sun’s large gravitational force, which keeps all of the planets in orbit. The Sun is the most massive object in our solar system, which means it has the most gravitational influence on objects such as planets.

In order for a satellite to orbit a planet, it has to be close enough for the planet to exert enough force to keep it in orbit. The minimum distance for a planet to keep a satellite in orbit is called the Hill sphere radius.

The Hill sphere radius is based on the mass of both the larger object and the smaller object. The Moon orbiting Earth is a good example of how the Hill sphere radius works. The Earth orbits around the Sun, but the Moon is close enough to Earth that Earth’s gravitational pull captures it. The moon orbits around the Earth, rather than the Sun, because it is within Earth’s Hill sphere radius.

A diagram showing Earth, with a long radius around it and a circle representing the Moon within that radius, and Mercury, with a short radius around it.
Earth has a larger Hill sphere radius than Mercury. Nicole Granucci

Smaller planets like Mercury have a tiny Hill sphere radius, since they can’t exert a large gravitational pull. Any potential moons would likely get pulled in by the Sun instead.

Many scientists are still looking to see whether these planets may have had small moons in the past. Back during the formation of the solar system, they may have had moons that got knocked away by collisions with other space objects.

Mars has two moons, Phobos and Deimos. Scientists still debate whether these came from asteroids that passed close into Mars’ Hill sphere radius and got captured by the planet, or if they were formed at the same time as the solar system. More evidence supports the first theory, because Mars is close to the asteroid belt.

Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune have larger Hill sphere radii, because they are much larger than Earth, Mars, Mercury and Venus and they’re farther from the Sun. Their gravitational pulls can attract and keep more natural satellites such as moons in orbit. For example, Jupiter has 95 moons, while Saturn has 146.

Moons forming with a solar system

Another theory suggests that some moons formed at the same time as their solar system.

Solar systems start out with a big disk of gas rotating around a sun. As the gas rotates around the sun, it condenses into planets and moons that rotate around them. The planets and moons then all rotate in the same direction.

This animation shows how the planets in our solar system formed. The dark rings in the disk represent the formation of the planets and moons. Eventually, the gas condenses into planets, natural satellites and asteroids.

But only a few moons in our solar system were likely created this way. Scientists predict that Jupiter’s and Saturn’s inner moons formed during the emergence of our solar system because they’re so old. The rest of the moons in our solar system, including Jupiter’s and Saturn’s outer moons, were probably gravitationally captured by their planets.

Earth’s Moon is special because it likely formed in a different way. Scientists believe that long ago, a large, Mars-sized object collided with the Earth. During that collision, a big chunk flew off the Earth and into its orbit and became the Moon.

This animation from NASA shows a simulation of how our Moon was formed during the collision.

Scientists guess that the Moon formed this way because they’ve found a type of rock called basalt in soil on the Moon’s surface. The Moon’s basalt looks the same as basalt found inside the Earth.

Ultimately, the question of why some planets have moons is still widely debated, but factors such as a planet’s size, gravitational pull, Hill sphere radius and how its solar system formed may play a role.

Hello, curious kids! Do you have a question you’d like an expert to answer? Ask an adult to send your question to CuriousKidsUS@theconversation.com. Please tell us your name, age and the city where you live.

And since curiosity has no age limit – adults, let us know what you’re wondering, too. We won’t be able to answer every question, but we will do our best.The Conversation

Nicole Granucci, Instructor of Physics, Quinnipiac University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

The Trouble with Children According to Dog 

Published by Toadstools and Fairy Dust - more stories at the link

'The Three Little Pigs and the Somewhat Bad Wolf' read by Kaia Gerber

More by Storyline online


book of the month july 2024: Amazing animals of Australia's national parks  by Gina Newton-McKay - published 2016

Archive of millions of Historical Children’s Books All Digitised: Free to download or Read Online

Enter the 1: Baldwin Library of Historical Children’s Literature here, where you can browse several categories, search for subjects, authors, titles, etc, see full-screen, zoomable images of book covers, download XML versions, and read all of the 2: over 6,000 books in the collection with comfortable reader views. 

Find 3: more classics in the collection, 800 Free eBooks for iPad, Kindle & Other Devices.

WilderQuest online fun

The NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service is pleased to present the WilderQuest program for teachers, students and children.

The WilderQuest program includes a website and apps with game and video content, Ranger led tours and activities in national parks across NSW. It provides opportunities for families to experience nature, science and Aboriginal culture in classrooms, online, at events and in national parks. The Teacher portal and free primary school resources have been produced with support from our Environmental Trust partners.

Profile: Ingleside Riders Group

Ingleside Riders Group Inc. (IRG) is a not for profit incorporated association and is run solely by volunteers. It was formed in 2003 and provides a facility known as “Ingleside Equestrian Park” which is approximately 9 acres of land between Wattle St and McLean St, Ingleside. 
IRG has a licence agreement with the Minister of Education to use this land. This facility is very valuable as it is the only designated area solely for equestrian use in the Pittwater District.  IRG promotes equal rights and the respect of one another and our list of rules that all members must sign reflect this.
Profile: Pittwater Baseball Club

Their Mission: Share a community spirit through the joy of our children engaging in baseball.

National Geographic for Australian Kids

Find amazing facts about animals, science, history and geography, along with fun competitions, games and more. Visit National Geographic Kids today!

This week the National Geographic for Kids has launched a new free digital resource platform called NatGeo@Home to entertain and educate children affected by school closures.

The three main categories of content on the NatGeo@Home site aim to educate, inspire and entertain. For parents and teachers, there are also separate resources and lesson plans covering everything from getting to grips with Google Earth to learning to label the geological features of the ocean.

For the main Australian National Geographic for Kids, visit: www.natgeokids.com/au

For the National Geographic at Home site, visit:


Mona Vale Library runs a Lego club on the first Sunday of each month from 2pm to 4pm. The club is open to children aged between seven and twelve years of age, with younger children welcome with parental supervision. If you are interested in attending a Lego at the Library session contact the library on 9970 1622 or book in person at the library, 1 Park Street, Mona Vale.

Children's Storytime at Mona Vale LibraryMona Vale Library offers storytime for pre-school children every week during school terms. Children and their carers come and participate in a fun sing-a-long with our story teller as well as listen to several stories in each session, followed by some craft.  

Storytime is held in the Pelican Room of the library in front of the service desk. Storytime is free and no bookings are required. 

Storytime Sessions: Tuesdays  10.00am - 11.00am - Wednesdays  10.00am - 11.00am  - Thursdays  10.00am - 11.00am

Profile: Avalon Soccer Club
Avalon Soccer Club is an amateur club situated at the northern end of Sydney’s Northern Beaches. As a club we pride ourselves on our friendly, family club environment. The club is comprised of over a thousand players aged from 5  who enjoy playing the beautiful game at a variety of levels and is entirely run by a group of dedicated volunteers. 
Avalon Bilgola Amateur Swimming Club Profile

We swim at Bilgola rock pool on Saturday mornings (8:45am till 11:30am). Our season runs between October and March

Profile Bayview Yacht Racing Association (BYRA)

Website: www.byra.org.au

BYRA has a passion for sharing the great waters of Pittwater and a love of sailing with everyone aged 8 to 80 or over!

 Mona Vale Mountain Cub Scouts

Find out more about all the fun you can have at Mona Vale Mountain Cub Scouts Profile

our Profile pages aren’t just about those who can tell you about Pittwater before you were born, they’re also about great clubs and activities that you too can get involved in!