SNAIL MAIL When did you last write a letter? New, faster ways of communicating have made the traditional letter a threatened species. But maybe the future of the post is in parcels! Sophia looks at how the postal system works and how it's coping with changing technology. CHRISTMAS TREES One of the decorations that gets many of us into the festive spirit is the Christmas Tree. You can buy a single-use tree from a farm or an artificial one that lasts for years. Kirsty unwraps the origin of the tradition and finds out if either tree is better for the environment. BASEBALL There's no problem finding fans of cricket, Aussie rules and rugby. But one sport that struggles for popularity is baseball. With a new national league it's hoped to get more people playing and watching the game. Tash meets a group of kids who are helping keep the sport alive. TAP DANCING BUSKER Have you ever tapped your feet to create a cool sound before? Well there's a type of dance that involves a lot of that and it's called 'tap dancing'. It's been performed on stage shows, films and TV. Tash meets a young guy who's tapping his way to stardom! 2010 REVIEW It's been another huge year on BtN so we take a look back at some of the stories that affected our lives - for better or worse.
ROYAL ENGAGEMENT The announcement of the royal engagement of has whipped the media into a frenzy and sent the paparazzi in hyper-drive! Nathan profiles the Royal family and finds out how and when Will and Cate get to be King and Queen of Australia. CLASS SIZES Some people reckon the more people in a class, the harder it is to learn. Others think if you've got a good teacher, it doesn't matter how many kids there are. But a new report suggests smaller class sizes don't actually help kids learn better. Tash goes back to school to learn the story. TRADE SIMULATOR Skilled people to build freeways, railways and housing developments are in big demand. Now there's a new simulator to get kids interested in a career as a civil contractor. Kirsty found it feels like you're in one big computer game! CARP Recent flooding rains have helped Carp numbers boom in Australia's river systems and that's not good news for the native species. Kirsty looks at ways to eradicate this introduced pest and along the way finds some people who market Carp products. MUSICAL PLAYGROUND If you've never heard of a playground that can play music you're not alone. But an Aussie primary school has built their own and scored an award for their unusual creation. Tash took her drumsticks to meet the creators and test it out.
AIRCRAFT GROUNDED Bits of aircraft dropping off in mid-air is always concerning and has resulted in the grounding of the new Qantas A380 super-jumbo. Amid the finger-pointing over who's to blame Kirsty looks at what it takes to keep these complex machines in the air. BANK BUSINESS People are really angry at the banks after one decided to charge more for their loans. Many have said that banks are too greedy and already make big enough profits. Nathan looks at the business of banks to find out what they're really all about. FREE RANGE PIGS The Australian pork industry is about to vote on whether to get rid the cages where pregnant pigs are kept until they give birth. 95% of farmers still use the cages and there's a push to get more 'free range' pigs on farms. Tash finds out what makes a product 'free range' and how to tell if we're buying the real deal. HIGH DEFINITION TV As the switch to full digital in 2013 approaches people are turfing out the old telly and discovering a raft of new channels. There's loads of new jargon with terms like SD, HD and full-HD being tossed around. So this week Tash looks at what's on offer and what it is that makes HDTV different from the rest. PODCLASS School kids in Italy have taken on a new subject called podclass. Their ex-DJ teacher has injected some new technology and turned some of the kids' least-favourite lessons into fun. Tash tunes in to find out what it is that makes podclass such a hit.
TV SPORT The fight is on, with pay TV and free-to-air digital channels all chasing the rights to televise the big sports. It's a fight that could change your viewing habits quite a bit so Nathan looks at the possibilities. UV WARNING Fun in the sun is a part of Aussie life, but too much sun can have a killer affect on our skin and us! So what do those UV levels on the weather each night really mean? Tash meets a kid who must listen to the warnings a little more carefully than most of us. MANGO SEASON Mangoes are pretty fussy about where they're grown, so where does this delicious fruit come from? The mango season is underway but not all farmers are enjoying a bumper season. Kirsty went on the hunt to find out just how fussy the mango can be. KOALA-SAFE ROADS Koalas and cars don't mix and many are accidentally killed when they try to cross the road. Kirsty finds some researchers in Queensland looking at new life-saving ideas to create roads that are safer for the animals.
TSUNAMI We've been reminded again of the devastating force of a tsunami. The Indonesian island of Sumatra was hit after a massive earthquake triggered a 3-metre wave that has killed over 100 people and hundreds more are still missing. Tash explains how tsunamis are caused and what systems are in place to warn people they're coming. MADE IN CHINA Workers are in hospital after being exposed to a toxic chemical while gluing computer stickers on laptops. This week Kirsty looks at how China's booming economy is affecting its people and the environment? VIDEO RENTAL For ages the local video shop has been offering up a good night's entertainment. But with the internet now becoming a convenient and fast place to pick a flick, where does that leave the good old DVD shop? With no need to go out and never any late fees, Nathan looks at the reasons why the DVD might be doomed. SEA CUCUMBER Animal, vegetable or mineral? These bizarre-looking creatures are like the vacuum cleaners of the sea. They're also considered a delicacy and are the new stars of the Vietnamese aquaculture industry. Tash introduces us to some kids and their families who are farming the beastie with no brain! ROBOT SOLDIERS Some kids are developing what could be the next generation of battlefield robots. Working with a university they are inventing new ways to suss out threats or bombs in a war zone. Kirsty met up with the brains behind these remote controlled soldiers.
DETENTION CENTRES The government's announced that two new detention centres will open in Australia. Community opinions are polarised so this week Tash looks at the way asylum seekers have been accommodated in the past and how those with kids will soon be housed. AFGHANISTAN DEBATE Australia joined the war effort in Afghanistan nine years ago and only now have pollies got around to debating the pros and cons of it all. Should soldiers to stay right where they are until the mission is finished? Nathan takes a look at the arguments both sides used to make their point. BROADBAND If you can't tell a Megabit from a Megabyte then this story is for you. We crack the broadband code and explain that all 'high-speed' connections are not created equal! Kirsty logs on to the current offerings and compares them with what the National Broadband Network promises to deliver. HAY FEVER SEASON Thanks to a change in season lots of kids are suffering from hay fever. Tash did some investigating to find out how this annoying allergy affects people and more importantly, what can be done to help ease the symptoms. WOLVES From fairy tales to feature films wolves get a pretty bad rap. And they're not too popular with ranchers in some parts of the US either! Kirsty looks at the efforts to rebuild the wolf population in the state of Idaho and why local farmers are so angry about the plan.
BASIN PLAN It grows 40-percent of all the food we produce in this country and sustains 30,000 wetlands. But the Murray Darling basin is under severe stress. Both sides agree there is a problem and Nathan looks at the plan to get the farming and environment balance right. CHILE RESCUE Chile's 33 trapped miners will enjoy life above ground after spending 10-weeks stuck in the San Jose mine. Some will become stars with book deals and spots on popular TV shows, so Kirsty explores how the miners were pulled to safety and how their lives will change. NEWSPAPERS Last week we tuned into the world of radio and now we open up the pages of the newspaper business. Papers are a big segment of the mass media but with mobile communications invading our lives Tash finds out if print is facing extinction. FRED'S VAN Imagine not having a clean bed and lots of food to come home to. Each day around 1 in every 200 Aussies faces that situation. But thanks to charity organisations and volunteers, homeless and disadvantaged people are being given a helping hand. Tash meets some kids working in Fred's Van who are making a difference. RODEO KIDS Jumping on the back of a bucking bull or a wild horse is not something a lot of kids would call fun! But for some people rodeos aren't only an adrenalin rush, they're a serious career. The sport is rounding up more interested kids and as Kirsty reports it can even help them sort out a few personal problems.
POLICE TASERS Last year BtN reported on weapons that shoot electricity to help police control dangerous situations. With recent reports of deaths caused by tasers the debate continues over the use of the weapon. Nathan looks into the controversy to see if opinions have changed. DOLLAR VALUE The Aussie dollar is up - so what does that mean? Good news if you're planning a holiday in the US but maybe bad news if you're exporting products and resources to other countries. Sarah checks out the good and bad of the ups and downs in the dollar. DROWNINGS A new report has found the number of people who've drowned is the highest in seven years. Tash finds out how we can protect ourselves and others from getting into trouble. AUSSIE SAINT Next week Mary MacKillop will become Australia's first saint. It's a massive event for Australian Catholics so we look at Mary's path to saint-hood. Tash meets four students travelling to the Vatican to witness the celebrations. RADIO JOBS A career in radio sounds like a pretty good idea to a group of kids learning to put their own community radio program to air! Sarah finds out there's a rich history of radio broadcasting in Australia and its future is sounding solid with these DJs behind the microphone.
TEAM GILLARD The PM has picked her team and just like a sports team they all have their specialist positions to play. Nathan looks at who's got a jersey in the new cabinet, what skills they'll need and how they'll start delivering on election promises. COMMONWEALTH GAMES The opening is just around the corner so this week we look at where the idea of the Commonwealth Games came from. Sarah takes a trip back in time to explore the origin of the British Empire and the Commonwealth. PRECIOUS METAL Bling is the thing but what makes gold so attractive to investors? Gold has long been a prized commodity and it's getting more valuable. Tash digs around to uncover the reason this metal has become so precious. SWIM STAR Fancy a dip at 4.30am? For swimmers in training that's a part of their normal day. Sarah meets some kids hoping to be stars of the future and finds at a star swimmer from the past who's making an amazing comeback. RABBIT RACE Speed course, long jump and high jump are just a few of the events you'll see trackside at the rabbit racing competition! Tash meets the kids training their furry athletes and competing for glory in this growing sport.
NEW PM It may have taken a long time, but finally Australia has a new government. All the political negotiations appear to have come at a cost with rural Australia the big winner. What will the new government look like and what are its major policies? FLOODS Recent heavy rain has brought serious floods to parts of Victoria. Many homes have been flooded and the emergency services are really busy. BtN looks at why some areas flood while others don't. LOCUST PLAGUE Farmers are preparing for a locust plague that could devastate the grains industry. The invasion could be the biggest since the 70s. Why are locusts such a problem and what's being done about it? NETBALL STAR Maddy Proud, a 16 year old schoolgirl from Adelaide, has become the youngest ever professional netball player. She's been handed a contract to play for the reigning Premiership side, the Adelaide Thunderbirds. We find out how she made it to the top so quickly and how she plans to juggle sport with her school work. SHOW COWS You only have to read Jack and the Beanstalk to realise that cows can earn you a tidy profit - even if it is in magic beans! We investigate the big business behind prize cows and get some tips from the kids who travel the country showing their livestock.
PAKISTAN AID Why do people donate money to some disasters over others? The Pakistan floods have been described by the UN as the worst natural disaster of recent times. So far, the aid effort hasn't reflected that. BtN examines the reasons why. SLEEPING VOLCANOES A volcano in Indonesia has erupted for the first time in four hundred years. Thousands of people and animals have evacuated the island, after volcanic ash and black smoke shot hundreds of metres into the air. We examine how volcanoes erupt and look back at history's most famous volcano Mt Vesuvius, which destroyed the city of Pompeii. MATCH FIXING Cricket has been hit by a betting scandal with the Pakistani team facing claims of match fixing. It's alleged that some players were paid to deliberately mess up in a game. It's related to something called micro betting. What is it, and how can cricket recover from this latest scandal? PRIZE COWS You only have to read Jack and the Beanstalk to realise that cows can earn you a tidy profit - even if it is in magic beans! We investigate the big business behind prize cows and get some tips from the kids who travel the country showing their livestock. REAL WRESTLING When you think of wrestling, you probably imagine WWE. That's the glitzy entertainment side of wrestling which features a whole heap of weird and wonderful characters. While that's fun, wrestling can also be a serious sport. We find out what it takes to be a real wrestler.
POLITICAL POWER Which politicians hold the most power in Australia? You might be surprised to hear that it's not just the Prime Minister and cabinet. After the recent election, the Greens have been placed in a powerful position in the Senate. And in the House of Representatives a massive amount of power will rest in the hands of a few Independent MP's. How will this affect the way the country is run? MINERS TRAPPED BtN explores the mining collapse in Chile. 33 people are trapped underground. Rescuers say it will take around four months to free them. We look at the rescue operation and examine why mining can be a dangerous job. SCIENTISTS IN SCHOOLS We look at a new school initiative which allows kids to adopt their very own working scientist. It's hoped the scheme will encourage more kids to get interested in science. BIG GIG It's probably the biggest gig of the year and many of you will be involved. Thousands of children from schools right across Australia will be singing the same song at the same time. It's all supposed to raise awareness about the value of music education in schools. ABORIGINAL ART Aboriginal art is a huge part of Australian culture. Paintings and crafts often hang in souvenir shops or art galleries around the country. But over the past few years fake Aboriginal art and craft from overseas has been popping up in stores. As Kirsty explains, this wave of cheap imports has got the local industry fighting for its future.
NEW GOVERNMENT With the election finally done and dusted the next PM is in for a very busy time. Sarah profiles the PM and checks their 'to do' list, starting with how they form a new Government. Next on the list is what has to be done to get their promises and new policies underway. BIKE HELMETS In Australia it's compulsory to wear a helmet when riding a bike. But now there's a call for the law to be scrapped and it's made a heap of people angry! Tash gets on her bike to find out how helmets can prevent head injuries and compares our bike-riding rules to other countries. OZONE LAYER 25-years ago scientists were predicting a catastrophe for the entire planet. A study was released showing that the ozone layer had a hole in it! But if it's such a problem why haven't you heard anything about the ozone layer lately? Nathan reports it's looking like this is one environmental problem we may have actually managed to turn around! BUILDING CAREER In the old days when you thought of builders and construction workers you probably thought of men in overalls. But building isn't just for boys. Sarah finds out about a girls-only construction class that's part of a program encouraging kids to build careers in construction. YOUTH OLYMPICS The world's first Youth Olympics are underway in Singapore. A group of Australia's best athletes are taking part and some have already made it onto the medal tally board. Tash looks into the event that brings together young people from 205 countries.
DISASTER RECOVERY We often hear about disasters like floods, earthquakes and fires on the news. But when the news stops reporting the story, it doesn't mean the disaster is over. It can take years to rebuild a country and sometimes disease and lack of nutrition can be an issue long after the initial catastrophic event. Tash looks at the long-term impact of disaster and how countries recover. CLIMATE VS WEATHER Over the past few years we've heard a lot about climate change. Lots of scientists say the earth's heating up and it could affect the world we live in. Over the past few weeks there's been some pretty extreme weather events - floods in Pakistan and a heatwave in Russia. So does it have anything to do with global warming? Well, not necessarily. Sarah talks to the weather experts to learn the difference between weather and climate. BLOOD DIAMONDS A couple of weeks ago supermodel Naomi Campbell appeared in a United Nations court... but it wasn't for crimes against fashion. It's actually a very serious trial where the former president of Liberia is accused of war crimes. So how is a supermodel involved? Well it's about a gift she was given more than ten years ago... something now known as a blood diamond... Nathan explains why a sparkling diamond may sometimes hide a dark secret. CHEESE SCHOOL When you think of chemistry lessons, you probably imagine test tubes and Bunsen burners - but not cheese. In Queensland, cheese-making has become an important classroom activity. Teenagers are being taught how to make and appreciate cheese in the hope it will help them to understand chemistry. [Sarah] BASKETBALL STAR We meet a teenager who's tipped to be the next big thing in women's basketball. Liz Cambage only started playing when she was 9, but very quickly she became a star, and has even played for Australia. She's more than 2 metres tall and possibly still growing, so it's no wonder experts are tipping big things for her career. She tells us what it takes to become a top player and reveals how school bullies made her more determined to succeed.
POLITICAL ADVERTISING Around election time voters are bombarded with advertisements and posters for political parties. We look at who pays for the this campaigning and find out that not all parties have the same budget. We also explore how effective adverts can be and examine why parties target particular areas and sections of the community. PLANE TALKING Australians could soon be able to use their mobile phones on aeroplanes. Phones are currently banned because of their potential to interfere with navigational equipment, but new technology means that's no longer the case. We examine how the technology has changed and what the implications could be for air travel. PET DISPLAYS It's common to see cats and dogs displayed in pet shop windows. We meet a school girl who's trying to get the practice banned. Is it cruel and does it encourage impulse buying, rather than responsible pet ownership? Or is it simply the most effective way of finding homes for puppies and kittens? FRESH JUICE Sometimes juice can be labelled fresh, even if parts of it have been heated up and stored for up to a year. A few months ago, there was a lot of talk about it in the media, with many people calling for a change to the way juice is labelled. So where is that fight now? And how can we tell the difference between the different types of juice on supermarket shelves? SCHOOL SPORT Imagine a sports match played in front of a packed stadium of 95,000 spectators, with an extra 200,000 outside watching on a big screen. It's not the World Cup or the AFL Grand Final... this is school sport American style. American college football is big business and draws huge crowds. And one Aussie teenager is experiencing it for the first time after taking a punt on a career in American football.
LOOSE LIPS When is it acceptable for governments to keep secrets? This week there's been a lot of talk about the website, Wikileaks after it revealed some top secret information about the war in Afghanistan. It's made some people very angry, but others think the public have a right to know what's going on. POLLIE SPEAK BtN examines some of the key words and phrases that you'll hear time and time again during the election campaign. From Work Choices and the Education revolution to Back to Surplus - what do they actually mean and why are the politicians so keen to keep repeating them? PRECIOUS METAL We look at an increasingly important metal, Lithium. It's a significant ingredient in enabling batteries to store and expel power. Some experts think that Lithium could one day become as valuable as oil and gold. It's big news for the South American country Bolivia which has the world's biggest lithium reserves. RISK TAKERS Have you ever done something that's given you a real adrenaline rush? Scientists have been on a mission to find out why young people, and particularly young boys, are big risk-takers. And why would such behaviour evolve, when it's potentially harmful - even lethal? BACKYARD BEES We report on the growing movement to bring beekeeping into our backyards. Keeping bees in the city can be an environmentally friendly way of making honey. And it's not as hard as you might think. But there are rules, so watch BtN to make sure you don't get stung.
PREFERENTIAL VOTING Deal or no deal? The election campaign is underway and there's talk of preference deals. Parties are giving their preferences to other parties. What does it all mean? Sarah explains why it happens and how our preferential voting system works. FROMELLES FALLEN Known as one of the darkest days in Australian military history, the Battle of Fromelles saw 2,000 Australians die, with another 3,500 wounded or taken prisoner. Nathan looks at what happened in this WW I battle, how DNA technology has helped identify Australian soldiers and the memorial ceremony to honour the fallen. OILY CRITTERS The worst oil spill in US history has killed birds, turtles, dolphins and more. Countless other animals are sick or injured and the rescue effort is underway. Sarah looks at the often fatal effects of oil on feathers, fur and guts, and what has to be done to save the wildlife. YOUNG CHEFS Move over election debate and make way for the finale! Masterchef has been a TV ratings record-breaker and it seems more young people are looking at careers in cooking. But it's more than just souffle and satay sauce, so what's being a chef really like? Tash puts on her apron to find out about the 'business' of running a commercial kitchen. GO-GO MUSIC Music has always been inspired by places and shaped by the circumstances of the people creating it. Go-Go is the unique sound of Washington DC and has become aligned with violence and crime. But is it really the sound of hope for the community? Tash looks at the people, the predicament and the pulse of the American capital.
BtN stories this week include Vote 2010, Copy, right?, Caffeine Culture, Old School and Camel Cup.
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