Monday 31 August, 2020

Fitbit for your brain; Japan test drives a flying car; Pierre the penguin’s TV habit; and Grande and Gaga prepare to perform.



Flying car:

Pierre the penguin:




A pig called Gertrude in a pig sty in America was the star attraction of the weekend just gone as Tesla and SpaceX founder, Elon Musk showed off his latest invention.

From the outside, Gertrude looks like any ordinary pig. But the reason all the eyes of the world were on her is because she’s had a computer chip inserted into her skull. Described as being like “a Fit Bit for the brain’ the device is reading Gertrude’s brain waves and relaying them to a computer. 

What’s the point of that? It’s hoped that we’ll be better able to understand how the brain works – and eventually, may help scientists find a way to get paraplegics – and other other people who have injured their spinal cord and lost the ability to use their legs – up and walking again. How amazing would that be? 



Each day we give the world globe a spin and find a news story from wherever it stops. And today, we’ve landed in Japan … where a flying car has been taken for a test drive over the weekend.

The company Sky Drive has been working on a flying car for over two years, finally getting one up off the ground and piloted by an actual human pilot. 

The car has four rotors – like a helicopter, and manages to hover, go backwards and forwards and turn corners. 

Next step is to test the flying car out on actual roads. And before you start fantasising about getting your L plates on a flying vehicle – it will still be many years before a flying car is available to buy – and drive in a bit of sky near you. 



When Pierre the rockhopper penguin washed up on a Western Australia beach recently, unable to molt his feathers and therefore not able to remain waterproof while out in the ocean, vets at Perth Zoo took him in to allow him time to recover.

The only problem was: what do you show to a rockhopper penguin to keep them entertained and connected to his species while they are recovering? Why, repeat episodes of Pingu – that’s what. The popular kids TV show apparently keeps Pierre entertained for hours in his enclosure at the zoo, and he’s also quite partial to watching documentaries about rockhopper penguins – and loves it when his keepers FaceTime penguins in other zoos  – so he can squawk at them and catch up on all the penguin news.

And yes, of course there’s a link in today’s episode notes. Consider it your dose of cute for the day. 



You won’t be able to move for pop music stars in New York City today as some of the world’s biggest bands and pop singers gather for the MTV Music Video Awards. 

It will be a night of firsts: as singer Keke Palmer becomes the first woman of colour to host the awards – while BTS, Miley Cyrus and the all-conquering duo of Ariana Grande and Lady Gaga are all lined up to perform their respective hit songs for TV cameras for the first time. In another two COVID-inspired ‘firsts’ – awards will be given out for ‘best music video from home’ and ‘best quarantine performance’.

Amongst the celebrations, there is also expected to be tributes to Black Panther actor Chadwick Boseman who died on Friday after a four year battle with colon-cancer at the age of only 43. Formula One race car champ Lewis Hamilton dedicated his latest race to Boseman, saying: “For what he’s done for our people and super heroes — to show the kids what’s possible in life. Wakanda forever.”



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

  1. What’s the name of the pig who’s had a computer chip inserted to read her brain waves?
  2. In which country did a test drive of a flying car just take place?
  3. What’s the name of the rockhopper penguin in Perth obsessed with the kids TV show Pingu?



It’s August 31 ….. Birthday of actress Cameron Diaz and Frankenstein author, Mary Shelley. It’s also the National Day of Kyrgistan. And if you can find that on a map without Google’s help – then give yourself an extra point in the quiz. 

Happy birthday to these Squiz Kids celebrating a birthday today…  Lara from Abbotsford, Catalina from Meadow Springs, Grace from Shoal Bay, Emmanuel from Broken Hill, Drew from Albion Park, Gaby from Karalee, Autumn from Craigburn, Olivia from South Morang, Alexis from Idalia, Luke from Abbotsford, Xavier from Adelaide, Michael from Castlemaine, Arwen from Ballarat, Leah from Brisbane, Macklyn from Thirroul, Cohen from St Albans, Portia from NSW, Callum from Ashmont and Isabella all the way from Colombia in South America. 

And belated birthday shoutouts… Adeline from Kempsey, Madie from Stockton, Attila from Craigieburn, Isabelle from Morningside, Nate from Queensland, and Angelina from Moorebank.

Happy birthday one and all!

Classroom shoutouts…  3/4 RD at St Patrick’s Primary School in Stratford, 

6 Fantastic at Gosford East Primary School, Broken Hill North Public School with Miss Mullen, who celebrated a birthday yesterday, and Anzac Park Public School with Mr. Beattie, who is celebrating a birthday today. 


  The S’Quiz Answers:

  1. Gertrude
  2. Japan
  3. Pierre