Friday, 12 February, 2021

Quick COVID update; the castaways who survived by eating rats; Kokkinakis gives it his all;  and the whale poo worth more than gold.



Ambergris explainer video:

What’s Up Fox




The Fox’s Spotify Playlist:


Squiz Kids Survey …. help us make Squiz Kids bigger and better!






Have you ever heard of the French expression deja vu, it literally translates to ‘already seen’ – or another way of saying it might be ‘here we go again’ – and that’s kind of the mood that’s taking over Melbourne as the number of COVID cases in a hotel quarantine outbreak climbed to 11 yesterday. 

There’s a hotel called the Holiday Inn – right next to Melbourne airport – and lots of travellers from overseas have been spending their two weeks quarantine there. 

And it seems cases of the virus have been passed from hotel guests to hotel workers – and well, you know how it goes.

The health authorities there have said they are alert, but not yet alarmed. Which sounds sensible to us. 

It all comes as an Australian professor who was part of an international team who travelled to China last week to try to establish where and how the coronavirus started, yesterday told the media Chinese authorities kept a very careful eye on every move he and his colleagues made. The team spent a week in Wuhan – the city where the first cases appeared – and concluded that the virus was likely passed from animals to humans – but they aren’t sure exactly how yet. 

Meanwhile: more good news on the vaccination front yesterday after confirmation that a large shipment of the Pfizer vaccine would be released from Europe and making its way to our shores – ready to be injected into an arm near you!




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 Bahamas – a group of islands in the Caribbean – where three men have been rescued off a deserted island after spending 33 days stranded there.

The men swam to the island when their boat capsized. Miraculously, despite the fact there was no food or water on the island, they survived for 33 days by eating coconuts, sea snails and – get this – rats. 


The men were only rescued when a passing US Coast Guard helicopter pilot noticed the men frantically waving at him as he undertook a routine patrol of the area. 

Now that’s what you call good luck.

Except for the eating rats bit. That’s what you call plain gross. 



Despite a two and half hour marathon match, Aussie underdog Thanasi Kokkinakis and his KMart t-shirt was last night unable to overcome his second round rival at the Australian Open, going down in a five set cliffhanger. But what a brave fight he put on. Much like his fellow Aussie NIck Kyrgios who pulled off a stunning come-from-behind victory on Wednesday night to cruise into the third round. Aussie rising star Alex deMinaur won his match last night too –  and not forgetting Queensland’s own world number one Ash Barty who moved easily into the next round. Aussie! Aussie! Aussie! … oh, you know the rest. 



A man in New Zealand who spends his days collecting whale poop washed up on beaches reckons he has gathered enough to make him a millionaire.

What the what?

There’s a substance called ambergris .. it’s a sticky black substance from the guts of some sperm whales that is occasionally pooped out. It might sound crazy, but this stuff that comes out of whales bums is highly prized by people who make perfume. So prized, in fact, that a kilo of ambergris is worth more than a kilo of gold. It’s believed only 1-5% of sperm whales in the world produce ambergris. There’s a cool link in today’s episode notes to an explainer video from the Australian Museum.




Every Friday we check in with Squiz Kids ambassador, Flynn, known as the Fox to his friends to see what he’s been reading, listening to and watching.

The book that’s captured his attention this week is The Running Man – by Michael Gerard Bauer – about a teenage boy and talented artist in Brisbane who summons the courage to draw a portrait of his scary old neighbour – and the relationship that blossoms between them.

His ears have been filled this week with the smooth sound of the Bill Withers + Grover Washington Jnr classic, Just The Two Of Us. He’s a soulful cat, our Fox.

And as for watching, he’s found himself down a Hunger Games YouTube wormhole .. watching a whole bunch of Behind The Scenes videos – which is a cool way to see how movies are made.

As always – there are links to all of these cool things in today’s episode notes. As well as a link to his Spotify playlist – which contains every song he’s ever recommended. 




It’s that time again! Time to crank up the Squiz Kids Q+As – a chance for you, the kids of Australia, to ask questions directly to people in the news. We’re going to get really creative this year with the people we stick in the Squiz Kids Q+A hotseat – from scientists to sports-stars, musicians to mathematicians. But to ease into proceedings, and embrace the summer vibe – we’re excited to announce our first special guest for the year is none other than former yellow Wiggle, Sam Moran. 

Sam’s just put out a new single with Guy Sebastian called Pool Party. His TV show, Play Along With Sam, is still a top rating favourite and his last album went to number one on the iTunes charts. 

If you’ve got a question you’d like to ask Sam – now’s your chance. Send it through to [email protected] by next Tuesday. It’s going to be fun.




Big thank you to all of the people who have taken the time to fill out the Squiz Kids Survey – to help us make this little podcast of ours bigger and better. The survey closes next Tuesday – and while we’ve had a heap of responses – we want a heap more. And so – we’re throwing a prize into the mix – because who doesn’t love a prize? There’s a book pack to be won by one lucky survey respondent – whether you’ve filled it in already, or you can make time to do it over the weekend – you’ll go into the draw.

And if you’re one of our many teacher listeners …  we know you do a million things a day, but we’d especially love it if you could turn your minds to filling out our survey. And if YOU happen to be the winner of our prize  – we’ll throw in a special little surprise for you and your class.

So don’t just sit there … get busy! There’s a link to the survey in today’s episode notes – via both the podcasting app and the website. 




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

  1. What animal were a trio of men stranded on a desert island in the Bahamas forced to eat to survive?
  2. What’s the name of the Aussie tennis player, with a thing for KMart t-shirts, who got knocked out of the Australian Open last night?
  3. What’s the name of the substance that whales poop which is highly prized by perfumiers?




It’s February 12   … two days to go until it’s Valentine’s Day .. have you worked out who your special Valentine is going to be? 

It’s also a special day for these Squiz Kids celebrating a birthday today … shall we crack out the birthday reggae tune? It’s a Friday afterall …. Hit it!

Happy birthday to Jai from Flagstaff Hill, Declyn from East Lindfield, Louis (pronounced Loo-ee) from Canterbury, James, Mel and Greg from Wallan, Drake from Albany Creek, Mia from Darwin, Eddy from Dandaloo, Pepper from Castlemaine, Alexis from Melbourne, Kalahni from Carroll, Addison from Rockhampton, Noah from Craigburn, Chase from Brisbane, Lucy and Sophie from Wesburn, and Keshet from Abbotsford

Happy birthday one and all!

And some belated birthday shout outs… Bella from Grovedale, Nirvair from Forest Lake, and Eliza, Lincoln and Macy from Craigburn.

And some weekend birthday shoutouts… Amarli from Invermay, Arya from Canberra, Ethan from Blaxland, Rushana from Westmead, Rhytham from Gosford East, Courtney from Melbourne, Trinika from Jindalee, Jazelle from Lysterfield, Georgios (said similar to “ye-OR-go”) from Darwin, Kieran from Waitara and Emily from Birkdale.


The S’Quiz Answers:

  1. Rats
  2. Thanasi Kokkinakis
  3. Ambergris