Friday, 12 March, 2021

Cheap flights for all; Japan’s tsunami remembered; gold nuggets for dog sled winner; and it’s Mars Perseverance Q+A day!



Japan tsunami photo gallery:

What’s Up Fox?


Listening: Leave The Door Open


Squiz Kids Instagram:

Got a birthday coming up and you want a shout-out? Send us an email at [email protected]

Squiz Kids is proudly supported by the Judith Neilson Institute for Journalism and Ideas.






Pack your bags, throw in your swimmers, and don’t forget your pillow and toothbrush. There are half-price flights on offer for Australians to travel around the country, as the government tries to help out the ailing tourism industry.

Tourism – which is what happens when you and your family go some place  you don’t live for a visit – has been really hard hit by the pandemic. With all of the lockdowns and border closures – including the closing of Australia’s borders to visitors from overseas – the people who run tour companies, and hotels and resorts and travel experiences and airlines have been doing it really tough. 

But with the announcement yesterday that the government in Canberra would pay half of the airfare to a selection of interstate destinations – it’s hoped we’ll all get moving again and explore our best known holiday destinations.

Maybe I could stitch a few of them together and come and visit all of our faithful Squiz Kids listeners in all corners of the country. Don’t suppose I could sleep on your couch? I don’t eat much, promise. 

The turtles of Queensland had cause for celebration yesterday when the sunshine state joined South Australia in banning single use plastics. The ban – which will come into effect from September 1 – will ban things like plastic cutlery, plastic straws and plastic coffee cup lids. Plastics that enter the ocean can be eaten by turtles, whales and seabirds and cause injury or even death. And our turtles are far too cute for that.  




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 commemorations took place yesterday to mark ten years since the north-east coast of the country was devastated by a tsunami.

A tsunami occurs when an earthquake out at sea triggers a huge wave that pushes inland and swallows everything in its path.

Because Japan sits on a part of the Earth’s crust where tectonic plates meet, earthquakes and tsunamis are more common than in other countries. 

The 2011 tsunami in Japan destroyed many buildings, killed almost 20,000 people and even triggered the meltdown of a nuclear power station – which is a whole other, very dramatic thing. When the waters went back out to sea, boats were left kilometres inland and entire towns were flattened. In the ten years since, new early warning systems and large concrete walls have been built in preparation for it happening again.

There’s a link to a photo gallery in today’s episode notes, which gives a sense of the damage that was done and rebuilding that’s taken place. 




As mushers reach the half-way point in the Iditarod dog sled race in Alaska, we figured it was a good time to check in and see how things are progressing. 

The race has had to be diverted – which means they have changed the course – because the snow is so thick and deep in some sections it would be over the racers’ heads. That’s a lot of snow. 

Four days in and the number of teams competing has dropped from 48 to 42 as racers drop out due to various injuries or just plain exhaustion. Meanwhile, a musher – which is the name given to the person who drives the team of huskies who pulls the sled – called Brent Saas is in the lead – and as the person who reached the halfway point first, he gets to choose a prize: either $4000 worth of gold nuggets or a new smartphone. Take the gold, Brent. Take the gold. 


And in other sporting news: the Melbourne Storm beat the South Sydney Rabbitohs in last night’s NRL season opener. Best on ground was Storm fullback Ryan Papenhuyzen’s mullet – which he’s clearly been working on since last season.  




It’s time friends … time to get your space suits on and join us on a trip to Mars … I’m talking about the special Squiz Kids Q+A with Professor David Flannery – the Aussie who helped put the Mars rover, Perseverance on the red planet. The Q+A – in which Professor Flannery answers your excellent questions about the Perseverance, its mission and the enormous challenge of getting a rover the size of a small car to travel millions of kilometres through space and land safely on the surface of a planet that appears as a pin-prick in the night’s sky – has just gone live. If you’re listening on a podcast app, it should play automatically after this edition of Squiz Kids. Or otherwise search for it in the Q+A section of our website. It’s out of this world! And that’s my dad joke for the day! 




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 Coding for Beginners on Scratch … a beginner’s guide to making video games using the coding program Scratch. Because why play video games when you can actually make them?

His playlist this week has been dominated by the song Leave The Door Open, by Bruno Mars and Silk Sonic. It’s super smooooth – with a funky 70s groove. Sometimes this kid is just too cool for his own good.

And on his watching list this week: it’s footy all weekend – with NRL games tonight and tomorrow. No chance of me getting near the remote this weekend.

There are links to all of these cool things in today’ episode notes. 




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

  1. Which country’s coastline was devastated by a tsunami ten years ago?
  2. What is the name given to the person who drives a team of huskies across the snow?
  3.  What’s the name of the Mars rover that Australia’s very own Professor Flannery helped put into space?




It’s March 12   … on this day in 1913 – so 108 years ago – the Foundation Stone was laid in Canberra, to mark the start of the building of the nation’s capital there. So how’s that for a bit of history?

It’s also a Friday – and that means enough birthday shout outs to warrant a dusting off of the special Squiz Kids birthday reggae tune – hit it … 

Happy birthday to these Squiz Kids celebrating a birthday today… Rowan from Coogee, Ali from Craigburn, Joshua from Cambewarra Village, Archie from Brisbane, Ethan from Oran Park, Sam from Broken Hill, Rebecca from Mernda, Zak from Kempsey and Charli from Sydney.

And some belated birthday shoutouts to… Aurora and Catalina  from Sydney, Annabel from Eumundi, Nirvair, Nils and Leon from Brisbane, Fergus from Inverell and Lilah from Wagga Wagga.

Weekend birthday shoutouts…Samuel from Lysterfield, Jasmine from Craigburn, Emma from Salisbury, Lewis from Toowoomba, Hunter from Mansfield, Eli from Wishart, Aiden from Glenning Valley, Toby from Sheoak Grove, Hallie from North Curl Curl, Jharome from Ashmont, Louis (Luu – eee)  from Adamstown, Scarlett from Ashmont, Maddy from Yarra Glen, Zane from Bellevue Heights, Michael from Stockton, George from Berry, Eva from Abbotsford, Evan from Eastwood, and Samu from the beautiful Lake Tekapo on New Zealand’s South Island.

Happy birthday one and all.


The S’Quiz Answers:

  1. Japan
  2. Musher
  3. Perseverance