Friday, 21 October, 2022

The mother of all storms; Liz Truss’s terrible, horrible day; TikTok to ban kids’ livestreams; and the world’s biggest bony fish. 



Newshounds: Squiz Kids’ free media literacy curriculum:
Supercell storms:
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day (read aloud):
Live stream lettuce: 





We often use the prefix “super” to show that something is better – you know, superman, superglue. But when it comes to storms, the supercell kind is definitely not better. A supercell is often called “the mother of all storms”—I’m talking destructive winds, hailstones the size of cricket balls, drenching rain, flash floods—all potentially lasting for hours. I’ll put a link in your episode notes to a video that explains more, and has some pretty spectacular footage. 


So why am I talking about supercells? Well, they’re the least common of all storms, but unfortunately, the Bureau of Meteorology has said that conditions in Queensland and northern NSW over the next few days could produce them. Which seems particularly unfair, given all the diabolical weather they’ve already had. 




Speaking of rain, experts also announced yesterday that because mosquitoes like to breed in water, and we’re getting a ton of that falling from the sky, we are likely to have an extra mosquitoey summer.


Yes, I know that mosquitoey isn’t really a word. 


Now, how many of you are mossie magnets? Meaning that you always seem to get the most mossie bites out of all your friends? Well, scientists have just discovered that some people’s skin produces particular chemicals that are up to 100 times more attractive to mosquitoes… meaning that if your skin emits those chemicals, mossies will head for you first. Boo. In good news, though, the discovery means that scientists may be able to create a mosquito repellent to target those chemicals. Wouldn’t that be nice? 



Each day we give the world globe a spin and find a news story from wherever it stops … and today we’ve landed in London, England, where Prime Minister Liz Truss has had a terrible, horrible, no good, VERY bad day. (You know the book and movie, right? I’ll put a link in your episode notes.) While you were sleeping overnight, the British PM resigned – despite only being in the country’s top job just over a month ago.

She now has the dubious honour of being Prime Minister of Great Britain for the shortest time of any Prime Minister in the nation’s history. 

Why did she resign? 

She made a couple of very big mistakes at the start of her Prime Ministership – then sacked one of her most senior colleagues – then watched as other senior colleagues resigned around her – all the while the British newspapers were describing her government as “Utter Chaos” and “Broken”. 

One paper even set up a live YouTube stream of a lettuce (decorated with googly eyes and a blonde wig) saying they predicted Ms Truss would go before the lettuce decayed. Looks like they were right.

Yes, I’ve stuck a link to the lettuce in your episode notes. 




Yes, I know, it’s not Wednesday… but we’re letting Squiz-E the Newshound make a special appearance today because he’s got two big pieces of media literacy news. 


The first is that TikTok—the world’s fastest-growing social media app—has announced that starting next month, children will no longer be allowed to live stream on its video sharing platform. That’s because an investigation by the BBC news organisation found that children in refugee camps were livestreaming on TikTok, and begging for money—even though the platform’s rules say that you aren’t allowed to ask for gifts. Believe it or not, some of the accounts were getting donations of up to $1500 an hour—although TikTok gets to keep a fair bit of that. In case you don’t know… if you buy something in the TikTok app, or donate money, the company keeps some. In the last five years, according to a company that analyses these things, TikTok has made more than $10 billion that way. Once again, it’s important to know what happens behind the scenes in social media. 


Now, I said that Squiz-E had a second piece of news. And this one is all about him! Starting today, primary school kids all over the world will be able to learn how to sniff out misinformation and disinformation with Squiz-E’s Newshounds media literacy curriculum. It’s FUN, it’s FREE, and it’s been a huge hit with the schools who piloted it with us last term. 

100% of teachers said that their students were able to think more critically after learning with Squiz-E; 100% of teachers said that they felt more confident teaching media literacy concepts; and 100% of teachers said that it was worth spending eight sessions of classroom time to help students learn to critically consume media; and then to produce a podcast of their own. So teachers, click on the link in your episode notes, create a free account, and you’ll find everything you need to get started on your media literacy adventure today! 





Okay, I want you to picture a big four wheel drive vehicle. Now, imagine coming across a fish that weighs even more! A giant sunfish, believed to be the world’s heaviest bony fish, has been discovered off the coast of Portugal, weighing a whopping 2,744 kilograms. (In case you didn’t know, a 4WD weighs on average about 2,000kg.) Although the fish was found last year, experts have only just announced the finding. Giant sunfish were only recognised as their own species in 2018, and can weigh up to twice as much as the second heaviest species – the ocean sunfish. That is a LOT of fish. 



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 most rare kind of storm, threatening Queensland and NSW right now? 
  2. Which social media app is going to ban kids from livestreaming? 
  3. About how much does a 4WD weigh? 





It’s October 21 … National Pumpkin Cheesecake day in America, National Apple Day in England, and National Nacho Day in Mexico. Which one would you choose? I’m nachos, all the way… 


It’s also a Friday – and you know what that means .. lots of birthday shout outs for today and the coming weekend … for which we’re going to need the ol’ birthday reggae tune … hit it … 


And it’s a happy birthday to these Squiz Kids celebrating a birthday today… 

Jorge from Shoal Bay, Blake from Raymond Terrace, Hamad from Randwick, Nidhi from Stirling, Violet from Eagle Vale, 

Liam from Hurlstone Park, Lucas from Maitland and Kristen from Preston. 


Belated birthday shout outs go to Albie from Neutral Bay, Sam from Ermington and Skye from Singleton. 


Not forgetting the Squiz Kids who are celebrating a birthday over the coming weekend … Sierra from Forest Lake, Anna from Kelso, Moses from Adelaide, India from Cannon Hill, Archie from Bronte, Mackenzie from Perth, Hannah from Mitchelton, Terry from Hobart, Eleanora from Ormond and Lucy listening all the way over in Oslo, Norway and Lucas listening in Taichung, Taiwan. 


Classroom shouts go to…Class 3/4A and Mr H at Lake Bolac College who have been waiting very patiently for their shout out and also to the 3/4 class at Exeter Public School and happy birthday to their teacher Mrs Howard for tomorrow. 



The S’Quiz Answers:

  1. Supercell storm
  2. TikTok
  3. 2,000kg – 744kg less than the giant sunfish discovered off Portugal.