Friday, 28 August, 2020

Hurricanes and protests rock America; Japan’s dam building robots; Rabbit and mice alert in rural Oz; and Billie Eilish breaks the internet.



Billie Eilish Tiny Desk concert:

What’s Up Fox:

Reading: The Famous Five:

Listening: Pray For Me – The Weeknd

Watching: Boy – Taika Waititi

Squiz Kids Instagram:






There are two storms brewing in the United States. Residents of America’s southern states were last night bracing themselves for Hurricane Laura as it crossed the coast from the Gulf of Mexico with 240 kilometre per hour winds whilst whipping up waves which storm watchers said could reach up to 50 kilometres inland. Hundreds of thousands of residents of coastal towns were evacuated from their homes, as authorities prepared for what is expected to be one of the strongest storms to ever hit the US south coast. 

Meanwhile, elsewhere in the country, the sports world was being rocked by a storm of protest – as some of America’s best-known athletes went on strike, refusing to play, in protest at what they say is unacceptable police brutality directed at the country’s Black people.

The latest trouble started when Jacob Blake was shot in the back by police during an arrest on Sunday. Sports people including LeBron James, tennis player Naomi Osaka and the entire Milwaukee Bucks basketball team were among athletes and teams who refused to take to the court, field or stadium yesterday, protesting at what they say is racial injustice and police brutality.  




Each day we give the world globe a spin and find a news story wherever it stops — and today, we’ve landed in Japan … where a dam is being built by robots.

Robots have long been used in different industries to perform tasks normally completed by humans. But this is the first time something as complicated from an engineering standpoint as a dam has been built by robots.

Robotic technology is being used to control the cranes that pour the concrete that forms the massive wall of the dam – which will eventually hold back the water. 

Japan has an ageing population – which is to say there are increasingly more older Japanese than younger Japanese. So getting enough able-bodied workers to do manual labour is getting harder and harder. So the robots have been created to fill the gap. Genius.   




Squiz Kids in rural NSW and Queensland … do you read me? Can you hear me? Or are you buried under a seething mass of mice?

Well – you might not be yet, but according to experts, there are more and more mice appearing in prime farmland as the recent rains have created perfect conditions for the rodents to breed, feed and multiply. 

It comes as the Adelaide Hills and Fleurieu Peninsula in South Australia battle with a plague of their own. In their case, it’s a plague of feral rabbits. With locals there reporting a spike in numbers of wild bunnies, steps are being taken to get the exploding population under control.

Two rabbits can produce 200 offspring in just two years, and within four years that number can multiply to 40,000. 

Not so cute now, eh?




Singer songwriter Billie Eilish has broken the internet a bit – again – with the release this week of an online mini-concert. 

Featuring the songtress and her brother Finneas – with a simple guitar and keyboard as accompaniment – it’s a ten minute escape into the ethereal world of the singer. Ethereal means something is so light and delicate, it seems like it comes from another world entirely. 

During the ten minute mini-concert Eilish paused to reflect that while the coronavirus lockdown across the world has been tough – she’s super hopeful about the future. I’m going to say she was directing that at Squiz Kids listeners in Victoria – who we’re all thinking about as you complete your fourth week in Stage 4 lockdown. Hang in there. You’ve got this. And in the meantime, lose yourself in the Billie Eilsh concert: for which there’s a link in today’s episode notes.




Calling all treehouse dwellers. Today is your last chance to send your questions to Treehouse author, Andy Griffiths – who has agreed to take the Squiz Kids Q+A hotseat next week.

Huge thanks to all of you who have sent in questions already. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: you really are a smart bunch.  

Anyone keen to lob a question at Andy – send it by the close of business today to [email protected].




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.

And this week, he’s been reading (over his sister’s shoulder) as she tears through The Famous Five box set. It’s a series of books by English kids author Enid Blyton – she of the Magic Faraway Tree fame – about five cousins who find themselves in all sorts of scrapes and adventures. It’s super old-school, the language is terribly ye olde English – but its kind of fun.

On the listening front, it’s been a Weeknd sort of a week .. which is to say, he’s been listening lots to The Weeknd’s excellent 2018 collaboration with Kendrick Lamar, Pray For Me. 

And as for watching: he watched a movie this week that might be the best one he’s seen in a long while. It’s called ‘Boy’, it’s made by Kiwi director of the moment, Taika Waititi and is just a perfect combination of humour and sadness and happiness. Make sure you watch it with an adult, though – as it features a few adult themes.




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 hurricane that’s causing havoc in the United States?
  2. In which country is a dam being partly built by robots?
  3. An explosion of which two animal species is causing concern among our farmers and the good people of South Australia?




It’s August 28 ….. Daffodil Day .. which is a fundraising day for cancer research. If you’re out and about and see a daffodil fundraiser – dig deep and chuck ‘em some coin.

It’s also a Friday … and that means we’re cranking up the reggae birthday super tune … 

Happy birthday to these Squiz Kids celebrating a birthday today…  Graham in Tarragindi, Akshara from Brisbane, Mia from Lovely Banks, Olive and Mateo from Melbourne, Cohen from Redlynch, Sarah from Ashgrove, Ingrid from Canberra, Olivia from Abbotsford, Aidan from Fennell Bay, Daisy from Camden, Koby from Koroit, Joey from Croppa Creek, Luke from Wahroonga, Kaan from Upper Kedron, Madie from NSW, Riley and Ayla from Stockton, and Blane from Aberfoyle Park.

And belated birthday shoutouts… John from Melbourne, Bailey and Dylan from Bray Park and Amy and Beth from Albany Creek 

Weekend birthday shoutouts… Lilly from Cronulla, Patrick from Kalamunda, Oliver from Redlynch, Kai from Naremburn, Zola from Sydney, Josh from Darlington, Micah from Orange, Liv from Mountain Creek, Ella from Munro, Layla from Valentine, Max from NSW, Tristan from Davidson, Julie from Eastwood, Michelle from Launceston, Chance from Chinchilla, Lilly from Port Kennedy, Zara from Naremburn and Paige from Cornubia. 

Happy birthday one and all!


  The S’Quiz Answers:

  1. Laura
  2. Japan
  3. Mice and rabbits