Friday 5 June, 2020

Aussie home for Hong Kongers; Tokyo’s scaled-back Olympics; Star Wars star steps up; and who wants to live in a house made of snot? 



Snot palaces

What The Fox:









Tiananmen Square is a place name you might hear something about today. It’s a massive gathering place in the middle of the Chinese capital Beijing – where, 31 years ago yesterday, some protestors were killed as they fought for freedoms that you and I take for granted. The anniversary is especially important in Hong Kong this year, after its parliament yesterday passed a law which makes it illegal to insult the Chinese national anthem. It’s the latest development in a series of crackdowns on the citizens of Hong Kong. And it’s why many countries, including Australia, are talking about declaring themselves a ‘safe haven’ for any Hongkongers who feel compelled to leave their country and start afresh somewhere new. Meanwhile, in Hong Kong last night, with police threatening to break up any Tiananmen commemorations, Hongkongers were being urged to light a candle in their windows in an act of solidarity. 




Each day we give the world globe a spin and find a news story from wherever it stops .. and today, we’ve landed in Monterey Bay, off the coast of California in the United States … where scientists have been studying a tiny tadpole-like creature – called a giant larvacean – which makes itself a house out of snot every day. Euggh. It’s like one ginormous snot bubble that they live inside as they float about the sea. And it’s so complex and so delicate and carefully constructed, that it sucks in teeny tiny bits of food and pumps it to the tadpole sitting snugly in the middle of all that snot. 

The larvaceans snot palaces last for about a day, on average, before they ditch them to the bottom of the sea and start all over again, building a new one. Why are scientists so interested in tadpole snot? Because they believe if they can understand why this mucus is such an effective home building material – we might be able to apply the science to our own dwellings. Because who doesn’t want to live in a house built from snot?

There’s a link to a snot house in today’s episode notes.




Next year’s Tokyo Olympics could look very different to other modern Olympics with hosts, Japan, yesterday indicating that a simplified, scaled back version of the games might be necessary because of the coronavirus. Fewer athletes, fewer sports, and many fewer spectators were all options being considered as organisers tried to make plans for the world’s biggest sporting event. The Games were meant to happen next month – but have been postponed by a year.

And in the NRL last night, the Roosters flogged the Broncos by 59-0. Ouch.




As protests sparked by the death of black American George Floyd continued to spread around the world, one actor who’s been especially vocal is Star Wars star, John Boyega. He plays the character Finn in the new Star Wars films. He’s spent the past week marching with protestors in his hometown of London, making impassioned speeches about racial inequality, saying enough is enough. And yesterday, Lucasfilm, the massive company that makes Star Wars films, expressed their wholehearted support for the actor.

Also moved to speak out, closer to home, is AFL star, Buddy Franklin. The Sydney Swans full forward used his Instagram account to highlight the plight of Indigenous Australians and urged ‘justice for all”.




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, in the reading stakes, he’s dived back into a favourite series, the third book from Aussie author John Marsden’s award-winning Tomorrow series .. this one’s called The Third Day, The Frost … and it picks up the gripping tale of Ellie and her teenage friends as they continue to fight an invading army. 

On the listening front, he’s been taken in by the sultry sounds of Noah Cyrus – and her haunting song July. ‘She’s Miley’s sister by name’ says the Fox. “But more like Billie Eilish in music’.

And as for watching, he and his sister lost themselves at the weekend in the new-ish animated film, Onward. From the same team that brought you Toy Story and The Incredibles – it’s lots of funny – with just a dash of sad. 

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




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

  1. What gooey mucus emitted from tadpole-like critters are scientists in California busy studying?
  2. In which city in Japan are the Olympics due to be held next year?
  3. What’s the name of the Star Wars character played by actor John Boyega?




It’s June the 5th … World Environment Day – if you’re near a tree today, go and give it some love. 

It’s also a special day for these Squiz Kids celebrating a birthday … Ethan and Samuel from Sunshine Coast, Ethan from Hunter Valley, Dylan, Eleanor and Ellie from Sydney, Lexi from Davistown, Claire from Lakewood, Poppy and Ellie from Hughesdale, Benji from Warranwood , Ellie from Inverell, Bethany from Maidstone, Liza and Peach from Abbotsford, Aditi from Parramatta, Edward from Adelaide, Amy from Dee Why, Frankie from East Bentleigh, Madi from Kiama, and Emily from Proserpine.

And some belated birthday shoutouts…  Connor from Cranbourne, Miles from Lyndhurst, Chelsea from Sydney and John and Sara from Willoughby.

And – because we won’t be podcasting on Monday morning, some extra long long-weekend birthday shoutouts for everyone celebrating a birthday in the next three days … Finn and Eli from Gosford, Cooper from Dubbo, Eloise from Canberra, William from Crookwell, Matilda, Stephanie, Cooper and Addison from Sydney, Jaiya from Croydon, Leah from Bathurst, Vanessa from Lynbrook, Addy and Ben from Brisbane, Ashton from Sunshine Bay, Jake from Gunnedah, Theo from Dickson, Patrick from Kempsey, Ciara from Tottenham, Jordan from Roxby Downs, Kristen from Ballarat, Bridget from Ingham, Clayton from Devonport, Austin from Crescent Head, Rayon from Croydon Park, Thomas from Cronulla, Erdem from Rhodes, Karli from Meadow Springs, Ava from Hunter’s Hill, Archie from Clovelly, Lucy from Macgregor, Edward from Elsternwick, Charlie from French’s Forest, Jayce and Noah from Abbotsford, Dominic from Kirrawee, Gemma from Waverley, Noam from Ormond, Ridhi from Bengaluru in India, and Eytan from Paris, France. 

Happy birthday to you all.  

The S’Quiz Answers:

  1. Snot
  2. Tokyo
  3. Finn