Wednesday, November 1, 2023

Your daily kids news podcast.

A Halloween hangover; India’s wrestling school for girls; Tassie’s seal in a paddock; and Queensland’s quantum computing breakthrough



Squiz Kids Shortcut to… Halloween

The Indian wrestling school for girls:

Bruny Island paddock seal:

Queensland researchers at the forefront of quantum computing leap:

More about quantum computing:

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How’s your belly feeling? Did you stuff yourself full of lollies last night? As I’m sure you know, despite it once only really being celebrated in America, Halloween has become a really big deal here in Australia, with experts yesterday estimating some 5 million Aussies celebrated Halloween this year and spent almost half a billion dollars on decorations, costumes and sweet, sweet candy. Yes, that’s billion with a ‘b’.


Kids all over Australia took to their suburban streets last night, trick or treating the neighbourhood, dressed as ghouls, ghosts, zombies and witches. 

And while they don’t want us to stop enjoying ourselves, there were calls yesterday to make the spooky season more sustainable .. specifically by keeping in mind the amount of waste we’re producing.


From pumpkins we carve but never eat to fake cobwebs and plastic skeletons – experts say the amont of waste we inadvertently produce while getting our ghoul on has grown to epic proportions.


Inadvertently is a fancy way of saying ‘accidentally’ or ‘not on purpose’. 


Luckily, the same experts have come up with a bunch of ways to make your Halloween environmentally friendly – including only purchasing good quality decorations that can be reused year-after-year. Or re-purposing Book Week costumes.  Or decorating your Jack-O-Lantern rather than carving it so that it can be turned into a delicious pumpkin soup or curry afterwards?


Because after all, the tradition that we now know as Halloween started more than 2000 years ago back in Ireland and Scotland (there’s a link to the Squiz Kids Shortcut to Halloween in the episode notes), and has continued because it has evolved to keep up with society. So, why not include some evolution that protects the planet and keeps that candy coming!



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 north of India at the Altius wrestling school for girls. Co-founded in 2009 by India’s first female wrestling coach, the school offers a pathway out of poverty and assists girls and women aged from eight to twenty-two to build skills, confidence and independence in a male-dominated society. 

In many parts of India, women’s wrestling is still taboo, meaning that it is forbidden by social customs, but at Altius, the girls train every day doing sprints, pushups and wrestling drills. When previously they would have been tending to cows and buffalo, getting married and having children, they can now make their own decisions, drive a car, earn a living and make their families proud by wrestling. The Indian women’s recent wrestling success at the Asian and Commonwealth Games has encouraged more girls to train to compete internationally. Go Girl Power!



Imagine you could shrink yourself down to the size of a Lego minifigure. What would the world look like? What would you do?

Well, some very clever researchers at the University of Queensland have been working for the last ten years on shrinking things. And they’ve cracked it! They’ve managed to make a computer component (not a human just yet) that is normally the size of a matchbox, 1000 times tinier, so that is one-tenth the thickness of a human hair!

In order to do this, they needed to cool the temperature of their work environment down to minus 273 degrees Celsius, which is colder than the temperature in outer space. I hope they remembered their jumpers.

The teeny, tiny component will become part of a quantum computer. Quantum computers can solve certain types of problems much much faster than traditional computers. They can run simulations where lots of things happen at the same time. They can be used in everything from climate science to national security. If you’d like to find out more about quantum computing, there’s a link to a cool video in your episode notes.

Science, maths, computing…amazing!



Bruny Island, in Tasmania, is world-famous for its white wallabies. And that’s what a group of tourists visiting the popular holiday spot were expecting to see on an inland tour about a kilometre from the ocean. Instead, they were surprised to spot a large Australian fur seal in a paddock! From their vehicle, they noticed the seal just resting up against a fence at the edge of a creek. There’s a link to a photo in the episode notes.

We’re happy to report that the seal was not part of the farmer’s livestock. Instead, it seems to have gotten lost after some recent wild weather and has since made its way back to the beach. 

You might remember us talking about Hobart’s famous young elephant seal, Neil, earlier in the year. Neil has been relocated on a couple of occasions but keeps making his way back. Maybe we’ll be seeing Neil, who has his own Instagram account, again soon too. 


Hey kids, don’t forget to tune in tomorrow to catch our Squiz Kids Q+A with Australia’s first female prime minister, Julia Gillard. You asked the questions and she’s answered them. Like how did she feel when she was elected, what were the toughest things she had to face in her career, and all importantly, what’s her favourite band. The chat should play directly after tomorrow’s podcast, or you can find it in your podcasting app.


NGS Super

Psst – we’ve got a message for those parents and teachers listening. It’s time to step into the time machine and travel back to World War Two in Squiz Today’s short podcast series How  Far We’ve Come – made with the help of their podcast partner NGS Super. They’ll dive into the rise of TAFE education following the war, how it’s shaping the workplace future for kids today, and if you’ve ever wanted to know Claire’s thoughts on plumbers – well, this is your chance. Hop on board and listen to it on the Squiz Today podcast feed


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

  1. How long ago did the tradition that we know as Halloween begin?
  1. What temperature is the room where the quantum computing components are assembled? 
  2. Which Island in the state of Tasmania is the home to world famous white wallabies?





It’s November 1 … pinch and a punch! Today is Autistics Speaking Day. It’s a day for people with autism to share their superpowers and their challenges with the world. If you want to find out more, hop onto social media. It’s a great day to listen to their stories – or have a listen to the Squiz Kids Shortcut we’ve produced all about autism – there’s a link in your episode notes or you’ll find it in the Shortcuts section of our website. 


It’s also a special day for these Squiz Kids celebrating a birthday today … Tenisha from Molong, Kaitlyn from Guyra, Innes from Canberra, Leander from Mount Gravatt, Jonathan from Mount Isa, Matilda from Narembum, Shehzaad from Holsworthy, Daisy from Bald Hills and Emma from North Bondi. 


And belated shout outs go to… Simon and Astrid from Leura, Judah from the Northern Beaches, Loui  se from Kippa-Ring, Catalina from Ringwood North, Phoebe from Grovedale, Jed from Darwin and Rivaan from Wagga-Wagga. 


Classroom  shout outs go to …  class 3/4 B with Miss Broadbent at Seaham Public School, class 3R with Mrs Rutter at Tarrawanna Public School, year 2 and year 4 classes at St   Philomena’s Catholic School in Bathurst, class 5/6H with Mrs Houhgton at St Laurence’s Parish School in Forbes, class 3B with Mrs Ball and Mrs McKeough at St John the Baptist Catholic School in Adelaide, all the students at MacArthur Anglican School in Cobbitty, years 2,3 and 4 with Mr Tierney at Wiripaang Public School and lastly class 5 Red with Mr Ozo at St John’s Catholic Primary School in Campbelltown.