Monday, 1 May, 2023

Sports stars give lessons in failure; Israel’s cyborg goldfish; Parrots making video calls; and the adventures of Neil the Seal.


Today’s Quick Links: 

There’s no failure in sport – Giannis Antetokounmpo:

Wests Tigers pull of upset of the season:

Video calls can spark joy – that’s true for parrots, too, study finds:

Neil The Seal’s Instagram page:

Stay clear of Neil the Seal – Media Release:

Cyborg goldfish:

When did Australia first celebrate Labour Day?:


Dig Deeper:

Anthropomorphism- how much humans and animals share is still contested:

14 Fun Facts about Parrots:

Tool use in parrots:

Eight-hour day – the history of Labour Day:


Kids + Media Survey Results:


Squiz Kids Book Club:


Classroom Companion:

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There were a couple of important lessons in failure at the weekend as the NRL’s Wests Tigers broke an almost year-long losing streak and NBA basketball legend Giannis Antetokounmpo gave a masterclass in the importance of losing in sport

For West Tigers fans there were celebrations in the NSW town of Wagga Wagga on Saturday night as the boys in black-and-gold broke a 12-game losing streak to beat reigning premiers the Panthers in a soggy thriller.

It’s been 273 days since the Tigers won a game. Think about that for a minute … That’s a long time to keep showing up each weekend and trying your heart out and keep being beaten week after week. 

The fact that Wests Tigers – who were at the bottom of the ladder – broke their victory drought and won their first game by downing last year’s champions only the made the win all the sweeter. Go the Tiges .. 

It came on the same weekend NBA team the Milwaukee Bucks suffered a shock 4-1 defeat to the Miami Heat in the competition’s play-offs. 

When asked by a reporter after the game whether the Bucks’ entire season had been a failure, Antetokounmpo said losing was an important part of any sport.

Giannis said that just because Michael Jordan – widely considered the greatest of all time – only one 6 championships in the 15 years he played basketball didn’t make the other 9 years a failure. 

“Every loss is a step to success” he said. I’ve stuck a link to the video of his speech in today’s episode notes. 

And – as any of you who play weekend footy or netball will know – sometimes these things happen in cycles .. sometimes you’ve got to cop the losses on the chin, and focus on the fact that you’re developing your skills in the meantime and getting better with the practice. And – as the Tigers learned on Saturday – by maintaining that focus and training and commitment and a healthy dose of can-do spirit – you’re only ever one game away from turning everything around.  



Each day we give the world globe a spin and find a news story from wherever it stops .. and today we’ve landed in Florida in the United States pet parrots have been video calling one another to keep their spirits up.

A study conducted by university researchers taught a bunch of birds how to video call one another – to see if it made them less lonely.

And guess what? Birds that were able to chat to one another on FaceTime were less lonely … duhhh. I could have told them that.

In the wild, parrots live in large flocks – hands up if you’ve seen the animated movie, Rio? So sometimes when they’re alone in cages, they can sometimes feel lonely. The uni researchers gave the parrots in the study a tablet each and taught them how to dial a feathered friend for a chat. Apparently parrots were observed singing, hanging upside down (which sounds a bit like showing off) and there were even birds showing other birds their toys. Sounds like a cute-fest. 



Neil the Seal has been returned to the ocean – and the people of Hobart are missing him already ..

Neil’s adventures began late last week when he flopped up onto a beach in Hobart and made his way across a couple of roads to take up residence in a park where he decided to sunbake for a few hours. 

Showing no interest in heading back out to sea, Neil the juvenile elephant seal, then proceeded to hang around, exploring the suburb of Kingston, appearing to be not the least bit perturbed by the many hundreds of locals who came out to photograph him.

In fact, Neil became such a tourist attraction, locals had to put up signs near Neil – advising people he was still a wild animal and a careful distance needed to be maintained. 

WIldlife officers eventually coaxed Neil back into the sea. But not before locals created an Instagram page for him. I’ve stuck a link to it in today’s episode notes. And if you take a look: bear this in mind. Neil is currently only a teenager. When he is fully grown he could weigh anywhere up to 3500 kgs. That’s a whole lot of blubber. 



And so to Israel we go – where scientists have created a cyborg goldfish in the name of research.

What’s a cyborg? The word is what’s called a portemanteau – when you stick two words together to get one. In this case  ‘cybernetic’ and ‘organism’. So a cyborg goldfish is part goldfish, part robot. 

Take a look at the photo I’ve stuck in today’s episode notes. It’s totes weird. The fish has a funny box on its forehead – which researchers have attached to measure how fish brains work – and specifically how they navigate underwater.  

Hope they don’t discover goldfish are plotting to overthrow humans .. that’s the last thing we need. 


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


  1. Until this weekend, how many days had it been since the Wests Tigers had won?
  2. In which country have researchers created a cyborg goldfish? 
  3. What kind of a seal is Neil the Seal?





It’s May 1 – Pinch and a punch! Today is the Labor Day public holiday in Queensland and the Northern Territory … so no school there today. Lucky kids ! 


It’s also a special day for these Squiz Kids celebrating a birthday today … Wynter from Sydney, Emelia from Burpengary, Aryan from Oak Park, Leander from Taroona and Isabella from Duffy. 


Belated shoutouts from last week go to.. Luca from Kotara South, Tegan from Kalgoorlie, Lila and Omi from Canberra, Angus from Launceston and Canzeer from Quakers Hill. 


And because many of you celebrated a birthday over the Easter holidays – we’re still making our way through them – so we’ll press pause on Classroom Shoutouts a bit longer to wish a happy belated birthday to … Chloe from Northcote, Hamish from Surrey Hills, Hayden from Bray Park, Tarni from Aldinga Beach, Mason from Forest Lake, Archie from Arncliffe, Elly and Gea from Middle Harbour, Elijah from Unanderra, Niamh from Mosman, Reuben from Kahibah, Aleah from Seabrook and Slyvie from Little Mountain.  



The S’Quiz Answers:

  1. 273 days
  2. Israel
  3. Elephant Seal