Monday, 29 November, 2021

Oh no .. Omicron; London’s mobile phone museum; big weekend for women’s sport; and a big event on the Great Barrier Reef.



Mobile Phone Museum’s full catalogue: 

Coral spawning video: ​​

Pong: the world’s first video game:


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A word you’re going to hear a lot in the next few days is omicron. It’s not a new Transformers character, unfortunately – but a new strain of the coronavirus and one which has the world waiting nervously to see how much havoc it’s going to wreak.

The new strain is different to the one we’ve been wrestling with most recently – the one that’s been known as Delta. 

Omicron is the 15th letter of the Greek alphabet. The World Health Organisation names virus strains after letters from the Greek alphabet.

Scientists are still studying it carefully- but one concern is that omicron could be more infectious than Delta. Which is not great news. 

There have been cases of it detected in South Africa, which has meant lots of countries this weekend closed their borders to southern African countries.

Here at home, there were two cases of the new strain detected in travellers arriving in Sydney from South Africa – but both are in quarantine.

The good news? There’s every chance the current vaccines will be effective against omicron. And if they’re not, vaccine manufacturers say they should be able to turn around a new vaccine to fight it pretty quickly. 

Fingers and toes crossed people ..



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 a new online museum has opened celebrating the history and design of an object we all know and love… the mobile phone. The museum features the toilet seat phone; the rabbit ear phone; and phones from James Bond movies, the Matrix, and Mission Impossible. 

None of you are old enough to remember a time before mobile phones, or even the ridiculous, brick-like phones that people like me shouted into in the 1980s; but they’re all there -as well as round phones, square phones, diamond encrusted phones and a phone shaped like a Nintendo switch. 

In total, the two men who started the museum have 2120 phones, and are accepting donations of items missing from their collection. Their hope is to put on a big in-person exhibition in 2025, which will be 40 years after the first mobile phone call was made in the United Kingdom. The link to the phone museum is in your episode notes. And if you’re a Squiz Kids for Schools member, today’s classroom worksheets – all about synonyms and antonyms – are linked to this story. Not a member? Sign up for your free trial at   



What a weekend it was for Aussie women’s Aussie sport! 

First there was the Women’s Big Bash which ended in spectacular style on a hot Perth night on Saturday and in front of a record crowd, where the home-team the Perth Scorchers smashed the Adelaide Strikers to win the grand final – and in the process, their first ever WBBL title. 

Meanwhile, over in Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates, our Aussie women’s rugby sevens team showed the world how its done, winning the competition with a four-try 22-7 victory over Fiji. Brissie girl Charlotte Caslick was named player of the match – and said afterwards, the team was delighted to be back on top of the world after a disappointing fifth place at the Tokyo Olympics. 

And while they didn’t come away with the win, the Matildas, our national women’s soccer team, thrilled a huge crowd in Sydney on Saturday night in a friendly against current world champs the USA — going down 3-0 – but nevertheless breaking a new attendance record for a women’s football match in Australia, with 36,000 fans rocking up. The teams will meet again on Tuesday night in Newcastle.



And so we go to the Great Barrier Reef, to meet one of Australia’s most famous animals … coral. Yes, coral is an animal, not a plant – because unlike plants, coral does not makes its own food … how about that? And this week marine biologists have been burning the midnight oil – which means staying up really late – to witness a most remarkable annual event: the coral spawning – which is when coral reproduce, and coral larvae – which are baby corals – find a spot on the seabed to grow and hopefully thrive. The spawning happens at night – and scientists are busy collecting samples, to grow corals in strategic places along one of Australia’s most amazing natural wonders, to help restore parts of the reef damaged by global warming. I’ve stuck a link to video of the incredible underwater event in your episode notes. 




What have you got planned for the Xmas school holidays? A road trip? Time at the beach? Camping with the family? Or hanging out at home? Whatever you’re planning to do – why not do it with me? 

Because we know how much you love your quizzes, and because I know how much you’ll miss me – we’ve gone and developed a bunch of cool bonus content for Squiz Kids families for the summer holidays. 

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The first of the Kids v Adult Summer S’quizzes is available now … 

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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 new variant of the COVID virus that once again has the world on alert?
  2. Which team won this year’s women’s Big Bash competiton?  
  3. Coral: is it a plant or an animal?




It’s November 29 … on this day, 49 years ago, the first ever commercially successful video game was released … it was called Pong and it was HUUGE – and the graphics were so basic it would make you laugh to look at it .. so I’ve stuck a video of it in today’s episode notes …

It’s also a special day for these Squiz Kids celebrating a birthday today…Sebastian from Randwick, Sharon from Marayong, Ryan from Kempsey, Felix from Caringbah South, Harry from Talara and Nya from Geraldton. 

Classroom shout outs today go to…class 3/4H and Miss Denny and Mr Vanwyck’s class  – both from Stockton Public School. Also to class 3 White and Mrs Barlow at Mother Teresa Catholic College in Baldivis and to class 3N at Tighes Hill Public School. It’s a special shout out to Miss Rose and class 3/4R at Abbotsford Public School and farewell to Miss Rose who is heading to the United Kingdom to live – you will be missed! Final class shout out today to class 3/4 J and Miss Jackson – also at Abbotsford Public School.

The S’Quiz Answers:

  1. Omicron
  2. Perth Scorchers
  3. Animal