Monday July 12, 2021

A great big  lockdown across Greater Sydney; Richard Branson in a billionaire space race; Aussies win big at Wimbledon; and scientists discover an upside-down water walker


Squiz Kids is a free daily news podcast just for kids. A short weekday podcast, created here in Australia, that gives kids (and their adults) the rundown on the big news stories of the day, delivered without opinion, and with positivity and humour.


‘Kid-friendly news that keeps them up to date without all the nasties’ (A Squiz Parent)


This Australian podcast for kids easily fits into the daily routine – helping curious kids stay informed about the world around them.




Richard Branson’s billionaire space race


Upside down water walker


World’s longest fingernails


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Well, it wasn’t exactly the school holidays many Squiz Kids had hoped for, with half of all Australians spending at least part of the past two weeks in lockdown. 


And the battle isn’t over in Greater Sydney and surrounds, which has now entered its third week of lockdown as health experts fight to keep the Delta strain of the coronavirus, which is more infectious, under control.


Yesterday, 77 new cases were recorded in New South Wales, and Premier Gladys Berejiklian has said she fully expects there to be more than 100 today. Stricter mask rules have been introduced, and authorities are emphasising that unless you ABSOLUTELY have to leave the house, you shouldn’t. It also means the lockdown might not end at the end of this week as hoped.


So, I guess it’s no surprise that many of you are starting Term 3 of school remotely. Hang in there, friends … and be nice to your parents and teachers, okay? 




Each day we give the world globe a spin and find a news story from wherever it stops .. and today we’ve landed in New Mexico, USA, where a supersonic space plane made history late last night. 


First, a little background. Back when your grandparents were kids, in the 1950s and 60s, there was this thing called the “Space Race”. The United States and Soviet Russia were competing against each other to try to be the first nation to put a human on the moon. Fast forward to 2021, and we have a new kind of space race—one of the billionaire variety. 


Tesla’s Elon Musk, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, and Virgin’s Richard Branson are all very rich businessmen who are trying to get into the space tourism game. The idea is that, for just a few hundred thousand dollars, you’ll be able to buy a ticket to fly on a Musk-, Bezos-, or Branson-owned craft and check out our planet from space. 


Last night, Richard Branson jumped ahead in the race, by becoming the first person in history to fly in a spacecraft that they own themselves… and he did it nine days AHEAD of Jeff Bezos’ scheduled flight. Branson’s flight was posted on a livestream, commentated by a comedian, and after he landed, grammy-nominated singer Khalid debuted a new song at the landing site. Because when you’re a billionaire, that’s how you roll. 


I’ve put a link in your episode notes to the Virgin Galactic website, so you can see it all for yourselves.  




It was a brilliant weekend for Aussie sport, when TWO Australians were crowned Wimbledon champions. 


Dylan Alcott won the men’s quad wheelchair singles, which means he’s added a third Grand Slam title on top of his Australian and French Open wins this year. And THAT means he’s on track to win an elusive “Golden Slam”… which is when you win all four grand slam titles in a row, plus the Paralympic or Olympic Gold. Dylan has the US Open and the Paralympics in Tokyo to go—so get ready to cheer him on. 


And the women’s world number one, Aussie Ash Barty, finally fulfilled her dream of winning the women’s singles at Wimbledon, ten years after she won the junior’s prize. 


And she did it wearing a special outfit – a white dress with a hem shaped a bit like a wave.. She’d modeled it on the outfit that her hero, fellow indigenous tennis player Evonne Goolagong Cawley, wore exactly 50 years ago at Wimbledon, when Evonne first won the title. 


After her win, Ash said that Evonne had paved the way for her and other young indigenous kids to believe in their dreams—and now Ash wants to do the same thing. She said: “It’s more important to be a good person than it is a good tennis player. I was extremely lucky to have an opportunity to learn how to play tennis. But being a good human being is absolutely my priority every single day.” 


What a legend…



Here’s more proof that you should always keep your eyes open when you’re out in nature… it could make you famous! A student at the University of Newcastle in NSW discovered a world first in aquatic beetle behavior when he was out researching… frogs. Like any good scientist, John Gould kept his mind and eyes open when he was crouching down near some water, looking for tadpoles. And he noticed a tiny beetle, less than a centimetre long, crawling along upside down on the surface of the water. Basically, the water looked like a piece of glass, and John was on one side, watching the beetle crawling along the other. Scientists think that the beetle is able to trap air in its body, allowing it to stay just at the surface, without breaking through. 


Why would a beetle have evolved to do that, I hear you ask? Well, John Gould and his colleagues think it might be to avoid predators that are at the bottom of bodies of water. Walking on water – what will they think of next?? There’s a video of the little critter in your episode notes. 


The S’Quiz Answers:

  1. Richard Branson
  2. Evonne Goolagong Cawley
  3. Frogs