Thursday, 13 August, 2020

Russia’s vaccine under a cloud; rise of the robotaxi; meet the megamouth shark; and babies for Bindi and Ed.



Megamouth shark






Russia’s announcement yesterday that it had developed a vaccine for the coronavirus was met with not quite the amount of excitement you might expect – as scientists in other countries expressed concern that it had not yet been properly tested.

Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, proudly declared yesterday his country had won the race to develop a vaccine, beating long-time rival America to the punch.

But doctors around the globe were worried that trials of the vaccine on humans had not gone on for long enough to prove that it was safe. 

There are currently 165 vaccines in development in labs around the world – six of which are in what is called ‘phase 3’ clinical trials – which involves testing the vaccine on thousands of human volunteers. 

The good news out of all of this: lots of really smart people continue to work around the clock in all corners of the world to find a vaccine. We’re getting there.

Remember earlier this week we spoke about Joe Biden – the man who will take on Donald Trump in the US Presidential election in November? Yesterday, he chose his running mate: which is to say, he named the person who he would appoint Vice President if he is voted into the top job. And her name is Kamala Harris. She’s a super smart lawyer, a long-time politician from the big state of California, and she has Jamaican-Indian heritage – meaning she’s the first Black woman to be named to a major-party U.S. presidential ticket, and – if Biden wins – she will become  the first woman vice president. Let the games begin … 




Each day we give the world globe a spin and find a news story from wherever it stops .. and today we’ve landed in South Korea – which is the headquarters of the Hyundai car company which yesterday announced it was starting work on a robotaxi – which it hopes will be on the road by 2022.

A robotaxi is a driverless car. Which is to say: it drives using a sophisticated system of computers and sensors. 

Driverless taxis are already being trialled in Las Vegas in the United States, where the ride sharing company called Lyft.

Imagine – by the time you lot learn to drive – there could be robocars on the road. Which I suppose also means you may not need to learn to drive – let alone reverse park. That sound you can hear? A hundred parents breathing a massive sigh of relief.




Hands up who’s ever heard of a megamouth shark? No me neither. And despite what it sounds like: it’s an actual animal, not a comic book creation or the made-up creature for a B-grade horror film.

And the best bit? A museum in America is currently working around the clock on a specimen of megamouth shark to learn as much as it can about this mysterious creature.

The shark – which lives in the deepest depths of the ocean – got caught in fishing nets off Taiwan. It’s called a megamouth shark because it has an enormous mouth – and a jaw which allows the shark to flip the top of it’s head back like the bonnet of a car.

After the scientists finish their research, the shark will be preserved in a combination of chemicals for long term storage at the museum – and join the over six million other specimens in the museum’s fish collection.

There’s a link in today’s episode notes to a video of the shark.




And it’s a big Squiz Kids congratulations to wildlife warrior, Bindi Irwin and her hubby Chandler Powell who yesterday announced they were having a baby. Bindi broke the news to her 3.7 million Instagram followers, posting a photo of she and Chandler holding up a baby-sized-khaki shirt. 

Not to be outdone on the baby news front: pop singer Ed Sheeran is also said to be becoming a dad, after UK a newspaper reported he and his wife Cherry Seaborn are expecting to welcome a mini Ed or Edette into their lives in the next few weeks.




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

  1. Russia’s President is called Vladimir what?
  2. What kind of a rare shark is being examined by a museum in America?
  3. Name the Aussie wildlife warrior who yesterday announced she’s having a baby?




It’s August 13 ….. International LeftHanders Day – where all people who are left handed all over the world raise their left fists in solidarity and say: lefties of the world unite! As a proud left-hander – I salute all of you fellow lefties out there … 

It’s also a special day for these Squiz Kids celebrating a birthday today  … 

Abbie from Tarragindi, Luke from Launceston, Nadia from Erskineville, Lilly from Wynnum, Xavi from Orange, Alieta from Oran Park, Annabelle from Wilson, Luke from Cairns, Shaheer from Carlingford, Thomas from Victoria, Marc from Shell Cove, Isla from Coogee, Louis from Katherine, Anelie from Northbridge, Harrison from Newport and Karrington from Kempsey.

And some belated birthday shoutouts…Matilda from Box Hill, Georgia from Hackett, Fred from Moorebank and Annalia from Malabar.

Happy birthday to you all.

Classroom shoutouts… Stage 3 at Darcy Road Public School, 5A from Montmorency Primary School, Year 1 at Mount Sinai College in Maroubra, 5/6R at St John’s Primary School in Mullumbimby, and Room 12 Year Five at Sorrento Primary School.  


The S’Quiz Answers:

  1. Putin
  2. Megamouth 
  3. Bindi Irwin