Thursday, 21 October, 2021

How a pig helped a medical breakthrough; inside Africa’s glaciers; Patty Mills sets an NBA record; and one big, ugly fish.



Ginormous sunfish:


Andy Griffiths Treehouse Q+A – with all your excellent entries!

Squiz Kids Instagram:

Got a birthday coming up and you want a shout-out? Send us an email at [email protected]



Described yesterday as a huge breakthrough and a ‘big, big deal’, doctors in New York city in America have achieved a world first by successfully attaching a pig’s kidney to a human patient – a development that could have enormous implications for how we do medicine. 

Hang on a minute. A pig’s kidney works in a human body? That’s certainly the outcome of an experiment conducted by the doctors in America, who have been working for years on finding a solution to the problem of organ donation. 

What’s organ donation? Well – you know how we all have a heart and lungs and kidneys and skin? These are all examples of human organs that perform really important functions in our bodies. And sometimes in some people, those organs don’t work as well as they should – and need to be replaced. 

Problem is, there are many more people needing replacement organs than there are replacement organs to go around. 

It’s hoped that this experiment will mean in the future, people who need a new kidney, for example, will have the option of maybe being able to use a kidney from a pig.

Now there are many people who are uncomfortable with the idea of pig organs being used to repair human bodies – and the very concept raises all sorts of what’s called ‘ethical and moral dilemmas’. Which is a fancy way of saying lots of really interesting arguments for and against. 

And that’s fine. Because the world of science and medicine have always been about the throwing around and testing out of ideas. It’s called experimenting. And like the little pig kidney on the other side of the planet, the biggest leaps in the history of medicine have almost all come from tiny little moments like this one. 



Each day we give the world globe a spin and find a news story from wherever it stops … and today we’ve landed in eastern Africa, a place that calls to mind grassy savannas, baking sunshine, lions, and zebras. But high above those steamy plains, eastern Africa has THREE icy mountain glaciers—and a new report from the United Nations shows that they could melt completely within 20 years. Oh no. The glaciers are already getting smaller, as temperatures in Africa get hotter, and droughts last longer. Even though African countries contribute less than 4% of the greenhouse gas emissions, the effect of global warming is having an outsize impact on the continent. The UN report was released in advance of the big climate summit happening in November in Glasgow, where world leaders will gather to try to agree on ways to stop climate change from getting any worse. Let’s hope they find a way to keep Africa icy. 




Welcome to the tale of two basketball players … 

First up is Patty Mills … the Aussie NBA sensation who yesterday made his debut appearance for his new team the Brooklyn Nets and equalled the all-time record for three pointers for a player on debut.

To do something ‘on debut’ in the sporting world, means to do something in your first outing for a particular team. 

Patty shot a remarkable five three pointers from five attempts in his first five minutes on court in a close game against last season’s champions, the Milwaukee Bucks. A three pointer is a goal that is scored from outside the three point line. Self-evidently.

Having an altogether less impressive day was fellow Aussie NBA star, Ben Simmons. The 6 foot nine inch lad from Melbourne, and three time all-star, was suspended from his team the 76ers opening game tonight against the New Orlean Pelicans – for not putting in enough effort during training. 

It’s been a rough few months for Ben – whose in a spot of bother with his team mates, and indeed the whole of the city of Philadelphia, after a messy post-season. Here’s hoping he’s able to get back on the court soon and show everyone what a great player he is.    




Have you ever been fishing and had a fish on your hook that you’ve wrestled to reel in? No, me neither. But apparently it’s quite the experience. But even that couldn’t compare to the experience of a bunch of fishermen in the Mediterranean Sea – which is the sea between Africa and Europe – found a sunfish in their nets that weighed an estimated 2000 kilograms! 

Sunfish are those totally weird looking fish that have the oversized body, tiny mouth and funny little fins. This specimen was 3.2 metres long – so about as long as a small car – and a huuge 2.9 metres wide – making it a record sized sunfish for the Mediterranean Sea. 

The fishermen tried to weigh the fish on their scales, but it was so heavy, it almost broke them.

And yes, there’s a link to video and photos of it in today’s episode notes. It’s super freaky. 




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

  1. Name the Aussie basketballer who just equalled the NBA record for the most number of three-pointers for a team on debut?
  2. What great big icy formations are under threat of melting in Africa?
  3. What sort of fish did fishermen in the Mediterranean find entangled in their nets? 




It’s October 21 … International Day of the Nacho … is it wrong how much I think i love this day? 

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

Henry from Mornington. Grace from Harrington Grove, Lowanna from Harden, Dylan from Spreyton, Isabella from Aberfeldie, Stella from Cammeray – and my special niece Alexandra from Thornbury. 

And because many of our friends in Melbourne, Canberra and Sydney still aren’t at school we are sending out home learning herograms … and one goes to class 5U and Ms Brosnan at Kambala Girls school in Sydney for all their hard work and effort during remote learning.  Another home learning shout out to Lucy, Annabelle and Olivia from Thornleigh from their super proud parents.  Angus sends a herogram to his entire school – Hornsby North Public because everyone is keeping up the home learning spirit. Also herograms go to class 5K and Mr Kenny at Cronulla Public School and Grade 5 and Miss Mcauliffe at Windsor Public School (NSW).  A final herogram to Perrine, Magnus and Clem from Bentleigh who have stayed positive and determined throughout the entire lockdown.

And finally a classroom shout out to Grade 6 at Westport Public School in Port Macquarie, who are lucky enough NOT to be in lockdown -their teacher Mrs Urquhart is incredibly proud of all of them.


The S’Quiz Answers:

  1. Patty Mills
  2. Glaciers
  3. Sunfish