Thursday, 26 May, 2022

Gun laws under spotlight in the US; skydiving salamanders; Thor breaks the internet; and the pool noodle battle of the Joshs. 



US gun control video explainer:

Josh-inspired pool noodle fight:

Thor trailer: 

Skydiving salamanders:


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Gun laws in the United States are once again under the spotlight after a school shooting in Texas that yesterday shocked the world.

In America, it’s legal for pretty much anyone to own a gun – and guns can be bought over the counter in shops like Kmart. 

Here in Australia, the laws around who can buy a gun are much stricter. As a result, not many people in Australia have guns – and so we don’t need to worry as much about the sort of school shootings that we see with depressing regularity in the United States. 

Of course, it’s incredibly sad to see another school shooting taking place in America – and it’s completely normal to see it on the news and feel a little bit anxious.

But it’s important to remember that gun violence in the United States has a lot to do with the fact that guns are so freely available over there – which is not the case here in Australia.

Your teachers might still insist on you doing a drill in your classroom in the next few days – but that’s nothing to worry about either. 

As with everything in life: it’s simply better to be prepared. And meanwhile, send virtual hugs to the families in Texas whose lives will never be the same. 

I’ve stuck a link to a kid-friendly video explainer of US gun laws in today’s episode notes. 



Each day we give the world globe a spin and find a news story from wherever it stops, and today we’ve landed in Nebraska, in the United States, where the world’s biggest pool noodle fight has taken place to see who the ultimate Josh.

What in the wide world am I talking about? There’s been a funny competition going in the United States for a few years now after a man called Josh sent out a tweet challenging anyone who shared his name to fight over it. 

It’s grown into an annual event, attended by hundreds of people called Josh – who battle it out with pool noodles to see who has the right to call themselves the number one Josh.

And this year’s winner was five year old Josh Vinson Jr, who fought off all-comers with his trusty red pool noodle to retain for the second year his title as top Josh.

All money raised by the pool noodle mash up goes to charity. And yes, of course I’ve stuck a link to photos of duelling Joshes in today’s episode notes .. You’re welcome. 


If you’re a megafan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, you might already know this… but the trailer for the highly anticipated film Thor: Love and Thunder has just been released. It’s shot straight to the number one spot on YouTube, and when I looked yesterday it had 22 million views… although by the time you’re listening to this, I’ll bet it’s more. Have a look at the link in the episode notes and check for yourselves. The movie stars Australia’s own Chris Hemsworth as the God of Thunder, who comes up against a new villain: former Batman actor Christian Bale, who is unrecognisable with lots of scary makeup and no hair. But for me, the real teaser of the trailer is when Thor reaches for his magical hammer, Mjölnir, only to see it fly through the air and into the hand of his ex-girlfriend—the earthling scientist Jane – played by Natalie Portman. Except… she’s dressed as Thor, and has long blonde hair like her old boyfriend. I wonder what that’s all about? I guess I’ll have to wait until the film comes out in July – just in time for school holidays. 

CCC: You lucky ducks working in a Squiz Kids for Schools classroom will learn more about the movie, and the Norse God of Thunder, in today’s Classroom Companion. Each day, our resident teacher, Amanda, creates three differentiated activities for students to dive into, using the news to teach the Australian curriculum. She’s pretty happy she got to stare at Thor yesterday and call it work.



You;ve heard the expression leaping lizards, right? Well how about skydiving salamanders? Because that’s what scientists in the United States have discovered after a series of experiments with a particular species of the super-cute amphibian.

The wandering salamander spends most of its time h anging out in streams and ponds – they like water. But it’s also been known to spend a lot of time up in the branches of the giant redwood trees in its native California. And when it wants to get down from the tree – it simply leaps and floats gracefully to the ground. 

To test out whether these salamanders really can fly – scientists put them in a vertical wind tunnel to simulate falling from a tree and filmed it – only to discover instead of tumbling awkwardly to Earth, they glide down, like expert skydivers, using their tiny feet to control direction and descent. 

Amazing …

I’ve stuck a link to video of the experiment in today’s episode notes … 

And here’s a fun fact: though they look like lizards, salamanders belong to the amphibian family of animals, not the reptile family. So how about that?


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 Norse God and Marvel superhero with a new film about to be released?
  2. What sort of amphibians have been found to be expert skydivers?
  3. What is the name that people in the US share and fight over with pool noodles?



It’s May 26 … Today is National Sorry Day – a day to remember the mistreatment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people some of whom, many years ago, were removed from their families and communities … these people we now know as ‘The Stolen Generations’. Tomorrow, we’re releasing a special Squiz Kids Shortcut all about Reconciliation … so stay tuned for that..

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

Lexie from Panorama, Micah (pronounced Meeka) from Cannon Hill, Matilda from Buxton, Lorenzo and Dexter from Craigburn, Will and Rhys from Exeter, Luke from Orangeville, Ruby from Abbotsford, Elijah and Halinh from Forest Lake, Joshua from Balmain, Ruby and Bailey from Maitland, Nikki from Windsor, Mason from Wantirna and Charlotte listening over in Beijing, China. 

Belated shout outs today go to…Sohan from Forest Lake and Ella and Bella from Broken Hill.

And classroom shout outs go to…class 6S and Mrs Sumnar at Forest Lake State Primary School, years 3 and 4 at Soldiers Settlement Public School in Sydney and class 5/6S with Mrs Spiteri at Petersham Public School.

Finally a special shout out to Ms Cox and her year 4 class at St Anthony’s Catholic Primary School in North Rockhampton – they have just become fully fledged Squiz Kids for Schools members. Welcome aboard and a big Squiz Kids hello to everyone listening in Rocky!


The S’Quiz Answers:

  1. Thor
  2. Salamanders
  3. Josh