Thursday, 27 August, 2020

Hamsters to the COVID rescue; the world’s longest hair; Lionel Messi quits Barcelona; and here comes penguin TV.



Vietnam hair man:

Penguin TV:

Squiz Kids Instagram:






Hooray for hamsters! That was the cry doing the rounds of Squiz Kids HQ yesterday following the news that an Australian COVID vaccine tested on hamsters had triggered an immune response.

Wait, what? 

So – it’s quite common when vaccines and medicines are being developed for them to be tested on animals. And in the case of the University of Queensland’s vaccine, those animals have been hamsters. 

Happily, when the hamsters in the trial were given the vaccine, their immune systems starting fighting the COVID-19 virus. 

Which is a really good sign.

Now the next part of the process is to continue with trials of the vaccine on human volunteers – and monitor to see if it provokes the same immune response in the human body. 

But what about this: so determined are researchers that we hit the ground running in the event this vaccine proves to be effective, that there’s a factory in Melbourne which has already started producing it in anticipation. 

And in other good corona news: Australia yesterday signed an agreement with 172 other countries pledging to share a vaccine with all countries of the world once it is developed and deemed to be safe. Afterall: we share the same world, and we’re all in this together.




Each day we give the world globe a spin and find a news story from wherever it stops. And today, we’ve landed in Vietnam … where an 92 year-old is living out every 10 year-old boy’s dream by not having washed his hair for 80 years.

Nguyen Van Chien lives in a village outside of Ho Chi Minh City – and has neither cut nor washed his hair for 8 decades.

As a result, he has one enormous dreadlock – which is what happens when unwashed hair mats together – that measures … get this … 5 metres long.

There’s a link in today’s episode notes to a photo – because you know you want to see it.

Meanwhile: on the subject of hair: a Sydney hairdresser has begun collecting hair from salons all over the city to donate to Mauritius – where the clean up is still underway following the oil spill caused when a cargo ship ran aground on a reef there. Human hair is really good at soaking up oil. The Sydney hairdresser plans to send 10 tonnes of Aussie hair to Mauritius to help with the clean up. 




Given how ridiculously cute they are, it was only ever a matter of time before the fairy penguins of Phillip Island were given their very own TV channel.

As anyone who has ever visited the popular tourist attraction in Victoria will know – every night fairy penguins waddle up the beach at Phillip Island and head to bed in the dunes. And every night at about 6pm eastern time, hundreds of tourists gather to watch them. But because of the COVID – attraction has been closed.

But penguins like an audience: so a live stream of the penguins arriving has been set up – for anyone anywhere in the world to log-in at sunset, east coast Australia time, and watch the  waddle in real time. 

There’s a link in today’s episode notes.




Does your soccer team need a little injection of talent from another club? Do you reckon you could do with a player who’s got a bit of international experience and is widely regarded as the best player in the world?

Then you’re in luck. Because Lionel Messi has just indicated he wants to leave Barcelona FC – the team the 33 year old has been with since he was 13, and which he has helped to win 10 league titles.

There’s just one small catch: Barcelona say it will cost any team that wants him more than $1 billion to release him from his contract. Better start raiding those piggy banks..




Holy treehouse, people! You really love your Andy Griffiths books, don’t you?

We’ve had a flood of really excellent questions from kids all over the country to put to the kids author extraordinaire in our upcoming Squiz Kids Q+A.

If you have a question or two that you or class want to ask Andy Griffiths – then you better get your skates on. You’ve got until the close of business on tomorrow.  

Send your questions to [email protected].




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

  1. Which Australian university is excited about the results its vaccine has had on hamsters?
  2. In which country does the man with 5 metres of unwashed hair live?
  3. Name the soccer star who’s announced he wants to leave his club, Barcelona?




It’s August 27 ….. International Rock, Paper, Scissors Day .. did you know, it’s one of only very few games in the world that can be played in any country, in any language – because no words are required. Have a session with a friend or sibling today. 

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

…. Lorelai  from Newcastle, Toqa from Gosford East, Huxley from East Malvern, Tom from Windsor, Atticus from Brisbane, Ruby from Torquay, Andriano from Essendon, Mia from Panania , Skylah from Glennfield, Zoe from Abbotsford, Ollie from Orange, Jazper from Bentley, Kade from Stockton, and Jack from Bateman’s Bay.

And a belated birthday shoutout… Rafferty from Coogee. 

Happy birthday one and all!

Today’s classroom shoutouts… 5C at Monty South Primary School, 4N at Turramurra Public School, 5B at Jindalee State School, with Mr Barry who celebrates a birthday today. And in a very special shoutout, the kids from 3/4B from Abbotsford Public School want to say thank you to Miss Walsh and Ms Hodgkinson-Fisher for teaching them over the past four weeks. Their teacher Mrs Boyle can’t wait to see her class again next Monday.


  The S’Quiz Answers:

  1. University of Queensland
  2. Vietnam
  3. Lionel Messi