Thursday, 7 April, 2022

It’s election time!; Spain’s 12 year-old Iron Man; the birth of a new mega-planet; and the science behind puppy dog eyes.



Jorge’s big birthday: 

A planet is born:


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Hold onto your hats Squiz Kids ,,, there’s a federal election just around the corner – and you won’t be able to move in the next few days without coming across media outlets speculating on when the Prime Minister, Scott Morrison will call it.

What does that mean, to call an election? It essentially means setting a date for when everyone in Australia over the age of 18 troops off to a polling booth and casts their vote for who they want to run the country for the next four years or so. 

It’s kind of like a school captain election at your school – but with not as many candidates promising extended lunch periods or free Quelches from the canteen.

An election will most likely be held on either May 14 or May 21. And between now and then – there will be an election campaign: which is when candidates run around the country and try to win everyone’s vote. 

But before the campaign – there are some formalities to calling an election. And here’s roughly how it will go down …. Prime Minister Scott Morrison will hop in a car with a little Australian flag on the bonnet – and make the short drive across town from The Lodge – which is the house where the PM lives when he’s in Canberra – to a big house not far away called Government House – where the Queen’s representative in Australia lives.

 That person is otherwise known as the Governor General – and at the moment is a bloke called David Hurley – who used to be a high ranking army officer.

Once inside the Governor General’s house, the PM will ask the Governor General to dissolve the existing Parliament – which basically puts a whole bunch of politicians out of job – an election date will be set – then the PM will hop  back in his car, head back to Parliament House and hold a media conference to let us all know what’s going on.

And if all of that still leaves you scratching your head … don’t panic .. we’ve joined forces with the Museum of Australian Democracy in Canberra to produce a four-part series called The Sensational World of Civics … designed to make sense of all the mysterious goings on in Canberra. 

Stay tuned after the school holidays for that one to kick off …



Each day we give the world globe a spin and find a news story from wherever it stops … and today we’ve landed in Spain, where a 12-year-old boy’s wish has finally come true: he’s walked into his classroom. Like 17 million other children in the world, Jorge Alejo rrhas a neurological disability that prevents him from being able to walk on his own. Neurological means the brain and nervous system, and in Jorge’s case, he has cerebral palsy, which affects his ability to move and maintain his balance. So ever since he started school in Madrid, Spain’s capital, Jorge’s been in a wheelchair. 

But two years ago, he started testing a futuristic exoskeleton… “exo” means external, or outside, and when Jorge is strapped into his bionic suit, it adapts to his body and allows him to walk. Kind of like how Ironman Tony Stark gets Iron Man powers when he steps into his special suit. Yesterday, on his 12th birthday – after two years of therapy practicing with the suit – Jorge finally WALKED into school instead of rolling in his wheelchair, and played games with his friends. (There’s a short video in your episode notes). Pretty good 12th birthday, all things considered. 




If you have dog – then you’ll know that they have a crazy way of tugging at your heartstrings … ever heard the expression puppy dog eyes? That way a dog will look at you and melt your heart? 

Well – it’s no accident .. and according to a new study, all thanks to a bunch of fast-twitching muscles in a dog’s face. 

Tiny muscles above a dog’s eyebrows, and a set of muscles around their mouths – plus generations of learned behaviour on their part to work out which facial expressions get the most reaction from humans – have meant dogs communicate better with humans than any other animal on the planet. 

Researchers believe it’s a large part of why they’ve managed to become so loved and well-looked after by humans … the sleeping indoors, the receiving of treats, long walks in the park. Dogs have totally got it made. 

Cats – well that’s another story. Just getting a cat to make eye contact with you is an achievement in and of itself. Am I right?  




If the idea of a planet being born makes your brain explode just a little bit – then strap yourself in ..

Because thanks to some super smart scientists, who have created some extra powerful telescopes, astronomers down here on Earth are peering up into the night’s sky as we speak and witnessing the creation of a planet which is located near a star estimated to be 508 light years away.

What’s a light year? That’s the distance that light would travel in a year – or to be more precise, 9.5 trillion kilometres. So, times that by 508 and that’s how far away this baby planet is. Ouch ,,, that’s my head hurting again.

So how big is this planet that’s in the process of being born? Oh, you know, only 9 times the size of Jupiter … which is itself the largest planet in our solar system and is itself 11 times the size of Earth.

I think I need to go and have a lie down.

But before I do: there’s a link in today’s episode notes to some cool photos and videos of the planet in formation. 




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

  1. What do we call the person who is the Queen’s representative in Australia?
  2. A planet which is being born hundreds of light years away is estimated to be nine times the size of which planet in our solar system?
  3. Which animals have fast-twitching muscles above their eyebrows making them excellent communicators with humans?




It’s April 7 … today is my son Flynn’s birthday .. long-time listeners of Squiz Kids will know him as The Fox … and the voice behind The Lowdown, Sport Time and Pop Culture Corner … happy birthday buddy!

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

Oscar from Exeter Public School, Kalijah from Ashmont, Mackenzie from Queanbeyan South, Esther from Yass, Clemmie from Bronte and Zac from Boorowa.

Belated birthday wishes go to Avika from Sydney, Nash from Quirindi and Mrs Allan from Mt Carmel School in Yass.

Classroom shout outs today go to…. Miss Hyde and class 3H from Turramurra North Public School, class 4O at Narraweena Public School, Mrs Ryan and class 5R at Engadine West Public School. Finally the teachers at Mt Carmel School in Yass wish all the students a very happy holiday. 

And it’s a very big welcome to Ms McMichael and her year 5 class, at Bowen Public School – who have recently signed up to a Squiz Kids for Schools Membership. We are delighted to have you aboard. 


The S’Quiz Answers:

  1. Governor General
  2. Jupiter
  3. Dogs