Thursday, May 14, 2020

Twitter fights fake news; slime in space; 12 year old footy commentator; and Australia’s world-beating computer song.


Slime in space:

Australia’s world-beating AI song:






The social media company Twitter yesterday announced it would be tackling fake news on its platform in an effort to stamp out false information about the coronavirus.

From now on, Twitter will label any posts that it considers are ‘potentially harmful or misleading’ with respect to the pandemic.

The company said it was taking the extraordinary move because of the seriousness that the coronavirus threat poses to public health.

The move comes after what are commonly called ‘conspiracy theories’ about the origins of the virus and recommendations for treatments that don’t have any basis in scientific fact have spread like wildfire on social media.

Social media platforms are excellent tools for anyone to express an opinion – but they’re not always the most reliable source of information. And in the short period of time they’ve been around, there have been examples of these social media platforms being manipulated by some users to spread information that simply isn’t true.

Earlier this year, Twitter announced it was going to more clearly label posts that contained media which had been manipulated from its original form.

The moral of the story? Be careful about what you read on social media. Be a critical consumer of media. When you see, read or hear something: ask yourself: is the source of this information reliable? Here endeth today’s lesson.




Each day we give the world globe a spin and find a news story from wherever it stops … and today we’re not on earth at all! We’ve landed in outer space … on the International Space Station, to be exact, where astronauts have been playing with slime. 

If you’ve ever watched the kids’ TV channel  Nickelodeon, you’d know about the gooey, green slime they like to drop on people during awards ceremonies. It’s called ‘being slimed’ and it’s what a couple of astronauts did to one another this week … all in the name of science.

The slime was let loose in zero gravity – and happily – it still managed to wreak jolly green havoc. But it wasn’t all fun and games. The results of the experiment could have implications for how liquids are handled in space – including processing wastewater and watering plants. There’s a link in today’s episode notes of the astronauts being slimed. You’re welcome. 




Ok … so let’s see what’s happening in sporting news today …. hmmm …. still nothing. Which is why kids like 12 year old Hazam Al-Hossain from Syria, have taken to commentating on soccer matches their brother recorded months ago, rather than watching them in real time.

Hazem is well-known amongst the kids in his neighbourhood for providing a running commentary on the games they play in the street – and now, since he’s started uploading his commentary efforts to the internet – he’s started to develop a wider following.

Hazem says he hopes one day to become a professional football commentator. 




What do you get when you feed a whole lot of songs and lyrics into a couple of artificial intelligence enabled computers and tell them to write a pop song? Only a world-beating tune from some Aussies that has just won an international songwriting competition. That’s what.

Titled ‘Beautiful The World’, conceived by a couple of Australian musicians and sounding like a mash-up of every Eurovision pop song you’ve ever heard, the song has just won an international artificial-intelligence song competition.  

Instead of humans writing the music and lyrics, it was left to a computer to do the job. Artificial intelligence requires humans to train a computer so well that the end result resembles something a human brain would create. And the end result is actually kind of catchy. Even if the lyrics make no sense whatsoever. My favourite line from the song? “Ding a dong, sweet song, thank you darling” … ah yes, I think there’s something in that for all of us. There’s a link to the song in today’s episode notes. Again, you’re welcome. 




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

  1. Which social media platform has just introduced new measures to identify fake news? 
  2. Aboard what space station have astronauts been experimenting with slime?
  3. Which country does 12 year old soccer commentator, Hazam Al-Hossain come from? 




Today’s birthday shoutouts… Joseph from Brisbane, Chloe from Double Bay, Karah from St Ives, Ayra from Heatherton, Delilah from the Whitsundays, Remi from Hackett, Marly from Ashmont, Jay from Inverell, Harry from Stratford, Gabs from Norman Park, Kade from Pascoe Vale, Sam and Max from Bondi, Zoe from Fairfield, Joryden from Randwick, Matilda from Glenfield, Flynn from Bellbowrie, William, Chelsea and Harrison from Sydney, Kory from Carlingford, Hugh from Eumundi, Radhika from Wentworthville, Larhzelle from Baldivis, Lucy from Walpole, Darcy Rose from Paddington and Katie all the way from California in the USA. 

And some belated birthday shoutouts.. Joahan from Wentworthville and Bea from Sydney.

Happy birthday one and all.

Classroom shoutouts…Quairading District High School in WA, Class S2 Gibbs at Denistone East Public School and Year 5 from North Sydney Demonstration School. 


The S’Quiz Answers:

  1. Twitter
  2. International Space Station
  3. Syria