Tuesday, 1 November, 2022

Melbourne Cup back in full swing; New Zealand’s bird of the year; the world’s fastest shoes; and the world’s biggest jack o’ lantern.



World’s fastest shoes:  https://hypebeast.com/2022/10/shift-robotics-moonwalkers-worlds-fastest-shoe-kickstarter

World’s biggest jack o’ lantern: https://www.upi.com/Odd_News/2022/10/28/massive-pumpkin-being-carved-worlds-largest-jack-o-lantern-Anoka-Minnesota/6191666983483/

New Zealand rock wren: https://www.nzbirdsonline.org.nz/species/rock-wren


Your Shortcut to Halloween:
Apple – https://podcasts.apple.com/au/podcast/your-shortcut-to-halloween/id1494238283?i=1000584142098
Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/episode/3OGExdCqmycMsXAS6yHCri
Google: https://podcasts.google.com/feed/aHR0cHM6Ly9yc3Mud2hvb3Noa2FhLmNvbS9yc3MvcG9kY2FzdC9pZC8xMDYyMg/episode/ZjFhNzQ2MWMtNTVhYi0xMWVkLWFjNmQtYWY0OTcwYzc1OTUz?sa=X&ved=0CAUQkfYCahcKEwiYya7e5Yb7AhUAAAAAHQAAAAAQAQ&hl=en-AU 



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It’s often described as ‘the race that stops a nation’ – and today, at 3pm Victoria time, lots of people around the country will stop what they’re doing and tune in to watch 23 horses run in a circle around a racetrack in Melbourne. 

I’m talking about the Melbourne Cup – the most famous horse race in Australia.

Horses travel from all over the world to run in the Melbourne Cup – not least because the winner walks away with over $4 million in prize money … which, if you’re a horse, will buy you a lot of carrots and keep you in horse shoes for the rest of your natural life. 

The first ever Melbourne Cup was held 161 years ago – and the winner was presented with a gold watch. So – things have changed a lot since then.

These days the horses race each other over a distance of 3.2 kilometres – which is 3200 metres for those of you doing the maths in your head.

And this year’s Melbourne Cup will be a big deal because COVID restrictions meant the last three Melbourne Cups took place with with either none or only a limited number of spectators allowed at the racetrack.  

And while organisers are expecting about 100,000 people to show up at the racetrack tomorrow – despite the forecast for rain and a chilly 14 degrees – there are many Aussies who either don’t give a hoot about the Cup or are actively opposed to horse racing. 

At the Flemington racetrack yesterday, a group of protestors dressed as tyrranosaurus rexs staged their own race – carrying signs that said ‘horseracing is prehistoric’ – complaining that it is cruel to animals and suggesting the sport should be made extinct, like the dinosaurs. 

What do you think?



Each day we give the world globe a spin and find a news story from wherever it stops … and today we’ve landed in Pittsburgh in the United States where the world’s fastest shoes have just been revealed.

Wait. What? The world’s fastest what? Shoes, my friends. Shoes. 

These are no ordinary shoes. Created by a team of robotics engineers they’re like hi-tech roller skates .. enabling the wearer to walk at twice or three times the speed of a person in ordinary footwear. 

Check out the super cool video of the shoes in action in today’s episode notes. 

You can make them go faster by increasing the pace of your footsteps – or slow them down by decreasing the pace. And when you get to stairs, you lift your heel to lock the wheels – because have you ever tried to go down stairs on roller skates? Not pretty. 

They’re called ‘moonwalkers’ – and their creators hope they will completely change how – and at what speed – we all get around. 

And they only cost $1700 a pair  … and if you order them today you might get your pair in March. So – you know – you better not be in a hurry to get  shoes that make you go faster  … get it? Hurry? Faster shoes? (DAD JOKE ALARM) … oh go on – admit it. You missed me yesterday…




The votes are in and the rock wren has beaten the penguin in New Zealand’s high-profile – and occasionally contentious – Bird of the Year competition.

Wait – what does contentious mean? It’s a word used to describe something when it’s controversial .. which is what this simple bird popularity contest has been the past few years.

Yesterday we learned that the piwauwau rock wren made a late surge in votes to take out this year’s title (with apologies to our New Zealand listeners for what I am certain is a gross mispronunciation … ) – pipping the popular korora penguin at the post. 

This year’s competition was controversial because the hugely popular kakapo parrot – an especially fat variety of the parrot species – was banned from entering because it has won too many times already … and last year’s competition attracted headlines because a bat was permitted entry in the comp … and won.

Hey – they do things differently across the ditch. Good luck to them. And congrats to the rock wren – a photo of which I’ve included in today’s episode notes. 




And so we turn our gaze to Minnesota, in the United States – where the world’s largest pumpkin has been carved into the world’s largest jack o’ lantern for Halloween. 

What’s a jack o’ lantern? It’s a lantern made from a hollowed out pumpkin – maybe you made one yourself this Halloween and stuck it on your front doorstep, lawn or fence?

This particular jack o’ lantern came from a pumpkin that weighed 1100 kilograms … that’s about the same weight as a rhinoceros. Big enough that it broke the Guinness Book world record earlier this month for the planet’s biggest pumpkin.

A gardener from the state of Minnesota has carved the pumpkin into the image of an eagle … and I’ve stuck a link to photos and video of it in today’s episode notes. 

It’s very cool … even if it looks more like an Angry Bird than an eagle to me. 



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

  1. Which bird won this year’s New Zealand Bird of the Year competition?
  2. What prize was handed out to the first ever winner of the Melbourne Cup?
  3. In which state of the United States has the world’s biggest jack o’ lantern been carved?




It’s November 1 ..  pinch and a punch … today is All Saints Day – an important day in the Christian calendar to commemorate all of the saints in the Christian faith ..

It’s also a special day for these Squiz Kids celebrating a birthday today… Cailin from Newcastle, Daisha from Sydney, Thomas from Zillmere, Benjamin from Sutherland, Darren from Cherrybrook, Rayna from Pymble, Bentley and Nasreen from Forest Lake, Xavier from Petersham and Chaize from Fairwater. 

And belated birthday shout outs go to…Seth from Cairns, Xavier from Drysdale and Finley from Mornington. 

Classroom shout outs go to… year 2 at St Joseph’s Primary School in Wagga Wagga, year 4 blue with Mrs Pringle at St James’ Primary School in Kotara South, Ms Garad’s class at Craigburn Primary School in Adelaide, year 6 orange and Mrs McGuigan at Mona Vale Public School, class 6MU at Wauchope Primary School and lastly to the Fewerdas Family – Esther, Olive and Maeve who are currently on a road trip across the Nullarbor Plain and listening to Squiz Kids every day in the car!


The S’Quiz Answers:

  1. Rock wren
  2. Gold watch
  3. Minnesota