Tuesday, 28 March, 2023

A climate deal in Canberra; Australia’s amazing new species; an earth-sized telescope; and a challenge to California’s candy.


Squiz Kids is hiring! See the job ad here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1V0nwnzUjumm-sEwmKOyo_hc5Q3Krtra1oTxgZxEEjr4/edit

Today’s Quick Links: 

A unique collaboration using a virtual Earth-sized telescope shows how science is changing in the 21st century: https://theconversation.com/a-unique-collaboration-using-a-virtual-earth-sized-telescope-shows-how-science-is-changing-in-the-21st-century-201556

New Australian species: https://www.smh.com.au/national/hairdressing-crabs-vicious-wasps-and-gruesome-plants-among-600-new-species-20230319-p5ctc0.html 

Dig Deeper:

A guide to climate change for kids:

Australia’s new emissions target submission: https://www.dcceew.gov.au/about/news/australia-submits-new-emissions-target-to-unfccc 

Next Generation telescope site: https://www.ngeht.org/about 

What is a quasar?: https://earthsky.org/astronomy-essentials/definition-what-is-a-quasar/

Zooming in on the black hole at the centre of our galaxy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zml0dZCjaFw

What instruments do astronomers use to find black holes?: https://www.stsci.edu/~marel/black_holes/encyc_mod1_observatories.html

The Australian Biological Resources Study: https://www.dcceew.gov.au/science-research/abrs 

Original sources:

Next Generation telescope publication on new sites for telescopes: https://arxiv.org/pdf/2102.05482.pdf  

Classroom Companion

Teachers! Want to access free, curriculum-aligned classroom resources tied to the daily podcast? Sign up to be a Squiz Kids Classroom and download the Classroom Companion each day. Made by teachers for teachers, differentiated to suit all primary school ability levels. And did we mention it’s free?


Get started on our free media literacy resource for classrooms


Stay up to date with us on our Squiz Kids Instagram!  

Got a birthday coming up and you want a shout-out? Complete the form on our Squiz Kids website. Link: SHOUT OUTS or / send us an email at [email protected]





An important climate deal was done in Canberra yesterday, with the Labor Government and the Greens working together to pass a bill that will force 215 of Australia’s biggest-polluting companies to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. 


A new climate policy was something that Prime Minister Anthony Albanese had made a big part of the Labor government’s election campaign, but it had been bogged down for months by negotiations with the Greens, who, not surprisingly, wanted the policy to be tougher. 


The PM said yesterday that it was important to act on climate change, and not get stuck in conflict while trying to arrive at a “perfect” outcome. He’s referring there to a well-known phrase, “Perfect is the enemy of good” – describing how people can get so caught up trying to do something perfectly, that they never get anything done at all.  


Under the new deal, the country’s 215 biggest polluters will have to reduce their carbon footprint by a total of 205 million tonnes by 2030… and altogether, Australia will reduce its emissions by 43% from its 2005 levels. That’s 15% more than the previous government’s target for 2030. 


Bryce noted in yesterday’s podcast that the leaders of the Labor and Liberal parties in New South Wales were refreshingly polite and kind to each other after Saturday’s election. And today, we have collaboration and compromise on the federal level! Well done adults… we’re proud of you for playing together nicely. 



Each day we give the world globe a spin and find a news story from wherever it stops. And today we’ve landed in Chile… and the USA… and Mexico … and Antarctica… okay, I’ll stop there. You get the idea. 

All over the world, 300 scientists are collaborating on one of the most ambitious projects in the history of astronomy. They’re building an Earth-sized virtual telescope to capture videos of quasars, also known as supermassive black holes. Twenty different telescopes placed all around the Earth will each capture radio waves from quasar black holes … and then all the data will be linked together to create a detailed recording of a supermassive black hole. 

Hang on. Black holes don’t emit light—that’s why they have the name. So how can we see them in a video? Well, black holes are wicked heavy – the one in our galaxy is as heavy as 4.3 million of our suns! That mass creates gravity, and the gravitational field  sucks dust, gas and other particles towards it. Those particles collide so ferociously that they produce light energy that is 27 trillion times brighter than our sun! 

And if I haven’t blown your mind with those big numbers, get this. Even though quasars are really, really bright, they’re also really, really far away. The signal from a mobile phone is a billion, billion times stronger than what we can pick up from the black holes here on Earth. Which … is why all those scientists need to work together to create a humongous telescope to see them. 



Taxonomists have discovered more than 600 new species of Australian plants and animals in the last year, including what I humbly submit is the world’s cutest crab. 

Its scientific name is Lamarckdromia beagle, but the West Australian crustacean is affectionately known as the ‘hairdresser crab’ because it uses its tiny claws to give itself a haircut! Now, you might be wondering… since when are crabs hairy? Well, strictly speaking, the crab is trimming the fluffy sponges it’s attached to its own shell, to provide some pretty perfect camouflage. But because the sponges are alive, they grow… and no crab likes to look scruffy! I’ll put a link in your episode notes to pictures of it, as well as some of the other new species.  

And in case you were wondering, taxonomists have nothing to do with taxis. They work in a field of science called taxonomy, which does nothing less than discover, name, describe, and classify life on earth. 

Australia has less than one percent of the world’s human population, but an estimated eight percent of the world’s plants and animals. And it’s estimated that 75 percent of Australia’s biodiversity remains to be discovered and described. Taxonomists are going to be busy – apparently, they have 300,000 species still to find. 



Hey parents, teachers, other adults: what do you think when I say “red food colouring”? 

I’m going to guess that a LOT of you said, or thought, something along the lines of “it makes kids go crazy”. Although you’d be thinking back to your own childhood, when a specific chemical called erythrosine, aka red dye #3, was available. It’s been banned in Australian and European food manufacturing for over 20 years – partly because it really was linked to behavioural problems in kids. 

However, in America, more than 3,000 foods still contain it, including sprinkles, ice pops, cookies, ring pops, and lots of candy brands. California’s government is now considering whether to ban red dye #5 and some other chemical additives … which, if successful, might make for calmer birthday parties… 



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

  1. Supermassive black holes are also known as what? 
  2. Lamarckdromia beagle is also known as the what crab? 
  3. According to a well-known phrase, what is the enemy of good? 





It’s March 28 … the birthday of the superstar singer, songwriter, and actress, Lady Gaga … although of course, 36 years ago, her parents named her Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta. Lady Gaga came later. 


It’s a special day for these Squiz Kids celebrating a birthday today… Conner from Yass, Wesley from Perth, Shay and Indy from Junee, Abbey from Woongarrah, Kladen from Yarrawonga, Josefine from Exeter, Frederic from Moorooka, Noah from Wyee, Lily from Cherrybrook and Riya from NSW. 


Belated shout outs go to…Sareen from Mount Druitt and Henry from Sutherland.


Today classroom shout outs go to …the year 6 classes with Mrs Aguiar and Ms Phelan at Cannon Hill State School, class 6R3 and Miss Prasad at Spring Mountain State School, class 6 green and Mr Baker at St Augustine’s Primary School in Coffs Harbour, class 5/6F with Mrs Foster at Pagewood Public School and lastly to Mr Heath’s class at Westport Primary School in Semaphore Park.



The S’Quiz Answers:

  • Quasars
  • Hairdresser
  • Perfect