Tuesday, 8 September, 2020

Good news on the vaccine front; Japan’s typhoon wreaks havoc; Djokovic hits a bad shot; and white whales ahoy!



White whales: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-09-07/rare-white-whale-calves-spotted-off-wa-coast/12637058

Squiz Kids Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/squizkids/?hl=en






Eighty five million … that’s how many doses of coronavirus vaccine could be heading our way after the federal government yesterday announced it had struck a deal with not one – but two manufacturers of a COVID vaccine.

One vaccine is being developed by a bunch of clever scientists at Oxford University in the UK, while the other is being developed closer to home – by a bunch of clever scientists at the University of Queensland.

The Prime Minister yesterday announced the government would spend $1.7 billion to secure 85 million doses of the two vaccines which they intend to make available to all Aussies for free. 

When might this magical moment happen? It’s hoped the vaccines will ready for widespread distribution near the start of next year. Even if there’s still a lot of testing still to be done…

So close, people. All going well, we just need to hold it together a few more months…




Each day we give the world globe a spin and find a news story from wherever it stops.  And today we find ourselves in Japan and South Korea, where 8 million people evacuated their homes yesterday as Typhoon Haishen causes wild weather and enormous seas.

What’s a typhoon? It’s a cyclone. In our part of the world, they’re called cyclones, if they occur around America, they’re called hurricanes – and when they occur in the North West of the Pacific Ocean – which is where Japan is located – they’re known as typhoons.

Having smashed its destructive way across Japan and South Korea yesterday, Typhoon Haishen was last night bearing down on North Korea. 

Meanwhile: on the other side of the Pacific Ocean, California in the United States was once again being impacted by wildfires. More than 200 people had to be airlifted to safety after one particular blaze cut off their exit from a popular national park in a very close call. 




Whale watchers in Western Australia have whipped themselves into a frenzy of excitement over the sighting of not one, but two white whale calves.

A calf is the name given to a baby whale. Which is also the name given to a baby cow – as well as a baby camel, baby dolphin, baby giraffe and baby hippopotamus. So go figure. 

The two white calves are both southern right whales. And they’re called ‘right’ whales, not because they swim to the right, but because back in the day when whales were hunted, they were considered the right kind of whale to catch, because they were slow, and provided plenty of the right sort of products for which whales used to be prized – including oil and blubber. Thankfully, the hunting of whales is now illegal in many parts of the world, including Australia – so we’ve nothing to do but admire them in their natural habitat.

There’s a link in today’s episode notes to a photo of the white whale calves and a great video explaining the different types of whales found in Australian waters.



Oh dear. Of all the tennis balls that Novak Djokovic has hit in his life – and he would have literally hit millions of them – the one he carelessly hit in anger yesterday at the US Open tennis tournament is probably the one he will regret the most.

The Joker was disqualified from the tournament when a ball he accidently  hit at a linesperson, without looking where it was going, hit her in the throat – causing her to drop to the ground in pain. 

The rules state that any player who hits a person on the court – intentionally or otherwise – should be defaulted from the competition – which is to say, chucked out of it. Which he was. And he was very apologetic afterwards. 

Meanwhile, Australia’s hopes for a US Open champion took a tiny step forward this morning when Alex de Minaur cruised into the quarter finals with a straight sets win. Go you good thing!




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

  1. When they happen in our part of the world we call them cyclones, but when mega-storms like that happen in Japan, they’re referred to as what? 
  2. What colour are the two whale calves spotted off the coast of WA?
  3. Name the top tennis player who was yesterday disqualified from the US Open for hitting a ball at a lineswoman?




It’s September 8 ….. International Literacy Day – where a world spotlight is thrown on reading and writing. Did you know that an estimated  617 million kids around the world lack basic reading and writing skills. So next time you complain about having to do English – remember how lucky you are … 

It’s also a special day for these Squiz Kids celebrating a birthday today… Regan from Crookwell, Eloise from Queensland, Annabelle and Sam from Buninyong, Isabel from Townsville, Lucas from Bateman’s Bay, Elizabeth from Ferny Hills , Chloe from Warrawee, Isabella from Melbourne, Eugene from Warrnambool, Riley from Bonner, Samuel from Wahroonga, Alice and Ruby from Hackett, Jordan from Caulfield South, Hayden from East Gosford , Lucas from  Nelligen and Malisha from Officer. 

And some belated birthday shoutouts… Melene from Richmond, Damon from NSW, and Cooper from Allambie Heights.

Happy birthday one and all!

And so to classroom shoutouts — remember – we want to dedicate the next couple of weeks’ worth of classroom shoutouts to Victorian school kids who are home learning … so if you’re a teacher of or a student in a class in Victoria and you want to give your students or classmates a shout out – drop us a line at [email protected]

Today’s Victorian classroom shout outs go to … Miss Knowles and her class 6K at Ivanhoe Primary School in Melbourne for all the amazing work they are doing during remote learning, 1/2 L at Menzies Creek Primary School, Mrs Harkins 3H class at St Paul’s Anglican Grammar School in Gippsland, and all the wonderful staff and students at Lynbrook Primary School …

We salute you all!    


  The S’Quiz Answers:

  1. Typhoon
  2. White
  3. Novak Djokovic