Wednesday, 17 February, 2021

It’s V-day for Victoria; Panther on the loose in Italy; Thundersnow in America; and bye-bye laughing emoji.



Skating on lakes in the Netherlands

Panther on the loose:


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Let’s call today V-Day … where V is for Victoria – as the state will learn this morning whether it’s five day lockdown will lift tonight, or be extended.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews hinted yesterday that a lifting was on the cards – with only two new cases of COVID recorded in the state. All going well, listeners in Victoria will be back at school tomorrow. And that sound you hear is the cheering of Victorian parents everywhere. 

Continuing the V-Day theme … there was good news on the vaccine front yesterday too – with the green light being given to roll-out the Astra-Zeneca vaccine for willing Aussies.

The Therapeutic Goods Administration yesterday declared the Astra-Zeneca vaccine was safe for anyone who wanted to receive it. 

Almost four million doses of will be sent from Europe in the first week of March – and from there, another 50 million will be made by a company in Melbourne – making Australia one of the few nations in the world with a homemade vaccine supply. Give yourselves a pat on the back, Australia. The news comes after 142,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine arrived in Australia on Monday. It’s a vaccine-apalooza.




Each day we give the world globe a spin and find a news story from wherever it stops. And today, we;ve landed in the United States of America  … which for the purposes of this story, we’ll rename the United States of Oh-My-Gosh-It’s-Cold! 

More than 400 temperature records have been smashed across America as a cold snap – or rather, a Polar Vortex – sweeps across the land – bringing snow and freezing conditions to states – like Texas – which normally bake under the desert sun, or others, like Louisiana – which experienced a thing called ‘thundersnow’ – which is when thunder and lightning occur during snow storm. The coldest temperature recorded yesterday? -40C in Wisconsin and Minnesota… Yikes. 

Meanwhile: the cold has reached deep into Europe too – where residents of the Netherlands have made the most of frozen lakes and canals to strap on their skates and get amongst it. There’s a link in today’s episode notes to some stunning video of Netherlanders skating past boats atop frozen lakes. It’s all very Arendelle. 



Pet owners in a town in Italy have been told to keep their furry friends indoors after a black panther was spotted roaming the surrounding countryside.

Black panthers are not native to Italy – so the fact there’s one wandering aimlessly about the countryside is pretty remarkable. One theory is that the panther belonged to the private zoo of a local man – but escaped and has been roaming the forests of south-east Italy in search of food. 

Which is where pets come in. Because they’d make a delicious snack for a hungry panther. The human inhabitants of Puglia have also been warned not to wander alone through the region’s forests – in case they stumble upon the panther. 

There’s a link in today’s episode notes to a video taken by a local driver of the panther strolling beside the road. 




Want to know how to tell an old person from a young one? See how often they use the crying laughing emoji. 

A survey of Gen Z phone users has found that the crying laughing emoji has been dropped faster among young people than homework on a Friday – and replaced with the skull emoji – to indicate ‘i’m laughing so hard i’ve almost died’. Or something like that. 

Apparently a good part of the reason why the laughing emoji is out of favour with Gen Z – which is the name given to the generation born between 1997 and 2015 – is because too many Millennials were starting to use it. Millennials are people between the ages of 25-40. And everyone knows something your parents use is, by definition, uncool.

To any parents listening: in the event this helps you make sense of your children’s texts: you’re welcome. 




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

  1. What is the weather phenomenon called when thunder and lightning occur in a snow storm?
  2. In which country is a black panther on the loose?
  3. Which emoji is said to have replaced the ‘so-last-week’ crying laughing emoji?




It’s February 17   … the birthday of basketball legend, Michael Jordan, singer-songwriter, Ed Sheeran – and famous Australian poet, Banjo Paterson. You’ve heard of Waltzing Matilda, right? Yep. One of Banjo’s best. 

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

Keira from Cammeray, Neve from Narraweena, Carol from Denistone East, Isabel from Forbes and Max from Abbotsford.

And some belated birthday shoutouts… Murray from Mount Isa, Jade, Carla and Byron from Abbotsford and Lily from Broken Hill.

Happy birthday one and all!

Classroom shoutouts…3/4M at Gosford East Public School with Mrs McLean,  Class 3S at Fairfield Heights Public School with Mrs Stoeckl, class 2/3 at Taradale Primary School, and class 5/6P at Abbotsford public school. And a very special shoutout to Squiz Kids Milla and Ziggy, who have been homeschooling while exploring Australia on their catamaran for the last three years and are currently at a place called Facing Island.



The S’Quiz Answers:

  1. Thundersnow
  2. Italy
  3. Skull emoji