Wednesday, 20 May, 2020

Hope for a COVID vaccine; the dog who got a degree; no more spitting on cricket balls; and James And The Giant Peach online. 


Moose the dog with the degree:

James and the Giant Peach





Since the coronavirus first appeared, at the start of this year, the race has been on by scientists all over the world, to develop a vaccine. And yesterday came the first signs that we are getting closer. 

A vaccine maker in America reported encouraging results from the first human trial – which is an experiment on volunteers to test whether the vaccine can take on and defeat the virus. More testing is needed, and experts are warning it will still be a long while before a vaccine is widely available – but it’s good news nonetheless.


The countries of India and Bangladesh are bracing themselves for what has been described as the biggest cyclone ever recorded in the Bay of Bengal – the huge stretch of water that both countries border.

Millions of people have been evacuated from low lying coastal areas as authorities nervously eye the development of a super-cyclone, called Cyclone Amphan, which is expected to cross the coast later today. 

The Indian city of Kolkata is in the direct path of the cyclone and is home to 14 million people. That’s more than half the entire population of Australia in one city. And Bangladesh – a country that is smaller in size than Victoria – has 161 million people crammed into it.




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 USA – where a dog called Moose has just been awarded a university degree.

A degree is what universities usually hand out to human type people – after they have spent years studying. But Virginia Tech university has seen fit to give an honorary degree to the vet school’s resident companion dog, Moose the golden labrador.

For six years Moose has worked alongside the university’s school counsellor – bringing comfort to students who are overwhelmed with anxiety and stress. His handler says that Moose brings a ‘very safe and comforting force in the room’ and is loved by all students who meet him because he accepts everyone he meets with no judgement. Everyone needs a Moose in their life. There’s a photo of Moose accepting his degree in today’s episode notes. 




Spitting on the ball and rubbing it against your trousers is one of the time-honoured traditions of cricket. A practice that helps bowlers achieve the elusive ‘reverse swing’ effect. So the news yesterday that the people who run the international cricket competition have placed a temporary ban on spitting on the ball was met with a certain amount of dismay. Why the ban? Because: the coronavirus. In these times when face masks are mandatory and sneezing in public is a no-no – the idea of spitting on a ball and throwing it to a teammate is similarly considered a high-risk activity. It’s okay to use sweat from your brow to polish the surface of the ball according to the authorities – just not saliva. Wonder if hand sanitiser would be allowed? 




If there’s been one good thing to come out of all this lockdown, it’s been the sudden appearance online of well known actors reading aloud famous books. And they don’t come more famous or well-loved than Roald Dahl’s James and the Giant Peach – which has been brought to life online in a live-reading led by Kiwi director, Taika Waititi and a few of his famous friends – including Thor actor Chris Hemsworth, his equally actor-y brother Liam, Australia’s own Cate Blanchett and the grande dame of Hollywood herself, Meryl Streep. There’s a link to it in today’s episode notes.

And if live readings of children’s classics aren’t your thing – how about WWE – otherwise known as World Wrestling Entertainment? You know the one: grown men and women poncing around a wrestling ring, in front of a stadium crowd, pretending to beat each other up? It’s where Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson got his start in showbiz. And now his daughter, Simone has just signed on to become a WWE star – the youngest person in the made-for-TV-spectacle – I mean, sport’s history. 




Every Wednesday we stick our head into the kitchen to see what Squiz Kids ambassador Rosie has been cooking up this week. And today’s recipe is a savoury snack you’re going to love. It’s called Basil Pesto Stars – and it’s pretty much what it sounds like. A delicious basil pesto puff-pastry and parmesan snack that’s super easy to prepare and perfect for any lunch box – which are being dusted off ready for re-use as you all head back to school. The recipe and photos of the process and finished product are all on the Squiz Kids website. Don’t forget: if you have a favourite recipe that YOU like to cook that you’d like Rosie to try… AND to feature in this segment – be sure to send it to: [email protected].




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

  1. What is the name of the bay near India and Bangladesh that Cyclone Amphan is currently crossing?
  2. What is the name of the labrador at Virginia Tech university who’s just been awarded a degree?
  3. Which book by Roald Dahl is being read aloud on the internet by Kiwi director Taika Waitit and friends?




Today’s birthday shoutouts… Maddy from Melbourne, Charlotte from Brisbane, Noah and Felicity from Newcastle, Jake from Rowville, Layla from Madora Bay, Miranda from Carrum Downs, Kaylee from Inverell, Alexandra from Redlynch, Sophie from Petersham, Venkata from Westmead, Angus from Wollongong, Sashank from Wentworthville, Ashton and Lewis from the Whitsundays, Nate and Riley from Inverell, Tyla from Kempsey, Coco from Orange, Tilly from Bathurst, Tessa from Ballarat, Aleyah from Chester Hill, Ollie, Iracebeth and Mariana from Sydney, Jackie from Queenstown .. and a special international shout out to Eliza who’s listening in London. 

And some belated birthday shoutouts…Lucy from Harrington and Tiffany, Jerome, Addison and Rylee from Taree.

Happy birthday one and all.

Today’s classroom shoutouts… to Emmeline and Audrey and all in Year 3 at Mt Carmel, Coorparoo, Years 3-6 at Bedgerabong Public School, Year 4 at East Fremantle Primary School, and Year 6 and Miss Bermingham and Mrs Wilson at St. Agatha’s in Clayfield. 


The S’Quiz Answers:

  1. The Bay of Bengal
  2. Moose
  3. James And The Giant Peach