Wednesday, 23 March, 2022

La Nina not done with us yet; Ecuador’s toad that sings like a bird; Facebook in the naughty corner; and meet the porcupine dinosaur.



Porcupine dinosaur – link here


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Just when you thought it was safe to put away your gum boots, just when you thought the sky couldn’t possibly have any rain left in it – comes yet another weather system which threatens to send temperatures dropping across the eastern parts of Australia – and the very strong possibility of a whole lot more rain.

Having just endured the worst flooding in decades, news of the downpour – which is expected to move from South Australia today, through NSW and up into Queensland – will be met with a definite sigh of exhaustion for the many communities on Australia’s east coast who are already saturated. Fingers crossed there’s no more flooding.

Meanwhile temperatures tomorrow are expected to drop to 12 degrees in Melbourne and 10 degrees in Hobart. Brrr 

The change in temperature comes as we moved into what’s called the Autumn Equinox … it’s the date on the calendar when we move from having longer, warmer summery days to shorter, cooler, wintry days.

Oh – and there’s a tropical cyclone hovering over the top of WA. Just to mix things up.

The wacky weather is all part of the La Nina weather system that we’re currently in. La Nina – which translates to little girl in Spanish – is a weather system that happens about every five years or so and brings with it massive amounts of rain. 

Smart weather people say that we’ve got at least another month of La Nina hanging around … so maybe don’t put away that bottle of Exit Mould just yet ..



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 South American country of Ecuador, where scientists have stumbled over a toad that sings like a bird.

Sounds like a Pixar movie just waiting to be made ..

The Rhinella festae – which is the toad’s scientific name – was discovered 100 years ago – but it was believed to be mute – meaning, scientists didn’t think it made any sound.

But a frog scientists hiking in mountains in Ecuador, heard what they thought was a bird singing and traced the sound to the toad. So they’ve had to go and re-write all their biology text books. 

How cool is that? 

The toad grows to about 60 centimetres – which if you grab a ruler, you’ll see is pretty big. So it’s kind of hard to miss. Which makes the fact it remained silent to scientific ears for so long even more remarkable.

I bet there are a couple of teachers out there wishing they had a few more Ecuadorian toads in their classroom sometimes .. silent for a hundred years … I don’t know about you, but I would burst …



One hundred and ninety five years … that’s how much time the streaming service Netflix reckons it has saved its users in the five years since it introduced the ‘Skip Intro’ option.

You know how your favourite show has an opening introduction that is the same every single time? And when you’re watching on a streaming service, you’re offered the chance to skip it with the press of a button?

Netflix reckons that around the world, its users have collectively gotten back a total of 195 years’ worth of their time by skipping the credits at the start of a program.

Only problem is, at least in my kids’ case, they’ve used up every single one of those saved seconds watching more Netflix … Hmmmm …




Paleontologists – who are people that study dinosaur fossils – are super excited about a brand new, spike-covered dinosaur from the Jurassic period whose remains have been dug up in China.

The dino bones were painstakingly put together by scientists who last week announced that they belonged to a species never seen before .. and that its armour of long spikes made it resemble a porcupine. 

But – you know – much much bigger, and much much scarier.

The Yuxisaurus kopchicki measured about 3 metres in length – about half as long as a bus – and ate ferns and other ancient plants. 

And like a porcupine, it used its spikes to scare off predators. 

There’s a link to a drawing of the porcupine dinosaur in today’s episode notes. 




It’s Wednesday… which means that Squiz-E the Newshound is back in the studio to report back on any misinformation he’s sniffed out on the internet. And this week, he’s learned that the Australian government has sued Facebook over fake ads that caused a lot of people to lose a lot of money. 

The ads featured fake endorsements from politicians including former NSW Premier Mike Baird, WA mining billionaire Andrew Forrest, and other celebrities. What’s an endorsement? It’s when someone famous tells you that they use a product in the hope that you might too … the way that cricketers Elyse Perry and Marcus Labuschagne endorse Weetbix, for example. 

The problem with the Facebook ads is that the celebrities had no idea their pictures and names were being used to advertise products. The Australian government says that Facebook did nothing to stop the ads, even after the celebrities complained. 

So, as Squiz E always says: the next time you see an ad with a celebrity endorsement, it’s best to stop, think, and check… before you buy.  




A quick message now from our podcast partner, Woolworths Fresh Food Kids Discovery Tours.

The Woolworths Fresh Food Kids Discovery Tours program is all about helping early learning centre kids and primary school kids… that’s you…  to discover where our fruit and veggies come from.  It’s a classroom experience with fun digital activities, designed with the help of smart foodie people –  educators, nutritionists and a food scientist –  to help kids learn about how food gets from the farm all the way to your fork.

Last week we mentioned we would be strapping on our gumboots to talk to Aussie farmers about where our food comes from. And today we are visiting the Sunraysia district in Victoria to talk to farmer Tommy about growing oranges. Stay listening at the end of the podcast to hear that chat… 

And teachers, if you’re looking to bring the farming and sustainability world into your classroom, you can request a free classroom kit at   




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

  1. What sort of modern day animal is a newly discovered dinosaur said to resemble?
  2. In which South American country did scientists find a toad that sings?
  3. Here’s a tricky one. .. what’s the date on the calendar called where long summer days turn to shorter, winter ones?




It’s March 23 … today is World Meteorological Day – where we celebrate the clever people who bring us weather forecasts .. it’s also the birthday of Aussie basketballer Kyrie Irving and former Paralympian and all-round legend Kurt Fearnley .. 

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

Leon from Sunshine Coast, Riley from Broken Hill, Emerson from Berridale, Vayda from Murwillumbah and Franca listening from over in Singapore.

Classroom shout outs today go to…the Year 6 students in room 17 with Ms Slater at Tambrey Primary School in Karratha, the Halson family who are homeschooling in Lethbridge and the Year 6 classes at Kings langley Public School. 

And finally: a special shout out to my new friends Emmet and CeCe from Melbourne, Archie, Vivien + Wesley from Brisbane, and Will, Jed, and Eddie from Adelaide – it was so good to meet you and your parents on the Zoom call yesterday and hear all about your cool home education journey.


The S’Quiz Answers:

  1. Porcupine
  2. Ecuador
  3. Autumn Equinox