Wednesday, 24 August, 2022

Operation Whale Rescue; Gadgets powered by human sweat; A fake nurse on Facebook; and how dogs cry tears of joy.



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It was a case of Operation Whale Rescue .. again .. on the Gold Coast yesterday, as marine rescuers freed a teenage whale tangled up in shark nets.

Surfers spotted the whale caught in the net early yesterday morning – and called the vets at nearby Sea World to come and help.

It didn’t take long for them to cut the whale free and send it on its way .. but the incident has once again raised the issue about whether shark nets do more harm than good.

On the one hand, the nets are there to keep sharks away from beach goers – so, you know – that’s good. Some people say, however, that with more and more whales moving up and down the east coast of Australia on their annual migration – the chances of them getting caught in the nets is greater and greater. And well, that’s not so good. 

It’s a similar dilemma around the world wherever the habitats of humans and animals meet. And usually, it’s about finding a balance between the safety of humans and the well-being of animals. What do you think?

Hello Squiz Kids in the southern states … do you read me? Or are you all too busy shivering under the cold snap that has swept Victoria, Tassie and NSW?

It took only 90 minutes for the temperature to drop 10 degrees in Sydney yesterday afternoon as the country’s biggest city bunkers down for what promises to be a very chilly next couple of days. 

The cold snap has also hit the ACT and parts of South Australia – with snow expected today across NSW central tablelands – and the mercury tipped to drop to a super chilly minus 4 in Canberra. Brrrr.

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 American state of Massachusetts, where some very clever scientists have figured out how to power small electronic devices using their human sweat. Sound gross? It’s actually super cool. The engineers at Amherst University have created a strong, thin layer of tiny, dead bacteria called a biofilm, that goes onto your skin like a bandaid. Okay, dead bacteria still sounds gross. 

Anyway, you may not know this, but when water evaporates, energy is created. And your skin is constantly moist from sweat, providing a continuous source of potential energy. The new biofilm can capture the energy and send it to power things like  step trackers, health monitors, and other wearable technology. Isn’t science amazing? 




Have you ever suspected your dog is a bit of a sook?

Well – your suspicions are well-founded – because its been confirmed this week by researchers in Japan that dogs cry little tears of joy when they are reunited with their owners. Another reason dogs are the best!

It’s the first time scientists have reported tears of joy in any animal other than a human. 

They monitored the tear ducts of 18 dogs – and found that after being separated from their owners for a period of about five hours, then reunited – the dogs actually secreted tears linked to a release of oxytocin – the hormone associated with happiness. 

Now, I wonder if cats do the same thing? You know – given how much they live to please their owners and all …




It’s a Wednesday, and that means it’s time to check in with Squiz-E the Newshound to see what fishy stories he’s sniffed out on the internet this week … 

And today – he’s all about a Facebook post that’s doing the rounds that is – quite simply – a hoax.

A hoax is another word for a fake .. or not real. 

Facebook followers of a Buy, Sell, Swap page in Darwin were on high alert recently after a post claimed a woman was pretending to be a nurse and had stolen a baby from a local Darwin hospital.

Squiz-E sniffed around and discovered that the photos used in the post are from a news story in Mexico from several years ago – and that the same post, using the exact same words and photos – had also appeared in a Facebook mother’s group in the United States, on a page for International Students in Canada and even in a Buy, Sell, Swap Facebook group in Sydney. 

In each instance the same fake nurse was fake-stealing babies from hospitals in the local area.

Another example of why it’s so important whenever you read anything on the internet to do as Squiz-E says and: Stop, Think and Check.

On the subject of Squiz E .. today’s a big day for everyone’s favourite Newshound … because it’s the day we proudly announce we’ve created a media literacy program for primary school children … called … you guessed it … Newshounds.

It’s an eight part podcast series with an accompanying classroom booklet teaching you how to become critical consumers of information … which is to say, helping you to work out what’s real and what’s not on the internet.

Thanks to our partners at the Google News Initiative, the Newshounds by Squiz Kids media literacy program will be available FREE to all classrooms in Australia and New Zealand … with a launch date set for the start of Term 4.

We’ll be talking about it all a lot more in the weeks to come – but to find out more and to register your interest – go to … I’ve stuck a link to it in today’s episode notes.   


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

  1. Which animal has been found to cry tears of joy?
  2. What have scientists discovered can be used to power wearable electronic devices?
  3. What sort of animal was rescued from shark nets on the Gold Coast yesterday?




It’s August 24 … my birthday … and to celebrate, i reckon we break with tradition and bring in the ol’ birthday reggae tune on a Wednesday instead of its traditional Friday … because sometimes i just like to live on the edge ..

It’s also a special day for these Squiz Kids celebrating a birthday today … forevermore my birthday buddies … Evelyn from Herberton, Brian from Springfield, Chloe from Richmond, Isabella from Brisbane, Odette from Jerilderie, Margot from Emerald Beach, Aleki from Bathurst and Eva from Coffs Harbour. 

And belated birthday shout outs go to Addison from Perth and Billy from Dubbo.

Classroom shoutouts today go to … class 1B and Ms McKnight at St Thomas Catholic Primary School in Willoughby, class 3/4B with Miss Banks, Tanya and Jody at Gembrook Primary School, Grade 2 and Mrs Munro at Woodend Primary School in Adelaide and lastly to year 4 and Mrs Garnsey at Glendore Public School. 

And finally … a shout out to class B11 at Craigburn Primary School who sent in a request for me to shout out myself on my birthday. That’s very thoughtful of you Class B11 ,,, and consider it done.


The S’Quiz Answers:

  1. Dogs
  2. Human sweat
  3. Whale