Wednesday, 24 February, 2021

Facebook backs down; cool videos direct from Mars; when a Tassie Tiger is a wallaby; and Japan’s totally nude festival.



Japan’s naked festival “

Mars landing video :

Mars landing explainer video:

Tassie tiger explainer:






Remember last week we talked about Facebook removing news content from its platform for Aussie users?

And how it was all part of a fight that the social media company found itself in with the Australian Government about not wanting to pay money to Aussie media companies that do journalism?

Well, there’s been some kissing and making up between the government and Facebook, with the tech company agreeing yesterday to pay for news content – and agreeing to restore Australians’ access to news on their platform.

So – why is any of this even vaguely important to you? 

Because Facebook – and other social media platforms – have become so popular and so widely used in Australia and around the world, it’s important that tabs are kept on the information that’s being posted there and whether it’s reliable. 

And because, in a big picture sense, it’s about whether or not value should be attached to the work of journalists – and whether or not it’s important to have a strong media to hold powerful people to account and tell us about what’s happening in our backyard, and in the wider world around us. 




Each day we give the world globe a spin and find a news story from wherever it stops .. and today, we’ve landed in Japan – where a naked festival has gone ahead despite the pandemic.

Wait a minute? A what festival? 

A naked festival, people. Where attendees strip down to their birthday suits, and, in this case, crowd into a temple, splash around in a pool and offer up a prayer for a good harvest and prosperity in the year ahead. 

The festival is a tradition that goes back 500 years. And while normally it would see a temple crammed with naked folk – this year, as a nod to the COVID pandemic – organisers are restricting the number of people allowed to attend. Which sounds altogether much more hygienic. Because in these uncertain times social distancing needs to be observed no matter how few clothes you have on.

And don’t panic. They’re not completely nude. Participants wear a loin-cloth as underwear – and a pair of white socks. Which sounds entirely fashionable 




Just when you thought the Mars landing this week couldn’t get any cooler – came the first video yesterday of the rover Perseverance touching down on the surface of the red planet – crystal clear pictures of its huge parachute opening and thrusters engaging and plumes of red dust being kicked up as the spacecraft touched down.

Perseverance has also sent back audio from Mars – which is to say, for the first time ever, we’re able to hear what it sounds like on the surface of another planet in our solar system. Boom. Mind blown.

And what about this? If you were worried Perseverance was going to get lonely up there all alone – fear not. China’s Mars probe has arrived and is in orbit around the planet. Some time in the next couple of months it is expected to attempt to land its own rover on Mars. Hope they don’t run into each other. A rover bingle on Mars – now that would be a first. 

There are links to the Perseverance touchdown videos in today’s episode notes. Get involved.




For a brief moment yesterday, there was hope that the Tasmanian tiger – a creature that’s been extinct for almost 90 years – had made a spectacular reappearance. In a video posted to social media, a Tassie tiger enthusiast in the Apple Isle suggested he had photographic evidence of a living baby thylacine – which is the scientific name for the Tasmanian tiger. But almost as quickly as his excited claims of a major scientific breakthrough spread across the internet – they were shot down by a Tasmanian Museum expert, who said the photo was actually of a wallaby. Boo!

It’s estimated there were around 5000 thylacines in Tasmania when European settlers arrived. But a combination of introduced animals, destruction of forests and hunting quickly pushed them to extinction. 

But that doesn’t stop an eager band of Tasmanian tiger enthusiasts from searching high and low across the Apple Isle to find evidence they’re still alive.

There’s a link in today’s episode notes to photos of the thylacine – and a helpful explanation of how it came to be extinct.




Every second Wednesday we stick our head into the Squiz Kids kitchen to see what Rosie has been whipping up … and this week..she’s been baking Grace’s Easy Choc Chip Cookies. Grace is a Squiz Kid listener who lives on Kangaroo Island in South Australia – and her choc-chip cookies are both chocolatey and easy .. and delicious.

The recipe and photos are all on the Squiz Kid website. And don’t forget, if you have a recipe you love and that you’d love Rosie to try, send it to [email protected].





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

  1. In which country is a naked festival about to take place?
  2. The Mars probe for which country has arrived at the red planet and is in orbit, waiting to send down a rover?
  3. What’s the scientific name of the Tasmanian tiger?




It’s February 24   … birthday for Aussie tennis champ, Lleyton Hewitt, and Launceston Cup day – which is a public holiday for those lucky Squiz Kids in the northern Tasmanian city … enjoy!

It’s also a special day for these Squiz Kids celebrating a birthday today … Olivia from North Rocks, Zoe from Sandhurst, Liam from Spreyton, Rory from South Australia, Coen from Parkwood and Annie and Abbie from Canberra. 

And some belated birthday shoutouts… David from Coniston, Ella from Glen Innes and Olivia from Balgownie. 

Happy birthday one and all!

And today’s classroom shoutouts go to…  class 2/3HM with Miss Hendricks and Miss Maxwell from Upper Ferntree Gully Primary School, Mrs Martin, Mrs Connell, Mrs O’Connor and the 5/6 Echidnas at Branxton Public School, class 6B at St John’s in Narraweena, class 6K and Mr Krisher at Terrigal Public School, NSW, and a very special shoutout to Coniston Public School and their teacher Mrs Mathers, who celebrated a birthday yesterday. 


The S’Quiz Answers:

  1. Japan 
  2. China
  3. Thylacine