Wednesday, 9 November, 2022

The misinformation mid-terms; Cycling across Antarctica; Black Panther returns; and the world’s smallest pony.



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World’s smallest pony:



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In the wee small hours of last night and for a good part of today, voters in America have been trooping off to the polls to vote on who they want to represent them in Washington.

They’re called the mid-term elections – and they’re a really big deal.

The United States is one of the biggest democracies in the world. And so elections there should be a celebration of the people’s voice being heard.

But a cloud has descended on this year’s mid-terms, with concerns about misinformation running at an all-time high.

Americans heading to the polls to cast their votes have been bombarded with fake text messages urging them to stay at home, social media posts making wild and untrue claims about ballot box fraud, and online rumours about the voting system being rigged. None of which are true.

Yesterday, former employees of Twitter said misinformation was being allowed to spread unchecked on the popular social media platform after the company’s new owner, Tesla billionaire and the world’s richest man Elon Musk, sacked a whole lot of Twitter employees. 

What’s misinformation? Well, if you’ve already dived into Newshounds – our new, free media literacy course for primary school kids – you’d know that it’s information that is not true, but which is nevertheless shared widely by people like you and me who take what they read at face value and don’t take the time to check whether it’s true. 

Squiz-E the Newshound – who we always check in with on Wednesdays – who sniffs out fishy stories on the internet AND who is always reminding us to STOP, THINK and CHECK before believing everything we see, read or hear on the internet, reckons the US mid-term elections are going to set a new and not especially great benchmark for misinformation. 

Which is why there’s never been a more important time to be a critical consumer of media.


Teachers: if you haven’t yet had a chance to check out Newshounds .. hop onto our website and dive in. It’s completely free – and in eight short episodes, your class will go from sitting ducks in the misinformation wars to armed and dangerous. Parents: if you’re worried about the fake news your kids are being exposed to on a daily basis – this is the perfect tool to make them media literate – urge your kids teachers to get involved. I’ve stuck all the links and information you need in today’s episode notes. 



Each day we give the world globe a spin and find a news story from wherever it stops .. and today we’ve landed in Antarctica – where a man from Italy is going to attempt to cross the frozen continent on his bike.

Next week, Omar de Felice will set off on his bike from one side of Antarctica and attempt to be the first person ever to cycle coast-to-coast.

It’s a journey that’s expected to take him 60 days, covering an impressive 2000 kilometres, passing the South Pole along the way.

Now you’re probably thinking: but hang on a minute – Antarctica is mostly snow – how do you ride a bike in snow? Well that’s where what’s called fat- bikes come in. No – they’re not bikes that have had a bit too much to eat – they’re normal bikes with extra fat tires – and they work well on loose dirt, sand, and – it seems – even snow. 

The Italian adventurer will camp in snow along the way – and will drag along behind his bike a sled carrying his tent, supplies and lots of warm clothing … brrrr. 




Crack out the popcorn, peel the wrapper of your choc-tops … Black Panther 2: Wakanda Forever opens in cinemas across the country tomorrow and it’s shaping to be one of the biggest movie releases of the year.

The second instalment in the Marvel superhero series also opens in cinemas around the world tomorrow – and already in the United States, advance ticket sales suggest the movie could break all sorts of box office records. When the first Black Panther movie came out in 2018 – so, four years ago – it was the biggest film in the US and went on to make more than $1.3 billion worldwide.  

Keep an eye out for Ironheart – the new super-genius inventor in the Marvel universe – who is introduced in Wakanda Forever but will soon have her own spin-off show. Stick with me – I’ll make sure you stay in the know … 




We couldn’t let the week slip by without bringing you a story that’s been doing the rounds about what the Guinness Book of World Records thinks could be the smallest pony on the planet. 

Putting aside My Little Ponys for one minute – because, I hate to break it to you, but they’re not real ponies – little Pumuckel, the Shetland pony is a serious contender for the world’s teeniest horse – measuring only 50 centimetres in height and weighing a truly petit 35 kilos.

Shetland ponies – as you might know – are already really small. But Pumuckel is small even for a Shetland. So small that she sits in the front seat of her owner’s car when they go driving and totters into the kitchen to eat dinner indoors. 

And yes, of course, because it’s a Wednesday hump day – there’s a link to video of Pumuckel in today’s episode notes … you’re welcome.  


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

  1. Across which icy continent is an Italian cyclist hoping to ride?
  2. What type of a pony is Pumuckel? 
  3. What’s the name in the title of the movie, of the make-believe land where Black Panther is set?




It’s November 9 … birthday for singer-songwriter Delta Goodrem – it’s also only 45 days until Christmas … and it’s Fried Chicken Sandwich Day in the United States … mmmm …. yummmm.

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

Mia from Lake Bolac, Georgia from Drouin, Harvey from Ivanhoe, Kai from Bega, Rosie from Dulwich Hill, Aurelia from Sunbury, Rock from Preston, Arnav from Hornsby and Ruby and Eleanor from Western Sydney.

Belated birthday shout outs go to Aodhan (pronounced A-on) from Bega, Summer from Gladstone and Penelope from Mount Cotton. 

Classroom shout outs go to… class 3/4w at Exeter Public School, stage 2 with Mrs Hart and Miss B at St Joseph’s Primary School in Junee, class 3MK and Miss Kulak (pronounced ‘cool – ak’) at Newport Public School, grade 6 and Ms Strachen at Croydon Park Public School, year 4 and and Miss Schwartz at Maitland Lutheran School and lastly to class 4/5 yellow at St Patrick’s Primary School in Bega and happy birthday to their teacher Mr Broughton for yesterday!

And finally: a special shout out to Ruby from Curl Curl – who listens to Squiz Kids most mornings in the car with her mum. Hope you have a great day, Ruby.


The S’Quiz Answers:

  1. Antarctica
  2. Shetland
  3. Wakanda