10 things you need to know in Australia this morning

Good morning.

1. Elon Musk has thought a lot about colonising Mars, and the plan he revealed this morning is as inspiring as it is extraordinary. A trip on his new rocket would take “about 80 days”. SpaceX could bring the cost down to “as little as $US100,000”. We could make Mars’ atmosphere life-supporting by “compressing” it. The list goes on. And Musk wants to start the cycle of sending ships to Mars “in two years”, and the colonisation process in 2022:


There’s a whole lot more here including Musk’s reminder to potential candidates that “the risk of fatality will be high, there’s just no way around it“. Get excited.

2. Any argument about whether online polls matter should start and end with how that worked out for the Brexit phone pollsters. Sure, any journalist who’s spent a career watching political debates could see that Hillary Clinton pretty much owned Donald Trump for a lot of yesterday’s big show. But to bin results that don’t match your perception is a dangerous game, especially in situations where those doing the polling don’t actually know who’s going to turn up and vote, such as in the Brexit vote and the US presidential elections. And even more wobbly in an age when online news sites are quite comfortable pulling clicks all day with PR-pitched articles quoting survey results on “trivial” things. Something about cakes, something about eating them too…

3. So, after the big debate – which Asian market and Mexican peso traders saw as a win for Clinton – stocks in the US were up overnight. (Although Greg McKenna reckons there’s a couple of real economic factors in all that.) But the ASX isn’t convinced and futures traders have the December SPI 200 contract down 6 points. Iron ore is souring, and the Aussie dollar is looking resilient, closing at a 3-week high.

Intermission. In case you don’t get to the Bonus Item, you should know it’s about this guy who moonwalked across Europe:

Back to the show.

4. UBS knows something everyone in Sydney is trying hard not to know – their housing is in the global “bubble zone”. That’s the zone one up from the “over-valued zone” – and only five other cities share the honour with Sydney.

5. $US800 billion juggernaut Amazon has publicly said it’s meant to complement existing delivery partners, like FedEx and UPS. But the Wall Street Journal has found some Amazon execs who are spilling the beans on a plan to dominate delivery that insiders are calling “Consume the City”. Obviously, storage would be an issue, but it also has experimented with a program called “I Have Space” which relies on warehouses sitting idle.

6. Here’s another service you wouldn’t be banking on for a future. Another one of those surveys we love to quote has found millennials would rather ditch their phone app than Snapchat. And if millennials make your eyes roll, here’s the other stat – for those aged 35 to 64, the phone was the fifth-most commonly used app, after text messaging, email, Facebook, and Facebook Messenger. Farewell, conversation.

7. In America, Tony Robbins, Magic Johnson and the Philadelphia 36ers own eSports teams. In Australia, we’ve been dropped from a $130,000 tournament because after making the final, we couldn’t find a team in the two months it takes to register a lineup.

8. Want to see how a “chicken gun” works? Then watch this video of how commercial airline companies test their planes. And if you think this is one of those moments you just can’t prepare for:


Think again – he landed it, cool as Tom Kazansky. Cool as the pilot who “had to egress” the F-35 which caught fire recently. No, not that one – the other F-35 which caught fire recently.

9. Meet Justin. In 2004, Justin was earning $US48,000 a year. In the next 10 years, that rose no higher than $US69,000, and his wife’s wage hit a high of $US74,000. In 2013, Justin had a $US1 million and retired – just by saving.

10. So if that’s got you thinking about super, here are Australia’s worst, and best, performing superannuation funds.

BONUS ITEM: Guy moonwalks across Europe.

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