10 things you need to know this morning in Australia

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The beginning of the end. Picture: Nixolas/YouTube

Well hello, Friday.

1. In 1999, Britney Spears became a big deal with “Baby One More Time” and “The Phantom Menace” topped the box office. So, humans were still learning. Especially about tech and the dotcom bubble, as all three major indices hit highs on the same day, December 31. And overnight, they did it again, for the first time since that fateful day. Fateful, because by March 24, 2000, all three indices had topped out. Just sayin’. Anyhoo, it’s helped lift the SPI 200 futures 33 points, taking back almost all of the 35 points of losses in yesterday’s session. The Aussie stalled a bit and iron ore is back under $60 a tonne.

2. That heady feeling when you’re a Melbourne born, Tassie taught singer-songwriter and the most powerful man in the world puts your song at number three in his summer list:

3. One of Sydney’s most prime real estate gems is getting a renovation. Boasting direct waterfront access, commanding views of the Harbour Bridge, and a short walk to Circular Quay’s bars, cafes and shopping, the Sydney Opera House is about to get its largest upgrade since it opened 43 years ago. New features will include an upgraded sound system, kids’ room and study, dining room and expanded foyer. The $200 million project is expected to push the value of the Opera House well past its current $4.6 billion valuation. We have all the pics of what to expect here. And here’s the secret to selling your house for more money.

4. The podcast is out and it’s a cracker. That’s because we’ve got The Kouk, aka Stephen Koukoulas, one of Australia’s best-known economists. He’s a former head of TD Securities in London and senior economic adviser to the Gillard government, so who better to shoot the breeze with over the ABS census debacle, fiscal policy, and Twitter? No one. Here we go and be warned – things got sweary:

You can find the show on iTunes here, where you can subscribe, rate us, and leave us a review.

5. New Zealand is beating Australia at the Olympics. In the rowing, where the Kiwis nabbed a gold in the men’s pair. We’ve only got a silver so far, in the men’s quad sculls. And Jess Fox was not surprisingly upset to be relegated to bronze in the women’s K1 slalom. The gold favourite and world number one copped a two-second penalty after a race review, but even without it, her time wasn’t enough to topple Spain’s Maialen Chourraut. Today is a biggie for the Aussie medal hopes:

  • 11.17am: Women’s 200m breaststroke
  • 11.26am: Men’s 200m backstroke
  • 12.18pm: Women’s 100m freestyle

6. Over at the equestrian centre, competitors are dodging bullets. Two, in fact – one which hit the media tent and another which hit the stables. But Brazilian officials said there’s nothing to be worried about. At least one was actually aimed at cops in a nearby neighbourhood and they said it hit “at an angle and a speed that could not be it was aimed at the stables”. All good. While we’re on guns, here’s why Olympic sharpshooters wear those weird glasses. And if you ever wanted to know how silencers work, we have the infographic you’re looking for.

7. Ever thought about knocking off one of those Spirit of Ecstasy ornaments on the hoods of Rolls Royces? Best check the year model first then, because if it was made after 2004, this piece of ludicrous overengineering is going to make you look like a bit of a goose:

Go for a VW instead. As in, a whole VW, which is easy because computer scientists from the University of Birmingham and the German engineering firm Kasper & Oswald just showed how they can unlock every VW sold since 1995 with a simple wireless hack.

8. Finally, the US Air Force has come clean about it role in helping Pokemon control the humans. It goes a little something like this:


The full expose is here.

9. There’s always something weird going on in space, but this something weird is going on in our space. It’s a mysterious object astronomers have called “Niku”, a minor planet that’s orbiting the Sun, but not on the plane all the other planets are on. And it changes direction a little bit every day. So either it’s been shoved off course, or something bigger is dragging it away with gravity. Crazy.

10. Sharks. As if they couldn’t get any more vicious, now scientists have found evidence they’ll eat their own kids if they’re hungry enough.

BONUS ITEM: The Guardian’s data guy Nick Evershed won Day 5 of the Olympics by making fun of seahorses:

Have a great weekend.

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