10 things you need to know this morning in Australia

Cue awkwardly long end stare sequence. Picture: Disney

Good morning.

1. Markets ripped higher, which was a nice change from 2016 so far. The ASX 200 is still down 8.5% since the start of the year, but surged yesterday as oil, banks and the big miners all enjoyed some good times. Shanghai only fell half a per cent yesterday while Tokyo ripped more than 1000 points higher as the Nikkei closed at 16,022. The March SPI 200 contract finished up half a per cent, so another good day beckons before the US comes back online.

2. Even iron ore’s up. Huh.

3. Still, if 2016 is feeling all a bit uncomfortably 2008 for you, here’s investment bank Jefferies with all the similarities to get you squirming in your chair. Including that one where US markets have hit more 52-week lows than seen in 2008 and 2009.

4. The Turnbull government – no, stay with me because this is important – has kept mum on details so far, but expect an announcement about negative gearing to form a major part of both major parties’ election platforms this year. Labor showed its hand yesterday, proposing a limit on negative gearing to new homes only. That’s spooked investor Zaki Ameer, who says it will cause the property bubble to burst. But then, Ameer would be spooked – because he owns 15 properties, and they’re all negatively geared.

5. These days, if anyone on Twitter looks up from their phone and notices it, Mt Rushmore might be labelled “environmental desecration” and “lacking diversity” and pulled down immediately. But back in the height of the Great Depression it only meant one thing – 400 jobs. It took 14 years to complete and to celebrate (yesterday’s) Presidents Day, here’s some wonderful photos from the National Park Service of its incredible, daring construction without computers.

By Dean Franklin/Wikimedia Commons

6. That bloke on the left was paid about $25,000 for being the first US president in 1789. In 1913, the first year accounted for by the inflation calculator) that would have been equivalent to $600,000. So, unimaginable wealth back in Washington’s day. There’s only been five pay rises for US presidents since, and here’s how much the current one’s earning.

7. The hype for “Stars Wars: Episode VIII” has begun with the release of the first teaser. Please, don’t even watch it. It starts with the end of “The Force Awakens” with Rey giving Skywalker his lightsaber just before the two share that interminably long, silent exchange. Then the director guy says “Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Episode Eight”. That’s it. I’m not even sharing the link with you.

8. This is as wonderful as it is spooky:


It’s Nissan, tooling around with self-driving technology and applying it to office chairs. Meet the Intelligent Parking Chair.

9. So yeah, unlocking productivity gains and freeing us all up to watch TV and play sports is all fun and games until the robots take our jobs. Which is inevitable, according to a report from Citi referencing top computer scientists who say people at the most risk are those with low-skilled jobs. That’s an OECD average of 57% rising to 77% of Chinese workers with a whole lot more time on their hands in the future.

10. They should use it to meditate, volunteer and live in trees. Such things are the key to becoming truly happy, and staying happy. Not promotions at work and piling up investment properties. Here’s why.

BONUS ITEM: Shane Warne on how we’re all evolved from aliens. He’s only saying what everyone thinks but is too scared to say, right? Right?

Have a great day.

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