10 things you need to know this morning in Australia

The Sex, Smoking and Star Wars edition. Picture: Miramax

Good morning.

1. First, the markets, and after last night’s subtle drift lower there is some chatter that stocks might have hit a wall and are in need of fresh news to drive them higher. From the S&P 500 and the DAX to the Nikkei and the ASX200, the major stock indices are searching for a reason to lift again. Not even the confirmation of the giant merger between Pfizer and Allergan, which will create a $US160 pharma behemoth, could stoke US stocks overnight.

2. Soc Gen’s famous chart with the swans is out, and the new event that could rupture global markets is a British exit from the EU, while a China hard landing is rated a close second among the black swans.

3. Bill Shorten is tanking. Obviously all credit to the Labor leader for airing his thoughts about increasing the price of a pack of 25 durries to $40, because smoking kills people. But to actually get new taxes in place, you really need to win government, and with his support for preferred prime minister sitting at a Simon Crean-like 15 per cent, Bill needs all the western Sydney votes he can get.

4. Metals are getting smashed. A strong US dollar, supply gluts, competition and uncertainty over China have caused a lot of pain for commododity producers and even more for those who work for them. We know iron ore is a basket case, and if you thought nickel was bad:

Wait’ll you get a load of silver and copper.

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5. Best worker, ever. Programmer Nihad Abbasov was looking through the work of a guy who’d just left their company and found a bunch of unusual software scripts. Closer inspection revealed the former worker had automated a heap of little tasks, like texting his wife with a random excuse why he’s not home yet. Another dealt with a customer he didn’t like by simply rolling back his database every time he sent an email with the words “help”, “trouble” and “sorry”. But here’s the killer script, as told by Nihad:

“… this one waits exactly 17 seconds (!), then opens an SSH session to our coffee-machine (we had no frikin idea the coffee machine is on the network, runs linux and has SSHD up and running) and sends some weird gibberish to it. Looks binary. Turns out this thing starts brewing a mid-sized half-caf latte and waits another 24 (!) seconds before pouring it into a cup. The timing is exactly how long it takes to walk to the machine from the dudes desk.”

There’s more gold here.

6. “Is this the start of the breakdown?” asks Tina Fordham, Citi’s chief global political analyst, in a recent research presentation on the global risk environment. With the complex security environment, 60 million people displaced – the highest since World War II – and political dynamics shifting in developed countries, Fordham says the geopolitical risk is at its highest in 25 years and the world faces “the most fluid global political outlook in decades”. Here’s one summary slide, which finishes with an ominous question:

BI’s Paul Colgan has more.

7. Jon Snow is dead. Long live Jon Snow. The poster for season six of Game of Thrones is out and fans are going nuts because it’s got Ned’s bastard on it. Except he’s not looking at all like the way he did when season five ended…

8. The iPhone 6S has barely launched and we’re already hearing whispers about Apple’s plans for the next iPhone. So far, there aren’t too many details, but if Tech Insider’s Steve Kovach had it his way, he’d have these seven things added to it.

9. Sex. A certain famous F1 driver once called it “Breakfast of Champions”, but how often a week/month/year are you getting it? Science is there, and thanks to hours and hours and hours of research, has found the “magic amount”.

10. Old and busted: Star Wars trailers. New hotness: Stars Wars trailer parodies. We had this low-budget, cardboard-laden version last week, but the US Navy is now on board, and they can feature real real dogfights:

You’ll find the full version here. And even better, you’ll find slo-mo versions of some of the US military’s heaviest weapons firing here.

BONUS ITEM: Here’s why ISIS will fail, according to a BBC legend:

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