10 things you need to know this morning in Australia

That’s not a portaledge. This is a portaledge. Picture: TriStar

Good morning.

1. Let’s start with markets, where stocks are under pressure. While BHP Billiton is the star of another big earnings day here in Australia, shares are poised to fall with the US out for the President’s Day holiday. Euro stocks didn’t take kindly to the Unilever/Kraft breakdown either. But iron ore hit another multi-year high and the Aussie dollar is drifting higher.

2. The Leader of the Free World has appointed a new national security advisor. Donald Trump announced US Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster will replace Michael Flynn, who resigned earlier this month following reports of his conversations with Russia. And The Donald doubled down on his baffling comment there was a “crime surge” in Sweden, prompting Sweden’s former PM to make this point:

3. Uber has somehow avoided paying GST on its fares in Australia. Perhaps it was unaware the “S” stands for “Services”. Anyhoo. It’s lost the battle in the Federal Court and now has to decide who’ll cop the bill from here on – drivers or passengers. Now rival GoCatch CEO says the tide is turning in the “David vs Goliath” battle. Remember when Uber was David?

4. It’s early and you’re in the office early. Early enough to grab a Pablo and a bit of brekky. But two seconds after you click the toaster down, your CEO walks in and you’ve got literally minutes of standing around together in the kitchen, alone. Here’s how to handle that moment without making a goose of yourself.

5. This is the north face of Jannu, in the Himalayas:

Picture: Carsten.nebel/Wikimedia Commons

Climbers call it “The Wall of Shadows”. Many say it’s the greatest Himalayan challenge of all, and none had conquered it until 11 Russians spent 49 days fixing ropes in 2004 to inch to the top. But John Middendorf reckons it can be done in under 20 days, as long as you’re willing to spend the nights pinned to the rock face in the new portaledge he’s just invented. In his shed, in Tasmania:

And here’s why you should believe him.

6. At the risk of sounding repetitive, newspapers are dying. Only this time, they are. Last year in the UK, smartphone ownership among people aged over 55 nearly doubled. That’s most of the actual readers gone. But the alarming part is that for every £154 UK papers lost in print revenue, they gained just £5 on the digital side. So it’s not just the physical paper bit that’s dying, it’s the cashflow for journalism, digital or otherwise.

7. Simple things can make you happy. As can simplifying things – like ditching your Constanza-esque wallet for a card case. Like Matthew Debord did, and it’s changed his life.

8. In technology news today, you can now buy Snapchat’s sunnies that take pictures online, instead of hoping a yellow vending machine will pop up in your mall or at your beach some time soon. Oh, and a US panel said it’s okay to genetically modify humans.

9. If you’re into planes and weapons, mark March 3 down and hightail it to Victoria. You’ll get to see the most advanced jet fighter in the world make its debut in Australian skies when two F-35As buzz the crowd at the Australian International Airshow at Avalon. They won’t be back until late 2018.

10. CDs were a big deal in the 80s and you probably still haven’t gotten around to getting all your Tranvision Vamp tracks and mullet pics onto a hard-drive somewhere yet. Get cracking, because according to cdm, the first batch of CDs produced are starting to get “disc rot”. Either that, or put them in the fridge, where they’ll be good for 500 years.

BONUS ITEM: Love is… this picture of Buzz Aldrin:

Enjoy your day.

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