10 things you need to know this morning in Australia

Get in the fridge! Picture: Lucasfilm

Good morning.

1. The podcast year that was. Our end of year Devils and Details show is so special, we had to record it at the executive Club on the 31st floor of Sydney’s InterContinental. ANZ senior economist Jo Masters and VFS Group investment manager James Whelan joined us for a quick once-over of Scott Morrison’s mid-year budget update before running the ruler over the best and worst economics and markets forecasts of the year. Find the show on iTunes, or listen in below:

2. Yes, a US president can unilaterally decide to launch a nuclear weapon. Bruce G. Blair, a former Minuteman missile-launch officer, told Business Insider in September that if Donald Trump wanted to launch a missile without interference from others, he really can. And it could be in the air in 15 minutes. Today’s a good time to remember that, because the incoming US president just tweeted this:

Obviously, Trump himself didn’t write it, but still.

3. Trump’s campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, got her promotion. She’s been made a White House counselor, and in her first interview, she got asked the same tired question every mum gets asked when she gets a serious job – the one about whether she can handles things and kids at the same time. She started by showing how she can handle dumb questions:

“I would say that I don’t play golf and I don’t have a mistress so, I have a lot of time that a lot of these other men don’t.”

4. To markets, and traders are playing with the pens and finding anything to do but work, because Christmas. All the major US indices dipped a little overnight, and the Dow looks like it won’t hit a 20,000 close in 2016 after all. In ‘Straya, March SPI Futures are down 10 points, despite the ASX 200 closing higher yesterday for the fourth day this week. The Australian dollar continues to slide and iron ore got walloped again.

5. This looks like a bunch of navy guys heading out for a day on the harbour:

But inside the cockpit, it’s all:

It’s what the US Navy calls “swarmboats” and they’re basically drones which can work together to hassle a threat in going away. Of course they’re not armed and able to choose and fire upon targets of their own free will, because that would be silly. They’re just keeping the peace.

6. Whoa. For the first time since it began counting such things in 1899, less than a million babies were born in Japan. And around 1.3 million Japanese died. That’s a problem – a huge sex problem.

7. Remember that movie “Shazaam” from the early 90s with Sinbad starring in it? No, you don’t. It’s your mind playing tricks on you, like that time you thought there was such a thing as The Berenstein Bears and never noticed a fifth housemate living with The Young Ones.

8. Here’s a view of Mount Fuji only a handful of humans have ever seen:

Picture: NASA

It’s a pic taken from the International Space Station. And here are the 15 other best photos ISS astronauts took in 2016, according to NASA.

9. Western Australia’s Claremont serial killer may have been caught. The ABC reports a man in his 50s was arrested at his home in the Perth suburb of Kewdale yesterday. He’s being interviewed in connection with the deaths of Sarah Spiers, Jane Rimmer and Ciara Glennon, who disappeared between January 1996 and March 1997. The bodies of Rimmer and Glennon were found in the 12 months that followed, but the killer has remained at large.

10. Our tech editor Tony Yoo got his hands on the best smartphone he’s ever used, and the worst smartphone he ever used – and he got them on both in 2016. Here’s his review.

BONUS ITEM: If you’re struggling to get on-board with your kids’ excitement over Christmas mornings, this might jog your memory:

Picture: Argos

Go on, flick through the old catalogue and pretend you’re circling the toys you want again.

Merry Christmas. Thanks for reading.

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