10 things you need to know this morning in Australia

D’oh! Picture: 20th Century Fox

It’s Friday. Cheer up.

1. First, to earnings, and it’s a big day in the US. Or was, because Microsoft, Google and Amazon all released their results after the closing bell. It’s been a good quarter:

2. Australia’s May budget could be generous. Treasurer Scott Morrison yesterday gave a strong hint that he’d had a gutfull of the national obsession with surpluses, and changed the language. We now, rightly, speak about debt in terms of “good debt” – read, investment in our future – and “bad debt” – read, loading up your credit card. In a nutshell, it will make justifying spending on nation-building things easier, and Paul Colgan has a great rundown on why that can only be a good thing.

3. To markets and the ECB left interest rates on hold, as expected, sending the euro down a little. US stocks were flat and pipeline-blocking protests in Libya sent oil to a one-month low. In Australia, it’s up to the financials to drive stocks after the big miners took hits last night. The Aussie is under pressure at 0.7470.

4. Dr David Dao, with his nose and teeth fixed, is now cashing in after reaching an undisclosed settlement with United Airlines for his horrendous “deplaning” incident. But the other best outcome is UA’s apology, which shows how many wins regular people scored. Among the six changes the company is making are compensation for voluntary rebooking raised to as much as $US10,000 and a no-questions-asked $US1500 for lost luggage. That’s how you win customers back – with money.

5. The Simpsons skewered Donald Trump’s first 100 days in office:

And it didn’t feel right. Obviously, it’s hilarious, but it’s also a little… off-brand. The Simpsons has powered through 30 years of dodgier US political times than this using smart funny. Sean Spicer hanging from a rope and drug-dependent Marge is Family Guy dumb funny. Someone at the editing desk looked away for a minute, and that never happens at The Simpsons.

6. A national security expert says Australia needs to get a missile defence system in place to counter the North Korean threat, pronto. But when Israel sees a threat, it just knocks it out. Even if it is a Russian-manned threat, and even if it means using those three shiny new F-35s from the US to do it.

7. In the most TED moment ever, a man in a jetpack flew in front of the TED crowd:

8. But Elon Musk thinks flying cars are noisy, windy and dangerous. Just a couple of months ago he flagged the idea of tunnels as a better way to travel. Musk doesn’t muck around:

He’s already started digging up the SpaceX carpark.

9. Russian billionaire Yuri Milner is so obsessed with aliens that two years ago he pitched in $100 million for a program to gather data from various telescopes around the world and scour it for evidence of alien communications. Today, the Breakthrough Listen initiative released its first report, claiming it had found 11 significant “hits”.

10. Meanwhile, humans are struggling to make it to Mars, but at least we now know that when we get there, we can make bricks out of Martian soil, just by squishing it. And they’ll be stronger than steel-reinforced concrete. Right on cue, the one-armed bricklaying robot from Perth-based company Fastbrick Robotics will be on sale by the end of the year.

BONUS ITEM: Getting hit in the nads. Now that’s never not funny:

Have a great weekend.

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