10 things you need to know this morning in Australia

ProximaYour new life on Proxima b awaits. Picture: ESO/M. Kornmesser

Good morning.

1. Let’s head to markets first, where we finally saw some action. It was a painful day for commodities – gold was crushed, oil fell and copper – the canary in the global markets mine – has had a horrible week, down 5%. As for stocks, they’re still dull. For some idea of how dull, you need to read the intro to this note from Deutsche Bank’s Jim Reid, who wishes his knees weren’t so dicky right now. The September SPI 200 dipped just 0.1%, 6 points, overnight and the Aussie dollar is hanging tough.

2. Pack your space bags. A team of scientists have just learnt that there’s a planet orbiting Proxima Centauri – the closest star to our solar system. It’s just four light years away, and the potentially rocky planet circling it, Proxima b, looks like it’s orbiting smack in the middle of the habitable zone. But before we rush off, here’s a cautionary tale from sci-fi about why we shouldn’t colonise any Earth-like neighbouring planets just yet.

3. Down, down. Woolworths posted a full year net loss of $1.23 billion, a fall of 157.5% on 2015 results. We’ll have more on that soon.

4. Today in weapons. Iraqi Security Forces are about to launch an assault on ISIS-held Mosul with coalition forces – and Alrobot:

Alrobot was invented by a couple of Iraqi brothers and can remotely fire its mounted machine gun and four Katyusha rockets. Baically, it’s the ultimate Battle Bot. Meanwhile, North Korea’s latest ballistic missile launch reveals its alarming progress. For the first time, it’s reached Japan’s air defence identification zone.

5. On the other side of the world, a surprise visitor dropped in on “Game of Thrones” showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss:


That’s Khal Drogo, looking like he desperately wants to be remembered and maybe, as excited fans are posting after seeing this photo, brought back for series 7? Here’s why that’s very unlikely, according to all the other photos the Khal posted from his trip to Northern Ireland. And here’s Jon Snow saying buckle up for a miserable season ahead, fans.

6. In tech, we spoke to Sarah Ali, who heads up living room products for YouTube such as the app you might have on your smart TV. It’s a sleeping giant in this age of streaming and Ali gave us some idea of how YouTube plans to conquer your living room. Facebook, meanwhile, has big plans for gaming. It’s gearing up to launch an “all-new PC gaming platform”. But there’s already a very good – and very big – one, Steam.

7. And Apple could be on the hook for as much as $US19 billion. The European Commission is expected to levy a judgment against it, accusing Apple of striking a sweetheart tax deal with Ireland to avoid American corporate taxes. But it also looks like the US has Apple’s back in this one.

8. Do you like puzzles? Here’s a daisy:

If you have the first clue what that means, you could be in the running to buy $8000 worth of juicy files. Whether you want to open those files is a whole other issue – they’re reportedly the as-yet unreleased full set of the NSA’s hacking toolkit.

9. Science. There’s even more evidence that one activity could help slow the ageing process. Caloric restriction – cutting caloric intake by about 30% – seems to be getting promising results in mice, slowing changes in their bodies that we associate with ageing. Here’s how it works and why it’s not recommended for humans – yet.

10. Not science. This is your yearly reminder: Mars will NOT be as big as the moon on August 27, 2016. The classic internet hoax lives on, as seen in this viral post in Azerbaijani:

It won’t happen. Ever.

BONUS ITEM: One day, humans will forget the Hindenberg horror and embrace travel in huge, quiet, comfortable airships. Today is not that day:

Have a great day.

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