10 things you need to know this morning in Australia

Spaghetti hips for the Oscar. Picture: Paramount Pictures

Good morning.

1. The fire sale that had to happen. Dick Smith begins to close its doors forever at 9am today, and that’s a tragedy for the 3000-odd employees who have to suffer for someone up top’s terrible decisions. If you want to make a statement about that, don’t rush in to snap up a bargain piece of tech when the fire sale begins at 9am. Those employees have already been guaranteed priority in unsecured claims, ahead of secured creditors, and are expected to be paid out in full. So avoid the place entirely knowing the only people you’ll be hurting will be those who helped run it into the ground.

2. Markets. The ASX is down 1.4% this week and 7.8% since the start of 2016, but at least the banks are doing well – three out of four added weight yesterday and globally, bank shares did better last night, so there could be some more lift for the locals today. For the ASX, the March SPI 200 futures contract is up around 0.3%, suggesting a slightly better day ahead. The Aussie is solidly up from its lows yesterday around 0.7157 at 0.7236. Sorry, that’s the best we can do.

3. In fact, the ASX is seeing a top. A muffin top:

It’s been trading in a wide range as each sell-off has found some investors willing to buy the market back off its lows. And that, according to Evan Lucas, market strategist at IG in Melbourne, means the ASX’s 2016 path has a distinctly “tubby” and “squat” profile. That’s a new one, and we like it.

4. Aliens? No, but there’s still no explanantion for what fast radio bursts (FRBs) from space actually are. They only appear once, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced, so they’re hard to track down. But the CSIRO just caught one, and here’s where it came from.

5. There’s a lot of memorable moments in “The Wolf of Wall St”, but this David Brent moment from Leonardo DiCaprio stays with you forever:

On the eve of his strongest chance yet of picking up a Best Actor Oscar, it’s a great time to recall how we nearly lost that great talent to pro break-dancing. He admitted it in a 2004 interview with Oprah Winfrey, and even had the most bad-ass nickname for himself ready to roll for when he hit the big-time.

6. Set your alarm. Warren Buffett’s annual letter to shareholders is 24 hours away. Past editions have included discussions of betting on America, the insurance business, and what Buffett has gotten wrong over the years. But he saves the most references for his GEICO insurance subsidiary, thumb-sucking, lollipops and elephants. If you don’t believe that, here’s an analysis of his last 15 letters.

7. Here’s something else that appeared suddenly from space without warning and may also have caused millions of voices to cry out in terror. A space rock exploded over the Earth on February 6 with close to the energy equivalent of “Little Boy” – the bomb that levelled Hiroshima. Fortunately, it was over the Atlantic Ocean 1000km away from inhabited land. Unfortunately, nobody saw it coming before or after it entered Earth’s atmosphere. And that’s alarming and a bit embarrassing.

8. The worst robot ever built was that one from “Perfect Match”. But this comes close:

A year ago, Simone Giertz was pulling about 20,000 views per video she posted about the terrible robots she builds. She also built an audience, and in the past month, a couple of million tuned in to her YouTube channel. Here’s a highlights reel featuring an awful, but undeniably effective alarm clock.

9. Better tech that actually works is on show at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona right now. We’re there, taking pictures of all the amazing stuff we’ve seen so far.

10. Don’t blow all your retirement cash straight away. Nobel Prize winner Harry Markowitz, works to devise innovative solutions to help people reach their retirement goals. He has these tips for you, but the best place to start is by first having a look at this mortality table and getting a better idea of when you’re going to die.


Have a great weekend.

BONUS ITEM: But first check out Super Mario’s parkour style:

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