10 things you need to know this morning in Australia

The fun police have arrived. Picture: Cartoon Network

Good morning.

1. We’re going to take up some extra space to talk about polls and whether anyone should take notice of “unscientific” online polls. A “poll of polls” just after the first US presidential debate showed online voters surged to tick Donald Trump as the winner, and boy, did he enjoy that. It was worth noting, but in the real world, polls must be more “scientific” to be considered responsible. And today, the scientific results are in and four polls — from CNN/ORC, Politico/Morning Consult, NBC/SurveyMonkey, and Public Policy Polling — all showed that respondents felt Clinton bested Trump. Phe-ew! All is right with the world again, thanks science.

But wait. Here’s what those same scientific polls said on June 23:

  • SurveyMonkey: Remain is “decisively” in the lead on the day before the vote
  • CNN: “Two new surveys conducted Tuesday and Wednesday, but released Thursday, showed a lead for the remain camp.”
  • Politico: Last-minute poll puts Remain well ahead of Leave

And for the final ouch, here’s a Brexit “Poll of polls” taken two days before the vote, from scientific pollsters TNS, ComRes, Opinium, YouGov, Ipsos Mori and Populus:

The point is, a scientific poll will get it right in a rational situation. Roughly, it measures changes in sentiment. If 30% of the population identify as Trump supporters, then the audience polled is made up of 30% Trump supporters. That makes sense because if you randomly pick 1000 people across the US for a survey, you might randomly pick 80% Trump supporters. But what a scientific poll will never be able to get a handle on is emotion on the day. And if you had to pick one US presidential election driven more than emotion than any other election, it’s this one. The lesson is, pay attention – to everything.

And every once in a while, exhale.

2. Look!

Not only can it jump seven metres out of the water, it can travel nearly two metres under it. The price for one is who cares.

3. Markets. Let’s start with this great summation from Greg McKenna about “how it starts”:

One fund pulls cash, another gets wind of it and pulls their cash, then a few more, then a media story has other investors wondering if they should, maybe, pull some cash, while others do pull cash and pretty soon regardless of how much capital you have, a bank can end up with a liquidity crisis and a loss of trust and confidence of its counterparties.

That’s the situation Deutsche Bank – a bank at the heart of global finance – faces right now. And that’s why stocks in the US slipped and the December SPI 200 futures are down 36 points. The Aussie dollar was knocked lower and iron ore isn’t worth talking about because the Chinese are about to go on holiday.

4. Podcast! This week David Scutt is in charge while Paul Colgan is conducting business with our partners in the UK and US. So this week, we’ve got two (other) experts in the studio – Richard Grace, chief currency and interest rate strategist and head of international economics at the Commonwealth Bank, and James Whelan, investment manager at VFS Group. Here’s the show below, or if you prefer, you can find the podcast on iTunes.

5. The Ryder Cup is golf, made fun. It’s USA vs Europe and the crowd is allowed – within reason – to cheer like a footy final. And heckle Rory McIlroy when he can’t hit the same putt six times in practice. Which is what North Dakota resident David Johnson did, even yelling he “could make that putt”. So Henrik Stenson bet him $100 he couldn’t and this happened:

6. Apparently, blockchain – or, “the blockchain” – will be kind of a big deal when it comes to getting serious about digital currency. Loads of banks promise to be working on it, but all are too scared to make the first move. So as they dither, it’s looking more and more like the ASX will be first to prove a large working concept. Yes, that ASX.

7. Zika is coming. Remember earlier this year when pregnant women were advised to avoid Brazil? On Thursday, the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention issued a special Zika travel advisory, asking pregnant women to avoid Brunei, Myanmar, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Maldives, Philippines, Thailand, East Timor, and Vietnam.

8. Mercedes Benz is the latest big name to unveil its “Tesla killer”. It certainly looks the goods:

It will be on the road in 2019 and have a range of 500km. And it will have a very competitive price tag, too – about the same as a GLC Crossover, which here in Oz, goes for about $80,000. There are more details and pics here.

9. While we’re on Tesla, Elon Musk said there’s no way he’d go to Mars, because he’s got kids and doesn’t want to die. But if he did go, and did die, he could at least depart knowing that there’s now such a thing as a Tesla hearse.

10. While we’re on dying, if you’re on a Paleo diet, you might be heading for a quicker than usual exit. The latest Australian research has found that a low proteing, high carb diet – or, as they say, “the exact opposite” of a Paleo diet – looks like being the best for a longer life. Best to deactivate those almonds. Even better, there are four health benefits to drinking coffee. Four.

BONUS ITEM: Adventure Time is winding up. It’s been a few years since Pendleton Ward’s extraordinary imagination left the show, but it kept up the bizarreness for nine years. If you missed it, you missed the ultimate in kid-parent cartoon bonding. Thanks for these memories:

Have a great weekend. Go the Bloods.

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