Good morning. Hold onto your butts.
1. We’ll talk about bitcoin in a sec, but for now, real money is being lost in the US. Record amounts of it, as stocks were subjected to the biggest Dow plunge in history. It closed down 4.6% – almost 1200 points – while the S&P 500 was down 4.1% and the tech-heavy Nasdaq finished 3.91% down. Here’s the context you were looking for:
2. Bitcoin is plummeting, and dove below $US7,000 for the first time since November. That’s about 45%, and all the major cryptos followed it down. As with just about every crypto fall, it coincides with fears of regulatory crackdowns falling Asian volumes. The big news overnight was Lloyds Bank becoming the first major lender in the UK to ban buying cryptocurrency with its credit cards. But one of the bigger exchanges, Bitstamp, told us it welcomed the drop as a chance to catch its breath. That’s not surprising, given some exchanges were trying to process 50,000 new users a day in the December peak.
3. Also in chaos overnight, all hell broke loose in Syria as Russia responded to the downing of a jet by reportedly hitting hospitals in dozens of airstrikes that coincided with chlorine gas attacks. And people in Philadelphia flipped and burned cars, pulled down light poles, smashed windows, looted petrol stations and littered streets. Because their football team won.
4. Elon Musk’s 2008 Tesla Roadster is ready to go to Mars:
It will be driven by Starman:
And the Falcon Heavy carrying it will make its debut as the most powerful rocket SpaceX has ever launched. The point of it all is to prove Falcon Heavy can take a large enough payload to Mars to colonise the Red Planet, and return. If successful, Musk’s old car will be running laps between the sun and Mars in what’s called a hyperbolic orbit. Musk admits there’s a “good chance” it will explode, so if you want to tune in to that, it will happen anywhere between 5.30am and 8.30am tomorrow. You can watch it live at the SpaceX website or on its YouTube channel.
5. How did peeps get angry without Twitter? Today’s internet butthurt candidates are raging at PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi, for revealing she wants Doritos to make a “women-friendly” chip that’s less crunchy. Women, she said, “don’t like to crunch too loudly in public” and “don’t like to pour the little broken pieces and the flavour into their mouth”. But apparently, they do.
6. And here’s a behind-the-scenes look at how KFC Australia makes its chicken, and no, you won’t learn what the secret herbs and spices are. That myth about only two execs at a time knowing the ingredients is not a myth. “In Australia, we also use two different suppliers who are each responsible for half of the mix,” Lifehacker was told. “Both are sworn to secrecy and neither knows what the other puts in.” Meanwhile, Japanese researchers have found that a chemical used to make McDonald’s fries could help cure baldness.
7. More secrets. Seabed Constructor, the ship which left South Africa on January 2 to resume the search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight 370, switched off its Automatic Identification System (AIS) for more than three days recently. The best conspiracy theory right now is it went dark for 80 hours in order to check out that Peruvian treasure wreck.
8. Remember Uma Thurman’s drive scene in “Kill Bill”? She’s spent years trying to get the footage of the production of it, because director Quentin Tarantino made her do it in a car she felt wasn’t safe. Result:
Thurman gave the footage to the New York Times, saying that Tarantino also spat in her face and strangled her with chains to get the performance he wanted out of her.
9. Finally, after repeated threats from Beijing, a publisher has found the cojones to print “Silent Invasion”, public ethics expert Clive Hamilton’s book about China’s attempts to influence Australian policy. It will be released on March 2.
10. Intel may have invented smart glasses that are actually fashionable enough to wear. Here’s a video of Vaunt, but we don’t know when you’ll be able to buy them. Much more exciting is news you’ll be playing Mario Kart on your smartphone before March next year.
BONUS ITEM: The most nervously anticipated trailer in Star Wars franchise history: