10 things you need to know this morning in Australia

Ignition Conference 2011 Henry Blodget Kevin Ryan Stuart EllmanMichael SetoHenry Blodget on the left, Kevin Ryan next to him. On the far right is Business Insider investor Stu Ellman.

Good morning.

First, the markets:

1. Futures were wrong. Traders ignored Chinese inflation data yesterday and helped the ASX stage a late afternoon rally. It dragged itself back to finish the day at 5,099 for a loss of just 20 points or 0.4% – a long way from the 1.1% loss futures indicated yesterday morning. This morning the December SPI200 contract is up 6 points to 5,081 after the Dow and S&P managed to finish in the black and the Nasdaq was just a little lower.

2. On the data front today, we get the Westpac Consumer sentiment survey and then it’s Chinese retail sales, industrial production and urban investment – vitally important for traders, even if they do ignore them.

3. The Story of Us. We spend a lot of time on other people’s success stories. But BI’s editor-in-chief Henry Blodget and team went from being told “You are great people doing a terrible business that can’t be done” in 2009 to being bought for $US442 million just six years later. That’s worth a yarn, especially when it’s nearly twice as much as the Washington Post sold for just two years ago.

4. Water world. Not just an excellent movie, but our future. Climate Central has created visual projections of what the world would like post-2100 after a 4°C increase in global warming – a trajectory it says remains based on current patterns if there is now response to existing carbon emissions. Here’s what your Opera Bar after-work drinks will look like in 85 years:

There’s five more sliders like that one from around the world here.

5. North Korea would be funny if it weren’t so tragic for the 25 million people who live there and aren’t Kim Jong Un. It is, also, undeniably fascinating. Data about what goes on in there isn’t readily available or reliable, but here’s 16 facts that are, including the one about how North Koreans are 5cm shorter than South Koreans. Huh.

6. Another thing that isn’t as funny as it should be – Venezuela’s toilet paper shortage. Due to an economic crisis, the Venezuelan government has been seizing toilet paper factories since 2013. That’s because toilet paper is an essential item that receives “preferential dollars” and if you can import it using those official dollars, re-export half your load and sell it for USD, then use the USD to import iPhones (which receives no preferential dollars), you’ll score an impressive 13,400% return.

7. “What did you do at work today, son?” “Sat inside a giant rubber slug with three other guys and smoked a cigar.” Is the sort of conversation which might have taken place in the household of the four guys who brought Jabba the Hutt to life in “Return of the Jedi”:

Picture: Imgur

This is a great post about the tech behind the galaxy’s biggest mobster.

8. If you’re a worrier, here’s some good news – science says it gives you an important advantage over all those casual layabouts. Don’t get excited, because we’re not about to tell you worriers do better on exams or in interviews. But they do come out of them with one or both of these positive feelings which will set them up for inevitable success.

9. “The Pope tried to kill Hitler” is probably all you need to know about how good a new book “Church of Spies” is going to be. It’s also why we probably should stop calling Pius XII “Hitler’s Pope”.

10. VR is here, now, and it only costs $140. You could wait for the Oculus Rift to land next year and pay about $500, or you could get into virtual reality now – if you own a new Samsung phone. Samsung’s Gear headset is powered by Oculus technology, and the same company is also rolling out games which you can play on Gear – including 20 classic arcade titles released yesterday. Dave Smith’s got a Gear and he says it’s excellent, so get in, now.

BONUS ITEM: Stop this world, I’m getting off. Clip-in man buns are now a thing:

Have a great day.

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