10 things you need to know this morning in Australia

The car Prince Philip built. Had built. Picture: H&H Classic Auctions

1. Struggling to find an affordable house in Australia? There’s a reason for that – this:

That’s the latest figures from the OECD which show while we might not have the most expensive houses in the world, we have the least ability to pay for them. You might want to look again at the turnaround for Ireland – it can happen. Then consider an apartment – the NAB says they’re set for a price drop in 2016.

2. And don’t expect the shocking situation facing our Trans-Tasman brothers and sisters to improve anytime soon – the Reserve Bank of New Zealand stunned financial markets earlier today, cutting its overnight cash rate by 0.25% to 2.25%.

3. So, Google’s AI programme beat the world champion at Go. Let’s not panic yet. For starters, it’s best of five. And the world champion, Lee Sedol, get a million bucks if he wins, so it will be a tough fight for Deep Mind, which took three and a half hours, 1202 CPUs and 176 GPUs to beat Lee. And more importantly, here’s proof robots are still klutzes:

That’s a Google car attempting to self-drive but actually slamming into a bus at 2mph. Ha.

4. Have breakfast with us, meet some people, and maybe learn a few things about data. We’ve got business breakfasts in Melbourne on March 17th and Sydney on March 22nd, which we’re putting on with the good people at Microsoft. There’ll be some short presentations from CEOs like Vinomofo’s Justin Dry and Klaus Bartosch of 1st Available about how they use data across their businesses every day, as well as insights from some of PwC’s data stars. You can sign up here for Melbourne and here for Sydney. Get in there.

5. Markets! Thanks to the Kiwis’ incessant meddling (and you can make that 620 desperate interest rate cuts by central banks since 2009), the Aussie has taken a little hit this morning, but globally, the risk rally is still on. The S&P is up 0.33% at 1985, the Dow is up 0.17% and stocks in Europe climbed to 0.5%. So a positive day on the local market beckons with the overnight SPI200 rise of 10 points suggesting a continuation of yesterday’s spectacular unexpected rally.

6. Actually, markets are boring. Let’s keep rolling with the robots. Specifically, these extraordinary visions of the future GE smashed together for the US Military in the 50s and 60s. Come for the walking truck:


Stay for the Hardiman’s Steel Hand of Doom and footage of the most nervous scientist ever operating the 4m high Pedipulator.

7. Prince Philip was the original James Bond. Kind of. When he ordered a beautifully bespoke Lagonda from Aston Martin in 1954, he asked for a couple of Royal special optional extras. In particular, an in-car radio telephone, which he then used to disguise his voice and prank call his missus, the Queen. The car made it all the way to Australia once – we have pics – but more importantly, you can buy it at an auction on April 20.

8. Ye gods. This is terrifying and I’m only assuming that because I haven’t the stomach to watch someone swing across an entire football stadium on a giant rope. So I hope the video works.

9. Listening is the new watching. If your eyes are bleeding from too much staged “My Kitchen Rules” drama and you just don’t get that noise what kids call music these days, choose quality listening time instead. Here are 20 podcasts that will make you smarter, happier and calmer.

10. No prizes for guessing who has the longest bar in this chart of the world’s youngest billionaires. But it’s also great to see a couple of Aussies representing in the top 20.

BONUS ITEM: Not that it’s a bonus, but Jon English died this morning aged 66, during surgery. So, for those who remember that incredible voice, here he is still rocking one of his greatest hits at the New Capers in Hawthorn in 2008. Rest easy, Ol’ Black Eyes:

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