10 things you need to know this morning in Australia

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Ho ho ho. Picture: Broad Green Pictures

Good morning.

1. Census night was horrible. Given the choice, 10 million Australian households were always going to take the online option rather than all that writing. But even though IBM was paid $9.6 million to make sure servers could handle the traffic, it failed – spectacularly. The ABS became a worldwide trending topic overnight as unfortunates spent 30 minutes filling out a form only to have it deleted when they hit the submit button. Remember Malcolm Turnbull’s innovation agenda and its “four pillars”? One of them was “government as an exemplar”. There’s more on all of this – a lot, lot more – in Paul Colgan’s withering summation of the cost of relentless ineptitude when it comes to this sort of thing.

2. And here’s what the ABS has to say about it all:

“It was an attack, and we believe from overseas.”

That’s the ABS’s David Kalisch telling the ABC that the Australian Signals Directorate are investigating “four denial of service attacks”, but the attacks were “very difficult to source”. For the record, denials of service aren’t technically hacks. It’s simply loads of people logging on in a coordinated attempt to crash a site. Then again, millions of pages of data flooding through to a website run by a government that couldn’t even keep the blueprints for its new spy HQ from falling into Chinese hands could be seen to be attractive. Don’t panic – you’ve got until September 23 to get it done.

3. The other big online problem – ads and how to make money from them. Facebook has tried to make advertising attractive by offering “targeted ads”. Febreze air freshener, for example, might run ads on Facebook pages of per owners, and offering access to that data nets Facebook $US17 billion a year. But P&G said the Febreze campaign didn’t work, and after two years, gave up and just opened the campaign to everyone over 18. This line – “The company decided the ads weren’t effective” – should worry anyone trying to sell ads online.

4. In the Olympics, the diving pool has turned green and nobody knows why:

If Michael Phelps were a country, he’d be ranked 13th over the past four Olympics. We found out why winners bite their gold medals, and this is apparently the most inspirational selfie of the Games so far. And in actual competition, we snagged a bronze in the equestrian teams eventing. And here’s our medal chances coming up today:

  • 11:19am: Swimming – Women’s 200m freestyle
  • 12:29pm: Swimming – Women’s 200m individual medley
  • 12.38pm: Swimming – Men’s 4x200m freestyle relay

5. To markets, and Europe had a big gain, but the US struggled to stay in the black. But SPI traders sent September futures up 10 points suggesting another solid start for the local after it added another 0.26% yesterday. Gold is up, oil is down, copper dipped again and iron ore is weaker. And the Aussie dollar stayed strong overnight, hitting a high of 0.7687.

6. People are still running around trying to catch ’em all in Pokémon GO. Why? We asked a psychologist. But it may be all yesterday’s news. The gaming world’s attention span has, in the past 24 hours, been captured by No Man’s Sky, the long-anticipated PS4 game which puts every player on a unique planet and challenges them to find their way to the center of the universe. On the way, they can discover new plants and animals, and get to name them – and they’re posting them by the hour in their millions.

7. Need to go to the loo? Hold on and read this first. Some very important research just in shows why, if you’re squeamish about that sort of thing, you shouldn’t choose the middle stall.

8. Happy Gilmore, IRL. His name is Damir Ryspayev and he has no points and 194 penalty minutes in 23 ice hockey games. Because he tries to punch out everyone on the opposite team:

9. ISIS is recruiting kids by drugging them and making them cut off doll’s heads. And that’s not even the unsettling bit. Apparently, they’re making headway in getting the Taliban onside.

10. Apple may have cut one iPhone before it even went on sale. It was all but a sure thing that Apple would release three iPhones in September – two versions of the bigger models “Pro” and “Plus”, and a regular iPhone 7. Now Bloomberg is reporting the “Plus” model has been dropped. A source told Nikkei that’s unprecedented. But it looks like Apple is focusing all its efforts on a bombshell iPhone 8 launch in 2017. The latest news has the device expected to come in a glass body, with an edge-to-edge screen, and wireless charging.

BONUS ITEM: You’ve waited 13 years for Bad Santa to return. Merry Christmas and yes, of course it’s NSFW:

Have a great day.

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