10 things you need to know this morning in Australia

Don’t call him chicken. No really, don’t. Picture: Getty Images

Good morning.

1. The US president felt today was a good day to remind North Korea that the US nuclear arsenal is “now far stronger and more powerful than ever before“. And:


There are reports that Trump’s fire and fury statement yesterday was “off the cuff”, but only from “an anonymous official”. Trump clearly has a sheet of paper in front of him and his eyes drop to it several times. His language toward the Hermit Kingdom was, however, just about unparalleled in its aggression from a US president. Let’s hope he remembers what he would have done nearly 20 years ago:

2. So will there be a war with North Korea? We’re not even close, says BI defence guru Alex Lockie, and here’s why. Also, North Korea probably couldn’t nuke the US military in Guam even if it tried. And the Los Angeles suburb of Ventura County has been ready for years. It’s even called its PSA campaign “Ready” and the latest one shows which bits of buildings protect you best from radioactive fallout:

Apartment building house radioactive fallout shelter protection quality level llnl brooke buddemeierThe higher the number, the greater the protection. Image: Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

But the US president isn’t too concerned – he even went for a round of golf today.

3. Anyhoo, if you’re into profiting off misery, buy Victek and Speco. Shares in the South Korean military and defence equipment makers – bellwethers of Korean peninsula tensions – have surged. And here’s what a war between the US and North Korea could do to the global economy.

4. The Aussie dollar took a hit on the back of all the geopolitics, but is ticking back up again. US stocks only dipped by 0.2%, but the South Korean KOSPI was down 1.1%. ASX200 futures traders are hopeful of another good session locally as earnings season continues. Across The Ditch, the RBNZ kept rates on hold, and expects to keep them there until 2019. Bitcoin dipped a little as another fork in the cryptocurrency – SegWit 2 – was locked in.

5. The most brutal story in Ashlee Vance’s 2015 biography on Elon Musk is about Musk’s loyal assistant of 12 years, Mary Beth Brown. When Brown asked for a raise, Musk said take two weeks off and I’ll see if I actually need you. He didn’t and he fired her when she returned. There’s an important lesson in that for us all, says workplace expert Lynn Taylor.

6. That old chestnut, the courtroom sketch drawing, is back for all intellectual sparring partners on Twitter to joust over in an epic battle of wits. This time it’s Taylor Swift’s turn:

7. Conor McGregor hired a real boxer, Paulie Malignaggi, to spar with in the lead-up to his fight with Floyd Mayweather on August 26. Two days later, Paulie quit, saying McGregor was “acting like a d..khead” and publishing pics of Paulie getting beaten up. Now Paulie has broken the golden rule of boxing and told everyone what McGregor’s weakness is – he “whimpers” when he gets hurt from too many body shots.

8. He’s got nothing to lose, so it’s not surprising fired Google engineer James Damore is standing by the controversial memo about diversity which lost him his job. He just wrapped a 45-minute interview with alt-right YouTube personality Stefan Molyneux, saying he wrote it on a 12-hour flight after attending one of the company‚Äôs diversity programs and finding it “secretive” and “shameful”. Google is holding a company-wide “town hall” meeting today to talk about it.

9. Wow, ape-men had really small heads and big eyes:

Alesi after attached sandstone rock was partially removed at the Turkana Basin Institute, near Lodwar, Kenya.

Actually, that’s just a kid. But the skull is 13 million years old. If that’s not exciting enough in itself for you, there’s evidence it might be from an ancestor we shared with modern apes.

10. Sydney’s “tent city” will be pulled down. The 50 people camped outside the Reserve Bank of Australia can be legally moved on – now. The NSW government introduced and passed a bill last night giving police powers to move people on. It is amazing how quickly some things can get through parliament, while other things cost hundreds of millions of dollars and decades of hand-wringing over potential lost votes.

BONUS ITEM: The BBC is reportedly “furious” about this boob:

Have a great day.

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