10 things you need to know this morning in Australia

The North Korean cheerleaders were into their 73rd straight hour and still, she watched. Picture: Getty Images


1. US markets came back a little on Friday, but still ended the week 5.2%. But there was no relief for the ASX, because then China’s Shanghai SE50 crashed 4.6% and futures are pointing lower today. The yield spread between Australian and US 10-year bonds will start the week in negative territory, but the dollar found some buyers at a key technical level on Friday night.

2. Data is kind of a big deal this week as economists and traders try to figure out what went wobbly last week, why, and will it happen again. The first big number will be CPI inflation on Wednesday night, then it’s jobs and production Thursday before finishing with housing starts Friday. China is out on holiday for Thursday and Friday. In Australia, the big release is on Thursday, when we’re expected to see more jobs growth in January, ahead of the now all-important quarterly wages data next week. All the rest are here in Sam Jacobs’ diary.

3. Your broadband is about to power up. NBN has announced it will make good on its December offer to bundle its various charges to retail providers by June, which should mean you’ll be offered a 50Mbps plan for the same price as your 25Mbps plan.

4. “People will need to start selling their kidneys on the black market to be able to afford a day at Disney.” Yes, there’s some hysteria about not being able to afford to go to Disneyland, but this sounds like terrible advice. Kidneys go for up to $US260,000 on the black market. If you really are desperate to enter a largely underwhelming US theme park, shop around, because 13 square inches of skin will cover the new $US129 day charge comfortably, while an eyeball will get the whole family entrance and Jedi Academy*.

5. Here’s something else expensive and linked to human organs:

That was downright extraordinary to watch, but how SpaceX does it is due to a principle known as “automatic feedback control”, which also keeps you alive and sets interest rates.

6. Brexit talks could collapse over Ireland: The Irish question has looked resolved for nearly 20 years, but the matter of the border is threatening to derail the Brexit negotiations entirely. Adam Payne of Business Insider UK reports that a high-ranking member of the Irish government recently told a British MP that “talks could collapse at any moment”. The problem: it looks impossible for Britain to leave the customs union – as it wants to do – without throwing up a hard border around Northern Ireland. The optics of that wouldn’t be, shall we say, desirable.

7. Would you be ready for a recession? Think about the people you work with. Have any of them worked through a proper downturn? In Australia, you need to be about 45 to remember one in your career, let alone have managed a business through one. This could cause some trouble in the next downturn, but could even cause problems now, explains Paul Colgan.

8. Next question – are you earning $1000 an hour? Of course you’re not. But it’s how you should value your time, and if you do, you’ll spend it a lot more wisely. As in, not waste it. And here are 25 more time management tricks you’ll wish you had known at 20, but it’s never too late to start thinking about.

9. The Winter Olympics is happening and an Aussie didn’t quite get a medal, but a kid, who was so 17 that he slept in after watching too much Netflix and had to borrow a mate’s jacket to get to his event on time, won gold in the snowboarding. The weekend highlight, however, was Kim Jong Un’s sister Kim Yo Jong, starting with her response to the US team arriving for the Opening Ceremony:

But NBC anchor Katie Couric almost upstaged her by explaining that The Netherlands was so good at speed skating because “skating is an important mode of transportation in a city like Amsterdam“. Best response:


10. If you’d known how to mine bitcoin even a year ago, you’d also be better off. But again, it’s not too late to start. BI’s Antonia Villas-Boas did when he realised his gaming PC could also be a handy miner. And he found it surprisingly easy.

BONUS ITEM: People are the worst:

Have a great day, popping all your fake pimples.

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* Prices are for black market body parts in 2012 and may have changed according to demand

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