10 things you need to know this morning in Australia

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Aroogah. Picture: NBC

Good morning.

Early warning – today’s Bonus Item might be a little graphic for some.

But first, the basketball, where Australia is not getting a right kicking from Team USA. We tied the first quarter and incredibly, are FIVE POINTS ahead at half time. That’ll do. But it’s pretty clear the refs aren’t going to stand for this kind of rubbish. Matthew Dellavedova is cutting the US defence apart – NINE assists before half time.

1. In NZ, there was a rate cut. By 25 basis points to a record low level of 2.0%. OK, so that was expected by just about everyone and already fully priced into the markets, but all the interest is in the accompanying RBNZ statement, which admitted that current projections “indicate that further policy easing will be required”. That’s about as clear an easing bias as you’ll ever hear.

2. Things we learnt about Olympics. Why this Italian serves like he’s having a laugh:

Why some gymnasts wear socks. What happened to all the divers’ Speedos. Why the diving pool – and now the water polo poolturned green. And what 2000-year-old record Michael Phelps is on the verge of breaking. And hopefully, Australia will break its disgraceful gold medal drought by winning all of these events today:

  • 11.54am: Swimming – Women’s 200m butterfly
  • 12.03pm: Swimming – Men’s 100m freestyle
  • 12.55pm: Swimming – Women’s 4x200m freestyle relay

3. In markets, stocks were sluggish, but volatility is officially back in its corner after the S&P posted its 20th straight session of trading within a 1% range. At home, futures traders are picking much the same here with the September SPI 200 contract off 5 points after yesterday’s 8 point loss on the physical. The Aussie dollar climbed to a high around 0.7755 overnight and iron ore’s latest surge is over.

4. In housing, investor appetite is suddenly back:

And you might also note the gap between the haves and want-to-haves is still only growing in one direction.

5. In Australia, 8 milion or so people are still waiting for the ABS website to get its junk together and allow them to complete their forms. And PM Malcolm Turnbull is really, really mad at someone. While over in the US, more and more cities are getting super-fast internet. That’s because Google’s not sitting around waiting for governments to get it right, and heading out and hand-delivering high speeds to households.

6. Tick which ones apply:

  • Watching people get into fights excites me.
  • I have made fun of people so that they know I am in control.
  • I think about hurting people who irritate me.

If you got three out of three, congratulations, you’re a sadistic maniac. Those attributes are culled from a list of nine which science claims is helping it get better at understadning why some people are good, and some people are evil.

7. Whether their cryptocurrency turns out to be a basket case or not, whoever invented Bitcoin has a lot to be proud of. They’ve advanced the cause of the blockchain technology to the point that banks have had no choice but to give regular folks the keys to seamless cash exchange. The Deal Room reports that none other than the Bank of England has created its own version of bitcoin. Called RSCoin, the new digital currency will have its money supply managed by the BoE while at the same time the bank will be the central repository for deposits. That, folks, is disruption.

8. Donald Trump might be in a little bit of proper poo. He raised eyebrows on Tuesday when he alleged Hillary Clinton would appoint Supreme Court justices who aim to abolish the Second Amendment. The Second Amendment preserves the right of citizens to keep and bear arms. Trump said “maybe” there was something people could do about it, which lead to screaming headlines like this:

Picture: the New Daily

That’s witchhunt territory… but not so much that the Secret Service didn’t feel like they should have a quiet word in Trump’s ear. And if you think that’s the end of the Don, we found a way that he might still win – although it took a cartoon to show it.

And in news just in, a guy climbed to Trump’s office with suction cups:

9. It looks like there are liquid rivers on Saturn’s largest moon, Titan. We already knew there were liquid lakes – it’s methane, the stuff that can be used to power rocket engines. But a new study suggests methane rivers are flowing on the moon, and carving canyons as tall as skyscrapers. That would take some time – liquid methane is so thin you would barely move in it if you tried swimming.

10. Woo. The Perseid meteor shower begins in Australian skies tomorrow, and it’s usually a cracker. Sometimes you’ll catch a shooting star every minute. As with all showers, the best time for viewing will be from around midnight until an hour before sunrise. Here are astroblogger Dave Reneke’s tips for best viewing.

BONUS ITEM: Actual footage of a baby born in the caul:

That’s a one-in-80,000 shot and considered extremely lucky. If you’re familiar with Richard Flanagan’s “Death of a River Guide”, you might already know a dried caul commanded a fortune in the grand old sailing days, as protection against drowning.

Have a great day.

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