Squiz Today / 12 June 2024

Squiz Today – 12 June 2024

Squiz Today Podcast

Today’s listen time: 10 minutes

11 / 19
9 / 13
11 / 24
11 / 18
13 / 20
6 / 10
17 / 31
5 / 13

Squiz Sayings

“What we’re seeing could be a trace of a past Martian climate.”

Said planetary scientist Adomas Valantinas after his team spotted early morning frost on top of Mars’ massive volcanoes. It’s the first time frost has been discovered on the summits, some of which are 3 times higher than Everest. It seems even Marvin can’t escape the cold…

Taking a bite of the AI-pple

The Squiz 

Apple has unveiled its plans to wade into the world of artificial intelligence (AI), announcing a new partnership with ChatGPT’s maker OpenAI. It’ll see the generative AI software installed on iPhones and other Apple devices in its iOS 18 system update later this year to give users a “personalised” service – the cornerstone of which is a makeover for Siri, Apple’s voice assistant. Other tools to help write text, create images, transcribe audio and edit photos will also be added. The suite of upgrades is called ‘Apple Intelligence’ (which may or may not be a deliberate play on ‘AI’…), with chief executive Tim Cook saying their “unique approach combines generative AI with a user’s personal context to deliver truly helpful intelligence”.

Will this affect me?

If you have an iPhone (and about 60% of Aussies with a smartphone do…), it almost certainly will. And if you’re someone who’s yet to get on board the generative AI train, consider this another push in that direction… But you might be wondering why it’s happening now, given AI is something we’ve been hearing a lot about for more than 18 months… The reason Apple has made a big song and dance about its new features is that the company’s been criticised for being slow to adopt the tech, causing it to fall behind its competitors… In January, Apple lost its position as the world’s most valuable company to longtime rival Microsoft, and just last week, it was pushed down the list again as tech company Nvidia – which makes hardware and software to aid machine learning – overtook it with a market value of more than US$3 trillion.

So what now?

Well, if you’re eager to try out the new tech, you might like to start a countdown calendar – Apple says the iOS updates will be released in the “fall”, so any time from September on… One tech expert says Apple is “taking the time to be careful” to ensure the software “actually solves problems” for users. Someone who’s less positive is tech billionaire/founder of his own OpenAI rival Elon Musk – he’s called the update “an unacceptable security violation” because “Apple has no clue what’s actually going on once they hand your data over to OpenAI”. Musk isn’t the only one with privacy concerns – but Apple’s senior vice president of software engineering Craig Federighi reckons the AI “will be aware of your personal data without collecting your personal data”. Siri, let us know how that plays out…


Squiz the Rest

Another verdict rocks the US election campaign

Hunter Biden, the son of US President Joe Biden, has been found guilty of gun crimes and could face jail time. It’s the first time a sitting US president’s son has been criminally convicted – and it’s the second verdict in a fortnight with the potential to influence voters in the American election. It comes after former president and Republican candidate Donald Trump was found guilty of falsifying documents to cover up “hush-money” paid to adult film star Stormy Daniels. It took a jury 3 hours to find Hunter Biden – a former drug addict – guilty of lying about using drugs when he filled out a form to buy a gun in 2018 and keeping the weapon illegally for 11 days. It carries a maximum penalty of 25 years jail but as it’s a first-time offence, experts say a probationary sentence is more likely on the cards. After the verdict, President Biden said he was “so proud” of his 54yo son for beating his addictions. “I am the President but I am also a dad… Jill and I will always be there for Hunter. Nothing will ever change that”, he said.

World News

Roll out the pandas…

PM Anthony Albanese has finally confirmed the details of the much-anticipated visit of China’s Premier Li Qiang – it kicks off at Adelaide Zoo this Saturday where he’ll check in on Fu Ni and Wang Wang. It’s the first visit by a Chinese Premier in 7 years and the second trip from a senior Chinese official to Oz this year after Foreign Minister Wang Yi stopped by in March. Yesterday’s announcement follows months of speculation about Li’s tour, which Albanese says will be “an important opportunity to engage directly on key issues for both our nations”. Li will also head to Canberra on Monday for talks before continuing to Perth for discussions with business leaders. Lobsters look set to be high on the agenda, as an unofficial ban on the live Aussie crustaceans remains, but there’s hope it will be lifted after China’s beef ban ended last month.

Australian News World News

Hot property a hot potato

Mortgage holders are feeling anxious ahead of next week’s interest rate decision by the Reserve Bank board, as ANZ – Oz’s 4th biggest bank – pushed back its prediction for a rate cut to February 2025. Last month, the RBA left the current rate on hold at a 12-year high of 4.35%. The other big 3 banks – Commonwealth Bank, NAB and Westpac – still reckon a rate cut could happen in November. It comes as the Bureau of Stats revealed yesterday our property market is hotter than ever, with the combined worth of Aussie homes hitting $10.72 trillion. That figure rose by $209.4 billion in the first 3 months of this year despite the cost of living crisis. Mean home prices also increased by $14,300 to $959,300 in the March quarter, with NSW still the most expensive at an average price of $1.2 million. But amid all the number crunching, Federal Treasurer Jim Chalmers says he’s piloting the economy to “a soft landing”, which he’ll explain further today


Not just any old Nellie

They say elephants never forget, but their memory might pale compared to their language skills. A new study by international experts in the journal Nature Ecology & Evolution revealed they call each other by unique names. It makes wild African elephants the only non-human animals known to do so, as they “recognise and react to a call addressed to them while ignoring those addressed to others”. Researchers made the discovery using AI to detect the names in a sound library of “rumbles” made by elephants in Kenya between 1986 and 2022. They identified 469 distinct calls – often used over long distances and by adults calling calves. Academics say the pachyderms also responded “energetically” to recordings of a friend/family member calling their name. The discovery has excited experts, who say it’s “only the start of the revelations to come.” Now that’s something to trumpet…

Environment & Science

Always listen to grandma…

If you’ve been shivering through the start of winter, we feel you… So we thought we’d share this breakdown of some easy ways to keep you (and your home) a touch toastier during the cold months. Although scientist Jenny Edwards, whose work focuses on energy efficiency, reckons the best tips are probably ones “your nanna would have told you”. That’s things like spending time in rooms with a lot of natural light – because “the sun is free” – and making sure you don socks and slippers. As for draught-proofing breezy homes – Edwards says making your own window pelmets (a practical decor choice that’s definitely from Nanna’s arsenal…) and using door snakes can help. Another “cheap and nasty” tack is temporarily sticking bubble wrap on your windows for insulation. That definitely won’t get the neighbours talking…

Environment & Science

Apropos of Nothing

They say there’s nothing better than some delayed gratification, but we’re not so sure about a delayed graduation… In Moore, Oklahoma, the class of 1974 finally donned their caps and gowns 50 years after a tornado warning abruptly canned their ceremony. Better late than never…

Check out these drool-worthy snaps from the Food Photography Awards… We’re mesmerised by Rhubarb Puzzle Love and are desperate for dim sum after checking out the overall winner Red Bean Paste Balls. Get in my belly

And if you’re lusting after something more than a feed, have you considered a ‘hot rodent boyfriend’? It doesn’t sound like a compliment, but it’s all the rage with Hollywood heartthrobs like Timothée Chalamet and Jeremy Allen White scoring the label. Don’t blame the messenger…

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

10.15am (AEST) – Appeal judgement for NRL player Jarryd Hayne, jailed in May last year after being convicted of 2 counts of sexual intercourse without consent – Sydney

10.30am (AEST) – Mens Cricket: ICC T20 World Cup – Aus v Namibia – Antigua, and watch on Prime

7.00pm (AEST) – Defence & National Security Workforce Awards 2024  – Sydney

ABS Data Release – Overseas Arrivals and Departures; April

Universities Report 2023 to be released by the NSW Auditor-General

National days for the Russian Federation and the Philippines

World Day Against Child Labour 

Superman Day

Anniversary of:

  • New Amsterdam legally becoming an English colony and renamed New York (1665)
  • Anne Frank’s birthday (1929) – she received her famous diary as a birthday present in 1942
  • the release of Bill Haley’s Rock Around the Clock (1954)
  • Nelson Mandela being sentenced to life in prison in South Africa (1964)
  • the premiere of the first Indiana Jones film Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
  • a coroner’s report ruling that a dingo was responsible for the death of baby Azaria Chamberlain in 1980 (2012)
  • Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) collapsed after a bank run, marking the third-largest bank failure in United States history and the largest since the 2007–2008 financial crisis (2023)
Squiz the Day

The Squiz Archive

Want to check out Squiz Today from the archive?

Get the Squiz Today newsletter

It's a quick read and doesn't take itself too seriously. Get on it.