Squiz Today / 04 September 2023

Squiz Today – Monday, 4 September

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Squiz Today Podcast

Getting you back on the news track. 

Today’s listen time: 9.30 minutes

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Squiz Sayings

“Most people are astonished when they see a spaceship down there.” 

Says Christine Crawford, the manager of a ‘Futuro House’ in SA’s Deep Creek Conservation Park. Less than 100 UFO-looking pods – originally meant to be portable ski chalets – were built in the 60s-70s. They’re scattered around the world – including 7 here in Oz…

Festival turns into Flooding Man


About 70,000 people are trapped at one of America’s best-known festivals after rain turned the site into a mud bath, and police are investigating one death at the site. Officials have told Burning Man festival-goers to “conserve food, water, and fuel, and shelter in a warm, safe space.” The festival is held each year in a temporary city in the Nevada desert, but this year, somewhere between half an inch and an inch of rain off the tail of Hurricane Hilary has turned the event ground into sludge. As for the death on-site, local police haven’t revealed a suspected cause of death nor linked the death to the flooding. Access into and out of the festival has been stopped, and reports say there’s no way to service the portable toilets. Social media has been filling up with videos of attendees trudging around the muddy Black Rock Desert with bags on their feet, and there has been plenty of rolling in the mud… There were even false reports of an Ebola outbreak, which have been debunked.


Not quite… The website for Burning Man is very clear that the gathering is “a community and global cultural movement”… It’s known as one of the weirder events on the American cultural calendar and has been running successfully for over 30 years. And yes, it does what it says on the tin: attendees erect a gigantic statue of The Man each year and then light it up. Some attendees also ditch their “default world” names for the week and take on new names… which means that coverage of this year’s soggy event features quotes from Dub Kitty, Ben Joos, and Dirty D. In recent years, Burning Man has attracted high-end celebs, influencers, and rich tech types – something that’s caused tension with the original ‘Burners’ (as they’re known) and there has been a push to return the festival to its countercultural roots.


Burning Man officially ends today, but reports say some attendees had already sniffed the wind (or checked their weather apps) and found a way to clear out. The mega-DJ Diplo has been posting on his socials about hitchhiking out of the festival with Chris Rock, while another Burner describing his experience of escaping by walking 2 miles through mud as “pure hell” and “like we were walking with two big cinderblocks on our feet”. But with travel in and out of the event now halted, there are thousands of Burners stuck in the desert – and Nevada’s Bureau of Land Management reckons that “more rain is expected over the next few days”. But those remaining are said to be checking that others have enough food and water, saying, “This is not Hunger Games,” and that the event is still “like a bubble of love”. You’ve gotta love a positive attitude… 

Culture World News

Squiz the Rest

Antarctic rescue mission underway

Rescuers are headed to Antarctica’s remote Casey Station – Australia’s permanent research base in the continent’s north-west where about 15-20 people live during winter – to evacuate an Aussie expedition member who’s fallen ill. The Australian Antarctic Division says the RSV Nuyina ship left Hobart last week, but it hasn’t released the person’s name or illness, simply calling it a “developing medical condition” that needs specialist treatment. Officials haven’t confirmed how long the 3,500km journey will take, but reports say it could take several days. That’s still faster than it would have taken to get there by air… Reports say flights to Casey are often ruled out in winter due to the bad weather – and it would have taken weeks to prepare the nearby ice runway for landing. 

Australian News

The Coalition promises a second referendum

Peter Dutton says he’d hold another national vote on constitutional recognition for Indigenous Aussies if the upcoming Voice to Parliament referendum fails and his party wins the next election. He also says he’d be willing to speak to PM Anthony Albanese to discuss the Coalition’s support for legislation establishing “regional Voices” rather than a national Voice body. ‘Yes’ campaigners yesterday criticised his comments – campaigner Marcus Stewart said, “We’ve seen failures by consecutive governments, so kicking the can down the road isn’t what this is about. We need change to happen now”. Someone else who spoke up over the weekend is John Farnham, giving his support to the ‘Yes’ campaign by greenlighting the use of his iconic banger You’re The Voice in the campaign’s ads. He said he hopes it “might help, in some small way, to change the lives of our First Nations peoples for the better”.

AusPol Australian News

Plugging into Tassie

Energy market nerd alert… Funding for Tasmania’s Marinus Link project – aka a plan for a big undersea power cable linking Tasmania to Victoria – has been renegotiated to allow other states to connect to Tassie’s abundant power supply. The island state’s hydro power generation makes enough energy for the whole state, and that’s before you count their many wind farms… and this new project promises to store excess energy in Tassie’s hydro infrastructure, which could mean lower energy costs for all Aussies. The Marinus Link is being funded by Tassie, Victoria, and the Aussie Governments together, and the latest is that the deal has been re-inked to rebalance the costs. Tasmania will pay less, with the Feds picking up the tab. Officials said the project should be completed by 2028, “or earlier if possible”. 

Australian News

Vale Mohamed Al-Fayed

The Egyptian billionaire’s family say he “passed away peacefully of old age” on 30 August, at 94yo. A self-made businessman who started out in fizzy drink and sewing machine sales, Al-Fayed was known for being the former owner of the luxury London department store Harrods and Fulham football club. But it was his late son Dodi’s relationship with Princess Diana that made his name recognisable around the world… Reports have noted that Al-Fayed died within a day of the 26th anniversary of Dodi and Diana’s fatal car crash in Paris. After the couple’s deaths, a grieving Al-Fayed fell out with the Royal Family over his accusations they were behind the crash – something that was disproven. A former Harrods executive, Michael Cole, paid tribute to Al-Fayed over the weekend, calling him “fascinating, larger than life, full of great humanity”. He said Al-Fayed has been entombed next to his son.


Tennis’s true Beliebers

Two Aussie blokes have been tearing up the court at the US Open this past week – Alex de Minaur and wildcard entrant Rinky Hijikata have made it through to the fourth round. De Minaur polished off Chilean Nicolás Jarry yesterday in straight sets (it’s his second straight-set win in a row), while Hijikata is up against Francis Tiafoe as we speak… Tiafoe is one of the few Americans left in the tournament, so Hijikata isn’t expecting much love from the New York crowd but says he’ll “still try to enjoy it as much as I can.” Elsewhere in the tournament, Novak Djokovic beat fellow Croatian Laslo Djere in 5 sets, and defending champ Carlos Alcaraz faced down Britain’s Dan Evans in 4 sets. Meanwhile, US teen star Coco Gauff said a Justin Bieber appearance at her 3-setter actually helped her focus – but she wouldn’t cope if Beyonce turned up. “If she ever came, oh, my goodness…” Gauff said. 


Apropos of nothing

Tennessee’s Tami Manis hasn’t trimmed her mane for 33 years, and it’s paid off… Manis has been crowned a Guinness World Record holder for the world’s longest mullet on a female. She said she was inspired years ago by a local who had a rat tail – “I really wanted one of those.”

German instrument manufacturer Höfner wants anyone who might know the whereabouts of a bass guitar used by Beatles legend Sir Paul McCartney to, ahem, Twist and Shout… The guitar was used on that track, along with Love Me Do and She Loves You, but hasn’t been seen for 50+ years. They’re hopefully gonna find her

Someone who has been found is Biscuit, the 100yo tortoise… The adventurous centenarian escaped his Louisiana family’s backyard after a storm blew a broken gate open, and was rescued after going for a dip in a local canal. Biscuit’s owner says fixing the gate is #1 on the to-do list…

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

Federal Parliament sits for 2 weeks

ABS Data Release – Business Indicators, June; Monthly Household Spending Indicator July

Start of Women’s Health Week (until 8 September)

Start of Body Image and Eating Disorders Awareness Week (until 10 September)

Start of Spinal Injury Awareness Week (until 10 September)

International Taekwondo Day

Birthdays for Dawn Fraser (1937), Mark Ronson (1975), Samantha Armytage (1976) and Beyoncé (1981)

Anniversary of:
• English astronomer Edmond Halley first observing the comet named after him (1682)
• the founding of the city of Los Angeles (1781)
• Britain ending its policy of penal transportation to NSW (1884)
• George Eastman patenting the first roll-film camera and registering under the name “Kodak” (1888)
• English author Beatrix Potter first writing the story of Peter Rabbit for a 5yo boy (1893)
• Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam withdrawing controversial extradition bill to China after three months of massive protests (2019)
• the deaths of Steve Irwin (2006) and Joan Rivers (2014)

Squiz the Day

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