Squiz Today / 22 October 2020

Squiz Today – Thursday, 22 October


“247 zeptoseconds”

That’s how long it takes a particle of light to cross a single molecule of hydrogen - aka the shortest period of time ever recorded, according to scientists this week. How short? Well, a zeptosecond is a trillionth of a billionth of a second. So, a little faster than the 'sec' it'll take you to get ready this morning…


Restart the clock… Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews yesterday said “I think Sunday is going to be a very important day for this state,” with restrictions that were set to be eased at the end of next week possibly brought forward. That includes the reopening of retail and the hospitality/events sectors in Melbourne. But it won’t be “every single business,” he says. “Some of them will remain high risk. I know that’s challenging.” And Andrews says it also could mean Melburnians will be able to leave their homes for any reason (not just one of the 4 they currently need to demonstrate), while people of faith could see a relaxation of the tight limits on religious gatherings.

The state recorded 3 new coronavirus cases yesterday bringing the rolling 14-day average for Melbourne to 6.2 daily cases. If the numbers remain low, Andrews says bringing things forward to Sunday (after previously delaying them…) is possible. But it’s also been noted that there’s pressure building. The bosses of 7 of Oz’s big companies, including CommBank's Matt Comyn and Wesfarmers' Rob Scott, wrote to the Premier urging him to get his restriction-lifting skates on. Andrews response: sure, but "we have to deal with the health problem first." And there’s the matter of Chief Health Adviser Brett Sutton’s withholding of an important email from the state's hotel quarantine inquiry. Asked why he wasn't at yesterday's daily press conference, Andrews said Sutton has "a lot to do".

Yes. Victoria could be home to a rare case of COVID reinfection. After first testing positive for the virus in July, an unnamed individual has tested positive again in recent days. It’s a “rare and an unusually long time frame” for someone who is ‘shedding’ the virus from the original infection, epidemiologist Tony Blakely says. It’s not impossible, he says, but it’s also possible the patient has been reinfected. There are just a handful of cases of coronavirus reinfection in the world, and it’s something researchers are keeping an eye on. That's because it could have significant implications for the development of a vaccine and for developing herd immunity across communities.



In some of the clearest language Pope Francis has used on the subject since his election in 2013, he’s told a new documentary that he supports civil unions for same-sex couples. "They are children of God and have a right to a family. Nobody should be thrown out or be made miserable over it. What we have to create is a civil union law. That way they are legally covered," he said. The Pope also points out that this is the position he took when he was Archbishop of Buenos Aires - opposition to same-sex marriages, but support for some legal protections. The Pope has upheld Catholic doctrine that gay relationships are considered "deviant behaviour", but has asked "who am I to judge?" if a gay person "seeks God and has good will". Vatican watchers say the latest statement will be welcomed by the liberal wing of the church and criticised by the conservatives.


Seems we're getting to the 'angry' end of the US presidential election campaign… As President Donald Trump ramps up the attacks on challenger Joe Biden's son Hunter and increases the pressure on Attorney General William Barr to launch criminal probes into his business dealings, there’s renewed interest in the incumbent’s financial affairs. Specifically, a Chinese bank account Trump’s business holds. It’s become a thing with Trump taking aim at Biden calling him soft on China. Also copping the President’s wrath yesterday - 60 Minutes journo Lesley Stahl. Reports say an interview taped yesterday ended abruptly, and Trump says he might release it himself instead of waiting for the show to be aired on Sunday. Meanwhile, Biden has taken a lower profile approach to the week… After staying off the campaign trail for 2 days to focus on debate prep, he’s set to share the stage with former Prez Barack Obama this morning.


In a long-awaited move, the US Government is suing Google over its market power, arguing it should be broken up. The Department of Justice says Google has stifled competition by paying billions of dollars to the likes of Apple and Samsung to use Google as their default search engine. That’s helped Google account for 88% of internet searches in the US. For its part, Google says people like using their search engine, so sue them. Oh yeah, they are… It’s the biggest antitrust case against a tech company since the government took on Microsoft 20 years ago. Also not having a great week is Netflix, which posted its lowest number of new subscribers in 4 years. It added 2.2 million new subscribers between July and September versus the 3.4 million it was hoping for. After a strong COVID period, analysts said a growing number of competitors and the easing of coronavirus restrictions saw its growth slowing.


Thought a robot uprising was a couple of decades off? About half of all work will be completed by machines by 2025, the World Economic Forum has forecast. About a third of all work is currently done by machines, but employers say they want to increase the use of automation in their workplaces quickly. While at least 97 million ‘smart’ jobs are expected to be created by the “robot revolution”, just as many ‘low tech’ jobs could be made redundant - something experts say will worsen inequality across the globe. The jobs considered most at risk are in administration, factory work and data processing. The jobs being created? There are opportunities in big data and the green economy - also, anything requiring a human touch, like caring roles. And making coffee…


Just when some warmer weather teased us, eastern Oz will need to get the brolly out over the coming days as La Nina gives us a big wet hug. Eastern Queensland, NSW and northern Victoria are set to receive rainfall of between 30mm and 50mm with hail, flooding and strong winds all forecast. Friday is expected to see the bulk of it with thunderstorms forecast across central and eastern parts of the country. It’s too soon to tell whether it will affect this weekend’s AFL grand final in Brisbane on Saturday and the NRL grand final in Sydney on Sunday, but both cities are looking stormy. “Definitely conditions that you don't normally see in a grand final in Melbourne," weather bureau forecaster Jonathan How said.


...political candidates from the major parties say they won’t be jerks towards each other and it makes global news…


Royal Hobart Show public holiday

9.30am (AEDT) - The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety holds its final hearing

International Stuttering Awareness Day

Wombat Day


Birthdays for actor Jeff Goldblum (1952) and director Spike Jonze (1969)

Anniversary of:
• Thomas Edison perfecting the carbonised cotton filament light bulb (1879)
• US President John F Kennedy imposing a naval blockade on Cuba, beginning the missile crisis (1962)
• PM Scott Morrison making a public apology to victims of child sexual abuse in institutions (2018)

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