Squiz Today / 22 March 2022

Squiz Today – Tuesday, 22 March

%%=Format(@localdatetime, “dddd, d MMMM yyyy”)=%%

Squiz Today Podcast

From us, straight to your ears. 

Today’s listen time: 9 minutes

16 / 27
17 / 23
18 / 30
16 / 26
14 / 28
15 / 19
25 / 33
11 / 29

Squiz Sayings

“I’m happy with my brick – I don’t think it limits me.”

Said 17yo Londoner Robin West, who is one of a growing number of young ‘uns turning in their smartphones for a chunky ‘dumbphone’. It’s thanks to the power of nostalgia and the undeniable appeal of a phone with a keyboard…

A health check for Oz


If you find yourself standing around in a group of 4 people who were representative of all Australians, 3 have a long-term health condition. And almost half of them (let’s round that up to 2 whole people in this scenario to make things workable…) have at least one chronic condition (which is a long-term health condition that requires regular medical care and can limit daily activities). That’s according to new data released yesterday by the Bureau of Statistics after it surveyed 11,000 households around Australia between August 2020 and June last year. 


Let’s start by saying this: the Bureau says the results cannot be compared to previous National Health Surveys because it was collected during COVID – so no one’s saying if things are better or worse than before. But in this survey, 13.8% considered their health to be fair or poor, and 18.6% said they have 2 or more chronic conditions. From the horror menu of long-term ailments, the most common chronic conditions recorded were mental and behavioural conditions (20.1%), back problems (15.7%) and arthritis (12.5%). On the first of those, people aged 15-24yo and 25-34yo years had significantly higher rates than older age groups. This study doesn’t go into the ‘whys’, but former Australian of the Year and youth mental health expert Professor Pat McGorry said addressing it is “an urgent national priority.” He says things were deteriorating before the pandemic, but the last 2 years have “definitely put the skids under young people.”


We’ll start at the top – More than half (56.6%) of people surveyed aged 15yo-plus considered themselves to be in excellent or very good health. And check this out: 83.3% of the 18-24yos have never smoked tobacco. It’s one of the largest preventable causes of death and disease in Australia, and smoking is estimated to kill more than 20,000 Australians this year – so shrinking rates amongst young people is super encouraging, experts say. And when it comes to physical activity, 73.4% of people aged 18-64 years undertook 150 minutes or more of the huffy puffy in the week before they were surveyed. FYI, the official guidelines recommend 150-300 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity, or 75-150 minutes of vigorous intensity physical activity a week plus 2 toning/strengthening sessions a week. You’re welcome… 


Squiz the Rest

No sign of survivors in China plane crash

A Chinese Eastern Airlines flight has crashed in southern China – the death toll has not been confirmed but reports say rescuers have not found anyone alive. The Boeing 737-800 had 132 people on board and was an hour into the domestic flight from Kunming to Guangzhou when it crashed in mountains after a sudden descent from its cruising altitude. Flight tracking sites report the plane was nearing its destination when it went down in Wuzhou in Guangxi province, dropping thousands of metres in 3 terrifying minutes. The cause of the crash is under investigation under orders from President Xi Jinping, and the state-owed airline has grounded its fleet of Boeing 737-800s. Air safety standards in China have improved a lot since a series of accidents in the 1990s, and this crash is likely to be the worst since then. China’s worst air disaster happened in 1994 when a China Northwest Airlines plane crashed, killing all 160 onboard.

World News

Getting to the bottom of a tragedy

The violent murder of Brisbane woman Hannah Clarke and her 3 children at the hands of husband/father Rowan Baxter in 2020 shocked the nation and put a spotlight on family violence. Two years on, a coronial inquest is underway that will investigate the months preceding the attack and what could have been done to protect the victims. Yesterday, the inquest heard that as the kids were trapped inside the burning car and bystanders tried to help Hannah, her estranged husband blocked people trying to assist before stabbing himself with a knife. Baxter died at the scene. Clarke had taken out a domestic violence order against Baxter. And a support worker took a call from Baxter 16 hours before he killed his family. It’s a painful exercise for Hannah’s parents, but her father Lloyd says they will attend the hearings to “work out where the system let Hannah and her children down.”

Australian News Crime

Omicron variant on the march

The new Omicron ‘stealth variant’ is building in numbers across the country – COVID case numbers were up 37% last week compared to the week before. And yesterday there was a sad development in NSW with confirmation a previously healthy 2yo child with no underlying health conditions died from the virus last week. He is the second child under 5yo to die in NSW since the pandemic started, and experts said it was an incredibly rare and tragic occurrence. There is no COVID vaccination approved for use in kids under 5yo in Australia. In the US, Pfizer and Moderna have been trialling vaccines for little kids, but it’s tricky. Reducing the dose to make it safe has resulted in the vaccine being “not as effective as it should be,” infection diseases paediatrician Robert Booy says. The latest wave of the virus is expected to peak next week.


Cryptocurrency gets an overhaul in Oz

Cryptocurrency (aka Bitcoin and all that jazz) used to be used for underground transactions you didn’t want tracked. But it’s come a long way over the past decade, and yesterday Financial Services Minister Jane Hume said the crypto and blockchain sectors could be worth $68.4 billion by 2030. To put that in perspective, the value of Australia’s agricultural output was about $61 billion in 2020… To get with the times, Hume has proposed the biggest overhaul of the country’s payment systems since the early days of the internet, and has asked the sector for feedback. It involves that involves a look at taxation for digital assets, protections for investors, and regulating digital exchanges. “We can make sure Australian players in the crypto ecosystem work within a regulatory framework that is better, safer and more secure,” she said. Data from last year showed 25% of Aussies held or previously held crypto, making the nation one of the biggest early adopters on a per capita basis.


The happiest place on Earth…

…is not Disneyland, but Finland, according to the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network’s 10th annual World Happiness Report. The Nordic nation once again defended its coveted title with its 5th consecutive win. And there must be something in the European water with Denmark, Iceland, Switzerland and the Netherlands rounding out the top 5. With the world now into the 3rd year of the pandemic, this year’s report focused on COVID and wellbeing. The authors of said the results show that “social support, generosity to one another and honesty in government” are the “crucial” ingredients for happiness in this day and age. As for Australia – we maintained our 12th place on the list for the 3rd year in a row. Afghanistan was ranked the most unhappy, with Lebanon and Zimbabwe also ranking poorly.

Health Quirky News

Apropos of Nothing

A group of Indigenous artists from East Arnhem Land will sell their work as NFTs (non-fungible tokens) in what’s believed to be one of the first fine art collectives of its kind in Oz. The idea is that the artists will photograph their physical artworks to turn them into moving digital works. And then you pay for your token with your cryptocurrency. It’s a brave new world… 

A fox with a taste for footwear has been stealing shoes from the back door of a family’s home in Western Australia’s Denmark. The residents say he’s since claimed a pair of Nike runners and one pink Reebok – maybe he’s in training?

Researchers at Essex Uni have looked into what people reckon are the most boring occupations. The winners are [drumroll…] data analysis, accounting, cleaning and banking. And the most boring hobbies are bird watching, smoking and watching TV. We were in the clear but fell at the last hurdle…

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

9.00am (AEDT) – Women’s Cricket World Cup 21st ODI – Australia v South Africa – New Zealand

World Water Day

International Day of the Seal

Birthdays for actor William Shatner (1931), author James Patterson (1947), composer Andrew Lloyd Webber (1948), actor Reese Witherspoon (1976) and actor Constance Wu (1982)

Anniversary of:
• the US confirming its troops used chemical warfare against the Vietcong (1965)
• the Brussels terror attack which killed 35 (2016)
• a terror attack on London’s Westminster Bridge and Houses of Parliament, which killed 4 people (2017)

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.