Squiz Today / 13 July 2022

Squiz Today – Wednesday, 13 July

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Squiz Today Podcast

We talk, you walk.

Today’s listen time: 9 minutes

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Squiz Sayings

“I hit enough tennis balls in my life. I don’t need to see others hitting them as well.”

Said 2021’s women’s Wimbledon champ/retiree Ash Barty. Who would have thought that the thing that took over your life for years dictating every moment would be hard to let go of…

Minds blown – and bent…

If you heard something yesterday about some funky pictures being sent back from deep space (or, ahem, even read about it in yesterday’s Squiz…) and you nodded along, we’re here for you. An image released yesterday by US President Joe Biden – and more overnight from NASA – are the deepest look at the Universe in infrared ever captured. As Biden said, it shows “light from other worlds, orbiting stars far beyond our own. It’s astounding to me when I read this and saw the – I mean, it really is. It’s, it’s, anyway…”

Totally – je suis President Biden… But let’s have a go at decoding the momentous moment:

• Who – the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) is named for the guy who ran NASA in the 1960s when it was a baby agency and President Kennedy wanted to put a man on the moon. He’s most closely linked to the Apollo space travel program, but he was also big into space science.

• What – the US$10 billion machine is the biggest/most powerful astronomical observatory to leave Earth, and it’s considered one of humanity’s great engineering achievements. It’s the successor to the Hubble Space Telescope, which was also groundbreaking.

• How – it blasted off in December from French Guiana in South America and reached its lookout point 1.6 million kilometres from Earth in January. Since then, it’s been getting its mirrors aligned, infrared detectors cold enough, and instruments calibrated to operate.

• Why – it has 2 goals: to take pics of the first stars to shine in the Universe about 13.8 billion years ago, and to get a look at planets far, far away to see if they might be habitable. Simples…

Light from soon after the Big Bang, which was 13.8 billion years ago; tightly clustered galaxies; an exoplanet that they reckon has water; and ‘a star is born’ – all from a tiny sliver of the Universe and very exciting to those in the know. So how does light from billions of years ago work? A good explainer is here (scroll down a bit…), but it’s a much grander version of Earth’s relationship to the Sun, where the light we get was emitted 8 minutes ago. “It’s hard to fathom,” Biden said yesterday. It sure is, Mr President…


Squiz the Rest

Good, better, best on climate policy

Australia is putting its hand up to host the big United Nations climate change conference in partnership with Pacific Island nations, Foreign Minister Penny Wong confirmed at the regional leaders meeting in Fiji yesterday. It will put pressure on Oz to deliver on the emissions reduction targets promised (which are some of the lowest in the developed world) – and to even go further. Wong said the new government’s policies have been welcomed – but one sticking point between our Pacific family and us is their call for no new coal or gas projects – a commitment the government has ruled out. That has come up with the Greens, too, leading PM Anthony Albanese to blame them for more than a decade of climate policy chaos. “We have a mandate for our position,” he said, urging the Greens to get on board. Albanese will attend the Pacific Islands Forum meeting today, and US Veep Kamala Harris is also zooming in for some special announcements

AusPol Australian News

Cruisin’ around with COVID

A COVID-struck cruise ship off NSW’s coast has become the sector’s first big outbreak since resuming operation in May. Queensland Health said 118 people onboard the Coral Princess have tested positive since the ship left Brisbane on Sunday. Most cases (114 of ‘em) are staff who will not be allowed to disembark when they get to Sydney today, but passengers who want to leave will be required to return a negative rapid test. It comes as the Feds announced that its program to give free RATs to concession card holders will not be extended beyond July – a move that has been called “disappointing” by medicos. And as NSW and Victoria both reduced their definition of reinfection periods from 12 weeks to 4 thanks to the rise of Omicron variants, officials are urging Aussies to mask up in busy indoor venues – and Federal Health Minister Mark Butler yesterday said it’s “good advice” to work from home “for a little period”.

Australian News Health

Fighting foot and mouth

Federal Agriculture Minister Murray Watt, National Farmers’ Federation president Fiona Simson and Australia’s chief vet Mark Schipp are in Indonesia today to assess the nation’s response to an outbreak of foot and mouth disease (FMD). The highly-contagious virus affects cattle, sheep, goats and pigs and can spread between animals and objects, including feed, soil, manure, vehicles, clothing and shoes. It’s Indonesia’s first FMD outbreak in nearly 40 years, and there are fears it could cost our livestock industry $80 billion if it arrives on Aussie shores – infected animals would have to be destroyed. Authorities say the risk of that happening is low, but farmers have called for beefed-up biosecurity measures. That includes a social media campaign pleading with Aussies travelling to Bali to chuck their thongs before returning home. Those particularly attached to their pluggers might be tempted by a voucher to buy a new pair – or a footbath

Australian News Environment & Science

The real Mo

Sir Mo Farah is one of the most successful track athletes in the UK – and the world. The 4-time Olympic gold medallist in the 5,000m and 10,000m running events previously said he left Somalia at 8yo to join his father in the UK, but he has revealed the real story in a new documentary for the BBC. Born Hussein Abdi Kahin in Somalia, the 39yo said he was illegally trafficked from Djibouti to Britain as a 9yo under the stolen name of Mohamed and forced into work as a domestic servant. When he reached 12yo, he was allowed to go to school, where he revealed his situation to a PE teacher who had noticed his athletic prowess. “The real Mo” emerged after he came into the care of another Somali family, and the rest is history, with Farah establishing himself as a top athlete and becoming a British citizen in 2000. Farah said he was inspired to tell the truth for his kids and his own desire to “feel normal”.


The best on the box

The 2022 Emmy Award nominations have been unveiled overnight, and Succession, the all-conquering drama about the interfamily struggles of some awful people, secured 25 nods. That includes stars Jeremy Strong and Brian Cox going head-to-head for best actor. The other top shows: Apple’s Ted Lasso and HBO’s The White Lotus earned 20 nominations each. And plenty of others earned double-digit nominations to put on your watching shortlist. Hacks (17), Only Murders in the Building (17), Euphoria (16), Barry (14), Dopesick (14), Severance (14), Squid Game (14), Ozark (13), Stranger Things (13), The Marvelous Mrs Maisel (12) and Pam & Tommy (10) are the ones to watch. Note: Squid Game is the first series to be produced outside of a Western country and not in English to score major-category nominations. The full list is here – the winners will be announced on 12 September.


Apropos of Nothing

Save the date for 15 November this year, when the world’s population is set to hit 8 billion. And by 2080, the United Nations reckons we’ll be up to 10.4 billion. We’re not fond of big crowds, so we might have to check out by then… 

Indian authorities have shut down an elaborate online cricket hoax featuring labourers posing as players in the Indian Premier League. Russian punters parted with $6,000 on live-streamed games embellished with fake crowd sound effects and commentary. Points for effort?

And in a clampdown on “indecent behaviour”, the mayor of Italy’s Sorrento has proclaimed that tourists caught walking around town in their togs or without a shirt will be fined between €25-500. We’re guessing the fine’s incremental depending on the quality of the rug…

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

12.30pm (AEST) – Climate 200 Executive Director Byron Fay addresses the National Press Club – Canberra

8.10pm (AEST ) – Rugby – State of Origin final – Brisbane

ABS Data Release – Building Activity, March

AIHW Release – Diabetes: Australian facts

Birthdays for actors Patrick Stewart (1940) and Harrison Ford (1942)

Anniversary of:
• the establishment of the famous Hollywood sign, which originally read “Hollywoodland” but dropped the last four letters after a renovation in 1949 (1923)
• Frank Sinatra making his recording debut with Melancholy Mood and From The Bottom of My Heart (1939)
• the Live Aid charity concert, which raised money for African famine relief (1985)
• Kylie Minogue releasing her debut single Locomotion (1987)
• the founding of #BlackLivesMatter in response to the acquittal of George Zimmerman on trial for the murder of Trayvon Martin (2013)
• the election of former British PM Theresa May (2016)
• the birthdays of Julius Caesar (100BC) and artist Frida Kahlo (1954) 

Squiz the Day

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