Squiz Today / 13 September 2023

Squiz Today – Wednesday, 13 September

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Squiz Today Podcast

Getting you across the halfway mark.

Today’s listen time: 9.30 minutes

SYD
10 / 23
MEL
9 / 23
BNE
12 / 25
ADL
12 / 26
PER
13 / 20
HBA
7 / 23
DRW
23 / 35
CBR
1 / 21

Squiz Sayings

“You’ve got your regular family and then you’ve got your rodeo family. I’ve gained a lot of sisters from doing all of this.”

Said Emily Collits, an Aussie who’s made it big on the international bronc riding scene – she was in Queensland’s Normanton on the weekend to judge Australia’s first female-only rodeo. With many competitors driving the 2,000km from Brissie, it’s a long way to go to get bucked off a horse…

Antitrust? Let’s Google that…

THE SQUIZ

Overnight, Google and the US Justice Department met in court to begin an antitrust lawsuit that could reshape the internet as we know it. Over the next 10 weeks, the US Government will argue that Google used illegal means to become the search engine over 90% of us use. Specifically, it’s about Google’s agreements with Apple and Samsung to make google.com the default on their smartphones. That’s a move prosecutors reckon has reduced competition and ultimately meant that the internet isn’t as good as it could have otherwise been. 

WHAT DOES GOOGLE SAY?

That they’re the biggest because they’re the best. Google executive Kent Walker reckons people use Google “because they want to”, and he’s also argued that it only takes about 4 taps on your smartphone to change your default search engine. Sundar Pichai, the CEO of Alphabet (aka Google’s parent company), is also expected to defend his company in the witness box. As for what could happen, if the the Justice Department wins, Google could be forced to change its practices – or, if things get really dramatic, be broken up into smaller companies to reduce its impact. That’s why parallels have been drawn to the last big antitrust case against Microsoft in 1998-99. Microsoft settled, and it allowed upstart companies – like Google – to flourish. 

IS IT JUST GOOGLE UNDER THE MICROSCOPE?

Nope… Also on the pointy end of government intervention – albeit in another jurisdiction – is Apple, with the European Union moving on several complaints against the Fruit Company… And one outcome that might be making its way into your pocket soon is the ruling around iPhone chargers. Last year, the EU regulator said that Apple has 2 years to ditch the proprietary Lightning cable on its phones in favour of a generic USB-C port (the same cable you might use for your laptop). So it was anticipated that Apple’s new iPhone 15 would feature the USB-C port – and that was unveiled in the wee hours of this morning. Apple will be crossing its fingers that the new phone is a winner, especially as US-China tensions rock the company. Last week, China banned government staff from using iPhones, a move which saw the company’s share price dive 4%. It’s a rocky time in the tech world…

Technology

Squiz the Rest

The hits keep coming for northern Africa

Authorities say more than 5,000 people are feared dead, and more than 10,000 are missing after “catastrophic” flooding hit Libya’s northeast early this week. After causing widespread flooding in Greece, Storm Daniel brought heavy rains to Libya, collapsing 2 dams that swept away neighbourhoods in several coastal towns. Worst hit was the city of Derna, where one official blamed crumbling infrastructure from the country’s years-long conflict following the death of dictator Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, as well as authorities’ general lack of preparedness. Several countries, including Turkey, have offered assistance. And in nearby Morocco, the government is under pressure to accept more offers of foreign aid as the death toll from last week’s earthquake rose to 2,901

World News

Kim arrives in Russia

After a 20-hour journey on a private bulletproof train – the mode of transport preferred by North Korean leaders for generations – Kim Jong Un has arrived in Russia for his highly-anticipated chat with President Vladimir Putin. US officials say the 2 leaders will likely discuss an arms deal that would see ammunition-rich North Korea provide Russia with a fresh supply for its invasion of Ukraine. In return, the Hermit Kingdom could receive much-needed supplies of food and energy, as well as help with weapons technologies. White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan warned yesterday that Pyongyang will “pay a price” if it does strike such a deal – and there could be consequences for Russia too, because purchasing North Korean weapons violates United Nations resolutions. 

World News

Tools down for koalas

Logging has been immediately halted in parts of NSW’s Mid North Coast as the NSW Government begins consultation on its proposed ‘Great Koala National Park’. The park was an election promise of Labor’s, and now they are pursuing a plan to protect 300,000 hectares – stretching from Kempsey to Coffs Harbour and home to 20% of the state’s wild koala population – from logging. Koalas are an endangered species in Queensland, NSW and the ACT, and a NSW parliamentary inquiry from 2020 found the fuzzy marsupials are on track to become extinct in NSW before 2050 if land clearing in critical areas continues. NSW Environment Minister Penny Sharpe said the government will consult with stakeholders to determine the proposed park’s impact on koala populations and timber industry jobs. Environmental groups called the latest decision a big win, and forestry groups welcomed the consultation process, saying the hardwood timber industry was a key contributor to the state’s economy.

Australian News Environment & Science

Making friends with salad

Sure, but according to an 8-year survey of Aussies by the CSIRO, a lot of us find salad an untasty mate… Report co-author Dr Gilly Hendrie says we should “aim for variety by eating 3 or more different types of vegetables with your main meal.” Anyone over 40yo would nod when they hear that dinner back in the day – meat and 3 veg – wasn’t far off the mark… But it’s not just mains – cakes, bickies, crisps, chocolate, takeaway, and alcohol are getting the better of us. The worst of the ‘discretionary eaters’ (to use the science jargon) are construction workers who clock up around 45 servings per week of those kinds of foods. If you dare, get your own ‘diet score’ with the CSIRO’s online tool.

Australian News Health

Trust me, I’m a…

Would you trust a real estate agent over a firefighter? Of course you wouldn’t – and neither would most other Aussies, according to this year’s Governance Institute of Australia Ethics Index. Joining firefighters in the good books were paramedics, with healthcare being rated as the sector with the most integrity. Pharmacists are up there too – something the Albanese Government will no doubt have in mind as it pursues reforms… Politicians were at the bottom of the pack in last year’s index… but their image improved (slightly) over the previous year, leaving real estate agents at the bottom as the least ethical profession. Media was ranked as the least ethical sector (except for The Squiz, no doubt…). The survey also found that, on the whole, Aussies care about ethics now more than in past years. As for the future, the big ethical concern is AI.

Australian News Business & Finance

Apropos of nothing

Lovers of free booze, rejoice – rivers of red wine were seen flowing through the streets of a small town in Portugal after tanks of wine burst at a local distillery, spilling 2.2 million litres. Talk about painting the town red… 

If you’ve ever wondered what the secret to a long-lasting and happy relationship is, a new survey says it’s about having no secrets, sharing a sense of humour, and being intimate at least 7 times a month. Simples… 

And a 1950s Los Angeles home featured in The Brady Bunch has gone under the hammer for US$3.2 million. The home was renovated in 2018 to match the interiors featured on the show and has no modern appliances. The buyer is a superfan… 

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

10.00am (AEST) – 2023 MTV Video Music Awards – New Jersey

12.30pm (AEST) – Chair of the Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicides, Nick Kaldas, addresses the National Press Club – Canberra

Start of the Regions Rising National Summit (until 14 September) – Canberra

Start of the Aboriginal Enterprises in Mining, Energy and Exploration’s (AMEE) annual conference – Cairns (until 14 September)

Anniversary of:
• the birthdays of Roald Dahl (1916) and Shane Warne (1969)
• the Swiss inventor George de Mestral granting a patent for Velcro (1955)
• the premiere of Scooby-Doo (1969)
• the release of Nintendo’s first-ever Super Mario Bros game (1985)
• the premiere of Law and Order (1990)

Squiz the Day

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