Squiz Today / 20 September 2023

Squiz Today – Wednesday, 20 September

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Squiz Today Podcast

Take it along for the ride. 

Today’s listen time: 9.30 minutes

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Squiz Sayings

“Maybe they thought ‘Methamphetamine’ was a Greek name.”

Is the generous theory ABC TV’s Kirsten Drysdale offered up after the NSW births registry approved the name for her newborn child. The little cutie won’t be keeping his official name – Drysdale was testing the waters for a new show

A long-awaited declaration…


It’s officially official: El Niño is here… The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) has confirmed that the hot and dry weather pattern is going to be a thing for Australia this spring – and it’s likely to stick around at least until the end of summer. And if that’s not enough, Dr Karl Braganza from the BOM’s climate monitoring team says we’re also in for a ‘positive Indian Ocean Dipole’. He says that combination means an even higher risk of bushfires and extreme heat.


Stay with us… There’s been lots of talk of an El Niño heading our way – it’s when the central/eastern Pacific Ocean’s surface warms, causing moisture/rainfall to shift away from Australia’s east. The BOM resisted an official declaration while it waited for readings from the Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) to line up. You can dive into it here, but the SOI measures air pressure differences to our north over 90 days and it points to the intensity of these climate drivers. Braganza said, “it has been bumping around so we were waiting another week” to see if El Niño was indeed here – and now, it’s official. Meanwhile, the Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) is showing higher-than-average sea surface temperatures in the western Indian Ocean and cooler waters in the east, which can mean droughts in southern and western Oz. Put simply: it’s going to be a hot few months for a good whack of the country …


They already have… The fire warning for the South Coast of NSW was upgraded to ‘catastrophic’ yesterday as temps in the mid-30Cs and high winds fanned 73 bushfires across the state, causing more than 20 schools to close. NSW Rural Fire Service Commissioner Rob Rogers said the conditions are “the worst risk we’ve faced since the Black Summer fires”. Yikes… Parts of Tassie were on alert yesterday, and Queensland’s also copping it with dozens of fires burning and authorities tipping worsening conditions today and later this week. Today, Sydney’s forecast to experience its hottest September day in 23 years, and the heat is heading north tomorrow. Meanwhile, those in South Oz and Victoria have some relief with a cool change already starting to move over. What a time, eh?

Australian News Environment & Science Weather

Squiz the Rest

Not on my turf

Canadian PM Justin made a big allegation yesterday, blaming the Indian state for a murder on Canadian soil last year. Back in June, Sikh leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar was killed in the carpark of a place of worship by 2 masked men. Singh (yes, we’re getting into the weeds here…) advocated for creating a separate Sikh nation called Khalistan in India’s Punjab state – activism that saw the Indian Government declare him a terrorist. And for some context, in India about 80% of the population are Hindus, while Sikhs make up less than 2%. Indian officials say Trudeau’s allegation of murder is “absurd” and accused Canada of providing shelter to “Khalistani terrorists and extremists.” But Trudeau said the killing of a Canadian citizen on home soil was “an unacceptable violation of our sovereignty”. Canada expelled an Indian diplomat/accused spy, and in return India kicked out a top Canadian diplomat.

World News

The green green grass of home

The 5 Americans released from prison in Iran have arrived home after a deal was struck that saw them freed. The US says the men were “wrongfully detained”, and President Joe Biden yesterday said their “years of agony, uncertainty, and suffering” are now over. In return, the US returned 5 Iranian prisoners and unfroze US$6 billion of Iranian oil riches to be spent on humanitarian needs – although experts like former Aussie prisoner Dr. Kylie Moore-Gilbert don’t believe they can enforce that. The freed Americans include businessmen and conservationists, while the US State Department described the freed Iranians as “small potatoes”. The Biden administration says its relationship with Iran remains unchanged, and they will maintain the rage against Iran’s nuclear program and human rights abuses.

World News

Driving up petrol prices

Just in time for the school holidays, motorists are paying more at the bowser with the national fuel price average hitting 204.4c/litre. It’s the highest since Russia invaded Ukraine, thanks to the weak Aussie dollar (currently buying US$0.64 – and don’t online shoppers know it… ) and a decision by OPEC members – including Saudi Arabia and Russia – to extend oil production cuts. That’s seen crude oil prices surge more than 30% since July… There are concerns rising petrol prices could further fuel the inflation crisis (see what we did there?) – that includes the Reserve Bank’s board, which flagged in its meeting earlier this month that another rate hike could be on the cards as a result. There are similar concerns about an increase in some welfare payments that come into effect today, but the Albanese Government maintains the extra cash won’t be inflationary. China’s slowdown is also giving the RBA the jitters (paywall)

Australian News Economy

A green reason to work from home

WFH converts talk up the benefits of the flexible work arrangement – and now they can add some green creds to the list… A new study from Cornell University and Microsoft has found the average remote worker produces a carbon footprint that’s 54% lower than an office worker. The environmental benefits aren’t as good for hybrid workers – those who WFH once a week reduced their emissions by 2%, while those working from home 4 days a week cut their footprint by 29%. That’s because remote workers produce fewer emissions without a daily commute and use less energy in the office. But WFHers can’t call themselves net-zero – the study also found they tended to contribute more emissions on social activities than their office counterparts. After being at home all week, you’d expect them to let off some steam…

Business & Finance Environment & Science

Lights, camera, auction

It’s been a while since we checked in on the actors’ and writers’ strikes that have shut down Hollywood, but they’re still going (as Drew Barrymore found out when she announced and then unannounced the return of her talk show…). In America, with their crackers healthcare system, it means many can’t afford to keep their coverage  – so famous actors are pitching in to raise funds through an eBay auction. Who wouldn’t want Adam Scott to walk your dog, or Natasha Lyonne to help you solve a crossword? Or, for fans of The Bear, you can nab a signature blue apron signed by the cast – although ”the stress of working in a busy Chicago sandwich shop is not included”. And just like your fave TV shows, the accompanying memes are just as good – although we’re a bit miffed that we might never know what Florence Pugh saw on the set of Don’t Worry Darling


Apropos of nothing

A conceptual artist who was commissioned $127,000 to create 2 artworks for a Danish gallery has been ordered by a court to repay the money after he submitted 2 empty frames. He titled the work ‘Take the Money and Run’ and did what it said on the label… 

In an unexpected collaboration some might consider high art, Crocs teamed up with DreamWorks to create the footwear many fans have long been calling for: the Shrek Croc. They’re described as “wonderfully hideous”, which is bang on the mark.

And a family-owned Toowoomba butcher has been named the home of the world’s best bacon at the World Charcuterie Awards. Actually, why isn’t this our lead story?

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

12.30pm (AEST) – Melanoma Institute Australia Co-Medical Directors, Professor Richard Scolyer and Professor Georgina Long, address the National Press Club – Sydney

8.00pm (AEST) – Men’s Soccer – Asian Champions League – Melbourne City v Ventforet Kofu (Japan) – Melbourne

An increase to some welfare payments including pension and Jobseekers comes into effect today

AIHW Release – Endometriosis

National Pepperoni Pizza Day in the US

Birthdays for Sophia Loren (1934), George RR Martin (1948), and Tim Rogers (1968)

Anniversary of:
• the ‘Battle of the Sexes’ tennis showdown between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs (1973)
• US President George W Bush declaring a “war on terror” following the 11 September terrorist attacks (2001)
• the release of Carly Rae Jepsen’s Call Me Maybe single (2011)
• Hurricane Maria, which resulted in 2,975 deaths in Puerto Rico (2017)

Squiz the Day

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