Squiz Today / 25 August 2022

Squiz Today – Thursday, 25 August

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

Squiz Today Podcast

Perfect for multitasking mornings.

Today’s listen time: 9 minutes

8 / 20
10 / 14
7 / 22
10 / 16
10 / 23
7 / 15
18 / 33
2 / 15

Squiz Sayings

“Minister for Coffee”

Is a new portfolio in the Papua New Guinea Government, and along with the Minister for Palm Oil, the idea is to grow the key agricultural industries. The coffee ministry has been filled by new MP Joe Kuli, so there’s no way he can escape getting the hot bevs for his colleagues…

A big whistle blown on Twitter

Twitter’s former security chief Peiter Zatko has turned whistleblower, and in an 84-page complaint filed with US officials, he says the company misled regulators and has been negligent in stopping the spread of disinformation. After the complaint became public yesterday, several members of Congress called on regulators to investigate the claims that Twitter has poor cybersecurity defences and hasn’t done enough to delete fake accounts. “Take a tech platform that collects massive amounts of user data, combine it with what appears to be an incredibly weak security infrastructure, and infuse it with foreign state actors with an agenda, and you’ve got a recipe for disaster,” senior Republican Chuck Grassley said. Yesterday Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal told staff that Zatko’s complaint is “a false narrative that is riddled with inconsistencies and inaccuracies.”

Yes. Musk, who is still on the hook to buy Twitter for $64 billion, is trying to get out of the deal because he says the company hasn’t been upfront about spam and automated accounts. In his complaint, Zatko said Twitter is reluctant to find out how many bot accounts are on the platform because “if the true number became public, it could harm the company’s value and image.” If that is the case, legal experts say it’s a smoking gun that could help Musk get out of the deal. Twitter is suing Musk to force him to complete his proposed acquisition, and a trial is scheduled to begin on 17 October.

It’s a good question because by now, you’re probably getting the impression that his word carries a bit of weight. Better known by his hacker handle ‘Mudge’, Zatko is a highly respected cybersecurity expert who became well known in the 90s when he was credited with inventing a tool to crack passwords. He then became a sought-after consultant and has worked in senior positions at the Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Agency and Google. He was brought to Twitter by then-CEO Jack Dorsey in late 2020 after hackers broke into the accounts of world leaders, celebrities and tech moguls. Zatko says his attempts to get the company to deal with the problems were rebuffed. And to shut down any brewing conspiracy theories about his motivation to make the complaint, Zatko says he doesn’t know Musk. Meanwhile, Twitter says he was fired at the start of this year for “ineffective leadership and poor performance”. Stay tuned…


Squiz the Rest

Albanese’s first Royal Commission is go

Get set an announcement today that there will be a great big look into the Robodebt scandal. In case you need a refresher, Centrelink’s unlawful automated debt recovery scheme was in place between 2015-19, and the federal government agency generated thousands of inaccurate debt notices to 381,000 welfare recipients. Back in November 2020, there was a settlement of $1.2 billion, which brought a class action lawsuit to an end – it added to the Morrison Government’s agreement to pay back $721 million to people who were wrongly pursued for payment. Throughout that time, Labor’s Government Services spokesman Bill Shorten said he would push for a Royal Commission into the saga – and here we are. We’ll find out more today, but reports this morning say the inquiry will drill down on who was responsible for the scheme, what advice the Morrison Government got on it, and the harm caused to victims.


The end of the road for an ex-PM

Two years after being found guilty for his part in a mega corruption ring, former Malaysian PM Najib Razak lost his final appeal and was sent to prison yesterday to begin a 12-year sentence. It all comes back to the 1MDB state fund, which was set up by Najib in 2009 to facilitate foreign investment in development projects across the country. The problem was US$4.5 billion went missing, and millions ended up in Najib’s personal bank account. A whole lot more went to his family and connections for luxury real estate, Van Gogh and Monet artworks, and making the Hollywood blockbuster, The Wolf of Wall Street. Analysts say it’s a big moment for Malaysia because a political figure as senior as Najib usually doesn’t end up in jail, particularly “in a region where power is unaccountable, and hierarchy rigidly enforced.” Najib maintains that he is innocent. #SquizShortcut

World News

Canned food is king at Coles

Supermarket giant Coles said some customers were starting to feel inflation pressures as it reported a profit of $1.05 billion for the last financial year. That’s up from $1.01 billion a year earlier, thanks to extended lockdowns in Oz last year that saw many of us cooking/cleaning/living/snacking at home. But the company has forecast higher costs this financial year as inflation continues to impact its operations and customers. Coles boss Steven Cain said shoppers were buying fewer or cheaper products, with sales jumping for $1 pasta packs and canned/frozen fruit and veg. He said suppliers were still requesting price hikes on some products, but following its main competitor Woolworths – which reports its results today – Coles will freeze the prices of some popular products. Maybe we can withdraw our loan application to purchase lettuce…

Australian News Business & Finance

Ricciardo driven from McLaren

After weeks of speculation, Aussie F1 driver Daniel Ricciardo has announced he will leave McLaren at the end of the season, cutting his contract short by a year. He and the team are mutually parting ways, and Ricciardo says it’s bittersweet because while he has many happy memories, he’s struggled over the past 2 seasons and has been consistently outdriven by his younger teammate Lando Norris. Ricciardo did win at Monza last year, McLaren’s only race victory in the past 12 years – a highlight for the Perthonality and the team. Looking ahead, he could be replaced by another Aussie, Oscar Piastri, the 2021 Formula 2 and 2020 Formula 3 champion. As for Ricciardo, the 33yo says he still has the fire in his belly to drive in Formula 1, but he doesn’t have a seat for next year. It’ll be a hot topic for the rest of the season, which resumes this Sunday for the Belgium Grand Prix.


Twice as nice

Doppelgängers may share more in common than just their looks, according to a new study. Since 1999, Canadian artist François Brunelle has been collecting photographs of unrelated people who bear a striking resemblance to one another, and researchers from the Josep Carreras Leukaemia Research Institute in Spain studied 32 of the pairs. After measuring their physical likeness and taking DNA samples, researchers gave participants a questionnaire about their lifestyles. They found that 16 of the 32 pairs posted similar scores on the physical likeness test to those of identical twins, and those “true” lookalikes shared significantly more of the same genes. Even more uncannily, those doppelgängers were more likely to share similarities regarding weight, height, education, allergies, smoking habits, left or right-handedness, and exercise preferences. Researchers aren’t sure why that’s the case but suggest there could be a link between facial features and behavioural patterns. It means you’ll have much to chat about when you meet your lookalike…

Quirky News

Apropos of Nothing

Tullio Masoni says he makes some of the most exclusive wine in the world, which is one way of spinning the 28 bottles of plonk he gets from the ‘vineyard’ on the roof of his home. Still, a bottle could be all yours for $7,200…

The English department at the University of Texas is offering a new course based on Taylor Swift’s songs, adding to their course on Harry Styles and the ‘Cult of Celebrity’. We hope to see that kind of innovative thinking at next week’s Jobs and Skills Summit

Sleepless nights don’t just make you tired and testy – they can also make you selfish. A new US study has found that losing just one hour of zzz could kill people’s desire to help others. The Squiz must be the exception 😉

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

7.10pm (AEST) – AFLW season opener – Carlton v Collingwood – Icon Park, Melbourne

Company Results – Woolworths; Qantas; Flight Centre; Nine Entertainment; Whitehaven Coal; Allkem; Ardent Leisure

Uruguay’s National Day

Daffodil Day (Cancer Council)

Birthdays for rocker Gene Simmons (1949), author Martin Amis (1949), director Tim Burton (1958), singer Billy Ray Cyrus (1961), and actors Alexander Skarsgård (1976) and Blake Lively (1987)

Anniversary of:
• Englishwoman Alicia Thornton becoming the first female jockey (1804)
• the birthday of the best Bond (fight us…) Sean Connery (1930)
• the liberation of Paris by Allied forces after four years of Nazi occupation (1944)
• the release of the first package of pre-cooked instant noodles by Momofuku Ando (1958)
• the Voyager 1, which was launched in 1977, becoming the first spacecraft to enter interstellar space (2012)
• the deaths of Friedrich Nietzsche (1900), Truman Capote (1984), Neil Armstrong (2012) and John McCain (2018)

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.