Squiz Today / 02 February 2024

Squiz Today – 2 February 2024

Squiz Today Podcast

Today’s listen time: 9 minutes

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Squiz Sayings

“I like this temperature, it’s good for my training.”

Said one exercise nut who got his sweat on climbing the infamous staircase Jacob’s Ladder during Perth’s heatwave yesterday. The city centre hit 42.6C, with the outer suburbs reaching over 45C, and things aren’t set to cool off until Sunday. Thoughts/prayers…

The anti-social social media club

The Squiz

The CEOs of 5 of the world’s biggest social media companies were grilled by American politicians yesterday over claims their products harm young people. Mark Zuckerberg (Meta) and Shou Zi Chew (TikTok) voluntarily appeared, but Linda Yaccarino (X), Evan Spiegel (Snap/Mr Miranda Kerr), and Jason Citron (Discord – which is a gamers’ app) were forced to testify. And it was a full-on session with some of the family members heckling the executives as they faced outrage from the US Senate committee members. That included Marsha Blackburn (a Republican from Tennessee), who told Zuckerberg she found secret documents estimating the lifetime value of a teen user at US$270 “astounding”.

Will this change anything?

Good question… Zuckerberg said “sorry” while insisting his company invests “so much” to prevent suffering. Spiegel also apologised for failing to prevent the “tragedies” of children who died after buying drugs on Snapchat. But senators called on the companies to “compensate” families and expressed frustration that little has changed since the dawn of the internet, with the federal government’s failing to rein in social media, leaving individual states to pursue policies such as minimum age requirements. Some senators want to “open up the courthouse door”, arguing that families should be able to sue the social media companies – and maybe that would force change. Several platforms have recently introduced new safety features like hiding potentially harmful posts and tools to restrict usage, but experts say it’s not enough. 

Anything else happening online?

Erm, yeah… Universal Music Group (UMG) has pulled the plug on TikTok’s access to some of the world’s biggest artists – including Taylor Swift. The power play came after the Chinese-owned platform failed to reach a new licencing agreement with the record label, which said they used “bully” tactics and “intimidation” during negotiations. UMG is also ticked off that they offered royalty payments at “a fraction of the rate” of other social platforms and have done little to stop AI-generated music from ripping off big-name artists. And speaking of music… Spotify is also in the hot seat as its content filter has failed to remove songs with naughty lyrics, even when users block explicit content. It’s all happening…

Technology World News

Squiz the Rest

A big war package is on the EU table…

Ukraine’s leaders say they’re “grateful” that their European allies have approved about $82 billion (€50 billion) to support their efforts in the war against Russia. The European Union’s 27 member states met in Brussels overnight to vote – under the rules, it had to be a unanimous decision to get it over the line, and with Hungary knocking it back in December, there were concerns it could happen again… On Tuesday, Hungarian PM Viktor Orban said he supported Ukraine but thought the amount was too high and questioned why the EU should be coughing up the funds. (Note: Orban is also a fan of Russian President Vladimir Putin, which might also have had something to do with it…). Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky says the money will “strengthen the long-term economic and financial stability” of his nation.

World News

Another brick in the home price wall

Aussies remain desperate to get into the housing market despite prices continuing to climb… The latest data from market analysts CoreLogic shows January delivered the 12th straight month of rising rents (+0.8% in January) and home prices (+0.4%). Perth felt the steepest increases over the past year (+16.7%) ahead of Brissy (+14.8%) and Sydney (+11.4%), Adelaide (+10.3%), Melbourne (+3.9%), and Canberra (+1.2%), with Darwin steady (0%) and Hobart bringing up the rear (-0.4%). And securing a house is the main game, with the gap between median house and unit values hitting a record 45.2%. But not everyone’s a fan… Kevin McCloud, the OG host of Grand Designs, reckons our love for big houses stifles innovative architecture and impacts urban liveability. He reckons we need to become ‘YIMBYs’ (yes in my backyard) and embrace townhouses and terraces.

Australian News Economy

The kids are alright…

Speaking of getting your financial future in order… There’s a lot to be said about Gen Z trends, but the latest one is helping our yoof battle cost of living pressures. More financially literate TikTok users are advocating for “loud budgeting” over “doom spending”. The goal, they say, is to be “loud budgeting” – aka vocal about your thriftiness with mates. Comedian Lucas Battle coined the term – he describes it as “it’s not ‘I don’t have enough,’ it’s ‘I don’t want to spend’”. The advice is to cancel plans and say no to purchases if they’re unaffordable because, as Battle says “if you know any rich people, you know they hate spending money”. The flip side is less desirable – “doom spending” is when people turn to shopping and impulse purchases when things get tough. Guess we’re not unwinding with a glass of wine and some online shopping tonight…

Culture Economy

Sitting on the sidelines

Keeping young athletes safe from concussion has been a big talking point in sport in recent years – and new guidelines to be rolled out to all junior and community sports across Australia will see those who have taken a head knock sidelined for 3 weeks. The rules are the same in the UK and Kiwiland, with players required to be symptom-free for 2 weeks before they can return to any contact training. There has been a wave of alarming evidence about the effects of repeated head knocks, and the Institute of Sport’s David Hughes reckons 95% of concussions happen in community sport. Australian Sports Commission CEO/former swimming legend Kieren Perkins said he was proud of the new rules, saying they will be important to make sport “ensuring sport remains a safe and welcoming environment for all.”


The bold and the not so beautiful barney…

It’s a scandal with all the makings of a TV soap… Italian woman Flavia Borzone has gone to extremes to prove she’s related to the heir of the luxury Lamborghini car brand – and therefore owed some of the spoils. She says she’s the long-lost daughter of Tonino Lamborghini (the 76yo son of the company’s founder) – and to prove it, she hired a private investigator who retrieved a drinking straw used by Lamborghini’s daughter Elettra. And bingo – Borzone claims a DNA test confirmed a match… She says her mother started a relationship with Lamborghini in 1980, long before she was born in 1988. He denies that and is suing Borzone for defamation. He also claims the straw was taken without his daughter’s permission and is inadmissible as evidence. The turbo-charged scandal has Italy strapped in for a bumpy ride…

World News

Apropos of Nothing

Now that you’re back from holidays (or maybe you’re dying to plan one because you didn’t get much of a break), this is some timely/practical advice on luggage from a career hotel porter. The line that drew us in: “Expensive, brand-name luggage? One question – why?”

Longtime Squizers know we’re 80s music tragics, and We Are The World – a song recorded in 1985 by America’s singing stars to raise money for food relief in Africa – is iconic. This week, the doco The Greatest Night in Pop on the making of that song came out on Netflix. It’s super entertaining. 

This might appeal to you if you’re lucky enough to have a plum tree near you. And even if you have to buy ’em, this gingery plum cake is a guaranteed showstopper. You don’t even need a mixmaster to whip it up…

Friday Lites

Squiz the Day

2.30pm (AEDT) – Men’s Cricket – One Day International Australian v the West Indies, Game 1 – Melbourne

ABS Data Release – Producer Price Indexes, December; Lending Indicators, December 2023

World Aquatics Championships begin (on until February 18) – Doha 

World Read Aloud Day 

World Wetlands Day 

Crêpe Day

Anniversary of:

  • New Amsterdam (later known as New York) becoming incorporated as a city (1653)
  • the Australian Premiers’ Conference deciding to locate Australia’s capital (Canberra) to the coldest place they could find between Sydney and Melbourne (1899). Ok, we might have added the ‘cold’ bit…
  • the Pentagon confirmed that the US was tracking what was assumed to be a ‘Chinese spy balloon’ that was floating over the US (2023) 
Squiz the Day

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