5 things you need to know before markets open in Australia and around the world.

Good morning! Many of you may have opted to take the Monday off prior to ANZAC Day tomorrow. Good idea. The march and the crowds get bigger every year in true Aussie spirit. If you can get to the dawn service or the parade, that would be great. Lest We Forget!

Here’s what you need to know today in relation to other matters.

1. Those geeky types will know all about ‘TensorFlow’, but for the more normal among us, who turn on their computers or push icons on their smartphones, it won’t mean a lot. TensorFlow is a Google development which is a sort of software library that helps machine learning. So, in effect, we are talking about Artificial Intelligence (AI) and being able to help the progress of that technology. More correctly, to provide a system by which a machine can learn faster and closer to human thought and learning.

The invention has been on the market for 6 months and continues to be improved. At this point in time, it’s hard to work out whether we should be worried about the continual development of AI or be relieved that pretty soon we can laze around doing nothing but enjoying life while machines do our work…and rule the planet!

2. There are serious moves afoot for the USA to take more positive action and arrest Assange, the Wikileaks founder. Julian keeps annoying the government by releasing sensitive and often damaging information which the US government finds embarrassing.

Do you know what’s really embarrassing? The fact that US government departments like the CIA, the FBI and the privacy of high ranking officials can be continually hacked and the data released to the public.

3. Gold! It’s still rising. Why is that? Blame Trump, unless you have a lot of gold stocks – then thank him. He wants to start a trade war and history will tell you that nothing good has ever resulted from that sort of foreign policy. Go back to Presidents McKinley and Hoover. They started trade wars which they thought would protect the American workers. It’s history now that they failed, both times, and, in fact, brought about such tough economic times that their policies ruined millions of investors. Except those that held gold stocks.

Trump’s policies on manufacturing, the Tequila Wall, trade, tough talk on North Korea and ‘false news’ are making people nervous. The Greenback is not tied to gold so, investors turn to the most tangible stock that will not be affected by any of this. Hence, gold will continue to rise. The sky is the limit it seems. Keep your eye on gold prices and stocks of gold producers.

4. It was bound to happen sooner than later. There has been some very significant R&D on electric flying cars. If there’s one thing to like about flying in a plane these days, it’s the continual sound of the jet engine thrusting you through the air. The new Lilium Jet, a German invention, is taking to the air, powered by nothing other than those very popular lithium-ion batteries. No sound, no pollution, no runways, no airport queues, security checks, delayed flights, no traffic. Sounds too good to be true. If these Lilium electric planes, or flying cars become airborne taxis, they can land in your backyard or the roof of your apartment building and take you to your destination. You can order one like an Uber driver! There’s no mention of the cost but if private helicopters owned and used by the rich only today is any indication, then that might be who will benefit from the flying car.

5. Humans have been so busy polluting our oceans that we seem to forget that we have been doing the same thing in space. There are over 750,000 pieces of space debris circling the planet. Some are smaller than a centimetre across but travelling at 25,000 kph. Imagine the damage even a small piece would do to a space craft or one of the many satellites already in orbit.

The idea of a Japanese entrepreneur, Nobu Okada, is to launch a mother ship which has 6 child units made of a special sticky adhesive and onto which bits of debris will adhere. The simple physics of gravity will eventually make the ‘child’ heavy enough to re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere and burning up during the journey. It’s a simple theory, but whether it works or not, well, dare we say it, watch this ‘space’!

Mining Trivia (We’re back!)

Mining provides Australia with 15% of its GDP but the area of the mines cover only 0.2% of our land mass. More of our land is covered by pubs. That’s a good thing, right?!

Gold again! We probably all know that the ‘Welcome Stranger’ was the largest ever gold nugget found in Australia. It was found in 1869 in a place called Moliagul, Victoria. They had no scales back then that could weigh it so it was broken into 3 pieces. It was 2315 ounces. Based on today’s gold price that would make it a retirement discovery – $2,979,405! Pass me my detector!

On April 25th in 1915, soldiers from Australia and New Zealand landed at Gallipoli. Take the time on Tuesday to remember them. There will be a dawn service near you. Marches are held in all states in regional cities and bigger towns.

Andrew Mortimer
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