The goal of Eni's High Performance Computing is to perfect and industrialize low carbon energy technologies developed in collaboration with research centers. Eni's efforts are helping to generate energy from waves and guarantee access to energy in remote areas thanks to light-weight and flexible organic photovoltaic panels
May 30, 2020
Ian Bremmer's Quick Take:
<p>We've got first of all, a Twitter war. There is always a Twitter war. You know, nobody really wants to take Trump on. Everyone says they're deeply concerned, right? You've got Mitt Romney - why are you going after Joe Scarborough? Unacceptable. Could censor him? Not going to do that. Susan Collins - oh, I don't know, I really am not comfortable. She's not going to do anything. </p><p>No, no, no. Jack, Jack Dorsey, Twitter's CEO, says enough of it. He's using my social media platform as a flame thrower. And he's saying I am going to start fact checking Trump on Twitter. And that does not go over very well. </p><p>If you fact check Trump on Twitter, that probably means more people are going to pay attention to those tweets because there's controversy around them and that's really what Trump wants, is eyeballs. Secondly, you start fact checking Trump and you know, it's politics. It is really hard to understand were fact checking starts and where it stops. Both of the president who, yes, does lie all the time and exaggerates constantly and that's how he became president, but it is not unknown to politicians to exaggerate and even lie, even if not to a degree of Trump. And Twitter has all those politicians on their platform. And so, one, who's going to make that judgment? And two, it's expensive to do that stuff. And then three, and here's what's most interesting, Mark Zuckerberg throws Jack Dorsey under a face bus. Finally, anyone but Zuckerberg is in the crosshairs. And Facebook, of course, with, you know, well over a billion users and vastly more important for Trump and for Trump's campaign than Twitter is like, no, no, I'm not going to be the person who decides what is and is not fake news on my platform. Even though Facebook, by the way, does do that and de-platforms people all the time who are promoting hate speech and indeed fake news around coronavirus cures. They shut down President Bolsonaro in Brazil for precisely that. But he doesn't want to get into a fight with Trump. Why not? Well, because that's important from a regulatory perspective, meaning cash, cash, cash for Facebook. </p><p>I think this is going to end up being a big nothing burger. I don't think it matters much for Trump. I don't think it matters much for social media. But it is going to be a lot of effort for Jack and probably very little payoff. Social media is a flaming dumpster fire. But that's, of course, why people spend time on it, you follow the people that you like, and then you follow a few people that you hate. There's definitely a niche. We're trying not to do that. But it's a small niche. It's so much easier to just throw red meat at people that agree with you all the time and spike everyone else in. </p><p>So that's my take on the Twitter war.</p><p>It's always the little guy that gets screwed in this environment, which, of course, brings us to Minneapolis. Why are we having this fighting going on right now? Well, massive inequality in the United States, which obviously has racial overtones to. It's been growing for decades now. But on top of that, 40 million people unemployed. On top of that, six to eight percent economic contraction this year. And on top of that, lots of video amplified by social media and much more political extremism and continued plenty of, you know, hate crimes going on, including over policing and no rights being taken care of by blacks that are suspected of crimes as opposed to whites. And, you know, this keeps going on. It's not new. It's been happening for decades and decades in the United States, despite civil rights in this country, despite Martin Luther King in this country, despite the effort to truly fight, the first black president in this country. None of these issues were addressed. Police killings were the same at the beginning of the Obama administration as they were at the end. And inequality has only grown. And after four years of Trump, same story. So, not surprising in a place like Minneapolis. Immense racial disparity and inequality in Minneapolis, too. </p><p>I know we talk about Minnesota nice, but certainly not what we're seeing on display right now and plenty of other cities around the country that have experienced these problems that are going to take to the streets to. Social dissent should not surprise us, particularly when the inequality is going to grow so much and when our ability to take care of these people will be so constrained, given just how much need there is, something that will be weaponized in this election. </p><p>Fortunately, Biden at least is trying to be the candidate for empathy. Unfortunately, he gets none of the headlines. This is going to be about Trump. He drives the social media conversation. He has the vast majority followers and he is the person that the headlines want to be written about. And so, as a consequence, I think you're going to see vastly more divisiveness over the course of this crisis. You're likely to see more violence. And Trump is going to do his best to use that to intensify the support for his base and get them to turn out in larger numbers than those that support Biden. </p><p>I still don't have a strong call on who's going to win in November. Looks pretty tight. The country is really divided, and swing states are still pretty close. But what's very clear is that this is going to be ugly and unfortunately, it's also going to be violent.</p>
More Show less
Subscribe to GZERO Media's Newsletter: Signal
Nicholas Thompson, editor-in-chief of WIRED, explains the feud between Trump and Twitter and weighs in on Elon Musk's ambitious space plans:
What is happening between Trump and Twitter?
A lot. Twitter decided it had to fact check the president because the president said something that wasn't entirely true, and perhaps was false, about voting. Twitter cares a lot about lies about voting. So, they fact check Trump. Trump got really mad, said he's going to get rid of some of the laws that protect Twitter from liability when people say bad things on their platform. That started war number one.
<p>War number two, started when Trump threatened violence on Twitter against protesters in Minneapolis. Twitter has a policy against threatening or glorifying violence. So, they hid that tweet a bit, which made Trump really mad. The upshot? Twitter is finally enforcing some of its policies against the president, though a little haphazardly and certainly imperfectly. The president is raging, which may screw up some of the laws that have kept the Internet in the US and functioning well for the last couple of decades.</p><p>When will we send civilians to space? </p><p>That is a hard question. Elon Musk promised that it would be at the end of 2021. So, with the coronavirus and that he usually doesn't quite hit his deadlines, let's say early 2023. </p>
More Show less
Trump promised a statement about China. Today's announcement was not about China. Most significant was about the World Health Organization, which is a distraction for Trump because it's weaker. They're reliant on the US, have no ability to hit back. But announcing they're pulling all funding and pulling out of the World Health Organization, the international governmental organization tasked with responding to pandemics, in the middle of a pandemic, is one of the stupidest foreign policy decisions that President Trump could make.
<p><br/>I'm not saying it's up there with spending trillions of dollars on the failed war in Iraq, but with over 110 vaccines, the World Health Organization, the EU, Bill Gates, working together to try to make them global - the world's largest economy is going to say, actually, I don't want to be a part of that. While China does want to be a part, they're going to spend more money and they're working to have more access and influence. That's a stupid thing.</p><p><br/>The World Health Organization is hardly a perfect organization. They make mistakes. They are weak. They do the bidding of all of their member states. They do not criticize the Chinese government. They will not say that they should work proactively with Taiwan in ways that would offend China. They did certify China's data when they shouldn't have in the middle of January. Not because the W.H.O. had competing data. But they had no access, and if one of their funders says, "here's what we have," they pass it along. World Health Organization never criticizes the United States, either. That's a mistake. It would have been great to have a W.H.O. publicly saying, "your tests don't work. Use these tests. It's an embarrassment. People are going to die because you don't have enough test kits." They didn't say anything. I want a stronger World Health Organization, but our governments don't. Leaving is really inane and doesn't give Trump very much. Except he wanted something big to say, "I'm hitting the Chinese," and that was his big announcement.</p><p><br/>What didn't he say? He didn't say he was going to pull the United States out of the special trade agreement with Hong Kong. He could have. He'd be within his rights. They're losing their special status. It's no longer going to have political autonomy enshrined by law. That was the agreement after 1997 and the handover. And instead, he said, "we're going to work on and we're going to look at all of their autonomy, with only few exceptions." In other words, the big American companies that make money out of working in Hong Kong aren't going to be punished. Instead, they'll sanction some Chinese officials, they'll go after some Hong Kong export authority. Unlike the W.H.O., I think that's the smart move for Trump. It would not make sense to unravel and unwind the Hong Kong autonomy, such as it is, even as the Chinese are taking that escalatory step, because we don't need yet another major hit to American companies and economic interests in the midst of a depression. As our economy is contracting six to eight percent this year.</p><p><br/>That's another thing Trump didn't say. He didn't talk about the phase one trade deal. With the Chinese as our major enemy - they're the ones responsible for 100,000 dead in the US, Trump has a press conference only about China. He wasn't talking about Minneapolis. He wasn't taking questions about riots in the United States. He wasn't talking about the mayor who he has criticized there and the black guy that was killed by the police officer who's now been arrested and charged with third degree manslaughter, four days after this explosion of violence in Minneapolis. He didn't talk about that. You'd think he would have talked about the phase one trade deal, which is the signature accomplishment of Trump with the Chinese. That's because he doesn't want yet to unravel it.</p><p><br/>Why not? Because it's going to cost the US markets and American taxpayers. This was a calculated escalation by Trump, moving towards Cold War, incredibly heated rhetoric, blame the Chinese, but let's not do anything that could really hurt me because unlike other countries I hit, even when I kill Soleimani, the head of the Iranian military, I know those guys can't do anything to me. If I go after the Chinese, they can, so I'm going to be more careful.</p>
More Show less
The world's worst health crisis in a hundred years might not seem like the best time for the World Health Organization's biggest financial supporter to threaten to pull the plug on its operations, but that's where we are. On Friday afternoon, President Trump announced that the US is withdrawing entirely from the Organization.
The move comes ten days after the White House sent a withering four-page letter to the organization's Director General which accused the organization of ignoring early warnings about the virus' spread and bowing to Chinese efforts to downplay its severity. The letter closed with a threat to withdraw within 30 days unless the WHO shaped up to better serve "American interests." In the end, the Administration had patience only for 10 days after all.
<p>Some argue that Trump is simply trying to divert attention from his own handling of the outbreak in the United States. Others counter that, love Trump or hate him, he's right about this. Here's a useful <a href="https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-52294623" target="_blank">fact check</a> of some of the letter's specific claims. </p><p>So, is Trump's criticism of the WHO fair?</p><p><strong>Yes, the WHO is broken and must be forced to change. </strong>Faced with the outbreak of a potentially severe new illness, the WHO failed to expose the facts of the case. The organization either did not see or did not acknowledge evidence that China hid the true scale of the virus' threat and punished Chinese doctors who publicly warned that risks were growing. In January, the WHO's inspector publicly praised "China's commitment to transparency."</p><p>The refusal to directly provide information to Taiwan – which is excluded from membership in the organization out of international deference to China's wishes – put millions of Taiwanese people at unnecessary risk. Where's the transparency in that? Whether the WHO's failure was a result of ignorance or cowardice in the face of Beijing's newly assertive leadership, these problems cost the world valuable time that could have been used to slow momentum toward a global pandemic. </p><p>In sum, if the "WHO" can't safeguard "WH" at a moment like this, then we clearly need to remake the "O" itself.</p><p><strong>No, Trump fails to understand what the WHO is and isn't. </strong> First, the Organization doesn't have a mandate to enter any of its member states "uninvited." Any restrictions on entry are China's to answer for, not the WHO's. And while China is prickly, it's hard to imagine the United States government – or many others for that matter – giving an international health organization free access to any information it wants. </p><p>Second, how do you blame the WHO for sounding the alarm late when the White House ignored the earliest WHO warnings. The organization called the virus a "global health emergency" in January. The Trump administration waited until March 16 to issue national social distancing guidelines. Had this been done even two weeks earlier, some <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/14/opinion/covid-social-distancing.html" target="_blank">virologists say,</a> as many as 90 percent of American deaths could have been prevented. </p><p>Third, even if the WHO should be reformed, threatening to walk away from it in the middle of a pandemic is dangerous and short-sighted. COVID-19 is currently wreaking havoc in low-income countries that <a href="https://www.afro.who.int/news/who-concerned-covid-19-cases-accelerate-africa" target="_blank">rely on WHO</a> personnel and infrastructure to manage large parts of the pandemic response. Pulling the plug now risks an even greater human catastrophe. </p><p>Finally, Trump's threat is strategically foolish. If you're worried about Chinese influence at the WHO, walking out risks opening the way for...China! Just hours before Trump sent that letter 10 days ago, Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged up to $2 billion to help the WHO's global pandemic response efforts. Is that really what the White House wants?</p><p><strong>What do you think?</strong> Is the current WHO a big problem in need of urgent reform, or is it an imperfect organization that's a lot better than any current alternatives?</p><p>EDITORS NOTE: This story has been updated to lead with President Trump's May 29 announcement that the US is cutting ties to the World Health Organization. </p>
More Show less