Law Enforcement & Tech; Facebook Staff Concerns; Musk vs Bezos

Nicholas Thompson, editor-in-chief of WIRED, helps us make sense of today's stories in technology:

What kind of technology is law enforcement using in their standoff with protesters?


A lot of technology to try to find out who's who, like face recognition software and license plate readers. Protesters, meanwhile, are using a lot of encrypted messaging, trying to kind of do the opposite.

What is going on at Facebook and how will Mark Zuckerberg address the concerns of his employees?

A lot of his employees, and we don't know exactly what percentage, are frustrated that Zuckerberg isn't doing what Twitter is doing and blocking Donald Trump's statements if they're potentially false or could maybe be read as inciting violence. It's time, many Facebook people think, for Zuckerberg to take a stronger stand. Zuckerberg has not. Partly because he's a strong believer in free speech, partly because I don't think he wants to get on the bad side of the president.

Why are tech industry leaders Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos feuding and should it concern consumers?

They are feuding because Amazon may have briefly blocked a book about the coronavirus from a controversial author who has sort of extreme views about the coronavirus that are shared by Musk. So, Musk got upset and he tweeted that Amazon should be broken up. I actually think the feud also probably has something to do with a long feud between SpaceX and Blue Origin. But in any case, I think it's a tempest in a teapot and it should not concern consumers.

In Italy, stacks of plastic boxes in supermarkets and stores are not garbage - they are collected and reused, thanks to a consortium that specializes in recycling them for food storage. How do these "circular" plastic boxes help reduce energy consumption and carbon dioxide emissions?

Learn more in this episode of Eni's Energy SUPERFACTS series.

Over the past few years, we've seen three major emerging powers take bold action to right what they say are historical wrongs.

First came Crimea. When the Kremlin decided in 2014 that Western powers were working against Russian interests in Ukraine, President Vladimir Putin ordered Russian troops to seize the Crimean Peninsula, which was then part of Ukraine. Moscow claimed that Crimea and its ethnic Russian majority had been part of the Russian Empire for centuries until a shameful deal in 1954 made Crimea part of the Ukrainian Soviet Republic. Americans and Europeans imposed sanctions on Russia. But Ukraine is not part of NATO or the EU, and no further action was taken.

More Show less

"Neither America first, which is ultimately America alone, nor America the world's policeman," Sen. Chris Coons told Ian Bremmer in describing VP Joe Biden's approach to foreign policy should he win the presidential election in November. In the latest episode of GZERO World with Ian Bremmer, Sen. Coons provides details of how U.S. relationships with foreign governments and multilateral alliances could change in a Biden presidency. He also defended President Obama's track record, saying "I think it is a mischaracterization of the Obama-Biden foreign policy for President Trump to say that we were picking up the tab and fighting the world's wars and that we were disrespected." Coons stated that Biden would work to restore U.S. involvement in alliances like NATO, and shore up global support to pressure China on labor and environmental standards. The exchange is part of a broad conversation with the Senator about COVID response and economic relief, Russian interference in elections, and the 2020 presidential race. The episode begins airing nationally in the U.S. on Friday, July 10. Check local listings.

Jon Lieber, managing director for the United States at Eurasia Group, shares his insights on US politics:

How is coronavirus jeopardizing the legitimacy of a 2020 presidential election?

Well, what coronavirus is doing is a lot of states are worrying about people who aren't going to want to come to the polling places in the fall, and they're worried about a shortage of polling workers who are going to want to come out and volunteer to get sick by interacting with a bunch people in person. So, what they're doing is they're looking at making a shift to vote-by-mail. Most states allow some form of absentee balloting today. Five states just automatically mail you a ballot and they don't do any in-person voting. But the challenge here is that a lot of states are unprepared for the sharp increase that's expected. In the last election, 25% of ballots were cast by mail. You may see 50, 60 or even more percent of ballots cast by mail this time, which could overwhelm election administration, which happens at the state level.

More Show less

The United States and the European Union have comparable population sizes, but their COVID-19 death toll trajectories have diverged. As of July 8, the average number of new deaths every three days in the EU had fallen 97 percent since peaking at the beginning of April. The US number, however, has fallen only 67 percent over the same period. That means that although both regions' death tolls peaked with only two weeks difference, the EU has flattened its COVID-19 fatality curve faster than America. Some experts attribute the difference to EU countries' more robust public health systems and better compliance with mask-wearing and other social distancing measures.