Armenia's Revolution

For any country transitioning from autocracy toward representative democracy, there is a crucial boundary. On one side is a rigged system in which, with or without staged elections, ordinary people have no power to call their leaders to account. On the other are countries where citizens have proven, at least once, that popular protest can take down a government. This week, for the first time, Armenia crossed that line.

The story is familiar: Serzh Sargsyan served as president from 2008 until this spring. His critics say he did little to improve toxic relations with neighbors Turkey and Azerbaijan or ease a dangerous dependence on Russia. Ten percent of citizens have left the country. Nearly 30 percent still live below the poverty line.

But Sargsyan wasn’t done. He used a constitutional amendment to shift power to the office of prime minister and then persuaded parliament to appoint him to that job. Protesters filled the streets to reject this stunt and proved the police couldn’t make them go home. Now he’s out.

Armenia, like fellow former Soviet Republics Ukraine, Georgia, and Kyrgyzstan, has lots of problems. It’s easier to reject ideas than to build them, and nothing is solved simply by forcing Sargsyan to back down. But precedents like this force governments to care about public opinion in new ways.

In most of the former Soviet states, that day has not yet come.

Ferrera Erbognone, a small town in the northern Italian province of Pavia, is home to one of the most cutting-edge computing centers in the world: Eni's Green Data Center. All of the geophysical and seismic prospecting data Eni produces from all over the world ends up here. Now, the Green Data Center is welcoming a new supercomputing system: HPC5, an advanced version of the already powerful HPC4. Due to be completed by early 2020, HPC5 will triple the Green Data Center's computing power, from 18.6 to 52 petaflops, equivalent to 52 million billion mathematical operations per second.

Learn more at Eniday: Energy Is A Good Story

Why is Instagram going to hide likes?

Well, one explanation is that they want to encourage healthy behavior and a like can make us addicted. Second explanation is that they get rid of the likes, they can get more of the cut in the market for influencers, who get money from advertisers, sometimes based on likes.

More Show less

This week, the process of impeaching President Trump entered the critical phase as the House of Representatives held its first public hearings. The battle lines are now drawn.

The Democrats say that there is compelling evidence that Trump withheld badly needed military to aid to an ally at war to pressure that country's government to provide him with personal political benefit by helping him discredit a political rival.

The Republicans say that the evidence comes mainly from witnesses with little or no direct contact with the president, and that the military aid was delivered to Ukraine without the Ukrainian president taking the actions Trump is alleged to have demanded.

More Show less

The fight for the Nile: In recent days, the Trump administration has tried to mediate three-way talks between Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia on their long-running dispute to access the waters of the Nile. In short, a 1929 treaty gave Egypt and Sudan rights to nearly all Nile waters and the right to veto any attempt by upstream countries to claim a greater share. But in 2011, Ethiopia began work on the so-called Grand Renaissance Dam on the Blue Nile tributary from where 85 percent of the Nile's waters flow. The project, due for completion next year, will be Africa's largest hydroelectric power plant. Egypt, which draws 85 percent of its water from the Nile, has made threats that raised fears of military action. We're watching as this conflict finally comes to a head early next year.

More Show less