A Tough Act to Follow—Zimbabwe Edition

Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa has problems of a different kind. Successor to the iron-fisted Robert Mugabe, Mnangagwa’s first challenge is to stabilize, then revitalize, an economy Mugabe left in ruins. That means showing the public he’s made progress on fighting corruption and bringing back money that wealthy Zimbabwean companies and individuals have moved abroad.


First, he offered an amnesty along with a limit of 90 days to bring the money back. That netted just under $600 million, according to the government, less than half the hoped-for sum. This week, Mnangagwa, known to friends and foes as “the Crocodile,” published the names of hundreds of companies, individuals, and even churches that, he says, still have a total of $827 million stashed outside the country’s borders. Return the money, he warns, or risk prison.

Second challenge: What to do with Mugabe, who appears unwilling to go quietly off to Strongman Heaven? Out of power now for four months, the elderly former dictator still has much to say to anyone who will listen. After praising his successor and calling for unity in the immediate aftermath of his ouster, he now claims he has been treated disgracefully and was the victim of a coup.

Mnangagwa has no interest in a fight with his larger-than-life predecessor. “The former president is our founding father, we respect him. He is now 94 and he is bound to forget what he says,” Mnangagwa said this week. But it’s not helping the new president’s reputation as a corruption fighter that Mugabe’s sons have lately posted video on social media of lavish parties, flash clothes, and expensive cars paid for with taxpayer money.

Technology is changing the way modern geologists locate precious resources and harness energy. With supercomputers capable of processing geophysical data from all over the world, geologists are reconstructing models of the subsoil to identify hydrocarbon deposits. The efficiency of these powerful data processors can scan massive rock formations to help laboratories analyze geological systems. While today's modern geologists still have a compass and hammer to collect samples, petaflops of computing power are changing energy research at lightning speed.

Learn more at Eniday: Energy Is A Good Story

Are e-Cigs an example of tech gone wrong?


There's a real tradeoff in e-cigarettes. To the extent that people stop smoking regular cigarettes to use e-cigarettes, that's good. To the extent that new people who wouldn't have been smokers, particularly young people, start smoking, that's bad. Now there are real societal problems and health problems and the data show that there are lots of new people starting to smoke. I don't think of it as much as a tech problem though or tech gone wrong as much as a social problem.


Moviepass has shut down. Final thoughts?


Moviepass was this insane business. You pay them ten dollars a month and then they let you see all the 2D movies you want. That was one business plan. They had about 20 business plans. It's kind of just, there lots of tech companies where the business model is: pay us a dollar and we'll pay you two dollars. And then they say to the venture capitalists: "Look we're growing. Give us more money." Of course that's going to run out.


Nostalgia. What's the next old tech about to make a resurgence?


Snapchat. A year ago, it looked like they were poached. That Instagram was just going to knock them out. And now, everybody's using Snapchat again.

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