Watching and Ignoring

WHAT WE’RE WATCHING

India’s water shortage –​ An Indian government think tank has warned that 600 million people in that country are at risk of extreme water scarcity and that 21 cities are likely to run out of groundwater in the next two years. This is not just about thirst. About 80 percent of India’s water is used for agriculture. Less water means lower crop yields, less food, higher food prices, and, perhaps, future political upheaval.


God’s Wrath on Rodrigo Duterte –​ In a country where more than 80 percent of the population is Roman Catholic, President Rodrigo Duterte responded to recent criticism from religious workers this week with a profanity-heavy speech in which he criticized God for casting Adam and Eve from Eden: “Who is this stupid God? He’s really stupid. You created something perfect, and then you think of an event that would tempt and destroy the quality of your work,” Duterte said.

Reindeer Zero Tolerance –​ Jon Georg Dale, Norway’s agriculture minister, says that, without a new bilateral deal to regulate grazing, his country will kill any Swedish reindeer that crosses his country’s border. #FatherChristmasLawyersUp

Ali Beiranvand –​ Your Signal authors are sick of hearing that Ronaldo “missed” that penalty kick in Portugal’s World Cup match with Iran. Alireza Beiranvand, Iran’s superlative goalkeeper, blocked that kick. We admire Beiranvand’s skill. More than that, we salute a once homeless young man, the son of nomads, who slept on the street outside the Tehran football club he hoped would one day give him a spot. Iran did not advance to the World Cup knockout round, but Ali Beiranvand can forever say that, when his moment came, he batted down a challenge from the (arguably) greatest player in the world.

WHAT WE’RE IGNORING

Warnings that immigrants bring crime –​ Multiple studies have shown that immigrants commit crimes at much lower rates than native-born citizens, and some have found that crime rates tend to drop in places where large groups of immigrants are admitted. With a hat tip to Josh Marshall, here are three. Click herehere, and here.

November 4 –​ The Trump administration announced this week that anyone buying Iranian crude oil after November 4, 2018 is subject to sanctions. On November 4, 1979, Iranians stormed the US embassy in Iran and took more than 60 hostages, triggering an historic 444-day standoff. We can ignore this, because it’s surely not intentional. But as coincidences go, that’s a good one.

Boris Johnson –​ Britain’s foreign minister claimed this week that President Trump reversed course on the policy of separating children from their parents because Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May told him to. “No sooner had she spoken than the president signed an executive order repealing the policy,” said Mr. Johnson. #BorisOnCrack

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.

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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.

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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.

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