What we are watching: What Does “Dead” Mean in Hong Kong?

More Trouble in Hong Kong — The headlines say that Chief Executive Carrie Lam has declared the proposed extradition law that has triggered massive (sometimes violent) protests to be "dead," but demonstrators remain defiant. Joshua Wong, a protest leader, tweeted yesterday that Lam is a "habitual liar" and points out that the bill has not been formally withdrawn from the legislative agenda. As we've seen in other countries in recent years, demonstrations driven by a single grievance can abruptly become a broader expression of public anxiety, frustration, and fury. At this point, it appears many protesters won't believe anything Lam says, and Beijing will remain on high alert to ensure Hong Kong doesn't become ungovernable.

A Big Resignation in Mexico — Since taking office, Mexico's President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has tried to pursue a leftwing economic agenda without scaring off the financial markets whose investment is critical for the country's economic stability. On Tuesday, that balancing act got much harder when his Finance Minister Carlos Urzua, a former economics professor seen as a bulwark against Lopez Obrador's more extravagant spending impulses, abruptly quit, citing differences of opinion with the president and fiscal incompetence among top officials. We are watching to see if Lopez Obrador tries to restore investor confidence, or if he is willing to take a much riskier gamble on Mexico's future now.

The court case that could break the internet — On Tuesday, the European Court of Justice heard arguments in a case that could determine whether it's legal for internet users' personal data to cross the Atlantic. The case stems from a complaint brought by 31-year-old Austrian privacy activist Max Schrems, who argued that the US mass electronic surveillance programs revealed by the NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden should be enough to prohibit Facebook from scooping up Europeans' personal data, according to the bloc's tough data protection laws. He has already won one court case back in 2015, and now the court will rule on whether two widely-used legal mechanisms for transferring data outside the EU offer sufficient protections to the bloc's citizens. If the answer is no, it would throw internet business models into turmoil and rile US-EU relations. The court is expected to rule on the case later this year.

What we are ignoring:

President Donald Trump's social media summit – Tomorrow, the White House will host a group of "digital leaders for a robust conversation on the opportunities and challenges of today's online environment." On the guest list: A gaggle of media personalities and political activists who have long accused sites like Twitter and Facebook of suppressing conservative views. Not on the guest list, according to recent media reports: Twitter or Facebook. There are plenty of tech issues worth discussing here — including tech companies' growing influence over the way information flows through democratic societies. But this looks more like a fact-free reality TV stunt than a serious attempt at a conversation.

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.

Following another inconclusive election this week, Israel's politics are in turmoil, and the man at the center of the battle to form the next government is neither the embattled prime minister nor the opposition leader who appears to have bested him.

More Show less

Justin Trudeau's Bid to Save Face – Canada's prime minister shouldn't play dress-up anymore. An unfortunate series of outfits he and his family wore during a visit to India in 2018 drew widespread mockery, and now there are old photos and video of Justin Trudeau wearing brown and black makeup on separate occasions at costume parties years ago. Trudeau has acknowledged that the costumes are racist and apologized profusely. It'll be up to Canadian voters to decide on October 21 just how seriously they take these spectacular lapses of judgment and good taste. In the meantime, Signal readers can enjoy this video of Trudeau throwing himself down a flight of stairs.

More Show less

30: A U.S. drone strike aiming to hit an ISIS stronghold in Afghanistan, killed at least 30 civilians. There are around 2,000 ISIS fighters in Afghanistan, but some have been known to switch alliances between different insurgent groups, according to the US military.

More Show less