What We’re Watching: German Climate Skeptics and Somali Entrepreneurs

Populist Climate Skeptics – Signalista Alex Kliment spotted the trend of far-right parties rallying against the costs of mitigating climate change early in coverage of the Finnish elections. Now similar ideas have found a foothold in Germany. Ahead of elections for the European Parliament later this month, the far-right Alternative for Germany party has added charges that climate change is a hoax to its attacks on Muslim migrants.

Somali entrepreneurs – The (important) good news is that Mogadishu, Somalia's capital, is emerging from decades of war. The (much less important) bad news is that better times bring more people and heavier traffic. Not to worry. As of May 1, we now have the Go! app to help us hail a motorcycle for a quick ride through the congestion. The service helps customers order a ride online or flag down a yellow-clad driver passing by on a yellow bike.

We're Ignoring: Ugly American Politics and Beautiful North Korean Defectors

Calls to Scrap the US Electoral College – In 2016, Donald Trump became the second Republican in 16 years to be elected president while receiving fewer votes than his Democratic opponent. That has led to calls to scrap the US "electoral college," the system by which candidates win presidential elections via delegates from individual states rather than a majority of votes cast. Not surprisingly, 74 percent of Republican voters want to keep the current system, and 78 percent of Democrats want to scrap it. Unfortunately for Democrats, this change would require a constitutional amendment passed by two-thirds of the House and Senate and approved by 38 states, or a constitutional convention called by 34 states. Both are highly unlikely.

Defector Beauties – This South Korean television show centers on attractive young women who have defected from North Korea and includes the kind of zaniness designed to boost TV ratings in the Internet era. It's almost too weird to ignore. But not quite.

Is WhatsApp safe?

WhatsApp had a crazy hack! Hackers were able to get on your phone just by calling it. That's been patched but it's a reminder nothing is ever completely safe in 2019.

Why didn't Uber's IPO perform as promised?

Because they're losing tons of money. Because Lyft didn't do that well. Because their expansion into international markets, where they planned to go, has been harder than expected. Tough times at Uber.

Will cutting Huawei off from American technology hurt?

Trick question! Will it hurt Huawei? Yes, definitely. Will it hurt the American companiesthat supply Huawei? Yes definitely. Will it hurt consumers everywhere? Probably. Unless it changes the dynamics of the U.S. - China trade relationship in such a way that helps everybody, which is possible.

Should more cities ban facial recognition technology?

There's a tradeoff between privacy and safety. San Francisco just blocked facial recognition technology to help privacy but I think most cities are going to care more about their police departments being maximally effective and will choose safety.

In recent years, the accelerating cross-border flow of migrants fleeing violence and poverty has remade the politics of Europe and the United States. A startling new study from Stanford University warns that the conflicts we've seen to date may just be the opening act of a much larger and more dangerous drama.

Here's the study's argument in brief:

More Show less

President Donald Trump again dramatically escalated the stakes in the US-China rivalry on Wednesday with a move that made headlines in the US while landing like a grenade in Beijing.

The US Commerce Department announced yesterday that Huawei, China's leading tech company and already the source of major controversy, has been added to a list that prevents US tech suppliers from selling to Huawei without a license. That's even more important than the executive order, also published yesterday, that bans US telecom companies from using Huawei equipment.

More Show less

Voters in Australia head to the polls tomorrow to elect a new government. Though few outsiders closely follow politics in this country, this election tells interesting stories about three of the most important issues in today's world: Immigration, climate change, and managing changing relations with China. It's also a country with a steady economy—but lots of political turnover.

Consider:

More Show less