The Navy’s Autonomous Swarm

The U.S. Navy recently demonstrated its Autonomous Swarm project, a fleet of unmanned vessels designed to overwhelm an adversary.

As a large ship moved through the water, a helicopter overhead spotted an unidentified boat approaching and sent a warning to a small fleet of escort boats. Some were armed with loudspeakers, others with flashing lights, another with a .50 caliber machine gun.

Once the fleet zeroed in on the threatening vessel with radar and infrared sensors, some of the escort boats broke away and quickly encircled it. They flashed lights and blasted warnings through loudspeakers. Threat resolved.

All of the escort boats were unmanned—and yet they moved together as a group, thanks to what’s known as “swarm intelligence.”

Unusual Ways To Retain Employees

Silicon Valley

Two Silicon Valley giants now offer women a game-changing perk: Apple and Facebook will pay for employees to freeze their eggs.

Facebook recently began covering egg freezing, and Apple will start in January, spokespeople for the companies told NBC News. The firms appear to be the first major employers to offer this coverage for non-medical reasons.

When successful, egg freezing allows women to put their fertility on ice, so to speak, until they’re ready to become parents. But the procedure comes at a steep price: Costs typically add up to at least $10,000 for every round, plus $500 or more annually for storage.

With notoriously male-dominated Silicon Valley firms competing to attract top female talent, the coverage may give Apple and Facebook a leg up among the many women who devote key childbearing years to building careers.

Perk Up: Facebook and Apple Now Pay for Women to Freeze Eggs

Sometimes Sponsorships Require Coaching

Surface

Microsoft’s Surface is the “official tablet” of the NFL, and it’s trying to make sure that sportscasters get the message. After it became clear that announcers may not know what the Surface was — with one announcer referring to it as an “iPad-like tool” — Microsoft has been working with broadcasters to make sure that mistake doesn’t happen again.

“It’s true, we have coached up a select few,” Microsoft tells Business Insider. “That coaching will continue to ensure our partners are well equipped to discuss Surface when the camera pans to players using the device during games.”

Microsoft is ‘coaching’ NFL announcers not to call the Surface an iPad

News Going Shorter And Longer, Cutting Out The Middle

In a Q&A with Chris Roush, MarketWatch editor in chief Jeremy Olshan expressed sentiments that seem to reflect the journalistic approach going forward for the financial media industry.

We need to reshape how markets and financial stories are told to better reflect how they are consumed. What do I mean by that? Like most news sites, MarketWatch still leans too heavily on the 750-word story — a legacy of print newspapers that has outlived its usefulness. We want to go shorter – and longer.

The majority of our stories will soon be under 400 words — breaking everything down into short bursts of news and insight that cut straight to what is most important to readers, without all the empty calories and filler journalists love to stuff in the sausage . We will also do longer, deep dives on important stories that warrant such treatment. This is the way the digital news is going: tall and venti, no more grande.

Regulating Away Bitcoin

Bitcoin

It’s very easy for the government to stop the proliferation of Bitcoin, and ultimately send the cryptocurrency to the value that all worthless speculative paper eventually goes to–zero. The government doesn’t have to resort to draconian, unpalatable, freedom-killing laws that try to stop consenting adults from innocently trading Bitcoins amongst each other. All the government has to do is impose a full-reserve banking requirements on any institution that purports to engage in Bitcoin banking. Far from wading into controversy, it can impose such a requirement under the seemingly noble and politically palatable auspice of “protecting” Bitcoin users from risky behavior on the part of banks, even though the requirement will have the side effect of eventually extincting the cryptocurrency.

Free Banking on a Bitcoin Standard–The State Prepares its Death Blow

Moles Tired Of SEC Incompetence

Mole

A tip that helped spur New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s June lawsuit against Barclays Plc was first shopped to the SEC, as was another that triggered his investigation into a controversial trading practice at BlackRock Inc., said people with direct knowledge of the matter. By going to Schneiderman [first], informants risk hurting their chances of collecting as much money as possible from the SEC.

The SEC, responding to its failures to police Wall Street before the 2008 credit crunch, tried to improve its bounty program with input from the Internal Revenue Service and other government agencies that have long paid whistle-blowers. While the overhaul benefited from congressional approval to offer bigger rewards in a wider swath of cases, informants say they’re frustrated by the SEC’s slow process.

Wall Street Moles Go to New York’s Top Cop, Spurning SEC Cash