White House adds a tech adviser | FCW


Matt Lira, most recently the senior advisor to House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), will become the special assistant to the president for innovation policy and initiatives.

Source: White House adds a tech adviser — FCW

Apple is tired of making Coca-Cola and now wants to sell champagne | The Guardian


“What’s great about this country is that America started the tradition where the richest consumers buy essentially the same things as the poorest,” Andy Warhol wrote in his 1975 autobiography. “You can be watching TV and see Coca-Cola, and you know that the president drinks Coke, Liz Taylor drinks Coke, and just think, you can drink Coke, too. A Coke is a Coke and no amount of money can get you a better Coke than the one the bum on the corner is drinking.”

Apple’s mobile product lines, like the iPhone and iPad, have suggested that it wants to make the Coca-Cola of the technological world.

Not for Apple the vast segmented portfolios of the likes of Samsung.

Instead, it has generally had an incredibly simple offer: the best phone or tablet it can make, or, for the more price-conscious, the best phone or tablet it could make last year.

Source: Apple is tired of making Coca-Cola and now wants to sell champagne | Alex Hern | Technology | The Guardian

Unicorn Swaps and Falling Complacency | Bloomberg View


First, I’d do it at a bank. I know, I know: Fintech startups are supposed to disrupt banks and steal their business.

But a tiny startup with a clever idea that meets with 65 investors has barely scratched the surface of potential interest in unicorn swaps.

What about the mid-sized mutual fund manager who wants long unicorn exposure but doesn’t get invited into late-stage rounds?

What about the in-house hedge fund of a giant tech incumbent that wants to double down on its plans to crush a unicorn competitor?

What about the thousands of rich private-wealth clients who fancy themselves tech geniuses?

The target list is long but the hit rate is low. You need a massive sales force, longstanding relationships, standardized marketing materials, existing ISDAs (International Swaps and Derivatives Association) and account agreements.

Disruptive financial innovation just works better at an incumbent bank.

Source: Unicorn Swaps and Falling Complacency – Bloomberg View

Keeping the Colliding Cables Apart | Design News


Kineo Flexible Cables was developed with a specific focus on applications in robotics. The cables that power articulated robot systems are prone to failure due to repeated stress and collisions in the operating environment. The new release is designed to reduce these risks by optimizing dynamic cable performance and reducing material stresses in a virtual prototype that lets the user model collision-free cable behavior in motion simulation applications.

Source: Keeping the Colliding Cables Apart | Design News

Predictive-policing startup CivicScape released all its code so it can be scoured for bias | Quartz


Algorithms are playing an increasing role in our lives and society. They’re responsible for much of the information we surface online, and are being relied upon to help governments make policy decisions. What’s troubling is how little we know about how they work.

That’s why opponents of predictive policing, such as the American Civil Liberties Union, have made transparency their primary concern.

The ACLU has argued that when these algorithms are developed behind closed doors and then applied to the public, citizens can’t accurately understand how they’re being policed—meaning they can’t hold police accountable for potentially discriminatory practices.

Source: Predictive-policing startup CivicScape released all its code so it can be scoured for bias — Quartz

London attack: British-born attacker ‘known to MI5’ | BBC News


The prime minister’s carefully-worded statement that the killer was once investigated raises more questions than it currently answers.

It appears that the individual was discounted as a “peripheral figure” on the edge of some other operation.

Every day they have to prioritize, or triage, who to pursue and who to discount. People who were once a threat change their thinking. They grow up, have kids and settle down. MI5, meanwhile, is tasked with focusing on those they know of with the most advanced plans.

Some of those they discount, or temporarily turn away from, later turn out to be more dangerous than initially thought.

Source: London attack: British-born attacker ‘known to MI5’ – BBC News

Brazil ramps up domestic space satellite, rocket programs | Reuters


The 5.8-tonne geostationary satellite will beam broadband internet from an altitude of 36,000 kilometers (22,000 miles) to remote parts of the South American nation and provide secure communication channels for military and government personnel.

The mission took on new urgency after revelations in 2013 that the U.S. National Security Administration had eavesdropped on Brazil’s president at the time.

“We cannot guarantee Brazil’s sovereignty as long as our defense communications are being carried by other countries’ satellites,” said Jose Raimundo Braga Coelho, president of the Brazilian Space Agency. “Brazil is a gigantic country and we need Brazilian satellites watching over it.”

Source: Brazil ramps up domestic space satellite, rocket programs | Reuters

Army: Electronic domain is contested | FCW


.. as much as the Army is seeking technological solutions — both developing new technologies to stay ahead of adversaries and looking at analog technologies as a backup — it needs to factor EW and degraded environment conditions into its training.

“We really haven’t worried about this for the last 15 years,” Lt. Gen. John Murray said.

“Training and leader development may be the thing that is the best investment, at least in the short term, because we have not exercised the muscle memory of full-spectrum operations,” Maj. Gen. Robert M. Dyess said.

Source: Army: Electronic domain is contested — FCW

Now We Know Why Microsoft Bought LinkedIn


As a board member, Hoffman will be Microsoft’s ambassador in the Valley. Among a core group of constituents for whom Microsoft may not factor into conversation, Hoffman will work to raise its profile. The trickle-down effect has the potential to be tremendous as Microsoft competes for partners and talent.

The importance of reputation to a successful turnaround cannot be understated. As evidenced by Uber’s recent debacles, reputations are stubbornly difficult to dislodge.

Source: Now We Know Why Microsoft Bought LinkedIn

Germany Converts Coal Mine Into Giant Battery Storage for Surplus Solar and Wind Power


Germany is embarking on an innovative project to turn a hard coal mine into a giant battery that can store surplus solar and wind energy and release it when supplies are lean.

The Prosper-Haniel coal mine in the German state of North-Rhine Westphalia will be converted into a 200 megawatt pumped-storage hydroelectric reservoir that acts like a giant battery.

The capacity is enough to power more than 400,000 homes, Governor Hannelore Kraft said, according to Bloomberg.

Source: Germany Converts Coal Mine Into Giant Battery Storage for Surplus Solar and Wind Power