Director Sir Peter Jackson emerges from from a Hobbit house before delivering a speech at the 'The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey' World Premiere at Embassy Theatre on November 28, 2012 in Wellington, New Zealand. - 

Recent episodes of erratic market behavior -- like the "flash crash" -- have given plenty of reasons for concern about high-speed computer trading. Now a new study also finds high speed trading is costing average investors -- those of us you might call "slow speed," I guess.

When "the Hobbit" comes out next Friday, it'll be the first major outing for a new movie technology. It's the first major studio movie to be shot at 48 frames per second. When fans got their first look at a clip of the movie this summer, many were stunned by it -- and not necessarily in a good way.

With a second-term acoming, President Obama is considering some new ambassadorial appointments... Including, mostly likely, a few plum posts for big campaign donors. Bloomberg news this morning reports one of the more intriguing possibilities: Vogue Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour is in the running to be the next U.S. ambassador to France or the U.K. That notion is controversial; she's somewhat lacking in formal foreign policy experience. And if you've seen or read "The Devil Wears Prada" you know that while Wintour is regarded as extremely capable, "diplomatic" might not be the first word to come to mind.

Today the British company "Blue Energy" unveiled plans for the largest solar power plant in Africa -- and one of the largest in the world. Construction will begin next year in Ghana. It would increase the country's electricity capacity by 6 percent.

Today representatives of the National Hockey League and the players association sit down again to try to resolve their labor dispute. The NHL lockout has already cost about a third of the hockey season.

A fungal disease that has infected most of the ash trees in Denmark - has now put a wide swath of British woodland in jeopardy. The financial and environmental repercussions could be dire.
And finally, robots have put plenty of people out of work, but now they're taking the jobs of some hard-workin' dolphins. For years, the Navy has trained dolphins to hunt down mines in the ocean. But now, according to the San Diego Union Tribune, a torpedo-shaped-robot can do the job just as well -- and without the seven years of dolphin training. The 20 affected dolphins will not need to apply for unemployment benefits. Like other military folks whose jobs become obsolete, the dolphins will be reassigned.

Follow Jeff Horwich at @jeffhorwich