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Universal basic income — a system of wealth distribution that involves giving people a monthly wage just for being alive — just got a standing ovation at this year's TED conference.

Rutger Bregman, a Dutch historian and basic income advocate, gave a talk on the subject in which he explored a crucial question: Why do the poor make such poor decisions?

Poverty isn't a character flaw, Bregman explained. People in poverty tend to eat less healthfully, save less money, and do drugs more often because they don't have their basic needs met.

Bregman suggested that creating a system of basic income would be the quickest and easiest way to meet those needs.

"Poverty is not a lack of character. Poverty is a lack of cash," he said, before the TED crowd of 1,000-plus rose to its feet.

Bregman's standing ovation reflects the particular appeal that basic income is gaining among America's technologists. businessinsider.com
Have you heard? AT&T is going to “pave the way for the next generation of faster speeds” with something called 5G Evolution. No, it’s not actually a new 5G network, the much hyped successor to 4G that’s supposed to change the way we connect to the internet. It’s just a re-branded 4G offering, and AT&T’s sad attempt at seeming innovative.

If you already feel confused, don’t worry. AT&T probably isn’t offering 5G Evolution for your phone or in your area. The rollout is starting in certain parts of Austin, Texas and will only work with Samsung Galaxy S8 devices. AT&T promises to offer the new service in 20 metro areas by the end of the year.

The company also promises that that 5G Evolution will offer speeds “up to twice as fast” as 4G LTE connections on its network. However, there is a warning below this claim that says the press release contains “forward-looking statements that are subject to risks and uncertainties, and actual results may differ materially.”

Weirdly, AT&T announced this very limited rollout of its new fake 5G service just a couple hours before news reports revealed that Verizon had outbid AT&T on a major chunk of 5G spectrum. (That’s for a real 5G network.) Who knows if the two announcements are related. There’s a good chance that they’re not, since AT&T first announced 5G Evolution back in January. gizmodo.com
Experts say you should cover your webcam, and the ISCC offers the best cover design we've seen.

One of the most unsettling revelations to come from Edward Snowden’s leak of classified documents is the National Security Agency’s (NSA) ability to hack into our webcams. The NSA is so sophisticated, it has specific tools to take over devices, hijack microphones, snap clandestine photos, and even record videos, according to The Intercept.

In April, FBI Director James Comey admitted he covers his webcam with a piece of tape. A couple months later, internet sleuths noticed Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg did so, too. By September, Comey told a conference room we should all cover up our webcams.

But there are better solutions than stickers and tape for the design conscious among us, and a new Kickstarter campaign seems to offer one of the best solutions yet.

The Intelligent Security Camera Cover (ISCC) claims to be the “the world’s thinnest, most ergonomic, and seamless mechanical webcam privacy cover.” After browsing the many mechanical camera covers available online, we’re inclined to agree. digitaltrends.com
Advertisers have found ways to bombard us with promotions no matter what we’re doing: watching TV, checking social media, and even when streaming music. But the future of advertising could be even more invasive when the next public event you attend is full of flying video drones projecting inescapable video everywhere you look.

NTT Docomo, one of Japan’s largest wireless carriers, created this unique flying sphere that’s surrounded by eight curved LED strips that can spin at high speed while it’s flying. (As light and thin as LCD displays have become, they’re still relatively heavy for a battery-powered drone to hoist into the air.)

This approach can create what is essentially a flying video screen with minimal weight to improve battery life and flight times. The design also allows the drone’s propellers to be hidden inside, so as not to obstruct images or videos being displayed.

The image resolution on this 35-inch-wide prototype is limited to just 144 x 136 pixels—lower resolution than even the Apple Watch’s tiny screen. So if you were hoping one of these drones could follow you around letting you binge on Netflix all day, you won’t have the best experience. But as the technology improves, eventually this flying video drone could reach HD resolutions, and maybe even 4K. gizmodo.com
To residents of Maryland, catching an occasional glimpse of a huge white blimp floating in the sky is not unusual. For more than a decade, the military has used the state as a proving ground for new airships destined for Afghanistan or Iraq. But less known is that the test flights have sometimes served a more secretive purpose involving National Security Agency surveillance.

Back in 2004, a division of the NSA called the National Tactical Integration Office fitted a 62-foot diameter airship called the Hover Hammer with an eavesdropping device, according to a classified document published Monday by The Intercept. The agency launched the three-engine airship at an airfield near Solomons Island, Maryland. And from there, the blimp was able to vacuum up “international shipping data emanating from the Long Island, New York area,” the document says. The spy equipment on the airship was called Digital Receiver Technology — a proprietary system manufactured by a Maryland-based company of the same name — which can intercept wireless communications, including cellphone calls.

With the exception of a few military websites that refer to the Hover Hammer as an “antenna mounting platform,” there is little information in the public domain about it. The classified NSA document describes the airship as a “helium-filled sphere inside another sphere, constructed of Spectra, the same material used to make bullet-proof vests. … It ‘hovers’ above small arms fire, has a negligible [infrared] signature, and radar can’t detect it.” The agency added in the document that it planned to conduct more tests with the Hover Hammer, and said it wanted to develop a larger version of the blimp that would be capable of flying at altitudes of 68,000 feet for up to six months at a time. “More experiments, including the use of onboard imagery sensors, are being conducted,” it said.

The NSA declined to comment for this story. theintercept.com
The biggest hunger relief organization in the U.S. is using technology to help restaurants, grocery stores, and other businesses fight food waste. 

In honor of Earth Day on Saturday, Feeding America launched a new tech platform called MealConnect. As its name implies, the free service taps into the organization's large network, connecting businesses that have surplus food with thousands of food banks and other meal programs.

The goal is to advance the organization's mission of solving hunger in the country by 2025 by tackling the persistent yet often overlooked problem of food waste caused by businesses and food chains.

MealConnect lets stores and other donors — whether it's a Starbucks, local butcher, grocery store, or farmers market — to post when they have food that would otherwise go to waste. Then, the platform's algorithms figure out the best local food pantry or program to pick up the extra food and distribute it quickly to those in need.  mashable.com