Employees for sale? Google’s in!

There has been speculation for some time about Google buying HTC (a smartphone company out of Taiwan). Yesterday those rumors were put to rest. Google isn’t buying the company. Instead, it’s buying the staff behind the design of last year’s Pixel phone. And a bunch of intellectual property. For the small price of $1.1 billion.

HTC made the hardware for the Google Pixel smartphone. Many had speculated that Google would buy the company to be able to provide the whole spectrum of a smartphone release. Instead, HTC will live on.

Do exactly what I ask and your phone won’t get hurt

Hackers will always find a new way to wreak havoc on our lives. The latest one involves using the “Find my phone” service, which was originally intended to enable you to disable your phone in case it was ever stolen.

Now, hackers are turning the tables.

Clever hackers are now using the “Find my phone” service to hold phones hostage. All hackers need is your username and password. Two-factor authentication doesn’t weigh in here, because it isn’t required for “Find my phone.” The whole point is that you don’t have your phone.

How does it work? The hacker disables the phone, then demands a certain amount of bitcoin to turn it back on.

How to prevent it? Apple recommends changing your iCloud password immediately, if you’ve ever used it for any other service. Or just disable the “Find my phone” service in settings.

And then, of course, don’t lose your phone…

Now there is such a thing as a free lunch

What happens to people’s quality of life and motivation to do work when they receive free money, no strings attached?

That’s the question Y Combinator (YC), the largest startup accelerator in Silicon Valley, is attempting to answer with its new experiment.

The experiment includes choosing 3,000 Americans (across two states), dividing them into two groups, and giving them money. The first group will receive $1,000 per month for up to five years. The second will be considered the control group and will only receive $50 per month.

The experiment is looking at the idea of “universal basic income” (or UBI), which is a system of wealth distribution in which every citizen receives a standard salary, just for being a citizen. Skeptics argue that UBI would decrease the motivation of otherwise productive citizens.

Think your computer can’t think? Think again.

A team of researchers at Wits University in South Africa have successfully linked a human brain directly to the Internet.

Wait, whaaaa??

Us too. The project takes brainwave EEG signals gathered by a device on the thinker’s head. The signals are transmitted to a computer (they used a Raspberry Pi), which “live streams the data to an application programming interface and displays the data on an open website where anyone can view the activity.”

It’s called “Brainternet,” and it basically turns the brain into “an Internet of Things node on the World Wide Web.