Why ‘Free Stuff’ Is Good ; Researchers Develop Near-Indestructible Robotic Insect ; and More Picks

Duncan Hunter Will Probably Get His Congressional Pension Despite Guilty Plea (Reader Steve)

The author writes, “Last month, Rep. Duncan Hunter pleaded guilty to felony conspiracy for converting campaign funds to personal use, but that doesn’t mean taxpayers will be off the hook for supporting the congressman after he retires. Hunter, an Alpine Republican who was sworn into office Jan. 3, 2009, has garnered at least 11 years of service toward the congressional portion of his pension, meaning he’ll still probably receive thousands of dollars in retirement benefits related to that service.”

Who Does Maryland’s Governor Really Work For? (Chris)

The author writes, “Hogan has not revealed payments he has received from specific real-estate transactions while in office. ‘He’s getting paid by developers all across the state — who he’s in charge of regulating in one way or another — and the public has no idea who they are,’ said Democrat John Willis, a former Maryland secretary of state and now a University of Baltimore politics professor and a historian of Maryland politics and government.” 

Why ‘Free Stuff’ Is Good (Chris)

From Current Affairs: “We take for granted ‘free stuff’ like roads and fire departments and schools. There should be nothing radical about asking the question: What else clearly needs to be governed on the same model? In what other domains of life does ‘pay per use’ end up causing avoidable injustices?” 

Google Develops AI to Improve Breast Cancer Screenings (Mili)

The author writes, “According to the American Cancer Society, mammograms miss about 20% of breast cancers in the United States, and false positives are common, resulting in women being called back for more tests, sometimes even biopsies. … Google’s AI model was trained on a representative dataset comprised of de-identified mammograms from more than 76,000 women in the United Kingdom and over 15,000 women from the United States to see if it could learn to spot signs of breast cancer in the scans.” 

VIDEO: This Creepy Robotic Insect Is Basically Indestructible (Mili)

From Mashable: “Researchers … have developed an ultra-light robotic insect that remains functional even after getting squashed by a fly swatter. DEAnsect weighs less than a gram and it’s propelled by hair-thin artificial muscles.”