Political Lobbying, Emergencies, Flash, More: Wednesday Afternoon Buzz, July 26, 2017


Kaiser Health News: Follow The Money: Drugmakers Deploy Political Cash As Prices And Anger Mount. “Two federal investigations — one examining opioid sales, another about a multiple sclerosis drug whose price had soared to $34,000 a vial — were only part of the troubles Mallinckrodt faced as the year began…. This year, the company left the industry trade group Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, or PhRMA, after the group threatened to kick out companies that did not spend enough on research. Mallinckrodt, however, has been increasing its spending in another area: It has been writing checks to politicians.” The data resources are embedded in the article.


The Next Web: Google will keep people safe with real-time SOS Alerts in Search and Maps. “The so-called SOS Alerts initiative will introduce numerous help tools to Search and Maps. Designed to keep users safe, the new addition will display top stories, authoritative local information, emergency hotlines and websites, as well as various translations of useful phrases and terms.”

Yay! Adobe Flash is going to die! “IN 2010, STEVE Jobs banished Adobe Flash from the iPhone. It was too insecure, Jobs wrote, too proprietary, too resource-intensive, too unaccommodating for a platform run by fingertips instead of mouse clicks. All of those gripes hold true. And now, Adobe itself has finally conceded.”


PC World: 10 alternative browsers that prove there’s life after Chrome, Firefox, Edge, and Internet Explorer. “Despite the seemingly small world of web browsers, there’s an entire alternative universe out there. All of them are fighting for your attention with unique features and specializations around new interface concepts, privacy, music, social media, and more. If you’re looking to shake up your web-surfing experience, consider these 10 great browsers not named Firefox, Chrome, or Internet Explorer.”

The Next Web: 6 handy GIF-making apps you need in 2017. “GIFs are fun to share. It feels like there’s one for almost every different set of circumstances. But did you know that it’s not particularly difficult to create your own moving pictures? This is equally true for mobile devices, as there’s a wealth of GIF-making apps for Android and iOS.” I quite like MakeAGif; it’s a Web app.


The Guardian: Facebook worker living in garage to Zuckerberg: challenges are right outside your door. “Mark Zuckerberg’s travels throughout the United States to fulfill his 2017 ‘personal challenge’ to ‘learn about people’s hopes and challenges’ have seen him drive a tractor, meet recovering heroin addicts, don a hard hat and speak out against the staggering wealth inequality that his $68.5bn fortune so clearly represents. But to Nicole, a worker in one of Facebook’s cafeterias, they have also raised an important question: ‘Is he going to come here?'”

Neowin: Google says there will be 11 Daydream VR phones by the end of 2017. “At its I/O 2017 developer conference in May, Google shared details of improvements planned for its Daydream virtual reality platform. Daydream allows owners of certain Android smartphones to use them with Google’s Daydream View headset, along with a touch controller, creating a portable VR solution. Google CEO Sundar Pichai said yesterday, during Alphabet’s earnings call, that by the end of 2017, there will be 11 Android devices available that support Daydream.”


Ghacks: Google app takes screenshot of your searches on Android. “The company saves the search history of Google users already, but has added a new feature to the Google application that captures screenshots of all user searches automatically. The idea behind the feature is to provide users with direct access to their searches on the local device. If you need to recheck something, you can open the recent listing instead of having to run the search again.”

RESEARCH & OPINION Colorizing images with deep neural networks . “For decades, image colorization has enjoyed an enduring interest from the public. Though not without its share of detractors, there is something powerful about this simple act of adding color to black and white imagery, whether it be a way of bridging memories between the generations, or expressing artistic creativity. However, the process of manually adding color can be very time consuming and require expertise, with typical professional processes taking hours or days per image to perfect. A team of researchers has proposed a new technique to leverage deep networks and AI, which allows novices, even those with limited artistic ability, to quickly produce reasonable results.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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