Texas Health Care Costs, Project Shield, Google SERPs, More: Thursday Buzz, May 17, 2018


State of Reform: New Texas Department of Insurance website compares medical costs across the state . “The Texas Department of Insurance has launched a new website that provides cost information for 200 common medical procedures in Texas. The website… allows consumers to evaluate the costs for various inpatient/outpatient procedures, imaging services, lab tests, and office visits, and compare them by zip code throughout the state. The website also compares in-network and out-of-network claims data.”


CNET: Google rolls out free cyberattack shield for elections and campaigns. “On Wednesday, Jigsaw announced that Project Shield, its free DDoS protection tool, would be available to political campaigns, candidates and political action committees. In the past, the tool — which protects websites from attacks by filtering the flood of traffic — had been available only for journalists, human rights advocates and, since last March, election monitors and human rights groups.”

SEO Roundtable: Google Cuts Down Search Snippets By Half. “Less than six months ago, Google increased the max characters shown in the search results snippets box to 320 characters but now it seems Google has cut it down to 160 or less characters over the past week. I’ve been hearing for the past week that Google is showing searchers a lot fewer details or characters in the search results snippet, but waited it out because Google is always testing stuff.”

New York Times: Facebook Says It Deleted 865 Million Posts, Mostly Spam. “On Tuesday, the Silicon Valley company published numbers for the first time detailing how much and what type of content it takes down from the social network. In an 86-page report, Facebook revealed that it deleted 865.8 million posts in the first quarter of 2018, the vast majority of which were spam, with a minority of posts related to nudity, graphic violence, hate speech and terrorism.”


Boing Boing: Site generates privacy-preserving YouTube embeds. “Jag Talon”s Embed Bud is a single-serving site (made with Glitch) that generates less invasive YouTube embed snippets to use on the web. It’s a simple trick that adds the encrypted-media attribute to the http iframe so you don’t have to.”

Lifehacker: How to Find Stories and Messages in Snapchat’s Latest Redesign. “Earlier this year, Snapchat rolled out a drastic redesign meant to make the confusing social network a little easier for newcomers to understand. But the new layout flopped, and now Snapchat is admitting defeat with a second redesign that undoes almost all of those changes. Here’s what you need to know about using the re-redesigned Snapchat.”


The Guardian: Vatican advises nuns not to overindulge in social media. “The Vatican has advised cloistered nuns not to overindulge in social media to avoid sullying their contemplative world with ‘noise, news and words’. In a document published by the Vatican’s office for religious life, nuns were told that while they were allowed to use Facebook or Twitter and read online news, they were advised to do so ‘with discretion and sobriety’.”

National Library of Scotland: 100 years of Scottish photography secured for the nation. “an exceptional collection of historic photographs that captures a century of life in Scotland is to be shared with the public following a special collaboration between the National Library of Scotland and the National Galleries of Scotland. More than 14,000 images — dating from the earliest days of photography (1840s) through to the 1940s — have been jointly acquired with support from the Scottish Government, the National Lottery and the Art Fund.” There are plans to digitize and put the collection online over the next three years.

Hyperallergic: Soon You May Be Able to Text with 2,000 Egyptian Hieroglyphs. “Over 2,000 new Hieroglyphs may soon be available for use on cell phones, computers, and other digital devices. The Unicode Consortium recently released a revised draft of standards for encoding Egyptian Hieroglyphs. If approved, the available Hieroglyphs will provide greater access and global uniformity for Egyptologists, covering a much longer period of Hieroglyphic usage than ever before.”


TechCrunch: Exploit puts popular web and mobile apps at risk. “A new exploit could allow users to bypass security checks in Electron, a popular cross-platform development framework. The exploit, posted by Trustwave, has been patched and developers should update their apps as soon as possible. The exploit could allow cross site scripting in some apps by turning on nodeIntegration, a method that allows the app to not only connect to its own modules but also Node.js modules.”


LSE Impact Blog: The academic papers researchers regard as significant are not those that are highly cited . “For many years, academia has relied on citation count as the main way to measure the impact or importance of research, informing metrics such as the Impact Factor and the h-index. But how well do these metrics actually align with researchers’ subjective evaluation of impact and significance? Rachel Borchardt and Matthew R. Hartings report on a study that compares researchers’ perceptions of significance, importance, and what is highly cited with actual citation data. The results reveal a strikingly large discrepancy between perceptions of impact and the metric we currently use to measure it.”


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