Belgium Medicine, New York Health Care, Photobucket, More: Friday Buzz, May 18, 2018


Lexology: Belgian Federal Agency for Medicines and Health Products launches new medicines database . “The Federal Agency for Medicines and Health Products recently launched a new medicinal product database containing information on all medicinal products for human and veterinary use authorised in Belgium. This includes medicinal products that have a valid marketing authorisation, registration, authorisation for parallel import or temporary authorisation for use in Belgium.”

LocalSYR: NY Health Dept. launches interactive tool to find health info, costs. “The New York Department of Health announced a new tool that allows consumers and researchers to find various health information. The tool, called the NYS Health Connector, provides information such as the cost of medical procedures and the frequency of those procedures that are performed at hospitals.”


Denver Post: Photobucket restores photos “taken hostage,” hopes to lure back customers with cheaper plans after last year’s $399 debacle. “Photobucket is back! And so are all of the photos that disappeared after the Denver company decided last summer to charge up to $399 for hosting images. The company, which became one of the nation’s largest photo-sharing sites in the early 2000s, said Thursday that it has rejiggered management and wants to do ‘the right thing for customers’ and dropped hosting fees to $2.49 a month or $24.99 a year, though for a limited time, fees are $1.99 a month, or $19.99 a year.”

Vanity Fair: Uh, Did Google Fake Its Big A.I. Demo?. “The demo was indeed impressive. It was also pretty unsettling, as many people quickly noted. (‘Horrifying,’ wrote one critic.) But is it possible that the promise of Google’s advanced artificial-intelligence tech is too good to be true? As Axios noted Thursday morning, there was something a little off in the conversations the A.I. had on the phone with businesses, suggesting that perhaps Google had faked, or at least edited, its demo. Unlike a typical business (Axios called more than two dozen hair salons and restaurants), the employees who answered the phone in Google’s demos don’t identify the name of the business, or themselves. Nor is there any ambient noise in Google’s recordings, as one would expect in a hair salon or a restaurant. At no point in Google’s conversations with the businesses did the employees who answered the phone ask for the phone number or other contact information from the A.I. Further, California is a two-party consent state, meaning that both parties need to consent in order for a phone conversation to be legally recorded. Did Google seek the permission of these businesses before calling them for the purposes of the demo? Was it staged in the simulated manner of reality TV?”

BetaNews: YouTube Music and YouTube Premium launch May 22. “Google has announced a new music streaming service, YouTube Music, as well as YouTube Premium, both of which launch next week. The two services come as a result of Google splitting up YouTube Red. YouTube Premium will be available for $11.99 per month, while YouTube Music will have free and paid-for versions. The free edition will be ad-supported, but these can be banished for $9.99 per month.”


Eurasia Review: What’s Trending In Fake News? New Tool Shows What Stories Go Viral And If Bots Are To Blame. “Researchers at the Indiana University Observatory on Social Media have launched upgrades to two tools playing a major role in countering the spread of misinformation online. The improvements to Hoaxy and Botometer are supported by the Knight Prototype Fund on Misinformation, a joint venture of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Rita Allen Foundation and the Democracy Fund to address concerns about the spread of misinformation and to build trust in quality journalism. A third tool — an educational game designed to make people smarter news consumers — also launches with the upgrades.”


Columbia Journalism Review: The platform patrons: How Facebook and Google became two of the biggest funders of journalism in the world. “Taken together, Facebook and Google have now committed more than half a billion dollars to various journalistic programs and media partnerships over the past three years, not including the money spent internally on developing media-focused products like Facebook’s Instant Articles and Google’s competing AMP mobile project. The result: These mega-platforms are now two of the largest funders of journalism in the world.”

HarnessLink: Capturing The Cup to debut on Facebook Live. “Woodbine Entertainment is set to debut a new Facebook Live harness racing series titled ‘Capturing The Cup’ this Thursday. The five-episode series will feature past champions of the Pepsi North America Cup reflecting on their victories, close calls and other memorable moments from Canada’s richest harness race.”

Wired: The high-stakes race to stop the trafficking of priceless artefacts. “In December 2016, David Hidalgo received a photograph of a 17th-century Peruvian painting. The unsigned artwork, of the Virgen de Guadalupe, depicts the Virgin Mary surrounded by apparitions and tells the story of her appearance to Saint Juan Diego near Mexico City in 1531. Hidalgo’s tip-off came via email from a source who had seen the painting on show at the Bowers Museum in California, where it was on loan. Hidalgo’s source suspected that the painting had been stolen.”


Vern Buchanan: Buchanan Bill Creates National Opioid Database. “Congressman Vern Buchanan’s bipartisan bill to create a national database on the best ways for patients to manage pain and avoid opioid addiction is expected to be approved today by the House Ways and Means Committee.”

ZDNet: Cell phone tracking firm exposed millions of Americans’ real-time locations. “A company that collects the real-time location data on millions of cell phone customers across North America had a bug in its website that allowed anyone to see where a person is located — without obtaining their consent.”

The Verge: Google’s Selfish Ledger Is An Unsettling Vision Of Silicon Valley Social Engineering. “Google has built a multibillion-dollar business out of knowing everything about its users. Now, a video produced within Google and obtained by The Verge offers a stunningly ambitious and unsettling look at how some at the company envision using that information in the future. The video was made in late 2016 by Nick Foster, the head of design at X (formerly Google X) and a co-founder of the Near Future Laboratory. The video, shared internally within Google, imagines a future of total data collection, where Google helps nudge users into alignment with their goals, custom-prints personalized devices to collect more data, and even guides the behavior of entire populations to solve global problems like poverty and disease.” Good morning, Internet…

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