Drug Prices, Opioid Abuse, Google Lens, More: Saturday Buzz, October 27, 2018


Columbus Dispatch: Drug Price Look Up. “Drug prices are difficult to determine for patients. Drug wholesalers, distributors, healthcare providers, pharmacy benefit managers and pharmacists keep prices hidden from the public. But now, that changes. The Dispatch has analyzed federal drug pricing data, combined with codes attached to each type of drug distributed in the United States, to give the public a better understanding of what their drugs should cost. The public can use this tool to look up what their pills should cost and compare the numbers with what they are charged at the pharmacy counter or through the mail.”

WSAW: USDA releases new interactive tool to track opioid crisis. “This week, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) launched a new tool that helps put the crisis in perspective at a county level. The tool was designed to help community leaders develop solutions for the opioid crisis, but it also provides an insightful context to understand the epidemic. The online tool overlays drug and opioid overdose death rates with socio-economic demographics by county across the nation. The data provided covers 2012 through 2016.”


CNET: Google Lens can now ID items in image search results. “Google Lens already lets you use your phone’s camera to copy text from a sign, identify plants and animals, scan bar codes and get details on a monument or building. Now Google is bringing the feature’s ID skills to search.”

CNN: Facebook gets maximum fine over its big data scandal. It won’t even notice. “UK authorities have hit Facebook with the maximum possible fine over its Cambridge Analytica scandal. But the penalty is tiny.”

Washington Post: The Washington Post announces plans to expand technology coverage. “The Washington Post today announced plans to expand its technology coverage, adding 11 new positions for reporters, editors and videographers. The initiative will mean significant growth for The Post’s San Francisco bureau, where two technology reporters and one editor are now based. The bureau also will now house a video studio. Positions also will be added in Seattle and Washington, D.C.”

TechCrunch: Twitter beats Wall St Q3 estimates with $758M in revenue. “Twitter came in ahead of analysts’ financial estimates in its third quarter, reporting $758 million in revenue (a 29 percent year-over-year increase) and earnings per share of 21 cents. Analysts had predicted revenue of $703 million and EPS of 14 cents per share. Ad revenue was also up 29 percent, to $650 million, and Twitter says total ad engagements increased 50 percent year over year.”


GuideStar: The 3-Step Playbook to SEO Keyword Research. “By the time you finish reading this post, Google will have processed 117 million search queries worldwide. In total, that’s about 3.5 billion searches a day. All those searches mean that ranking highly on Google is one of the most effective ways to grow awareness of your nonprofit and gain supporters—especially since it’s free! If your website appears high up in Google search results, more people will click on your listing and visit your website. And the more visitors your website has, the more donations, subscriptions, and shares you’re likely to receive. But with millions of websites competing to be ranked on Google, it can be difficult to know how to get your website to the top spot.” I don’t give a rip about SEO, but I love learning about what keywords people use when they search.

Digital Inspiration: Help Locate your own Email Message in Someone Else’s Gmail. “You’ve sent an important email to a colleague but it is lost in the deluge of emails they receive every day, buried and forgotten. They can obviously use Gmail search operators, like FROM: or SUBJECT:, to locate that email later but wouldn’t it be useful if there were a way to directly locate that one missing email in their mailbox. Well, there’s an alternate search trick and the sender can actually help the recipient find any specific email message that they have sent in the past.”


Economic Times (India): Government asks Google, Twitter, WhatsApp to check rumours, messages inciting unrest. “Government has asked Google, Twitter, WhatsApp and other social media platforms to take concrete steps to check spread of rumours and messages inciting unrest, cyber crimes and other activities that could be detrimental to the national security, officials said Thursday.”

Bloomberg: Trump Accuses Twitter of Political Bias. “President Donald Trump accused Twitter Inc. of targeting his followers for removal from the social media platform, amid complaints by conservatives that social media companies have been discriminating against right-wing voices.”


Motherboard: In Groundbreaking Decision, Feds Say Hacking DRM to Fix Your Electronics Is Legal. “The Librarian of Congress and US Copyright Office just proposed new rules that will give consumers and independent repair experts wide latitude to legally hack embedded software on their devices in order to repair or maintain them. This exemption to copyright law will apply to smartphones, tractors, cars, smart home appliances, and many other devices.” Yay!


EurekAlert: Targeted Facebook ads shown to be highly effective in the 2016 US Presidential election . “Donald Trump’s campaign is said to have spent 44 million dollars on Facebook, running 175,000 variations of political adverts during the election campaign, compared to a spend of 28 million dollars by Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Was this money well-spent?” Good morning, Internet…

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