Canadian Political Donations, Drug Diversion, PubMed, More: Thursday ResearchBuzz, January 23, 2020


National Post (Canada): Follow the Money – Welcome. “There is no tracking of donations made on a national scale. There are no consistent rules — or penalties — for political financing across Canada. Spending limits, out-of-province and foreign gifts, money from unions and corporations, donations from numbered companies: in some places anything goes, in others regulations are rarely enforced. The Follow the Money project is an effort to address these gaps, and hold politicians to account for gifts large and small.”

Pharmacy Times: New Website Tackles Health Care Diversion. “[The site] aims to obtain the most accurate database of drug diversion incidents in the United States and relies in part on the reporting of those who work inside health care facilities. Great care is taken to verify the reports and not duplicate them. One resource is the list server of IHFDA, which routinely reports known drug diversion events inside hospitals and long-term care facilities. The website also contains facts on health care facility incidents that have been reported across the country, including a US map that pinpoints reported diversion issues.” My first question was “What the heck is health care diversion,” which led me to “drug diversion,” which, according to the CMS, is “the deflection of prescription drugs from medical sources into the illegal market.”


National Library of Medicine: A New and Improved PubMed® . “NLM’s PubMed has long been recognized as a critical resource for helping researchers, health care professionals, students, and the general public keep current with rapid advances in the life sciences. We are excited to introduce an updated version of PubMed that features an updated design and technology to improve the user experience.”

BBC: US census kicks off by counting first person in rural Alaska. “Steven Dillingham, head of the US Census Bureau, has kicked off the count with a ceremonial visit to a tribal elder, Lizzie Chimiugak Nenguryarr, 90. The census takes place every 10 years, and most of the country’s residents are counted from mid-March. But census workers always make an early start in Alaska in January, when the ground is frozen enough to traverse.”


UP Matters: MTU awarded grant to uncover Calumet & Hecla Copper Mining Company records. “Michigan Technological University has been awarded a $240,000 grant to uncover Calumet & Hecla Copper Mining Company records. Researchers will spend the next two years contextualizing, scanning, and digitilizing the 40,000 employee records from Calumet & Hecla Copper Mining Company.”

The Atlantic: The Way We Write History Has Changed. “It may be, too, that widespread digitization of archival materials could allow people outside the professionalized, largely Western historical tradition to do history. Tim Hitchcock, a historian at the University of Sussex, put the argument in a transnational context: Digitization has ‘democratised historical research, creating a space for people to interrogate their own communities’ histories,’ he wrote to me. Different people working with the same historical materials will probably change how history is written.” I’ll be thinking about this one for a while.


New Hampshire Union Leader: LGBTQ-friendly cafe sues Facebook over vanished Instagram account. “The owner of the Somersworth café Teatotaller is taking a lawsuit against Facebook to the New Hampshire Supreme Court for breach of contract over an Instagram account. Emmett Soldati is challenging a lower court ruling that granted Facebook’s motion to dismiss the case he initiated as a small-claims matter after Teatotaller’s Instagram account vanished in June 2018.”

CNET: Google finds Apple Safari anti-tracking feature actually enabled tracking. “Apple focuses on privacy protections as a major selling point for its products, but a feature designed to protect your privacy when using its Safari browser also created vulnerabilities that put your data and privacy at risk, Google researchers have found.”

Engadget: Microsoft accidently exposed 250 million customer service records. “While most people were out celebrating the start of a new year, Microsoft’s security teams were working overtime to close a potentially enormous security loophole. On Thursday, the company disclosed a database error that temporarily left approximately 250 million customer service and support records accessible to anyone with a web browser.”


TechCrunch: Facebook speeds up AI training by culling the weak. “Training an artificial intelligence agent to do something like navigate a complex 3D world is computationally expensive and time-consuming. In order to better create these potentially useful systems, Facebook engineers derived huge efficiency benefits from, essentially, leaving the slowest of the pack behind.”

EurekAlert: New research uses physiological cues to distinguish computer-generated faces from human ones. “‘Digital human face detection in video sequences via a physiological signal analysis,’ a paper published today in the Journal of Electronic Imaging (JEI), presents a viable, innovative way to discern between natural humans (NAT) and CG faces within the context of multimedia forensics, using individuals’ heart rate as the discriminating feature.”

The Guardian: From vagina eggs to anti-vaxxers: is it time for an influencer detox?. “Across social media, influencers perpetuate wellness trends and dubious diets, frequently promoting completely useless or even dangerous advice. The perennial market for ‘detox’ and ‘cleanse’ diets and products is a recurrent theme. As has been written frequently here, these are completely useless from a scientific standpoint, given our liver and kidneys filter toxins quite admirably. Despite this, detox products and their offspring diets top $5bn in sales annually, driven to a large extent by celebrity and influencer endorsement.” Good morning, Internet…

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