Baltimore Sun: New website will let Maryland consumers compare hospital rates for the first time. “A new website… being launched Thursday by the Maryland Health Care Commission will help consumers compare these types of costs among hospitals and bring more transparency to hospital pricing practices. While patients can request all or some of this data from other agencies and the hospitals themselves, the commission said the website compiles the information all in one place and in an easy-to-navigate, consumer-friendly way.”
China General Chamber of Commerce: CGCC Launches New Website and “China-US Investment Cooperation” Database. “The ‘China-US Investment Cooperation’ Database is the first investment information database serving Chinese companies and their partners in the US, aiming at enhancing business information sharing and commutation. The database provides basic company information, products and services, key people introduction, and business contacts for subscribers. The database is also open to members to generate their own contents.” Unfortunately when I went to look at the database page it read, “coming soon,” so despite the fact that it was announced yesterday you may have to check back.
Scientific American: Culture Shock: Precious Microbe Collections Languish in Threatened Bio-Libraries. “Freeze-dried and locked away in liquid nitrogen–filled vaults around the world are hundreds of thousands of microbial cultures. In the U.S. these living libraries include 91,000 bacterial and fungal strains in Peoria, Ill., as well as 13,000 fungal strains in Ithaca, N.Y., and 7,500 wild yeasts at the University of California, Davis. Researchers have used strains from such publicly accessible culture collections to develop penicillin as well as the CRISPR gene-editing systems and the PCR (polymerase chain reaction) DNA-amplifying technique. But as government priorities apparently change, and as the federal money that historically created and preserved many of these biological resource repositories in the U.S. dries up, their infrastructure is at risk of deteriorating. “
New York Times: Google Unveils Job Training Initiative With $1 Billion Pledge. “Google unveiled an initiative on Thursday to help train Americans for jobs in technology and committed to donating $1 billion over the next five years to nonprofits in education and professional training.”
ZDNet: Researchers find 450,000 financial scams operating on social media. “Financial scams have doubled in the past year on social media but only a small pool of cyberattackers appear to be behind the surge. According to ZeroFOX researchers, around 250,000 finance and banking scams were lurking on social media platforms including Twitter and Facebook in 2016, but now, this estimate has almost doubled having reached a total of 437,165 fraudulent campaigns.”
Krebs on Security: Equifax Breach Fallout: Your Salary History. “In May, KrebsOnSecurity broke a story about lax security at a payroll division of big-three credit bureau Equifax that let identity thieves access personal and financial data on an unknown number of Americans. Incredibly, this same division makes it simple to access detailed salary and employment history on a large portion of Americans using little more than someone’s Social Security number and date of birth — both data elements that were stolen in the recent breach at Equifax.”
Mental Floss: This New Web Tool Shows How Your Favorite Film Franchises Stack Up. “Using data from IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes, and box office totals, the finance website visualized the top 30 film franchises to see how the installments of each one stack up. The project yielded some surprising results, like that in longest franchises, the eighth title tends to make the most money on opening weekend. Harry Potter, Star Trek, and Star Wars all follow this trend. But according to the numbers, the same can’t be said for quality. The ratings of blockbuster franchises, both viewer-generated (IMDb) and critic-generated (Rotten Tomatoes), are lowest for the most recent installments. Mission Impossible is one exception, with the third and fourth films earning the most critical praise.”