Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Not a true breach, but still a breach.
The issue of privacy breaches involving improper sharing of PHI with researchers has mushroomed for the B.C. Health Ministry:
The personal-health data of more than five million British Columbians has been accessed without proper authorization, and in the most serious cases, the provincial government says it will notify more than 38,000 individuals of the breaches by letter.
Health Minister Margaret MacDiarmid made the announcement as part of an ongoing investigation into research-grant practices between ministry employees and researchers at the universities of B.C. and Victoria.
Read more on Globe and Mail. Note that these are not data security breaches and there’s no indication of additional disclosure or other use, but the data never should have been shared, it seems.

(Related) Perhaps this is a good thing? Try to get it right before forcing everyone to adopt e-Records?
"Back in 2005, RAND Corporation published an analysis suggesting that hospitals and other health-care facilities could save more than $81 billion a year by adopting electronic health records. While e-records have earned a ton of buzz, the reality hasn't quite worked out: seven years later, RAND's new study suggests that health care providers have largely failed to upgrade their respective IT systems in a way that allows them to take full advantage of e-records. Meanwhile, the health care system in the United States continues to waste hundreds of billions of dollars a year, by some estimates. 'The failure of health information technology to quickly deliver on its promise is not caused by its lack of potential, but rather because of the shortcomings in the design of the IT systems that are currently in place,' Dr. Art Kellerman, senior author of the RAND study, wrote in a Jan. 7 statement. Slow pace of adoption, he added, has further delayed the productivity gains from e-records."

So, does this clear things up?
US DOJ did not entrap Megaupload, the agency says
The U.S. Department of Justice did not mislead a court and attempt to entrap file storage site Megaupload on copyright infringement charges, the agency said in a new filing in the case.
… Megaupload lawyer Ira Rothken pointed to a portion of the June 2010 search warrant targeting Carpathia Hosting, Megaupload's hosting provider. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) asked a judge to seal the search warrant affidavit because disclosure could "provide an opportunity to destroy evidence [and] change patterns of behavior."
The search warrant also asked Carpathia and Megaupload to assist in the copyright infringement investigation.
"The government cannot, on one hand, tell a U.S. court under penalty of perjury in seeking the cooperation of Megaupload in a search warrant they wanted to prevent evidence destruction of alleged infringing content files, and then, on the other hand, complain to a different court under penalty of perjury that Megaupload is a criminal for not destroying such files," Rothken said in an email.

Perspective A good product/service wins customers. An insulting/stupid ToS change costs customers.
"Instagram scared off a lot of users back in December when it decided to update its original Terms of Service for 2013. But even though the company reneged on its new terms after a week of solid backlash, Instagram users are still fleeing the photo-sharing app in droves. According to new app traffic data, Instagram has lost roughly half of all its active users in the month since proposing to change its original Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. In mid-December, Instagram boasted about 16.3 million daily active users; as of Jan. 14, Instagram only has about 7.6 million daily users."
Towards the end of December data showing a 25% drop in Instagram's daily active users came out. While it caused quite a bit of discussion online, it was suggested that the decline was due to the Christmas holiday or an inaccuracy in the data.

Yet another study I need to replicate (at least the “and now we drink the beer” part) Where can I get a grant? My statistics students will be happy to see that some studies are fun (and tasty!)
January 14, 2013
Estimating the Price Elasticity of Beer: Meta-Analysis of Data with Heterogeneity, Dependence, and Publication Bias
Via SSRN: Estimating the Price Elasticity of Beer: Meta-Analysis of Data with Heterogeneity, Dependence, and Publication Bias, Jon P. Nelson, Pennsylvania State University - College of the Liberal Arts - Department of Economics, January 14, 2013
  • "Precise estimates of price elasticities are important for alcohol tax policy. Using meta-analysis, this paper corrects average beer elasticities for heterogeneity, dependence, and publication selection bias. A sample of 191 estimates is obtained from 114 primary studies. Simple and weighted means are reported. Dependence is addressed by restricting the number of estimates per study, author-restricted samples, and author-specific variables. Publication bias is addressed using a funnel graph, trim-and-fill, and Egger’s intercept model. Heterogeneity and selection bias are examined jointly in meta-regressions containing moderator variables for econometric methodology, primary data, and precision of estimates. Results for fixed- and random-effects regressions are reported. Country-specific effects and sample time period are unimportant, but several methodology variables help explain the dispersion of estimates. In models that correct for selection bias and heterogeneity, the average beer price elasticity is about -0.20, which is less elastic than values used in alcohol tax policy simulations."

For my Website class...
Monday, January 14, 2013
A Beginner's Guide to HTML & CSS
One of last week's most popular posts was about Crunchzilla's Code Monster that students can use to learn Javascript programming. And I've previously featured some other good resources that students can use to learn to code on their own. Today, I found another resource to add to list.
A Beginner's Guide to HTML & CSS is a nice resource developed by Shay Howe whose resume reveals that he works on the user interface for Groupon among other projects. There are currently ten text-based lessons for beginners. Once you've mastered the beginner lessons you can try your hand at the advanced lessons. Three advanced lessons are currently available and seven more are slated for publication between now and March 4, 2013. And according to this Tweet from Shay Howe, a print version of these lessons may be available in the future. [See next post Bob]

Now this is interesting. Since this is Blog Post #2401, I could have a pretty big book. But what would I do with it other than annoy my students? But it could also work for other blogs. [See pervious post ]
Monday, January 14, 2013
Turn Your Blog Into an eBook With Ebook Glue
Ebook Glue is a neat service that I discovered on Lifehacker this evening. Ebook Glue allows you to create an ebook from your blog posts. To use the service just enter your blog's RSS Feed or your blog's URL if you don't know the address of your feed and Ebook Glue will turn your posts into an ePub and Mobi files for you to download, read, and distribute.
I gave Ebook Glue a try with my new iPad Apps for School blog's feed and it did exactly what it advertises. I was able to type in my blog's URL, select ePub, and then download an ePub of the blog entries. Then to read the ePub on my iPad I just uploaded it to my Box.com account and opened it on my iPad.

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