The Facebook Data Scandal Just Got Worse

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Facebook is far from being out of the spotlight. On Wednesday, media outlets reported a handful of developments related to the recent data scandal. The Scandal Gets Worse Up until today, Facebook maintained that in the Cambridge Analytica data scandal, the political analysis firm harvested data on about 50 million Facebook profiles. That number has […]
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As women in tech gain experience, their pay gap with men gets worse

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On average, women are offered 4 percent less than men for the same job at the same company.

The pay disparity between women and men is often framed as a difference in experience. But women actually miss out on pay as they gain experience, according to new data from tech job platform Hired.

Within the first two years of working in a tech job, women in the U.S. ask for and receive 98 percent of what their male counterparts make in the same job at the same company, according to the report.

Over time, that disparity grows.

On average, women with seven to 10 years of experience, for example, ask for about 90 cents on the dollar and are offered slightly more — 93 cents for every dollar a man is offered. Women with 13 to 14 years of experience ask for 94 cents for every dollar and receive just 92 cents.

There are a number of reasons for this gap beyond simply asking for less and in turn receiving less. Entry-level jobs usually have more clear-cut salary data, so men and women alike know what a specific position is worth. As job candidates advance in their careers, data on a position’s salary becomes spottier, and raises and promotions are not dealt out equally between men and women.

Exacerbating this is the fact that salary requests tend to be based on current salary. That means that if, say, a woman doesn’t receive the same promotions and raises as her male counterparts, she will ask for less than men in each subsequent position, compounding the salary disparity over time.

Additionally, as women get older, they’re also more likely to have children, which is also linked to lower salaries.

The situation is worse for women of color or those who identify as LGBTQ.

Black and Latina women in tech make 90 cents for every dollar a white man makes. That’s a marked improvement over last year but the gulf is still substantial.

Overall, the study found that, in the U.S., men are offered higher salaries than women for the same position 63 percent of the time. It also found that companies offer women 4 percent less than men for the same role, on average. This is basically the same as last year’s findings.

Salary data reflects base pay only and is drawn from a sample of 420,000 interview requests and job offers among 10,000 participating companies and about 98,000 job candidates. Demographics data is self-reported. Hired job seekers set a preferred salary, and companies have to include compensation information for every interview request.

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Activists say Airbnb makes New Orleans housing shortage worse

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Airbnb and other platforms for short-term rental listings are exacerbating the housing crisis in New Orleans, says a new report from the Jane Place Neighborhood Sustainability Initiative (JPNSI). The analysis in the report falls in line with similar findings in other cities — a substantial chunk of short-term rentals are controlled by operators with multiple properties, suggesting that landlords are choosing to put units on Airbnb and other sites, eschewing long-term tenants.

The rosiest picture of an Airbnb host is a homeowner or tenant running a casual bed and breakfast or letting out a spare room. But Airbnb listings are often put up by landlords who are serially renting multiple properties on Airbnb — and in New Orleans, the…

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The Internet Made Everyone a Medical Expert, and Patients Are Worse for It

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Admit it, you’ve done it: you notice a strange ache or a bump where there wasn’t one before, so you run to the internet. In mere minutes, you’re convinced you have cancer, or a parasite, or a rare disease that was only seen one time on the other side of the world. Even when your doctor tells you it’s just a rash and you shouldn’t worry about it, you can’t help but wonder: is she sure?

Turns out, that sort of self-diagnosis does more than just stress you out — it has lasting repercussions on medicine as a whole. Patients who’ve spent too much time on WebMD are pressuring doctors into over-prescribing antibiotics, which in turn has bolstered the rise of antibiotic resistance.

According to Wiredheath care workers say they worry about bad patient satisfaction and negative reviews online creates a “Yelp effect,” which drives doctors to make decisions based on what patients want instead of, you know, actual medicine.

And it seems patients expect antibiotics: a 2016 study of a large group of medical records showed that a third of antibiotics prescriptions were written for viral infections, which, as you might know, do not respond to antibiotics.

“Providers believe — whether it’s accurate or not — that there is a business reason, in terms of customer satisfaction, patient retention, to give patients what they want,” David Hyun, a pediatric infectious disease physician who recently directed a review of why doctors mis-prescribe antibiotics, told Wired. “We frequently hear providers say, ‘If I don’t give the antibiotics, the patient will go across the street, to urgent care or another primary care practice, and get them there.’”

Wired reports that the problem has gotten so bad that there’s even a petition on Change.org, by the organization Physicians Working Together, asking Yelp to remove negative reviews of doctors.
Hyun’s research suggested there are lots of other reasons that doctors might improperly prescribe, like being worn out at the end of the day (when doctors tend to prescribe antibiotics more often).But of all the squeaky wheels in medicine, whiney patients seem like the easiest to fix.
And then there’s the role of the internet, which seems to be misleading an awful lot of would-be patients — a 2013 study from the Pew Research Center found that 35 percent of American adults had used the internet to diagnose themselves or someone they knew. (That number has likely risen since then, as more and more people become connected to the web.)
There’s certainly nothing wrong with checking out a simple symptom to quell your paranoia. But in the same way you know not to blindly believe every headline that screams about latest food that causes cancer, it’s ultimately the doctor who has gone through an average of 14 years (in the U.S.) of training to decide whether or not you have anything wrong with you. Or if you even need that antibiotic you saw on WebMD.
So, be an adult. Don’t leave nasty Yelp reviews for doctors that don’t give you what you want. Not taking antibiotics when you don’t need them could one day save lives.

The post The Internet Made Everyone a Medical Expert, and Patients Are Worse for It appeared first on Futurism.

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Sen. Chuck Schumer says the world would be a ‘worse place’ without Amazon

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On Recode Decode, Schumer says he’s “sympathetic” to tech giants like Facebook and Amazon.

Tech companies are changing everyday life in the United States, and not always in good ways — but on balance, Senator Chuck Schumer says he’d rather they regulate themselves than wait for government to step in.

“For a decade, tech was a great, great thing,” Schumer said on the latest episode of Recode Decode, hosted by Kara Swisher. “It allowed people to agglomerate. It allowed people who had no power, who didn’t own a newspaper, who didn’t own a TV station, who didn’t have a megaphone, to get together and have power.”

The senior Democratic Senator from New York, currently the minority leader in the U.S. Senate, said he agrees with the legislation proposed by his colleagues Mark Warner and Amy Klobuchar, requiring transparency in political ads on platforms like Facebook. But he’s wary of Congress directly involving itself with the content on those sites.

“Government regulation of speech is a frightening thing and has a bigger downside than upside,” Schumer said. “So I approach the issue with care, maybe more so than some of my colleagues who have similar politics to me.”

Speaking with Recode’s Kara Swisher and Democratic political strategist Hilary Rosen, he characterized himself as “sympathetic” to tech giants like Amazon, recognizing that they have had both disruptive and positive effects on his constituents — and, in Amazon’s case, more of the latter.

“Amazon does great things for huge amounts of people, and they only have three to four percent of the retail market,” he said. “Could it get greater? Yes! But again, I’d be careful. They are creating cheaper, better competition.”

“Yes, they’re big,” Schumer added. “Big can do good things as well as bad things, and you’ve got to separate the wheat from the chaff. Would the world be a better place or a worse place if there were no Amazon right now? My guess is a worse place. And yet, there’s a lot of problems, for sure.”

You can listen to Recode Decode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Pocket Casts, Overcast or wherever you listen to podcasts.

On the new podcast, Sen. Schumer also talked about how he’s thinking about the social media giants whose platforms were used by Russian agents posing as Americans during the 2016 election.

“Facebook is a very powerful force,” he said. “I think, overall, it’s been a very positive force and now people are taking advantage of the openness of the net. And Facebook has an obligation to try and deal with it.”

“I talked to them,” Schumer added. “I truly believe they want to, I truly believe they know their future is at stake with this. I also believe it’s a hard thing to do.”

The “first big test” for Facebook and its peers, he said, will be whether they are similarly manipulated for political ends in America’s midterm elections later this year.

“The amount the Trump administration is doing against Russia is, appallingly, zero, almost,” Schumer said. “So it’s up to tech to do more. And I do think they’re making an effort — not only because it’s the right thing to do but because they know that down the road, their survival depends on it.”

If you like this show, you should also sample our other podcasts:

  • Recode Media with Peter Kafka features no-nonsense conversations with the smartest and most interesting people in the media world, with new episodes every Thursday. Use these links to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Pocket Casts, Overcast or wherever you listen to podcasts.
  • Too Embarrassed to Ask, hosted by Kara Swisher and The Verge’s Lauren Goode, answers the tech questions sent in by our readers and listeners. You can hear new episodes every Friday on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Pocket Casts, Overcast or wherever you listen to podcasts.
  • And Recode Replay has all the audio from our live events, including the Code Conference, Code Media and the Code Commerce Series. Subscribe today on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Pocket Casts, Overcast or wherever you listen to podcasts.

If you like what we’re doing, please write a review on Apple Podcasts — and if you don’t, just tweet-strafe Kara.


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Four Reasons Why the Opioid Epidemic Is Getting Worse, Not Better

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Despite efforts to address the crisis, opioid overdoses in the U.S. continue to increase at a disturbing rate.

A new report compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed that the number of people checking into the emergency room (ER) after overdosing rose by 30 percent between July 2016 and September 2017. In 2016 alone, opioids were the cause of nearly 42,000 deaths across the country, more than any previous year on record.

“In every region, in every age group of adults, in both men and women, overdoses from opioids are increasing,” CDC Acting Director Anne Schuchat told NPR.

The fact that the report was only able to capture people who were hospitalized suggests that the grim toll may be much higher, because many people who overdose never go to the ER.

The CDC’s report didn’t delve into the cause behind the 30 percent increase, but several factors may have played a part in this concerning trend:

  • Insurers won’t cover alternative treatments: For people affected by chronic pain, there are many options other than addictive pain killers. The so-called interventional pain treatments include local injections and physiotherapy. However, perhaps because their positive impacts are more difficult to assess, insurance companies often don’t cover this type of treatment, making them less affordable than legal opioids.
  • Access to stronger opioids: NPR notes how easy it is to get stronger illegal opioids such as fentanyl. While it can be used for pain relief, Drugfree.org notes the drug carries a high risk of dependency, as do other compounds like OxyContin, Percocet and Vicodin, though they can be prescribed by doctors. Kratom is another such drug meant to treat pain relief, yet the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has deemed it dangerous.
  • Children: According to research recently published on the journal Pediatrics, the number of children between the age of 1 and 17 who have been admitted to hospitals for opioid overdose has nearly doubled from 797 patients between 2004 and 2007, to 1,504 patients between 2012 and 2015. Jason Kane, an associate professor of pediatrics and critical care at Comer Children’s Hospital in Chicago and lead author of the research, suspects many gain access to their parents’ medications, and either intentionally or accidentally take them.
  • Lack of legislation: The opioid epidemic is clearly nothing new, yet congress has put little effort to address the situation; a belief shared by Andrew Kolodny, co-director of Opioid Policy Research at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management. Kolodny told NPR: “There’s been a lot of talk from Congress and from the administration and a recognition that we need to do something about this problem. But nothing yet has happened.” As reported by Bloomberg BNA, however, both the House and Senate are now looking for ways to manage the crisis in the future. In January, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey introduced new legislation intended to combat the opioid crisis. According to Reuters, Arizona officials blame opioid overdose for roughly 800 deaths occurred in the state since June 2017.

While the opioid crisis can’t be attributed to the combination of the above factors alone, it’s clear that more must be done to offset the significant loss of lives to products that are supposed to help people. The CDC’s report is sure to turn heads and bring some much needed attention to the problem, but it’ll be for naught unless things change fast, be it through legislation, or future drugs made specifically to tackle addiction and withdrawal.

The post Four Reasons Why the Opioid Epidemic Is Getting Worse, Not Better appeared first on Futurism.

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Analyst Believes iPhone Battery Replacement Wait Times Will Get Worse and Fall Sales Will be Impacted

Throughout 2018, Apple will be hosting a $ 29 battery replacement program for iPhones, allowing customers to replace the battery in their device once for the discounted price tag. Continue reading
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Silicon Valley’s Corrupt Underbelly: It’s Far Worse Than We Thought

After addressing the topic of sexual harassment and misconduct in Silicon Valley last month, I finally got my hands on a copy of Brotopia, an eye-opening new book, and a lot of executives should be happy I did not pursue my career in law enforcement. Otherwise I would be working my butt off to get them off the streets behind bars. Everyone connected to tech should read this book. Specifically, for investors, it will give you insights into a level of extreme avoidable risk that has not been factored into the market — at least not yet.
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