Privacy challenges: Just four vague pieces of info can identify you, and your credit card

Just four fairly vague pieces of information — the dates and locations of four purchases — are enough to identify 90 percent of the people in a data set recording three months of credit-card transactions by 1.1 million users. If someone had copies of just three of your recent receipts — or one receipt, one Instagram photo of you having coffee with friends, and one tweet about the phone you just bought — would have a 94 percent chance of extracting your credit card records from those of a million other people. This is true, the researchers say, even in cases where no one in the data set is identified by name, address, credit card number, or anything else that we typically think of as personal information. —> Read More Here

Is this the year you join the top one percent? Affluence more fluid than once thought

Here’s some good news for the New Year: According to new research, there’s a 1 in 9 chance that a typical American will hit the jackpot and join the wealthiest 1 percent for at least one year in her or his working life. And now the bad news: That same research says only an elite few get to stay in that economic stratosphere — and nonwhite workers remain among those who face far longer odds. —> Read More Here

NASA Sounding Rocket Studies the Invisible Aurora

“All or Nothing!” that is what my Dean called it; “Just like the shootout at the OK corral, how exciting,” were her final words to me after I described what I would be doing this January in Alaska. I am the Principle Investigator for the NASA Auroral Spatial Structures Probe (ASSP), a 70-foot, four-stage unmanned rocket loaded with scientific instruments sitting on the launch pad now in Alaska. After four years of planning, building and testing at NASA Wallops Flight Facility and at the Utah State University Space Dynamics Laboratory, it is all coming down to a call, my call, as to when to launch.

The aurora borealis is beautiful, awe-inspiring, and far more dynamic and crisp than pictures seem to capture. Those who see it for the very first time often comment on how much it moves in the sky and how detailed the structure of the curtains are and how quickly it can evolve into whole new patterns. They say it is more than they expected.

Yet the aurora is not just the pretty lights of what we call “the visible aurora.” There is an unseen structure of voltages and flowing currents in —> Read More Here

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