Your privacy online: Health information at serious risk of abuse

There is a significant risk to your privacy whenever you visit a health-related web page. An analysis of over 80,000 such web pages shows that nine out of ten visits result in personal health information being leaked to third parties, including online advertisers and data brokers.

Brain makes decisions with same method used to break WW2 Enigma code

When making simple decisions, neurons in the brain apply the same statistical trick used by Alan Turing to help break Germany’s Enigma code during World War II, according to a new study in animals by researchers at Columbia University’s Mortimer B. Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute and Department of Neuroscience. Results of the study were published Feb. 5 in Neuron.

As depicted in the film “The Imitation Game,” Alan Turing and his team of codebreakers devised the statistical technique to help them decipher German military messages encrypted with the Enigma machine. (The technique today is called Wald’s sequential probability ratio test, after Columbia professor Abraham Wald, who independently developed the test to determine if batches of munitions should be shipped to the front or if they contained too many duds.)

read more

One mood keeps coming through all human language

Movie subtitles in Arabic, Twitter feeds in Korean, the famously dark literature of Russia, websites in Chinese, music lyrics in English, and even the war-torn pages of the New York Times--the researchers found that these, and probably all human language¬, skews toward the use of happy words.

Story links for Tony Delroy 13 February 2015