10 Worst Privacy Debacles of All Time

From Wired:

Earlier this month AOL publicly released a data trove: 500,000 search queries culled from three months of user traffic on its search engine.

The company claimed it was trying to help researchers by providing “anonymized” search information, but experts and the public were shocked at how easy it was to figure out who had been searching on what. Apparently, AOL’s anonymizing process didn’t include removing names, addresses and Social Security numbers. Although the company has since apologized and taken the data down, there are at least half-a-dozen mirrors still out there for all to browse.

This may have been one of the dumbest privacy debacles of all time, but it certainly wasn’t the first. Here are ten other privacy snafus that made the world an unsafer place. Despite the obvious flaws of rankings, we have attempted one as follows, in descending order:

(via Schneier on Security)

The Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon

From Damn Interesting:

You may have heard about Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon before. In fact, you probably learned about it for the first time very recently. If not, then you just might hear about it again very soon. Baader-Meinhof is the phenomenon where one happens upon some obscure piece of information– often an unfamiliar word or name– and soon afterwards encounters the same subject again, often repeatedly. Anytime the phrase “That’s so weird, I just heard about that the other day” would be appropriate, the utterer is hip-deep in Baader-Meinhof.

The McGurk Effect

Click here for a short video demonstrating the McGurk Effect. Here is the wikipedia entry for it:

The McGurk effect is a perceptual phenomenon which demonstrates an interaction between hearing and vision in speech perception. It suggests that speech perception is multimodal, that is, that it involves information from more than one sensory modality. The McGurk effect is sometimes called the McGurk-MacDonald effect. It was first described in a paper by McGurk and McDonald (1976).

The Ghostly Salt City Beneath Detroit

saltmine.jpg

Like a Jules Verne fantasy, a ghostly city with its own network of four lane highways lies deep beneath the industrial heart of Detroit, its crystalline walls glittering and gleaming in the flickering light. It is a world of no night or day. It is a world of salt.

This gigantic salt mine, 1,200 feet beneath the surface, spreads out over more than 1,400 acres with 50 miles of roads. It lies underneath Dearborn’s Rouge complex , much of Melvindale and the north end of Allen Park. The mine shaft opening is in Detroit.

The International Salt Mine Company operated the mines until 1983, when falling salt prices brought a halt to production.