Why hack attacks are becoming increasingly common

The Sony hack has again raised interest in the question of internet security. The Sony attack comes on the heels of other attacks on big corporations and they stem from a variety of motives, with many of them seeking to get credit card information and other data that enable fraud. The motives of the people behind the Sony attack seem less clear though the damage done to the privacy of large numbers of people is extensive. For most of us, the main concern is whether such attacks can be prevented so that we avoid having the private data we share with corporations compromised.
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Wanda, help me get the owls out of my bed

I am sure that all of us have misheard the lyrics of songs. My own favorite is the beginning of the Beach Boys song Help me Rhonda where I thought it sounded like they sang, “Well, since you put me down, there’ve been owls sleeping in my bed”. Of course, this was preposterous but that’s what it sounded like. (In my defense, the actual words are supposed to be “Well, since she put me down I ‘ve been out doin’ in my head” which does not make much more sense. For the longest time I also thought they were appealing to Wanda.) Each of us can give many examples of getting phrases or song words wrong.
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Checkerboard optical illusion

I like optical illusions because they remind us that seeing is not a passive experience of experiencing faithfully what is out there but involves a considerable amount of processing by the brain. Via Mark Frauenfelder here is another one that I found intriguing where just by placing pieces of paper in an arrangement, a regular checkerboard can be made to look as if it is bulging.
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Why are economists so skinny?

The Wall Street Journal has a chart of the rates of obesity by classes of professions. Kevin Drum looked at the chart and noted that the category that includes economists, scientists, and psychologists have the lowest rates of 14.2%, well below the national average of 27.7% and far, far below the highest category of police officers, firefighters, and security guards which is 40.7% He is puzzled why this should be so and asks why it might be that economists are so low in weight.
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Where did the Earth get its water?

It was thought that one source of the water that is found on Earth was that it arrived via comets. But the Rosetta probe that has been orbiting comet 67P since August (and whose lander Philae came to rest on the surface in November) had remote sensing devices and found signs of water there but scientists who studied the data say that this water seems to be from a different source than the water on Earth.
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