Do You Have a Star Wars Name?

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The “Star Wars” films may take place a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, but you just might find a Luke Skywalker or even a Darth Vader here on Earth. In fact, the names of some of the most memorable characters of the seven-part film series may live… right next door.

We took a look at our Names database and found that there are some people in the U.S. have names that reflect Jedi Knights, renegade smugglers… and “New Hopes”.

The Force is strong with a few names—some characters’ names are more common on Earth (and the U.S.) than otherworldly monikers. Do you have a someone from the light or the “dark side” on your block?

Star Wars First Names

Luke (Skywalker)

101,521 people have the name Luke; the most in Florida: 4,648. Peaked in popularity in 2005.

Han (Solo)

There are 35,519 with the first name, the most in California (13,127). Interestingly, 74% are women; 26% men, while Han Solo of course was one of the good “bad boys” of the Galaxy.

Rey (Last name has not been revealed)

There are 11,038 people with the name Rey, the most in California (2,795).

Leia (Organa)

There are 3,985 people with the name Leia, the most in Washington (138).

Darth (Vader):

There are 170 in the US, the most in Washington (22).

Anakin (Skywalker)

There are 28 people in the U.S. with the first name Anakin; popularity peaked in 2005, the same year “Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith” was released.

Kylo (Ren)

There are 42 people in the U.S. with the first name Kylo; the most live in Texas (6).

Poe (Dameron)

There are 417 people in the U.S. with the first name Poe, the most in California (66).

Lando (Calrissian)

There are 375 people in the U.S. with first name Lando, the most in Florida (26).

Mace (Windu)

There are 1,272 people with the name “Mace”, the most in Florida (101).

Qui (Gon Jinn)

There are 1,730 people with the first name Qui, the most in California (601).

Boba (Fett)

74 in the US, California + New York have the most, each with 8.

Jabba (Tiure)

18 in the US, most in Delaware & Illinois (4 in each).

Bib (Fortuna)

117 in the US, the most in New York (20).

Full Names: (although we suspect these people might be “Star Wars” super-fans):

Darth Vader: There are 2 people in the U.S. with the name “Darth Vader”.

Han Solo

There are 9 people in the U.S. with the name “Han Solo”.

Luke Skywalker

There are 8 people with in the U.S. with the name “Luke Skywalker”.

Anakin Skywalker

There are 2 people in the U.S. with the name “Anakin Skywalker”.

Ben (Obi-Wan) Kenobi

There are 3 people in the U.S. with the name “Ben Kenobi”.

What Does a Data Scientist do?

data

At our core, we are a data company, and it is this data that powers our many products and services. As our resident Chief Data Scientist, Dr. Steve Hanks leads the team that makes this magic happen. Learn how he does it in this article by big data expert Bernard Marr on Forbes.com.

Big Data Uncovered: What Does A Data Scientist Really Do?
Bernard Marr, Contributor, Forbes.com

The world of Big Data and data science can often seem complex or even arcane from the outside looking in. In business, a lot of people by now probably understand the basics of what Big Data analysis involves – collecting the ever growing amount of data we are generating, and using it to come up with meaningful insights. But what does this actually involve on a day to day level for the professionals who get their hands dirty with the nuts and bolts?

To have a look under the hood of a job that some describe as the ‘Sexiest Job Of The 21st Century’ I spoke to leading data scientist Dr Steve Hanks to get an get an overview of what the work of a data scientist actually involves, and what sort of person is likely to be successful in the field.

Dr Hanks gained a PhD in computer science at Yale University, has spent 15 years as a professor of computer science and has worked at companies including Amazon, Yahoo YHOO -6.59%! and Microsoft MSFT -3.85%. Today he is chief data scientist at Whitepages.com where he is responsible for overseeing the Contact Graph – a database containing contact information for over 200 million people. The database is searched around two billion times every month and is the company’s primary business asset.

This database has driven Whitepage’s business since it was launched in 1997 and more recently it has diversified into app development. Caller ID, its replacement mobile user interface, queries the main Whitepages database to give more complete information on who is calling, and to help cut nuisance and spam calls. It also generates another revenue stream by providing its data to other companies to use in fraud prevention.

Read the full story here.

 

Will Digital Wallets Change the Way You Pay?

Digital-Wallet-Changes

Digital wallets and other similar payment systems have enjoyed a lot of hype, but it remains to be seen if they’ll substantially change the way you pay for your groceries and gas. Although systems like Apple Pay and Google Wallet have seen a respectable level of adoption among both the public and businesses, there’s still plenty of ground to cover before your phone or tablet and connected accounts totally replace cards and cash.

It’s Not Universal Yet

One major problem facing the various virtual wallets and digital payment systems out there is the standardization of technology. While cash has always been accepted everywhere and credit cards use the same processing system no matter which bank or company issues it, mobile wallets don’t have a standardized, one-size-fits-all pay terminal. Newer pay terminals – especially those at large regional or national companies – often incorporate technology that makes mobile payments successful, but that doesn’t mean every single commercial business in the U.S. has them. Total adoption will take some years to complete. Additionally, both Apple and Google limited the use of touch-to-pay features to newer phones, creating another roadblock of sorts. For these reasons, it’s impossible to completely replace your existing cards and cash with your mobile device.

Tech news site Engadget had editor Nicole Lee use Apple Pay and Google Wallet for a week toward the end of 2014 and documented the results. Lee noted that, in a major metropolitan area like San Francisco, she used Google Wallet and Apple Pay at the majority of stores she visited in an average week. However, she also said that just 2.4 percent of terminals could process these digital payments at the end of 2014. Although more terminals with the required technology are expected to come into use as the U.S. implements the new EMV standard for credit cards in late 2015, digital payments aren’t yet a “100-percent sure” thing.

Issues of Privacy

These programs, and others such as newcomer Current C, offer some advantages, but there are concerns about privacy and security as well. Current C may become a third player in the digital payments market, but it already had a significant security breach during a test run in 2014, according to The International Business Times. Adoption of that service could also suffer because it’s not tied to a specific type of device, as are Apple Pay and Google Wallet.

Managing your personal information is crucial for both electronic payment systems and for your life in general. Whitepages offers the ability to decide what personal information you share on the Internet, letting you make that decision for yourself. As technology continues to enter new and different areas of everyday life, keeping track of all aspects of your digital identity may become more difficult. Thankfully, we  make it easy to control your locational and contact information – making this very important aspect of your digital self much more manageable.

Quick, Fast, Speedy Info: The Use of Big Data in Professional Racing

Nascar-Big-Data-Use

When it’s analyzed correctly and applied in a useful way, there’s little that big data can’t do. Take NASCAR and Formula 1, for instance. The teams that make up these two professional racing leagues have fully embraced big data as a way to make their cars and associated operations faster, safer and generally better overall. That safety aspect – protecting drivers on the track – is similar to what we do at Whitepages, analyzing millions of calls to identify and screen out telemarketers, scammers and other illegitimate calls. We’re also using big data to create more enjoyable experiences for the users of our Android Caller ID app and our Whitepages Android and iOS app, just like the pit crews, team managers and engineers do in both NASCAR and F1.

The past, present and future of big data in racing

While big data has only been a distinct concept for a handful of years and has spent even less time in the public consciousness, the processes behind it have been used for much longer. In his article on the evolution of big data in racing sports, Forbes contributor Bernard Marr highlighted the use of telemetry in F1 since the 1980s. With transmitters affixed to the cars providing data in real time, the engineers and other workers in the pits were better able to understand what was happening to both the drivers and the cars while they were out on the track.

While it can be hard to really define big data, this real-time collection of information – info that’s then used to make adjustments during and after a given race – seems to fit the bill. Since F1 started using telemetry in the ’80s, the use of data collection and adjustments based on that info during both practice laps and live races has exploded. The amount of data coming in has increased, too, as Lotus F1 COO Thomas Mayer told Marr that F1 teams aren’t collecting small amounts of data anymore. They’re gathering petabytes worth of info to make a great number of adjustments large and small, from safety improvements to cutting seconds off of lap times.

Big data for the fans

While both F1 and NASCAR use data before, during and after race day to improve performance, the U.S.-based racing association has taken the lead with using big data to connect with fans. NASCAR’s partnership with Hewlett-Packard, centered around the capture and analysis of many different fan-related metrics, has been operating for 3 years. The platform works to make NASCAR’s product, its races and television broadcasts as well as news and social media operations, more interesting and relevant for fans. By analyzing the reactions of viewers through social networks, website visits and many other metrics, the organization can present more engaging race coverage to its fanbase. Big data isn’t just making things safer and faster for racing teams, it’s also used to create a more enjoyable experience for the fans who make the sport run.

Tax Scam Mastermind Busted After Swindling More Than a Million Dollars

Tax-Scam-Money

The organizer of a massive phone fraud operation won’t lead another effort anytime soon. One of the biggest IRS scams – wherein fraudsters tried to convince targets they owed the tax-collection authority money and had to pay immediately – no longer has its head in place. While the arrest doesn’t mean a total elimination of such threats, it’s a major strike against one of the most successful of these scams.

The ringleader of the international scam’s U.S. side of operations, Sahil Patel, received a 15-year sentence, according to CNN. The final verdict from the judge came after a guilty plea entered in January. Barring an early release, Patel will remain in prison until 2030, at which point he will enter a supervised release program for three years. Beyond the jail time, Patel also had to forfeit $1 million to the U.S. government, losing most of the $1.2 million the phone fraud operation brought in. According to The Associated Press, Patel was charged with wire fraud among other infractions.

How the scam worked

The international operation relied on call centers in India, where English-speaking scammers tried to convince U.S. residents they owed the IRS money and were significantly in arrears. They used generally aggressive tones and language, along with threats of additional penalties and jail time. The fraudulent callers would instruct anyone thus tricked to purchase pre-paid debit cards to use for settling the debt, obscuring the source and destination of those payments while avoiding common debit and credit card protections like chargebacks and bank interventions.

Avoiding the fraudsters

Despite the many people who didn’t go along with the scam, the operation netted more than a million dollars during approximately two years of operation. With an average loss of $5,000 to $7,000 per successful call, it’s easy to see that many people were confused, frightened, bullied or otherwise convinced to pay into the scam, according to The AP. CNN reported the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration’s office has logged more than 600,000 such calls through July 6 in 2015.

The last thing anyone wants is to deal with malicious, fraudulent calls like these, especially when repeated calls and high-pressure, blatantly illegal tactics are brought to bear. At Whitepages, we’re dedicated to developing a better, safer and more enjoyable environment for your phone. Our Caller ID app, available for Android devices, lets you decide which calls to take and which to ignore. With identity verification measures in place, you’re better able to protect yourself from fraudulent and malicious incoming calls. Reliable Caller ID gives you the power to choose if and when to answer, creating a more enjoyable experience with your phone. With so many phone scams in operation – along with legitimate but potentially unwanted calls from telemarketers a common occurrence – a comprehensive tool to streamline and secure your smartphone experience is a must.