Reading the unreadable, and a PS RFC

Reading the unreadable (and a PS RFC)

By Eh’den (Uri) Biber

Psychologists believe they rule the world; they are 25% of the prison population,  4% of corporate CEOs and 1% of the world population. They affect us all, most of us can’t identify them at all – yet there is a way to find out if you know one of them. No, I’m not talking about The Illuminati, I’m talking about psychopaths.

Monday & Tuesday were a true delight, as BRUCON 2011 took place once more in the Brussels. It was not only the great speakers who covered multiple domains of security or the wonderfully dedicated team of volunteers (and sponsors) that made it all possible – it was the atmosphere. As one of the key speakers told me – “I gave the same speech in other places, but here the vibe was with the audience was so cool, I really loved it here”.

The reason I am writing this fast blog is to apologize for my bad memory. At Dale Pearson’s presentation (“Social Engineering Like In The Movies”) I made a reference which needs to be corrected to those who are interested in the domain of human manipulation. At the end of his presentation, at the Q&A section someone from the audience asked how can you spot those who are psychopaths. “After all” he said, “How can you read those who have no feelings for others?”. After Dale’s reply I’ve made a comment from the audience that if anyone is interested in the subject they should read “The Psychopath test” by Jonathan Safran Foer.

So here is my apology to the audience and to Dale for a partially mistaken reference. As a movie fan I’ve mixed the authors of one book which turned into a movie “everything is illuminated”, with the author of another book that turned into a movie – “The men who stare at goats”. I’ve always remembered movies and faces better then names 🙂

So the name of the book is indeed “The Psychopath Test”, but it was written not by Jonathan Safran Foer but by Jon Ronson. To hopefully compensate my mistake I enclose two links, first to an interview with the author on the daily show:

(Try looking at the body language of the author while listening to the interview)

The second link is an animated video the author had uploaded to youtube:



I highly recommend the book, It’s a wonderful to anyone who wish to decide if they are psychopaths or not 🙂

Ending this part of the quick blog with a side-note: I wish to take the opportunity and send love to my friends (you know who you are, I don’t need to do name-dropping here). Have a safe trip back home! It was a pleasure to meet, talk and know some of you for the first time, I’ve learned so much from you! It was also a pleasure to finally meet those who I already know and hear about the adventures in time and space since the last time we met . I hope to see you soon!



Now to the PS RFC:

During Dale’s presentation (which was by the way excellent) I wrote to myself a lot of comments/ideas based on my own observation/research in that domain. One of which is related to the fact that “nose up in the air” attitude is referenced to snobbish people.

I was thinking that the “nose up in the air” behaviour can be explained via an evolutionary view. In nature a lot of mammals and primates interpret staring at them as a challenge or a threat, and if you wish to approach them you must look down. This is mainly due to the fact that for many animals the eyes are fixed in looking forward, and those mammals when they wish to change their focus they need to turn their heads. We humans tend to look everywhere without changing the physical location of the face (which is very useful if you’re with your spouse and a very attractive specimen is passing by lol)

For many (most?) mammals, the more dominant you will be, the more you will have your nose up because no one will challenge you, which can explain the root origin of having your nose up in the air (other than a plastic surgery of course). The next time someone will act in such a way don’t get upset – Maybe it’s his DNA that tells him to do so, or he just spent way too much time staring at dogs 🙂

That’s it – that’s what came to my mind during the talk. Maybe it’s already been explained before, maybe I don’t know what I’m talking about – I would love to read your opinion!

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