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The Neurological Basis of Con Games 218

Posted by kdawson
from the doubting-thomas dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "If we humans have such big brains, how can we get conned? Neuroeconomist Paul J. Zak has an interesting post on Psychology Today in which he recounts how he was the victim of a classic con called 'The Pigeon Drop' when he was a teenager and explains how con men take advantage of the Human Oxytocin Mediated Attachment System, called THOMAS, a powerful brain circuit that releases the neurochemical oxytocin when we are trusted and induces a desire to reciprocate the trust we have been shown. 'The key to a con is not that you trust the con man, but that he shows he trusts you. Con men ply their trade by appearing fragile or needing help, by seeming vulnerable,' writes Zak. 'Because of THOMAS, the human brain makes us feel good when we help others — this is the basis for attachment to family and friends and cooperation with strangers.' Zak's laboratory studies have shown that two percent of the college students he tested are 'unconditional nonreciprocators' who have learned how to simulate trustworthiness and would make good con men. Watch a video of Skeptics Society founder Michael Shermer running the classic pigeon drop on an unsuspecting victim and see if you wouldn't be taken in by a professional con man yourself."
IT

Exchanging Pictures To Generate Passwords 123

Posted by timothy
from the worth-a-thousand-words dept.
Roland Piquepaille writes "Today, Ileana Buhan, a Romanian computer scientist, is presenting her PhD Thesis at the University of Twente in the Netherlands. She is using biometrics to protect confidential information when it is exchanged between two mobile devices. This is a very innovative approach to security. Buhan's biometric application will generate almost unbreakable passwords from photos taken by the connected users. Here is how it works. 'To do this, two users need to save their own photos on their PDAs. They then take photos of each other. The PDA compares the two photos and generates a security code for making a safe connection.'"
Privacy

+ - SHA-1 cracking on a budget->

Submitted by cloude-pottier
cloude-pottier (1150433) writes "One thing that is always amazing is what people manage to pull off on absolutely minimal resources. One enterprising individual went on eBay and found boards with more than half a dozen Virtex II Pro FPGAs, nurse them back to life and build a SHA-1 cracker with two of the boards. This is an excellent example of recycling, as these were originally a part of a Thompson Grass Valley HDTV broadcast system. As a part of the project, the creator wrote tools designed to graph the relationships between components using JTAG as to make reverse engineering the organization of the FPGAs on the board more apparent. More details can be seen on the actual project page. If an individual is able to pull this off for under 500 dollars, it almost makes one wonder what resources the government has available to them to do the same thing..."
Link to Original Source
Power

+ - Continuous Rotation about a Magnetic Ring

Submitted by
Sterling D. Allan
Sterling D. Allan writes "The Searl International Space Research Consortium has published two videos at YouTube demonstrating a key proof of concept of a technology John Searl produced in the 1960's, but for which he was jailed, and his devices and papers pilfered by the government. The completion of this mock-up marks the first time since 1968 that a roller has rotated about a ring continuously. According to Searl, the purpose of the mock-up was to find out why the rollers spin, why they stay on the plate, and to see what input power is necessary for operation — to see what kind of rare earth material will be able to provide the input power in the place of the small electrical excitation. The next task will be to build a full Searl Effect Generator (SEG) capable of cheaply and safely producing electricity (15 kW) without fuel, pollution, friction, or noise. Anti-gravity applications will be pursued after that."

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