The Dunning-Kruger effect, psychological sets, and the bottom twelve percent.

 

Some of the things I’ve been contemplating recently…

What is the Dunning-Kruger effect? What are psychological sets? And, who exactly are the bottom twelve percent?

Dunning-Kruger

Simply put, the Dunning-Kruger effect is when someone has a lot of confidence and over estimates their limited knowledge about a subject… whereas, a knowledgeable person would tend to underestimate their own knowledge because they realize just how much they do not know.

The polar opposite of the Dunning-Kruger effect is the ‘imposter syndrome’. This term was coined in 1978 to describe high achieving individuals who felt that their successes were a matter of luck or fraud. These individuals feel as if their successes are undeserved.

Psychological Sets

When discussing ‘sets’, it is important to take into consideration the many types of sets a person may undertake. A set is a group of expectations that can be shaped by the experiences of a person, which in turn, makes that person more sensitive to specific kinds of information, which can lead to what is known as ‘cognitive entrenchment’.

To avoid cognitive entrenchment, it can useful to consider, and to think about things from people who have a differing points of view. Not only will they tell you things you may not already know, they may also give you a new perspective on a subject matter. People who are fixed thinkers have the tendency to only see solutions that have worked in the past. This can best be described as having a ‘mental set’.

A perceptual set (perceptual expectancy), is a predisposition to perceive things in a certain way. An individual’s perceptual set is influenced by their life experiences, beliefs, motivations, education, culture, and core values. They can, in turn, impact how the individual navigates new experiences and problems, and can predispose the individual to interpret situations and new information in a biased way, based upon that individual’s perception.

And a mental set is the framework in which a person approaches or thinks about a problem. The tendency is to use the same method or solution process that worked with solving previous problems, while purposely or subconsciously, ignoring alternative solutions. This is essentially a very real cognitive block that impedes their ability to correctly solve the problem at hand.

How do we keep an open mind and not fall into perceptual and/or mental sets? One way we can try to overcome sets is to abstract the problem. Simplify the problem down to its essential elements. Do not pass judgment on ideas early on in the problem solving process. Listen to alternative perspectives and possible solutions.

The bottom twelve percent

This one is a particularly uncomfortable subject for me, but I do think it must be addressed. Jordan Peterson, a professor of psychology at the University of Toronto, roughly stated that someone with an IQ of 83 or lower, would be barred from joining the U.S. armed forces. Supposedly, with an IQ of 83 or below, there were no occupations within the U.S. armed forces that would be worthwhile to train that potential soldier to do. In other words, that person was not cost-effective to induct.

I’ve done a little research to determine the validity of this assertion. The best I could find does correlate, to some extent, his basic statement. But I do not think that’s the important take-away from his point. The real point in the statement is about the IQ score of 83, which translates to about 12.8% of the population. Twelve point eight percent out of a population of 331,000,00 people in the United States (2020 estimate), equates to 25.86 million people. Think about that for a moment… nearly 26 million people are not intelligent enough to be of much use to our armed forces… in any capacity. This is alarming for several reasons. 1) our armed services are an excellent way to propel service members up the socio-economic ladder, from lower to middle class and middle to upper class, 2) modern capitalism postulates that, with hard work and diligence, any person can raise himself/herself up out of poverty, 3) With each subsequent generation, Western society becomes more sophisticated and technologically advanced. Realizing that nearly 13% of our population hasn’t the mental ability to be economically useful, even as cannon fodder, for our armed services… what hope do they have functioning in modern society? How does society deal with that problem?

 

Credential harvesting RFID Badge Readers

 

Most modern office buildings utilize RFID badge readers for employee access. While these badge readers offer long-term reliability and convenience to their users… they can also offer a plethora of information about employees, as well as relatively unfettered access to those seeking to gain access to secured buildings and areas.

To understand how this is possible, we must first know how an RFID badge access system works. RFID readers work by broadcasting a very limited power field that activates the coil embedded on a nearby RFID card. The coil on the card then powers up a chip on the card that transmits repeatedly, the information stored on the card. This information is then read by the RFID reader and checked against its database, either granting or denying access.

So, how is this technology susceptible to hacking? 

Well, in order to create a duplicate RFID card to bypass an RFID system, you must obtain valid credentials and know what RFID system is being used. A picture of the target RFID  reader is useful for the hacker to identify the system and model. RFID readers located outside of buildings are not usually protected and fences around such buildings offer a false sense of security. It takes just a couple of minutes to gain access to the reader unit and to install an ESP tool (approximately $30 USD). An ESP tool is a WiFi enabled tap for the Wiegand protocol, which is a very common protocol for RFID reader systems and this device targets 26-37bit HID cards. The tool is used for data logging (recording) and can transmit that data to a smart phone or nearby laptop. To the authorized user, everything functions normally. The hacker now not only has the ‘key’ to the compromised reader, but he effectively controls the lock.

Why would a hacker need to capture many credentials instead of just a few?

A hacker can look at the information captured to see when a large amount of people enter and leave at given times and can then deduce scheduled start times, lunch times, shift changes, etc.  If the same badge ‘hits’ the RFID reader at regular intervals throughout the day, it can indicate that the badge belongs to a security guard. Security guards tend to have greater access to restricted areas and their card access codes are of greater value.

Does the hacker need to make an RFID card to gain access?

Yes and no. The hacker can simply transmit authenticated RFID badge information from their smart phone or laptop, to the ESP tool inside the hacked badge reader to gain access. If the hacker wants to bypass additional RFID readers inside the building, he would need to create a cloned RFID card since the other badge readers would not have been compromised by the ESP tool as previously described.

How much do these tools used to bypass RFID readers cost?

An RFID card reader and programmer of RFID cards costs around $300 USD. RFID cards are a couple of dollars each. ESP tools cost about $30 USD. The cost of the ESP tool program app on the smart phone is $80 USD.

 

 

 

 

 

Questionable Relationship Advice

A couple of friends thought my previous Man Club Tips article was hilarious and wanted advice on what to do once they started dating a person more long-term. Really??? They’re asking me? Ok, but they probably would be better off reevaluating their life choices.

So, now you’ve found yourself in a relationship. How do you manage expectations while maintaining a certain amount of freedom? Admittedly, if you’re still worried about your freedom, are you sure you should be in a relationship? Whatever! Here are a few pointers from Uncle Patrick.  🙂

 

Lower expectations

Simply put, keep ’em guessing. If you’re punctual, your significant other will come to expect you to always be on time. Work on the premise that schedules aren’t ‘set in stone’ and are always subject to last minute changes.

Another tip on lowering expectations has to do with chores around the house. If you really don’t want to do a particular chore, put in a little extra effort into fucking it up. If you pull it off correctly, your significant other won’t let you do that chore again.

‘Forget’ important dates. Focus instead on surprising your mate with tokens of your ‘love’. A random card, flowers for no reason, a dinner date out of the blue… these things should be done with enough frequency so as to mitigate any ill feelings for ‘forgetting’ those aforementioned important dates. You have to replace one with the other.

 

What’s for dinner?

What guy hasn’t asked his woman what she wants to eat and was met with ‘I don’t know, what do you want?’ And then, when you tell her what you’d like to eat, she replies with something like ‘I don’t like that’, or ‘I want something else but don’t know what.’ It’s enough to drive you mad! But, all is not lost. Here’s a trick I learned many years ago. When she asks you ‘what’s for dinner?’, you respond with, ‘guess where we’re going for dinner?’ Now, pay attention to her responses! She’ll tell you what she really wants to eat by trying to ‘guess’ where you’re taking her.

 

Dealing with past relationships

Inevitably it will happen. That moment when your significant other mentions a former partner. How do you handle the moment? Sure, you can be mature about how you choose to handle this situation, but what fun is that? Try associating a negative idea or feeling when he or she mentions a former lover. Every time that person is mentioned, associate a sad story or insinuate that the person was/is stupid, mentally ill, etc. This places your significant other into a position to either defend the former lover or to repress commenting in the first place. If she values your relationship, she would be very hesitant to defend the former lover. Either way, you win.

 

Anti-social behavior

It’s been said that marriage is an anti-social behavior. All of your male friends are now considered ‘bad influences’. On the other hand, her female and male friends aren’t. Not exactly a fair situation, right? The solution is to level the playing field. This calls for finding new friends that are a lot worse than your original friends. By comparison, your old friends will look like saints. The hope is that she relents somewhat and ‘tolerates’ your old friends on the condition that you get rid of the new ones.

Another tactic is to thin out her group of friends. If she has a girlfriend that you find completely annoying, this is your opportunity to get rid of her. Be sure to compliment her girlfriend by saying things like ‘she’s really cute in that outfit’, or ‘if anything ever happens to us, I’d like to go out with her’. There’s nothing like a jealous wife/girlfriend and her paranoia.

More to follow…