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March 3, 2004 8:01 PM   Subscribe

Planning to blackmail a government and ask for the ransom in unmarked bills? Make sure you don't get the new US $20 bills.
posted by spazzm (30 comments total)

 
I'm a bit skeptical about this - is it fabrication, or is there a possible other explanation?
I have no $20 bills at hand, and thus cannot verify this.
Anyone?
posted by spazzm at 8:05 PM on March 3, 2004


Surely I am not the only one to wonder what kind of moron puts $1,000 in $20 bills in a microwave "just to see what happens". Surely one bill would be the place to start?

Also, that many bills would most likely not fit into a wallet in the first place, which makes the story a bit suspect.
posted by dg at 8:10 PM on March 3, 2004


50 bills sound like a lot, but keep in mind that a standard lecture notebook is about 120 sheets, and they're not that thick.
I guess a not-too-prescient person might commit the mistake of putting a lot of paper bills in the micro if, from previous experience, one knows nothing happens if you put paper into the micro.

Still, I agree that it sounds suspect - which is why I'm waiting to see if anyone with access to US bills can verify/debunk this.
posted by spazzm at 8:21 PM on March 3, 2004


It's the ink... not RFID tags that cause that reaction.
posted by banished at 8:21 PM on March 3, 2004


1. The story is probably bogus.

2. Even if true...so the hell what? In the words of Scott McNealy (Sun CEO): "You have no privacy...get over it."

3. I don't care if someone knows that I spent $20 at Wal-Mart, or a bike-repair store, or buying a magazine, or eating a steak dinner, and so on. And seriously...the sheer number of bills in circulation, coupled with the frequency with which they change hands, would make it literally impossible for anyone to "monitor" or otherwise "target" someone unless there were HUGE stakes involved (terrorism, spying, etc).
posted by davidmsc at 8:21 PM on March 3, 2004


why do you hate freedom, davidmsc?
posted by jpoulos at 8:23 PM on March 3, 2004


davidmsc:
I don't care about the privacy angle on this - I just want to know if it's real, dammit!
posted by spazzm at 8:24 PM on March 3, 2004


The exact same thing will happen if you put fifty sheets of bond paper (cut to the size of a dollar bill) in the microwave, stacked.

Nothing to do with it being money, or RFID.
posted by dmd at 8:27 PM on March 3, 2004


The story was effectively debunked on slashdot already.
posted by banished at 8:30 PM on March 3, 2004


The same effect could be caused when a large amount of magnetic ink is all in the same place, especially if that microwave didn't have a carousel. I bet that a stack of checks could do the same thing.

Regarding fifty bills in a wallet, it fits fine in a single fold wallet. (I only know because mid-limit texas holdem is my vice of choice)
posted by mosch at 8:30 PM on March 3, 2004


They've done it to the Euro as well...
posted by blade at 8:31 PM on March 3, 2004


Ah. Thanks, banished.

Note to self: Next time, search archives of both metafilter AND slashdot before posting.
posted by spazzm at 8:32 PM on March 3, 2004


As far as I know, most department store antitheft systems don't use RFID, they use big magnets that are demagnetized as you pay for your merchandise.
posted by mrgavins at 8:33 PM on March 3, 2004


ackkk!!! don't take my comment that way spazzm, I hate when MeFi users leave the snarky, "way to post something that's already been done" comments (I've been guilty of this in the past). But hey, if they haven't seen it, it's new to them!
posted by banished at 8:55 PM on March 3, 2004


But hey, if they haven't seen it, it's new to them!

Hear, hear. I come to mefi for strange and wonderful links, and I hope I'm not being deprived of them because they've already been posted on slashdot.
posted by Dasein at 9:02 PM on March 3, 2004


"Planning to blackmail a government....." - who among us here would have such baseless or self serving motives?
posted by troutfishing at 9:50 PM on March 3, 2004


what Dasein said
posted by Goofyy at 10:07 PM on March 3, 2004


Put some paper in the microwave, it burns in the middle.

In fact I don't think an RFID that thin and small even exists. RFIDs have to either be long or wide so the readers can actually transmit to them and recieve a signal. They would most likely take up a good part of the bill. The RFID as an invisible 'black chip' is largely fiction.

Also, the source for this article is Alex Jones, a radio show personality specializing in over-the-top conspiracy theories. A sampling of his work: the UN will take over the US, one world government, all Presidents and Prime Ministers being secret Satanists, etc
posted by skallas at 10:10 PM on March 3, 2004


The story originates from Dr. Henry Makow's site savethemales.ca where a correction has just been posted ( "FRIED CASH" CORRECTION: RFIDs ARE JUST FOIL). Makow, the inventor of the parlor game Scruples, and his nuttiness, have been discussed here previously.

There's just something about a those pictures of $600 in burnt twenties. Now that's gangsta.
posted by eatitlive at 10:12 PM on March 3, 2004


Not to mention they could just buy an RFID reader and prove it instead of horsing around with a microwave.
posted by skallas at 10:19 PM on March 3, 2004


These idiots will get the money replaced thanks to a "mutilated money" policy at the Department of the Treasury's Bureau of Engraving and Printing.
posted by Dome-O-Rama at 10:43 PM on March 3, 2004


what Dasein said, again
posted by BackwardsHatClub at 12:03 AM on March 4, 2004


Not at all, banished - I'm genuinely glad you helped me get to the bottom of this.

No snark percieved on my part.
posted by spazzm at 1:46 AM on March 4, 2004


Also, I'd like to make a correction:
If you are planning to blackmail a government and ask for the ransom in unmarked bills, then by all means go for the new US $20 bills.
posted by spazzm at 6:20 AM on March 4, 2004


skallas wrote: Also, the source for this article is Alex Jones, a radio show personality specializing in over-the-top conspiracy theories.

I second that. Alex Jones is major tinfoil hat territory. 'over the top' is the perfect description for what he spews.

I used to work with a guy who's a close co-conspirator of Mr. Jones. My co-worker was Just Plain Nuts™
posted by tippiedog at 7:36 AM on March 4, 2004


I'll bet you can find a RFID reader for less than $1000.

If I put $1000 in the microwave, and it burnt... I would be pissed as hell that I JUST LOST $1000... not that it has any sort of ID tags...

It's a moot point anyway... it's just the metallic strips in the bills that cause them to burn in the microwave... as far as why it set off an alarm... no RFID tags, we would already know about that by now... I'm sure this guy isn't the first person to check it out since the new $20 came out.

As far as why it set off a REGULAR security alarm? Easy, either his wallet had a tag left in it... or the stack of metallic strips acted as a capacitor and tripped the alarm in the same way a real tag would have: by resonating at a specific frequency.

This guy needs to put on his tinfoil hat.

Oh and if anyone has any $20 bills that they would like me to check personally, just e-mail me and I will give you an address.
posted by LoopSouth at 9:17 AM on March 4, 2004


Hear, hear. I come to mefi for strange and wonderful links, and I hope I'm not being deprived of them because they've already been posted on slashdot.

MetaFilter: It's already been posted on Slashdot.
posted by antifreez_ at 9:25 AM on March 4, 2004


If you're going to blackmail a government and ask for the ransom in unmarked bills, you'll have to find a government that prints money without a fucking machine-readable serial number on the front of every bill.

If you're paranoid enough about having your cash purchases tracked to cover your wallet in tinfoil, you had better cut out those serial numbers, too. Which would be pretty suspicious in and of itself.
posted by mr_roboto at 10:21 AM on March 4, 2004


why didn't he just take the cash out of his wallet and have the guy scan the cash and wallet seperatly?
posted by Nauip at 12:01 PM on March 4, 2004


Toshiba just came out with their rfid product designed for currency, it's a 1x1x1 mm rfid chip that does not require the large antenna in existing retail rfid tags. which means you can feel the chip on a note.
posted by elle at 1:10 PM on March 7, 2004


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