Quick! What is the cosine of the cube root of 31?

Yesterday someone shared a useful tip with me: should you be the victim of a robbery in which you are forced to withdraw money from an ATM, by entering your PIN backwards you will send a silent alarm to the bank which will then notify the police.

I restrained, but probably not entirely successfully, the urge to laugh.

It sounds like a great security measure, unfortunately, it is impractical. Under normal circumstances I presume it is hard enough form most people to mentally reverse their PIN (it is for me). Under a stressful situation, I presume it would be pretty nigh impossible.

Further there is the problem of people using palindromic PINs like 1111 or 2332 because they are easier to remember, this person replied, "Well, I guess you're screwed then."

I also wondered why I had never been told or informed about this. The person answered back, "I guess they don't want it general knowledge so the criminals don't know about it."


If such a system were implemented, it would be simpler to just use the standard numeric code for help 911 (this code may vary with country, in Great Britain it is 999).

Furthermore, even if it did work as advertised, it is highly likely the police will arrive well after the robbery occurred.

A little research this morning found this debunking of it.


Sweetiepie said…
hi richard,I got a meme for you.I hope you can do it.:)
b said…
I was truly laughing when I read this! Yes, curious system. But apparently it was developed, just never found to be useful enough to implement.
Richard said…
sweetiepie: thanks. I will probably do it ... erm ... soon.

breal: I'm sure it seemed like a good idea at the time, but it isn't really.

ingrid: you will have to do better than that.
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