Friday, March 23, 2007

Russian Villagers paranoid over barcodes

(Via Reuters)

Some residents of the village Bogolyubovo, in Russia, have rejected new passports because they include a bar code. Why? Because the bar code on the passports included 'three sixes' (presumably three sets of six). Some of them also rejected newer pension stubs for the same reason.

Why all this worry? There was talk back in like 2000 that due to the prevalence of magnetic cards for just about everything (Debit, SIN, Health Card etc), that governments would combine them into a single number. This set a number of minds reeling, and many people speculated that it would come down to a single number tattooed on a person's body. Even wilder speculation predicted that the number would be three sets of six-digit numbers, and that it would have to be tattooed on either the wrist or the forehead.

All of this springs from the book of Revelation which says (13:16-18):
And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:

and that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.

Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.

I wouldn't consider a passport to be a 'mark' necessarily, but it is such an important document, that one might need to carry it with them wherever they go.

Superstition can be a funny thing, especially in relation to technology, or other things we don't understand. I found a post on Chet's Magical Mysteries from last summer that tackled the issue of Hypnosis and Religion. He points out people are often hesitant to be hypnotized, because of the strange things they've heard about hypnotism.

Magicians, of course, have a responsibility to not abuse this lack of information, and to inform (as much as they can anyway) their participants in such a way as to make them feel comfortable.

This is a round-a-bout way of saying I think perhaps the villagers should have been brought up to date on how barcodes work, and what they've been used for so far in history.

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