Social Security numbers should also last well into the later part of this century, according to Social Security Administration spokeswoman Cynthia W. Edwards. The agency has assigned about 450 million numbers, including 5.8 million last year, but nearly a billion are possible -- not quite a billion because some numbers, including those that start with 666, aren't allowed.
Tom Judd, the routing-number administrator for the American Bankers Association, isn't as accommodating when banks want to avoid that Number of the Beast from the Book of Revelation. "We had a bank call up, mad," because 666 was in its assigned routing number. Others have complained about numbers that included 1313, double bad luck if you're so inclined. But Mr. Judd stood firm. Customers who don't like seeing that number on their check "will have to go to another bank," he says.
Monday, May 25, 2009
Crunching numbers, avoiding the Beast
Carl Bialik explores the limits of numbering, from Internet IPs to Social Security, while avoiding the sign of the Beast: