Saturday, February 23, 2008

HUMINT: Counting Cash As A "Tell" (Metacafe via Asterpix)

A very interesting video came out a couple of weeks ago that purports to show how different regions of the world count cash. I wasn't sure if the info in the video was correct or not so I went on a bit of a snipe hunt to see if I could find still images of people in various parts of the world counting cash so I could confirm the assertions made in the video. Generally, the assertions appear correct (although there were some exceptions). You can see the video below and my comments after it.

(Note: I have taken this opportunity to also highlight another new service I found, called Asterpix. Asterpix allows you to take virtually any video on the web and annotate it. As you watch this video you will notice rectangular shaped boxes flashing weakly on top of the video. If you mouse over the box, you will freeze the action and you can read my notes and even go to the sources I found that I think confirm or deny the accuracy of the video. I found Asterpix to be drop dead easy (though I wish they had some sort of a bookmarking feature so you could easily go back to a place in the video you wanted to mark). Like, this is a production tool well worth knowing about).

It occurred to me while watching this video that the way a person counts cash could act as a "tell". In poker, a "tell" is a predictable but unconscious pattern of behavior that signals the strength of one's hand. For example, if you tapped your fingers every time you had a good hand without knowing that you did it, that would be a tell.

Perhaps counting cash is similar. While this video has been out there for some time, so I am sure the sophisticated operators are already planning on how to use this info to signal that are someone they aren't, there may be a number of places (on patrol in a marketplace, for example?) where it would be possible to use this kind of info to gain additional insight into the people around you or with which you are dealing. It is very interesting to me, for example, that the way Iranians and Iraqs count cash are, according to the video, very different. Perhaps this is something that the Army's Human Terrain Teams could confirm or deny...

Likewise, if anyone knows if any of the info in the video is true or false for a particular country, please leave a comment.


Nat Kausik said...

thanks for trying asterpix.

yes you can bookmark a location. simply rightclick on the dotted rectangle and select the "copy permalink to clipboard" option. you now have a link to the location, e.g

Nat Kausik said...

i forget to add to that you can also select "copy embedded link" to clipboard.

this link will allow you to refer to that particular point in the video when its embedded in your blog.