Dividends: Funny Money

Last month in New York City, a 16-year-old bank robber was dashing down the street clutching a bag of stolen cash when it suddenly exploded, spewing tear gas and splattering the young bandit with red dye. Within minutes the bleary-eyed and brightly marked teen-ager was apprehended. His stickup had been foiled by a tiny package that one bank manager calls "the state of the art in bank security systems."

The anticrime packet consists of an electronic detonator, a tear-gas canister and dye, all packed together so tightly that they fit inside the carved-out center of a stack of bills. Bank tellers keep...

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