RE: Y2K: Am I paranoid?
Thu, 11 Feb 1999 07:13:15 -0800 (PST)

Billy Brown [] wrote:
>Depends on how the program is written. Just as likely, it will say "this
>year is 00, my last checkup was in 99, so its been (99 - 00) = -99 years
>since my last checkup - that's less than my 5-year checkup interval, so
>everything is OK!"

Just as likely it's either an unsigned variable, or the negative value is flagged as an error. This is known to be a problem with certain pieces of medical equipment, for liability reasons.

>Since they don't want all their equipment to fail, most
>of them have serious compliance efforts underway, and have already fixed a
>lot of the problems.

However, that's just an assertion, and not a fact. The reports I've seen on power generation seems to show that some companies are doing well, and others have barely started. I still don't expect a big power problem because what resources are available will be thrown at them, and because of workarounds (e.g. the Swedes turning their nuclear plants back to 1990). But otherwise the power industry seems about as screwed up as the rest.

>A side note - Jan 2000 looks to be a very busy month for FedEx!

If any airports are open, planes are flying, trains are running, highways aren't blocked, etc...

>Getting power to gas stations without any computer control wouldn't
>take more than a day or two, so the trucks will keep rolling.

As far as I'm aware most gas stations have generators, so this shouldn't be a problem. However, the gas still has to be shipped into the country, refined, shipped around along potentially blocked and lawless highways. That might be a problem, might not.

>Train systems
>wouldn't be able to run as many trains on manual control, but they would
>still have more than enough capacity for food shipments.

Last I heard there was a lot of grain rotting in the US because there wasn't enough capacity today to ship it all out. There are two big problems with this, "Hell, we'll just go back to manual", answer. Firstly all the people who know how to do this were laid off years ago; we don't have much time to learn how to run it again from scratch. Secondly, in a lot of cases it's simply impossible; on the East coast, all the big train switching yards were eliminated years ago in favor of computer-controlled switches which cannot be operated manually. Either the software works or we have to rip them out and install manual switches; far from a simple job when people are starving around you.

>Sea and air travel
>would be pretty much unaffected - although a breakdown of the FAA system is
>likely, which would greatly reduce the number of flights each airport can

Not to mention non-compliant airports ('Sorry Sir, we think your baggage went to the Ukraine'), lack of insurance, etc, and Lloyds say that modern ships are full of non-compliant embedded systems as well.

>A critical point to remember in all this is that people aren't just going to
>sit around and watch civilization collapse.

That's half the problem. People who rely on government handouts to survive won't just sit around when they stop coming; they'll go out looting and rioting instead. How many people will go into a riot zone to fix broken computers?

>The Allies didn't want them to get off
>that easily, and thus they created a new legal doctrine of personal
>responsibility that still applies today.

Could also be because the 'following orders' arguments were just plain old self-serving bullshit. There's almost no evidence of anyone ever being forced to kill Jews, and plenty of evidence that many killers were given a choice. Few ever chose not to do so. Hell, some of them continued killing Jews even after the German commanders explicitly ordered them to stop.