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January 3, 2005 5:13 PM   Subscribe

The surprising legacy of Y2K. In the runup to the new millennium, my uncle stocked a bunker full of supplies and ammunition and drove around with more in the trunk of his car. Crazy? Maybe, but this piece by American Public Media might get him off the hook and at the same time give the geeks who staved off armageddon a little credit. [Audio version at NPR's Marketplace]
posted by schoolgirl report (17 comments total)

 
As an IT-nerd at the time, my wallet certainly benefitted, hoax or no hoax.
posted by pmbuko at 5:22 PM on January 3, 2005


Nomic? More like Calvinball...
posted by basicchannel at 5:28 PM on January 3, 2005


I was just wondering about this the other night. Thanks, schoolgirl report.
posted by interrobang at 5:32 PM on January 3, 2005


Amerika ? teh Fear-Monger.

Gotta wonder what we would do without fear and uncertainty...
"Could this be God's way to bring revival to America?" asked televangelist Jerry Falwell in a video called 'A Christian's Guide to the Millennium Bug'. "Stop and think about it: when water, food, electricity, gas, oil, money, none of them are available and nowhere to get them, the people who have those things will be in mortal danger...
Forget the fear component, whatever happened to love and charity and 'Christian Values'? If I didn't know any better, I'd say that Fallwell was telling people to covet their possessions, promoting idolatry and an assortment of other virtures from the Satanic Verses. But I could be wrong.

(G-d|Jesus|Allah) must be a Republican. funny how these things work out...
posted by vhsiv at 6:48 PM on January 3, 2005


? = heart = ♥ (It showed up in preview, but not the post)
posted by vhsiv at 6:55 PM on January 3, 2005


Didn't you hear, vhsiv? Jesus would definitely be a Republican.
posted by interrobang at 7:38 PM on January 3, 2005


Five years after the hoopla and warnings about Y2K, many dismiss it as a hoax, scam, or non-event. Not only was Y2K a real threat narrowly averted, but it is still having major effects on the economy.

They are referring of course to the fradulent election of George W. Bush as President of the United States.
posted by ed at 7:44 PM on January 3, 2005


That didn't take long.
posted by TheNakedPixel at 9:23 PM on January 3, 2005


I can't believe I learnt JCL for you morons. We should have let society burn.
posted by sleslie at 10:05 PM on January 3, 2005


Seems to me that the only salient point in the radio report was that business now have an in-case-of-disaster plan, which they should have anyhow. The rest is more virus/hacker fear-mongering
posted by foozleface at 10:38 PM on January 3, 2005


I'm sorry the article didn't convince me that Y2k wasn't a hoax


Koskinen describes the scene as he saw it unfurl. "The low level wind shear detectors at every major airport go out at 7:00 on Friday night, the defense intelligence satellite system goes down, the French intelligence satellite goes down, the Japanese lose the ability to monitor a couple of their nuclear power plants, and come Monday morning, there are thousands of businesses that when you buy something with your credit card charge you every day of the week"

He conviently doesn't say, how long these systems went down, if they just blipped or if they went down in a way that compromised somebody's security. In fact, I would have liked some links to news reports about these supposed security problems from the article. Anyway, I'm not entirely unhappy with government and businesses spending money to update software as that creates jobs and wealth. The only reason I use the word "hoax" and not "great sales job" for the whole Y2k business, is that FEAR was used to bludgeon the American public into spending all that money. I believe that in Europe and Asia Y2k was also an issue, but nobody (or at least not as many people) was building survival retreats and stocking up on guns because of media generated hysteria.
posted by sic at 12:14 AM on January 4, 2005


sic - As someone who worked in the financial sector during y2k remediation, I can tell you that it definitely was not a hoax. Banks were not allowed to talk about how serious the problem was because so as not to cause a panic.

I wasn't at a bank, but I was at a large financial institution that everyone has heard of, and they took the job very, very seriously. We were working on the problem long before the hype began, and we made sure we had the problem solved completely three months before the big day.

Oh, and two other things that many people never heard, or might not have attached much importance to - Feb 29, 2000 and Sep 9, 1999 were also very important, and problematic days.
posted by bh at 7:23 AM on January 4, 2005


Hi bh, I was working in IT for a Brokerage firm during the Y2k scare and we also took the situation very seriously. We had a a whole team dedicated to making the software we used to connect ourselves and our clients to the different financial markets "Y2K compliant". I'm not saying that it was a bad thing to upgrade the software to avoid glitches, and as you said, there were other "problematic" days caused by noncompliance. But I still consider this a hoax because of all of the hype about a disaster of biblical proportions that was supposed to happen if we weren't Y2K compliant. I mean, I remember people going out to buy potable water and generators just prior to news year, terrified that planes were going to start falling out of the sky when the clock struck midnight. The only thing more hysterical than the Y2K hoax was/is the post 9-11 terrorism hysteria. Remember the run on duct tape a few years ago? Lord knows how extremely the next end of the world scenario will be marketed.
posted by sic at 9:04 AM on January 4, 2005


uh, "new year's"
posted by sic at 9:05 AM on January 4, 2005


sic: have you bought your tsunami proof shelter yet ?
posted by elpapacito at 9:10 AM on January 4, 2005


sic - People panic about just about anything these days. I didn't think that any planes were going to fall out of the sky, but I was one of the people that moved a little bit further away from civilization, just in case there were large problems in the financial markets.

My largest concern was the power grid. But like the financial sector, they weren't talking, and I only had second hand knowledge confirming that things would be fine. So when I was moving (mid 1998), I took the choice to go a little bit further out, just on the off chance something didn't work out right.

But I will agree with you that people did panic too much. I still wouldn't call it a hoax, since if we (and many others) had not worked for years to fix things, there would have been major problems. But I would say that the general populace was overly paranoid, and not even aware of what the issue entailed.
posted by bh at 11:02 AM on January 4, 2005


convince me that Y2k wasn't a hoax - sic

First, you convince me it was a hoax. Just because nothing happened doesn't mean it was a hoax, it's a logical fallacy. I take it you are not a programmer.
posted by stbalbach at 4:52 PM on January 4, 2005


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