Y 2 K: Hectic or Hype Y 2 K is the abbreviation for the phrase year 2000, and it is the same type of people who abbreviated the Y 2 K problem that got us here in the first place. The Y 2 K problem was created at the birth of the computer, but was not taken seriously until roughly fifteen years ago. To be able to evaluate the severity of the problem, you must have a broad mind, and a boat load of computer know-how. Likewise, to grasp how minuscule the problem is, you must also possess these same attributes. Everyone has knowledge of the Y 2 K problem, but in case you are one of the few that forgot to turn on your television, read a newspaper, and talk to other people over the past few years, here is an explanation of what brought us to this. In order to save money, the computer industry developed a standard for writing dates at the beginning of the computer era.
This method was that all computers automatically converted any year designated by two numbers such as 99 into 1999, by adding the digits 19. (web p. 1) The problem with this is that when the date in a computer adjusts from 99 to 00, it will recognize the 00 as 1900. Suppose someone was born in 1955. In 1999 a computer registers them as being 44 years old. Nonetheless, in the year 2000, a computer will calculate them as being -55 years old. This has the potential to be a worldwide crisis if everyone sits back, and allows it to occur.
The Y 2 K problem was first addressed nationally in Computer World magazine in 1984. An analyst at an auto manufacturer presented the article. He stressed the point that if computer manufacturers did not act fast to correct the bug now, that it could impose a threat to consume the computer world as we know it. Later, he was fired for pushing management past the point of irritation on the subject. (PC Magazine, p. 105) The problems that will be experienced on January 1, 2000 will rang between isolated incidents from individual to individual, and a few glitches from nation to nation.
It is likely we will have appliance malfunctions and maybe, a very temporary power outage. But these problems are minute compared to the uncertainties humans could inflict upon themselves. The REAL problems will begin with individuals who draw all of their money out of the bank in December. Banks will have trouble turning up all that money. To get an idea on how that may happen, consider the following situation. Suppose you have a car loan for $10,000.
Over the period of one year you have paid the payments on time and everything is going smoothly. After that first year, a banker unexpectedly comes knocking on your door and demands the remainder of the balance be paid on the spot. Most people do not have $7,000 or $8,000 of cash on hand. So where will the money come from That is the position that the banks are in. A rampage of selling in the stock market could also produce the same effect. Companies could go bankrupt because they can not pay the shareholders.
These scenarios are not likely to occur but they are realistic. These problems could cause a huge downside potential in our healthier-than-ever economy. The problems most likely to occur will involve temporary glitches. Especially overseas in billing and invoice systems. This could cause some disruptions in business and government. (Time, p. 64) Our government promises it is prepared for the turn of the century.
It ensures that social security checks will be mailed and that the IRS will continue to collect taxes. A person can walk into any given newsstand, bookstore, or library, and find many Y 2 K solution articles ranging anywhere from preparing for the worse, to preventing the worse. (I prefer the latter) Some people are going as far as to purchasing new homes in rural areas. A family, for instance, moved from a Dallas suburb to an 85 acre farm near Harrison, AK.
There, they have invested in a home generator, a 1,000 gallon propane tank, and a small flock of chickens. Also, stashed throughout their house are hundreds of rolls of toilet paper. They claim that they will make good barter items. (Time, p. 70) There was one survival tip that I found particularly interesting. It was in case the nation's water supply became depleted, add 16 drops of bleach to a gallon of water from a river, stream, or pond. (Morning Herald, Sec.
B-1) This in turn, purifies the water so that it is safe to drink. I believe this tactic may be put to good use if water utilities are inoperable for a few days. Some of the Y 2 K solutions may seem outlandish, but all the ideas for them were preceded by the Y 2 K hype. The media contributed its fair share to marketing the Y 2 K bug. But no one has taken it as far as the money thirsty wolves out there, trying to drain everything they can from the naive little red riding hoods. It is the oldest trick in the book.
It is like the guy on the television asking you to send him your money, and he promises to send you stuff to make you rich, fast. 99% of the time the medicine does not cure the disease, and the disease this time is the portion of society which believes there will be a global meltdown when the clock strikes midnight. I believe the people who try to make money off the Y 2 K problem are greedier than the Catholic Organization. What glutton would try to squeeze dollars out of cents on an issue that they believe, could effect the well being of man-kind.
Where are the ethics I can not accept the fact that a person in a rational state of mind has proposed some of the predictions or solutions I have read or heard concerning the Y 2 K problem. (Time, p. 68) One particular article I have read has led me to my feelings on this topic. On midnight of December 31, 1999, I believe we will experience no such antichrist, no apocalypse, and no year long famine. I do, however, would not be surprised to see power outages and water loss for periods lasting 24 to possibly 72 hours. Paranoid citizens clamored together at churches praying for the avoidance of Armageddon. Sensible citizens thanking God that they did purchase one extra package of Charmin double roll.
Holy rollers claiming that the only reason there was not a worldwide catastrophe was because God saved us. This is a man-made problem and it will be corrected by man. It is not divine faith that will bring us to this day. It was an entrepreneur who discovered by leaving 2 digits out of the date inside a computer, would save memory space, desk space, and most importantly, money. This would be the perfect opportunity to adopt a global standardization for dating to prevent a similar incident in the future. Taking this step would be the logical thing to do, but man prefers the illogical.
So we will wait until the next thing breaks, and then figure out a way to fix it, instead of preventing it from breaking. Hopefully history will teach us a solid lesson about the Y 2 K problem. Man has already conquered the world, for its only when man conquers himself, is he forging the next step in the path for a brighter future.