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Author Topic:   Trump and Trump supporters keep using the Y2K Fallacy, and it is driving me crazy
dwise1
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Joined: 05-02-2006
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(1)
Message 10 of 126 (883235)
11-21-2020 12:01 AM
Reply to: Message 9 by coffee_addict
11-20-2020 9:41 PM


Would you ever argue that because nothing ever happened to those bridges that my job was not necessary?

In a speech by a US Navy admiral who was in charge of port security in the Persian Gulf, he told us that the Army generals would question why he was necessary if nothing ever happened. He kept trying to explain to them that his units being there and doing their jobs was the reason why nothing ever happened.


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dwise1
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Posts: 4711
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 5.0


(1)
Message 46 of 126 (885689)
04-22-2021 9:26 PM
Reply to: Message 41 by Tanypteryx
04-22-2021 4:55 PM


What about the 22 Aug 1999 bug when GPS faced its first 10K weeknumber rollover? GPS was intended to be a short-lived project, so they only allocated 10 bits to its weeknumber counter -- time, a highly critical component of GPS, is/was maintained with a weeknumber count and a count of seconds into that week along with a highly precise 1 pulse-per-second (1PPS) signal.

Every 19.69 years that 10-bit counter will roll over. It happened first in 1999 and then again this past year. In 1999, it would have caused all GPS devices to suddenly think that it was 1980 again, which would have screwed everything up since part of GPS is a satellite almanac which tells each GPS device where to look for satellites.

GPS receiver manufacturers got onto the problem to find a solution. Our own product line (the final 2 decades of my professional life before I retired) made use of GPS receivers to provide a very precise timebase, so issues such as the weeknumber rollover was very serious for us. We all came in to work at midnight (UTC that is, so around 1700 for us) to observe how all our product line handled that weeknumber rollover. Everything worked fine. Same thing when we all came in to work for the Y2K rollover -- I told my wife I had to be in at work at midnight on New Year's Eve, not letting on that it would be at 1600 instead of at 2400, but she didn't bat an eyelash (should have been my first clue).

 
But none of that addresses the actual big problem coming up: the 2038 Bug.

UNIX time is kept as the count of seconds since 01 Jan 1970 in a 32-bit unsigned integer. At 03:14:07 UTC 2038 Jan 19 that 32-bit counter will roll over and suddenly it will 01 Jan 1970 again on UNIX systems the world over.

Time is declared as time_t which is #defined through your C compiler's global #define. That is now #defined as a 64-bit integer, which solves this 2038 problem, but there are many UNIX programs still in use that were compiled back when time_t was still a 32-bit integer. Also, Windows had adopted UNIX time, so Windows time/calendar objects stop working in 2038 (I know, since I had created one).

Just when you thought it was safe.


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 Message 41 by Tanypteryx, posted 04-22-2021 4:55 PM Tanypteryx has responded

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 Message 47 by Tanypteryx, posted 04-22-2021 9:46 PM dwise1 has responded

  
dwise1
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Posts: 4711
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 5.0


(3)
Message 48 of 126 (885692)
04-22-2021 10:02 PM
Reply to: Message 47 by Tanypteryx
04-22-2021 9:46 PM


Part of the very slow (very low bandwidth) signal download from the satellites was the almanac to tell the receiver where to look for the satellites. Our early lab experiments with the receivers (we did use Magellan receivers at first) found that it could take a receiver manufactured on the East Coast about 20 minutes to figure out it was on the West Coast. I seem to recall that a complete download of data from the satellites would take about 12 minutes. Very low power, low bandwidth.

We would have fun at times watching a new receiver find its way to California.

An added bonus is that when I immediately understood the moment I encountered it that ubiquitous creationist claim about how the earth's spin is slowing down so it used be ridiculously fast in the past (not actually! -- DWISE1'S CREATION / EVOLUTION PAGE: Earth's Rotation is Slowing. The originators' mistake (most likely Walter Brown) in 1979 (soundly refuted in 1982, but the claim is still with us) was that he didn't understand what leap seconds are. But, having worked very intimately with them for about two decades, I did know and understand what leap seconds are.


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dwise1
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Posts: 4711
Joined: 05-02-2006
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(2)
Message 49 of 126 (885708)
04-23-2021 12:59 PM
Reply to: Message 47 by Tanypteryx
04-22-2021 9:46 PM


Technology has to be managed. Humans have gotten really lazy, and crazy, and it's really starting to show. Denial of the problems will not fix them and will make them worse.

A large part of the problem is lack of foresight. In so many cases, the creators of new technologies just could not imagine it ever growing or even lasting, so they fail to design in room for growth.

The common story about electronic computers was that about 30 computers would be enough to satisfy all the needs of the whole world. The number kind of changes with every reference.

IPv4 addresses were supposed to satisfy all the world's networking needs. After all, only a small number of people would ever use the Internet. With 32 bits (four octets) and two special use addresses (232-2), that provided 4,294,967,294 possible IP addresses. The practical number of IP addresses was smaller because of how they were allocated:

  • Class A Network -- 126 networks in the world, each with 16,777,214 hosts
  • Class B Network -- 4,096 networks in the world, each with 65,534 hosts
  • Class C Network -- 2,097,152 networks in the world, each with 254 hosts
So if you were a class A network and you only used 1,000 of your allocated addresses, then that left 16,776,214 addresses wasted; nobody outside your network could use them. With the explosion of Internet users (they hadn't anticipated personal computers either) and now the explosion of the "Internet of Things".

That is why they had to create IPv6 addresses, but that also required upgrading the Internet to support those new addresses. In the meantime, Network Address Translation (NAT) kept things working. Your gateway router has a public IP address facing outwards and a private address facing your private network (eg, 192.168.0.1) in which all the devices on the network have their own private IP address. When one of those devices sends a message out onto the Internet, the router's NAT changes the address to match your public address and does the reverse for incoming responses.

The NAVSTAR GPS project was meant to be a military experiment that would last only about a decade. I've seen the formatting of the data transmitted by the satellites and it is shoehorned in pretty tightly, plus because of the low bandwidth (it takes about 12 minutes for a complete download to your receiver) you have to keep everything down to a minimum. Time is given in week number from the Start of Time (06 Jan 1980) and how much time into the week. So they allocated ten (10) bits to the week number giving them 1024 weeks (19.69 years) to play with which was twice what they figured they needed. At the end of Week 1023, the week number would roll over back to Week 0.

Of course, GPS lasted a lot longer than they had planned for, plus it expanded to commercial use. With the first week number rollover approaching, receiver manufacturers worked out a fix to keep us from reliving 1980. It worked for the first rollover and also for the second rollover which was last year. Last I heard, the satellite data messages were going to be (or have been) changed to assign 13 bits to the week number, which would push the next rollover out 157.5 years to the year 2137.

When that first week number rollover hit, we set up our entire product line in the lab and came in to work on Saturday to verify that they all kept the right time. They did. We were just lucky that midnight UTC was 1700 PDT, so we were still able to be home in time for dinner.


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dwise1
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Posts: 4711
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 5.0


(1)
Message 64 of 126 (886054)
05-03-2021 4:37 PM
Reply to: Message 61 by Sarah Bellum
05-03-2021 12:37 PM


Still, it makes me wonder. Suppose you went into a power plant, or a network of power plants and the associated distribution network, and changed the date on all the clocks to something incorrect. What would happen? Would people's bills be calculated incorrectly? Would that really be apocalyptic? Would the time change affect settings that affect usage estimates because it assumed the weather would be different? Could this happen by changing the year but not the month and the day of the month?

Normally, one would set up a sandbox in which to conduct such system tests. That would keep the test from causing real-world incidents. And if you wanted to see how the software being tested would affect such things as billings and usage estimates, then that could be added to the test being conducted in that sandbox.

In addition to creating the test, setting up the sandbox for the test would take a lot of time and work. Which I saw reported in this topic.

Software problems can certainly cause catastrophes. They may also be mere nuisances. That's all the Y2K problem ever was.

I always saw the Y2K problem as creating jobs for unemployed COBOL programmers.

For those who don't know, the main problem presented by Y2K was caused by the common programming practice of saving storage for two characters in every year field by leaving out the "19--" and only using the last two digits. Back when computers were still not very fast and storage was still prohibitively expensive (eg, $81,920.00 for 16KB in 1960 compared to 1.75 cents for 16KB in 2000), shoehorning as much data in as small a space that you can made sense, so everybody did it and that is what programming students were taught to do.

Like with the GPS Week Number Rollover problem (Message 46), nobody expected that software to be around long enough to be a problem. There is an incredibly amount of legacy software out there that is still in use because "if it ain't broke, don't fix it." For example, you can find a lot of C source code for programs (eg, astronomical programs) online, but when you read it you find that it's in K&R C which was replaced by ANSI C in 1989.

 
Another date-related bug that I won't be alive to see will be the Y2100 Bug (¿Y2.1K?) because of code that determines whether it's a leap year.

The "divisible by 4" rule for leap years was built into the original Julian Calendar in 46 BCE, but because the tropical year is slightly less than 365.25 days that caused three extra days to be added to the calendar every 4 centuries, which by 1582 had thrown the equinoxes off by 10 days. Because that was a Catholic thing, Protestant England refused to adopt the new calendar, but finally caved in 1752 when it was 11 days off. Russia adopted it in 1918 and Greece in 1924, which is why their Xmas is on a different date from us.

The correction that the Gregorian Calendar implemented was to avoid extraneous leap years on the centuries. The rule for leap years is:

quote:
Every year that is exactly divisible by four is a leap year, except for years that are exactly divisible by 100, but these centurial years are leap years if they are exactly divisible by 400. For example, the years 1700, 1800, and 1900 are not leap years, but the years 1600 and 2000 are.

— United States Naval Observatory


2100 will not be a leap year. But because the century of all programmers' professional experience, 2000, just happened to be a leap year, I can guarantee that many programmers wrote their leap year code to only test for being divisible by 4 (I did mine correctly, of course).

The Y2100 Bug will be that legacy programs that test for leap year incorrectly will work incorrectly for dates in 2100.


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 Message 61 by Sarah Bellum, posted 05-03-2021 12:37 PM Sarah Bellum has acknowledged this reply

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dwise1
Member
Posts: 4711
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 5.0


(1)
Message 73 of 126 (886085)
05-05-2021 10:38 AM
Reply to: Message 72 by jar
05-05-2021 6:32 AM


Re: while Sarah is boring it's interesting how many of us were directly involved
EvC is a really small sample but consider just how many of those posting in this thread were actually direct parts of why the Y2K issue turned out to be ripples on a summer pond rather than a tsunami.

To repeat my Message 10 from 20-Nov-2020, one of our master chiefs had been farmed out to a port security unit which did deploy to the Persian Gulf. When I attended his retirement ceremony, one of the speakers was the admiral in charge of port security and that unit.

In his speech, he told us that the Army generals would question why he was even there, deeming him and his units unnecessary because nothing ever happened. He kept trying to explain to them that his units being there and doing their jobs was the reason why nothing ever happened. You take security measures to prevent bad things happening.

 
All of us can come up with any number of analogies where minor mitigating measures (including performing preventative maintenance) keep very bad things from happening. Even Benjamin Franklin advised, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”


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dwise1
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Posts: 4711
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 5.0


(2)
Message 95 of 126 (887149)
07-13-2021 3:22 PM
Reply to: Message 94 by ramoss
07-12-2021 6:55 PM


I've presented the story a couple times already in this topic.

When I attended the retirement ceremony for a Master Chief Petty Officer who had served in a port security boat unit serving in the Gulf, his commanding admiral was a speaker. The admiral described how his US Army opposite numbers would question why he was even necessary if nothing had happened. He tried to explain to them that if nothing had happened, then that is because he was successful in doing his job.


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dwise1
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Posts: 4711
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 5.0


(2)
Message 105 of 126 (887431)
08-03-2021 8:33 AM
Reply to: Message 104 by Sarah Bellum
08-03-2021 7:49 AM


... just remember that EvC stands for "Evolution versus Creationism," as if there were some valid argument for Creationism to be found here!

Of course creationism has no validity! For that matter, the entire "Evolution/Creation Controversy" is nonsense that they just made up.

Yes, it is valid to complain that responding to creationists can lend them some credibility which they do not deserve. Since that point is usually raised within the context of whether to debate them in public, the counter-point is that if we don't then they're just going to present their nonsense anyway, only unopposed which just lends them greater credibility as they can also proclaim "Scientists have no answers for these questions we're raising!"

For example there was a site (still is) called questionevolution.com which listed page after page of standard PRATTs purportedly from a "creation science" class he had taken a couple decades prior. His home page included (and still does) the boast that no scientist has ever been able to answer these questions (I'm sure that also appeared in his original class handout).

He even posted here and in other forums to advertise his page and to challenge us all to answer his PRATTs, which we did. He promised to post them, but he could never find the time. So someone created and hosted the answers and gave him the link, which he did post on his site. We answered every single one of his PRATTs. Basically, he didn't know what had hit him. Then several months later he quietly removed that link even though his home page still boasts that nobody's been able to answer any of his PRATTs.

The problem is that if nobody points that out


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 Message 104 by Sarah Bellum, posted 08-03-2021 7:49 AM Sarah Bellum has responded

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dwise1
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Posts: 4711
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 5.0


Message 115 of 126 (887558)
08-09-2021 7:16 PM
Reply to: Message 112 by AnswersInGenitals
08-09-2021 1:17 PM


Re: Made for TV and denier distortions
Remember that GOP member of Congress (I forget specifically which one or in which chamber) who brought in a snowball from outside to refute all claims of Global Warming once and for all!

I see parallels with creationists' ultimate "got-cha" refutation of evolution that totally disproves it once and for all: "Well if we evolved from monkeys, then why are there still monkeys?"

OK, so if Global Warming is true, then why are there still snowballs? And ice cubes!?!

Try to answer that if you can!


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dwise1
Member
Posts: 4711
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 5.0


Message 117 of 126 (887560)
08-09-2021 7:38 PM
Reply to: Message 116 by Tanypteryx
08-09-2021 7:25 PM


Re: Made for TV and denier distortions
I figured it had to have been a senator. They tend to be far more divorced from reality, especially the Republicans.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 116 by Tanypteryx, posted 08-09-2021 7:25 PM Tanypteryx has not yet responded

  
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