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Author Topic:   Trump and Trump supporters keep using the Y2K Fallacy, and it is driving me crazy
Sarah Bellum
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Posts: 722
Joined: 05-04-2019


Message 61 of 79 (886042)
05-03-2021 12:37 PM
Reply to: Message 58 by ringo
05-01-2021 10:29 AM


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?

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


This message is a reply to:
 Message 58 by ringo, posted 05-01-2021 10:29 AM ringo has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 62 by Tanypteryx, posted 05-03-2021 1:24 PM Sarah Bellum has not yet responded
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Tanypteryx
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Posts: 2478
From: Oregon, USA
Joined: 08-27-2006
Member Rating: 7.1


(1)
Message 62 of 79 (886050)
05-03-2021 1:24 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?

One of the worries was that the system would crash because the date was not recognized as a date by the program. If the program crashed that controlled critical infrastructure like a nuclear powerplant, it might take months to track down tens of thousands of lines of code that needed correction out of millions of lines of code, meanwhile no control programs are running.

At the company I worked for we were the primary supplier of zirconium fuel rods for nuclear reactors. One of our worries was that all the manufacturing and analytical records could be corrupted and void our government contracts. Humans make mistakes and prior errors by individuals had cost the company millions. Many of the manufacturing processes would have also been shut down indefinitely by computer crashes. Federal contracts have deadlines with fines for non-compliance. We avoided all the potential disasters by proactively acting.

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

That is factually incorrect.


What if Eleanor Roosevelt had wings? -- Monty Python

One important characteristic of a theory is that is has survived repeated attempts to falsify it. Contrary to your understanding, all available evidence confirms it. --Subbie

If evolution is shown to be false, it will be at the hands of things that are true, not made up. --percy

The reason that we have the scientific method is because common sense isn't reliable. -- Taq


This message is a reply to:
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ringo
Member
Posts: 18994
From: frozen wasteland
Joined: 03-23-2005
Member Rating: 3.0


Message 63 of 79 (886053)
05-03-2021 2:42 PM
Reply to: Message 61 by Sarah Bellum
05-03-2021 12:37 PM


Sarah Bellum writes:

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.


They changed the date in the software, the date that the software compares with the clock date.

Sarah Bellum writes:

Would people's bills be calculated incorrectly?


I don't know. It's possible that the billing side of the software could be isolated from the operational side. It would seem to me that that would be good software design.

Sarah Bellum writes:

Would the time change affect settings that affect usage estimates because it assumed the weather would be different?


The usage has nothing to do with it. They were concerned about possible interruptions.

Sarah Bellum writes:

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


You're claiming knowledge that you couldn't possibly have.

"I've been to Moose Jaw, now I can die." -- John Wing

This message is a reply to:
 Message 61 by Sarah Bellum, posted 05-03-2021 12:37 PM Sarah Bellum has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 66 by Sarah Bellum, posted 05-04-2021 9:25 PM ringo has responded

  
dwise1
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Posts: 4558
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 4.7


(1)
Message 64 of 79 (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.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 61 by Sarah Bellum, posted 05-03-2021 12:37 PM Sarah Bellum has not yet responded

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xongsmith
Member
Posts: 2028
From: massachusetts US
Joined: 01-01-2009
Member Rating: 5.5


(4)
Message 65 of 79 (886062)
05-03-2021 8:19 PM
Reply to: Message 64 by dwise1
05-03-2021 4:37 PM


Y2K testing
When I was working at the Millstone Hill Radar, we had a room that got the atomic time. The Haystack Observatory used it, along with our tracking equipment. One of 3 at that time. The main one was in NORAD, despite the Naval Observatory having one first. All three talked to each other, with the rule that if one of them started to get off the other 2 would overrule it. Every once in a while the government would mandate adding a leap second, which a few knew how to do (not me).

Anyway, when the Y2K issue came up, I insisted on an isolated subnetwork running copies of all our software (some 30 programs running 24/7/365.2422 and still connected by the equivalent of an overgrown 2-rut dirt road from Westford, Mass., to the Colorado mountain). Loud complaints. But I persisted and then got higher ups to come to my side. We set up a subnetwork, unconnected to the outside real world, and tested the "Do Nothing" alternative (the so-called "East Timor" option) to see if anything broke. Wow was there disaster after disaster. My immediate supervisor was put in charge of rounding up all these new suspects and delegating fixers to fix each one. Some wanted the 3-digit fix, which was worse, but then we recalled that the original computer was a Harris 1000 Vulcan OS, which was a 24-bit cpu. Fortunately we went with the 4 digits and then soon after we upgraded the 24-bit machine to a 32-bit Concurrent Harris. We all finished on time (our bosses had loudly repeated periodically "This is a Deadline that CANNOT be pushed forward!") and felt quite proud of the ~3 month effort.

So then the news mediots all came on January 1st TV and cackled to each other,

".......................well, I guess that was way overblown, huh?"

Edited by xongsmith, : put East Timor in quotes. At the time the Pacific Island was having political upheaval and the eastern side was out of power.


"I'm the Grim Reaper now, Mitch. Step aside."

- xongsmith, 5.7d


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Sarah Bellum
Member
Posts: 722
Joined: 05-04-2019


Message 66 of 79 (886066)
05-04-2021 9:25 PM
Reply to: Message 63 by ringo
05-03-2021 2:42 PM


There were claims that the Y2K bug would be apocalyptic if they weren't fixed (or, in the case of the echatological types, there would be an apocalypse whether or not the fix was in, for other reasons).

But has anyone found a Y2K bug that, if it had not been fixed, would have resulted in anything like the Ariane 5 crash in 1996 or the Yahoo data breach in 2017, much less an electrical grid failure or planes crashing or banking financial networks collapsing?

Sure, there were nuisances. Even with the fixes, there were nuisances. But since not a single failure worthy of screaming headlines slipped through, either:

There were serious Y2K bugs and programmers caught every single one of them, fixed them and didn't tell anyone they'd prevented the sky from falling.

...or...

There never really were any serious worries.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 63 by ringo, posted 05-03-2021 2:42 PM ringo has responded

Replies to this message:
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AZPaul3
Member
Posts: 5814
From: Phoenix
Joined: 11-06-2006
Member Rating: 3.2


Message 67 of 79 (886067)
05-04-2021 9:44 PM
Reply to: Message 66 by Sarah Bellum
05-04-2021 9:25 PM


There never really were any serious worries.

Well, after 21 years, it's no use worrying about them now.


Eschew obfuscation. Habituate elucidation.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 66 by Sarah Bellum, posted 05-04-2021 9:25 PM Sarah Bellum has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
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Tanypteryx
Member
Posts: 2478
From: Oregon, USA
Joined: 08-27-2006
Member Rating: 7.1


(3)
Message 68 of 79 (886068)
05-05-2021 12:02 AM
Reply to: Message 67 by AZPaul3
05-04-2021 9:44 PM


There never really were any serious worries.

Well, after 21 years, it's no use worrying about them now.

And the obvious conclusion is, there are no problems facing the planet today. It's always interesting to have some chucklehead swear that something I was directly involved in didn't happen.


What if Eleanor Roosevelt had wings? -- Monty Python

One important characteristic of a theory is that is has survived repeated attempts to falsify it. Contrary to your understanding, all available evidence confirms it. --Subbie

If evolution is shown to be false, it will be at the hands of things that are true, not made up. --percy

The reason that we have the scientific method is because common sense isn't reliable. -- Taq


This message is a reply to:
 Message 67 by AZPaul3, posted 05-04-2021 9:44 PM AZPaul3 has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 70 by AZPaul3, posted 05-05-2021 12:45 AM Tanypteryx has responded

  
xongsmith
Member
Posts: 2028
From: massachusetts US
Joined: 01-01-2009
Member Rating: 5.5


(1)
Message 69 of 79 (886069)
05-05-2021 12:24 AM
Reply to: Message 67 by AZPaul3
05-04-2021 9:44 PM


AZPaul3 writes
There never really were any serious worries.

Well, after 21 years, it's no use worrying about them now.

I guess Sarah Bellum didn't read. My post about fixing the software at Millstone Hill meant that we could continue to provide satellite location data to the global network and that GPS could continue to provide locations.

I have no idea how many lives that impacted. But to dismiss it so casually shows a lot of ignorance. No serious worries???

As for 21 years later, well - we still have the Unix 2038 bug galloping down the road.


"I'm the Grim Reaper now, Mitch. Step aside."

- xongsmith, 5.7d


This message is a reply to:
 Message 67 by AZPaul3, posted 05-04-2021 9:44 PM AZPaul3 has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 71 by AZPaul3, posted 05-05-2021 1:00 AM xongsmith has acknowledged this reply

  
AZPaul3
Member
Posts: 5814
From: Phoenix
Joined: 11-06-2006
Member Rating: 3.2


Message 70 of 79 (886070)
05-05-2021 12:45 AM
Reply to: Message 68 by Tanypteryx
05-05-2021 12:02 AM


It's always interesting to have some chucklehead swear that something I was directly involved in didn't happen.

Your experiences can't be trusted. You, sir, are one of them real scientists with published papers and everything.


Eschew obfuscation. Habituate elucidation.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 68 by Tanypteryx, posted 05-05-2021 12:02 AM Tanypteryx has responded

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AZPaul3
Member
Posts: 5814
From: Phoenix
Joined: 11-06-2006
Member Rating: 3.2


(1)
Message 71 of 79 (886071)
05-05-2021 1:00 AM
Reply to: Message 69 by xongsmith
05-05-2021 12:24 AM


If this Y2K thing was such a yawner then why is Sarah generating all this smoke and fire over a non-issue?

I wonder, I do. I wonder about this like I wonder about other things.

I can't wait for what comes next. Enquiring minds want to know. Attentive ones may know already.


Eschew obfuscation. Habituate elucidation.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 69 by xongsmith, posted 05-05-2021 12:24 AM xongsmith has acknowledged this reply

  
jar
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Posts: 33343
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004
Member Rating: 2.9


(2)
Message 72 of 79 (886072)
05-05-2021 6:32 AM


while Sarah is boring it's interesting how many of us were directly involved
While Sarah is boring it's interesting how many of us were directly involved in the Y2K solutions.

Little things that seem unexpected do show up and this thread is one such example.

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.


My Website: My Website

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dwise1
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Posts: 4558
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 4.7


(1)
Message 73 of 79 (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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ringo
Member
Posts: 18994
From: frozen wasteland
Joined: 03-23-2005
Member Rating: 3.0


Message 74 of 79 (886086)
05-05-2021 11:01 AM
Reply to: Message 66 by Sarah Bellum
05-04-2021 9:25 PM


Sarah Bellum writes:

There were serious Y2K bugs and programmers caught every single one of them, fixed them and didn't tell anyone they'd prevented the sky from falling.

...or...


Well, they did tell us, or I wouldn't have known about it to tell the anecdote.

"I've been to Moose Jaw, now I can die." -- John Wing

This message is a reply to:
 Message 66 by Sarah Bellum, posted 05-04-2021 9:25 PM Sarah Bellum has not yet responded

  
Tanypteryx
Member
Posts: 2478
From: Oregon, USA
Joined: 08-27-2006
Member Rating: 7.1


(3)
Message 75 of 79 (886100)
05-05-2021 7:55 PM
Reply to: Message 70 by AZPaul3
05-05-2021 12:45 AM


Your experiences can't be trusted.

What's strange to me is Y2K was not an unforeseen consequence, it was seen and predicted and groups of people all around the globe worked to avoid the consequences. Twenty one years later the whole world can see the measures that would have ended the covid-19 pandemic and refuses to make them mandatory. We can all see the juggernaut of climate change barreling down on us and half the planet or more denies it is even happening.

I continue to wonder what Sarah's agenda is in denying that there was a Y2K problem and that people actually fixed the problem? What is she going to deny next?


What if Eleanor Roosevelt had wings? -- Monty Python

One important characteristic of a theory is that is has survived repeated attempts to falsify it. Contrary to your understanding, all available evidence confirms it. --Subbie

If evolution is shown to be false, it will be at the hands of things that are true, not made up. --percy

The reason that we have the scientific method is because common sense isn't reliable. -- Taq


This message is a reply to:
 Message 70 by AZPaul3, posted 05-05-2021 12:45 AM AZPaul3 has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
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