The Y2007DST bug: ARE YOU READY?

As the Sassan Sanei behind Sassan Sanei, The Blog of, I am issuing the following alert today over all the public Internets, as it is my civic duty to protect my fellow human beings against an impending doom of catastrophic proportions.

Think back to the roaring '90s. Do you remember the computer industry's pesky little secret? I'm talking about the Y2K bug, which involved the calendar rollover from the year 1999 to 2000. Computers that were programmed using two-digit dates would think it was the year 1900.

Who cares? Well, imagine you were a passenger on an airplane on New Year's Eve that year. As the date rolled over to January 1, 2000, the on-board navigation system would have seen it as year "00" and suddenly thought it was January 1, 1900 -- one hundred years in the past. At a speed of 500 miles per hour over the course of 100 years, that's a distance of more than 438 million miles! The airplane's navigation system would suddenly think the airplane is somewhere past the orbit of fricking JUPITER and adjust the flight path automatically, which means turning the airplane directly toward the earth. Given its actual location some 30,000 feet above the earth's surface, that means pointing the airplane straight down putting it on a direct collision with the earth's surface -- a collision that would occur within a mere 40 seconds!

If you think that is an unlikely doomsday scenario, you must remember that it was only through the ingenuity and sheer efforts of computer programmers around the world, working at a feverish pace for months and years before the date change, that such major catastrophes were averted.

Now I must warn you that at one minute after 1:59 am on Sunday, March 11, 2007, most Canadians and Americans will face an even worse situation than the Y2K bug.

The reason is that starting in 2007, Daylight Saving Time (DST) will go into effect on the second Sunday in March. In previous years, daylight saving time started on the first Sunday in April. Computer programs are therefore designed to move forward one hour on that day in April. With the start of DST changing to March instead, computer clocks will fall one hour behind. In other words, the actual time will change from 1:59 am to 3:00 am, but computers will think it is only 2:00 am.

I call this the Y2007DST bug.

If you think this one-hour difference won't matter, think again! Nuclear power plants, 911 emergency systems, and elevators in tall buildings are all run by computers.

What do you think will happen when the computer running a nuclear reactor keeps a depleted uranium rod immersed for one hour longer than it should? The result will be a horrific meltdown that spews out enough radiation to kill millions of hard-working people and their families -- and worst of all, the alert won't go out for at least an hour afterward, while computer clocks play catch-up to DST. This will make Chernobyl look like a firecracker.

Even if the power plants are manually shut down in time, you will find yourself without electricity until at least April, when DST would normally have taken effect.

And during that three-week period when the clocks are wrong, what do you think will happen when you try to start your car? Well, unless you are driving a 1923 Ford Model T, your car is run by a computer. This means that when you turn the key, you can expect a full hour delay until your car starts. Of course, that's only in theory. In reality, cranking the starter for an hour will cause it to burn out long before it can actually start your engine. You will face an expensive repair bill once you get it to the garage. It's too bad that you won't be able to get a tow to the mechanic's, because there are computers in tow trucks too, so they won't be running either.

It's not just electricity, cars, and airplanes. Computers are everywhere, even your refrigerator. You can't do laundry or cook a meal. Even if you have a gas stove, how do you think the gas gets to the stove? Through electricity, that's how. The same electricity that powers the computers of doom.

This bug is worse than Y2K. With the Y2K bug, we were prepared. We built bomb shelters, hoarded food and water, purchased lots of duct tape, and took training courses in survival techniques during urban warfare. Fortunately, we didn't need to, because the computer programmers tore apart millions of computers and squashed all the bugs before the new year. But with the Y2007DST bug, nobody is expecting it, therefore nobody is prepared.

The lucky ones will go to sleep on March 10 and never wake up. Those of us remaining will be tasked with rebuilding the world, beginning at 3:00 am on March 11, 2007. That is, unless we act now to protect ourselves against the insidious beast that lurks within the core of every processor.

For more information on how to protect yourself against the Y2007DST bug, please send me $19.95 via PayPal to the following address: paypal (AT) sassansanei (DOT) com. Do it now! You will have nobody to blame if you don't. Your fate is in your hands.

Comments

Just D said…
I'm going to go to lunch now and ponder the tragedy on the horizon.

I think I'm in the mood for tuna.........

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