Are we at a point in History? : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

I have read the many posting in this forum and others and it seems to me there is one inescapable conclusion.

We may very well be at a point in history where the decision of the next few months determine the future course of history. Can this be true?

What concerns me is that a certain points in history, everything seemed to turn on the actions of one man.

The Greeks - Pericles, The Romans -Julius Ceasar, The French-Napolean America-Washington ect

The actions of these individual men seem to become the focal point for a certain direction in history.

It seems worrisome that in the present set of circumstances we are to look to William Jefferson Clinton.

Forget y2k, just look at the ever increasing threats to not only our internal liberties, but the external threats.

I have very little faith in his desire to preserve our countries heritage or protect us from external threats.

He is more likely to us any problem to his benefit and increase his own standing.

I think we should justifiably fear for the future.

-- Archemedes (, February 12, 1999


"What concerns me is that a certain points in history, everything seemed to turn on the actions of one man." . The Y2K problem can also be traced to the actions of one man. This man is the genius engineer that designed a 2 digit year in the clock of the IBM System/360 computer, in the early 60's. This computer lead the digital revolution, and was adopted by thousands of businesses, large and small. Hundreds of millions of lines of code was written for this computer. It's successor, the System/370 proudly carried on the tradition, for compatability, of using a 2 digit year, and millions more lines of code were written. Not until the early 90's would the System/390 offer a 4 digit year. This tradition was also carried on with the PC industry. Only recently have PC's been available with a century field in the RTC. Much data has been moved to PC based servers from mainframes, with their 2 digit year, and were never updated for the 4 digit availability on the new hardware. So, if there is one man to blame for this mess, it's that asshole engineer in the 60's. A programmers view. <:)=

-- Sysman (, February 12, 1999.

The potential for disaster ranks very high with the current politicos in charge. However, consider the alternatives. Would you be better with Al Gore trying to control the JCS or, worse yet, imagine him trying to influence Janet Reno and the Justice Dept. and FEMA. My fear is that if martial law is instituted just after Christmas (not to interfere with retail sales) and is in place for the full 6 months, we may never see the Y2K elections. "Power corrupts, etc."

-- Lobo (, February 12, 1999.

To:LOBO I agree completely!!

-- Archemedes (, February 12, 1999.

IBM announces end of system/3xx line in 2000

-- wiseguy (, February 12, 1999.

Hi Wiseguy, I know the rest... "expecting System/4xx announcement from IBM - user programming "enhancements" may be required..." <:)=

-- Sysman (, February 12, 1999.

I think that yes, we ARE at a point in history. But I don't think Clinton is going to be the man turning that point.

I believe that Bill Clinton will be an unpleasant footnote, part of a chapter along the lines of, "..during the last days of the attempted NWO coup, after the splintered forces of the NWO had failed in their last desperate attempt to reunify, Clinton was shot and killed by a man who then defected."

No more than the Whiskey Rebellion, really.

I think that Joe Firmage could be a more important point. As could, possibly, Elizabeth Dole. And others.

As for the turning point in history, I know it's coming. But I don't think it's any single point. I think it's a few years. World War Two, for instance. There was no ONE specific turning point, although there were a number of significant ones (Stalingrad and Midway, for instance.)


-- Leo (, February 12, 1999.

Clinton = Pol Pot, Stalin, Hitler .... yes, I'll buy that.

Sysman, I think you are wrong wrong wrong.

It was the Pentagon, specifically the DOD, that inflicted this mess on us. Why did they do that? Why did they INSIST on 2 digits?

Check out these two links:- 2000:50034064:50034064&update=1770

Quote from Vanity Fair...

"A handful were more foresighted. Among them was Robert Bemer, an IBM wizard who had invented the "Escape" key, and was one of the creators of "ASCII," the language that enabled different computer systems to "talk" to one another. During the 50s, Bemer also developed a feature that permitted COBOL programmers to use either two or four digit year dates. A passionate proponent of the latter, in 1960 Bemer joined with 47 other industry and government specialists to come up with universally accepted computer standards. The wrangling, however, stretched out for years-too many years for the White House, which, in 1967, ordered the National Bureau of Standards to settle the matter. In so doing, the bureau was to gather input from various federal agencies, some of which were using two-digit years, others four. As a practical matter, the only opinion that counted was that of the Department of Defense, the largest computer operator on earth. For bigger-bang-for-the-buck reasons, it was unshakable on the subject of year dates: no 19s. "They wouldn't listen to anything else," says Harry White, a D.O.D. computer-code specialist and Bemer ally. "They were more occupied with ... Vietnam."

After years of losing fights, White transferred to the Standards Bureau. Hardly had he arrived when the bureau succumbed to Pentagon pressure and announced that two digit years would become the preferred option for federal agencies, starting January 1, 1970. Hoping for presidential intervention, White and Bemer rounded up 86 technical societies and asked Richard Nixon to declare 1970 "The National Computer Year." When D.O.D. lobbying kept that appeal from reaching the Oval Office, Bemer recruited the presidential science advisor, Edward E. David, to plead the case in person. Nixon listened, then asked for help fixing his TV set. Frantic, Bemer and White beseeched private organizations to call for a voluntary four- digit-year option. But once more the Pentagon's position prevailed. Mindful of government contracts, big business went along."


-- Andy (, February 12, 1999.

My opinion of Richard Nixon has just fallen almost to the Bill Clinton level.

-- Leo (, February 12, 1999.

Andy, while we're handing out credits here let's not overlook a really key player. Mr. Alan Greenspan is also a self professed perpetrator of this fiaso.

-- Nikoli Krushev (, February 12, 1999.

YOU FOOLS! When the crash happens you WILL BEG on your hands and KNEES for me to lead you, AND I WILL NOT!!! I will be busy already enough to have time for silly children who must have leaders. LINCOLN WAS HATED! ROOSEVELT WAS HATED!!!!!! ALL PRESIDENTS HAVE BEEN HATED!!! Do you really think your fear is new??? Do you think your hate is new??? LEO- you will be investigated shortly, be careful!

-- Dieter (, February 12, 1999.


Are you touching your monkey while you post that kind of crap?

The resistance to change to a 4 number year by the military, could give birth to some pretty good evil government theories. My guess is they were lazy and stupid, and thought will change it someday before it's a problem.

-- Bill (, February 12, 1999.

Dieter -- as I read thru this thread it does not seem to me that anyone here is looking for a leader. The comments have dealt more with the generic situation, i.e., if (as seems possible) our civilization is coming up on a major turning point, when formative decisions are being made, who will be making them? Those now in power ? Or perhaps by persons now little known?

Overt decisions by leaders may play their part, but population groups responding to severe infrastructure disruptions (if any) with novel modes of action based on implicit consensus will have much more influence on our future history in the long term.

-- Tom Carey (, February 12, 1999.

Go Tom!! Yup, tis true, I think.

-- cat (, February 14, 1999.


The System 360 TOD clock was a 32 bit register that contained a binary number representing the number of seconds that had elapsed since the midnight between December 31, 1899 and January 1, 1900.

Any two digit representation of the current year was by software design.

Now from my perspective, the Assembler instruction set is a dictionary of acronyms that defines sets of hardware functions. This doesn't make me a programmer, but it does allow me to make the hardware do whatever I want it to.

How about we call a spade a spade?

-- Hardliner (, February 14, 1999.

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