Latest Comments from Bruce Beach : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

The following comments were sent to me in a private e-mail from Bruce Beach. I am posting them here with his permission. (These comments are in reference to the previous thread entitled "Why Does Clinton not get it".) "The reason I didn't include any examples in my first paper was that I didn't (and so far as I know, nor did anyone else ) have at that time any examples for what I later called the Beach Bug. It was simply theoretical ("esoteric" in Paula's words). Now there are lots of examples, provided by others.

The Phillips Petroleum Refinery problems (that they had found) were Y2K problems that were not the Beach Bug. The thing that was significant about that interview was that until they confirmed their findings, there had been no one to go on record and quantify the problem from their own experience.

I finally chose the nomenclature "Beach Bug" to simply distinguish what I was talking about from other forms of the Y2K or century bug problem.

Others did later more clearly define and explain what I was talking about. I am now amused that the term "secondary clock" seems to have of late to have taken on a life and new definitions of its own. At the outset, there were only voluminous voices (in quantity and volume) shouting that the Beach Bug wasn't possible but eventually the tide turned and as you can now see many voices now claim that they knew it all along. (I wish they had told us about it so I could have just quoted them rather than going through the mental contortions and character assaults that came about from my describing my theory).

The fact that Koskinen received my report, along with Senator Bennett who mentioned it in a press conference, is very interesting to me. That it is not directly credited by them to me is perhaps not so much a reflection of its esetorism, as their concern about my "radicalism" regarding the social implications - that it can be a contributing factor to nuclear war in the not far off future. (And that I am a survivalist with a shelter and so forth).

The Beach Bug "may" (all remains probabilities and possibilities, as I have said many times) still prove to be the most significant factor regarding networks (power, telecommunications, control, warning, etc.) because the novel thing about it is that it is largely undiscoverable ahead of time, and can play a large cascading role in the failure of networks.

How serious the problem of the Beach Bug is, we will soon know. We are about to perform The Great Experiment (in less than 30 days)."

-- Nancy (, December 06, 1999


I still don't have a handle on this "Beach Bug." Can anyone explain it??

-- K. Stevens (kstevens@ It's ALL going away in, December 06, 1999.

Hey there youknowwho, you're still hanging around! And you managed to slip by on this one!:) Thanks for your answer also, it sounds like you just might be starting to GI ! It's gettin' close now. (You're not the one slowin' the board down today are you?)

on de rock

-- Walter (on de, December 06, 1999.


At the end of the first paragraph of this thread is the statement: "Now there are lots of examples, provided by others." Do you know of a URL that points to such supposed examples?

A few paragraphs later is the statement: " I am now amused that the term "secondary clock" seems to have of late to have taken on a life and new definitions of its own."

I would point out that the term "secondary clock" had been in use for years, and had several lives of its own, before Bruce used it in his particular way.


The fundamental problem with Beach's "Secondary clock" is that it is not a clock at all.

Excerpts from Beach2.htm (My italics)

4. An Improved Definition of The Beach Bug

Still, what needed to be more clearly stated is that the reason that the Secondary Clock is not visible is because it does not request or display a time. And I needed to go on and state more definitively, although I did show by examples, that there does not need to even be a RTC associated with the embedded processor, in order for the Beach Bug to be present. This has led to what is now perhaps a still better definition of the Beach Bug and the Secondary Clock. (And I look forward, with the help of friends and critics, to defining it still better).

The Beach Bug (Secondary Clock Century Problem) is a two digit Century Code problem, that is present in some embedded microprocessor Firmware Code and may be related to RTC usage, but can also be present without a RTC.


How the Beach Bug is created

There are various mechanisms by which the Beach Bug may have been initially introduced into a system.

1. The main mechanism discussed in the original presentation was that the clock access can be programmed into a program stored in a ROM or EPROM. The documentation of this fact may be lost in a hierarchy of "black boxes" that are assembled into larger and larger integrated systems. Thus it is that some device may give no indication that it is using a RTC but it may nevertheless be.

2. Similarly, there are programs developed for ASICS, (Application Specific Integrated Circuits) that have their own RTC built in.

3. There are microprocessors that have their own RTC built right into them. For a sample list see:

Motorola Chips that are not Y2K compliant

4. There may be programs in any of 1 or 2 above that access RTC,s in external systems of which they are a part.

5. The embedded processor may just be repeatedly capturing date information from a data stream with which it associated and may be processing that data without ever accessing a RTC.

End of excerpts.

The bottom line is that he confuses clocks with program code that processes date and/or time information. Such program code does not constitute a clock of any kind, secondary or otherwise. Such program code can indeed have Y2K problems, but when it does, it is simply another instance of the Y2K bug, not some newly discovered kind of clock.

The ambiguity of his terminology in his April 9 paper led some readers to guess at what he meant, and some may have expressed support of what they guessed that he meant. Beach2.htm quotes "supporting" comments, but it is clear that those comments to not resolve his confusion between clocks and program code that processes date and/or time information.


-- Jerry B (, December 06, 1999.

Beach's "secondary clock" might be better termed "hidden clock." I provided an example (from my own experience) a year or two ago.

-- Dean -- from (almost) Duh Moines (, December 06, 1999.


I cannot locate the example that you mention. Would you be able to furnish a url to it? I am very interested to find any example that fits within Bruce's description and which could accurately be described as a clock.


-- Jerry B (, December 07, 1999.

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