Software

Y2K: The New Year's disaster that never happened

Another New Years goes by in the 21st Century and we're still using computers. If you believed all the hype from 90's, we'd be living in the Stone Age by now. Here's a set of videos that look back at the Y2K bug and raise new conspiracy theories.

Another New Year goes by in the twenty-first century, and we're still using computers. If you believed all the hype from the 90s, we'd be living in the Stone Age by now. Here's a set of videos that look back at the Y2K bug and raise new conspiracy theories.

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Another New Year has come and gone. This is the last year of the first decade of the twenty-first century. It also means that we've had nine years of computing since the Y2K bug was supposed reduce all technology to a smoldering puddle and leave the entire planet living like the Amish.

I found a video that recaps some of the panic-in-the-street mentality that lead up to New Year's Day 2000. Although nothing came of it, there was legitimate fear -- most of it based on ignorance, technological fear, and religious fervor. This video does a good job of showing what a lot of what people were thinking during the run up. Sadly subsequent parts also include a weak attempt to inject some conspiracy theory into history.

Let's go to the video

The featured video above is only one part of a five-part series. The sad part is none of the reports were made up. People actually believed that the world was coming to an end. Hundreds of stories were produced in the years leading up to January 1, 2000, talking about how suddenly everything that was computerized would come to a crashing halt.

There was widespread hype and panic, not the least of which was probably fomented by those people hoping to turn a buck off the problem. Legitimate as it was, a lot of money was made by hardware and software vendors alike to fix the problem. A lot of money was also made by the hype machine you see displayed here.

People traded off the natural fears some people have of technology. Mix that in with religious fear and fervor of those who were expecting the Second Coming 2,000 years after Christ's birth (even though Jesus was probably born in 2 BC), and there was just more hype to cash in on.

The subsequent parts contain the same doom-and-gloom scenarios that are shown in the first part. They show more of the panic that was to come, how nothing officially happened, and how you were really lied to about the whole affair. Oh, and in case you didn't know, Y2K caused 9/11 among other things.

Other parts to the series are:

Y2K Disasters 2 --This video discusses such things as trains derailing and crashing into each other, ominous executive orders from President Bill Clinton, bailouts from the Fed to cover broken computers, and literal Apocalyptic occurrences because of Y2K.

Y2K Disasters 3 -- This section starts out by saying how the Y2K bug caused the rise of terrorism in the world. Most of the video, however, shows the millennium New Year's celebration and how nothing apparently happened, even though the world watched on CNN and other places.

Y2K Disasters 4 -- Although the first three sections of the video were interesting from a nostalagia aspect, now the series starts falling to Black Helicopter Conspiracy Theory territory. It displays several purported headlines and then accompanies that with some appropriate film clips. This section starts picking up apparent failures, such as failures of ATMs. Oddly enough a pictured "failing" ATM is running Windows XP, which, as we all know, is post-Y2K. Other doom-and-gloom headlines are claimed, such as prisoners being released early and near nuclear war.

Y2K Disasters 5 -- By now the American military is damaged by Y2K, according to the headlines in the video. Subs sink. Iraq fires biological missiles. American manufacturers shut down. Trains do collide. Planes crash. (One long scene shows a 747 in a death spiral, even though the clip had nothing to do with Y2K, but rather an occurrence that happened when a jetliner flew through some volcanic ash.) North and South Korea launch missiles at each other.

So, according to the video series, the Y2K bug did indeed have a major impact, but you weren't told. In the end, the video tries to tie 9/11, the Iraq war, and the recent economic downturn together with Y2K. I suppose the implication was that you weren't told the truth about Y2K, so you can't believe anything. But that's not a compelling conclusion.

You can see the whole series start to end by going to GlobalAwareness2525's YouTube channel, the maker of the film.

Classic Y2K links on TechRepublic

When TechRepublic launched in spring 1999, the Y2K hype machine was in full gear. At TechRepublic, we struggled with trying to figure out how to legitimately address the problem without appearing to pile on. We called out the hype for what it was and gave our traditional dose of tips, tricks, and career advice about how to best survive Y2K.

But even as grounded in IT and aware of the silliness surrounding the reporting, TechRepublic's own VP Bob Artner asked "Have I been wrong about Y2K?" worrying aloud that maybe there was something there after all.

Some of the Y2K coverage on TechRepublic included:

And when it was all said and done:

Where were you for Y2K?

Did you have to scramble to fix Y2K problems? And how did things turn out in the end? Share your Y2K stories in the Comment section below.

33 comments
GlobalAwareness2525
GlobalAwareness2525

I am the one who made the videos. Reason being that I followed this closely & it has been swept under the rug. I collected a lot of information prior to y2k. I was never a news paper reader but I bought a few papers on and off prior to & following y2k. I read in the news papers I bought that 3 terrorist tracking satellites shut down, it took 3 days to fix. 3 Vegas slot machines shut down & National Defense were having complications, a few factories shut down that caused a chain reaction of of product delays, the example given was that a door knob factory shut down preventing other factories who made storm doors from getting the knobs to get their product to the stores etc. We were sitting ducks & the military did not want to tell the media but in fact lied that all was well. Go back over the news of the time & the US had multiple terrorist threats so you can thank the military for not telling the news media the truth or we likely would have been nuked multiple times. Eventually after systems were repaired & back online then the information leaked out to the news papers. When business slows down next winter I really should take the time & try to find newspaper archives, scour them & print out copies as proof because it was in the Rocky Mountain News. When I scour online there is no eventual news media reports that did eventually make the news but only in tiny snippets, I can't find any evidence online other than y2k headlines that are only typed into a website with no copies of actual articles. It's as if there is a cleansing or blackout of any continuing information to present America's vulnerabilities to the world, but we did not get through y2k event free, it's just that 99% of the population were not affected in ways that disrupted their daily routines. Another fact is that our and many other Nations critical computer systems were tested, found to be faulty, systems fixed & replaced, that is exactly the same as if you took your car to the mechanic & he says if you should take your car on a long trip with that rod knocking there is a 99% chance that you will break down & people are ignorant enough to not realize that when you take that car in for an engine rebuild that this decreases a break down to near zero, yet after the rebuild & after the long trip to return back to the mechanic accusing that mechanic of lying to you, that you did not break down as he said you would (prior to the engine rebuild) is just pure stupidity, You didn't break down because you had the engine rebuilt, our infrastructure did not shut down because we spent billions repairing & rebuilding the infrastructure so that it wouldn't break down so then when power didn't shut down, everything didn't grind to a halt & missiles didn't auto launch then people were upset & said they were lied to as if they were hoping the infrastructure would collapse & they could all run the streets raping pillaging & burning the city to the ground, but nope, they all had to go back to the rat race & their boring hum drum lives. But that's ok, if they were looking for excitement then only a year later the terrorists were allowed to penetrate our impenetrable force field, perhaps that added enough excitement to those so upset and let's not overlook 2012. Forget about the prophecy crap just look at what science is saying. Google Video: NOVA Magnetic Storm Earth's magnetic Field (shield) is rapidly growing weaker. For those that don't know this we actually need that if we prefer to survive on this planet. Other News reports explain that Magnetic North, which began to wobble sometime in the 90s is now on the move, traveling toward Russia at 40 miles per yr Google this: From National Geographic Dec 24, 2009 Earth's north magnetic pole is racing toward Russia at almost 40 miles (64 kilometers) a year due to magnetic changes in the planet's core, ... I used to track prophecies for years & they never panned out so I don't listen to them anymore but when science is reporting some very scary situations that are now occurring makes me wonder if maybe some of the prophecy is true but let's just hope that most of the rest of the prophecy is only wild imagination.

paulomagalhaes
paulomagalhaes

How ingenuous can be our new IT programmers... :)

JamesRL
JamesRL

..that Y2K had a huge potential impact to my employer in 1998/99. Though my employer had a much different business than most. Think "on time or its free" for a company with a billion dollars in revenue (and no not a pizza company). In the end, we replaced the mainframe that ran the core apps, replaced the PCs that ran our front end software in our larger customers sites, rewrote that front end software and tweaked the back end programs as well. We worked very hard to avoid disaster, and I can honestly say if we did nothing, that company would have gone out of business. But we didn't panic and have enough lead time that the odd curve ball was handled and we proceeded without significant incident. A big part of my job was convincing some of our major customers that we would be ready. Some of them were also suppliers, so I got the chance to turn the tables. I also met with our insurance company, the military and police forces. To a certain extent that aspect of the job, the PR side was caused by fear, and therefore was a little overblown. One customer tried to negotiate a lower price because we didn't have our software compliant in late 1999(we did a few months later). I knew one of the Y2K consultancy gurus, someone from the same city as me, who I had bumped into in my writing days. I ran into him a couple of years later and we both lamented how we had gone from heros to villans, neither particularly deserved. We did a job that needed doing, and for some companies we overcame their self caused crisis with decent project management. James

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

Our desktop support contract with the SC DSS expired in August 1999 and it was obvious by the end of October that a renewal or new award was not in the cards. Those of us that had been supporting the agency were let go on the last business day of October. Any concern I had about Y2K fell by the wayside as I concentrated on the job search. Since I was (am) the computer guy, I was asked many questions about the possible effects of Y2K. I did do my best to allay fears and inject some common sense into the discussions. My take was that cars would start and airplanes wouldn't fall out of the sky because the computers in those machines aren't date-dependent. Strangely enough, that's exactly what happened. Addendum: I remember many of the linked blog posts and some parts of the attendant discussions. My silly-arsed question is what happened to those discussions? Did they get lost just because you guys wouldn't spring for another terabyte or two of storage? ;\

williaa6
williaa6

I was working at a bank in Saudi Arabia in the lead up to Y2K. There was lots of activity in the 12 months before and not a little nervousness from both Saudi and westerner alike. I was in a meeting one day when a suggestion was floated across the table that we could avoid the whole problem by changing the bank's entire catalogue of applications from the Gregorian calendar to the Hejira calendar, which would have made the year something like 1425 instead of 1999. This proposal was discussed for a short while, with Saudi management suddenly thinking they had found the goose with the golden egg. Finally some clear heads in the room realised that the impact on their business, most of which was dealing with western economies, would have taken a bigger hit from that change than it would from any possible Y2K bug.

stevebilliter
stevebilliter

it seems things were blown out of proportion by those who may remain in a panic mode for whatever reason.I think code written into our systems are well able to handle simple numbers computations. There will always be those who "cry wolf" when its only a little puppy.

AV .
AV .

I worked at a company of about 50 people. We lost a couple of our legacy apps because there were no patches available. Mostly they were older pre-1995 tax programs, but they included our billing system. It was an old workhorse, and the company management insisted it would make it, especially after it worked after 9/9/99. I told them they should upgrade because it was risky, but they didn't want to spend money on a new system. It would have cost about $70,000. Our old accounting system was Cobol based and it couldn't handle 9999 or 00 in the end. It appeared to work until we ran the monthly reports for January at the beginning of February 2000. The reports were all wrong and wouldn't even run because they ran into the 9999 end of file marker somewhere in the program. Our accounting department ended up having to re-input everything for the year 2000 into a new system. We didn't have the new system implemented until March 2000. It was very painful because it was our most critical system. My point is that unpatched systems DID fail as predicted. BUT - No major failures. No big disasters. Nothing much happened. It was a success. Y2k was IT's shining moment. We all worked together to avoid a meltdown. AV

TheChas
TheChas

I think we need to look at both human nature and the level of response there was to the Y2K software problems. Just because nothing horrible happened when the time flipped from 12-31-1999 to 1-1-2000, Many people think the concern about the year 2000 issue was all hype. While it cannot be denied that the news media overstated the potential impact of Y2K computer issues, one needs to keep in mind that the problem was taken seriously and responded to prior to the actual transition. If the IT community had not been able to convince management to take the year 2000 software issue seriously, the potential problems might not have been discovered and averted. One of my favorite anecdotes from the pre-Y2K testing claimed to be from a Chrysler plant. They had made corrections to all their systems, and for some reason (safety?) wanted everyone out of the building for the test. According to the story, they had missed one system. When the clock transitions from 12-31-99 to 1-1-00, the security system ignored all of the badges as they were not active until some 90 plus years later. Did I think that civilization would come to an end? Well, no not even if the software was not patched. We might have had several weeks of confusion and minor disruptions of services. But, we would have lived through it. The Y2K software issue should NOT be trivialized as a crisis that never happened. Instead the efforts that went into patching and revising software prior to the transition to the year 2000 should be held up as an example of how to review and prevent a problem. Imagine if companies were to put the same level of effort into software and cyber-security as was focused on the Y2K code problems! Chas

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

I was working in the steel industry at the time on the process copntrol side. Essentially that was all the IT to control the steel mill and the interface to that from the main business systems. Had we done nothing the job would have stopped. That ran from a little printer that knocked out time stamped labels, to the interface from business to process control and the control interfaces to much of the plant. Essentially the system was a collection of intelligent nodes that talked to each other flagging products with date based IDs. The problem wasn't so much that some of them didn't roll over as not all of them did or didn't.... No individual instance was huge amount of work, but gaining some confidence that we had all the critical stuff done, caused a few nervous moments. Any plant stoppage was calculated at -??28 per minute contribution to profit, you don't need a lot of that, before people start crying and stuff.

p.j.hutchison
p.j.hutchison

I remember some of the work we had to do in 1999: - Netware. Had to update the timesync program as it would display 01/01/100 instead of 01/01/2000! - Windows NT4. Install Service Pack 5 - Windows 3.x. Install a new version of File Manager as it didn't display the year properly and also add a Y2K fix for BIOS for DOS. I found that the Y2K bug was just a cosmetic problem. The real Y2K bug is in old code that used 2 digits for the year rather than 4 so things like financial programs or stock checks could produce some spurious output hence a lot of COBOL programmers were hired by companies to check and fix any problems.

SWThomas
SWThomas

As one of the developers for a multi-national website, I was involved in Y2K-proofing our code. You would *think* that code written in the 1990s would not have Y2K problems, but you'd be wrong. None of them were of the "train crashing, nuclear reactor melt-down" type, but they were there. We managed to eradicate the last of them in (I think) February, 2000. Worse for us was the reaction of the managers of the datacenters housing our servers. One datacenter shut down the power. Another stayed powered up but disconnected from the Internet. Only the third stayed online, totally unattended. Nothing bad happened, and we were online for the entire 24 hours of the Y2K sweep.

GlobalAwareness2525
GlobalAwareness2525

I used video clips to make my video a little less boring. LOL. The video clips themselves are completely unrelated to any actual y2k events but the written events are said to be actual News Paper Headlines. You somehow thought I implied that 9-11 was caused by the y2k bug. There is a little misunderstanding there. Terrorist threats were made from multiple sources hoping our infrastructure would break down, it did not break down therefore we were not attacked on 2000, I was just elaborating upon the events that surrounded this possible collapse and wanted to remind people that outside of the actual y2k bug the events we faced at the time were terrorist threats, so moving away from discussing the bug, then only a year later the terrorists penetrated our protective military might. Then just like the above statements I had moved forward & onto other topics showing that events are eccelerating. The first attack on the towers was in 1993 Threats were made in 1999 to attack America on 2000 World Trade Center attacked again on 2001 We invade Iraq on 2003 Since then we have surrounded Iran. CIA Coups are starting riots all over the middle east. 2012 is approaching & I forgot to mention a massive solar storm is due to hit earth from 2012-2013. These storms fry power lines & could collapse our grid. All these events (not related to y2k) are all happening at a rapid pace. I see we are moving forward in an effort to take down the last of the communist countries like China, Russia, N. Korea etc, as the goal since the 60s was to destroy all communism. We are headed for massive wars against powerful countries all at the worst possible timing when the earth is due for it's own cleansing process which occurs ever few billion yrs.

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

Back in late 1999 I did a stint at a car dealer where the Owner was the Auto Electrician. Apparently he had tested his Diagnostic Gear by rolling the Date for the reports that it printed and restarted. Apparently he had not reset the date when he got a car in which wasn't working right so he did a Full Electronic Diagnostic on it and parked it out in the Yard for the Afternoon brought it into the Workshop over night and the next morning it wouldn't start. When he looked at the report he did the day before he noticed the Date on it and freaked out. Convinced that the Car wasn't W2K Complaint he panicked and as I was there doing the same type of checking I got called in to look see what had happened. Apparently the Control Unit was driven by a EPROM which lived in a Metal Box under the Dashboard. To overcome design Issues where the Electronics had previously overheated they had redesigned this Metal Case and poked some holes in it. Unfortunately for this guy the holes used to cool it left the EPROM open to Sunlight which erases EPROMS if you do not cover the Window on them. Well any UV would have done but as this is a Car it was Sunlight that eventually erased the EPROM. Apparently the EPROM was on it's last legs when it arrived and during the time it was left in the sun for what remained of that day it was eventually finished off but must have retained some Memory till it was left for 16 or so hours overnight. It wasn't even in the right place to be worked on as none of the Mechanics there knew how to deal with the Electronics properly. So we officially did a Y2K test on a then new Ford that was supposed to have failed the initial test. :^0 Col

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

It was nothing to with simple number computations though. 99 + 1 = 0, was the basic problem. That could do anything from confuse a manager on a report, to saying that something was a hundred years out of date or in the future. One of the simple ones, was the clock in lifts. They are meant to take themselves out of service, if they haven't been marked as serviced in x amount of time. Any one with a Y2k rollover problem, would have stopped at midnight. Not the end of the world but annoying. Same trick used in things like cardiac monitors, defibrillators. Bit more serious..... The trick was finding at least all the critical instances in all the critical bits of code. That essentially meant finding everywhere where a two digit year date type was used, and evalutaing the risk and teh cost of fixing, replaceing, or perhaps even ignoring. Not rocket science, but a major PIA. One of the ones we fixed was an auto identifier YYWWLNNN. Year, week, and L and a three digit number. 0 in the year part meant, no batch number had been assigned so you couldn't produce anything. Damn thing was all over the place, in four completely different systems....

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

but out in the low level world, it was things like two digit years in bios and other clock systems caused us as many problems. Any one remember buying a batches of PCs, same make and model, some of them rolled over some didn't. I'm sure we spent more time checking we didn't have a problem than fixing it when we did. One of the funiest things I saw was when we were told to shutdown all the sytems just before midnight and turn them on just after. Some of the VAXes had been up for a decade, and no one knew if they'd come back again. :p

bg4
bg4

2009 is the "second last year" of this decade. That is because the 2001 is the first year of this decade, century and millenium. Y2K was one problem but the ignorance of the mass population showing they can't count is a bigger worry!!!

road-dog
road-dog

When the Aztec calendar runs out. The new agers are going to lose their minds!

partnersph_2
partnersph_2

I didn't know much about computers back in 2000 and I still have a lot to learn; but being one of the few who appreciate computers in a computer-ignorant environment, I had quite some laughs at people's reactions on y2k. 1st: they were afraid to ride planes... they say, because of the y2k, planes would just fall from the sky without notice. 2nd: a lot of them took their money out of the bank (That uses paper records on file cabinets by the way...) 3rd: It delayed, for about 5 years, the construction of a cellphone site! (I so hate them) 4th: For some reason, they think y2k actually is/brings/is a sign of the end of the world... (what!) 5ft: They thought that because of y2k, machines would turn against those who created them! (Oh my God! My toaster! its heating bagels!) These are just some of the disturbing y2k-related notions of people from my village(which I moved away from). If you think these are ridiculous, you should have heard about what they think of the coming Millennium!! (Get in caves everyone!!! Its the end of the world!!)

Dr Dij
Dr Dij

except it was just STARTED in y2k and hit us this year, as the federal govt pumped up the money supply by having the 'mythical magical money fairy' stupidly lend billions upon billions of non-existent money to banks just before the millenium date change to 'prevent' y2k probs. This drastically distorted the economy, first with the dot.com bust then people switched to investing the wheelbarrows full of money the govt was pumping out into real-estate. It took a while for overbuilding in an attempt to make easy money and hide assets from inflation in real estate, which was seen as inflation proof, to hit us but now it has socked us in the a**. Good going, Fed! Good job Frankenstein (Paulson), and others in govt who sold out the american people. You have now destroyed large chunks of the american economy. Of course this encouraged other countries to inflate their currencies so as to still sell goods at same price to the US. This has only succeeded in bloating govts and distorting economies worldwide. As usual, the people on fixed incomes, & the poor who can't get cost of living raises are particularly hard hit.

JamesRL
JamesRL

One of the pieces of software that had to be tested where I was managing the Y2K project was written by a third party in MS Access. The PC was compliant, the OS was compliant and that version of Access was compliant. The vendor wrote a nice form letter stating that the application was as well, in fact he stated there was no way it couldn't be compliant. So test it we did and it failed. I wish I had bet him on the outcome, he was so overconfident. James

OH Smeg
OH Smeg

Just that the poor reporting messed with everyones minds but then when did the News ever let the truth get in the way of a good money making story for them? Col

jmgarvin
jmgarvin

While it's academically very interesting, it's poo.

boxfiddler
boxfiddler

that would be the Mayan calendar...

jmgarvin
jmgarvin

The problem we are facing is due to poor policy starting with Reagan and continuing through the past 8 disastrous years. It drives me insane that Limbaugh, Hannity, et al are blaming Clinton, when it's been the past 28 years of piss poor policy that is to blame. The worst part is that if it was indeed Clinton, that means Bush is culpable. Bush had 6 years of a Republican controlled Congress to undo all that Clinton did (if all this was truly Clinton's fault). However, on to the good news. From the "smell" of this, I'm guessing it will work itself out fairly quickly (about 24 months) and we're already 12 months through it. not to mention that most of the IT scene seems to be fairly stable...So....that shouldn't be so bad ;-)

boxfiddler
boxfiddler

is a very interesting comment. Thanks!

bg4
bg4

In computer terms the bug was to affect the rollover from 1999 to 2000, referred to as the Y2k bug. That was not the end of the millenium, though. That was still a year away. And yes you are right, OH Smeg, the poor reporting created hype among the masses and it was all about making money. Never let the facts get in the way of a good story!

butkus
butkus

New Years eve, 1999. After the ball dropped I ran across the street to my house. Checked E-bay and alas.. It popped up... all was good. I check my Hotmail and Yahoo accounts... Working... Back to the party across the street. At my school I did have one old PC (387) that rolled over to 1983. All the other PC's in the building I added the BIOS patch. My NT server had a patch too. The local news station interviewed some couple moving to Alaska in fear of Y2K. I didn't hear anything about them, like.. dummy.

jmgarvin
jmgarvin

It's been YEARS in the making, it's not just Bush or Clinton. It's been poor policy making by our government for at least 28 years, if not longer.

boxfiddler
boxfiddler

Given the size of the American population and economy, in addition to the intricacies inherent in the economy; I tend to think that it takes more than four or eight years for the consequences of any particular policy to fully manifest. If that is even possible. Consequences of Policy A not having fully manifested before Policy B is set into effect, I also have a hard time believing that manifest consequences of Policy A are purely those of Policy A. To reduce the blame for the state of crap in which we currently find ourselves to policies enacted by Dems or Reps is strikingly simplistic and not very realistic. IMO. etu

Dr Dij
Dr Dij

When one president was in power, there often was a majority of the other party. I think they're both to blame. Washington biz as usual. No one can say no to people oinking for more money from govt. I don't think we'll recover in 24 months unless we adopt methods like the Canadians did, strictly limiting budgets, and provinces ability to borrow, making sure they MUST balance their budget. Bush admin passed the abomination of massive Trillion dollar bailouts to the financial sector, insurance and autos, which thru stupidity has wasted, stolen and lost vast sums. Obama is proposing spending another trillion on things he professes to believe in. Problem is both of them appear to believe in the 'Mythical Magical Money Fairy' that can go 'POOF', and in a cloud of greasy orange smoke, set govt printing presses on full speed and borrow hundreds of billions from the Chinese, Japanese and anyone else who is stupid or who has a vested interest in selling goods to us or keeping our economy from collapsing. Every dollar printed dilutes your dollar's value by that much, so this current round of two trillion (bush + obama proposed spending) is 2 trillion / 32 trillion economy, or every man, woman, child and business has now lost one day a month to devalued currency. Every dollar BORROWED will cost even more, like credit card company payments. Maybe that 2012 disaster predicted by the Aztecs, and also by someone in Europe will be even worse economic meltdown precipitated by current actions. On the bright side we could be destroyed by other things: Homeland Security predicts almost certainty that nuclear, dirty bomb, bio weapon or chemical weapon will be deployed in big way within next (10?) years. Where's Jack Bauer? Maybe he'll be out of drunk driving jail in time to save us? GW - not GW bush, who we already lambasted but Global Warming. From all indications, it has accelerated. (See current Jan Feb 2009 issue of foreign policy magazine for a concise but gloomy summary). Looks like nothing much will stop it from melting a third of Greenland or Antarctica. Hmmnn. Who could save us? I've got it! MAX! Max - if you could just yell as loud as you can (that would be ALL CAPS online) an ICY ALASKA SENATOR TED STEVENS "NO!", that should freeze debate and make the problem GO AWAY! We'll give you the dolphin statue taken from the alaska senator's home as evidence in his graft case, for saving the dolpins and polar bears. There's alot more ways we could all die but they were covered in a pretty funny thread a year or more ago on possible causes of destruction of the earth. Remember, it is the gloomy realists and the disgruntled who change the world! The others are too happy to do anything useful. There! Now what actually happens in 2009 can only be better than this! HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!!