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Acknowledging Some of the Lesser Known Y2K Issues.

By Wil Forbis - [Email]

There has been a multiplicity of exacerbation and hand wringing recently over what is known as the "Y2K problem": the potential shut down of various computer systems upon arrival of the year 2000. This anxiety has provoked a variety of reactions ranging from the mundane fears that fiscal institutions will lose control over all account information to more alarming concerns that the very fabric of society will be destroyed and only well armed individuals living in rustic agrarian communities will be left to dictate the fate of mankind. In short, naysayers may choose from either receiving a two million dollar phone bill or complete worldwide Armageddon.

The cause of this problem, of course, goes back to computer programmers, whom forgot to include the ability to recognize any yearly prefix past 19 in their programs, much the same way they forget to shave or wear clothing from this decade. Continually under the assumption that the program would be fixed, programmers tiddled away (tiddle = very fast typing) until the current cacophony ensued.

Whereas it has never been this authorís desire to cause alarm, it is said authorís belief that the current flags being raised are short sighted at best, and a host of unexamined problems could erupt from the Y2K fiasco. Thusly, I will try and present for unusually paranoid and anxious readers the following breakdown.

Embedded Technology

Many concerns have been raised over the issue of "embedded technology." Embedded technology is an all encompassing term describing the millions of microchips embedded in many cars, microwaves, refrigerators, fish tanks, security systems and electronic sexual pleasuring devices. A familiar example is the Zarcon chip which causes all VCR clocks to flash 12:00. The concern with Y2K and embedded technology is the possibility that once the year 2000 hits all embedded chips will operate on the mistaken assumption that it is 1900. So a 1996 Audi for example, would refuse to operate, rightfully assuming that it hadn't been invented yet. And if it did function, the car radio would play only Scott Joplin tunes.

However, this is a naÔve and unrealistically positive view of the Y2K embedded chip problem. Indeed far more fearsome problems exist, and to demonstrate, letís look at the household microwave. It is generally acknowledged that a microwave with a non Y2K compliant chip would cease to function with the 2000 turnover. However, it is not acknowledged that the Y2K problem could cause a microwave to fashion its circuitry into arms and legs with claws that it would use to attack its human masters. Or that it could develop a high intensity laser beam that would shoot out in all directions. And yet, there is a very realistic possibility that this will be happening all across America.

Computer Hardware

"If thatís what embedded chips are doing," you must be saying, "...then computers will be far worse." You are quite correct. The potential damage computers themselves may inflict is based on a simple well known scientific premise: Computers hate all living creatures and would like nothing more to drink human blood. This has been a valid fact for decades. In fact, the only way scientists have managed to distract computers from their natural blood lust is by feeding them a steady diet of meaningless baseball statistics and hardcore child pornography. But with the second millennium all this could be undone. Computers will suddenly come alive, whirring and buzzing, rocking themselves back and forth, crushing all in their path. This sort of scenario was well documented in the 1956 science fiction film, "The Brain That Conquered Outer Space."

Computer Software

It was generally assumed that software running past the year 2000 that was not Y2K compliant would be impossible to use, filled with nonsensical bugs and constantly posting indecipherable error messages that only cause users excess anguish. Then several leading scientists posed the question "How is that different from how programs run now?" This opened a more realistic mode of thought and it has since been learned that upon the turnover of the 2nd millennium, all computer software should become totally functional and it will be possible to gain unlimited lives in Tomb Raider by pressing the "shift" key.

"What Can I Do?"

It might seem that the odds are insurmountable with this coming disaster, but in actuality, hope is not lost.. And while I never advise readers to panic I do advise this: Start smashing all technological devices as soon as possible. Eventually this will attract the attention of others (believe me, I know!) and you can take this opportunity to convince them of a similar course of action. If we start destroying all computers and embedded technology now, there should be only a handful left by the year 2000. (Whom we can then playfully torture to death.) Besides, you donít really need your microwave. You know it laughs at you, it doesnít even cook your food through the middle. Why not show it whoís boss? Grab that baseball bat. March into the kitchen. Then... Whammo! Start the revolution.