It’s funny how Y2K is remembered as an overblown hoax and not as “for fucking once we saw a problem coming in advance, actually dedicated sufficient time and resources to solving it, and a crisis was averted before it happened.” Makes me wonder how people would think of Covid if we had handled it well.

I’ve also heard a leftist or two treat “Save the Whales” as a punchline. It’s only funny because it was a hugely successful campaign. If a bunch of cetacean species had gone extinct in the past couple of decades, we would not be laughing about it.

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@bulkington no joke, learning about the reality of Y2K was def a turning point for how my preteen brain understood history and the world and technology lol

@swirlz it was tremendously good luck that it happened at a moment when the tech industry was overflowing with cash and could afford to replace and rewrite systems en masse, and that the fastest and most transformative 10 years of Moore’s law had just happened so there were tons and tons of other reasons to be replacing all those 70s and 80s systems anyway.

But tons of people were involved in it. It’s a very small detail in the movie, but the dudes in Office Space were working on a Y2K fix.

@bulkington Some people still treat covid like a hoax anyway

@bulkington i was so hoping it would be like that last march

not accepting that the preceding 20 years destroyed every institutional and cultural support that allowed y2k to be handled properly

@bulkington if y2k was such a big deal, why isn't there a y2k two?

oh,, there is? but it's y2k38,,? hm

@jacethechicken @bulkington so that would be y2k3, since y2k2 happened last year because a bunch of companies did the lazy fix of making 1900-1920 into 2000-2020. My company's payroll system got all fucked because of it

@jacethechicken @bulkington yep, and the y2k38 issue already has had some impact with forecasting, but once again it's mostly being addressed by looking ahead and fixing it. But it's not sexy and the level of tech literacy is higher now so the media is less likely to get away with all the "NUCLEAR MISSLES WILL SELF LAUNCH" nonsense they pulled around y2k

@bulkington /Huh./ We didn't know it was an actual thing that /people fixed/ [we're too young to have been there].

@bulkington Basically the same way people in the US viewed the SARS epidemic. I sure can't wait for the Y2K38 bugs to hit...

@bulkington Same as y2k or other averted disasters, likely. It's just very difficult to appreciate the effort that people put into preventing disasters unless you're one of those directly involved, or have enough knowledge about the possible scenarios.

In short, the same mentality that leads to "fixers"/"heroes" getting much more appreciated than "maintainers" :02lurk:

@bulkington what's worse is that people have willfully ignored the systems that HAVE failed because they weren't or couldn't be patched

@elfi @bulkington i can't even think of any examples off the top of my head (although i do have a couple devices which year can't be set past some arbitrary thing like 2012 or whatev)

@carcinopithecus I mean they're rarer and rarer these days naturally because they were mostly scrapped :p

@carcinopithecus @elfi @bulkington I've heard of a number of systems talked about (stuff like parking meters and such) that have had issues within the past few years because their quick "fix" for the Y2K problem was just offsetting the year range by like 20 years or so, and they had never actually given them a real fix

@ShiningWing @elfi @bulkington i think i might've heard of those if not knowingly directly interacted with them

i may have blocked them out of my memory :oh_no:

@bulkington Oh god. Is it??? I wasn't working in tech at the time yet, but I remember all the fervor and know enough about it that it's a "we did the work to solve the problem ahead of time" thing in _my_ head, at least.

@bulkington much of why places that have messed up coved response is that they reacted well to the last two pandemics and there was political blow back with those.

It doesn't explain poor responses to second and third waves, but it explains the first wave response in some places.

@bulkington pretty much the exact way they thought of it for the first 6 months.

@bulkington I hate how true this is.

It's definitely because there's no commons involved.

Y2K was lots of small problems in things that capitalists own. If stuff broke, that would cost them money.

Broadly, Climate change is everyone contributing small amounts to one big problem with a thing that everyone owns (the air) . Since everybody owns it, it's not the fault of anyone in particular.

swine flu i guess

or really any other epidemic that had no chance of affecting us because we had measures specifically in place to stop this

but i'm saying this from a first world perspective

@bulkington exactly. And my husband, several of my relatives, were the ones that prevented a mess

@bulkington We actually do have a recent example for that. It was called SARS. Appropriate that this is SARS 2.

@terrana @bulkington I was in Singapore when the SARS crisis hit in 2003! I thought it was so weird that, like, I had to put on a mask to go to my bank (the branch was in a hospital) and check my temperature twice a day ... and then all the real trouble just faded out in a couple months and all I'm left with is the memory of this earwormy silly 'SARS-vivor Rap' that local celebrity comic actor Gurmit Singh recorded. Almost quaint, after a couple scary weeks.

@bulkington That really pisses me off. We worked ourselves sick preventing y2k.

They'd probably think of it like the h1n1 outbreak - all hype, little visible anything.

@bulkington True, however, some of the fears of Y2K *were* blown out of proportion. Like, correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't there a somewhat common fear that clocks ticking back to 1900 would delete files or start nuclear war?

@keith @bulkington Yes, I do remember that. There were whole sections in bookstores devoted to Y2K doomer-ism. Those books were suddenly worthless right after New Year's 2000.

The out of control public panic over Y2K is why most people remember it as an overblown thing, rather than the reality of the situation.

@keith not that common. The people building bunkers were the same people who were already building bunkers. By 1999 the press was pretty accurately reporting that the problem was being dealt with and that it wasn't going to be airplanes falling out of the sky or anything.

@bulkington @keith and yet people still made disaster movies about it and "shit will hit the fan" claims were definitely in the Zeitgeist

@bulkington well, we probably don't need to think about that hypothetically since we can look at swine flu, bird flu, MERS, etc.

So yeah, exactly the same way.

@bulkington idk in other countries but over here in France a lot of people thought the swine flu was massively overblown and that the government spent too much on vaccines and stuff. The government at the beginning of the pandemic explicitly said it didn't want to repeat that and the result is: we're in year 2 of the pandemic and the general public won't have access to the vaccine until late summer by the best estimates

@bulkington the paradox of prevention. If your prevention works, it looks like you overreacted.

@bulkington @nomad the hole in the Ozone Layer is another great example of this. We saw a problem, listened to the science on it, debated how best to approach it, and executed that plan. And it worked: the hole stopped growing, then started shrinking, and now it's gone.

But people talk about it like it was a made up problem because we averted the crises by, you know, addressing the issue

@calcifer @bulkington Just have to wonder how much of this is human nature and how much is follow-the-money?

@nomad @bulkington I'm not sure those things are meaningfully different, sadly

About Ozone hole:
“Recovery is projected to continue over the next century, and the ozone hole is expected to reach pre-1980 levels by around 2075.”
@calcifer @bulkington @nomad

@wzqtparor @calcifer @bulkington @nomad I wonder if this can be done *on time* since there is no one excepted CFC is still in production in this century but it is still producing in China.

@bulkington If Covid didn’t go as bad as it did we would’ve probably been thinking “Man people really panicked way too much about this”

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