The Rapture of 2011

Mr. Camping believes that at 6pm  EST we all will be experiencing the second coming of Christ, that we will have massive earthquakes that will last for five months and all faithful believers and chosen ones will be selected and being taken to the heavens and the rest will be banished to hell.

So, set your alarm clocks and make sure you are sitting down. The shit might hit the fan hard, at least, if you believe in such a thing. I am an Atheist, although not with any disrespect to anyone who believes in (a) God, but for me this message really doesn’t control my life at this point.

Somehow it does remind me a bit about the years prior to 2000, where the millennium bug was causing for some major feelings of panic with a lot of people. Right now, I hear a lot of people mentioning that it was a hoax, but with that I at least can say that there actually was a problem. And people who were used as consultants to fix that problem know just as well, there was an actual (big?) problem.

For the people who are not know with what the millennium bug was, a small recap. To save memory space in the earlier computers, programmers decided to mention the current year with a two-digit number. The computer would than assume automatically that the numbers prior to that would be 19. So, the year 88 was actually 1988 (so, actually it was a century bug instead of a millennium bug). Of course they knew that this was a design flaw at that time, but first of all, even they did have the idea the problem would be fixed later on when more memory was available, and second, it saved memory space which was very valuable at that moment.

And it was not that the problem was not fixed in the following years. The problem was that a lot of systems were still in use after 20 years, that nobody every expected to be still used. And this was usually with banks, power plants, factories, governments… all the institutions that had to invest a lot of money in the original software and would/could not replace it if it was not broken.

Outside of that, almost everything that existed had no problems. Your personal computer, if purchased somewhere in the late ’80s, begin ’90s had no problem whatsoever. But the threat was real; because if you for example would have an account overdrawn status on December 31st, 1999 at an un-patched bank, the next day it would write it as still an overdrawn status on January 1st, 1900 (because of the automatic addition of the ’19’). That would add up to 100 years, everyday an overdrawn fee. That bug would cost you around $1,224,000 on overdraft fees, at least, if you were banking at Chase Bank. But this is a tiny example. Although people with knowledge about this bug knew it was a serious threat, we also knew it would not end the world. The fix was rather easy… more or less it meant every two-digit year had to be transformed into a four-digit yes, or every function that handled a year needed to do that.

It was not difficult, but there was a lot of software to go through. Although not widely known, but there has been software impacted by the millennium bug, but not nearly enough to cause any damage. And contrary popular believe, this is simply because the critical companies that owned the software, were well informed and took correct action. Although some people – especially without knowledge on the matter – panicked and also called for the end of the world – it was not that severe.

But right now, we have this Rapture scheduled for Saturday. According to Mr. Camping the proof is in the bible. I don’t mean any disrespect to any believer, and I do not know the Bible well enough to make any statement upon it, but it is in contrast to the millennium bug which  was actually confirmed by a lot of people with knowledge about the case. Right now, there is only one man.

So, my agenda is booked for well beyond next Saturday. This is a ‘bug’ I cannot help with.


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