Friday, 24 April 2009

A Magic formula for beating Global Warming, Climate Change and The Evil Eye.

It was late December 1999. I had just returned from sailing a square rigged cruise vessel from Cairns to Cape York and back again with a load of happy wanderers. It was a last voyage before the dawn of the 21st Century.

The entire planet was awash with doomsday warnings from IBM and some of the world's most respected scientists, all unanimous in their opinion that everything electronic ranging from PCs, Bank ATM machines and computerised navigation equipment, such as the relatively new GPS, down to the humble telephone and domestic hotwater system, would all fail on the stroke of midnight on New Year's Eve. Travel was not advised due to the expected breakdown of most communication systems, mobile phones included. Few if any of these, had software capable of operating after December 31 1999, said the experts.

It was christened the Y2K bug, and salvation was available only after an expensive innoculation performed by IT programmers who were harvesting a bonanza of fees from banks, international phone companies, security organisations and government departments, down to individual users of electronic navigational equipment like me.

These gurus, supported by gullible journalists world-wide. became very rich very quickly as they worked their magic and re-programmed electronic equipment before the dreaded sound of midnight bells on December 31st.1999. It was a brutal and exhausting fight, but they won. The new century dawned and the ATM's continued to work; trains ran without crashing into each other and the wheels of commerce and industry turned smoothly...Crisis averted by the narrowest of margins.

I awoke on new year's day to a chilling discovery. My personal GPS, (pictured here, and now a museum piece), had been forgotten. I had not sent it back to the factory for the expensive reprogramming required to keep it going after December 31st. It was now January 1. 2000... Too late ! The dreaded Y2K bug would have done its deadly work and laid it low.

My 20th Century GPS

I switched the GPS on, expecting a blank screen to confront me with my criminal forgetfulness, but after the usual pause to collect its thoughts, up came an accurate position from the constellation of satellites, still orbiting the earth unperturbed....nothing had changed...nothing had happened... everything worked just fine.

Almost ten years on, it still does!

So, next time you are confronted by a prophet of doom waving computer generated evidence as proof of immanent disaster, climatic or otherwise, save yourself time, money and apprehension by uttering the magic formula Y2K and continue with business as usual.