Millennium Bug: Myths and Realities

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The Independent Online
Myth 1: Aircraft will fall out of the sky.

Reality: If insurance companies are not confident enough to cover them to fly in that period, they will be grounded. The question then becomes - what will the effect be on the world economy if no aircraft fly for days or weeks?

Myth 2: We will all be popping champagne at midnight on 31 December and the lights will go out.

Reality: The lights at least should stay on, as will other essential services - subject, of course, to whatever extra load the celebrations impose.

Myth 3: Everything that goes wrong will go wrong at that "rollover" moment.

Reality: Some problems have arisen (and been resolved) and more are going to crop up next year, especially in April, when the 99/00 financial year starts. The effect may be like a snow flurry turning into a blizzard - at first it seems amusing, then it becomes dangerous.

Myth 4: My video is going to get microwaved as everything in my home goes haywire.

Reality: Most electronic items in the home use a 24-hour rollover clock, so most items will notice no difference. A few videos could be affected: mostly these are very ancient models.

Myth 5: Nuclear power stations will blow up.

Reality: It is far more likely that if anyone is worried, they will be taken off-line and shut down instead, though that could have a significant effect at a time when power demand is traditionally high.

Charles Arthur, and Robin Guenier of Taskforce 2000

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