Most Spectacular Urban Legend Ever Perpetrated

y2k

This doesn't make much sense. Whatever y2k was, it wasn't an UrbanLegend

If you include y2k, you have to include the WarOfTheWorlds?, which was arguably bigger. I don't think either should be included, though.

All I know is a lotta rednecks were running around buying guns and getting exploited while complaining "them durn programmers gone wired up the whole world and now it's all gonna pop loose caus'a one bug," and now they say, "See? Them durn programmers don't know nothin' 'cause they said there's gonna be a bug and there wasn't."

We said there'd be a bug, then we fixed it and said it was fixed. (Then when the critical time events passed, with no major incident, we proved it was fixed.)

I guess there's just no explaining to some folks that in the space of one decade all the programmers were right twice. -- PhlIp


I think Y2K is similar to an urban legend in many respects. The biggest difference is that Y2K was a prediction of things to come rather than an account of a past occurrence.

There is no real reason not to believe that a nice suburban family could actually end up with a deep-fried rat included in their bucket of chicken. It's a little far-fetched, but the natural human horror of contamination causes us to fixate on the possibility, while ignoring the odds. Even an experienced software developer is prone to get hung up on the possibilities of an unplanned-for century rollover, while not giving too much thought to the fact that bugs are a natural part of his everyday life. It is also a function of the human imagination that one might expect that the majority of y2k bugs would result in catastrophes instead of minor annoyances. The setup to the story is just too good for it not to have a spectacular ending.

What has always fascinated me about urban legends is that they are usually propagated without malice. Your friend really believes that his sister-in-law's cousin's neighbor actually did bring home a cute doggie from vacation, only to find that it was a huge, vicious, Mexican rat. -- TimVoght


Y2k was more profiteering through fearmongering. I give you organizations like http://www.tenagra.com that will now be scrambling for a reason to exist. Likely they'll "keep a close eye on the unfolding events to make sure no real problems occur." Yeah. Still, I'm an English major if anyone asks... -- SunirShah, who's off to party now...


I notice that the VodaPhone? network in the west of Scotland fell over a couple of hours before midnight. The problem was reported to have no relation to y2k. Yeah, right. After all of the hype, how many companies would own up and admit to a lack of preparation? -- DavidMcNicol

Discussion of DOD satellite problems moved to YtwokErrors, as it appears to be a legitimate story.


[CategoryYtwok]

EditText of this page (last edited March 31, 2002) or FindPage with title or text search