7. THE END OF THE MILLENNIUM
7.1. THE YEAR 2000 AND THE COMPUTER APOCALYPSE
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… the disgusting prophetic circus, the year 2000 truly had a destructive potential, but not due to divine wrath, but because of technology. The most serious and widespread scarecrow of the year 2000 was Y2K or the “Millennium Bug.” In essence, Y2K was defined as the inability of computers to make a valid transition from the year 1999 to the year 2000. In mathematics, the number 1,000 is sometimes represented by the letter “K” (for example 3,000 = 3K, 5,000 = 5K) from the prefix “kilo,” which is derived from the (Romanized) Greek word chilioi (“thousand”). So, the name “Y2K” is an abbreviation of the English expression “Year 2000.”
The Millennium Bug was not an invention of prophets or religious fanatics; it was a fact. In the 1970s, when the computer industry was at the beginning, virtual memory was very expensive. So, programmers had to use different solutions to save virtual space. One of these solutions was to mark the years only with the last two digits of the total of four. For example, 72 was used instead of 1972, or 84 was used instead of 1984. The computer determined the year only according to the last two digits, adding 19 automatically as a standard prefix. The problem was that the last two digits of the years 2000 and 1900 are identical: 00 and 00. Hence, on January 1, 2000, at 00:00, some computers could interpret the time as being the year 1900, others as 2000, and others to give error and to crash. Computer errors can cause important losses for individuals and companies, fatal accidents, interrupted communications or panic.