Y2K Bug Strikes Again with Draft Snafu | TechWell

Y2K Bug Strikes Again with Draft Snafu

Back before the turn of the century, businesses, governments, and just about anyone who had any of their livelihood dependent on computers panicked over what would become known as the Y2K bug. I doubt anyone needs too much of an explanation of what the Y2K bug was, but here is a quick reminder:

The Y2K bug was the catalyst for many people concerned that all computers would stop functioning at midnight on January 1, 2000, and civilization would come to a heaving collapse. However, the reality of the bug was that programmers just needed to comb through code and change two-digit year abbreviations to four digits.

Other than giving many programmers headaches, long and stressful nights, and furious cases of eye strain and carpal tunnel syndrome, the Y2K bug didn’t come close to ruining society as some people feared. For the most part, any notable effects of Y2K were evaded except for two publicized hiccups. In 2001, the bug caused the UK National Health Service to render incorrect Down’s Syndrome test results for more than 150 women. Then in 2010, some versions of Sony’s PlayStation 3 experienced issues with the gaming console’s internal clock.

Now, nearly fifteen years after the year 2000, the Y2K bug has surfaced its ugly head once again. This iteration of Y2K shenanigans involves zombies—sort of. At the end of last month, more than fourteen thousand draft notices were sent to Pennsylvania men—born between 1893 and 1897.

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation erred in transferring nearly 400,000 records to the Selective Service. Pennsylvania was using code that only indicated two digits for year of birth rather than four. As a result, more than 27,000 records of men born in the late 1800s were identified, and more than 14,000 notices for the draft registration were sent out to the family members of the conscribed.

Fortunately, the Selective Service announced that the next of kin who were receiving the notices can disregard them—admitting to their error. It's also worth noting that none of the over-100-year-old Pennsylvania residents would be able to complete their service. None of the 14,000 identified individuals are among the living. So, with a humorous glitch and oversight, Pennsylvania nearly conscripted its first zombie army. 

The Y2K bug is the gift that keeps on giving. 

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