473,837 Members | 1,754 Online
Bytes | Software Development & Data Engineering Community
+ Post

Home Posts Topics Members FAQ

The Year 2038 Problem

As per Google's Usenet archives
[http://groups.google.com/googlegroup...ounce_20.html], the
first discussion of the Y2K problem on the Usenet was on January 18
1985 [http://groups.google.com/groups?thre...0%40reed.UUCP]. That
is a good 15 years before the problem manifested. Even then, it
turned out, we were scrambling for cover when the D-day was
approaching.

Although the Y2K scare turned out to be vastly overblown, we do have a
massive problem ahead of us ------ the Year 2038 problem. On Mon Jan
18 21:14:07 2038, the Unix seconds-since-epoch count will "roll-over".
After that, the time on the Unix systems will read as Fri Dec 13
14:45:52 1901.

IMHO, if we want to avoid the last minute panic that we witnessed
towards the end of the last millennium (while pursuing the Y2K
problem), we should begin the process of debating the viable solutions
to this problem NOW. It will take a long time for the consensus to be
built, and to come up with a solution that most (if not all) people
find acceptable. We also need considerable time to test out all
possible solutions in the real world, to decide if the solutions
really work as expected. We may also need to develop a suite of
recovery strategies should the problem manifest in some system on that
fateful Monday morning. All this takes time. So, as the late Todd
Beamer would have said: Let's roll.

Bhat
Nov 14 '05
248 10589
gswork <gs****@mailcit y.com> coughed up the following:
Da*****@cern.ch (Dan Pop) wrote in message
news:<ca******* ****@sunnews.ce rn.ch>...
In <m5************ ****@tombstone. sdct.nist.gov> p.*****@acm.org
(Paul E. Black) writes:
Da*****@cern.ch (Dan Pop) writes:

In <40************ ***@yahoo.com> CBFalconer <cb********@yah oo.com>
writes:
> Should
> any posted signs survive, the language in which they are written
> probably will not.

No one expects any posted signs to survive, merely to be carefully
maintained. This would also take care of the language issue.

Of course, one could imagine scenarios involving the catastrophic
destruction of the current civilisation and its replacement by the
descendants of a few tribes of bushmen that survived the
catastrophe
by chance.

If there are a few tribes of bushmen, what is the chance they'll
wander through several hundred kilometers of desert to find the
respository? And that they'll be able and willing to dig through
hundreds of meters of backfill? And crack open thick steel
containers? And grind the glassy waste to powder and spread it
around
or ingest it? Although we shouldn't stop thinking about such
things,
the repository seems okay.


The idea was that that those few tribes of bushmen would eventually
repopulate the world and create a civilisation with no "memory" of
the
previous one.


Whatever happened you can be sure that, eventually, Charlton Heston
would arrive, see evidence of the previous civilisation and say "my
god it's true....", ... maybe ...

There are a great many things that are likely to doom us as our
understanding of physics increases. I'd have to say that three of which
that are likely (eventually) are going to be:

1. The age old nuclear winter scenario
2. Particle coliders accidentally creating a mini-black hole
3. Nanobot assemblers turning us all into the "gray goo".

#2 and #3 have many issues in the way before they actually /could/ be a
problem. But they're worth looking at.

--
Everythinginlif eisrealative.Ap ingpongballseem ssmalluntilsome oneramsitupy
ournose.
Nov 14 '05 #221
In article <zH************ *******@nwrdny0 1.gnilink.net>,
tg************* ***@replacetext wi....hotm ail.com says...
gswork <gs****@mailcit y.com> coughed up the following: There are a great many things that are likely to doom us as our
understanding of physics increases. I'd have to say that three of which
that are likely (eventually) are going to be:

1. The age old nuclear winter scenario
2. Particle coliders accidentally creating a mini-black hole
3. Nanobot assemblers turning us all into the "gray goo".

#2 and #3 have many issues in the way before they actually /could/ be a
problem. But they're worth looking at.


I would say that 1 is irrelevant as even if nuclear winter is a real
phenomenon, it wouldn't come near to killing us off.

3 is very doubtful - after all we already have green goo a.k.a. mould
and bacteria of all kinds, and grey goo isn't going to have magic powers
that it doesn't.

On the other hands, an exotic high-energy event loading to a negative
strangelet, mini-black hole, vacuum phase change (or something nasty we
haven't thought of) is not inconceivable IMO.

However I would say the biggest threats such as supervirulent infections
come from the biological sciences.

And of course there are lots of big rocks flying around out there.

- Gerry Quinn
Nov 14 '05 #222
Gerry Quinn <ge****@DELETET HISindigo.ie> coughed up the following:
In article <zH************ *******@nwrdny0 1.gnilink.net>,
tg************* ***@replacetext wi....hotm ail.com says...
gswork <gs****@mailcit y.com> coughed up the following:
There are a great many things that are likely to doom us as our
understanding of physics increases. I'd have to say that three of
which that are likely (eventually) are going to be:

1. The age old nuclear winter scenario
2. Particle coliders accidentally creating a mini-black hole
3. Nanobot assemblers turning us all into the "gray goo".

#2 and #3 have many issues in the way before they actually /could/
be a problem. But they're worth looking at.


I would say that 1 is irrelevant as even if nuclear winter is a real
phenomenon, it wouldn't come near to killing us off.


Using the current set of weapons? Maybe. But the states with them are
growing all the time.


3 is very doubtful - after all we already have green goo a.k.a. mould
and bacteria of all kinds, and grey goo isn't going to have magic
powers that it doesn't.
That's not what gray goo is. Gray goo is the /result/ of assemblers
having grabbed (disassembled) all obvious forms of matter into something
non-descript, not just more of themselves. If the assemblers make more
of themselves exponentially, the earth could turn into an amorphous glob
of the stuff. Of course there are a few things in the way:

1. fat finger issue
2. sticky finger issue
3. nano assemblers, if they know to not disolve themselves,
would only be able to affect a /surface/ of sorts and close
that in. So it would still gray goo us, just slower than
exponential grown might indicate.


On the other hands, an exotic high-energy event loading to a negative
strangelet, mini-black hole, vacuum phase change (or something nasty
we haven't thought of) is not inconceivable IMO.
As a reader of scientific american wrote in, a mini black hole could
theoretically gobble up the earth in a matter of minutes.

I've often wondered:

Is it possible that there are no black holes formed in nature? That any
that we postulate about (sort of "observe") are the results of
civilizations that have discovered how to accidentally create one?


However I would say the biggest threats such as supervirulent
infections come from the biological sciences.

And of course there are lots of big rocks flying around out there.

- Gerry Quinn


--
http://www.allexperts.com is a nifty way to get an answer to just about
/anything/.
Nov 14 '05 #223
Thomas G. Marshall writes:
There are a great many things that are likely to doom us as our
understanding of physics increases. I'd have to say that three
of which that are likely (eventually) are going to be:

1. The age old nuclear winter scenario
2. Particle coliders accidentally creating a mini-black hole
Where'd you hear that one? (-:

AIUI, it's probably not possible to build one big enough... on earth.
I once read that a linear collider capable of achieving the energy
levels to unify the forces would be bigger than the solar system!
3. Nanobot assemblers turning us all into the "gray goo".


[grin] I know where that one came from. Many of the folks working
in the field seem to find it silly. There are leverage and energy
considerations that may make "nanobots" impossible (as builders of
big things). Surface tension is formidable at that scale!

Consider this: virii mutate at an extravagant rate, yet none has
ever evolved that even comes close to the "gray goo" scenario. It
might just not be physically possible.

MY doomsday suspicion is we'll be done in by disease--intentional
or accidental. At the current density and travel rates of the
human race, it'd be all too easy.

--
|_ CJSonnack <Ch***@Sonnack. com> _____________| How's my programming? |
|_ http://www.Sonnack.com/ _______________ ____| Call: 1-800-DEV-NULL |
|______________ _______________ _______________ _|_____________ __________|
Nov 14 '05 #224
"Programmer Dude" <Ch***@Sonnack. com> wrote in message
news:li******** *************** *********@4ax.c om...
Thomas G. Marshall writes:
2. Particle coliders accidentally creating a mini-black hole
Where'd you hear that one? (-:

AIUI, it's probably not possible to build one big enough... on earth.
I once read that a linear collider capable of achieving the energy
levels to unify the forces would be bigger than the solar system!


I don't know the feasibility, but if we figure out how to isolate
non-trivial amounts antimatter produced in a collider, the resulting
annihilation would release enough energy to make nucelar winter look like a
good scenario.
3. Nanobot assemblers turning us all into the "gray goo".


[grin] I know where that one came from. Many of the folks working
in the field seem to find it silly. There are leverage and energy
considerations that may make "nanobots" impossible (as builders of
big things). Surface tension is formidable at that scale!


If you have enough of them, anything would be possible, no?
Consider this: virii mutate at an extravagant rate, yet none has
ever evolved that even comes close to the "gray goo" scenario. It
might just not be physically possible.
Ever read what a hantavirus does to internal organs? Your skin and bones
stay intact because they're mostly dead, but the rest of you dissolves into
a uniform red goo in a matter of days. Very scary stuff.
MY doomsday suspicion is we'll be done in by disease--intentional
or accidental. At the current density and travel rates of the
human race, it'd be all too easy.


It's a minor miracle it hasn't happened already; the only thing stopping it
is the diseases capable of wiping out the entire human race either aren't
airborne (yet) or have too short an incubation period (and burn out local
populations before they can be transmitted far). Evolution will eventually
overcome those limitations.

S

--
Stephen Sprunk "Those people who think they know everything
CCIE #3723 are a great annoyance to those of us who do."
K5SSS --Isaac Asimov

Nov 14 '05 #225
"Stephen Sprunk" <st*****@sprunk .org> writes:
"Programmer Dude" <Ch***@Sonnack. com> wrote in message
news:li******** *************** *********@4ax.c om...
Thomas G. Marshall writes:
2. Particle coliders accidentally creating a mini-black hole


Where'd you hear that one? (-:

AIUI, it's probably not possible to build one big enough... on earth.
I once read that a linear collider capable of achieving the energy
levels to unify the forces would be bigger than the solar system!


I don't know the feasibility, but if we figure out how to isolate
non-trivial amounts antimatter produced in a collider, the resulting
annihilation would release enough energy to make nucelar winter look like a
good scenario.


The energy released by annihilating a quantity of antimatter cannot
exceed the energy required to produce it in the first place. We've
never put enough energy into colliders to produce enough antimatter to
create a significant explosion. In addition, the energy efficiency of
antimatter production is extremely small.

Antimatter is a great method of compact energy storage, but if your
goal is to blow things up, there are far more effective ways to do so
with current technology.

--
Keith Thompson (The_Other_Keit h) ks***@mib.org <http://www.ghoti.net/~kst>
San Diego Supercomputer Center <*> <http://users.sdsc.edu/~kst>
We must do something. This is something. Therefore, we must do this.
Nov 14 '05 #226
"Thomas G. Marshall"
<tg************ ****@replacetex twithnumber.hot mail.com> writes:
Gerry Quinn <ge****@DELETET HISindigo.ie> coughed up the following:

[...]
I would say that 1 is irrelevant as even if nuclear winter is a real
phenomenon, it wouldn't come near to killing us off.


Using the current set of weapons? Maybe. But the states with them are
growing all the time.


But the newer nuclear states (India, Pakistan, and whatever other
states have nuclear bombs but haven't publicly acknowledged tested
them) are almost certainly not producing bombs in the large numbers
you'd need to produce a significant nuclear winter.

--
Keith Thompson (The_Other_Keit h) ks***@mib.org <http://www.ghoti.net/~kst>
San Diego Supercomputer Center <*> <http://users.sdsc.edu/~kst>
We must do something. This is something. Therefore, we must do this.
Nov 14 '05 #227
Keith Thompson wrote:
.... snip ...
Antimatter is a great method of compact energy storage, but if
your goal is to blow things up, there are far more effective ways
to do so with current technology.


We have recently patented the equivalent of a Dewar flask, but it
holds positrons rather than liquid nitrogen. By valving the
contents (via a positronic valve) we can get controlled
combination with stray electrons, and coincident opposing 511 kEV
gammas. This opposition minimizes vibration, much like a
horizontally opposed twin. Suitable collection devices, obvious
to anyone skilled in the art, convert these gammas into direct
current at 33.5 volts. A 2 inch diameter flask, 1 foot long, can
store roughly 1000 horsepower hours. Leakage is about 1 percent
per day, so until we make improvements here you will have to
refuel at least every few months.

--
A: Because it fouls the order in which people normally read text.
Q: Why is top-posting such a bad thing?
A: Top-posting.
Q: What is the most annoying thing on usenet and in e-mail?
Nov 14 '05 #228
Thomas G. Marshall writes:
As a reader of scientific american wrote in, a mini black hole
could theoretically gobble up the earth in a matter of minutes.
There is a problem with this. A mini-black hole has a certain
size, and matter can only go through a hole that size at a
certain rate. Also, infalling matter generates serious radiation
and the pressure of that radiation tends to push infalling matter
away.

IOW, don't believe everything you read! (-:
I've often wondered:

Is it possible that there are no black holes formed in nature?
That any that we postulate about (sort of "observe") are the
results of civilizations that have discovered how to accidentally
create one?


Such could happen, but that doesn't mean natural ones don't also
exist. However, I've long fancied the idea that some of the
more spectacular and energetic events we see "out there".....

Well, suppose, for e.g., that it's possible to tap into what's
called "zero point" energy, which some theories hold to be very,
very great. But suppose you need to tap into it just *exactly*
right, "or else!" (-:

(Remember, some very knowledgeable scientists were very afraid
the first A-bomb tests would ignite the atmosphere....g ood thing
they were wrong!)

--
|_ CJSonnack <Ch***@Sonnack. com> _____________| How's my programming? |
|_ http://www.Sonnack.com/ _______________ ____| Call: 1-800-DEV-NULL |
|______________ _______________ _______________ _|_____________ __________|
Nov 14 '05 #229

"Programmer Dude" <Ch***@Sonnack. com> wrote in message
news:li******** *************** *********@4ax.c om...
Thomas G. Marshall writes:
There are a great many things that are likely to doom us as our
understanding of physics increases. I'd have to say that three
of which that are likely (eventually) are going to be:

1. The age old nuclear winter scenario
2. Particle coliders accidentally creating a mini-black hole
Where'd you hear that one? (-:

AIUI, it's probably not possible to build one big enough... on earth.
I once read that a linear collider capable of achieving the energy
levels to unify the forces would be bigger than the solar system!
3. Nanobot assemblers turning us all into the "gray goo".


[grin] I know where that one came from. Many of the folks working
in the field seem to find it silly. There are leverage and energy
considerations that may make "nanobots" impossible (as builders of
big things). Surface tension is formidable at that scale!

Yeah, but the surface tension is actually exploited by the little critters,
particularly for locomotion. But even so, that's a relatively small
obstacle in comparison:

The two biggest considerations that are holding the nano heads at bay are
the following:

1. Fat Fingers: The physical aperatus that would actually need to grab
small numbers of atoms would itself be made of a larger number of atoms.
Self-replicating machines are an interesting related field here, but it does
not solve the fundamentals of needing to grab something small and do
something with it. It's obviously not that simple, but I'm watering it
down.

2. Sticky Fingers: The fingers themselves being made of atoms would
continually want to bond with surrounding atoms. That is, it might be able
to pick something up, but never separate it from itself. Or, the lever arm,
being so small, would collect atoms around its joints solidifying it. Etc.

That is, a nanobot assembler would need to operate in cooperation with these
two properties, not against them. That's likely to be a very
counterintuitiv e operation, that's for sure! For example, looking at the
way that cells and viruses deal with those two issues is very interesting:
A dna strand doesn't just rip in half. A cell boundary isn't just glued to
a virus.

Unfortunately, I just don't understand the arguments enough to say much more
than this.

Consider this: virii mutate at an extravagant rate, yet none has
ever evolved that even comes close to the "gray goo" scenario. It
might just not be physically possible.
Well, it'd have to be pretty rugged to deal with large deposits of
non-organic compounds like, oh, a rock of Iron and Silicon. But your point
should be read in a larger sense: Perhaps if it was possible for such things
to occur, it would have happened already in nature. I'm not sure I buy it:
There are many things that haven't occured in nature by itself.


MY doomsday suspicion is we'll be done in by disease--intentional
or accidental. At the current density and travel rates of the
human race, it'd be all too easy.
It sure seems scary to me.


--
|_ CJSonnack <Ch***@Sonnack. com> _____________| How's my programming? |
|_ http://www.Sonnack.com/ _______________ ____| Call: 1-800-DEV-NULL |
|______________ _______________ _______________ _|_____________ __________|

Nov 14 '05 #230

This thread has been closed and replies have been disabled. Please start a new discussion.

By using Bytes.com and it's services, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

To disable or enable advertisements and analytics tracking please visit the manage ads & tracking page.