90s, Blog — December 31, 2014 12:53 pm

Happy 15th Anniversary, Y2K!

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Fill your bathtubs up with water, hoard all the canned beans, and jump into your bunker– it’s the 15th Anniversary of Y2K!

Y2K panic swept the nation in the late 90s when it was widely reported that some computers wouldn’t be able to tell 2000 from 1900 due to abbreviating years to the last two digits. Worry ensued as we were all convinced that this would make every computer crash, not necessarily time-traveling us back to 1900, but without computers and Internet access we may have well been living in 1900.

i-survived-y2kA true badge of honor. (Photo courtesy: Wacky Buttons)

Y2K was covered heavily in the media, and when we say “heavily” we mean it was mostly just to induce more panic. Documentaries like “Y2K – World in Crisis” (with Richard Anderson, who is not to be confused with Richard Dean Anderson, seriously) and “How to Prepare Your Family for Y2K” didn’t do much to quell any fears.

Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together… mass hysteria!

The U.S. Government got involved and passed the Year 2000 Information and Readiness Disclosure Act. Their focus was on Outreach and Advocacy, Monitoring and Assessment, and Contingency Planning and Regulation. As part of this, the U.S. Government threw up a Y2K.GOV website with all the information needed to be Y2K Compliant. This was available in text and graphic versions. Thankfully frames were not Y2K compliant.

y2kgov-website

The power outages, fire and brimstone, and all those Y2K bunkers were for naught when, at midnight on January 1, 2000, nothing happened.

Maybe one thing did happen: fear mongers profited from the near-disaster. Documentaries, Y2K preparedness scams, and insurance companies all loved the panic that was stirred up.

And maybe it made us all a little more skeptical about things like the 2012 Mayan Calendar thing (although John Cusak films certainly helped us to not take it too seriously).

y2k-cake

So, Happy Anniversary, Y2K! Here’s hoping we don’t blow up the planet and are able to see what happens with Y2.1K!

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