Mini Y2K on the way
The SMH reports a Mini Y2K on the way. I wrote quite a few articles in 1999 poking fun at the whole Y2K scare, and finally managed to get a proper publication out of an ex post analysis (it’s coming out in the Australian Journal of Public Administration but you can read the PDF article here.
It’s worth comparing this issue to global warming. The current government was happy to spend $12 billion preparing for Y2K, yet there was essentially no proper research done on the issue. Anecdotally, it was claimed that tests had shown all sorts of vulnerabilities, but there’s no reason to believe these anecdotes: the fact that countries where almost nothing was done were unaffected is clear evidence that the risks were overstated (to put it mildly). There was every logical reason to be a sceptic about Y2K, but the sceptics were ignored (I try to explain this in my article).
By contrast, thousands of scientists have studied various aspects of global warming, and, with a handful of exceptions, have concluded that there is a real problem here. Yet the government pays serious attention to unqualified sceptics, and uses their bogus claims to justify a do-nothing policy.
fn1. As Tim Lambert points out, the number of remotely credible scientific sceptics has just been reduced by one (from four to three by my count). Roy Spencer who’s done important satellite research and is a clear global warming sceptic (unlike his co-author Christy), has just come out as a creationist.