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Discussion > 20 Minute Talk to a Rotary Group

Robert Christopher
Now that the OP's talk is over I am not so worried about wandering a bit off topic.
Many of your examples can be considered as unintended consequences and unforeseen circumstances. Even the post Millennium Y2K problem falls into the latter category.
A number years ago I knew someone who spent a lot of money wiring his new build house with Cat5 (?) cable so he could connect his IT equipment throughout his house. Future-proof he called it, cheap WiFi now makes it nearly redundant. Who can say all the actions that are being taken on our behalf now with our money won't be thrown away in a similar way.

The lifeboat problem still exists even on modern ships using mega-lifeboats, if a list develops quickly (think not quite as rapid Costa Concordia list in open water) then the boats on one side are difficult if not impossible to launch safely and on the other side difficult if not impossible to load safely. To make me feel slightly safer a boat would need to carry enough capacity for the entire complement in both Port and Starboard lifeboats. On a modern Super-Cruise liner you're talking about 20,000 person capacity in that case.

On the world’s largest cruise ships, evacuation may be a daunting task

Oct 10, 2015 at 11:19 AM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

Oct 9, 2015 at 7:40 PM
"The Millennium Bug was definitely not as bad as feared."

Only because so much work was done, checked and rechecked! I know of several cases where 'everything was done' to ensure that there wouldn't be a problem, well before the deadline and, would you believe it, 'something happened'. A 'new person' onsite went off and did some work 'the old way' (with a nationwide billing system!). In another case, the main software of the new release was Y2K compliant but the sub-modules which were running on the old release had not been fixed to run in the new release! Luckily, (good planning creates luck,) even though the upgrade was delayed by many months, it happened a couple of years before the deadline. I was also told by someone that, whilst working on Y2K, they found the most horrendous bug, quite unrelated to Y2K, that could have very badly damaged the company. They fixed it within the Y2K project. No one at the organisation had ever done a full code review (and reported their findings to the board)!

It was the first time that all organisations were held to account for their IT and not just being responsible for daily modifications. It helped the IT industry to mature.

Oct 13, 2015 at 8:46 PM | Registered CommenterRobert Christopher

The company I worked for found a bug that would have caused a pollution incident by causing a valve to open on but not close again . Proof that the event would have happened was when the valve mechanically stuck open and the pollution did happen a few months after bug day.. They were fined but not imprisoned which was what the government threatened if there was an accident due to Y2K.

Oct 13, 2015 at 10:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

Late to the party, but I'd have included a nice big plot of a (bad) month or two of wind output showing the output can frequently drop to almost zero, necessitating 100% conventional backup.

I would also mention some of the data from Energy Matters which shows that the EROI for solar panels might be almost 1:1 and that in Scotland it might actually be < 1.

Oct 26, 2015 at 4:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterNial