[R] [-->OT] was: Re: Legality Question about R's Open Source GNU GPL License

(Ted Harding) Ted.Harding at manchester.ac.uk
Mon Jul 28 23:14:02 CEST 2008

This all got very serious, though I've read it with interest.

Zerfetzen's original post reminded me of something which happened
around the time "Y2K" was becoming an issue, bringing up a similar
issue from 2000 years earlier. Admin etc. does not change over time ...

I've copied the email exchange below.

Strictly, this is material for that "R Off Topic" (or ROT) list
that was never set up, though discussed. But since that doesn't
exist, here goes.



Date: Fri, 5 Feb 1999
From: Mark.O'Leary at nessie.mcc.ac.uk

I thought some of you might be interested in this translation of a
recently discovered piece of papyrus....

Dear Cassius,
Are you still working on the Y0K problem? This change from BC to AD
is giving us a lot of headaches and we haven't much time left.
I don't know how people will cope with working the wrong way around.
Having been working happily downwards forever, now we have to start
thinking upwards. You would think that someone would have thought
of it earlier and not left it to us to sort it all out at the last

I spoke to Caesar the other evening. He was livid that Julius hadn't
done something about it when he was sorting out the calendar.
He said he could see why Brutus turned nasty. We called in Consultus
but he simply said that continuing downwards, using minus BC, won't
work and as usual charged a fortune for doing nothing useful. Surely,
we will not have to throw out all our hardware and start again?
Macrohardius will make another fortune out of this I suppose.

The money lenders are paranoid, of course! They have been told that
all usury rates will invert and they will have to pay their clients
to take out loans. It's an ill wind...

As for myself, I just can't see the sand in an hourglass flowing
upwards. We have heard that there are three wise men in the East
working on the problem but unfortunately they won't arrive until
it's all over.

I have also heard that there are plans to stable all horses at the
turn of the year as there are fears that they will stop and try and
run backwards, causing immense damage to chariots and possible loss
of life. Some say the world will cease to exist at the moment of
transition. Anyway, we are still continuing to work on the blasted
Y0K problem. I will send a parchment to you if anything further

If you have any ideas let me know.



Dear Marcus,

Your scroll arrived. Interesting story you scribed there.

Here we are beginning to believe that a lot of these stories are
put about by soothsayers, who are doing multo bene, gratias, out
of the gullible masses who are queuing up to learn what disasters
to look out for; not forgetting their little friends who turn up
later at your atrium with "Y0K bugging you, gub? No problem, we'll
rip it all out and see you straight. New double sealing on your
clepsidrae, no more trouble with time leaks, guaranteed to the end
of time. Centi libri up front of course, got to buy the materials
before we can start".

Mind you, we're pretty sure there's something in all this Cassandran
hypo. I read that there's a lot of folks around been installing soft
wares from some joker calling himself Microsophist ("ignoramus", it
should mean, though he seems pretty smart in his way, but most of
our plebs wouldn't know what it stands for; they just think it sounds
cute and cuddly). Some Greek, apparently (Geek? There's a stain on the
parchment here, we're always having trouble with trashed flies from
that quarter).

Anyway, with his stuff Y0K has nothing to do with it. Time leaks out
anyway and just stops, it'd have been the same back in 500. I reckon
this Y0K scare is just a cover-up so he can say it's all happening
because real time is running out, the only way to keep going when
the clepsidra falls over is to install a new and bigger one which is
supposed to update your time but actually doesn't work any better.

Meanwhile, there's some Egyptian invention new on the scene, Nilux
it's called. Apparently it won't even notice when Y0K happens, it'll
just keep going for ever. Only problem is, you can't point to where
it comes from. You just go round asking until you find someone who'll
make you one and give it to you. All the tabularii in togas are
throwing up their hands and asking "quem in jus vocabimus?" since
they don't really care if it works so long as they can get their
money back, only there's no money here to get back, is there?

Nescio, Marco, quo advenit mundus? One thing's sure, it won't be the
same again.


E-Mail: (Ted Harding) <Ted.Harding at nessie.mcc.ac.uk>
Date: 05-Feb-99                                       Time: 18:08:33
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E-Mail: (Ted Harding) <Ted.Harding at manchester.ac.uk>
Fax-to-email: +44 (0)870 094 0861
Date: 28-Jul-08                                       Time: 22:13:57
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