The Daily Skeptic is back
with a vengeance! The target of our third inaugural Skeptic inquisition?
Our old friend, the Y2K Bug! He's been with us for a while now, but
it's always a good idea to show up every now and then to say Hi! and to
let him know that we're still thinking about him. And it's not just
A recent article on CNN.com
focused on a gentleman named John Hammell, who believes that the world
is going to go to hell because every computer on earth is going to suddenly
come to life and eat us. But they won't stop there. They'll
eat our children and our beloved pets, too. They'll crash a few planes,
shut down some hospitals, turn the power off here and there, and generally
take their revenge on us for their 50+ years of enslavement. Sounds
preposterous? If it is, it's just slightly more so than the real
So, what does John do?
He goes completely granola and dives head-first into Davey Crockett mode.
He's learning to "live off the land." He feels that preparation has
let him live through hurricanes and other such nasty ocean phenomena (he's
a sailor), so he'd better be prepared for the coming Apolcalypse.
To quote the source:
Now, with the 21st century about to arrive, he is
stockpiling food, water and chopped wood and
lighting his spartan trailer with kerosene lamps.
He is getting organic vegetables from a
community garden and planning to buy solar
panels and a woodstove he can cook on.
And then, the important tidbit
that goes completely under the radar of the reporter:
...[John] is 41 and single.
Really, folks, are we surprised?
John's not the only kooky
resident of Floyd, VA. There's also this guy:
"A lot of people who come here are interested in
getting out of the system and trying to become
self-sustaining," said Bill Truitt, who raises
chickens and eats what he grows in a greenhouse
and organic garden."
We have a name for those
kind of people: outcasts. Here's another: hermits.
And another: dangerously insane. That's not an indictment.
It's a concern.
Here's another one, except
this one has a PhD. His name is Bill Nye, and while he is a "guy,"
we can be reasonably sure that he's not "the science" guy. Nobody
who is a professor of Sociology can claim to be a scientist! Silly!
Bill Nye, a Hollins University sociology professor
who lives in Floyd County, said the tradition of finding
sanctuary in these hills goes way back. During
the Civil War, deserters came to Floyd County, he said.
"There seems to be an attractive attitude here as
opposed to a rural area like Franklin County,
which is less tolerant to divergent lifestyles," Nye said.
"Franklin County is known for its moonshine. Floyd
County is known for its pot growing, if that tells you
"Divergent lifestyles ?"
I don't like that term. It's what sociologists use to describe hippies.
And I'm supposed to be glad
that these will be the people left over after the Rise of the Human-Eating
And finally, to sum this
entry up, we hear from a Floyd Co. hairdresser, Mr. Carl Mandel (no relation
to Howie...presumably), who gives us this fond farewell message:
"I pray that we're wrong, but this thing has the
potential to really disrupt our civilization,"
said Mandell, 52.
You know what has the potential
to disrupt civilization? Hype. Just ask George Lucas.
Computers who think it's 100 years in the past are not the danger to our
civilization. They may make for some weird phone bills and a few mix-ups at the IRS, but nothing more than that. What scares us is
that nothing happens when the clock strikes 12:00, and a bunch of
these nut cranks decides to make a disruption. Remember what
Mr. Sartre said: "Hell is other people." That guy had some brains.