by Leonard Richardson
Published on segfault.org 10/31/1999
London, New York, and Los Angeles are in flames today as panicked citizens enact their anxieties about the onset of the so-called 'DST bug', which struck early this morning. Widespread rioting began shortly afterwards, and continues unabated worldwide despite the best efforts of local police and military units. At great personal risk, this reporter takes the pulse of war-torn Los Angeles to bring Segfault.org an eyewitness account of what may well prove to be the end of Western civilization.
The DST bug renders computers unable to deal with the end of Daylight Savings Time; unless reset manually, such computers 'move forward in time' one hour when Daylight Savings Time ends. Consumer devices such as clocks are especially vulnerable to the bug, as cost-cutting manufacturers scrimp on the expensive logic that would render timekeeping devices DST-compliant.
The predictable result was the simultaneous failure of millions of clocks and other devices to adjust their internal time representations when Daylight Savings time ended last night. But what no one could have predicted was the widespread panic and alarm that accompanied the failures.
I spoke to one man who was in the process of looting a Radio Shack. When had he realized that the life of convenience we had once known was gone forever?
"I woke up and my alarm clock said 7:30. I knew perfectly well that it was 6:30. Obviously, civilization had collapsed and it was every man for himself." He paused to wipe a tear from his eye and to smash a display case. "I can only hope that out of the ashes of our soulless, materialistic nation will arise a new people at one with nature; that our descendants will steer away from the false promises of technology that led us down this path of destruction." He then knocked me out and stole my Palm Pilot.
I awoke to the smell of kerosene; the building was being torched by a woman in her mid-thirties. Why was this everyday Jane Sixpack taking part in this maelstrom of anarchy and chaos?
"Normally I'm too busy to take part in riots, what with my commute and the kids' soccer practice and all," she said. "But hey, today I've got that extra hour, so why not?"
As I interviewed more angry citizens, it seemed that the riots were the vindication of a long-held mistrust of authority, a mistrust that for years had simmered like so much cheese sauce in the minds of seemingly normal people. Many I spoke to blamed the civil disorder on a lack of forthrightedness on the part of the federal government, which had long played down the DST bug as a minor glitch with its low-key "Spring forward, fall back" campaign.
"We were told time and time again that there was nothing to worry about," said one man I spoke to in a 7-11 as he was loading up his heavily-armed shopping cart with Ben 'n' Jerry's ice cream (the de facto currency in post-apocalyptic LA). "But here we are, rioting. I had to shoot three people to get in here. Why couldn't they have told us the truth? It would have been painful, but we would have been prepared for it.
"Actually, I seem to remember something like this happening last year," he added. "But any excuse for a riot, right?"
As the city's famous and affluent intensify their flight into the nearby San Fernando Valley, a beseiged City Hall struggles to mantain order and continue public works programs in the rapidly disintegrating political environment. Mayor Richard Riordan has pledged to separate the city from the mainland and make it into a penal colony by February 2000, allowing the events chronicled in the 1996 John Carpenter film Escape from LA to run their natural course. However, Riordan has been promising this since his re-election two years ago, and weary Angelenos are demanding action now. In this reporter's opinion, what Los Angeles needs is more freaky chicks with big hair and guns, who ride around on motorcycles and dispense vigilante justice.
This document (source) is part of Crummy, the webspace of Leonard Richardson (contact information). It was last modified on Wednesday, January 24 2007, 02:17:37 Nowhere Standard Time and last built on Monday, November 24 2014, 03:00:11 Nowhere Standard Time.