My addition to Newspaper Headlines in the Year 2035
Corporations begin three year campaign to upgrade all computer software; Supreme Court hears scare tactics on 2038 bug driving said upgrades.
Computer experts see the case as evidence of a declining computer literacy, one older expert contributed, "Back in the day everyone knew what Y2K was, in three years when January 18, 2038 at 9:14PM comes around too many seconds will have gone by for computers to count. I swear, I try to tell people about this bug and they just stare, like they don't understand a word I'm saying." This reporter is glad the courts are picking the side of the common people for once. The experts go on about some event on midnight January 1, 1970 though this reporter failed to find anything of interest in her history books.

Original "NEWSPAPER HEADLINES IN THE YEAR 2035" received by e-mail I do not know the original source
Ozone created by electric cars now killing millions in the seventh largest country in the world, California.

White minorities still trying to have English recognized as California's third language.

Spotted Owl plague threatens northwestern United States crops & livestock.

Baby conceived naturally.... Scientists stumped.

Authentic year 2000 "chad" sells at Sotheby's for $4.6 million.

Last remaining Fundamentalist Muslim dies in the American Territory of the Middle East (formerly known as Iran, Afghanistan, Syria, and Lebanon.)

Iraq still closed off; physicists estimate it will take at least ten more years before radioactivity decreases to safe levels.

Castro finally dies at age 112; Cuban cigars can now be imported legally, but President Chelsea Clinton has banned all smoking.

George Z. Bush says he will run for President in 2036.

Postal Service raises price of first class stamp to $17.89 and reduces mail delivery to Wednesday only.

Plague of anorexia nervosa forces over 2,000 health clubs out of business.

Massachusetts executes last remaining conservative.

Supreme Court rules punishment of criminals violates their civil rights.

Upcoming NFL draft likely to focus on use of mutants.

Average height of NBA players now nine feet, seven inches.

Congress authorizes direct deposit of illegal political contributions to campaign accounts.

IRS sets lowest tax rate at 75%.

Effective immediately, members of congress will be allowed to cast votes from their jail cells.


This is a real problem
As it stands right now under Linux (Debian in 2002), the date command is unable to work after January 18th 2038 at 9:14PM and 7 seconds Central Standard Time. This can be demonstrated by giving date an argument to print out the date for the given time rather than the default 'now' that is implicit. The argument +%s tells date to print out the number of seconds since the standard Unix start time which is January 1970 00:00:00 UTC and is the computer epoch start of time.
SpacedOut:~$ date --date="Jan 18 21:14:06 2038" +%s
2147483646
SpacedOut:~$ date --date="Jan 18 21:14:07 2038" +%s
2147483647
SpacedOut:~$ date --date="Jan 18 21:14:08 2038" +%s
date: invalid date `Jan 18 21:14:08 2038'
SpacedOut:~$ date --date="Jan 18 21:14:06 3000" +%s
date: invalid date `Jan 18 21:14:06 3000'
OpenBSD's date has the same problem (again tested in 2002). The date command on OpenBSD is a completely different program than the Linux version. It does have a way to print out a date other than 'now' by taking the number of seconds since the epoch. Curiously though instead of printing an error message like the Linux version does it silently displays the last date it knows about.
david@shadow:~ $ date -r 2147483646
Mon Jan 18 21:14:06 CST 2038
david@shadow:~ $ date -r 2147483647
Mon Jan 18 21:14:07 CST 2038
david@shadow:~ $ date -r 2147483748
Mon Jan 18 21:14:07 CST 2038
david@shadow:~ $ date -r 3000000000
Mon Jan 18 21:14:07 CST 2038
At least Unix Computers store the number of seconds since the epoch in a 32 bit signed integer. One bit is used for the sign bit leaving 31 bits for data. The math formula 231 (two to the power of 31) gives 2147483648 which is the number of values a computer can store in 31 bits, letting a computer using a 32 bit signed integer to store 0 to 2147483647 non-negative numbers. On January 18th 2038 computers using this system will no longer be able to represent the date correctly since it can no longer count that high. Clearly software will need to be modified in the next 35 years to address this issue.

Written by David Fries <david@fries.net>

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