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Today In Year-based Computer Errors: Draft Notices Sent To Men Born In the 1800s

timothy posted about a month and a half ago | from the pa-dmv-never-did-me-any-favors-either dept.

Bug 205

sandbagger (654585) writes with word of a Y2K-style bug showing up in Y2K14: "The glitch originated with the Pennsylvania Department of Motor Vehicles during an automated data transfer of nearly 400,000 records. The records of males born between 1993 and 1997 were mixed with those of men born a century earlier. The federal agency didn't know it because the state uses a two-digit code to indicate birth year." I wonder where else two-digit years are causing problems; I still see lots of paper forms that haven't made the leap yet to four digits.

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Y10K Compliant (3, Funny)

darkain (749283) | about a month and a half ago | (#47425651)

Get with the times! Switch to Y10K compliance already.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Y... [wikipedia.org]

Re:Y10K Compliant (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47425775)

I made that joke over 15 years ago... sigh, kids these days.

Re:Y10K Compliant (1)

Cajun Hell (725246) | about a month and a half ago | (#47426553)

According to my records, I made that joke 114 years ago, so therefore I am quicker-witted than you.

Re:Y10K Compliant (2)

davester666 (731373) | about a month and a half ago | (#47429471)

are you sure? our records say you made that claim only 14 years ago.

Re:Y10K Compliant (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47425777)

Wut? 2038 is only 24 years away now.

Re:Y10K Compliant (3, Funny)

creimer (824291) | about a month and a half ago | (#47426733)

Something I'm looking forward to in my retirement years to make a few extra bucks.

Re:Y10K Compliant (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47425821)

I won't be alive then, Not my problem,

No faith in scientific progress? (2)

Bruce66423 (1678196) | about a month and a half ago | (#47429751)

Given the rate at which life expectancy is rising, a lot of people are going to be alive a lot longer than they expect.

Re:Y10K Compliant (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47425855)

haha, I thouth you were being clever and read the 10 as binary.

Re:Y10K Compliant (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47426387)

Get with the times! Switch to Y10K compliance already.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Y... [wikipedia.org]

Shouldn't we go with the IPv6 solution for this? .i.e we should now refer to 2014 as

0000000000002014

Now we should never need to worry about these YXK problems again. Simple!

2038 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47426627)

2038 Will be fun

Re: 2038 (1)

Xman73x (1032330) | about a month and a half ago | (#47432425)

How do you know that 2038 will be fun? We will be slaves to our government and there will be a prince of power telling us what to do basically the AntiChrist etc..but that's what I figure with presidents today etc I see Obama he is to me a reincarnation of Adolf Hitler! But that is something that this generation wouldn't understand.

Re: 2038 (1)

rezme (1677208) | about a month and a half ago | (#47432465)

I think he's about 6 million jews short of being Hitler's reincarnation...

Re: 2038 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47434597)

you mean 4 million Muslims short

Re: 2038 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47432509)

But what's new with hackers today anyway? For one there younger and smarter. Also they can be a good resource or a bad one at it. But seriously if you young hackers are so good at ruinnng peoples lives? Then heck why don't you get a computer programming job etc!

Re: 2038 (1)

Xman73x (1032330) | about a month and a half ago | (#47432527)

For all we know it could've been Annymous or a group like them?

Re: 2038 (1)

doccus (2020662) | about a month and a half ago | (#47432607)

Well he'll (the AC) have fixed Fukushima, which will have made the pacific into a dead salt water body like the Salton Sea except a hundred thousand times bigger, so at least we'll be healthy rebels..

Re: 2038 (1)

doccus (2020662) | about a month and a half ago | (#47432631)

Well he'll (the AC) have fixed Fukushima, which will have made the pacific into a dead salt water body like the Salton Sea except a hundred thousand times bigger, so at least we'll be healthy rebels..

Mind you, once people start worshiping him (The AC, again) for that, we'll have a continent wide plague of Ebola, so I guess things ain't perfect. sorry (!)

Re:Y10K Compliant (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47427541)

I shot a man in the back of the head from next to no distance this morning,
his blood splattered all the way down my pant legs and I got some into my mouth.
Something zinged my knuckle too, I think that was probably a shard of bone from his
head.

For real. I don't give a fuck about whether a US govt agency starts sending out bogus
notices or not. In fact I am sick and tired of hearing of their asses, especially an obscure bullshit
agency like 'Selective Service' and am glad if they're fucking up.

THIS IS NOT "Slashdot: News for nerds, stuff that matters", at least not to a guy like me
who would shoot you into the face just to see if it would make me feel better. I am
NOT Dick Cheney.

Re:Y10K Compliant (1)

mark-t (151149) | about a month and a half ago | (#47428233)

Did someone forget to take their meds for schizophenia this morning?

Re:Y10K Compliant (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47427619)

Oh well, there's enough time to prepare for that so it's pretty much guaranteed that everyone will struggle to prepare at the last possible second.

Re:Y10K Compliant (1)

Chrisq (894406) | about a month and a half ago | (#47429891)

Get with the times! Switch to Y10K compliance already.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Y... [wikipedia.org]

I don't like that type of short term thinking. When Y100,000 comes along you'll regret not doing it properly in the first place. Everyone should implement rfc2550 [ietf.org] .

How appropriate. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47425669)

A method of slavery which belongs in a century of slavery calls on men born in that century.

Good Luck, I'm Behind 14,000 Skeletons (4, Funny)

Joe Gillian (3683399) | about a month and a half ago | (#47425683)

It's clear that Pennsylvania was taking a cue from Heroes of Might and Magic 3 and attempting to build an unstoppable army of 14,000 skeletons. I wonder what the Pennsylvania governor's necromancy score is?

Re:Good Luck, I'm Behind 14,000 Skeletons (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47425923)

Pennsylvania, Transylvania, it's all the same.

Re:Good Luck, I'm Behind 14,000 Skeletons (4, Funny)

creimer (824291) | about a month and a half ago | (#47426763)

I tried to build an unstoppable army of 14,000 vampires until I realized that they suck in battle.

Re: Good Luck, I'm Behind 14,000 Skeletons (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47426803)

Even now as you read this, there are 14,000 TESO players striving to become vampires (or werewolves) who all suck.

Re: Good Luck, I'm Behind 14,000 Skeletons (1)

halfEvilTech (1171369) | about a month and a half ago | (#47427049)

TESO has 14,000 players? are you sure you are not inflating things?

Re:Good Luck, I'm Behind 14,000 Skeletons (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47427587)

As a former resident of Pennsylvania, I can attest that the Commonwealth has many fine cemeteries, a properly cold and snowy winter, many reasonably spooky forests, and plenty of properties that are relatively secluded.

Pennsylvania: It's a great place for the Necromantic Arts.

Re:Good Luck, I'm Behind 14,000 Skeletons (2)

I'm New Around Here (1154723) | about a month and a half ago | (#47428129)

The dead buried at Gettysburg would make a fine army.

Re:Good Luck, I'm Behind 14,000 Skeletons (1)

nitehawk214 (222219) | about a month and a half ago | (#47428445)

Former resident? Does that mean you are already part of the undead hordes?

dmv (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47425687)

The DMV existed in the 1800's?

Re: dmv (5, Funny)

kootsoop (809311) | about a month and a half ago | (#47425717)

It did! It was called the Department of Manure Vehicles (AKA horses) then.

Re: dmv (1)

tomhath (637240) | about a month and a half ago | (#47428683)

I'm pretty sure they regulate the Amish buggies you see in many parts of the state. At least as much as the Amish will be regulated (which isn't much).

Re:dmv (4, Insightful)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about a month and a half ago | (#47425943)

The DMV existed in the 1800's?

People don't get driver's licenses when they are born. Thousands of people born in the 1890s were still driving in the 1990s, and a few were still driving in the 2000s.

Re:dmv (1)

ericloewe (2129490) | about a month and a half ago | (#47426003)

People don't generally drive at 100 or 110...

Re:dmv (1)

TheCrazyMonkey (1003596) | about a month and a half ago | (#47426273)

They probably shouldn't anyway

Re:dmv (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47426797)

Actually I knew someone who was driving @ 101, she has since passed, she use to bring her 98 year old sister to the Doctors and short trips for shopping. That was 30 years ago.

In the state I live in, talking to a neighbor who is pushing 100 now, said driving licenses were not needed until the 30's (if I remember correctly) and then it was just paying the $, no tests. Also if you were tall enough at 13/14 you could drive. Until the early 50's you were grandfathered in to get a license without a test, he went into a long story of trying to convince his wife to get a license prior to the state making driving tests mandatory. She never did.

time to mow the lawn :)

Re:dmv (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47428293)

People don't generally drive at 100 or 110...

They usually have an ID card from the DMV if they don't actually have a driver's license.

Re:dmv (1)

nitehawk214 (222219) | about a month and a half ago | (#47428453)

People don't generally drive at 100 or 110...

My car is fast enough. Though it isnt safe to travel that fast away from a track.

Re:dmv (1)

rezme (1677208) | about a month and a half ago | (#47432489)

You've obviously never been to Florida...

Re:dmv (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47426499)

I doubt great great grandpa would be driving in 1990. 1960 maybe.

Re:dmv (4, Insightful)

Dragonslicer (991472) | about a month and a half ago | (#47425971)

A quick search on Google showed that California's DMV was established in 1915, at which point they would definitely be working with people born in the 1890's.

Re:dmv (1)

bunratty (545641) | about a month and a half ago | (#47425973)

The problem seems to be with drivers who were born between 1893 and 1897. If the DMV existed with computerized records in 1960, these people would have been in their sixties and probably still have drivers licenses. Apparently their records are still in the system.

Re:dmv (1)

calidoscope (312571) | about a month and a half ago | (#47429097)

I don't there is anyone in the US who was born in 1897 or earlier.

Re:dmv (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47432143)

No, there isn't. The oldest living person I can find is Irving Kahn [wikipedia.org] who was born in 1905.

Dont repeat (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47425689)

I dont see why we should use just four digits.. throw in some letters also for the heck of it and some obscure unicode signs. We are all computers right? and space are sooooo cheep this year

Re:Dont repeat (2)

creimer (824291) | about a month and a half ago | (#47426779)

We're missing BC/AD, BCE/CE and AC/DC.

Re:Dont repeat (1)

I'm New Around Here (1154723) | about a month and a half ago | (#47428139)

Well, I don't know about those first two groups, but the third is one of my favorites.

Re:Dont repeat (1)

plopez (54068) | about a month and a half ago | (#47427411)

How about a hexadecimal object ID?

Resurrection (5, Funny)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about a month and a half ago | (#47425715)

I see the plot of a new Micheal Bay (or maybe J.J. Abrams) movie: The US military, unable to get qualified recruits to fight the new Zombie wars, takes a cue from the Zombie playbook and develops the technology to bring life old soldiers. After a bit of a difficult start, the program exceeds all expectations until the previously dead soldiers revolt at being put back in the grave and bring Washington to it's knees by filing for Social Security benefits.

Re:Resurrection (2)

SailorSpork (1080153) | about a month and a half ago | (#47425755)

I see the plot of a new Micheal Bay (or maybe J.J. Abrams) movie: The US military, unable to get qualified recruits to fight the new Zombie wars, takes a cue from the Zombie playbook and develops the technology to bring life old soldiers. After a bit of a difficult start, the program exceeds all expectations until the previously dead soldiers revolt at being put back in the grave and bring Washington to it's knees by filing for Social Security benefits.

Hmm. Nice twist at the end, but too much plot, needs more explosions.

Re:Resurrection (2)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a month and a half ago | (#47425799)

Sounds like it's right up M. Night's alley, though, save the fact it's actually a half-decent idea for a film.

Re:Resurrection (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47426047)

And shaky-cam. So much shaky-cam that you can't even really focus on the explosions.

Re:Resurrection (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47426265)

And slow-mo in all the wrong places

Re:Resurrection (1)

RabidReindeer (2625839) | about a month and a half ago | (#47426491)

And shaky-cam. So much shaky-cam that you can't even really focus on the explosions.

Centenarians leaping out of doorways ahead of supersonically-expanding balls of incinerating flames.

Re:Resurrection (2)

chuckugly (2030942) | about a month and a half ago | (#47426133)

and lens flare.

Re:Resurrection (2)

ThatsDrDangerToYou (3480047) | about a month and a half ago | (#47426225)

I see the plot of a new Micheal Bay (or maybe J.J. Abrams) movie: The US military, unable to get qualified recruits to fight the new Zombie wars, takes a cue from the Zombie playbook and develops the technology to bring life old soldiers. After a bit of a difficult start, the program exceeds all expectations until the previously dead soldiers revolt at being put back in the grave and bring Washington to it's knees by filing for Social Security benefits.

Well, as long as they vote Democrat I'm cool with it.

Re:Resurrection (1)

EvilJoker (192907) | about a month and a half ago | (#47426569)

Re:Resurrection (1)

ThatsDrDangerToYou (3480047) | about a month and a half ago | (#47431587)

I couldn't play the audio. I demand a refund!

Re:Resurrection (1)

radarskiy (2874255) | about a month and a half ago | (#47426765)

The sequel involves stopping the revolt with cavalry lead by an undead George Patton.

Resurrection (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47428531)

Wait! How do we know the dead soldiers are even citizens, qualified to serve in the new Zombie Army? We can't have the newest branch of the armed forces infiltrated! Everyone knows that the army of old was riddled with "heroes" and "the brave" and "patriots".

Only the naÃfve think that dying for your country proves anything about character!

Re:Resurrection (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47437685)

So, not much different than what is really happening then.

Re:Resurrection (1)

eric_harris_76 (861235) | about a month and a half ago | (#47453501)

Not the same thing, but reminiscent in a way: John Scalzi's "Old Man's War".

mislabeled (2)

roc97007 (608802) | about a month and a half ago | (#47425735)

Seems to me this would be more accurately described as a Century-based computer error.

At first I was amazed that we're still running into these things. But I shouldn't be surprised -- often problems like this aren't fixed until they cause some inconvenience for the people responsible for fixing them.

Re:mislabeled (1)

paysonwelch (2505012) | about a month and a half ago | (#47426839)

Dude, the military payroll runs on an antiquated system that uses millions of lines of COBOL that no one really knows what to do. It's a huge problem.. but no one wants to tackle it ;) Shit they can't even get a healthcare website setup correctly.

Re:mislabeled (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47431331)

"no one really knows what to do" == don't you really mean its not Java and you don't know any truly competent programmers? Because COBOL is probably the easiest language there is to pick up and the language was designed to be self-documenting. I tweaked a COBOL system when I was 18 and I didn't even know I was modifying COBOL until years later when my wife brought home a COBOL book. Adding a new field to a screen and to the database was that easy.

Re:mislabeled (1)

david_thornley (598059) | about a month and a half ago | (#47431969)

An ancient system with millions of lines of COBOL is probably a crawling horror. Individual COBOL statements are usually easy to read, but that doesn't mean a program will be. (I used to do this stuff. I have worked with unintelligible COBOL, although not on this scale.)

One issue is that COBOL works in decimal places. You change the year format to 9999 in one place, and hope it gets through a sequence of programs that have different names for everything, and that you can find the one that defines that variable as format 99 when it screws up. It'll truncate nicely. Also, the file formats will have to change. A two-digit date is two bytes (whether COMPUTATIONAL or COMP-3), while a four-digit date is four bytes (if COMPUTATIONAL) or three (if COMP-3).

There are things I do not allow in my house, like violence, illegal drugs, and COBOL compilers.

Re:mislabeled (1)

roc97007 (608802) | about a month and a half ago | (#47436125)

Doesn't someone have COBOL running in a browser now? :-)

I'm sure both of the affected are rather flattered (1)

disposable60 (735022) | about a month and a half ago | (#47425737)

This affects what, 3 actual living persons?

RTFA (1)

jklovanc (1603149) | about a month and a half ago | (#47425831)

The agency realized the error when it began receiving calls from bewildered relatives last week.

It is the relative if the intended recipients that have the issue.

Re:I'm sure both of the affected are rather flatte (1)

KiloByte (825081) | about a month and a half ago | (#47425975)

This affects what, 3 actual living persons?

But with the usual mess in government records, quite a number of dead souls.

Re:I'm sure both of the affected are rather flatte (3, Funny)

Austerity Empowers (669817) | about a month and a half ago | (#47426077)

But with the usual mess in government records, quite a number of dead souls.

The dead are often a pivotal election demographic.

Re:I'm sure both of the affected are rather flatte (2)

idontgno (624372) | about a month and a half ago | (#47426237)

Good point. I suppose in Pennsylvania this could be perceived as a problem, but in New York or Illinois draft eligiblity would just be the dead's civic duty, right alongside voting and jury participation.

Don't disenfranchise our patriotic dead!

Re:I'm sure both of the affected are rather flatte (1)

plopez (54068) | about a month and a half ago | (#47427433)

How do you think Penn. has clung to one party rule for so many years?

Re:I'm sure both of the affected are rather flatte (1)

timeOday (582209) | about a month and a half ago | (#47426333)

I think that is a myth. Can you name any elections in which the number of voters later determined to be dead was greater than the margin of victory? (A very low hurdle if they are "often pivotal.")

Re:I'm sure both of the affected are rather flatte (3, Funny)

CurryCamel (2265886) | about a month and a half ago | (#47426531)

I think any election a century or so ago qualifies now.

Re:I'm sure both of the affected are rather flatte (1)

jd2112 (1535857) | about a month and a half ago | (#47426953)

But with the usual mess in government records, quite a number of dead souls.

The dead are often a pivotal election demographic.

A dead soul is a prerequisite for becoming a politician.

Re:I'm sure both of the affected are rather flatte (1)

disposable60 (735022) | about a month and a half ago | (#47427915)

Not dead. Sold.

Re:I'm sure both of the affected are rather flatte (1)

jd2112 (1535857) | about a month and a half ago | (#47428045)

Not dead. Sold.

They aren't mutually exclusive.

Re:I'm sure both of the affected are rather flatte (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47428249)

The dead only matter where the Democrats are rigging the election. Where the Republicans are rigging the election, there will be more votes placed than eligible voters, with no attempt to get the numbers of votes to match the number of voters.

The amount of vote fraud doesn't change, just the M.O.

Re:I'm sure both of the affected are rather flatte (1)

cellocgw (617879) | about a month and a half ago | (#47431919)

But with the usual mess in government records, quite a number of dead souls.

Mr. Gogol, is that you?

Re:I'm sure both of the affected are rather flatte (1)

tompaulco (629533) | about a month and a half ago | (#47426311)

It looks like 6 people worldwide and 0 people in Pennsylvania. So they should also remark that it is not just sending them out to people who were born in the 1800s but also that it is sending out to people who are no longer alive. Kind of like a Chicago voter registration.

Yes but the dead ones are still on the voteing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47426549)

if they are on the dmv they may still be on the jury duty and voting lists

Excessive Data Retention (1)

wirefall (309232) | about a month and a half ago | (#47425741)

Shouldn't the DVM only keep data related to current license holders? How many 120+ year olds in Pennsylvania are legally able to drive?

Re:Excessive Data Retention (4, Insightful)

gunner_von_diamond (3461783) | about a month and a half ago | (#47425761)

All of them.

That's technically correct. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47425783)

The best kind of correct.

Re:Excessive Data Retention (1)

wirefall (309232) | about a month and a half ago | (#47425801)

With age as the only criteria, true. Vision and competence are also requirements...except apparently in Florida

Re:Excessive Data Retention (2)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about a month and a half ago | (#47425979)

Vision and competence are also requirements ...

I live in California, and I can assure you that competence is not a requirement here.

Re:Excessive Data Retention (1)

creimer (824291) | about a month and a half ago | (#47426905)

Unless you accidentally backed up when you meant to go forward and nailed a mailbox to the ground. Something my late father did once. All the neighbors agreed that it didn't happen, fixed the mailbox and no one reported anything to the CA DMV. Otherwise, he would have lost his license.

Re:Excessive Data Retention (1)

spudnic (32107) | about a month and a half ago | (#47425951)

I'm amazed that so many have kept the same address that relatives would be receiving the mail.

Re:Excessive Data Retention (1)

ShaunC (203807) | about a month and a half ago | (#47426035)

I don't want my DVM keeping any license holders' information. The draft is supposed to make veterans, not veterinarians!

Technically, it's not a "draft notice" (5, Informative)

Zontar_Thing_From_Ve (949321) | about a month and a half ago | (#47425767)

While the linked to article, a US TV station news site, does call it a "draft notice", I suppose I should explain to the non-US people here that this is not technically correct. There has been no draft in the US since the end of the Vietnam War. For roughly 40 years now, the US has had an all volunteer army. What Selective Service is required to do is to contact US citizen males on their 18th birthday and advise them that for the next 10 years they need to let Selective Service know their new address every time they move because in theory, in a national emergency Congress could pass a law reinstating the military draft and Selective Service is required to maintain accurate records of those who might theoretically be subject to such a draft. Whether such a draft would ever be done again is a great question, given how Congress currently seems incapable of passing anything non-controversial, let alone something as controversial as reinstating the draft. A crackpot Congressman or two has tried to get the draft reinstated and it's never had enough support to even get a vote on the floor of the House of Representatives. Whatever this is, technically speaking it's not a "draft notice".

Not to digress, but for those who don't know, the draft was very controversial during the Vietnam War, with the rich and powerful were able to get their sons exceptions to the draft or get them plum assignments in the National Guard that wouldn't require them to actually go to Vietnam. Listen to Credence Clearwater Revival's "Fortunate Son", which was written about the practice. There was so much animosity about the unfairness of the draft and the compulsion to fight in a war that nobody but a small number of politicians seemed to want that the US switched to a voluntary system, but one of the deals cut to move to this system was that Selective Service had to know where to get young men should the draft ever get reinstated. And yes, female US citizens are not subject to this at all.

Re:Technically, it's not a "draft notice" (2)

Jeff Flanagan (2981883) | about a month and a half ago | (#47425817)

I just ran across my Selective Service packet from the 80s. I had thought they discontinued it, but I guess I was incorrect.

>And yes, female US citizens are not subject to this at all.
Clearly sexism, but it doesn't really matter because they won't reinstate the draft. The government couldn't get away with insane crap like the Iraq invasion if anyone's kids could wind up there.

Re:Technically, it's not a "draft notice" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47425935)

Clearly sexism, but it doesn't really matter because they won't reinstate the draft.

And we should make sure they won't by amending the constitution to ban the practice outright. It's not something any truly free country would allow.

Re:Technically, it's not a "draft notice" (2)

ProzacPatient (915544) | about a month and a half ago | (#47426129)

The Selective Service System had discontinued it during Nixon's administration but during Jimmy Carter's administration the President got the draft re-instated as a chest pounding measure to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

Outlooks for economic prosperity and peace were positive for 1914 up until the day World War I broke out so until the Selective Service System is once again repealed (perhaps with a constitutional amendment as one of the replies suggests) I wouldn't put it past the government to activate the Selective Service System and start drafting kids due to the instability of this world and the possibility of total war at a moment's notice.

Re:Technically, it's not a "draft notice" (2)

NotSanguine (1917456) | about a month and a half ago | (#47427681)

The Selective Service System had discontinued it during Nixon's administration but during Jimmy Carter's administration the President got the draft registration re-instated as a chest pounding measure to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

There. FTFY. As I recall, I had to register with the Selective Service System when I turned 18. There was no draft. However, the law did have some teeth, as those who did not register were deemed ineligible for Federal college financial aid programs.

Re:Technically, it's not a "draft notice" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47429857)

In other words, yet ANOTHER United States policy aimed at screwing over poorer people.

Re:Technically, it's not a "draft notice" (1)

gmhowell (26755) | about a month and a half ago | (#47432435)

To this day, males 18+ must register. Those who do not cannot receive Federal financial aid, nor work as a GS or contract employee for the Fed.

Re:Technically, it's not a "draft notice" (1)

jfengel (409917) | about a month and a half ago | (#47426409)

I recall some talk during the lead-up to the Afghan war about the potential for a draft. It wasn't clear at the time just how big that particular conflict would get. It wasn't impossible to imagine it turning into World War-sized scenario against a lot of Islamic countries. The resulting conflicts were small compared to that, but we had to scale up the military substantially and if they'd grown any bigger we'd have had to have a draft.

Now that women are allowed access to combat positions, it's going to be very hard to exempt them from a draft should one be necessary. I can't conceive of the legislature passing any such bill right now (I can't imagine this Congress passing any non-trivial bill, and I don't see that changing), but a wise legislature would want to do that ahead of need rather than after the fact. If women are going to be drafted, you'd need to start registering them now.

I sincerely hope that it's never necessary. And if a war of that scope does happen again, we'll probably be a lot less selective with our weapons of war. (Afghanistan and Iraq were fought house-to-house, because as bizarre as it sounds that was a way of reducing civilian casualties, at least compared to just flattening entire cities as was done in World War II.) So we may well not have a draft even in a bigger conflict. But I think that, while it's politically impossible, a really good pragmatic case could be made for starting to require Selective Service registration for everybody right now.

Re: Technically, it's not a "draft notice" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47426595)

Even if someone was called up they can just they are being discriminated saying that woman are being called up and set up a long court fight

Re:Technically, it's not a "draft notice" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47426921)

But I think that, while it's politically impossible, a really good pragmatic case could be made for starting to require Selective Service registration for everybody right now.

The only thing that should happen is for the draft to be outright banned via a constitutional amendment. It's disgusting that any country that claims to be free allows such a thing to exist.

Re:Technically, it's not a "draft notice" (1)

NotSanguine (1917456) | about a month and a half ago | (#47427723)

But I think that, while it's politically impossible, a really good pragmatic case could be made for starting to require Selective Service registration for everybody right now.

The only thing that should happen is for the draft to be outright banned via a constitutional amendment. It's disgusting that any country that claims to be free allows such a thing to exist.

You might want to take that up with Austria, Finland, Israel, Norway and Greece, amongst others [wikipedia.org] .

Note that the US (unlike many other countries) does most emphatically not have compulsory military service. So, your call for a constitutional amendment seems rather ridiculous.

Re:Technically, it's not a "draft notice" (1)

fishbowl (7759) | about a month and a half ago | (#47428411)

A draft is possible, and I believe would be somewhat automatic if war were declared. Certain types of rationing would be.

The thing that stops the draft is the reality of the fact that military organizations have no means of dealing with large numbers of people who *really* don't want to be there. In the '60s, the military system had a distinct benefit with the fact that the primary opposition to the draft was a counterculture which was relatively unified in a commitment to non-violent protest.

The age bracket in question is, today, decidedly not non-violent. Opposition to a draft today might not take the form of "flower power" and "sit ins." More likely, it would provoke the militia movement into actual violence.

Re:Technically, it's not a "draft notice" (1)

NotSanguine (1917456) | about a month and a half ago | (#47428533)

The age bracket in question is, today, decidedly not non-violent. Opposition to a draft today might not take the form of "flower power" and "sit ins." More likely, it would provoke the militia movement into actual violence.

That's so cute! I bet you believe in Santa and the tooth fairy too! You are very naive, friend. Things would not go down that way, at all. Also back in the 1960s and 1970s, not all the protesting was non-violent [wikipedia.org] . And even when it was non-violent, the police often were not. That certainly hasn't changed.

What's more, you'd see quite a bit of this sort of thing [wikipedia.org] . I'm not sure who this "militia movement" might be, but if you think they'll spark firefights with police/military/other government folks over sending other people's kids to war, you're kidding yourself.

I suggest you educate yourself and go back on your meds.

Re:Technically, it's not a "draft notice" (1)

david_thornley (598059) | about a month and a half ago | (#47432117)

Military organizations have very good means of dealing with large numbers of people who *really* don't want to be there, and have for a long, long time. For much of the modern era, recruiting in many places was basically grabbing people and forcibly enlisting them, regardless of their personal situation and even nationality. In the 60s, the military was at a disadvantage, since it actually had organized opposition to the draft and the current war, but it didn't stop them from drafting a whole lot of young men who really, really didn't want to be soldiers and probably sent to Vietnam, training them, and sending them to war.

Re:Technically, it's not a "draft notice" (1)

jeIIomizer (3670945) | about a month and a half ago | (#47432639)

You might want to take that up with Austria, Finland, Israel, Norway and Greece, amongst others [wikipedia.org].

I would if I lived in those places. It's anti-freedom.

Note that the US (unlike many other countries) does most emphatically not have compulsory military service.

Straw man. The draft was used in the past, and it could be used again.

So, your call for a constitutional amendment seems rather ridiculous.

No, it's not. It could be used again. And since the draft is (considered to be) constitutional, it's best to ban such an evil practice with a constitutional amendment to settle the matter once and for all.

Re:Technically, it's not a "draft notice" (2)

plopez (54068) | about a month and a half ago | (#47427467)

See my other post. 'Stop loss' orders were issued, which amounted to a draft.

Re:Technically, it's not a "draft notice" (2)

jfengel (409917) | about a month and a half ago | (#47428489)

Yes, though not a general draft. Still a rather shocking thing to have happened, since it disguised the need for a general draft, that might have altered people's perceptions of the war.

Re:Technically, it's not a "draft notice" (1)

fishbowl (7759) | about a month and a half ago | (#47428391)

It's much easier to imagine a draft than it is to imagine some of the other things that would happen in a declared war.

For example, rationing of commodities. Compulsory conversion of industrial production from civilian to war efforts. Seizure of raw materials.
Requirements for businesses to take compensation in the form of interest-bearing bonds which are not redeemable during the conflict.

All things that my parents were subjected to...

I can't imagine the post "greed is good" generation or the "corporate personhood" set to accept any of this, or even to believe that it happened within living memory.

Re:Technically, it's not a "draft notice" (1)

jfengel (409917) | about a month and a half ago | (#47428515)

The closest we get to that is the airport, where rights have been considerably and visibly curtailed (as opposed to the comparatively invisible loss of rights due to government intrusion in electronic communications). People seem to have accepted that more or less gracefully: they bitch, but it's not seen as a massive imposition on most people's daily lives.

I don't know if we'd ever get to the point of rationing food. Even if we declared a full-scale war, technology means we grow a lot of surplus food in this country. Prices might rise, but I don't think we'd ever see "grow victory gardens" posters as we did in the last unlimited war.

Oil, however, would skyrocket, and technology might be severely curtailed. It would be interesting to see how people reacted to that. It's hard to say whether that would be a bigger factor than outrage at a draft of manpower. In Korea and Vietnam, a lot of the public seemed to take the draft with equanimity since it came without the kind of rationing we saw during World War II.

Re:Technically, it's not a "draft notice" (1)

david_thornley (598059) | about a month and a half ago | (#47432205)

In WWII, the US also had lot of surplus food. That didn't prevent food rationing, although it was never as bad as it got in some countries. We sent a lot of farmers overseas as soldiers, and a lot of food to other armies (IIRC, approximately enough to the Soviet Union to feed the Red Army for a year). In a war that big (assuming one could exist) the Victory Gardens would come back.

The US went to a centrally planned economy with the War Production Board. They had pretty arbitrary powers, including requiring manufacturers to license designs to other manufacturers for specified compensation. Again, I'd expect this in case of a similar war.

However, WWII was a war to utterly defeat other world powers (the Allies forced Germany and Japan to pretty close to unconditional surrender, and the terms Germany was willing to accept from Western Europe were not far from it). If this actually happened nowadays, the losing countries would probably start a nuclear war.

Re:Technically, it's not a "draft notice" (1)

jfengel (409917) | about a month and a half ago | (#47432617)

Interesting.

Given MAD, it's hard to imagine another WWII-type scenario (though it would be a bad day if China invaded Taiwan). But I could foresee something like Afghanistan spreading to the entire Middle East, where they couldn't nuke us (at least, not more than a couple of times, not like Cold War-style "nuclear winter" barrages), and we'd be strongly pressured not to nuke them. But the theater would be so wide that we'd need vast, vast number of ground troops.

Re:Technically, it's not a "draft notice" (1)

operagost (62405) | about a month and a half ago | (#47467091)

If another world war did occur, and people did grow victory gardens, Congress would be able to tell you what you could grow in it, tax it, etc. because the Supreme Court said it could affect interstate commerce.

Re:Technically, it's not a "draft notice" (1)

operagost (62405) | about a month and a half ago | (#47466727)

Requirements for businesses to take compensation in the form of interest-bearing bonds which are not redeemable during the conflict.

... and are still subject to taxation on both the principal and the interest.

Re:Technically, it's not a "draft notice" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47429865)

it's going to be very hard to exempt them from a draft should one be necessary

How naive you are. We *already* have institutionalized discrimination against males; you think this would be any different?

I predict the many, many women's organizations will successfully harass politicians into instituting a male-only draft.

Re:Technically, it's not a "draft notice" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47425849)

"There was so much animosity" that had Nixon not pulled out he would have lost the lives of the entire officer corps to fragging from the Black Panthers and their allies.

Re:Technically, it's not a "draft notice" (2)

OzPeter (195038) | about a month and a half ago | (#47425957)

You forgot the carrot .. While registering for Selective service is not compulsory:

Registration for Selective Service is also required for various federal programs and benefits, including student loans (such as FAFSA), job training, federal employment, and naturalization.

Selective service [wikipedia.org]

Re:Technically, it's not a "draft notice" (1)

OzPeter (195038) | about a month and a half ago | (#47425967)

I take that back .. you ARE required to register

Re:Technically, it's not a "draft notice" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47425963)

What Selective Service is required to do is to contact US citizen males on their 18th birthday and advise them that for the next 10 years they need to let Selective Service know their new address every time they move

8 years. The requirement ends at your 26th birthday.

The rest of it is spot on, though.

Re:Technically, it's not a "draft notice" (3, Funny)

xfade551 (2627499) | about a month and a half ago | (#47425965)

Technically, the notice is called a "Failure to Register with the Selective Service Notice". I had one forwarded to me after I had already been in the Army 4 years (I enlisted a little before my 18th birthday), and was already serving in Afghanistan. I called the contact number, and the exchange went something like - Me: "Hi,this is Specialist [MyRealName], U.S. Army. I received one of your Failure to Register notices. I'm kinda in Afghanistan right now, what am I supposed to do with it?" Helpdesk person: "Er, umm... our apologies... umm, Soldier. Uh... thanks for serving. We'll update your record. What's your Social?"

Re:Technically, it's not a "draft notice" (1)

sconeu (64226) | about a month and a half ago | (#47426111)

At least they didn't give you the "I don't care, you still have to register" bureaucratic BS.

Not necessarily "crack pot" (2)

Mysticeti (69304) | about a month and a half ago | (#47426091)

During George W. Bush's first term, prior to the invasion of Iraq, Charles Rangel introduced a bill to reinstate the draft. While Rangel probably should have retired a few years ago I think this was a good move even if it amounted to nothing...


The New York Democrat told reporters his goal is two-fold: to jolt Americans into realizing the import of a possible unilateral strike against Iraq, which he opposes, and "to make it clear that if there were a war, there would be more equitable representation of people making sacrifices."


"I truly believe that those who make the decision and those who support the United States going into war would feel more readily the pain that's involved, the sacrifice that's involved, if they thought that the fighting force would include the affluent and those who historically have avoided this great responsibility," Rangel said.

Re:Not necessarily "crack pot" (1)

operagost (62405) | about a month and a half ago | (#47466861)

No, Rangel was a boastful attention-whore. He should know, since he was ALIVE, that the draft created a LESS equitable-- not a more equitable-- military, as the "affluent" he's referring to could find ways to gain exemptions or serve in less hazardous capacities.

Re:Technically, it's not a "draft notice" (4, Informative)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about a month and a half ago | (#47426135)

a war that nobody but a small number of politicians seemed to want

This is revisionist nonsense. Vietnam was the most popular war in US history. At the time of the Tonkin Gulf Resolution [wikipedia.org] , 90% of American's supported deeper involvement. No other war has ever had so much support. For instance, only 70% of Americans thought the 2003 invasion of Iraq was a good idea. Of course, support for any war declines as it drags on, especially if we appear to be losing. But it is a lot easier to get into a war than out, so it is only the support at the beginning that matters.

The Gulf of Tonkin Resolution passed the Senate with 98 votes. The two senators that opposed it were both voted out of office at the next election. It is silly to say that this war was forced on the American people by the politicians, when the truth is that it was fear of the voters that pushed the politicians into supporting the war.

Re:Technically, it's not a "draft notice" (1)

sjames (1099) | about a month and a half ago | (#47426377)

Not really. Yes, it was popular enough in '64, but after a few years of people's sons coming home in boxes the popularity had waned a good bit. Even moreso when people noticed none of those boxes were going to wealthy homes.

Re:Technically, it's not a "draft notice" (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47426555)

When viewed in this light, draft dodging politicians suddenly look a lot more sympathetic. If a politician forced by the bloodthirsty plebs into a war he doesn't want, gives his son a domestic National Guard assignment, who can blame him?

Re:Technically, it's not a "draft notice" (3, Informative)

mwehle (2491950) | about a month and a half ago | (#47427025)

Phrases like "revisionist nonsense" and "it is silly to say" should likely be used sparingly unless you have a very deep grasp of your subject matter.

Conflating the Tonkin Gulf Resolution with America's war in Vietnam would be a mistake. In bringing Tonkin into an argument you may wish to acquaint yourself with records detailing the Johnson Administration's orchestration of the resolution. See Michael Beschloss's work for instance, or the Pentagon Papers, either portions of the full set or the single volume if your time is short. With Tonkin Johnson was reacting from fear of voters, but the documentary record shows clearly that the Administration wished to expand the war despite public sentiment, not because of it.

In arguing that the war in Vietnam was popular you will likely want to look at some actual polling data, http://www.gallup.com/poll/119... [gallup.com] for instance. Anecdotal evidence such as Nixon's 1968 platform may also prove useful to you.

Re:Technically, it's not a "draft notice" (1)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about a month and a half ago | (#47427153)

you will likely want to look at some actual polling data ...

This polling data is after the war was already started, so it doesn't count. It is much harder to get out of a war than it is to avoid it in the first place. So it is only effective to oppose starting the war. In later years there were hundreds (eventually over a thousand) of Americans in North Vietnamese prison camps. Thousands more were missing in action. Tens of thousands were dead, and their deaths would be "in vain" if we pulled out (there are no "sunk costs" in politics). North Vietnam was completely intransigent on all these issues. It was called a "quagmire" for a reason.

Re:Technically, it's not a "draft notice" (2)

Darinbob (1142669) | about a month and a half ago | (#47427521)

Yes there was the feeling that pulling out would cause the deaths to be in vain, however it was pretty clear to many that there was no practical hope of "winning" and that it would just kill more people (of which the Americans were just a small fraction).

The draft is really what got us out of it. People did not like that their children were dying because of a unlucky draw at the draft office, and yes there were a lot of rich kids unable to get out of service. Today it's different because most of those volunteer soldiers are poor (or not even citizens) and so don't register very high on the concern list of politicians.

Re:Technically, it's not a "draft notice" (1)

jeIIomizer (3670945) | about a month and a half ago | (#47427351)

All that means is that most people are unintelligent and utterly unprincipled.

Re:Technically, it's not a "draft notice" (2)

Darinbob (1142669) | about a month and a half ago | (#47427437)

Only 70% supported invasion of Iraq? I'm amazed it is that high. I meet so few people who through (before or after) that it was a good idea.

Vietnam started popular but it got very unpopular over time. Unlike Dubya's insistence that Americans should do things normally and forget that there was an ongoing war, in the Vietnam era there was an omnipresent reminder that there was a war and that it had been going to for a very long time and that people were dying with no discernable change in the militaryh positions. Also, unlike Dubya's version of embedded journalists, the Vietnam era journalists had more realistic coverage of the war. But similar to Iraq, everyone naively assumed it would be a quick and easy war rather than the messy quagmires they turned out to be.

Even today some extremists still like to call Walter Cronkite a traitor, blaming him for turning the middle class against the war.

Re:Technically, it's not a "draft notice" (1)

operagost (62405) | about a month and a half ago | (#47466925)

Unlike Dubya, people forget that Kennedy and Johnson were Democrats, responsible for starting the war, and pretending that bloodthirsty war-hawks are confined to the GOP.

Re:Technically, it's not a "draft notice" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47431385)

You number is seriously inflated:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Popular_opinion_in_the_United_States_on_the_invasion_of_Iraq

Re:Technically, it's not a "draft notice" (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about a month and a half ago | (#47431649)

At the time of the Tonkin Gulf Resolution [wikipedia.org], 90% of American's supported deeper involvement.

At the time, the American people were being lied into supporting a war, so it's hard to take that number seriously as an indication of truth.

The Maddox fired on ghost ships (RADAR errors) and the Johnson administration explained it as "another attack", insisted the NVA fired first, and sold this as evidence of a pattern of aggressive behavior that had to be dealt with.

50,000 Americans died fighting a boogey man, and killed many more innocents than that. But the MIC profited handsomely, just as Eisenhower had predicted.

The NSA's report was only declassified after the Bush Administration lied Americans into war in 2003, but now we have two documented examples of being lied into war by the USG. It's no wonder that they didn't bother seeking any authorizations for any of the subsequent wars in the Middle East or Africa.

Re:Technically, it's not a "draft notice" (1)

david_thornley (598059) | about a month and a half ago | (#47432289)

About 97% of the US public was in favor of joining WWII after the Pearl Harbor attack. That may have been the most popular war in US history, clearly more than the 90% after the Tonkin Gulf Resolution. The support was also deeper, since nobody thought WWII was going to be quick and easy.

Re:Technically, it's not a "draft notice" (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47426191)

they dont do drafts anymore, they just cause the economy to go really shitty.

Re:Technically, it's not a "draft notice" (2)

DerekLyons (302214) | about a month and a half ago | (#47426269)

And the system has been more-or-less broken for a very long time. In the mid 1980's I got back from a SSBN patrol to find waiting for me in the mail a notice from Selective Service warning me that having failed to register I was ineligible for all manner of Federal programs. (I hadn't registered because I enlisted in the Navy shortly after my 17th birthday.) Of course being on active duty or a veterans trumps Selective Service registration for eligibility, and it took a letter from my command along with a copy of my (IIRC) Page 2 to finally get them to go away.

For an organization that basically has one job, they aren't very good at it. (Even by the usual low standards applicable to government organizations.)

Re:Technically, it's not a "draft notice" (1)

hawk (1151) | about a month and a half ago | (#47428829)

My Uncle looked at his draft number, and enlisted (more control over assignment).

He was right.

My grandmother forwarded his induction notice to him in Viet Nam.

He had the cook lay down, poured catchup over his head[1], and stood with his foot on the cook--and sent the picture back, from Viet Nam, to the draft board.

hawk

[1] Kind of silly to worry about color for a B&W picture . . .

Re:Technically, it's not a "draft notice" (2)

mwehle (2491950) | about a month and a half ago | (#47426857)

Modern US draft registration stems from Jimmy Carter's 1980 response to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Wikipedia has a reasonable synopsis. Those interested in reading about the draft may also be interested in using their favorite Internet search engine to query for terms like "draft resistance". There's a fair body of literature out there.

Re:Technically, it's not a "draft notice" (1)

Art Challenor (2621733) | about a month and a half ago | (#47426871)

I think that you're missing the point of Selective Service Registration. They already know who you are, your age and where you live (they sent you the notice). In principle, you get to choose which service you would like to be drafted into, but in practice the major demand is for "cannon fodder" - so your choice would be irrlevant.

Once you eliminate all the stated reasons, all that is left, and so the true purpose of the Selective Service registration, is to attempt to be a nucleus for protest. Those who chose to protest the military-industrial complex in the US by failing to register can all be rounded up and eliminated. Or, the next best thing, eliminate them from all federal programs, which, unless they are massively independently wealthy will prevent them from ever being in a position where their views will be heard.

Re:Technically, it's not a "draft notice" (2)

plopez (54068) | about a month and a half ago | (#47427457)

It's not called a draft. It's called a 'stop loss' order. During the worst years of Iraq-Afghanistan people at the end of their original service requirements were not allowed to leave. It was mostly for critical specialties but a draft by any other name is still a draft.

Re: Technically, it's not a "draft notice" (1)

KevReedUK (1066760) | about a month and a half ago | (#47431493)

And now I feel really daft, because up to this point I was thinking they meant draft as in 'non-final version'. As a result, the biggest question I was thinking of was 'sure, it's embarrassing that copies were sent to the dead, but more importantly, why not wait for the final version?'

Re:Technically, it's not a "draft notice" (1)

david_thornley (598059) | about a month and a half ago | (#47432029)

FWIW, Selective Service didn't seem to keep track of addresses shortly after our participation in the Vietnam War. I moved in 1974, sent in my change of address like it said to, and that letter returned because there was no such addressee. I tried to find where I should send it in to, failed, and forgot about it.

(My wife tried registering with the Selective Service, thinking that, as a civil rights issue, both sexes should register. They refused it, on the grounds that she was female.)

Re:Technically, it's not a "draft notice" (1)

Reziac (43301) | about a month and a half ago | (#47432213)

"Selective Service had to know where to get young men should the draft ever get reinstated. And yes, female US citizens are not subject to this at all."

I don't know a single young man who has ever registered, let alone reported their current whereabouts. Presumably it's not strongly enforced (if at all) so long as there are plenty of volunteers.

As to part two of the quote, I'll believe the goal is equality (rather than just power) when the feminazis start agitating for gender equality in the draft (when and if it's ever reinstated).

Re:Technically, it's not a "draft notice" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47432797)

I don't know a single young man who has ever registered, let alone reported their current whereabouts.

If you want any sort of federal financial aid, I think it's necessary to do so.

Re:Technically, it's not a "draft notice" (1)

Reziac (43301) | about a month and a half ago | (#47432993)

That could be. Being long past draft age, I don't pay those aspects much attention. But the last time I heard of someone actually registering was when the draft was still active.

any responses (1)

Joe Johnson (3720117) | about a month and a half ago | (#47425771)

Wondering if there's some 140 year old person living in the Appalachian mountains who responded?

Re:any responses (4, Funny)

Austerity Empowers (669817) | about a month and a half ago | (#47426099)

"Ulysses you old rat bastard, I'm not fallin' for that trick again. Let 'em secede."

Re: any responses (1)

jordanjay29 (1298951) | about a month and a half ago | (#47426113)

Your math skills need work.

How many people can that be? (1)

Kleebner (533168) | about a month and a half ago | (#47425773)

Is there anyone left who was born between 1893 and 1897?

Re:How many people can that be? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47425871)

According to wikipedia : no

Re:How many people can that be? (1)

fellip_nectar (777092) | about a month and a half ago | (#47429851)

Probably not.

However, the people born between 1993 and 1997 who presumably didn't receive correspondence as a result of this mix up are still alive.

Warning: Hypocrisy Incoming (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47425795)

Start the countdown until conservatives, who rush to de-fund and eliminate government technology offices and run slash&burn on government tech budgets, rush in to decry this as more evidence for their rhetoric of how "government can't do anything right!" with the usual "See. SEE! WE TOLD YOU SO! We know, because we broke it!" nonsense.

5 .. 4 .. 3 ..

YMCXXIV (1)

Arith (708986) | about a month and a half ago | (#47425861)

Nitpick: WHY call it Y2K14. Just say 2014. You even save yourself a keystroke.

Re:YMCXXIV (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47426109)

And it is exactly that attitude of being lazy and trying to save keystrokes that got us into the problem in TFA!

Re:YMCXXIV (2)

Jason Levine (196982) | about a month and a half ago | (#47426241)

Which is why we should write out "2014" as "000000000000002014". That should last us long enough.

Re:YMCXXIV (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47429327)

This will be known as the Y1E bug.

Re:YMCXXIV (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47428469)

What does the year 1124 have to do with it?

Re:YMCXXIV (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47428885)

Arith,
you have a fairly low userid, you should remember what Y2K stands for? Let the editor have his little play on words, they get such little else right.

Where did they mail them to? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47425873)

So where did they send the notices to? Last known address? Hell most of the buildings are probably gone.

In Soviet Chicago... (0)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | about a month and a half ago | (#47425913)

...this is SOP when it comes to voter registration.

Record Keeping and left and right hands. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47425915)

My father died in 2002 but 5 years later got a jury summons: It turns out they use drivers licenses to call the panel, and the dmv does not bother to check the social security death index, indeed he got a notice to renew his drivers license in 2006. I called and would have to have spend a couple hours at the DMV to cancel the license. (so I just let it expire).Just another case of left hand not keeping the right hand in the loop. Since the folks did at one time have DLs the DMV never purged the database. (Noting the 2 digit years used it appears that it was older sections of the db not affected by the y2k fixes, likley records that became static in 1960s 1970s and 1980s.)

Of course they're sending draft notices to... (1)

Chris Mattern (191822) | about a month and a half ago | (#47425939)

...these guys.

How else are we going to beat the Kaiser?

Stupid Y2K bug. (1)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | about a month and a half ago | (#47426021)

That bug is so stupid it shows up 14 years late to the party. Geez.

Year-10,000 updates? (3, Funny)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | about a month and a half ago | (#47426037)

Our programs use 4-digit years. We tell our customers that they must notify us by the year 9,995 if they want year-10,000 updates. And, if we are expected to go to a different galaxy, they must pay for travel.

Re:Year-10,000 updates? (1)

creimer (824291) | about a month and a half ago | (#47426833)

The Bulterian Jihad [wikipedia.org] will replace digital computers with human computers, fixing all date-related issues in the future.

Re:Year-10,000 updates? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47427331)

Spoiler.

No, it won't.

The ticket should be over 14 years old (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47426061)

Wasn't this supposed to be fixed before the year 2000?

Re: The ticket should be over 14 years old (1)

jordanjay29 (1298951) | about a month and a half ago | (#47426145)

This ticket would be a high schooler by now. Scary thought.

What might have happened. (3)

wcrowe (94389) | about a month and a half ago | (#47426087)

One scenario: some systems have tables that use a separate field for storing the century. Whoever wrote the query, sql statement, or whatever, left out the century, and there you have it. Probably not a Y2K problem, but more like a dumbass programmer problem.

Re:What might have happened. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47426801)

More likely it was a windowing algorithm with +/- 10 years for the window - otherwise it assumed a 1900+ for a two digit year. Thus those born before 1900 would suddenly be 1980+...

Re:What might have happened. (1)

T.E.D. (34228) | about a month and a half ago | (#47427555)

One scenario: some systems have tables that use a separate field for storing the century.

I'm guessing the Databases they were using back in the 1800's didn't have that capability.

Re:What might have happened. (1)

fishbowl (7759) | about a month and a half ago | (#47428463)

It would not surprise me to learn that in some form, software developed in the 1960s is still in use today.
This is coming from someone who had to hack Fortran code as recently as 2009.
Wouldn't surprise me one bit.

Re:What might have happened. (1)

wcrowe (94389) | about a month and a half ago | (#47431079)

I'm not sure if you're trying to be funny or if you're serious. But if you're serious, obviously the paper records from the 19th century were transcribed to digital form at some point.

Re:What might have happened. (1)

petermgreen (876956) | about a month and a half ago | (#47428429)

One scenario: some systems have tables that use a separate field for storing the century.

Why do you think they have that field? Why would someone design a database that is less efficient and encourages wrong queries?

Most likely because someone previously fucked up and thought 2-digit years would be enough, by the time they realised they needed to fix that it was easier to add a new field than change the semantics of an existing one. Given that how accurate do you expect the data in the centuary field to be for old records?

and in some databases they didn't even go as far as adding a century field instead just assuming that 2 digit years represented dates in a window arround the current date.

Re:What might have happened. (1)

hawk (1151) | about a month and a half ago | (#47428839)

>up and thought 2-digit years would be enough,

When economists actually looked at the *data* for the "Y2K problem," they found that it would have cost, in discounted real dollars, three times as much to prevent the problem as it would have to avoid . . .

doc hawk, economist

Re:What might have happened. (1)

wcrowe (94389) | about a month and a half ago | (#47431031)

Why do I think that? Because I've been programming for over thirty years and I've seen it done. No one today would probably design a table like that, but this is a government system, and some of those government databases are pretty old.

Re:What might have happened. (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about a month and a half ago | (#47429219)

Close (if you read the article). It was a data-entry problem. When the old records were entered into the computer, the wrong century was selected. The article doesn't say when that happened, it could have been 30 years ago.

Privacy aspect (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47426141)

One thing that was easy to overlook was the fact that the state of PA is automatically sharing a large subset of its DB with the federal government:

The glitch originated with the Pennsylvania Department of Motor Vehicles during an automated data transfer of nearly 400,000 records to the Selective Service

We need cannon fodder (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about a month and a half ago | (#47426203)

If dead people can vote, they can go to war also.

Re:We need cannon fodder (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about a month and a half ago | (#47431553)

If dead people can vote, they can go to war also.

It certainly cuts out the expensive, wasteful, inhumane middle part of the usual arrangement.

The Whisky Rebellion (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47426299)

A war at stake...

Huh? This info was in a live database? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47426477)

What puzzles me most about this story is how the old records got digitized and put into a live computer system in the first place. Some WWII draft records have been digitized, but they're sure not in the active Selective Service database today. Did someone actually take the time to digitize 100+ year old draft registrations and put them into a live database? Most of the time, the world sprang into existence in 1997 as far as digitizing things goes - new stuff from around 1997 onward was digital from the beginning, but old stuff has never been digitized. Even if it has, it wouldn't be in a current, live database - it would be in some kind of historical database. There's more to this story than we are being told, I think. Probably work done by the same contractors that did the Goldman mailing list a few days ago.

Re:Huh? This info was in a live database? (1)

petermgreen (876956) | about a month and a half ago | (#47428497)

AIUI they used the DMV (driver registration) database to send out these reminders. Is it really that surprising that someone born in the 1890s could have been driving up to say the 1980s and have active records in the driving license database continuing into the 1990s and 2000s?

My daughter (1)

EmperorOfCanada (1332175) | about a month and a half ago | (#47426519)

I have a daughter born in 1999. I suspect that in the years 2200+ that she will encounter problems (assuming a long life) with the 256bit operating systems of the next century when an int could easily encompass every millisecond since the big bang, yet they will still use two digit numbers. With most programmers being very young I don't think that many can think of a whole century as being something a computer must deal with.

Re:My daughter (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about a month and a half ago | (#47426853)

I have a daughter born in 1999.

A bit younger than my daughter, so your daughter has a higher chance than mine (and my kid's chances are non-zero) of living in three different centuries (20th, 21st, 22nd).

I'm thinking that noone has ever done that (unless you count some Biblical codgers)....

Re:My daughter (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about a month and a half ago | (#47426885)

My bad, I should have checked.

Yes, there are people who were born in the 19th century and were still alive in the 21st. As of a year ago, there were 21 women born in the 19th century still alive.

Re:My daughter (1)

hawk (1151) | about a month and a half ago | (#47428867)

Curiously, 17 of their husbands died in battle after being drafted past the age of 90 . . .

hawk

Re:My daughter (1)

SydShamino (547793) | about a month and a half ago | (#47426911)

Why assume 2200? In my experience, more things now rely on two digit years, not less. If a bad programmer today is coding something that never deals with historical records, only future dates, what is the incentive to be diligent about using four digit years? We've already established he's not very good, and if he even thought about, it, he probably assumes he won't be working 86 years from now when someone notices his bug.

What has a DMV got to do with draft notices? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47426521)

What on earth has a department of motor vehicles got to do with issuing draft notices of any kind?

I presume a DMV in the States is all about who can drive cars on public roads. Draft notices are all about your country sending you out to kill foreigners.

The mind boggles.

Never mind the date screw up.

Re:What has a DMV got to do with draft notices? (1)

petermgreen (876956) | about a month and a half ago | (#47428569)

AIUI (I don't live in the US so their may be errors in this)

To issue notices to register for the draft (there is no draft in the US at the moment but registration is still required in case there is one) you need two things, firstly a list of people with their addresses, secondly a list of people who have already registered for the draft. Then they can take the people who are in the first list and not in the second list and send them notices.

So the question becomes where to get that list, why the DMV well it's kinda simple.

1: most people drive and hence are issued driving licenses by their state's DMV
2: driving licenses are used as ID cards
3: you have a minority of people who don't drive, these people nevertheless need some kind of ID card, the states decided that it was simpler to have the DMV issue ID cards to people even if they don't drive than to set up a separate ID card department.

So the DMV database is the closest thing to a "database of all people in the state" that is readily available.

Re: What has a DMV got to do with draft notices? (1)

KevReedUK (1066760) | about a month and a half ago | (#47431309)

I'm guessing here (I didn't read TFA), but people are probably more likely to keep their addresses updated with the DMV than they are with anything that could potentially lead to them being called up for service in the military. As such, to make sure that the database is as accurate as possible, it would make sense to periodically merge data from the DMV. As for the records still being in the database, despite the demise of those to whom they refer, I'm one of those people who believes that once a record is in a database, unless it should never have been there in the first place, it should NOT be deleted. If no longer relevant, then set a status flag of some kind, but don't delete it. I'm not an American, and, more to the point, am not familiar with how data exchange occurs between state and federal government departments, but if it's anything like it is over here in the UK, when someone dies the death is registered with the local register office. That information is not automatically shared with the DVLA (our equivalent of your DMV, but just one at a national level) or any other organisation. If the US system is anything like ours (and with the added complications inherent with some government bodies being federal, some state and possibly some at even more localised levels, it would surprise me a HUGE amount if such automatic data exchange was commonplace), it's understandable that those records were not only still in the database, but were still marked as active. Would we rather they simply assumed that once a person reaches a given age that they are obviously dead and can hence have their record updated accordingly? Obviously none of this excuses how that data merge was handled. If my assumption above is correct about the data from the DMV being imported purely to ensure that addresses and contact numbers are up to date, the obvious question that follows is why these older records led to letters being sent out. The date of birth field should only have been used for identifying records to receive address updates and, as such, if anyone born in the 1800s received such letters it would be due either to a poorly written query, or to the date of birth field already being wrong prior to the merge (or, of course both).

Lessons not learned (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47426575)

Last night I watched a re-run of the Daily Show. Jon Stewart was commenting about how the US Congress was trying to subpoena the US Internal Revenue Service for emails sent, and the sworn-in director said that they only keep e-mail records for six months (Stewart commented that a government agency that insists that people behave like hoarders keeping records for a minimum of seven years shouldn't be let off the hook). He also mentioned that Google G-mail offers 50 times as much storage as a typical IRS email backup, and the US government (NSA) just installed a new site in Utah designed to keep every byte and bit send by every American for twenty years, but the IRS can't keep email data for more than six months. ... And so now we are 14 years past the Y2K charlatan show, where every salesman/weasel trying to make the killing of the millennium yelped long and hard about how we were all going to die, and how everything was all outdated and we all had to buy brand new. I know a guy who (I thought) was reasonably intelligent, thought that his car would stop working. I worked for a company which put extra fuel into equipment and kept people on standby. I went across the street and told my elderly neighbours (both have since passed) who had survived the great depression and served in world war 2 that no, they had seen worse in the world, and it wasn't going to end, all they had to do was change the batteries in their smoke detectors and get a good nights sleep. Now there is a data problem with 2 digit date codes. Don't use them, all data more than 100 years old will easily get mixed in with data less than 100 years old. Even a 3 digit date code would give you hundreds of years worth of time to remove and archive very old data. And here we have the problem re-surfacing. What the hell?!? As Jon Stewart said: "Can't you go buy a fucking thumb drive?"

Re:Lessons not learned (1)

Qzukk (229616) | about a month and a half ago | (#47426913)

I went across the street and told my elderly neighbours (both have since passed) who had survived the great depression and served in world war 2 that no, they had seen worse in the world, and it wasn't going to end, all they had to do was change the batteries in their smoke detectors and get a good nights sleep.

Well THERE'S the problem right there! Your neighbors were in charge of fixing the DMV's software!

Y2K! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47426609)

OMG, we're all gonna die!

Re:Y2K! (1)

k6mfw (1182893) | about a month and a half ago | (#47427005)

back on that fateful night of Dec 31, 1999 in Santa Clara County CA, all police depts and sheriff units had all three shifts and reserves on duty. May seem silly but local officials wanted to be sure just in case. So in middle of night, someone figures he's gonna rob a liquor store (for much of the county it was pretty quiet). 211 call comes in, many many units respond, and arrive on scene quickly. "Damn, looks like I picked the wrong night to do a stick-up!"

01/01/1900 (1)

DarthVain (724186) | about a month and a half ago | (#47426737)

Meh. Crap like that happens all the time, Y2K or no. Migrating 400k records stuff is bound to come up, particularly with old data, likely legacy systems, and probably shoddy migrations the 3 previous times this occurred. What is more concerning is the lack of QC or validation that led to the issue. Meaning likely those doing the migration no nothing of the DB contents, or are understaffed and underfunded to the point that no one has time to do it properly.

I've seen 01/01/1900 time date mix ups which is likely a formatting issue combined with assigning NULL values. When you analyse the data (even 400,000) a boatload that say 01/01/1900 sort of stick out as a red flag. From the sounds of it, not only did they not understand the content, but perhaps not the structure and relationships either as how else are you going to mix up data like that? Some weird composite key using two digit birthdays? Yuck. Then again I have had to interpret some pretty ugly "designs" without a shred of any real documentation and it isn't easy. I'm sure they made sense at some time, but after the nth migration, and the nth attached application, and nth half completed enhancement, what you are left with can be pretty confusing.

Uncle Sam Wants You, Zebediah! (1)

alphazulu0 (3675815) | about a month and a half ago | (#47426873)

Though good ole Zeb actually thinks of him as "Nephew Sam."

A Fearless Golden Years Army! (1)

Irate Engineer (2814313) | about a month and a half ago | (#47426975)

Makes perfect sense - which would make for a more fearless army, a bunch of 18 year old boys, or a retirement home full of centenarians with Alzheimer's and/or stage 4 cancer?

Human-wave attacks of volunteer centenarians against ISIS FTW.

Re:A Fearless Golden Years Army! (1)

Irate Engineer (2814313) | about a month and a half ago | (#47427041)

Oh, but they don't move so fast anymore, but that's easy to fix. Since the computers think they are all teenagers, just issue them drivers permits and give them their 1970 Lincoln Continentals back. Airdrop them into Iraq and let them at it! CHARGE!!!!

The real question is: Why were draft notices sent? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47427989)

The computer issue is one thing and just further proves how inept government is at doing anything. Anyone not think it is weird that draft notices were sent? Draft notices? When was the last time we had a draft? 40+ years ago? Why are they bringing it back to life?

Better Crunching (1)

Jim Sadler (3430529) | about a month and a half ago | (#47429131)

When people die the county coroner complies death certificates and they are filed with the counties. So why is it that the dead are not taken off agency lists? My brother in law had his driver's license voided 16 months after he died. A police officer reported that his medical condition might make him an unsafe driver and it took Florida about twenty months to process it and deliver the notice. This reminds me of those lawyer ads that state that if you have died due to using a medical product you have limited time to file a suit.

It being Pennsylvania (1)

hduff (570443) | about a month and a half ago | (#47430391)

I'm sure they will try to send these old men to jail.

Jul-11-014 (1)

_aa_ (63092) | about a month and a half ago | (#47436417)

Why did we skip three digit years?
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