Monday, January 9, 2017

#1772: Michael Hyatt

Remember the Y2K scare? We’re not sure Michael Hyatt wants you to. Hyatt authored a fairly typical dystopian survivalist guide for the event back in the nineties: The Millennium Bug: How to Survive the Coming Chaos. The book was a characteristic exercise in fear-mongering and dubious arguments from authority (his own: Hyatt’s qualifications in anything related to information technology – the putative source of the Armageddon – seems to have been pretty rudimentary). It described three possible outcomes of the fact that some old computers could conceivably struggle to update their calendar functions without negligible flaws at the date rollover since they recorded years in a two-digit format: brownout (major inconvenience), blackout (life-threatening economic failure), and meltdown (complete societal collapse). Of course Hyatt took the last two scenarios to be the most likely ones – the scenario “no significant consequences” wasn’t even considered. There is a review here.

Hyatt’s target group was evidently rightwing survivalist types, to whom he offered advice like stocking up on guns and non-perishable foods, something the target audience would have done a long time ago anyways. After the date rollover came and went Hyatt has turned to writing books on how to protect yourself from terrorism.

Diagnosis: Ok, there’s a fairly significant chance that Hyatt himself doesn’t believe a word of the bullshit he is engaged in, but who knows? At least those who listen to him are loons, and some of them are probably not entirely harmless either.

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