Surviving Y2K: What did we learn from the biggest tech scare in history?

With teamwork and clearly-stated goals, big transformations can take place — swiftly.

  • In terms of programming, the year 2000 was perhaps the biggest digital change to date across the world. The reason for this is because, in the years before, two digits were allocated to computing related to the year. With 2000, three had to be allocated.
  • Programmers around the world came together and successfully drove the Y2K conversion. The freedom they were given by politicians, who didn't entirely understand the problem, gave programmers the space they needed to make the changes expediently.
  • When goals are clearly stated—in this case, December 31, 1999—people understand that there is a deadline on when they have to be done with their work before bad things happen. As a result of the teamwork operating under a clearly stated goal, there were no major catastrophes when the new year rolled in.
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Experts decide to try knocking an asteroid off course

Before the next big, dangerous, incoming rock arrives.

Image source: NASA/Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab
  • A NASA/ESA project plans to try and change the path of an extraterrestrial body.
  • The target is the moon of a binary asteroid almost 7 million miles away.
  • Science is getting serious about planetary defense.
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The hackable technology that worries even a legendary con man

Before we release new technology into the ether, we need to make safeguards so that bad actors can't misuse them.

  • Right now cybercrime is basically a financial crime — it's a business of stealing people's money or stealing their data. Data has value.
  • We develop a lot of technology — we need to always ask the question how the new innovation can be misused and make safeguards so that it cannot be done.
  • Because we currently don't do these things, we have hackable vehicles, pacemakers, and laptops.
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How to outsmart a scam: Strategies from a legendary con man

Frank W. Abagnale says scammers don't discriminate — here's what you can do to protect yourself.

  • In today's world, anyone can be targeted by scams -- even famous con man Frank W. Abagnale. For this reason he shares his top advice for protecting yourself against fraud.
  • When receiving a suspicious call, be aware of the two major red flags of immediacy and info-sharing. Is the person asking for money, and they need it right now? Does the person want sensitive personal information like a social security number or date of birth? If the answer to either of those questions is yes, it's probably a scam.
  • Scammers obtain much of their info from a victim's social media accounts. Caution is key for prevention, and education is the most powerful tool in outsmarting this type of crime.
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Why the number of fires in the Amazon is terrifying climate experts

The blazes may be the first step in a hellish downward spiral.

Image source: Bloomberg / Contributor / Getty
  • Never before has so much of the Amazon rainforest been on fire.
  • The fires are largely set by humans clearing areas for development.
  • The fires may push us into a vicious, irreversible climate pattern.
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