Unix time dooms us all and the world will end

Update 16-Feb-2009: The partying was prolific, profligate, and pervasive. Even Google got in on the act with a special logo, displayed for the very occasion!

The end of the world is nigh... Friday the 13th of February, 2009, at exactly 6:31pm and 30 seconds EST to be exact (that would be 2009-02-13 23:31:30 GMT). That's because at that exact time, Unix time will read "1234567890". That's a sign if I ever saw one. Scary times. What we need is a giant ass countdown clock.

Of course, not everywhere in the world is luck enough to experience this particular turnover on Friday the 13th, so for them all will be fine (that would be anyone east of Greenwich). Doom be unto all ye others though. Oh, and all iPhones are pretty much totally out of luck, being based on Unix as they are.

Now you might be sitting there all nice and safe thinking, it's only one second, how bad could it be? Ha. One second is way longer than the 10-37 seconds it took to for the universe to start expanding in the first place. So be afraid.

What it all boils down to is that it's Y2K all over again, except without all the problems. Oh, wait, there were no problems. Yeah, so it's just like Y2K.

Other momentous celebratory occasions have occured in the past, and we all know how that ended up.

  • At 01:46:40 UTC on September 9, 2001, the Unix billennium (Unix time number 1000000000) was celebrated.
  • At 01:58:31 UTC on March 18, 2005, the Unix time number reached 1111111111.
  • At 03:33:20 UTC on May 18, 2033, the second billennium will be celebrated (Unix time number 2000000000).

Of course, on Tuesday 19 January 2038, 03:14:07 UTC all non-64 bit (or greater) Unix systems really will be screwed, as that'll be when time actually rolls over, from 2147483648, back to zero. Now that'll hurt. Ouch.

Find out what time the world ends in your region.

  • Perl: date -d @1234567890
  • PHP: php -r 'echo date("m-d-Y H:i:s", 1234567890)."\n";'

Personally, I shall pass the event downing beverages with nary a care for the consequences. Pah. The world shall end.