Intel Pentium Bug Prediction

In 1994 Intel released their Pentium P5 processor which contained a floating point bug dubbed the Pentium FDIV bug. The bug and Intel's handling of it caused quite an uproar in the industry.

In 1995 the following interpretation of one of Nostradamus' quatrains was posted to the Internet.

It contains a very in depth analysis that shows either Nostradamus predicted the development of microprocessors and a specific bug or his quatrain can be stretched to match many world events, large and small.



From: Questo indirizzo email è protetto dagli spambots. È necessario abilitare JavaScript per vederlo. (Michel)

Date: Sat, 21 Jan 1995 23:23:33 UTC

Subject: More about Nostradamus vs In-tell

A month ago, I posted a quatrain in which Nostradamus predicted the Pentium scandal. The messages was rather short, and didn't give any details of the interpretation. During the last month, I discussed about this prediction with other readers, and we found out plenty of stuff.


For those who missed the original post, here is the relevant quatrain: C 2,VI:

Aupres des portes & dedans deux citez

Seront deux fleaux, & onc n'apperceut VN TEL,

Faim, dedans peste, de fer hors gens boutez,

Crier secours au grand Dieu immortel.

and its translation to English:

Near the gates and inside two cities

Will be TWO FLAWS, and nobody noticed it [from] INTEL

Hunger, pest inside, by steel people thrown out

Cry for help to the great immortal God.


INTEL's name:


The spelling is not quite correct: a V instead of an I, and an extra space between N and T. The word resembles more the french expression 'un tel' (meaning 'such', 'what-s-his-name', 'same' or 'some person') especially since u's and v's are often substituted. Critics could say that 'un tel' would be a common French expression, and dismiss the prediction as pure chance. However, the words 'vn tel' occur only once in all the quatrains, and that's here!

The space in VN TEL is maybe a hint at a pun. In could be a prefix meaning 'not', and in-tel[l] = those who do not tell (Like in in-correct = not correct, in-divisble = not divisible, im-precise = not precise). If we consider the v as an u, we keep this meaning: un-professional = not professional, un-tested = not tested.

V is also the roman numeral 5, as in 586, PENTium, or 5 missing lookup fnord table entries (which caused the bug).


The repetition of INSIDE:


In this quatrain, the word 'inside' (dedans) occurs twice, which is remarkable, considering that it only occurs 24 times in total in all the quatrains. This must have a meaning. You guessed it: The 'In-tell Inside' advertisement campaign.

The number 24 itself also has a meaning: It's the mean time between division errors (in days) for normal spreadsheet usage according to IBM's analysis. Nostradamus himself believed IBM (24 days) more than In-tell (27000 years)!


The Gates


There are some doubts whether these refer to Bill Gate$, or rather to the logical gates on the microprocessor.


The Cities


Here we have two interpretations too:

  1. 1. The cities mean corporations, as in Micro$oft and In-tell. In-tell had the pentium bug, and Micro$oft the Windows calculator bug (2.01 - 2.00 = 0!)
  2. 2. The city is the aspect of the microprocessor when looked at under a microscope. (Remember that In-tell commercial where the 'camera' flies into the PC and discovers the Pentium?) The different parts of the processors can be viewed as distinct neighbouring cities: the floating point unit, the integer unit, the cache memory, ...
  3. According to this interpretation, another Pentium bug will be found in one of the other units. It's severity will be comparable to the FDIV bug.


Two flaws


Obvious. The FDIV flaw, and the yet-to-be discovered integer flaw.




In-tell's _greed_, which made them hide the flaw and minimize it later. The hunger may also hint at In-tell's bankruptcy after the second flaw will be discovered by the public. In-tell will lose almost all its market share, and many employees will lose their jobs.


Pest inside


Nostradamus' version of 'In-tell Inside' :-)


By steel


Steel = hardware. This is not a SOFTware bug (as most bugs), but a HARDware bug. (And in the traditional sense, hardware means 'steel tools')


People thrown out


Initially In-tell 'threw out' (turned down) people asking for a replacement chip, because they were not deemed worthy.

Another interpretation would be that people threw out their chips. (Re-arrange the words: 'By people steel thrown out')

Btw, the French word 'bouter' is used nowadays to mean 'to boot [a computer]'. Yet another hint that Nostradamus is indeed speaking about computers.


Cry for help to the great immortal God.


According to Phil, this means:

They cry for help from the Law

There will always be the Law, in any civilization -- there's nothing certain except death and taxes, as they say -- so Law is a great immortal God of civilization.

They cry for help from the Federal Government of the U.S.


Same reasons as Law, plus the Federal Government of the U.S. has roots in Deism (witness the pyramid fnord with the all-seeing Eye on the U.S. dollar), and the U.S. Federal Government may indeed last until the "end of times".

Usually, computer people have a negative attitude towards lawyers. Lawyers are considered to be profiteers and to block progress with idiotic ideas such as 'look & feel' lawsuits and software patents.

But these same computer people were so upset at In-tell's scam that some resorted to the hated lawyers to fight against In-tell. Many people filed suits in small claims courts, some even filed class-action suits! Finally State Attorneys General's intervened, and forced In-tell to change its policy!


Number games:


This quatrain has exactly 133 letters (I count '&' as 'et' = 2 letters). 133 = hexadecimal 0x85, i.e. x86 with one missing! Maybe a subtle joke at the arithmetic (in)capabilities of the 585.99912554 ? That would make this quatrain the oldest Pentium joke around :-)


The number of the quatrain:


The number may hide the date, June 2nd, when In-tell discovered the bug themselves.


Why did Nostramus speak about this incident?


Now, why did Nostradamus predict this seemingly insignificant incident? Usually he speaks about wars, revolutions and catastrophes, and now he speaks about microprocessor bugs! Well there's more behind this affair than meets the eye. It was the first time in history that the consumership forced a megacorporation to change its policy to meet their true needs. This incidents establishes new rules in the relationship between consumers and megacorporations. Consumers are no longer powerless, and megacorporations are no longer allmighty.

Other corporations have already seen this new trend, and gave up past arrogant attitudes. For instance, Diamond now supplies programming information for their video cards. A few month ago, consumers had to sign non-disclosure agreements in order to learn how to use their expensive video cards!

This new relationship will not be limited to the commerce, but spread to politics too. We'll see more and more net-petitions.


The new communication media will give the people more power. This incident marks a turning point in the relations of power, the ringing of the division bell has begun!

That's why politicians fear this new technology and try to squelch it while its still weak. Police upload child pornography to bulletin boards, get a search warrant, and "find" the child pornography on said bulletin board. This is the pretext to harass and imprison the owner. That's why they cut funding to the backbone.

That's why they try to limit the liberty of speech using ludicrous pretexts. Fortunately, there are anonymous remailers :-)

That's why they spread rumors about computer "geeks".

That's why they raid computer game stores without an apparent reason.

That's why they pass laws against cryptography and secure communication.

The whole incident is about more than just a chip which can't compute 5 / 15 correctly!


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