Beware the Red Button. It may randomly appear on this website. Unscheduled. If you see it, you might click it. If you click it, I will not be held responsible for what you might see. You might see something creative. You might see the stuff of nightmares. You could be scarring yourself for life. You could be shown beauty beyond compare. It’s so very very hard to say what exactly you’ll see. And what you see, may not be what others may see. Perhaps you’ll see nothing at all. Or be left with the feeling of nothingness. You might laugh. You might cry. You might go insane. You may loose bladder control. You may suffer hair loss. You may go blind. You may feel all your hopes and dreams have been answered. Or forsaken. You might involuntarily sign up for Obamacare. Well, not that one. No human should be cursed with that.
A big red button (BRB), sometimes called a big red switch (BRS), is a real or fictional button with various functions. The purpose of being big and red is for its quick identification and actuation. In its more ominous forms, the phrases are often capitalized as the Big Red Button or the Big Red Switch.
- A shut-down switch for catastrophic circumstances to avert further damage or to cause it, e.g., an “emergency power-off” button.
- Help call in emergencies or for disabled persons.
- Firing or detonating a weapon, typically a nuclear device.
- In hacker jargon, the shutdown button or power switch on a computer, especially the red “emergency pull” switch on IBM mainframe operator consoles. The term has also sometimes been used for the power switch on IBM PCs.
On some mainframe designs, the emergency power-off switch would immediately physically disable the machine’s power supply. Because the use of a Big Red Switch would bring down a computer in an uncontrolled fashion, getting the machine up and running again could be a nontrivial and time-consuming task. Therefore, particularly in the early mainframe computer era, people risked disciplinary action for activating the BRS of a production batch processing mainframe in a non-emergency situation.
Or something different entirely…
This is not the red button you are looking for…