Suprised by lack of interest : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

I must admit that the small number of posts has me a bit surprised. After Yourdon's book was printed, you would have thought there would have been more interest. Does this mean that a) most people haven't hear about y2k b) don't think its that serious or c) complete denial? Unless things change, and quickly, most people will panic when it starts to become oblivous, perhaps in mid to late 1999? Are the authors surprised by the lack of response? What has been the response during speaking tours?

-- Dennis Sherwood (, March 06, 1998


I've been keeping close tabs on y2k for about a year now, and while I'm no pundit, my personal experience in talking with people over that year has been that 99% or more people have no serious interest for a variety of reasons. This is, I think, THE most difficult thing about the whole issue--it is very difficult to believe that seemingly intelligent people have allowed themselves to get INTO this situation in the first place, and it is ASTONISHING that seemingly intelligent people have no serious interest in even a cursury examination of the facts.

There is a little more talk now than there was, but as the weeks and months pass and the evidence does not get better, I keep expecting (with some anxiety, I can tell you) the realization to hit at least a significant minority. It hasn't happened yet. It makes you feel like screaming, but I think this is really a part of the bigger problem that got us into this mess in the first place.

I can't help but keep thinking about an ancient Greek proverb-- "whom the gods would destroy, first they make mad."

-- David Webb (, March 06, 1998.

Well, I've shared the ideas in Ed & Jennifer's book with a bunch of people, and the book itself with a few. Most people I've talked to are still in the "it won't happen" or "they'll fix it" mindset -- even software developers. And those of us taking it seriously are expending our energies on quiet preparation, rather than evangelizing. In part, I'm sure, this is because we don't want to be thought fools if nothing happens...

-- Mike Gunderloy (, March 06, 1998.

Ditto. 17 years in software development, watching large projects fail over and over, seeing that people wait until the absolute last minute to admit that deadlines will not be met, makes it obvious to me that many if not most Y2K projects will go the same way. What really amazes me isn't that my family and friends won't take it seriously, but that the people I work with are not in the same state of panic that I am. Everything in our collective experience indicates catastrophe, yet I have not been able to find a single person who is losing sleep over this besides myself. I have no explanation for this.

-- Deborah Barr (, March 06, 1998.

Yourdons' book does not advise readers of his web site as far as I can tell. I emailed Ed about this and he said his book was going to be updated before Christmas and he'll have a chance to make that clearer then.

It's funny about Y2k list servs; a lot of them are quiet except for Peter De Jager's listserv and Gary North's forums. Yourdon's is the third most posted forum that I subscribe too however, but it is a distant third behind the big two. De Jager's is mostly professional Y2k workers in companies. North's is mostly those who are busy preparing for bad times. You go to to get to North's forums. I do like subscribing to Ed's, Rick Cowles, CPSR, De Jager's. I currently do not subscribe to North but I think I'm going to try it out. As it is now, I visit there every so often.

-- Roleigh Martin

By the way, did all of you read my four columns at Westergaard Year 2000 (daily online magazine about Y2k) this week? I have a link to the four columns--which focus on inside scoop about utilities and Y2k--at my web site at:

TTYL -- Roleigh

-- Roleigh Martin (, March 07, 1998.

I am a computer consultant also and while many people that I work with will admit that the "bugs" won't be fixed, they are doing nothing to prepare for the consequences. With a couple people I have had very intense, nitty-gritty discussion of what will happen on 1/1/8000 and their scenarios are worse than mine and they are not doing anything to prepare. I'm confused.

Today's headlines talked about the robust economy and the low unemployment and I think that has a lot to do with the "lack of interest" in Y2K. People just don't want to consider how bad Y2K might be since it has been a long haul to get to a good economy and a sense of security about their jobs, particularly here in the farm belt.

Roleigh, I did read your articles. Very good.

-- Rebecca Kutcher (, March 07, 1998.

After a year of attempting to convince adult children of the potential seriousness of y2k as well as trying to convince parents to consider at least taking small steps before perhaps taking larger steps, I've thrown in the towel. We are well situated with 60A of woodland, along with gardens, very low debt factor but can't do it alone, approaching 60 years of age. A friend, some 60 miles distant sugg- ested the importance of having a communications man, a mechanic, etc. etc....It took less than 24 hours to potentially have the beginnings of a manned complex. Calling on friends and friends of friends I feel the possibilities of dealing with y2k are better. The friends and "ringers" including weapons specialist will take the place of children, effective April 1st with plans to go forward for dealing with this unique set of hurdles.

-- j.w.parker (, March 08, 1998.

Thanks to all the replies, both to this site and the private emails. It's becoming apparent to me that there isn't enough time left to try to persuade others...either they are convinced with a first "pitch" or move on. The previous posting shows the way: the programmers won't have this bug fixed in time, and most people don't care. It's time to contact people in your circle and prepare. Personally, my priorities would be for doctors, toolmakers, mechanics, etc. Not much use for exotic professions after 2000; a good craftsman will be invaluable. The real remaining question is where to relocate and with whom.

-- Dennis Sherwood (, March 08, 1998.

Like many others I have become quite an evangelist on this subject. I have purchased extra copies of Time Bomb 2000 and given them to friends and relatives and will continue to do so. Yet I remain simply amazed at the level of denial that exists, even among very intelligent people.

However this may simply be human nature. When I was a child we lived in Hawaii at Hickam Field. On December 7, 1941 planes swarmed over our house for over an hour as bombs fell in the runway and giant towers of black smoke rose from Pearl Harbor a mile or so away. My father, a very intelligent civil engineer, stood and watched with his young son, and marveled at how realistic was the airshow he was watching. His mind just refused to accept the reality of what he was viewing.

I honestly feel we are seeing the same syndrome here. People just are not going to believe this can happen until a bomb falls right on top of them.

-- Ron Kuhnel (, March 10, 1998.

A clue of how lightly this issue is being taken was observed when making inquiry about where I could find a copy of "Time Bomb 2000" in the local Crown Books retailer. After locating the ISBN code in the store computer, the clerk informed me that it would be found in the "Commedy/Humor" book section. It's truely astonising!!

-- Jesse Babcock (, March 11, 1998.

A customer came into the bookstore where I work and had ordered Time Bomb 2000. I've heard rumblings over the past couple of years about the "Millenium Bug" so was quite interested in the book. We talked at great length, obviously enough for me to search on the Internet for more info. I believe I am an intelligent person interested enough to solicit more information. People, in general, are caught up in their own lives and simply do not have the time, resoures or general concern to find out more about this situation. I am amazed at the information I found so easily the first time out. I look forward to more....

-- lisa m (, March 11, 1998.

I generally agree with Ed on a lot of things, and will readily admit that his experience and expertise dwarf mine on many subjects, but I wonder if the Y2K panic isn't a bit overblown, at least in terms of how it applies to the individual.

Now, before I get flamed, let me explain a couple of things. No, I haven't read "Time Bomb 2000" yet. I can't find it in my bookstores, and I haven't asked them to order it for me. Yes, I believe that there is a serious problem out there for a great many people. However, as it relates to the individual, I asked around and have come up with a few things to consider:

1. My electric company assures me that even if they can't bill me correctly for it, the electricity will continue to flow. It seems the turbines don't really care what year it is. Same for the gas company and the phone company.

2. My town's police department assures me that they will be able to find my house when I call in the year 200 just as well as they can in 1999. It seems that my address will stay the same. Same for the fire department. (BTW, the 911 system in my town is Y2K-ready, so maybe I'm ahead of the game in that area.)

3. My banks actually laughed when I asked if they were ready. They pointed out (rather correctly) that as they were all mortgage lenders, they have been aware of the problem since the 1960's, and had it largely corrected by 1970, the first year that a 30-year mortgage would spill across the magic boundry. Any upgrades and new systems they installed during the last 30+ years had to be ready, so they are pretty well set.

4. My grocery store didn't know what I was talking about. Okay, so starvation could be a problem.

5. My newspaper, cable company, Internet provider and Golf Tips Magazine all assure me that if I can keep paying them after 1999, they can keep serving me after 1999.

If the vendors that supply grocery stores in my area can manage to deliver goods after 1/1/2000, then by and large I think life's going to be okay. Sure, I expect some snafu's here and there, but I expect that sort of thing anyway. Panic is not something I think is particularly appropriate here.

-- Paul Neuhardt (, March 11, 1998.

Hi folks, I've been caught up in North's site (extensive) and some Westergaard and have my hands full with them. I'll kick in here a little, though. I just became aware on March 4 and I'm cookin' already. I've handed out materials and talked to a few people so far. It's about a fifty-fifty proposition for me. Some are astonishingly content to let "them" handle it. "They always do, you'll see", came one reponse from a woman who refused to look at any materials. What ever happened to facts, guys and dolls? I mean don't facts stand for anything any more? Maybe not - this is the Clinton era. What more perfect clown could we have to resassure the Amercican people than the one we have right now?

The problem is denial, I think. Many people are unable to process painful feelings like panic, terror, rage, etc. I've been practicing for a few years, actually, and I'm finding it handy in this case. Handy, indeed. For me, I try to not ACT OUT the terror or panic. I find that if I can move it directly - vocally, but with little or no language, then my actions don't get as far out of whack as otherwise. I think held emotions of this calibre warp out the actions. That's why the survivalist routine will be possibly exacerbated beyond its need. There may be people shooting when there is no need - that sort of thing. Discharging terror vocally is not pretty, but it's a lot prettier than blood.

Anyway, some good points on this list. It's amazing that in the yeare that Titanic made a billion dollar splash on the screens of the world that not so few of those terror lovers in the theatres have put two and two together. They have an attraction to the feelings but they are clearly not ready to take responsibility for healing them in any meaningful way. That is the scary part - being attracted to terror but not having a clue how to get it moving and heal it. - paul

-- paul leblanc (, March 11, 1998.

I was intrigued by Paul Neuhardt's posting, which indicated that HIS bankers are all set. That's terrific, of course, and maybe we should all move our accounts to that bank. But if it's a non-issue for banks, then why does Bank of America have an army of 1,000 programmers working on their Y2K project? Why did Citibank file a notice with the SEC a week or two ago, indicating that they plan to spend $600 million on their Y2K efforts? Naturally, I hope they succeed, too, along with all the other banks -- but I also have to observe that I haven't seen very many successful thousand-person projects that have delivered their results on schedule.

-- Ed Yourdon (, March 12, 1998.

Lack of interest does not surprise me at all. It's the nature of people to avoid thinking about unpleasant "long-term" catastrophes. Just witness the denial about nuclear weapons, for instance. What is hidden or not immediately concrete does not exist. Humans are simply not very good at this type of advance planning, as history makes very clear.

My grandmother was a German Jew, who came to this country in '37. Living at that time, anyone with a brain could see what was happening with the Nazis and Hitler, and the deadly threat posed to Jews and others. But virtually everyone *ignored* the problem. Just lived for the day, lived in denial, until one day doom descended on them. And then, of course, it was too late.

We're no different. It will always be a small minority who recognize and plan insurance for events of this type.

-- Jennifer Jocanter (, March 22, 1998.

I read "Time Bomb 2000" after finding it by searching Amazon's web site. Oprah Winfrey talked about Y2K a couple of months ago, but she seems to be more concerned with other issues.

We have been amazed at the reactions from family, friends and neighbors when we've talked about Y2K problems -- in other words, nobody seems to be too concerned. We've completely scrapped plans for a new home in order to not get into more debt. Unfortunately, our friends think we're nuts.

I guess the thing that amazes me most of all is that we live in an earthquake belt -- in other words, people aren't even concerned with the idea that there would be an earthquake that may cut off poswer for several days, let alone a power interruption which could go on for a couple of weeks.


-- Julie Benjamin (, March 25, 1998.

When the subject came up or when I brought it up with friends, family and cooworkers, I ran into the same spectrum of reactions. A few responded constructively while most, unfortunately, faded the subject. You see, I live in sophisticated, well-off, liberal, Hi-tech Massachusetts and the level of complacency and arrogance is pretty high-at least in eastern Massachusetts around Boston. I am a data communications technician and have a few computer languages under my belt as well. I work in an I.S. department where they feel as long as they successfully implement S.A.P. software, track down all vulnerable embedded code and root out all legacy excecutable files (they have just started looking into the embedded code and executables!) everything will be just fine. When, at a meeting, I asked how we would enforce Year-2000 compliance with suppliers and vendors, the manager had no ready answer. I am not going to continue to nag those I have already apprised of this situation. It is like talking to a brick wall. It is so sad, but that is human nature.

-- John D. McClure (, May 01, 1998.

Getting people to believe that anything will change is a lost cause. People generally believe that the way things are now is the way they will always be. I think its human nature. But I think also there is a feeling among those who are preparing not to put too much pressure on getting people to know because of the panic factor. After all, most of us are not as far along as ed or gary north, and are still in the early implementation phase of preparations. We don't want to be someone who is caught in the panic buying phase with not all her buying done. For example, I have not talked up generators until I have been able to decide what I needed and purchased it. You can buy a run-of-the-mill gasoline generator from any big farm hardware store. But anyone who has delved into it knows that that kind of a generator has a life of about 1000 hours max before overhaul and uses about a gallon of gas or more per hour. What I needed was a diesel that sips a pint of desel an hour and runs for 30,000 hours before an overhaul. But there will be a limited supply of those items. So were are all in an approach avoidance conflict, we want to tell people, but we want also to have finished all our purchases and preparations by the time we tell people or we'll be caught in the flood ourselves. GK

-- glenna kamoroff (, May 02, 1998.

I too have met with disbelief and incredulity when I have tried to "raise the alarm" among friends and family. Now that, in the opinion of those that I care about, think I am "Certifiable" I have come to a new plateau. My research in 2yk has lead me to believe that even in full alert, we would be too late with too little. Anticipatory action by the masses would only lead to anticipatory catastrophy. Economic troubles would appear way ahead of schedule. Runs on banks, food shortages due to stockpiling, Minting of vast amounts of currency to furnish the banks for their panicy depositers, none of these things would better the situation but only make them worse. Raising public awareness may be detrimental to survival.

-- Bill Solorzano (, May 02, 1998.

I agree Bill, I'd just as soon not see the panic start now. It will give me that much more time to get my finances, etc. in order. I'm starting to realize the truth in the statement that "Many are called but few ar chosen." I used to think I was selfish with this attitude but I've sounded the alarm enough. If they don't listen...Oh Well!

-- Gail (, May 02, 1998.

On the subject of inducing panic: There are indeed some systems (notably banking) which would not fare well if everyone was concerned about y2k now. Food supply, however, is not amongst them. Remember that a lot of nonperishable foods are things like wheat - low on the food chain. A lot of the American diet is meat, which requires about 10X as many primary calories to produce as grains (for the same final consumed calories). A jump in the demand for grain now would have plenty of time to bias next years' planting towards human-consumable grain and away from feed grains. This is one of the cases where market forces are good at making the needed adjustment, and where we do have enough slack in the system to accomodate it. It would also pre-position the food in exactly the right place. Now if only it would actually happen...

standard disclaimer: I do not speak for my employer.

-- Jeffrey Soreff (, May 04, 1998.

Like many others here, I've become something of an evangelist on Y2K and run into a brick wall among most people. I tried to talk to my own wife about it last night, using Robert Samuelson's apologia in Wednesday's (5.6.98) Washington Post as a starting point, and her major comment was, "Don't tell me this. I don't want to be depressed." After listening to me for a few minutes, her next comment was "But they'll fix it, won't they?" Denial is still running strong and true among most people, and I think it will continue right up until it affects them personally -- the lights go out or their bank closes or the train that carries their bread flour doesn't arrive because the computerized rail switching system won't work. I'm trying to take an optimistic stance -- a catastrophe named is a catastrophe avoided and all that -- but I still think there will be serious, if temporary, disruptions come 00. Nobody wants to hear that, though, much less any concerns about economic problems.

-- J.D. Clark (, May 09, 1998.

I guess you can't expect too much from the species that built a nuclear plant on the California fault line <:)

-- Dennis Peterson (, May 14, 1998.

Plus ca change, plus c'est pareil

-- Blue Himalayan (bh@k2.y), January 15, 1999.

"The more things change, the more they stay the same."

-- Kevin (, January 15, 1999.

Ooh Blue and Kevin, how neat to find you down here while I was reviewing threads from one year ago :-)

Don't you wish newbies did the same? ;-)

-- Chris (, February 23, 1999.

Remember these days, anyone? Concise, thoughtful discussion of the issues and potential problems. Compare this to 99% of the threads today. Where did all of this go wrong? x

-- x (, October 07, 1999.

Well...if this doesn't just paint the picture of why y2k was the religious farce that it was...I'm researching abnormal socio- religious trends, and look what I find!

Thank you for this website!

-- Mr. Right (a@correct.assessor), December 22, 2004.

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