Why are we so worried?

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-- trying to make sense (wondering@ivorytower.com), September 30, 1998


From that very article, here's why:

We'll all stock up for five to seven days worth of food, water, clothing and cash," Wilson says. The Federal Reserve has already unveiled plans to increase its cash inventories $50 billion to meet extra demand.

"I have no question that we're going to have very unusual things occurring," Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan told federal lawmakers last week.

A growing minority of experts say Greenspan and most economists are underestimating the scope of the problem. They insist the problems could push the global economy into recession in 1999 or the following year.

In late June, Ed Yardeni, chief economist of Deutsche Bank Securities in New York, raised to 70% the odds of a global recession triggered by Y2K problems in 2000. "Let's stop pretending that Y2K isn't a major threat to our way of life," Yardeni wrote in assessing the potential problems.

-- Karen Cook (browsercat@hotmail.com), September 30, 1998.

Look, its real simple. Y2K is a "built-in" flaw that affects our computer-driven technology. On or about January 1, 2000 -- even sooner for many software systems, such as in the case of fiscal year 2000 rollovers that will occur on or about April 1, 1999 -- that technology will cease to function reliably. The problem is so pervasive and takes so much time to correct, that for all intents and purposes it cannot be fixed by the time that it needs to be fixed -- by on or about January 1, 2000, or sooner in many instances. And the reality is that after the technology fails, it cannot be readily fixed then either, because multiple simultaneous failures resulting in loss of electricity, communications, clean water, food supply, transportation, etc., do not make for a good working environment to correct such problems. In fact, the environment becomes an impossible one to make such fixes. (I hope this answers your question.)

-- Joe (shar@pei.com), September 30, 1998.

We are worried because we think that once the computers crap out, we will be revealed as peripherals.

-- Amy Leone (aleone@amp.com), September 30, 1998.

I love this quote from the article:

"John Wilson, chief economist at San Francisco-based Bank of America, says Y2K could have a major impact on key sectors, including transportation, finance and electric utilities.

But Y2K "just isn't going to gut the economy," Wilson says, because companies in those sectors are already focused on being ready."

The guy is saying that the iron triangle is going down but the effect won't gut the economy.

He may be right.........there may not be anything left to gut after the vultures that gather from emerging nation depressions get through picking our bones.

-- rocky (rknolls@hotmail.com), September 30, 1998.

I have to dig up an old essay I wrote on the whole "not getting it" phenomenon. Of course it is a function of psychological defense mechanisms,... that goes without saying.

Whenever I hear anybody talking about "fixing" after January 1, 2000 I can hardly stop my guffaw. So I'm sitting here saying go rocky, Amy and others....This is what some folks are not getting: Fix computer systems after? Not without reliable source of electricity. No grid. And if so, prove it. Ain't enough fossil fuel generators, wind turbines and photo-voltaic collectors. Get it?

As Fred Rogers might say: Can you say "electricity"? I knew you could!

-- Donna Barthuley (moment@pacbell.net), September 30, 1998.

Donna, I may not agree with the points you make, but I do agree that anyone who disagrees with me is exhibiting some sort of psychological pathology. Sorry that includes you, but you know how it is.

Meanwhile, I had a long talk with my local utilities y2k manager. He said the usual (we have problems and expect to fix them). He also said we are a net exporter of power, we can disconnect computerized systems and run manually if possible (and have done so as part of our contingency planning), we can disconnect from the grid and continue to supply power to our district (and have procedures in place to do so as part of contingency planning). Yes, this may mean the grid goes down and net power importers will be in the dark. In a wide-scale emergency, options are limited.

So some locations will still be up even assuming worst case (an assumption that has never yet come to pass). All in all, the situation is so muddled, unknown and unpredictable that anyone who thinks they 'get it' is deluding themselves. Which I grant does make you feel more comfortable, right Donna?

-- Flint (flintc@mindspring.com), September 30, 1998.

Actually, the "not getting it" rarely applies to people I meet at Y2K sites. I surely do not know the scope of what is going to impact the human race, I only know something is, and my experience tells me that many human beings have had little education on cause and effect. It simply seems non sequitor to me for masses of people to be expecting computers to be "fixed" if they are powered by electricity and if electricity is at severe risk.

Didn't mean to poke personally at any one,...darn it must be the sheet constricting blood flow to my brain. Remain calm everyone, and check your helmet straps to make sure they are secure!

-- Donna Barthuley (moment@pacbell.net), September 30, 1998.

WOW! When the very people whose whole identities revolve around NOT panicking people publicly admit to storing "five to seven days worth" of stuff - that's enough to make you sit up and look at this as maybe a little bit serious, no? For heaven's sake - I hate it when someone thinks I am that stupid.

-- Melissa (financed@forbin.com), October 02, 1998.

This isn't the first "schizophrenic" Y2K story I've read. It seems to be common in newspapers. The writer or some authority proceeds to explain everything that could go wrong. Then the story ends with a wise crack like "better have the flashlight handy!" or a conclusion that things will probably be fine 'cause everyone's working real hard. Is this denial, do they not get it, are they lousy journalists.... I just scratch my head when I read this kind of stuff.

-- Mike (gartner@execpc.com), October 03, 1998.

Can a journalist really get it? From what I have seen over the past few years, most don't really get anything. They operate on rumor. They lie. So what if it's wrong. Who did they scoop? Dan Rather: "We are first to report this lie...oops...story." I wonder how long it will take them to get back on Clinton and Monica after the Y2K recovery starts.

-- Dave (dave22@concentric.net), October 03, 1998.

I for one am not worried, just a lil bit concerned over what may happen. Being that i am in the insurance industry, i will NOT be working soon, real soon. FOOD for thought, insurance policies usually go on a year to year renewal, so come Jan of 1999, WATCH the insurance industry. When you see Traveler's Group, which is ALREADY having a rough time in the market, BUYER BEWARE. I predicted LONG before that the government would soon exclude y2k and lo and behold, it did. Again I say watch the insurance industry CLOSELY on Jan 1, 1999

-- notworried (unknown@aol.com), October 03, 1998.

No journalist has ever been held accountable for being wrong...yet.

They are technically incompetent - can't understand what is going on, why it can't be fixed by their "big government" counterparts viewing things from their socially and polictically corupt fueled ivory tower.

They won't understand until Manhatten and Hollywood go dark. For a long time. A very long, cold time. A very long, hungry, cold time.

-- Robert A. Cook, P.E. (Kennesaw, GA) (cook.r@csaatl.com), October 03, 1998.

Mike, I believe that you are on target: Being able to semi-accrately portray the impact of Y2K as many stories are starting to do, but then ending with a statement to the effect that the whole thing is minor if not trivial, is legitimate Y2K denial. It has become more advanced it its stages -- from "There is no problem" to "There is a MINOR problem but it is no big deal" to, now, "There is a MAJOR problem but it is no big deal."

-- Joe (shar@pei.com), October 05, 1998.

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