Y2K thought for the day...greenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread
"Uncertainty seems an appropriate stance here. It appears that we have built a technological civilization of such complexity that even brilliant people cannot compute with certainty just how all the hidden loci of the Y2K bug, and all the dense links of interconnectedness, will play out when the clock strikes midnight. How much of our great global carriage will turn into a pumpkin? Who knows?
In the face of ambiguity, as in a Rorschach test, we humans manifest much that warrants our exploring in depth. And, as one who lacks the means to decide between the competing views of the predictors, and who seeks to understand humankind, this is what gives Y2K its special relish: that it seems uncertain whether the human folly here is the catastrophism of the alarmists or the denial of the business-as-usual types.
With that uncertainty, I'd say let's hold both possibilities in our minds and see what we can learn about ourselves, with our capacity and impulse both to imagine nightmares that are not there and to deny painful realities until they engulf us."
Andrew Bard Schmookler www.worldwide-interads.com/schmookler/
I like the last sentence. Kind of puts things into perspective...
-- a (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 12, 1998
The reason why I believe this is a fence-straddling feel-good exercize:
If the people who are preparing are wrong, what are the conseqences? A lot of people with real goods on their hands and an increased sense of self-reliance.
If the people who are telling us not to prepare are wrong, what are the consequences? Shock, mass starvation, rioting, a real need for martial law, insurrection...
This kind of philosophical "musing" while Rome burns lacks prudence. It's okay if you and your community are prepared for the worst though. Are you?
-- E. Coli (email@example.com), November 12, 1998.
I was going to ignore this one, this just pass it off as a meaningless gobbledegook rambling by some one who'd rather blather about philosophy and "examining the human condition" rather than finding and fixing things, but then I thought about it agian:
He's right - to a certain point - the critical, most "strongly-discussed" threads are always those discussing either religioun (an inherently undiscussable item - one is literally "converted over", not "discussed over" about religious affairs) or those discussing the various what-ifs?/what will happen?/what will everyone else do? scenarios.
So I grant the writer his observation:
But add the caution that (as noted above) that those who would think they, from an ivory tower, believe they will rise up and mythically stay above the masses; and continue to be able to innocently observe life from afar; those idealists are going to rapidly discover a few things:
you can't eat an ivory tower,
wanting the troubles to go away won't make them disappear,
you can't drink high hopes - water doesn't flow uphill,
you can't power a city on dreams and observations,
believing the government "won't let it happen" will make it happen,
computers are very stupid - but they make people who don't think appear even more stupid,
electric power and computer programs aren't "politcally corrupt" - they don't care what the politicians say - only what they do.
It takes, like Diane found out, action, feedback, effort, and personal contact. Things can change - but to stand back and observe things - is to make them get worse.
-- Robert A. Cook, P.E. (Kennesaw, GA) (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 12, 1998.
I refuse to deny painful realities. You might as well argue that it is imprudent to make a will, or invest funds for one's retirement, or have a talk with one's doctor about medical eventualities. These things happen, and like death and taxes, we'll all go through Y2K together whether we plan for it or not.
-- Karen Cook (email@example.com), November 13, 1998.
Once again.....Pascal's Wager....substitute Y2k ......and while we are thinking y2k .... check the congressional directory at hhtp://220.127.116.11/rollcall/congdir.html for an easy way to e-mail your congressman.
-- ronbanks (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 13, 1998.
a simple defense of 'fence-straddling'....
We don't know what will happen. We don't. If anyone actually did know, they would have a supremely bright future as the richest human on earth, on Wall Street, or at the race track, or Las Vegas, since they would have a gift of clairvoyance not seen since the prophets of the Bible. Such a person could make a billion dollars in the next six months. But the fact is, we don't know.
Since we don't know, the middle ground makes the most sense. To go too far to either side presents more risk of missing the actual turn of events. Of course, if you want to prepare for the worst case, have at it; but you just may be going to an extremely high degree of unnecessary effort and expense. To go to the other extreme of complacency may be easiest for the short term, but ignores what is obviously a threat.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with taking the middle ground. To the contrary, probabability science indicates that it is the most prudent position, all things considered.
-- Itt Figgers (email@example.com), November 13, 1998.
On my tear off calendar, thought for the day: "human history is more and more a race between education and catastrophe", after all it is Friday 13th.
-- Richard Dale (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 13, 1998.
Here's a defense of "fence straddling feel good exersizes" -
While my crystal ball (and experience in the world) tells me that our civilization as it is currently configured is about to come to an end (and most likely a sad and violent end) I would also like to imagine that come, say, March or April of 2000 nothing has fundamentally changed. I would like to imagine the "few small glitches" scenario. Why? Because, although I am preparing for the worst, I don't want to have a vested interest (psychological or otherwise) in the worst coming about. In 2000, if the "few small glitches" scenario comes to pass, I want to be elated about it, not disappointed. Therefore, I allow myself a few moments here and there to enjoy "fence straddling feel good exersizes." How's that?
-- pshannon (email@example.com), November 13, 1998.
We all know that if worse comes to worst, those unprepared are S.O.L.
But there is a downside to being aware and prepared, and that is mental anguish (worry about the future that the sheep don't have), and the COST of preparations that could otherwise have gone into a bigger and better TV or a trip to the brothels of the Phillipines, and the TIME spent in preparation (a year or two out of one's life -- like being in jail) that could have gone to advancing one's career, partying, whatever. All that mentation, money and time wasted if Y2K turns out to be just a week or month blip.
Ain't I fun?
-- hulk (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 13, 1998.
Your accurate and relevant statement, "computers are very stupid - but they make people who don't think appear even more stupid" should be tattooed on the inside of every eyelid on the planet!
-- Hardliner (email@example.com), November 13, 1998.
"But there is a downside to being aware and prepared, and that is mental anguish"
What's worse? Mental anguish now and being ready IF, and survive, or death by slow fire? (or quick death, take your pick.) Depends on how much you value your life and/or those of your kids.
Anyhow, being a middlestraddler just doesn't make sense to me. Either you're not fully aware or still in denial at one end, or fully aware and must make a stand (Live or die in the worse case scenario.) Being prepared is simply insurance against worse case scenario, no matter if you think there's only a slight chance of worse case scenario.
I have an excellent driving record and feel sure of myself. I still buy insurance because I don't kid myself THAT much.
Unless one is so poor and helpless to prepare, IMO it's foolish not too. If you own a computer to post on here, you have enough means to prepare for at least the basics for several months. Matter of priorities.
Geez I'm opinionated tonight!
-- Chris (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 13, 1998.
Have you ever noticed it hurts when you straddle a barbed wire fence?
-- Robert A. Cook, P.E. (Kennesaw, GA) (email@example.com), November 13, 1998.