NOVEMBER 1998 - INTELLIGENCE BULLETIN - 'The Millennium Reckoning' : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

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Folks interested in a real brain stimulating take on the whole Y2K scenario should read this and order the entire ( VERY LARGE ) compilation. I ordered it back in March/April 1998 and spent an entire day reading it. My brain never absorbed and exclaimed more, "Ah ha, I've thought of _that," in my life.

Please read, heed and proceed. Pass it on -- especially to Pollyanna's and immovable brainstems.

Your comments would be appreciated, too! One big meme.

Regards, Bob Mangus E-mail:

"I'm a computer 'Y2K-bomb' technician. If you see me running, try to keep up." RMangus

"Sometimes a majority simply means that all of the fools are of one mind." [Author Unknown]

Year 2000 Citizen Action Group [Y2KCAG] (Oakland County, Michigan - USA) E-mail: Pager: 810.912.8729 * A Volunteer Year 2000 Public Awareness Org. * *==================================================================* Open to preparedness items and ideas for general distribution! To subscribe: Subject: Y2KCAG subscribe PUBLIC or PRIVATE To unsubscribe: Subject: Y2KCAG unsubscribe Keep informed about and prepare for the "Year 2000 Techno-Ambush": Visit: Cassandra Project: Gary North: Sharefin's Gold Homepage: *==================================================================*

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January 1997 - "Content analysis suggests that as people become more knowledgeable about the Y2K problem and its complexity, they become more alarmed". Trend Monitor, 'The Millennium Reckoning'

November 1998 - "As companies and organisations begin tackling the computer bomb, they find the situation worse, more complicated and more expensive than they expected." Geoff Unwin, VP, Cap Gemini (Software development giant)


You may recall that we sent a digest of Trend Monitor's findings and scenarios on the year 2000 software trouble early in 1998. What we anticipated then is coming to pass now. So I thought it might be useful at this point to contribute our latest intelligence digest on the subject (which follows) -- especially now that preparing for the consequences of Y2K are known to be the "top priority" of both the Canadian and British armies!

For those of you who still need to obtain a quick understanding and update of the why's, therefore's and wider implications of this unbelievable flow of events, we will email you our July 1998 intelligence bulletin *free*. All you have to do is email LEE at, subject, 'Y2K Intelligence bullet'.

Please say who you are and whether you want it in the form of ascii email, .html attachment (for a Web browser) or .rtf attachment (for any Word Processing package). You can make as many copies (electronic or print) as you like to put your friends and colleagues into the picture, too.

Sincerely, Jan.



Overview of latest findings

The Y2K computer trouble is increasingly liable to have serious economic, social and environmental consequences, as compliance programmes fall further and further behind schedule. When we started monitoring this topic more than three years ago, it was already well-known in software engineering circles that the testing of software fixes was going to be by far the most difficult and time consuming task of all. Already companies are having to admit that even according to their most optimistic assumptions that adequate testing will not be possible in the time left.

Most recently, reports are starting to appear saying that already hard-pressed Y2K remediation budgets are being cut back because of falling revenues resulting from the global economic crisis. Meanwhile, in the US many companies are characterised as hiding problems in their Y2K programmes because of fears of how such knowledge would affect their stock prices, not to mention the confidence of their customers and their suppliers. Another impediment to sharing knowledge about Y2K is that companies are being strongly advised by their lawyers to keep their experience of Y2K remediation projects confidential so as not to expose themselves to lawsuits.

In the US and the UK where preparations are among the furthest advanced, even in the areas of basic infrastructural services, such as water and electricity, there is no certainty that continuity of service will be possible, especially considering the incidence of software project delays and the ubiquity of embedded processors which regulate time dependent functions. Reports from within the oil industry emphasise the enormity and complexity of the problems faced, especially in terms of finding, replacing and testing of an almost uncountable number of embedded processors.

There is anecdotal evidence that behind the PR gloss, responsible staff are overwhelmed by the complexity of the tasks involved in fixing the problem, testing the changes made both internally and throughout their network of suppliers and customers.

Financial institutions are among the furthest advanced in Y2K remediation and contingency planning in the US and the UK. In Europe because of the emphasis on the Euro conversion, financial institutions are lagging far behind their US and UK competitors. Indeed in some circles, Y2K compliance is beginning to be seen as a major strategic advantage in an industry in which rapid consolidation has become a grim necessity.

In the US, a self-organising, grass-roots movement aimed at community "resilience" and sustainability in the face of the Y2K threat is mushrooming all over the country. The perception among this fast growing movement is that governments are colluding with business to keep the public unaware of the full picture either because they do not understand the systemic nature of the problem or to protect their image of being in control. The justification of this policy is to prevent panic.

Content analysis suggests that Continental Europe is between a year and 18 months behind the US and six months to a year behind the UK, both in terms of Y2K public awareness and remedial action. Japan, China and East Asia are seen as being more than two years behind. In these countries, the importance of contingency planning will soon be greater than trying to fix the computer trouble. The upside, though, is that they will be able to save on the astronomical costs of reprogramming computers and replacing chips.

Policy implications

The main implication of this analysis for European, East Asian and "Third World" countries is that the time frame for creating both public awareness of the significance of the trouble and for taking remediation action will be even shorter than in the US and the UK. Contingency planning is a much more immediate priority.

As the deadline date approaches, the policy of spurious re-assurance will inevitably become increasingly untenable. Since in many cases, it is simply too late to guarantee that the problems will be fixed, businesses and communities will have to start preparing immediately for anticipated consequences.

Governments will have to be seen to be doing something to help people prepare themselves on a local level at least to have the best possible chance of surviving relatively unscathed.

The Y2K community sustainability movement in the US is already acting to make people aware of means of ensuring their most basic needs, such as food and water. As a result, there is unprecedented growth in the market for sustainability aids, from non-hybrid seeds to solid fuel stoves. (There are massive investment opportunities here!) "Third World" countries with least dependency on computerised systems and the highest proportion of agricultural self-sufficient people will have an advantage.

Of all the arms of government, the military knows by far the most about both basic survival skills and delivery logistics. In the US and the UK, the military (and the postal service) enjoy much more trust, than politicians, the police and businessmen. It is therefore logical that the military and its knowledge be used to assist in local community contingency planning. Great care would have to be taken to prevent the military being seen as "taking over". However, if the military is seen to act in a professional service role (helping with the planning of emergency food rationing and distribution systems, for example), it could make itself both very useful and very popular.

The first priority, though, must be a public intelligence campaign, outlining what is at stake and the atmosphere of radical uncertainty, which surrounds the issue. This intelligence should include a knowledgebase on local sustainability options, including relevant products and skills directories. On the premise that the antidote to panic is action, this campaign would have to be launched with a local sustainability action process in which people identify their most basic needs and make plans cooperatively to fulfill them. Assuring local food supplies is liable to be the most crucial issue of all. It is even possible that because of anticipated problems with bank liquidity; money may not be available as a means of allocating food. All these very plausible scenarios must be studied.

First, top politicians and decision makers need a comprehensive understanding and continually updated intelligence on not just the technical issues, but on how business, government, communities and individual people are preparing to meet the challenges of the compounded risks of the Millennium timebomb and the global economic crisis.

(c) Trend Monitor, November 5, 1998 (Permission is granted to make and distribute copies, but not to sell them.)

************************************************ Jan Wyllie Trend Monitor "The Information Refinery" 3 Tower Street, Portsmouth Hants. PO1 2JR, UK Tel: 44 (0)1705 864714 Email: Web:

"only what you need to know" # # #

-- Robert Mangus (, November 17, 1998


Even a full awareness campaign will not help at this point in full population prep. It all comes down to food supply. There isn't enough food now existing to supply the entire population with food for one year. We would need full budgets tapping into this fall's harvest in order to even set aside six month's emergency food. Those budgets aren't there - private or public for any nation's full population. Use a conservative baseline cost of $250 per person/year then multiply by population. Figure the physical amount. 150 lbs wheat. 125 lbs beans. 100 lbs rice. 4 gallons oil. 25 lbs sugar. Multiply those times population. This is without dealing with fresh water. Or the human sewage. There are no budgets of sufficient magnitude, and we are now too late in timeframe for mass preparation. Do the arithemetic. mitch

-- Mitchell Barnes (, November 18, 1998.

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