anticlimax of y2k : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Ed Yourdon is a lucky man to be playing host to this gathering of exceptional people who are defying the gravity of common ignorance and conspiring to understand the system that the y2k blunder threatens to undo. It's an exhilarating moment and an education not available anywhere at any price, but I am wondering what will happen to this heightened expectation when y2k arrives as an anticlimax and the system doesn't grind to a halt and just keeps on going like the Energizer Bunny? What happens to this enlightened minority of alarmists when Ed says:show's over! and pulls down his tent? Do they quietly rejoin that vast silent majority, avoiding the smirks and I-told-you-so's and nevermore stick their necks out? Or will that millennial expectation continue to burn as they finally understand that y2k was never more than a symptom, a manageable symptom that yields to a cocktail of technical interventions, and not the real cause of their dis-ease to begin with? Will they see that y2k was only a stalking horse for the more profound danger, and that the disasters they imagined as a result of y2k will not ultimately be prevented even after y2k is successfully mitigated? In 403 days when the power grid does not go down and there is a comforting dial tone in the ear, the situation will actually be more critical than it is now, but will those who have looked at the world through the keyhole of y2k finally see the forest in the trees and identify the underlying chaos threatening the natural systems upon which we are more dependent than we are on our technical infrastructure? I doubt it. Y2k alarmists only go so far outside the envelope, and not far enough to see that the code we use to interface with our natural systems is irremmediably corrupted. These systems are not designed to bear the stress of the impossible demands we impose upon them. The system of nature is not infinitely elastic as is commonly believed and as Gary North says of y2k, it cannot be fixed, because of irreconciliable conflict with the slash & burn priorities of our current way of life. There is a point of no return, though not a fixed and knowable y2k deadline. In fact, global ecological deterioration is already well underway in chronic episodes of natural disasters that are rapidly building into an acute stage that will inevitably overwhelm our ability to adapt. The computer problem is trivial by comparison. The fear of y2k is actually a displacement, a mental trick that allows y2k alarmists to avoid tackling the real issue: how do we prevent the ecological collapse that our present system of unrestrained economic growth makes inevitable? The irony is that fixing our present system rather than radically changing it is the best guarantee that the deepest fears of y2k alarmists will be realized. When y2k is just a bump in the road, don't sell your stores, my friends! Your instincts are right on track!

-- joseph danison (, November 23, 1998


Another idiot heard from.

The point of preparation is to be prepared in case it is needed. If Y2K turns out to be a speed bump, so what. I am still on my nice farm. The birds still sing. I have food for two years that is STILL consumable.

However, to think that it *will* be a speed bump is assinine. To not have the preparations in the event that they are necessary is suicidal.

So you go your merry way. And I will go mine. If I am wrong and Y2K is a non-event then I am STILL unaffected. But if you don't prepare and you NEEDED the preparations, then you are likely dead.

You can stuff the environmentalist tree hugger crap. I love cutting down trees and burning them in my woodstove. You are idiotic if you think that there is no objectively seen Y2K disaster brewing.

-- Paul Milne (, November 23, 1998.

Go Paul, go Paul, go Paul....

I love the system. Indoor plumbing, shopping malls, Wal-mart, one billion Chinese making shoes and clothes for us, big screen TV, central air conditioning (freon baby!),....

When the system crashes, I will be ready in part because of this site, Paul, Gary, Cory, etc....

-- Bill (, November 23, 1998.

If Y2k is just a bump in the road, I am going to take out my huge logging truck and smooth over the bump. Then I'm going to cut down massive amounts of trees and build a log cabin in the middle of the clearing I have just prepared. Then I'll build a fortress around the cabin and "sling" my collection of fruitcakes at anybody who walks by and attempts to say "I told you so." Finally, I will e-mail Leo and ask for my money back (its in his backyard).

-- Christine A. Newbie (here@now.gone), November 23, 1998.


Let me comment on two or three of the points you made.

First, a smooth 2000 will not be an anti-climax for me. I don't feel disappointed when a year goes by and I haven't had the chance to use that auto insurance I paid for...

Another reason a smooth 2000 couldn't be an anti-climax for me is that there are dates and points in 1999 that can give you hope about 2000 (if there is actually good news about it). If it's August 1999 and I haven't heard of a lot of early Y2K failures by that point, then I'll know that 2000 might not be that bad.

I expect to have heard about a lot of early failures by August of 1999.

You asked, "How do we prevent the ecological collapse that our present system of unrestrained economic growth makes inevitable?"

If unrestrained economic growth causes ecological collapse, then I wouldn't worry. Economic growth will be quite *restrained* in 2000.

-- Kevin (, November 23, 1998.

well said Paul!

Where did this hug the earth type come from? I sure hope we aren't doing to attract this sort! sheesh!

Arlin Adams PETA = People Eating Tasty Animals

-- Arlin H. Adams (, November 23, 1998.

Tonight, the weatherman predicted a windstorm, and we couldn't find all our flashlights. I casually strolled back to the closet, took out a votive candle, stuck it in my clear glass mug with a couple of strike anywhere lucifers and a nailfile, and I was in business. Hah! Preparedness is a sensible thing, regardless of the emergency.

-- Karen Cook (, November 23, 1998.

If you're right and it's just a bump in the road, I'm going to eat my feet, eat crow, eat my money and dance the happy dance! I'll even take a picture of myself doing it and post it on this forum for all to see!

In the meantime, I'll keep on stockpiling. The bigger the stockpile, the better the show for you ;)

-- Chris (, November 23, 1998.

Let's see, Paul Milne chimes in with Milne-Macro #23. Nothing new there. Bill Microsoft facetiously echoes the Milne-rant (Please, Lord. Tell me he was joking.) Christine does the same, but not as well. And thank you Kevin. But it seems nobody understood the point of joseph's post, nor the few words I have said in the past concerning this issue.


In it's aftermath, most people will be trying to recreate and re-establish our culture and economy based on current paradigms. They'll have learned only that "Duh, we gotta be more careful with our machines." I don't see many who will have understood that it is our maladaptive worldview that caused this technical glitch and is causing a more critical massive ecological crisis. They don't even recognise it as a crisis -- and then they go on to ridicule those who do not perceive Y2K as a problem. What a bunch of insular, short-sighted, ignorant, denialist Buttheads.

Anyone who asks, "How long will it be before we get back to normal," doesn't get it. Anyone who thinks that a few years food and some seeds and chickens will see their children through, does not appreciate the crisis of perception and spirit that has doomed us, and not just because of this silly computer glitch.

Howard Bellasshole thinks that Y2K is going to be one of the ten most important events in history. He isn't even close. Milne and his philosophical cronies think that a couple cows and enough ammo will get their children through to the recovery. What a Pollyanna. Doug Carmicheal et al. think Y2K will be a great opportunity to hasten the social/community revival they've been championing for years. Cumbaya.

If I could click my heels three times and shoot all these computers with a silver bullet, we still wouldn't make it to Y2.1K living the story we're living today. The best thing that could happen is for this to be more than just the end of the world as we know it, but in fact the end of the world. If another intelligence arises in the millenia to come, I can only pray that they have a better run than we had. A mere 40,000 years since we stacked the deck with ballistic weaponry. That's not a very long time.

A few of you on this list understand what it is I'm trying to say. Please say it for me. I'm too angry and dismayed, disallusioned, despondent and disappointed.

But I'm just ornery enough to post this anyway.


-- Hallyx (, November 24, 1998.


no fair being more negative than Infomagic...

-- a (a@a.a), November 24, 1998.


To me, you're saying that if our short-sightedness about Y2K doesn't do us in, then same short-sightedness about the environment will. Y2K is the effect of a deeper problem, not a cause.

I do believe that our environment is systemic just like our computers systems are. Nature isn't fragile, but there is a balance to nature.

As far as Y2K goes, there could be many Chernobyl's around the world in 2000.

-- Kevin (, November 24, 1998.

I don't think it's the end of the road for humans yet. There is considerable "evidence" though, that because of Y2K and other assorted environmental and military disasters upcoming, we are gonna see a culling of the earth's population that will make Hurricane Mitch seem like a spring shower. The global society seems to be setting up for a "Final Conflict" where it will be the one world government versus the disobedient masses. I think that this is what was prophesied in Revelation (notice all the upside down 666s in the 1999 dates all around us now), but I think that good and evil are more like "invisible hands" of human nature rather than a god/devil thing. On a deeper level, the post-quantum theories of consciousness now coming out provide another interesting perspective (search on microtubule). Remember, we are all just visitors here, characters in a Book. The meaning of which is something we will all need to work out for ourselves, personally, when this shit goes down.

-- a (a@a.a), November 24, 1998.

I actually agree with Paul Milne! If you are prepared and it is merely a bump in the road, the worst you can suffer is a little egg on the face (SO WHAT!). I can handle that. If its not I wouldn't say "I told you so", they'd be no point! The degree of preparedness is up to the individual incidentally. We all know what the options are.

-- Richard Dale (, November 24, 1998.

Crisis brings opportunity.

Which would be harder: Trying to completely change the nature of our currently-quite-screwed society while it is intact, or letting society collapse? It goes down. Chaos arises. Yes, millions die. I predict a possible 90%.

And then some people -achievers, leaders- will rise out of the chaos. Idealistic visionaries. People who will rebuild society the way it should be.

In that regard, I look upon y2k as a blessing. Crisis brings opportunity.


-- Leo (, November 24, 1998.

>And then some people -achievers, leaders- will rise out of the chaos. Idealistic visionaries. People who will rebuild society the way it should be.>

The idealism of youth I think, its never happened. Pragmatism, though boring is the only answer. These people do not exist, at least they don't become politicians.

-- Richard Dale (, November 24, 1998.

Leo -

You call Y2K a blessing, yet you predict a 90% death toll? I call that Hell On Earth. I would hate to see your definition of a damnation.


-- Rick Tansun (, November 24, 1998.

Rick- I think it could be interpreted as a blessing in that it could allow us to sweep away some negative things about our society.

The 90% ballpark figure that I suggested, is of course NOT a blessing. It is a price. I wish and hope y2k would not happen. I have plans for a future in which it won't. I'd rather be studying business than wielding an AK; I'd prefer to be a corporate executive than a farmer, come ten years.

But I don't look at things that way. If y2k is as inevitable as it seems to be, the only intelligent course of action is to prepare to make the best of it.

Richard- no, those people don't become politicians because they would not do well as politicians; they're too unwilling to compromise their principles in favor of votes. That's what's wrong with our society.

And those people DO exist. I'd like to think that I'm one of them.

Pragmatism is not neccessarily boring. At least in my opinion, a wild scheme that costs a lot of time and material for no results, is far more boring than a sensible but less flashy scheme that GETS RESULTS.


-- Leo (, November 24, 1998.

This is for the dingbat that Reached for the votive candle

Now that is what I call being prepared!!! ROTFLMAO

-- Anti-Chainsaw (, November 24, 1998.

Richard- no, those people don't become politicians because they would not do well as politicians; they're too unwilling to compromise their principles in favor of votes. That's what's wrong with our society. > I'm glad politicians do compromise otherwise they would all be dictators no matter how well- intentioned they think they are. With any group of people in charge at least 50% of the population would disagree with them. When you get politicians who think they're right and ride roughshod over the voter, thats what's wrong with society. Everyone thinks they're right obviously, if they 're not psychotic, whats "right" to me is not necessarily "right" to you and vice versa.

-- Richard Dale (, November 24, 1998.


Sounds like you need a dose of reality. How about one week in a cave, with no matches, no clothes, no food (except for what nature provides you)and a club to wack animals with when they come to stay in the cave with you.

Then come back here and tell us how great it was to turn the clock back 40,000 years.

I'll take Safeway, indoor plumbing, electricity, 12 ga. shotguns anyday.

-- Bill (, November 24, 1998.

I tend to read only the first few sentences of long posts written by a newcomer. I assumed he was only another denial head. But this denial head is in a rare breed, first one I see. He admits humans have been destroying themselves and thier environment, but denies Y2K is in the picture.

Joe, your case is more serious than the average denialhead, I'm afraid it could be terminal. Your narrow mind has been laser-focused on the environment for too long, while all along you were cozily going about your everyday life with the help of computer and electronics. The threat of it all being taken away from you so quickly is too much for you to bear, but you're already well used to the idea of the environment slowly being taken away from not you personally, but future generations.

Words are nice, but only real actions make a difference in life. You're not preparing, you're a problem to humanity yourself.

-- Chris (, November 24, 1998.

My impression so far is that almost everyone posting here would be enormously relieved if we reached 01/01/2000 and the next few months with no more than the ordinary incidence of infrastructure glitches.

Obviously overpopulation and all its consequences, including waste products and the psychological problems of crowded cities, will sooner or later end our string. I'm in no hurry myself to see that happen, even though I think it's inevitable barring those radical changes. Any such change has to be more than political -- it would have to be a change in consciousness. Don't hold your breath for that to happen. We have miles to go before we sleep.

-- Tom Carey (, November 24, 1998.

I just love to see someone concerned with the environment. Yes, then I ask them why they wear polyester. And if that is a digital watch. And if they own anything that uses power aside from the minimum - TV, VCR, computer etc. And how well insulated their home is. And when the last time they used a clothesline was (cheapest and most effective solar power gadget in the world). And if they burn trash paper in their fireplace for heat. And why they did not build underground. And if they raise a garden. And if they use a composting toilet. Most of these concerned mooks want to force someone else to pay to fix the problems with the environment - while they live as they damn well please.

-- Paul Davis (, November 24, 1998.

A small-minded, uneducated, anthropo-arrogant cretin, unmindful of anthropology and history, offered, "How about one week in a cave, with no matches, no clothes, no food (except for what nature provides you)and a club to wack animals with when they come to stay in the cave with you."

How about 3 million years, living in the bosom of the Earth, as safe as any other animal and better adapted than most--enjoying the love and protection of one's family and tribe, at one with Nature and with God (which was the same thing back then)?

I don't even know where to start addressing someone who knows so little about life and it's progression to the modern era--and I'm talking about ALL life not just this one aberrant species.

It's called the "balance of nature" for a reason, sir. And for 10,000 years, since the agricultural revolution, we Homo Saps have increasingly overweighted that balance. Well, heretofore, any imbalance in natural systems has always been rectified, sometimes brutally. Do you think that we are an exception? That's what the term "anthropo-arrogance" was coined to describe.

The scientific name for modern man is Homo Sapiens Sapiens--Man Smart Smart. The height of hubris, this is so funny it makes me want to cry.


"What if from the beginning of life, nature were perceived as teacher, guide, source; as important to us as our families? How differently would we live?" ---Anita Barrows

-- Hallyx (, November 24, 1998.

The myth of the "noble savage" is just that, a myth. Try an average life span of about 25 years, wracked with hunger, cold, and wrenching pain. There are no lazy days spent basking in the warm embrace of Mother Earth; each is a frantic search for enough food just to calm the hunger pangs for another 24 hours. Death never comes painlessly, in a warm bed surrounded by one's loved one. Instead it comes from the infection that set in after being mauled by a wolf or panther, from blood lost through the compound fracture of the femur sustained in a fall, from the stone knife or club wielded by the rival tribesman who has come to steal your wives and children, even from that impacted tooth that got infected and turned into an absess the size of a grapefruit on the side of your face. The most painless death is freezing. Starvation is common; cannibalism not uncommon (yes, even our enshrined "native americans" were not too infrequently cannibalistic and they frequently treated each other like s**t.)

I'm all for balance of nature; we strive for maximum balance and minimum impact here on our homestead. But it's no good glamorizing primitive cultures. I'd be thoroughly surprised if Hallyx and J.D. have any real exposure to such a life beyond the pages of National Geographic.

That being said, I agree that our culture is sick. I do not think that environmental damage is the heart of the illness but rather just one of many symptoms. Violence, obscenity, abuse, killing our own offspring, addiction, . . . you know the list. The illness is one of the heart and social engineering and a "fresh start" after Y2K are not enough. No secular solution will suffice, I think. That is becoming clearer to me as I ponder the "other side" of the computer breakdown. It will require a change of heart, an infusion of grace. Repentance. Righteousness. I'm a Catholic, so I have some pretty specific ideas about what such repentance would look like. But I do think that our hopes for a bright future on the other side of the collapse have to have a spiritual dimension or we're just fooling ourselves. That's my take, anyway.

-- Franklin Journier (, November 24, 1998.


Consider that Y2K may well be a training exercise in globally dealing with follow-on planetary problems. I do not at all think it will be an anti-climax. Neither does our government, or all the companys pouring BILLIONS of dollars into trying to fix the Y2K problem. BTW, it is a problem, with potentially drastic consequences if we dont all make wise choices.

Y2K is the most unnatural thing we've ever created. Get through that one, and we've still got the most awesome pollution mess with incredible clean-up requirements IF we choose to live gracefully on this planet. IF we do not, the domino effect of that one is just slower and way more staggering.

IF we can come together in community to either "fix" things, or prepare for all of us to weather the techno-storm, then, I am confident we can come together on the even larger issues looming on the future's horizon. Y2K may even force all of us to deeply "look" at how we live on this planet, and how we will choose to do so in the future. I hope so.

And Leo, The 90% ballpark figure that I suggested, is of course NOT a blessing. It is a price.

No, Leo. Its a failing report card for the whole of humanity.

Evolution is an upward spiral, hopefully into expanded wisdom, based on truly grasping lessons learned/offered from our unruly past.


-- Diane J. Squire (, November 24, 1998.


I agree with the majority of your post with one very big exception. Y2k will not be a bump in the road or an anti-climax. Our government is too far behind in it's on remediation for this to be possible.

I don't care if every single corporation, supplier, utlility, etc. becomes fully compliant by the turn (absolutely impossible). If our own government is not ready then y2k will be a disaster. I have no doubt that y2k will be a disaster beyond comprehension. You can't think about y2k lasting only a day or a few days. The disruptions and implications on both macro economic and socio political levels will last for years if not decades.

Regarding the "balance of nature". Nature would do well without us. Anyone who cannot comprehend how all things co-exist must gain the knowledge and the respect of this fact if they want to survive. The human race, as a whole, must gain this knowledge and respect if we care to survive. Every living organism is connected in some way. If you don't understand what an ecosystem is I suggest you learn. If you can't understand the implications of how a malformed frog might impact your life then you don't understand the very essence of life and the balance we must all strive to maintain in order to exist. If we don't look at problems currently underway because of "life out of balance" then we are basically doomed as a race. The term "carrying capacity" has much larger ramifications beyond the scope of y2k. The earth itself simply can't maintain itself under the constant pounding it is under from pollution, clear cutting, etc. I think what Joseph is saying is that beyond y2k we still face problems which are much bigger than y2k. I believe this is true.

Denial is an interesting emotion.

If you felt denial when you first heard of y2k then consider that if you dismiss these assertions as those of a "hug a tree" nut then you may well be doing exactly what "William Casey" aka "" is doing on another thread.

I do have respect for trees. They provide many, many gifts that allow the human race as well as all living creatures the ability to exist. Without trees, we could not exist.

One of the best helping hands the y2k community could use right now are organizations like Greenpeace. While I don't belong to this organization I can see the benefit we might have if they were to become involved in our present cause. I am surrounded by oil refineries, chemical manufactures, industry and I worry about just how their systems will make it through y2k. We may be looking at an extreme disaster if embedded systems or software fails.

I think what Joseph is trying to do is marshall your energies and mine for the larger impending disasters that may come in our future. The only reason I use the words "may come" is because we still have time and the ability to change the future before it's too late. Y2k may well be a great catalyst for this change.

I started a journey a number of years ago that goes along with just this kind of hope. My goal is to raise awareness about how we co-exist with Earth. My company, "Native", was to be a way to make sure that all children have the opportunity to see animals in the native habitats and not just in a zoo or a museum. If you cannot grasp the concept behind this then you can't see how selfish the attitude is that if a species is snuffed out and becomes extinct because of our arrogance this is a tragedy of huge proportions. Selection should be left to nature and not to the shortsightedness of human kind.

One of the best things that has come out of my venture was the tag line, "Live beyond the bounds of your own existance." Just as my 2 1/2 year old son drives my prepartions for surviving y2k he also drives my desire to make sure he and all children have the opportunity to see a Bull Elephant or an African Lion in it's native environment.

Sorry for the long post. Sometimes passions can consume a person and this thread has certainly hit on two of mine.



-- Michael Taylor (, November 24, 1998.

I am the dingbat that COULD walk back to the closet and get a votive candle because I am preparing, that happens to have about 30 pounds of wax ready to make more, and knows how besides.

Part of my own Y2K preparedness comes about as a result of investigating voluntary simplicity, after a long and still continued environmental awareness and committment. Put your energy into educating people about the forest instead of railing against the tree right in front of your nose. Y2K isn't like replanting an acre of forest after a clearcut, it's more like reforesting the Amazon. It will take many people to resolve the problem and find better ways of fostering inter- and independence such that one small problem doesn't bring down the whole system in the future.

-- Karen Cook (, November 24, 1998.


I think you have THE definitive post on this thread. Thank you for the perspective!

-- Kevin (, November 24, 1998.

Like I said, Ed Yourdon is lucky to be hosting this forum. I'm not in denial about the seriousness of y2k. It's symptomatic of the real problems that bedevil us, and I have no doubt that our way of life will be disrupted, and I am not arguing that anyone be complacent. I am preparing and I hope everyone else is, too. I've contacted the head of our local utility, I've spoken with our chief of police, and long before y2k awareness broke, I was a canary singing in a coal mine. I'm not the fool gearhead Milne would like to think I am. But this doesn't mean the Energizer Bunny is going to fall over and stop banging his drum. The powers that be are not so stupid as Gary North hopes. I do believe y2k is over-rated, however, and a displacement is going on so that y2k is made to carry all the fearful baggage, and furthermore, it has been seized upon because it is intellectually easy to understand as global problems go, and also amenable to fixing, whereas deeper-level problems are not so easilly understood or fixed. The enemy you don't know is the one to worry about. The other open-hearted people in this thread have amplified the point I am trying to make and I am heartened to know that others can see y2k as a symptom rather than a cause.

-- joseph danison (, November 24, 1998.

Y2k has turned out to be serious because people haven't taken it seriously enough. Warning about the possibility of widespread failure years in the future is laughed at, to what degree depends on how far in the future. Everyone laughed at it, people still do, the people making the decisions laugh at it they're no different from anyone else. Its funny you laugh at something then it becomes serious, an oxymoron? or is that word passe or is passe passe.

-- Richard Dale (, November 25, 1998.

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