Circle of Dominoes statiscal engine : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Check out the web-based interactive engine at

It is designed to look at the laws of probability and linked dependencies on the critical infrastructure.


-- MVI (, December 04, 1998


If you want to skip the intro on the above, go directly to:


-- MVI (, December 04, 1998.


I like that thing, even though it hurt to see the results, in my case

I would only add one more filter to the field:

Odds that Infomagic is correct?

It looks like it's "lock & load" time.


-- sweetolebob (, December 04, 1998.

Problem is .... he's simplified things, and so it actually is more complex than shown (more easily reaching a critical fialure point) and there are more things interfacing with each other than shown (ex: payroll requires recepits requires at least customers able to be pay on time. no payroll, no workers, no repairs or services.)

So final probability of system failure is greater than shown.

-- Robert A. Cook, P.E. (Kennesaw, GA) (, December 04, 1998.

Robert A. Cook, P.E.;

Yeah, I got that too. That's what got me a mite concerned, so I re- ran it with "pollyanna" figures.

Still comes up "snake eyes".


-- sweetolebob (, December 04, 1998.

Robert, they forgot the forth leg, spirit, will and attitude.

We have just over one year to figure out the contingency plans and implement them to get ready for a Y2K global campout.

Tick. Tick. Tick. Different paths are still possible.


-- Diane J. Squire (, December 04, 1998.

One would have to be a truly extraordinary individual to be able to accurately assess the status of each component in the "circle of dominoes". The irony of the little schema is that no one is really competent to make an assessment of each factor, perhaps not even one(!), so the invitation to figure it out for yourself is like an invitation to fly an F-16 to a non-pilot. The "division of labor" exists because of the confidence we have in each other. The judgement one makes about the outcome of this computer problem is not an expert assessment of the probability of the failure of the system, it is an expression of one's subjective confidence in the system. There are no experts, but there are plenty of demagogues and wannabe demagogues to fill the void.

If the system falls apart ala Ayatollah North et alia, it won't be because the y2k problem couldn't be managed, it will be the result of the failure of the mutual confidence that prevails, or, what is called the "social contract".

People will fail to cooperate with one another. It is clear that some people in this forum are so frightened of one another that they are preparing for the moment when they will have to shoot some one. Do they imagine themselves to be more highly evolved than people in the inner cities, whom they have already consigned to hell? Does the circle of social confidence extend no more than 3 feet around such people?

If the attitudes of some in this forum represent a significant portion of the population, we are in real trouble because the social contract is bound to fail when the system is stressed, that is to say, when the comforts of such people are threatened.

If you are afraid that a system failure will bring the bloody maniacs out of the woodwork, stop a moment, take a long look at yourself in the mirror. You may find yourself looking at one.

-- Joseph Danison (, December 04, 1998.

yeah, Joe, whatever.

-- humpty (, December 05, 1998.

Joseph, you make extremely interesting points. I wonder how close America is to the former Yugoslavia, say, as of the 1970's. Seemed like a calm place. I bet anybody who then expressed fears about the 'social contract' similar to what you have read on this forum would have been regarded as a bloody-minded maniac. And yet... This is such a chicken and egg thing. If the Bosnia Muslims had been a littlle paranoid, had armed and drilled in advance, and been aware, perhaps the scenes of girls being raped in front of their parents, then shot, could have been avoided ? You probably think American is much more stable than that, no historical enmities to speak of. Sure hope you are right. Hope the enemies are only fear, and the computers, NOT one another.


-- runway c. cat (, December 05, 1998.


As a medic, I've played in some interesting places, and I still drink with the guys in those places. The gauzy tissue of faith on which is written this "social contract" is woven in ivory towers, or on hills like the one that is the basis for Shaker and University Heights. It is woven from strands spun in coctail parties in living rooms which are exact duplicates of Martha Stewart's last program. All of this spinning and weaving is done by people who have very little understanding of the "Other contract" which is the "Law of Fang and Claw" as it is translated to Cityscape. I drive through this Cityscape many times in a night, I respond to its inhabitants as a Red Cross Disaster Volunteer. the social contract does not hold in the parts of the city where our liberal leaders have taken away the basic dignity of the individual and the need to work to support oneself. The people who are spinning and weaving this silken gauze have no way of conceiving of the thought processes of the inhabitants of the Cityscape. When you try to take a person out of the Cityscape, the first , and I mean ABSOLUTELY FIRST thing that must be taught is the relationship of work (regular and consistant(-2sp)) to money received. After 3 or 5 generations, the concept of an honest day's work for an honest day's pay has been successfully unprogrammed by the brie-sipping and chablis eating folks in the coctail parties on the hill (or their representatives in the Capitol(your choice of capitol)).

the concept of a "social contract" is completely foreign on the street, unless we are referring to the way different gangs handle themselves on neutral turf. Anything else, anything that smacks of "for the greater good" or "for my own good, I shall deferr" is rapidly laughed away.

The opinions expressed above come from nightly observations, discussions with medics who still work in the Cityscape, Law enforcement, and gangbangers themselves.

Chuck, a night driver

-- Chuck a night driver (, December 05, 1998.

Go Joseph go.

Often when the "thin veneer" of civilization argument is used, proponents site the inner cities first, which is somewhat valid but NOT entirely, and they forget the other 95% of the population who do care, do love, do work, do want to make a difference. Those people just don't make the nightly news or the headlines. They should.


-- Diane J. Squire (, December 05, 1998.

I'm wid chew, Chuck. I've spent many an evening at dinners and cocktail parties with academians (faculty, not students) and have always found the company of those with the word "social" in their degree to be the most difficult to listen to.

At the most recent event, a sweet lady who has proudly just attained a PhD in Social Something was loudly stating that the 2nd Amendment had outlived it's usefulness. This was the same lady who, at the last gathering, had loudly stated that human beings do NOT have instincts, only animals have instincts (something about humans being too high on the old road of evolution...).

She is a pleasant woman, good heart and all of that, but she is not the sort of person who is not willing to envision herself driven to the point of being able to kill for food, even for the sake of conversation. It is, of course, those of us who can admit to having slobbering animals at the core of our beings who will bring society crashing down upon those of us who are above all of that. By the way, did you hear that Marge Schwartz is sleeping with the new associate professor over in Biology?

Yada, yada, yada.

I have to go see about getting more lead for the reload kit.

-- Arewyn (, December 05, 1998.

Arewyn,...rather reminds me of a Heminway quotation I am fond of....

"Nothing human is foreign to me."

Unfortunately some of the detached methods of "higher education" forget this. As you I suspect know,...not all of us with minds to think are as detached from reality.

-- Donna Barthuley (, December 05, 1998.

Chuck, Arewyn, I basicly agree with you with a couple of stipulations:

1. Chuck: the "neutral turf" you mentioned *is* a social contract and generally exists because the participants agree that it is to their own benefit to do so.

2. I would submit that there will be another category of conflicts which will arise (in fact do arise already in some areas) when post y2k communities seek to re-establish local standards - given the disintegration of the fedgov, and all which that implies. As such local standards vary radically from place to place, even if someone were to successfully relocate from an upper middle class burb to a rural area, I have to wonder what their actual chances are of being able to successfully negotiate reasonable cooperation with their neighbors?


3. There is another form of implied social contract - and that is the contract *within* the group. I would submit that social contracts will not simply disappear, but that the groups which they effect will be substantially smaller.

just my 2 cents' worth, Arlin Adams

-- Arlin H. Adams (, December 05, 1998.

I'm still shaking!!!

-- More Dinty Moore (Not @this, December 05, 1998.

it's always pitiful when somebody goes on in a moralistic fashion about hard work for an honest buck and points an accusatory finger at the human detritus in the cities. you want to talk about welfare chiselers and lazy bastards, take a look at the top of the pyramid, because there's not alot of difference between them and the scumbags at the very bottom angling for a free ride. no moral difference, just appearances. and as for the academics behind their ivy covered walls, and all their mental masturbating, they deal in words chiefly, and thank their lucky stars for a secure berth on the gravy train. the "social contract" is a matter of the heart, which is evidenced in the ways I feel about my neighbors and the votes I cast. how does the productive majority of people feel, how thin is the veneer of cooperation, or how thick? the criminal element in the city is mostly a dark fantasy of this majority's worst fears. it's far less significant than conservative moralists think it is. it is not the problem, just another symptom, as is y2k.

Ayatollah Gary North is one self-righteous prig of a conservative moralist, a termite in the social structure, a demagogue with a cruel agenda. i don't like the system anymore than he does, but i hate cruelty more, particularilly cruelty and bloodymindedness that goes around in a disguise of reason + moral rectitude. many people in this forum immitate him and use y2k just as he does: as an opportunity to express their own heart problems. the only "cityscape" most of them have seen is NYPD Blue.

lack of confidence in the system leads to paranoia and the collapse of the social contract, and there's plenty of reason to have no confidence in the system. y2k didn't create this lack of confidence and y2k won't bring the system down. y2k is a symptom, not a cause. I would like to see people discussing ways to create a system in which one can have confidence. I get tired of crybabies going on about their guns and their defensible perimeters.

America is not Bosnia, but demogogues like North are doing their best to make it that way. He's cloning himself quite effectively.

-- joseph danison (, December 05, 1998.

To be honest, I dislike North also. His Christian-rightwing-extremism scares me a bit; something makes me picture black-clad Northtroopers hanging atheists and gays (my girlfriend will tell you which one of those I am) in the light of burning buildings.

People should have the right to choose their own beliefs. What one person believes is nobody else's business but their own, UNLESS those beliefs will make them go out and cause trouble for other people (as I fear North will attempt to do).

Guns and defensive perimiters are something I fervently hope won't be neccessary. That's hope. I also believe that they *will** be neccessary, because when society collapses there will be a lot of hungry people with guns. I don't like it -I *CANNOT* see myself shooting to kill- but I don't like y2k very much either.


-- Leo (, December 06, 1998.


I have two disagreements with you.

Y2K will bring the system down. If you don't understand that, it can only be that you do not understand the situation or that you refuse to understand it.

And, although Y2K is not a cause (as you stated), it is not a symptom either.

It is clearly a result.

-- Hardliner (, December 07, 1998.

Joseph Danison,

one. You've made a good point about the 'social contract" - Diane has more effectively broadened it into "community responsiveness" elsewhere.

But - you've entirely neglected the "moral" aspect of the contract - the other partners in that contract must not WANT to do me harm, must not WANT to steal from me or rape my wife.

That part of the contract between a stranger and me as we both walk towards each other downtown at night can be shown to be completely missing - as examples look at the murder, rape, and robbery statistics. If he (the other guy walking towards you) does not share completely your "social contract" - and people tell me that 30% of those walking the inner cities at night have either already committed felonies, are wanted for felonies, are on probation as felons, or have been released from prison as felons, why should I believe there is a "viable social contract" with that stranger?

If "he" - whatever race, creed, or nationality - is using force, or threatening me with force - what are my alternatives under your 'social contract" theory? As fas as I can tell now, his part of the "social contract" is "Give me your money. Give me your property. Give me your life - I might let you get it back." Leaving robbery aside - certainly it is now - "Give me your tax dollars - I'll let you keep 55% of what you earn."

Two. The social contract you mention is largely irrelevent to Y2K issues. How will a "social contract" affect whether somebody in Atlanta gets power or water? I can't get it to them. My water company can't run pipes there. Can't pump water there. Can't send natural gas there. Can't send power there - if the grid is down, we don't have power either. Can't fix the phone network in that area. Three.) Assume your "social contract" theory calls for government redistribution of ?????. How can the "government" get power to a place when the local utilities have failed? What does the government know that the utilities don't? How can the government get thousands of tons of water into pipes? How can the government distribute natural gas if the satellite controls are out? (They went outbecause NASA failed - so who fixes the NASA programs? FEMA?)

The social contract is nice to talk about - but like most liberal solutions - it doesn't solve the problem, only creates bigger problems. And disguise under "wanna-be's" and fairy tales the real problems still present.

-- Robert A. Cook, P.E. (Kennesaw, GA) (, December 07, 1998.

Joseph Danison:

A hint. After posting your reply, read the notice on that first "replY' page from the forum. It will show you how to copy your name and address to a "cookie" in your PC so you don't have to re-type your address each time. Saves time and effort.

If your regularly clean your "Cookie" subdirectory of extraneous entries - go to "explorer" and find your "cookie subdirectory (normally under the WinNT or 95/98 main directory) and change the latest "cookie" you find into Read Only. (List by "date" and it will be at the top.) Then it won't be accidently deleted later by your cleanup routine.

-- Robert A. Cook, P.E. (Kennesaw, GA) (, December 07, 1998.

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