So called "illogic" (long)greenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread
Maria and Paul, isn't GN's own "main categories" list in non-compliant format? I do not think either of you are "idiots." However, I trully think you've taken leave of your senses, to call the responses you've received as "illogical."
You think: "Gosh, these doomsayers are so absolutist even the slightest bit of y2k non-compliance anywhere sets them to thinking 'it's the end of the world! the sky is falling!!!'" You are totally, patently, utterly incorrect in that analysis. Of course there are non-compliance issues which will have non-catastrophic results (eg. writing in non-compliant form for convenience-sake, your clock showing the wrong time, oversight software not functioning properly at a power-plant which is over-regulated to begin with).
Nevertheless, the fact that the 7, or 8, or 800 plants are in compliance is not good news at all. Yes, of course it is good that some have made it, of course that is great to hear, I am very relieved by any good news whatsoever, when so much is at stake. Therefore, to say, "yes, that is good news, and others will surely follow suit, and get compliant" is logical. I think it is reality. I trully and honestly believe that many businesses, and utilities will achieve compliance, just as you've pointed out, at least in their most critical operations.
But to believe that there is, and will be more good news (on that point I agree with both of you), and to still believe that the grid may go down, completely, and for a good long while, are not mutually exclusive ideas, or in any way whatsoever "illogical."
Fact: Telecommunications are absolutely vital in controlling the grid. Where is the evidence that they will be up and running? Where is it? If you can find it, I would be very happy to acknowledge it.
Think "small sub-station outside San Fran," and "small plant in Idaho."
Fact: If 30% of generation goes down, the whole grid will either go down, or be highly comprimised. 7 or 8, or even 800 power plants does not translate into 70% of power generation (800/7800= .102, i.e. 10% compliance). BTW, 7800 is just the number of power *companies* not plants. Oh, but wait, there's a hydroelectric plant in western NC which is compliant, and that company in Oregon is very confident...
Please, listen to what people are *actually* saying, i.e. that .01% good news, and 99.99 % catastrophic news, STILL AMOUNTS, PRACTICALLY, FOR ALL INTENTS AND PURPOSES, IN THE REALM OF REALITY, AS PRETTY FRIGHTENING NEWS!!!
Can we just admit this, and move on? Or, do we have to add "balance," which really means that we unduly, without reason, and, dare I say it, *illogically* weight the good news to the point where .01%, or 5%, or 10% compliance becomes: "Whew, that was a close one. I am so glad that we are now in the clear. Thank goodness we are going to dodge the bullet!!"
-- Sean Fitzgerald (firstname.lastname@example.org), January 08, 1999
Thank you Sean, for saying what I have, sadly, become too pissed of and cynical too put into words. These are the people whose minds stopped working in kindergarten when they realized that parroting authority, the consensus reality, got them the emotional and social rewards they were looking for. Focus on your own preparations, and let these idiots go their way. If you are well prepared, start preparing for your neighbors who won't get it in time - their happiness will be your security. Good luck.
-- E. Coli (email@example.com), January 08, 1999.
I will second that one. I feel the same way myself.
-- sweetolebob (La) (firstname.lastname@example.org), January 08, 1999.
I don't believe that I've seen ".01% good news, and 99.99 % catastrophic news". I've seen that even the so called experts don't know what will happen. Excuse me but that doesn't sound catastrophic to me. I recall that many on this forum predicted a "meltdown" on 1/1/99. Where's the meltdown? I also recall that some predicted that the failues that occur on 1/1/99 would represent about 3 - 8% of the failures that occur on 1/1/00. Well if that's true, then 1/1/00 will be pretty harmless. I'm still waiting for the 99.99% catastrophic news.
-- Maria (email@example.com), January 08, 1999.
Sean, I am another Maria and generally keep out of discussions of predictions. Just want you to know how much I appreciate the tone of your post. It is clear,you apply logic and you treat those you disagree with respect. However, discussions of just how bad y2k will be will not cease. If Paul and (Troll) Maria didn't think y2k were an issue, they wouldn't post here and Maria wouldn't be as prepared as she is. But posters who imply anyone who doesn't come to the same conclusions they do is not thinking at all, or worse, will continue to provoke rebuttal from independent types, whatever their convictions. And then there are the regular posts of "On a scale of.... where would YOU rate y2k?" Especially since 2% non-compliance could be enough to cause all sorts of problems, if it is in strategic places. In non-strategic places we could handle a lot more non-compliance. Assuming, of course, that TEOTWAWKI does not mean having to turn the buttons on your TV manually or similar matters of convenience.
-- Maria (firstname.lastname@example.org), January 08, 1999.
*Troll* Maria (and that other one, too),
Troll Maria writes:
I'm still waiting for the 99.99% catastrophic news.
You have a point, perhaps "catastrophic news" is not a good characterization. I interpret it that way, because the evidence is overwhelming that no company is comfortable in proclaiming compliance. If there were a single website for any power company I've visited, i.e. PG and E, Peco, Connectiv, etc., where they didn't give a boilerplate statement that they were "confident" of a 12-31- *98* completion date for implementation, which did in fact make that deadline, I'd feel a lot better. The fact that 99.9%, or for the sake of argument, 70%, or even 50% seem not to have made it, is cause for downright alarm. I think the proper interpretation is that catastrophe is imminent. Remember, Manhattan went down for 5-27 hours in 1977. This led to the single largest incident of looting in human history, in terms of monetary value. Even intermittent power could be (give your own percent likelihood, the senate committee shown on C-Span put it at 70%, last August, was it?) a catastrophe. Does that mean "it will happen?" No. But it's really frightening, right? It sounds like there is a strong likelihood that we are looking at such a scenario at the very least. I say 99.9% bad news, because I think that's where it is, when you account for interconnectivity, and the sheer seriousness and ubiquity of the problem. I just think we will see a lot of Auckland, San Fran type situations. I think it is a 99.99% likelihood that such incidents will be frequent, or that a complete collapse is immenent. Am I an expert? No. Do some experts think that's silly? Yes. Do I have grounds to disbelieve the optimists, and are there experts who also see catastrophe looming? Yes, and yes.
Thanks to all for the responses.
-- Sean Fitzgerald (email@example.com), January 08, 1999.
Sean, I understand that no company will post their status but that doesn't mean that they are non-compliant. My company is compliant but I haven't heard any press releases to that effect. So based on that I believe that many other companies are compliant but not publishing. I may be wrong but it's another opinion.
Maria, I have been posting alot lately only because of my frustration. I read this forum (and others) because in my current job i need to dvelop contingency plans and want to know of failure possibilites. And as for my house, i wondered if anyone would pick up on that. We build the house in 1982. There was a natural drain on the lot so we thought of collecting the water and using it during the summer months for our landscape. It saves on water bills. I've always had big pantries and an extra freezer. I buy food on sale and need storage. At that time, wood burning stoves were in (now there's too much regulation on them), so we bought one. I prefer fireplaces. And passive solar was a "left over" from the energy crisis of the '70's. Anyway we plan on moving in the spring and I will advertize it as a Y2K compliant house. Do I have any takers? The only thing our new house will have is the oversized pantry and freezer.
-- Maria (firstname.lastname@example.org), January 08, 1999.
"Please, listen to what people are *actually* saying, i.e. that .01% good news, and 99.99 % catastrophic news, STILL AMOUNTS, PRACTICALLY, FOR ALL INTENTS AND PURPOSES, IN THE REALM OF REALITY, AS PRETTY FRIGHTENING NEWS!!!"
Actually, thats a vast overstatement. I wish it were either 99.99% bad news or good news. But that is simply not the case. We have a few, credible reports of a few utilities doing well in their remediation and testing at the plant generation level. We have a few, credible reports of some serious problems in various areas in a few plants. The overwhelming Y2K 'fog of war' covers everything else. Various doomers and various pollys infer support for their particular view from indirect sources. For example, my local utilty has only spent 10% of the money budgeted for Y2K. Does that mean they still have 90% of the project to do? Maybe, maybe not. Maybe they dramatically overbudgeted. Or maybe they dramatically underbudgeted (ala AT&T). I have a few decades of experience with large corp software projects and I can't remember one that was underbudgeted by 90% or 70% or 50%... well, you get the idea. So, their 10Q numbers worry me. But, its still indirect evidence! Lets try for a little patience and less rhetoric. Americans are infamous for their impatience. They want proof of the '99 errors now even though many won't be apparent for months. Right now, the calculus is still the same. If you don't get prepared for a disaster SOON the window of opportunity may close. Feel like betting your life (and your family's) on whats in the Fog?
-- RD. ->H (email@example.com), January 08, 1999.
-- RD. ->H (firstname.lastname@example.org), January 08, 1999.
Perhaps the most important point to consider in trying to get a feel for what lies ahead is one that Gary North makes: at this time, based on the information we now have, what reason is there for thinking the worst will not happen?
There is no objective specific reason to support the position that Y2K is going to be an easy ride. None of the key infrastructure components (electrical power, banking, telecommunications, government) is compliant at this point. None. Until enough of them can prove, with third party documentation, that they are compliant, there is simply no sensible reason to think the worst is going to happen.
-- cody varian (email@example.com), January 08, 1999.
Cody -- didn't you mean to write "there is simply no sensible reason to think the worst is notgoing to happen?
As to whether it will or it won't, or whatever intermediate degree of disruption will occur, remember Pascal's wager. In this context it tells me: if I'm ready for something I'm better off than if I'm ready for nothing.
-- Tom Carey (firstname.lastname@example.org), January 09, 1999.
Thanks for the interesting response. You too Maria, it sounds as if you are in better y2k prep than the vast majority (but don't sell!!).
As for what RD wrote, "The overwhelming Y2K 'fog of war' covers everything else. Various doomers and various pollys infer support for their particular view from indirect sources"
There is an important point in this. Also, to give "balance," in the best sense, there was the recent power outage in SF for a good while, and there was no looting, no terror, etc. But there are some facts which emerge from the incident which are important and instructive. First is that little errors can lead to cascading failure in power for large areas. Second, there is no really quick "go to manual" for the vast majority of individuals, organizations, buildings, and transportation infrastructures in a city. Those facts are not very foggy, at least not so much so as the 10Q you cite, and Maria's correct assertion that non-statements of compliance do not necessarily mean non-compliance (although...).
The mayor's reaction speaks for most:
Hmmm... I am frightened. I think we are in serious trouble if ALMOST every utility achieves compliance, lol ;)
For more interesting info on the SF outage, cf. http://www.latimes.com/sbin/iawrapper?NS-search- set=/3696f/aaaa003QK96f823&NS-doc-offset=0&NS-adv-search=0&
-- Sean Fitzgerald (email@example.com), January 09, 1999.
For some reason, my quote of Willie Brown's didn't come out, so here it is:
An angry Mayor Willie Brown, overseeing operations from the Office of Emergency Services, fumed about the lack of backup for the city's power grid. "I assume you would have some system that would be backup when you have human error," Brown said. "Obviously they do not have it in place. They do need it. . . . We're on a peninsula. There always ought to be alternative methods for energy to be delivered."
-- Sean (Again) (firstname.lastname@example.org), January 09, 1999.
Walk into a Western Union station. Pick up a telegram pad, and turn over a sheet. You will find a contract on the back. That contract does not give any sort of guarentee that Western Union will deliver the message on the front of the sheet. It does say that they will try to deliver a message if you pay for it - but time taken in delivery is not of the essence of the matter, and if the message does not reach its destination they are not responsible. Practically every service company in America does something similar. You will never get a guarentee of power delivery from a power supplier. This is not a new thing - it goes back as long as I can remember. So you can either accept their assurances or not - but you absolutely will not get a guarentee of service - not last year - not today - and not next year either.
-- Paul Davis (email@example.com), January 10, 1999.
Good point. Now, what happens 99% (probably higher) of the time a Western union message or wire is used?
What are the chances that, despite a lack of guarantees, i can one to go through? 99%? What are the chances I'll get my light to go on by flicking the switch? 99% (Unquestionably higher)?
Now, here is the point. While a lack of a guarantee of delivery of electricity is par for the course, for obvious legal reasons, making any lack of guarantees not a troubling fact in and of itself, when it's stressed, and in the context of y2k remediation...
Well, tell me Paul, what do you think the chances are that light's going to go on in Jan of next year? 99%?
*Significantly* less? If so, how "significantly?"...
Lack of guarantees is no smoking gun, as far as evidence of problems, but that doesn't mitigate cause for alarm, do you think?
-- Sean Fitzgerald (firstname.lastname@example.org), January 11, 1999.
"I don't believe that I've seen ".01% good news, and 99.99 % catastrophic news". I've seen that even the so called experts don't know what will happen. Excuse me but that doesn't sound catastrophic to me. I recall that many on this forum predicted a "meltdown" on 1/1/99. Where's the meltdown? I also recall that some predicted that the failues that occur on 1/1/99 would represent about 3 - 8% of the failures that occur on 1/1/00. Well if that's true, then 1/1/00 will be pretty harmless. I'm still waiting for the 99.99% catastrophic news." --Troll Maria
What Maria is actually saying, is that unlike those of us who DON'T want to wait for catastrophic news and take insurance because of the perceived percentage threat (whatever this percentage is to each of us), she chooses to NOT take insurance, instead gambling on her perceived percentage of likeliness that the sky will not fall.
Arguing with people like Maria is self-flagellating. She made her choice which is opposite of ours. It's her choice, whatever we think of it. All we can do is take people like this into consideration in our preparations.
-- Chris (email@example.com), January 11, 1999.
Chris wrote: Arguing with people like Maria is self-flagellating. She made her choice which is opposite of ours. It's her choice, whatever we think of it. All we can do is take people like this into consideration in our preparations.
No need for you to argue with me just give me some facts to support your position. And when you take people like me into consideration, also consider the numbers. For I am in the majority. At least I am Y2K literate, there are many more who can't even spell Y2K.
-- Maria (firstname.lastname@example.org), January 11, 1999.
>> No need for you to argue with me just give me some facts to support your position.
For all the people of all views saying, "we just don't know", all hindered by a lack of "direct" facts... isn't discretion the better part of valor?
I don't know, it seems as though the facts don't bear out buying fire insurance on your house...
On the basis of the societal upset alone - millenium-end, apocalypse, not even taking into consideration the tech aspect - is there not prudence in preparing for more trouble, rather than less?
As for direct facts - Y2K budgets, missed project deadlines and the very silence of utility companies are facts. Their interpretation or explanation is not as evident. There is no more reason to infer the best than there is to infer the worst. That's one of the problems of silence, where compliance statements are desired.
>> And when you take people like me into consideration, also consider the numbers. For I am in the majority.
Oh, c'mon now. This really doesn't merit a response, does it?
-- Grrr (email@example.com), January 11, 1999.
The problem there, Ms Troll Maria, is that you are arguing "because I'm in the majority" - and I will concede you are, most peopel do not act like they are really expecting the potential problems that are likely to occur - "then I'm right, and there will be few problems."
But the programs, controllers, and processes depending on several layers of intertwined infrastructure systems don't CARE what you or the majority of the population think, decide, or feel is correct about Y2K. These systems will blindly fail (or partially fail, or completely fail - take your pick) regardless of what you want to happen. They will only respond to correction ahead of time or "fix on failure" - if it can be fixed without power, heat, and light.
And I see very little credible evidence that enough is fixed now to assume enough will be fixed in time to prevent massive failures.
Also, as the grid gets "parcelled" into smaller units, it becomes less stable since each load and each generator has a greater impact on the power quality and stability.
-- Robert A. Cook, P.E. (Kennesaw GA) (firstname.lastname@example.org), January 11, 1999.
No Robert my point from that comment "I'm in the majority" was that you need to consider the numbers in your preparation. Not that "I'm right". I know as much (or as little) as you know. What I was trying to say when Chris wrote to prepare for people like me was that there are many people (the majority) who think like me. Prepare for those kinds of numbers.
Troll Maria BTW Space stuff is lots of fun. I would be happy to give your daughter any info she wants.
-- Maria (email@example.com), January 11, 1999.