greenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Hope people don't mind my picking up from the earlier TEOTWAWKI rant thread, BEGINNING with a piece of one of the deep down posts by Chuck. He proposes we do try to come up with an actual connotation for the word. Wow, there's a thought!

Fact: the word is here to stay, whether we vote on it or not, like it or not. It's too evocative to dispose of and too cute for the media to ignore. Of course, it has been/will be hijaced. Who cares? I'm interested in what the GIs have to say, because it will help me continue to prepare and envision the up-ahead. Here from Chuck:


Initially 1-3 months without power. Unrest which requires extreme measures to establish the peace and keep it. A probable devolution to (at best) the late to mid- 1800's. Likely a society which in general works on manual labor for everything, ands very little electronic or other assistance.

Power restored, in certain islands of "hope".

20 plus or minus years until the islands have spread out to fill in the rest of the country, wherein there live about 60% as many as in Dec. 1999.

A very different civilization taking hold by 2020."

----end snip----

I propose seeing how much convergence/divergence we have on a specific TEOTWAKI scenario, beginning with Chuck's. For me, I'm going to think about it a bit and then post back.

-- BigDog (BigDog@duffer.com), January 18, 1999


TEOTWAWKI (n): (much like Chuck, with some emendations)

State of great confusion, with crazy quilt co-existence in US of technologies ranging from 1850-2000 in the years between 2000 and 2010. Great variations depending on where you live.

Many countries drop off map by end of 1Q 2000. 20% drop in GDP by September 2000; 25% unemployment.

Cities a disaster zone by January, 2001, just short of Mad Max. 30% dead in cities by summer 2001. Enough Guard and other armed citizen elements functioning to keep cities from entirely over-running countryside.

Rural areas suffering from extreme isolation and loss of reliable communications. Islanding as per Chuck's definition, including broadening of islands over time.

Breakdown of all Federal "services" apart from representatives and military and revenue to support same. Citizens glad to support military to fight overseas for access to desperately needed commodities. Enough weapon systems functioning by 2001 to support US largely taking over Middle East to accomplish this. 1M US troops still in uniform and overseas by 2005.

While US a disaster, rest of world hit harder (Canada, Australia, New Zealand in same shape as US and band with US immediately as co-allies). Russians are "bought" into the alliance to avoid nuclear blackmail.

Situation gradually improves after 2005. Top post Y2K career: scavenging parts that still work and cobbling them together to do amazing, though small, technical feats. Second best career: growing things. Third: home doctoring and nursing/midwifery. Fourth: ham radio and travellers bringing news between communities. Fifth: making Pollyannas feel bad.

Telecomm and Internet follow the islanding evolution with gradual link-ups of larger areas between 2005-2010.

Farther future: a never-again attitude on the part of survivors. Use of computers with the strictest possible metrics, validation and certification. Ironically, programmers who can adjust make more money than before 2000 but those who can't are shot on sight.

Well, okay, not shot on sight. After a brief trial. Hey, remember this is a definition of TEOTWAKI, not a prediction of it.

-- BigDog (BigDog@duffer.com), January 18, 1999.


One quick self-criticism and then defense of my own scenario. How do you fight overseas if revenue-collection collapses? Don't have fuel? Etc.

But unless TEOTWAWKI really is TEOTW, we have to assume that there are ways to do SOMETHING(s), just which SOMETHINGs and when? Thinking through the systemic somethings that will lead to a livable future are obviously well beyond the intent of this, I hope useful, but small thread. Gotta give it a go, anyway.

-- BigDog (BigDog@duffer.com), January 18, 1999.

Here truly, is TEOTWAWKI; (when)"Any hopeful glimmer, filtering toward the sympathetic eye of a supportive fellow human from a future only now struggling toward birth, is lost in the darkness between bits of data."

- Steve Talbott, The Future Does Not Compute: Transcending the Machines in Our Midst

-- Hardliner (searcher@internet.com), January 19, 1999.

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