Looking for a ghost writer

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I am in the middle of trying to compose a letter to send out to my extended family. The purpose of the letter is to make sure that everyone is aware of potential problems associated with Y2K and to get them to prepare at least minimally. My family is extremely conservative and lives by the motto, "If it is unpleasant and you ignore it, it will go away." I've tried sending information but it gets ignored as fear mongering media hype. I even gave my Dad Ed's book (which I consider to be extremely well balanced and non-threatening) but he still believes that failure is not a possibility in this great country of ours. I don't really expect them to GI but I feel a responsibility to try one more time. Maybe some will at least make sure they have food, water, heat and light for a few weeks.

As an engineer, I'm really lousy at this. I want to send bullet-pointed letters with specific directions and a list of things that they MUST do now in order to survive. I know that none of them would respond favorably. Can anyone suggest a place that has examples of nicely worded, calm, pollyanna-type letters to send to DGI's? If it doesn't sound too bad, maybe they will react.

I appreciate any help offered.


-- Mom (kitty@cat.com), January 22, 1999


I'm going to assume you're an engineer with Caterpillar (cat.com)...so, what can you tell us about Cat's Y2K efforts???

-- Curious (s@s.s), January 22, 1999.

Somewhere floating around usenet c.s.y2k there is an open letter to the neighborhood, I believe Rolleigh (-2sp) wrote, which MIRABILE DICTU I have FOUND on my harddrive!!

If you want a copy of a REALLY GOOD letter, write me at the above e- mail address and I'll get it to you in some form or other (My import is LOTUS but it says it's avail in lots of forms)

-- Chuck, night driver (rienzoo@en.com), January 22, 1999.

On 5th or 6th thought: Here is Roleigh's letter link: http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/roleigh_martin/ brochure.htm and here it is as a hotlink:

Roleigh's letter


-- Chuck, night driver (rienzoo@en.com), January 22, 1999.

RATZ!! Spurious spaces again!!! http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/roleigh_martin/brochure.htm

Roleigh's letter


-- Chuck, night driver (rienzoo@en.com), January 22, 1999.

PS Do his font size trick or it'll be HUGE!! I haven't set size yet and LOTUS thinks it's 8 or 9 pages long!!

Good luck with the minor edit you need to do to it to make it work.


-- Chuck, night driver (rienzoo@en.com), January 22, 1999.

OOPS MOM, Sorry about the accidental "reply" You got it at both addresses now.


-- Chuck, night driver (rienzoo@en.com), January 22, 1999.

Dear Mom, (I just had to say that)

If you have spoken to them before, I am unsure that a letter is going to help. But I admire you for trying. My husband's family has the same motto. They said "it will not happen." I just heard this same exact statement from a friend of mine last night. I said "ok, but if you change your mind, let me know." This friend will witness a Y2K presentation within the next week. Maybe she will change her mind.

I think that the Y2K issue is similar to religion. Some people hear the message and get it right away. Their lives are changed right then. Some people take a while. Some people never get the message.

-- Sam (Sam@spam.com), January 22, 1999.

Thanks Chuck! That last link did the trick. It looks like a good letter for my neighbors as well.

I should clarify: I am not an engineer for Catapillar. I am a building systems design engineer who likes cats. Sorry I can't enlighten you about Catapillar but i can tell you that very few high- rise office buildings are going to be functional on Jan. 1, 2000.

Even IF the electric grid does not fail, most buildings will not have heating, water, lighting, fire protection systems (Fire Marshalls hate that) or elevators. It doesn't sound like much fun to me...


-- Mom (kitty@cat.com), January 22, 1999.

>>Sorry I can't enlighten you about Catapillar but i can tell you that very few high- rise office buildings are going to be functional on Jan. 1, 2000.

Can you go into a little more detail about "few high- rise..."?

-- Curious (s@s.s), January 22, 1999.

Threads like this hit me in the gut. Painful to watch GI's despairing pleas for help with their DWGI family. I've felt it that despair.

Mom, just don't give up. Try that letter Chuck suggested, and keep plugging away. Keep sending them info, like factual FEMA, Red Cross, and National Guard's warnings to prepare. My husband is of the same conservative mindset, but he's on the preparing wagon now. Wasn't easy. If you still can't get through to them within the next couple of months, seriously think about stockpiling for them. I've had to do that for my husband's family.

I can't find the bookmarks for FEMA et al right now, I'll post them when if find them, if someone else didn't already. They were posted on another thread also.

-- Chris (catsy@pond.com), January 22, 1999.


Here are some links that might be of help in gathering information:

from the Toronto Globe & Mail, Dec 16, 98: Royal Canadian Mounted Police recommend storing couple weeks food & cash, plus a month's worth of food



from Chuck Lanza, Director of Office of Emergency Management, Miami- Dade County, Dec 18, 98: their goal for the coummity is for each household to be self-sufficient for 14 days (because most people just won't prepare for more)



American Red Cross Y2K Preparedness

Those well-known wild-eyed fanatics at the Red Cross actually think people should stock up for Y2K! Can you believe it? They recommend preparation as you would for a natural disaster (that's the common analogy these days)- several days to a week of food, cash, blankets, etc.



Waco Herald-Tribune Nov 10? 98: experts say prepare for y2k



Southwest Stars Corp: 32 steps for practical preparation



here's the gartner's group preparation page (which includes stocking up on some food):



submitted for your potential use...

-- Drew Parkhill/CBN News (y2k@cbn.org), January 22, 1999.


Most people don't realize how high-tech office buildings are.

Modern high-rise buildings have computerized Building Management Systems (BMS) that control and monitor all aspects of the operation of a building: Lighting, HVAC, Security, Fire Protection, Elevators. Most of the Building Management Systems installed in the past 2 to 3 years are Y2K compliant, the rest are not. If the BMS fails, the building does not function.

Also, a majority of the mechanical and electrical equipment in buildings has embedded chips and who knows what will happen to those?

These issues are not being addressed because there is no immediate profit margin associated with assuring compliance. I think that may change next year.


P.S. Another thought...Even if there is electricity and the building functions through Jan 1, what if transportation and distribution are interrupted? I can't imagine how much toilet paper, regular paper, and soap a building uses in a day. And what about garbage removal? Thanks alot, Curious....something else to worry about.

-- Mom (kitty@cat.com), January 22, 1999.

Thanks Drew, you saved me alot of research.


-- Mom (kitty@cat.com), January 22, 1999.


I have been accused of being a nut, kook, survivalist, alarmist and many other things. Anyone who knows me will tell you nothing could be further from the truth. I am conservative in both my religious and political beliefs. I make no apology for the fact that I believe in black and white. That is not to say there is no grey, however there is not nearly as much grey as people would like you to believe. I am a computer consultant and a Project Manager specializing in Year 2000 (Y2K) corrections.

I began working on my first Year 2000 project in January 1997. I really did not know much about it at that time. I had heard a few comments but like most others without really looking at it I said, "I don't think it will amount to much. Maybe a few economic "hiccups" a few businesses failing but nothing that bad, how could it be?" Just like most people who say that, I had not bothered to research it much. Now I ask another question, "How can we make such blanket statements in ignorance without even bothering to find out the truth first?" It is clear that anyone taking the time to read what is available and anyone willing to think through the what would happen if. scenarios, can see that we have a significant problem that could (and will in my opinion) be devastating. After continuing to work on this project a while I noticed that all of the analyst's and programmers on the team I worked with agreed that this company was not in good shape at all. They had waited too long to begin the project, and the approach they were trying to use was not efficient enough to complete the project on time. We all agreed that this project was doomed to failure and Sr. management would not allow the steps to be taken that were needed to solve the problems. At that time I thought that it was simply the company where I was working that had that problem, but I was soon to realize that all major companies were handling the problem much the same way. With very little sense of urgency in the approach, priority simply was not being given to Year 2000 project cooperation. An attitude of "we still have years" was prevalent. Most Sr. managers do not really believe the Year 2000 problem can actually "close them down". Because of this, it is fair to say, many if not most companies will fail to finish the Year 2000 work on time. This blind faith so widely spouted today of "they will get it done somehow" falls apart when you realize that 80% of software projects do not finish on time, and this is being treated as any other software project. Given this track record and the lackadaisical attitude of middle and senior management there is no reason to believe that this project will do any better than the norm. Even if a company is compliant that is not a guarantee they will stay in business.

Having spent 25 years in middle management and the fact that I learn very quickly helped me to advance to a management position. Even though I had to rely on my technicians for technical expertise I had the people skills needed to get the job done. Now, I began to communicate with other projects on a regular basis. I began to see a pattern; they were doing no better than we were. At this time my portion (just the billing section) of the project was completed and I moved on to another Year 2000 assignment for a different company. I was hired and remain to this day a Year 2000 project manager.

It was then that I was discussing Year 2000 with an associate and he made the statement "The power grid looks very unstable. If the power grid fails civilization will fail too." I was shocked at this idea and asked what he meant? He said, "Everything we depend upon today depends on electricity (at some level) to function. We do not live in a 50's society. People have become very selfish and "me first" oriented. If the power fails, food and water will be severely limited. Look at a hurricane for example. Why do people stock up on food and water prior to it occurring? Because they know it will e difficult to get for a long while afterwards. After the hurricane, because of the non-affected areas, people rush to the aid of the stricken area providing the essentials. Due to Y2k, all areas will be affected. People will begin to starve and die of thirst because their will not be a non-affected are to assist the stricken one. At this point what will a selfish society do? They will know that help is not on the way as everyone is in their same position. So they will decide to take what they need from those who have it. The will not think twice about taking your food to preserve their life and the life of their child."

At first this concept shocked me and I refused to believe it. Then after thinking about it for a while I realized he was right! A society that has become as callous about death and suffering as ours has today would not hesitate to band together and take what they could if their survival was at stake. Abortion on demand for convenience, assisted suicide, the homosexual lifestyle and adultery being commonplace and not looked upon with disgust. These are all symptoms of a very selfish and inconsiderate society. These choices have demonstrated societies lack of regard for others. The only hope was to be in a position where you could move your family to safety and not be discovered until the "dust cleared" and you chose to reveal yourself. Then not only would you be protected from "mob attack" but also from the prospect of having to shoot someone to protect your family. (As stated in the beginning, I am conservative enough to believe that a Man not only has a right to protect his family from harm, he also has an obligation to do so). Of course if you were found and attacked the only recourse would be to defend yourself as it is today if you are attacked, however hopefully this will not occur. If you are far enough out of the way and most modern equipment will not function properly it will not be as difficult to remain unnoticed as one might believe. I would much rather feed an honorable person willing to work than shoot a dishonorable one. However, I would be willing to do either. This is why I am called a survivalist kook. I am not willing to let my family be attacked and victimized by the ill prepared. I have stated that I will defend my family so I am a "gun totin nut". I never owned a gun in my life until now (with the exception of a 22 single shot, as a boy on the farm). However, because I will defend my family if attacked I am a "gun totin nut".

I was still not willing to accept this scenario as inevitable, and decided to research the subject on my own. I started a very comprehensive search of information about the utilities and the railroads (which provide the utilities with fuel). I found these industries both were in shambles. Downsizing and automation over the last 20 years had severely hampered these industries ability to perform outside of that automated environment. Not only was the equipment for manual operation no longer available, but the human expertise needed to operate that equipment was also gone. (My mind flashed to the local fast food and grocery stores when the cashier had to try to make change). I searched for hours each day and found that indeed the situation was very grave indeed. The Power Grid across the United States and Canada is made up as a result of interconnecting the power companies together in producing the power that is needed to fulfill the demand at any given point in time for any given region demanding the extra power. This is not a particularly stable system. It only takes several companies to fail simultaneously to begin a "domino effect" that can cascade through the grid causing all the remaining utilities to overload and fail even if they are working properly. This can (and will in my opinion) result in a blackout across the nation. If this occurs, it will be very hard to fix the computers and embedded chips that caused the problem. It takes electricity to fix computers, and the computers have to be fixed to provide the electricity. This might be averted you say if those few companies that wont be Y2k ready are fixed first. The problem is, at the rate the utility companies are going, they will be very fortunate if even a few companies are compliant to start with! At the time of this writing (Oct. 1998) not a single utility company in the nation has stated in writing that it is compliant! And I do not know of any that have stated verbally that they are compliant either. It only takes a few to bring down the grid, however a few is all that will be compliant should things continue as they are now. Time is running (and in some persons opinions) has run out.

Here lies the "cache 22" that was mentioned before. It takes electricity to fix computers, and it takes computers, to restore the electricity! A Year 2000 compliant computer and a non-compliant computer work exactly the same without electricity, they don't! How will you find the code that failed if you can not turn the computer on? How will you install the corrected code into the computer even if you know what it was that failed, if the computer is not running? The answer is you cannot.

What is worse than the computer software problem is the embedded chip problem. There are over 50 billion embedded chips in the world in every place you can imagine and in many you had no idea contained a chip. For instance: Many stereo amplifiers have a date chip in them, not because they use dates but because they use the same chip that a microwave oven uses for it's timer and it uses dates. Once an imbedded chip has a date function "burned" into it's memory it will run that function whether the appliance it is in uses that piece information or not. This means that the date chip in the stereo amplifier is still running the date function even though the amplifier could care less what the date is. This further means that if the chip is "confused" by bad date information it may cease to function, even though it does not pass that information to the amplifier). Ships, Oil rigs, Satellites, Power sub stations, railroad switches (there is not a single manual railroad switch left in the country), all have embedded chips in them, thousands of them could be in one system. An embedded chip is very difficult to find. In oil rigs for instance many are hundreds of feet below the surface of the ocean. They are inside smokestack walls. They are in places you would not imagine. The good news is only 10% to 15% of these chips are estimated to have date impacts. The bad news is two-fold;

First -- 10% of 50 billion is 500 million affected chips! Secondly -- The only way to know for sure which ones are impacted is to check every chip!

Changing an embedded chip is a very complicated procedure, it is not like changing a chip in a personal computer motherboard. It is estimated it takes about 18 months to find, reprogram, and change an embedded chip. We do not have 18 months left at the time of this writing and very few chips have been dealt with.

The notion that we are quickly rushing headlong to judgment is not that far fetched. This country and this world economy are on the verge of collapse. All of the evidence shows this, and only those who have not looked at the evidence hold the opposite viewpoint. We need, as a nation, and as individuals to learn to work together as a group. We need to turn back to the notions of morality, right and wrong, and those concepts shown us in the Bible. Failing to do so will lead to our destruction. To paraphrase the bible it says; that in the last day's times will be such that if GOD were not to intervene man would destroy himself. We certainly are there. The Anti-Christ can not take over globally unless the global economy first collapses. This takeover of the world economic system is predicated in the Bible. This collapse could occur as a result of the Y2k problem. The Euro Dollar goes into effect in January of 1999 this system is compliant however currency will not be released until 2002. The funds will only be able to be transferred electronically until that time. How could this be the solution to "save the world" a scanning device in your forehead or forearm to electronically track your money? After all money cannot be printed fast enough for everyone to get it in time. Truly no one would be able to buy or sell without this chip would they? This system is compliant, it will work after the collapse if it comes (and it will). Apparently limited electricity will be restored after a time. This may take a while, and when it is restored at what price? Read the Bible to determine the price in the last days. I am not saying that this is definitely going to be the case however, it does seem to fit with bible prophecy about the last days. It could be the beginning. Yes, I believe this is the scenario of events we will see, so I am a nut. If I am wrong what has preparations hurt the average person. If I am right, lack of preparation could kill them, so I am a nut for saying to prepare.

For what it is worth this is a very basic explanation of how I got to where I am today. It may not be such a bad idea to consider what "kooks' like me are saying. If you consider facts, it may make some sense. Do not listen blindly. Look for the truth. But if you do look for it, do not be surprised as I was, when you find it.

Steven D. Watson Sr. Consultant & Project Manager Y2k

-- Steve Watson (swatson1@gte.net), January 22, 1999.

Thanks for the info, "Mom". Would it be possible for you to give me Manufacturer name/model numbers of BMS you're familiar with? Or at least a few... Thanks.

-- Curious (s@s.s), January 22, 1999.


Let's see...Big dogs in the market:

Alerton Honeywell Trane (Tracer) Johnson Controls (Metasys) Landis & Staefa Robertshaw

I've seen all of these installed in buildings. Currently, manufacturers are producing systems that are compliant. It's the old ones that are a problem...


-- Mom (kitty@cat.com), January 22, 1999.


All of these manufacturers have websites with explanations of their systems compliance (or non-compliance). Another good site to read about the concerns of building managers/owners is:



-- Mom (kitty@cat.com), January 22, 1999.


Also try to get your family to watch this video of a speech by Senator Bob Bennett of Utah:


RealPlayer software required. Realplayer can be downloaded at no cost.

-- Kevin (mixesmusic@worldnet.att.net), January 22, 1999.

Mom, It seems everyone has issued their suggestions about every site possible to inform your family members. Like the old saying "KISS" I get peoples attention when I mention they will not be able to watch their soaps or football on TV. And when they go and get gas the next time,have them ask the attendant "Does this gas station have hand cranks for the gas pumps??? I think you need to apeel to their lifestyle. Discuss items they use and the domino effect concerning the getting of those items. Perhaps they might see what then you are trying to tell them. Or in the case of my father-in-law I got a 4x4 piece of wood,not really!! WE all have elderly persons within the family that we all care for,good luck in informing them your way! Furie...

-- Furie (furieart@dnet.net), January 23, 1999.

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