ACK! Pollyanna web site! ACK! : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Is it just me, or does this guy sound just like the Time magazine article?

-- Arlin H. Adams (, January 25, 1999


Arlin, Did you note the guy's last name! ROTFLMAO!

-- Alive in 2001 (, January 25, 1999.

I'm going to have dust off my "Take the Pollyanna Challenge." I'm still ashamed that my arguments are better than Marshall Brain's, to take the instance at hand. Now, it's time for the rebuttals at well.

How Marshall Brain's brain works: it doesn't.

But the pictures of the power station were sure swell.

-- BigDog (, January 25, 1999.

Oh dear. Oh my. Oh, Arlin, we Yourdynamites will be the 1000 points of light shining in the darkness. Lots of kids read that site. They'll love to repeat that tripe to mock their parents who *might* take a moment to envision the consequences.

Perhaps the humanimal as a species has dumbed down while becoming technically maladroit to the point where we've dulled ourselves to death.

Thanks for the upper [NOT]. ;^o

Any of you dreamt of taking over the world? Any Bill Gates Monopoly syndromes out there? Your chance is coming. Is it exciting? Who wants a tarred world?

To counteract, let us recount part of our day. Went to the famous Bob's Red Mill. They have everything ever done to a grain, seed or nut, in any combo. Cool. Bins and bins of every size color shape of beans & rice, too. The employees are wonderful, serviceful, extremely busy. Gone to 24/7, hiring, can't keep up. Lots of very interesting stories. They say Montana is hoarding spelt by the truckloads every day; ppl with wheat/gluten sensitivities do well with spelt. Y2K has driven sales thru the stratosphere. The Mill will be conducting Y2K classes by popular demand. One of the employees is in our NET class.

We decided a while ago we're not going to try to deal with the heat and cooking issues. Too difficult to set up in an apt or patient's home and would just attract attention from the angry have-nots. We're doing the sprout thing over canned soup cuisine. So bought a buncha 25-lb bags of all kindsa grains, seeds, nuts, going to Mormon Cannery tomorrow to can; last non-Mormons with appt to get in. Gotta awesome secret storage building within walking distance that nobody'll ever go into. *Relief* Now just need to have lotsa magic $$ and troops of armed bodyguards and a bug-out retreat. 11 more months to come up with *that.*

Bob's Red Mill is famous, with good reason, and it was great to go there and be surrounded by very active GIs. You would not believe how crowded it was in there. The employees say every month they break all records. Never saw so many GIs let loose in a survival 'candy' store and go happy-grabby with their wallets. One place Y2K is not whispered, but proclaimed by shoppers. :-)

Ashton & Leska in Cascadia, shop-drop walk-talk

xxxxxxx xxxxxxx xxxxxxx xxxxxxx xxx

-- Leska (, January 26, 1999.

AAAAARRRRGHH! Oh no, deja vu? No, no, don't tell me .... planes falling out of the sky? ...

Gotta say I did enjoy his page on "how the power grid works," and the guy does seem to have a talent for teaching. Now come children, gather round. There's no need to cry and carry on. Daddy's going to explain all about the big, bad Year 2000 and he's going to make it all better.

Geez louise.

-- Debbie Spence (, January 26, 1999.

Ah but wait! You have to give the guy some credit, he starts with this:

"In this edition of How Stuff Works we will discuss the Year 2000 problem (also known as the Y2K problem) so that you understand exactly what is happening and what is being done about it. You can also explore a variety of links. From this information you draw your own informed conclusions."

The very first link leads to Gary North's site, no less. And the second link is an article from Popular Science, which is not too shabby at all. Ofcourse he could have given a much better and extensive list of links, but Yahoo's y2k links are included. Not a bad springboard at all.

So it's simply one guy's view who's got the courage and integrity to give links to other views.

-- Chris (, January 26, 1999.

Chris, you're right. I became so incensed by Mr. Brain's didactic, patronizing, cliche-ridden manner of speaking that I forgot about the links, which I actually had noticed.

I wonder though, if Mr. Brain had actually taken the trouble to properly study some of his own links, if he would still have said some of the sub-cretin, errrrr, misinformed, things that he did. I think what really pressed my buttons was when I realized that his purpose is to engage the minds of children, and that he was so irresponsible about it.

I think what first got to me was this:

[technical explanation about 2-digit year representation] followed by "The important thing to recognize is that that's it. That is the whole Year 2000 problem."
No, no, no. That is an extremely irresponsible lead-in to the issue. He is setting himself up to be the authority who has the easy answers. (Children love answers they can understand.) Instead, he might say something like this:
"Now that we see what is wrong, we can start to see what we need to do to fix it. It starts to look like no big deal, doesn't it? Well, the important thing to recognize is that while that sounds like that's the whole Year 2000 problem, it's NOT. Some things that we call 'problems' only seem simple. Most problems are found in the world, surrounded by other problems. Let me give you an example. One day, you have to go to the store. You get in your car and drive. All of a sudden, your car slows down and stops. Uh-oh, out of gas. Hm, I told myself yesterday that I had to get gas, but I decided it could wait. Hm, oh well, not to worry, right? I'll just walk to the nearest gas station and get some. Simple? Well, not so! It so happened my car stopped in the middle of an intersection... Right away I have a much bigger problem. And not only do I have this problem, but all the other cars have a problem, too..."
While he does get into the "bigness" of the problem (marbles in the grand canyon; this is really big, really expensive), nowhere does he address the issues of systemicness or interconnectedness. His easy answer to the question "How big an effect will this have on the world?" is
"There are many scare tactics and exagerations used around the Year 2000 problem. In all of them there is a fairly broad assumption that people cannot do their jobs anymore. The important thing to recognize is that, even if many of the computers in the world were to suddenly shut down on 1/1/2000, the total effect would be minimal because people know what they are doing."
i.e. they can just keep doing their jobs without the computers. (Why is this a given?)

Not to mention ad hominem arguments,

"Of course, the people making these predictions all tend to be: A) militia members, B) survivalists and C) religious zealots. It is important to recognize the source of these predictions."
(Of course, the people who assure us there will be no problem tend to be [insert your favorite denialist characterization - A) know-it-all ivory tower intellectuals, B) pathological procrastinators, C) crooked politicians, D) whatever])

(What a golden opportunity, and he just totally blew it. Why not teach kids to STOP dismissing statements because of who said them? This is very bad education. Yes, "consider the source" so you can get insight into their thinking, but consider the statement by itself, too.)

Lots of people are scared (maybe their parents?). Why might this be? Oh, must be because they haven't taken their first baby steps to learn how to think clearly:

"There is an assumption among doomsdayers that somehow, on 1/1/2000, every computer will fail (which is silly)....AND that every human being will somehow 'fail' as well."
Implication: You students of course, are smart enough to see how silly this is.
"On 1/1/2000 we will all be the same. We will get in our cars and we will want to go buy something. The people selling the something will still want to sell it so they can make money."
Implication: You students of course, are smart enough to see that the world you know today will always be there tomorrow. After all, you're not four years old any more.

Well I think nothing is gained by hiding ambiguity and uncertainty from kids. They can handle it, and we do them a disservice by thinking they can't. We need to do it in a context that says yes, we don't know what's going to happen, but there is something we can do about it, we are doing that, and so can they. Simplistic I dunno probably. Thing is I doubt if Mr. Brain thinks how he is trying to teach about Y2k is anything but good, and I'm sure he doesn't think he's sugarcoating anything. He is just DGI.

Don't know why I'm writing this!! Time is a wasting. I get so frustrated with people. More and more I am caught in this fallacy myself and just coming untangled from it. As soon as in discussions, you start expressing uncertainty about a positive outcome to Y2k, people think you are arguing that you're right, that it IS all going to come to s***. I used to just not talk about it all because 99% of the time I would get The Look. Now with the mainstreaming of Y2k I must constantly be aware of making this point NO I don't BELIEVE it will be bad, I don't want it to be bad, but I think it's very possible, so I am preparing. The reality is that preparing takes a huge mental effort and lots of time so naturally, people think you're a little obsessed. Maybe that is the essence of DGI - they think it is an argument about who's got the best crystal ball, but it is really about seeing possibilities and taking action.

-- Debbie Spence (, January 26, 1999.

Feels good and it's good for your sanity to vent once in a while Debbie. It's not wasted time.

I agree with you, children shouldn't be told lies to be spared. They need to be mentaly prepared as much as everyone else. But the explanations should be according to their age level. Children will adapt better than adults anyway.

Even if Mr. Brains read the links he gave as references doesn't mean he would get it. If he refuses to get it, he won't, that simple.

-- Chris (, January 26, 1999.

YESSSSS, you got it Chris. Re venting - good for sanity - hubby is DWGI (yours too if I remember?), and ever now and then the steam boils over the top of my kettle :-)

-- Debbie Spence (, January 28, 1999.

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