Every where I look things seems to be O.k.greenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread
I am starting to wonder now if I have wasted money be getting prepared. I mean I have stocked alot of things that will probaly never come in handy. Things like jars, seeds, lamps, oil, and wicks, I know I can always use the food later but, I am in no way a survialist. So I don't see that I will ever need most of these items and feel like such a fool when I go to purchase more of them. No one I have talked to seems to think there is going to be a problem and I know I can not depend on the media or government to give me the truth so I come here. I have received some comfort, some laughter, some really scary information as well. But what if they are right, what if it really is all a scam? Every web site I have visited is trying to make a profit. Every one of them are selling something whether it is a stove, water, books you name it and they are making alot of money. I don't have alot of money to spend on these things if this is not that big of a problem. The electric companies say they will stay up and from what I understand the mojority of the iron triangle of companies have found very few if any problems but because of the lawyers they can not say for sure that everything is fine. I was a GI but now I am not so sure anymore. Now I'm afraid I look more like the boy who cried wolf. Anyone else feel this way.
-- I'msuretobea (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 03, 1999
Dear I'm suretobea...
If it's any consolation, there are days when I start to wonder, too... not because of the optimistic statements from the government, but simply because I live in a rural area where it's hard to see the impact of computers. I walk down a country road for miles without seeing a car, with mountains on one side, and a 30-mile view across the high desert mesa on the other. Cows and horses, endless miles of sage brush, nothing but Nature all around -- and one can't help wondering, "How could any of this be affected by this stupid computer problem?"
I also begin to wonder when, like today, I spend a day visiting one of my consulting clients who is obviously doing a TERRIFIC job fixing their systems and preparing for all of the obvious contingencies. One can't help thinking, "Surely every company with any common sense must be making such preparations. Surely they'll all be done."
But sooner or later, you're confronted with the other side of the picture: the inner cities, whose residents depend on every conceivable form of intricate computerized system for their power, their water, their sewage treatment, their food stamps, their hospital services, etc. And (as a consultant) you visit the companies that are so far behind that they'll never finish, and whose management (which wouldn't recognize a computer if they fell over one) continues to deny that there could possibly be a problem.
So it's optimism one day, pessimism the next. I think all of us face that conflicting set of emotions.
You asked "what if they are right, what if it really is all a scam?" By now, I think you should be able to convince yourself that, at the very least, it's not a scam. Those of us who have written books could not possibly be persuasive enough to persuade Citibank to cough up $850 million for their Y2K project, or AT&T, or GM, or the other big companies. Even if you think consultants, freeze-dried food companies, and Y2K-authors are scam artists, I hope you will believe in the sincerity of the Red Cross, the U.S. Senate, and other such organizations that are sounding the warning.
That doesn't eliminate the possibility that they're wrong. And what if they are? You can eat the food you've stored; whatever you can't use represents a relatively inexpensive form of insurance. I suspect that you don't complain about the cost of your auto insurance at the end of the year, when you realize that you didn't have any auto accidents.
And that's the way to look at it. If you go for 5 years without an auto accident, why not cancel your insurance? The reason is simple: you can't afford the consequences of that one chance in a thousand (or one in a million, or whatever it is) that you might have a serious accident with no insurance.
That's the way to look at Y2K, and that's what to remind yourself of whenever you doubt the reason for preparing: can you afford to be wrong?
-- Ed Yourdon (email@example.com), March 03, 1999.
I know some highly experienced computer programmers who are stocking their rural hideaways with all the food, fuel and guns they can, right now. If the programmers, the ones who are supposed to save us all, are getting ready to leave the sinking ship, doesn't that tell you something vital about the likely effects of y2k?
-- cody varian (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 03, 1999.
It sounds like you don't have faith in your own ability to analyze the situation, but instead are looking for someone to predict the future for you and tell you what to do. If you want to believe the government, the media, and the company public relations people, I'm sure you can sell your preparation supplies to someone who doesn't have quite as much trust in the above. I prefer to believe Cory Hamasaki, Ed Yourdon, and others who say that the remediation is not and can't be done. You pay your money and take your choice.
-- Finn McCool (email@example.com), March 03, 1999.
Every day I wonder if I'm crazy to prepare so much.
But, I pay my homeowner's, car, life, health, and disability insurance premiums without question.
If nothing happens next year, I'll donate my canned foods to homeless shelters and take a nice tax deduction.
For the "truth", you may have to just believe someone. I choose to believe people like Ed Yourdon, Senator Bennett, Senator Dodd, and Ed Yardeni. These folks are not in it for the money.
-- Bob Watson (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 03, 1999.
There was a wolf there the last time.
-- Greybear (email@example.com), March 03, 1999.
In response, yes and no. I feel the likelihood of infrastructure disaster is very small, and I feel foolish when I'm at the checkout line with tuna, spam, beans etc., but the cost of prepping is really pretty low and I wouldn't be able to sleep at night if I didn't do it. I feel all of those things you feel, but I'm still a GI and will remain so absent much more persuasive evidence than has been presented.
I've got a theory on the cognitive dissonance you feel. From birth, we're trained to follow orders to survive. Our parents were authority figures and we depended on them and we survived and we know they had our best interest in mind. They made us do things we didn't like (doctor, dentist, school on Monday mornings) but we grew up and learned that they were right.
We all have an innate desire to want to look to some authority figures as our beacon, our north star, our touchstone of truth, but the scary thing about being an adult, about being a man (or of the distaff side) in full, is that it sometimes falls on your shoulders. Not that you or I are to be compared, but do you think Eisenhower was cocky about D-Day? Do you think Roosevelt and Churchill were supremely confident? I doubt it. They made difficult decisions and pressed forward.
You have made the correct decision. You are prepping now. This will allow others with less insight to prepare later. Even if nothing happens, you have made the right decision. Everyone should buy large quantities of food now in the face of global surplus; it harms no one and it just might save your life.
-- Puddintame (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 03, 1999.
The boy who cried wolf was eventually eaten by the wolf.
If you followed good advice freely given in this forum and elsewhere for months and months, you will not have accumulated a house full of stuff you will never use and food you will never eat. You will have deeply and seriously examined some of your mindsets and core beliefs, and you might have made some much needed attitude adjustments as a result. You will have demonstrated your concern for family, friends, neighbors and community in tangible ways, whether appreciated by them or not. You will have sought information and learned things about many areas of life most people take completely for granted. And as a result of all this there are things YOU will never take for granted, ever again.
Whether it's a 1 or a 10, on whatever scale you choose, 2k has already been a life changing experience. I't be a shame to dismiss it too quickly as a negative one, don't you think???
-- nobody (email@example.com), March 03, 1999.
Boy, can I relate to this one! I've been on the Y2K rollercoaster for a year now. Everytime I think I've got a grasp of haw bad it will be, someone like O'Riley, over at Casandra, says it will be nothing but a bump in the road.
I am not particularly computer literate, therefore I must depend on others to enlighten me, and often to digest the news before it makes any sense to me. My strategy has been to read as much as possible and to watch this forum untill I know who is talking from an educated stance, and who is just talking.
But to your question, sure, we have all felt foolish at sometime in our preparations. But we have learned how to save seeds. We have learned how to store and save foodstuffs. We have learned about our country, it's resources and in many respects, it's people. We have made friends in a way never before possible.
I bet your stash is a lot like mine. If y2k is all a scam, I'll have some lamp oil I'll never use. Maybe I will sell my wind generator and hamd pump. I'll eat a lot of rice, beans and Spam. But all in all, the stuff that couldn't be used is very small indeed. Maybe I would take a hit for a couple hundred dollars, maybe a thousand. Considering the possibilities, that is pretty cheap insurance!
And as I've stated here before, I don't really worry about looking foolish. If I didn't my family wouldn't recognize me.
-- Lon Frank (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 03, 1999.
If you prepare and everything turns our okay, you haven't lost much. But if you don't prepare and everything falls apart, you will have lost a lot.
-- (ABaby72@aol.com), March 03, 1999.
I don't expect to need all my preparations. The problem is, I don't know which ones will be absolutely essential (if any) and which won't. So I try to cover all the bases. In fact, all of my preparations *can't* be required; if they were, I'd never survive to use them all.
My take right now is that the far ends of the spectrum have been truncated -- it won't be so tiny as not to be noticeable by most people, and won't be so catastrophic as to kill most of them either. What's left is a very bumpy ride that few people will make it through without some scars, bad memories, and new habits.
-- Flint (email@example.com), March 03, 1999.
Heck I've been gearing up since late 97' ( yeah I know, non-compliant year notation). What finally convinced me?
Well I knew about Y2K since the early 1990's from my computer club, "we'll all have new machines by then anyway, big whoop". Gary North's four tape Firestorm Chats in the summer of 1997 alerted me to the disaster aspects, but some of his statements on the power grid were overly simplistic. But that started me digging for info. Ed Yourdon's site and reading his (1st version) book convinced that there was something to this Y2K stuff, but it wasn't 100% convincing as he left the possibilities open for a very wide range of results. But what FINALLY convinced me that we are headed for trouble was when William Jefferson Clinton told all of us that there was nothing to worry about. That convinced me.
Never beleive anything until it is officially denied. - ?????
P.S. When Yourdon then moved out of NYC, that cemented it.
-- Ken Seger (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 03, 1999.
I don't think it is a question about making the right or wrong decision. I think that it is about sifting through the opinions and collecting your own facts, and making your own decision regarding your own life. If you have overestimated, so what, you made your call based on how your see it.
If the primary method of making your decisions is from the opinion on these boards then you are following a herd. What does following the herd mean. It means reacting to the opinions and emotions of those around you. Opinion based on emotion is more dangerous that the guns some people are storing away.
There are plenty of facts on these boards. Find them, store them up, and make a decision and take action. It's your call. Your life.
-- Ididit (email@example.com), March 03, 1999.
There isn't one single item that I have stored that I will not use in the future. I love my oil lamps and candles and will use them for years. My Kerosun heaters are perfect for my outdoor room and garage, nothing is lost there. Fuel and propane for cooking can always be used for cooking outdoors. The loser will be the utility company when I don't turn on my electric range and oven to cook...loss of revenue for them. My food storage will eventually be consumed, my children will gladly take some of it off my hands and I will donate some to food shelters if it's a bump in the road. One thing I have learned through this whole experience, is that life and our infrastructure is very fragile. Everything is linked together and one broken link can break all the other links. I am more knowledge and wiser about survival techniques and it has been an educational experience. I don't regret anything that I have done in my preparation, and whether Y2K is a bump in the road or not, I still plan to have on hand survival items....you just never know.
-- bardou (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 03, 1999.
Thank you all so much for your help. I just get really frustrated some times when the family is laughing at me and rolling their eyes. As much as I have tried to be casual with my comments, they are now to the point where they leave the room if I even bring up the subject telling me that they will believe the government because I do not have a degree in computers so I obviously don't have a clue about any of this. I guess I know how Noah felt when no one would believe him. Again, thanks to all of you.
Ed, I hope I did not offend you as I put alot of stock into what you say. I really trust your judgement more than my own.
-- I'msuretobea (email@example.com), March 03, 1999.
you were almost there.... too bad you got dragged back into the cult. Not so easy to leave, is it?
-- Aristophanes (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 03, 1999.
Imsuretobea, Ed wrote above:
"But sooner or later, you're confronted with the other side of the picture: the inner cities, whose residents depend on every conceivable form of intricate computerized system for their power, their water, their sewage treatment, their food stamps, their hospital services, etc."
Let me explain how the City of Durham operates its sewer system. We had high winds today, maybe 50-60 mph in gusts. Trees came down, power lines went with them. There are eight or so sewage pumping stations in Durham. Two that I know of are down tonight. The means used to determine whether or not a station is without power is by means of a telephone and an answering machine. If the machine doesn't pick up when the station's number is called, the power is out. If the power is out, employees load a generator in a truck and go to the site. There is no backup power at any of the stations. It's cheaper to truck in a generator when outages occur.
At one of the two crippled stations the pre-outage surges apparently damaged one of the two pumps. A sewage spill ensued but was not detected immediately because there's no automated warning. Apparently, the only way to tell that a spill has occurred is if someone calls it in or if the generator folks are informed by the instruments on-site or smell there's been a spill. Or perhaps there's some sort of overspill holding tank, where spillage from that is easily visible.
I was listening to all this information on my police scanner, which also picks up city government channels. One of the workers asked another what the contingency plan was if a second pump went out. The answer came back: cannibalize a pump from a station with two good ones.
I'm going to assume that all Durham city services were developed under a similar system of whatever's the cheapest. Given yesterday's Senate report, I'm not very optimistic about water and sewer service, nor any other service provided by the city. But you know, life's little ironies being what they are, you can bet your life that any hoarded-food confiscation scheme will be a model of efficiancy. Keep stocking up, folks--and keep it quiet.
-- Eavesdropping Old Git (email@example.com), March 03, 1999.
"I just get really frustrated some times when the family is laughing at me and rolling their eyes. ... if I even bring up the subject telling me that they will believe the government because I do not have a degree in computers" ... Hi I'm. If this does go down, you can enjoy rolling your eyes at your DGI family as you feed them. If it doesn't, as Greybear would say, enjoy licking the egg off your face. So what. As Mr. Yourdon said, it's only insurance. If they believe the gov, give them a copy of the Senate report. Some of us here DO have a degree in computers, and WE ARE STILL HERE! I don't belong to any cult. I'm just trying to be alive next year. Happy New Year. <:)=
-- Sysman (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 04, 1999.
It looks okay now because most areas are okay - you are preparing for an uncertain future event of unknow magnitude that will last an unknown time, creating unforseeable interfaces between widely varying systems that each rely on each other (as Git mentioned - the wind knocked over trees that tripped off affected pumps that were diagnosed by telephones and answering machines, monitored by a scanner, serviced by a truck and its fuel pump and dispatcher from a central unit powered by electricity to correct a problem of sewage getting dumped in the river.
Obviously, the wind gave your downstream neighbor cholera when she drank the contaminated water the next morning.
Sorry - can't give you bland re-assurances that everything will be fine, or that we can predict what will fail - if you want that, trust your government to keep you safe and warm, all tucked in bed with your little blanket, repeating their lullaby.
-- Robert A. Cook, P.E. (Kennesaw, GA) (email@example.com), March 04, 1999.
Preparedness is always a good idea. The neighborhood I lived in during 1974 lost electricity for full week due to a tornado in the area. You never know when your preparations might come in handy.
I don't know what the odds are of Y2K being serious, and I don't know how serious it will be. But, the odds are uncomfortably high to me. Let's just say I believe the odds of having to use what I've bought for personal preparedness are higher than having to use my auto insurance for an accident in the next 12 months.
Have you seen this article on the Senate Y2K report?
Y2K may spark unrest, economic pain -US Senate
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The year 2000 computer bug may set off civil unrest in poor countries, undermine economic growth in Asia, Latin America and Africa, and disrupt global trade in oil and other commodities, a Senate panel said Tuesday.
While there was a low probability of an accidental nuclear weapons launch, the committee said missile systems and other high-tech weapons in other countries could malfunction. The Senate was also warned that terrorists might strike against U.S. targets next Jan. 1 to take advantage of weakened security.
``I have a nightmare of CNN cameras in villages or cities where there is no power, no telecommunications, the banking system is broken down, widespread rioting,'' said Utah Republican Sen. Robert Bennett, chairman of the Senate's Special Committee on the computer problem.
For the United States, Y2K disruptions should be manageable, the Senate panel concluded.
``The committee has no data to suggest that the United States will experience nationwide social or economic collapse, but the committee believes that some disruptions will occur, and that in some cases Y2K disruptions may be significant.''
Bennett said the U.S. military might experience some minor computer glitches, ``but its mission-critical, war-fighting capability will not be compromised.'' U.S. intelligence services would also be ready in time.
The U.S. health care industry may be the least prepared, according to the panel, which said the nation's Medicare system was in ``serious trouble''.
The committee complained that U.S. airports started preparations too late, and warned that shipments of goods by sea could be disrupted because the maritime industry was running behind. But it said a prolonged nationwide blackout was unlikely, although local and regional outages were possible.
In case vital services were temporarily cut off, the committee said Americans should stock up on bottled water, canned goods and other essentials, as they might to prepare for a winter storm lasting two to three days. People should also keep copies of their financial records in case banks run into unforeseen problems.
The committee said the most serious computer problems were likely to strike other countries next Jan. 1, because many of them started preparing too late or not at all.
The report singled out Japan, Mexico, China, Germany and Taiwan for falling nine months to two years behind schedule in preparing for the year 2000 bug. The committee also said that major oil producers Venezuela and Saudi Arabia were 12 to 18 months behind schedule.
``Disruption of flights and global trade between some areas and countries may occur,'' the committee said.
In a closed-door briefing for senators, Bennett outlined the Y2K threat to national security.
``There is a low to medium probability of terrorist exploitation of Y2K. However, we must remain vigilant in case some of our security systems malfunction,'' Bennett said afterwords.
But he added: ``There is a medium probability of economic disruptions that will lead to civil unrest in certain sectors of the world, particularly where their economies are already fragile or there is political uncertainty.''
He told senators there was a ``high probability'' that widespread computer glitches would compound economic problems in Latin America, Africa and Asia.
``In some countries it will be more serious than others,'' Bennett said. ``The unknowable question is what will be the impact on the United States.''
-- Kevin (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 04, 1999.
People think I'm rather nuts to believe all this stuff, too. Even some of my family. But as was stated, this is insurance, not a sure thing. Like I ask the "eye-rollers" Are you willing to bet your life on what the government tells you? Are you willing to bet the lives of your children? I'm not. I want the insurance. I sleep well at night knowing that my family will be OK no matter which way things turn out. Don't worry about what others say or think.
-- linda (email@example.com), March 05, 1999.