Y2K doomsayers should chill outgreenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread
Y2K doomsayers should chill out
Tuesday, March 23, 1999 Eric Reguly
My neighbour, who is generally not prone to hysteria, informed me a few months ago that he intended to buy a generator so his children don't freeze in the dark when the Y2K computer bug shreds civilization's infrastructure on Dec. 31. He was serious. "If anyone is going to screw up," he said, "it's Ontario Hydro."
Hydro seemed a prime screw-up candidate. Here was a utility with scores of generating plants in varying stages of decay, all driven by a myriad of systems that ranged from throw switches to computers of dubious vintages. Worse, it had nukes! The vision of thousands of Homer Simpsons running around like headless chickens as the lights went out was not reassuring.
Cancel your generator orders. Since early March, Ontario Hydro has been running Y2K tests on its transmission and distribution systems in central and western Toronto by rolling the clocks forward to the witching hour. There have been no power disruptions. Not a single one. Late last year, several generating plants went through the same exercise with the same unsensational results. Headline writers wept.
Starting Friday, the clocks are to be rolled forward at Hydro's Bruce nuclear plants to test for generation glitches. No problems are anticipated (the nukes have already received their Y2K safety approvals from the Atomic Energy Control Board). "Y2K for Ontarion Hydro will be a non-event," says Bill Imms, the spokesman for the utility's $150-million Y2K compatibility exercise. "People's fears about the loss of basic infrastructure services are entirely overblown."
If Ontario Hydro can get it right, surely everyone else can, too. Indeed, Y2K's gloom and doom merchants are emerging as the biggest con artists of the century as test after test leaves services intact. Earlier this month, 400 Wall Street securities firms went through a mock Y2K trading exercise and the heart of world's capitalist system did not break down.
Yet paranoia thrives for the simple reason that it sells. Home Hardware's newest catalogue will contain a list of the 300 items, including portable toilets and wind-up radios, that should be stuffed into your home to ensure you can survive the worst the millennium throws at you. Mountain Equipment Co-op is stocking extra Y2K urban survival gear such as freeze-dried food and water filters. Worse, an army of shysters is preying on investors who fear the Y2K chaos will destroy their investments. For a fee, of course, they will tell you how to protect yourself by converting your wealth into gold bars or stashing wads of cash into your mattress.
The fearmongering has become so bad that the U.S. Senate Special Committee On The Year 2000 Technology Problem recently told everyone to chill out. Sure, there will be disruptions caused by a computer's inability to distinguish 2000 from 1900, but we're not going back to the Stone Age overnight. It said: "The committee has found that the most frustrating aspect of addressing the Y2K problems is sorting fact from fiction. . . . The Internet surges with rumours of massive Y2K test failures that turn out to be gross misstatements, while image-sensitive corporations downplay real Y2K problems. The good news is that the talk of the death of civilization, to borrow from Mark Twain, has been greatly exaggerated."
Moreover, most of the problems will happen "internationally," the Senate's polite term for the Third World, which lacks the money and the expertise to fix all of its Y2K problems. While this may be a crisis if your trading firm, say, has to track the shipment of organic fruit from Cuba, no one else cares.
The sure sign that the Y2K problem is overblown is that some doomsayers are changing their tune. Peter de Jager, the Canadian who built his career on making sure 2000 was a year to be dreaded, published an essay a few weeks ago called, "Doomsday Avoided." In it, he admits that he no longer expects disruptions in the electricity, finance and telecommunications sectors.
Deutsche Bank's Ed Yardeni used his Y2K warnings to make him one of the highest-profile economists in the world. Unlike Mr. de Jager, though, his crisis forecast is still intact. He stands by his prediction that there is a 70-per-cent chance the Y2K problem will trigger a global recession. This approach to self-promotion is curious. If a global recession does occur, then he will no doubt run around saying, "I told you so." If recession is avoided, he will no doubt take some credit for exposing the problem before it turned into a disaster.
Mr. de Jager and Mr. Yardeni should not be dismissed as total phonies. Their warnings were valid and no doubt helped to swing Y2K-illiterate companies and government agencies into action. As Ontario Hydro proved, many have responded. There will be no crisis, at least in North America. It's now time for every other Y2K doomsayer to take their finger off the anxiety button and shut up.
-- Norm (email@example.com), March 23, 1999
Norm, please at least read the first page of messages before posting duplicate information. We have a link to this story posted this morning here... <:)=
More and more good news: or am I missing something?
-- Sysman (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 23, 1999.
"There will be no crisis, at least in North America."
Do you solomnly PROMISE!! 100%??? That means, if I trust what you say, and I don't prepare, and we actually experience more than a "bump in the road" that you will come to my home and make sure I have whatever I need to make it through whatever hardships I may suffer because I believed YOU - personally - and didn't prepare like the wierd GIs advised. RIGHT????? NO?! Well then, DON'T BOTHER ME WHEN I TRY TO PREPARE FOR POSSIBLE PROBLEMS!!!!! Why are you so determined to make sure that people aren't ready? What does it matter to you, as long as I am not infringing on YOUR rights? You tell us to "chill out" - well, why don't you take the same advise?
-- linda (email@example.com), March 23, 1999.
Dear Norm, I personally would love to chill out.At this moment I envy the masses who calmly go about their lives as though next year will be the same as this.Oh to be so carefree.
As been said many times before,most of us wouldrather be prepared "just in case." There simply too many variables in the supply chains to be complacent about any single business or department 's ability to keep on functioning.The degree of complacency & ignorance about the importance of viable supply chains amongst many companies has to be heard at first hand!
For instance we have heard alot about Wall Street & the banks having every confidence in their abilities .Internal testing has gone well.Yippee! I haven't personally seen anything about the external telecommunications systems being found to be compliant.I know for instance that British Telecom (the Brit.system) cannot & will not say whether any international calls will be successful.So how are the stockmarkets going to work ? If you have the answer,please let me know.
-- Chris (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 23, 1999.
"It's now time for every other Y2K doomsayer to... shut up."
Good advice, Eric (and Norm). Solomon beat you to it, though."To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven... A time to keep silence, and a time to speak" (Ecc. 3:1, 7).
In this same passage, Solomon also said "There is... a time to be born, and a time to die..." (Ecc. 3:1, 2).
Because of Y2K pollyannas like Eric and Norm and countless others, the "time to die" is going to come soon for many people. Those of us who have tried to warn of the POSSIBLE dangers presented by Y2K have been derided as lunatics and cultists for too long now. The time to "shut up" has indeed come.
-- Nabi Davidson (email@example.com), March 23, 1999.
NORM is not interested in what's happening on other threads. He's only interested in creating as many NEW threads as he can with titles like this one, so that when newbies come to the forum, they see these thread titles and assume things will be fine...
"There will be no crisis, at least in North America. It's now time for every other Y2K doomsayer to take their finger off the anxiety button and shut up."
-- pshannon (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 23, 1999.
"The committee has found that the most frustrating aspect of addressing the Y2K problems is sorting fact from fiction. . . . The Internet surges with rumours of massive Y2K test failures that turn out to be gross misstatements, while image-sensitive corporations downplay real Y2K problems."
Again discredit the Internet as the real problem, when mass media churns out masssive reports that all read like vomiting clones. "Planes will not fall from the sky."
Ontario Hydro might have had the vision to begin remediation prior to 1996. There are other exceptions. Tucson Electric Power has publicly stated that remediation projects were undertaken in 1992, but even so, embedded systems are still a problem, and that TEP relies on coal and can not answer for railroads and coal production. That is NOT the answer for hundreds of power generating stations worldwide that depend on railroads that must deliver coal, telephone systems that have tone, and water that can be delivered adequ
-- MC Davey (Apuemail@example.com), March 23, 1999.
Oh, BTW Norm, thanks for that link to Y2Kisok web site. Gary North picked it up, and the place is being overun by GI's - it's hilarious (check out the chat room).
-- Not me (who@me?._), March 23, 1999.
No one is telling anyone not to prepare for emergencies. But there is a big difference between preparing for emergencies and preparing for the end of civilization.
-- Buddy (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 23, 1999.
Some places "need" to prepare for no power. Silicon Valley's one. Our electric supplier said so.
PG&E's Y2K Statement In Latest Bill (& California Energy Links)
-- Diane J. Squire (email@example.com), March 23, 1999.
Dear Norm, I was talking to a gentleman and he began to tell me about his line of work. He works on hospital heart monitors and defibrillators as well as other machines. He told me matter-of-factly that during the test of a piece of equipment the system clock was rolled forward to the year 2000. At that point 7 different chips in the machine went dead! The system clock was rolled back to 1999 and restarted. The 7 chips were still dead, LIKE DEAD! He told me "what ever you do don't be in the hospital during 2000. Norm do you know why the chips went dead? Do you know how many other chips in other locations are going to go dead as of 2000? DO YOU KNOW? Norm if you can't answer this question then I am in big trouble because I have been listening to you for advice. Your pal Tman
-- Tman (Tman@IBAgeek.com), March 23, 1999.
Since I've been crapped on by man's stupidity, ignorance and evilness since I was born, why should I believe so much of what we're told now?
"In January of nineteen forty-five, near the climax of the war in Europe, Little Brother and I had diphtheria. Hordes of bacilli formed diphthera, Greek for leather, in our air passages. These membranes made it difficult for us to breathe. They also produced toxins that damaged nerves, kidneys and hearts which sometimes killed people.
"Winter was cold but we kept warm with high fever. We stoked hot fires within to burn up bacteria. Little Brother and I spent twenty- six days in the Kinderklinik in Regensburg and enjoyed the excitement from the comfort of our hospital beds. This was good place to be, because our apartment burned down in the fire, thunder, smoke and screaming out there. It created ghosts in our souls, Little Brothers and mine.
"Todays kiddies are deprived because they can only dream about such mayhem. They can only imitate our drama in glass screens and by sniffing drugs.
"And unfortunately if pushed over the edge also cause real mayhem.
"One day I was eating a pancake filled with applesauce, sweet applesauce. Suddenly the air raid sirens began to scream, advertising another ripple on our river of life. Applesauce. There was terror in applesauce. I didn't know what it was about that stuff, the flavor or the texture. It was definitely not apples per se. I like apples, apple juice and apple pie. My liking of apple pie even made me a good American.
"I would not gag down applesauce again until I forced myself just recently. Whenever I tasted it, Id shiver. I could not eat it, even though this would insult hostesses who served it to me over the years. I would eat everything else, including guts retrieved from cowshit, and cattle feed with rodentshit. This fact would help keep us alive for many years. But not applesauce.
"My mayhem ghost caused me to develop abnormally in that I avoid watching war movies. I find exploding humans and screaming sirens deeply saddening, instead of uplifting and fulfilling like it seems to be for most people. They splatter guts inside their boob tubes and stare at them by the millions; they participate in such games on video.
"Do they want ghosts in their souls?
"Hard as Ive tried, I have not always been able to avoid these ghosts. They would surface at unexpected times throughout my life.
"For example, my wife and I would one day visit a theater to see 'Not Without My Daughter.' I had not yet met my mayhem ghost and did not know that it existed. This movie was based on the true story about an American girl who married an Iranian boy. Nowadays the sexes of the partners have to be specified. In the good old days it always was easy to know this, one boy and one girl. But since we are now on a higher level of civilization, brought about by a higher level of technology, a marriage can be of any combination. And we can even be proud of any combination.
"A recent creation of such a combination is the virtual marriage. One partner of this combination thinks the sex of his or her mate is such and such, but turns out later to be different from what he or she thought he or she had married. When we become still more civilized in a few years, a marriage might even include other species, such as a Holstein bull hitched to a normal boy or an abnormal normal girl or any combination not yet recognized. I only refer to a Holstein bull because later in life one such tried to hitch me.
"Anyway, in the movie this couple moved to Iran a few years after their daughter was born. The daughter indicates that this was a marriage in the old sense of the word, as created by God, and was totally square.
"Subsequently, Ayatollah Khomeini, who claimed to be in close contact with God, and always wore a grim face, and always wore a black rag twisted around his head, and always sported a full beard he could hide in, led a holy war which included Iran's children who died to go to heaven, so theyd visit him when he arrived there himself. This earned him the Man of the Year award of a national magazine and his picture brightened its cover.
"In this movie I did not expect to be instilled through my remaining ear with the terror of air raid sirens. This invited the mayhem ghost. Nor did it occur to me up to this time that after so many years its screaming would still bother me. I had not benefited from it since my first war. The devil's howl caused an intense agony in my heart and soul. I wanted to cower under the seats but I was stuck in the middle of the crowded theater.
"I also wanted to find out how enjoyable this sensation could get and try to slay this ghost. I had to convince myself that it was only a ghost and that I had nothing to fear. I had to be certain that it was not the devil, but only a distant memory of him.
"Upon leaving the theater I burst out sobbing uncontrollably. A fist gripped my heart. I wanted to rip it out myself so it would not hurt anymore. Squirting tears, gasping for air, I tried to explain to my worried wife that I was all right.
"Im OK, sob, FlowerBear, sob, Im just entertaining these people. Baahhhh. In case they found the movie boring. Baaahhhhhh." "That is what I would have told her, my FlowerBear, had my jokingbraincells not been shunted by this episode.
"Someday my government will protect me with: 'Caution, the devil's wail may rip your soul. It will destroy your heart'.
"It will protect me, since I am not normal and victims give bureaucrats a purpose for their existence. To protect victims from other victims, and then again from bureaucrats."
Norm, you have a lot to learn!
-- Not Again! (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 23, 1999.
Norm when I am dead will I dream? Tman...
-- Tman (Tman@IBAgeek.com), March 23, 1999.
"Preparation is not Panic"
"Preparation Prevents Panic"
Two quotes from an E.L. Core article at Westergaard 2000:
-- Kevin (email@example.com), March 24, 1999.
"He told me matter-of-factly that during the test of a piece of equipment the system clock was rolled forward to the year 2000. At that point 7 different chips in the machine went dead! The system clock was rolled back to 1999 and restarted. The 7 chips were still dead, LIKE DEAD! "
7 chips went dead??? How did he know??? You can't tell if a chip is "dead" that easily. The ignorance of the general population on this board shows up in statements like this.
-- Be careful of ignorant speculation and hearsay (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 24, 1999.
So, you now absolutely believe a single reporter, Eric Reguly, and are willing to trust his conclusion that the entire US and Canada are going to be just fine and have no problems. That's your conclusion - despite the "words" you then throw back out later like "I've never told anyone not to prepare..." etc.
You have bought - hook, line, and sinker, this reporter's conclusion. What makes his conclusion credible, other than that he is echoing what you want to believe. If Ontario Hydro, the ONLY example he quotes in the whole story, manages to remain up, that's fine. We all expect local areas to remain up, most of the time, an many places. Nationally, perhaps even a majority of the places will have power, water, food, heat, and lights most of the time.
If you - Norm, and Another Norm, and Mr. Koskinen, can tell me exactly where the power, water, food, gasoline, heat, and lights will fail, and for how long, then we'll all get together and make sure those areas are ready.
Until you tell us exactly where thing will fail, and exactly what things will fail, and exactly how long they will fail, shouldn't the whole country prepare for some degree of uncertainity?
Just what is your agenda? What are you afraid of? Who pays your efforts to presuade people that "nothing will happen?" You still have given no evidence, no creditials, no reason for anyone to accept your sweeping conclusions. Just quoted from reporters who are quoting government administrators who are quoting administrators - who sent the Challenger up under known dangerous conditions - to explode and kill its passengers - because they wanted the publicity.
Give us something credible to believe, and give us a reason to believe you.
-- Robert A. Cook, P.E. (Kennesaw, GA) (email@example.com), March 24, 1999.
Methinks thou dost protest too much.
You're welcome to your opinion, Norm. But it's just that- an opinion. It's shared by some (including those you take great joy in C&P'ing here) but not by all, including most of us YourDoneItes. I understand the difference between fact and opinion, Norm. And I have no trouble telling them apart. What I've been seeing from all sorts of places for more than a year now are very few facts and a huge amount of opinion. Much of the opinion is woefully uninformed and a great deal of it masquerades as fact (including some posted here, I might add).
What all this has done is to bring a great deal more heat than light to all aspects of potential y2k problems. Most of us here would rather see less argument, invective, flame wars, namecalling and a lot more reliable information. If there is any such thing as far as y2k is concerned. After all, there will be a test afterward.
-- (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 24, 1999.
<< Each test that is reported is a positive sign - for that particular company, in that particular section, to help the customers of that single company. My concern is that the very few positives are being promoted so widely because they are so infrequent. We should have now, something like 40 or 50 power plants and grid control and telephone and chemical plants reporting "testing complete" every day.
And they aren't. A sucessful test should not be news. A compliant power plant should not be news. And no "top 50" city government or county government, no state government, and only one federal agency has completed.
Because this systemic alarm/control failure has occurred several times as clocks are set forward after remediation - it does, however, indicate that such alarm/automatic shutdown conditions apparently occur frequently, and thus process failure is likely. As person who has done system-wide testing, and component testing, and program testing - I reserve my opinion - until proved incorrect by millions of reports of successful process testing, because there are millions of processes out there in millions of different businesses - that "complete system-wide integrated testing is not being done on a wide-spread basis. >>
This repeats a little said elsewhere - but the point is very important to consider in light of the original "hard and fast" conclusions of the unknown reporter of this original story.
He, the reporter, is gleefully echoing the administration's position, but gives no evidence other than one Canadian Power Company. And, even in the midst of his supposed "independent" and "thorough" reporting he compares the nuclear-qualified workers at Ontario Hydro to Homer Simpson. Is this a writer whom you would trust your mother's heat, light, gasoline, power, and water to? Are his judgement and decisions worth believing?
Follow his "logic" here too as he foolishly and irresponsibly discusses the latest Senate report: << "The committee has found that the most frustrating aspect of addressing the Y2K problems is sorting fact from fiction. . . . The Internet surges with rumours of massive Y2K test failures that turn out to be gross misstatements, while image-sensitive corporations downplay real Y2K problems. The good news is that the talk of the death of civilization, to borrow from Mark Twain, has been greatly exaggerated."
Moreover, most of the problems will happen "internationally," the Senate's polite term for the Third World, which lacks the money and the expertise to fix all of its Y2K problems. While this may be a crisis if your trading firm, say, has to track the shipment of organic fruit from Cuba, no one else cares. >>
"Organic fruit from Cuba" is meaningless in several way - while Canada may get a few crops from there, most comes from Argentina and Chile and Central America, like the US - who imports nothing from Cuba. If it were organically grown in Cuba, it's because they are too poor there from Communism to afford fertilizer. He (the writer) ignores all imports from Southern Europe, SouthEast Asia, Korea, Japan, the MidEast (did he even think about "crude oil", much less manufactored goods and electronics?). He ignores our exports to these areas - all threatened by the year 2000 problems.
Rereading his last statement - it's evident he has too has an agenda, but he, like the administration, does not expect to be held liable for his blind stupidity.
Crude perhaps, to use blind stupidity? No - ignorance means one does not know the facts about a subject. Stupidity means the inability to remember knowledge and draw conclusions once the facts are made known. He has written about a subject, and I am using nothing more than his sources - we know the same facts. He WANTS nothing to happen, and evidently believes that by concealing evidence (such as crude oil and the effect of imports), then ridiculing those who draw other conclusions, then by insulting those who are preparing, he can change the technical response of millions of systems to potential future technical problems with millions of processes.
-- Robert A. Cook, P.E. (Kennesaw, GA) (email@example.com), March 24, 1999.