What to believe????

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

Hi, I'm new to this forum. I've been following the Y2K problem for almost a year through news articles here on the net, and I find it's all getting very very confusing! For almost every report....good or bad, I hear an opposite report. For example: first I hear that the power grid had a one day test and all is well with the power grid. Then another report says it was a staged test to ease any fears. I have a brother-in-law, who is a computer programmer, who says that there's nothing to Y2K...its all a hoax. I have a nephew, who is a computer programmer, who says there is a problem. Who to believe? Which report to believe? For almost every answer, there's an opposite answer. Can anyone here offer a reliable source of information. Does anyone here have a likely scenario for Y2K. Any information will be appreciated.

-- Linda Hitchings (Lindasue1@earthlink.net), May 01, 1999



Welcome to the real world and this forum. Sorry, but you won't find the answer here either. The answer is within yourself. Personally, I believe the nephew who says there is a problem, and you will find a lot people here who also say that. However, you are also going to find some people here (some are programmers too) who feel as your brother-in-law. And that's the hard truth. If you are willing to spend so time here, you can begin to decide which of the various people seem to have the more reasonable answers, but as I say, in the end you have to make up your own mind regarding what seems to be coming down the pike, good, bad, or middle ground. Good luck.

-- Gordon (gpconnolly@aol.com), May 01, 1999.

The short answer is keep reading, trust your gut and remember the game is NOT about odds and expected value calculations, it's about stakes, and what you might be willing to lose or gain.

PS You do NOT have the option of sitting out any of the dice points. Your money MUST stay on the table, on a number, or a combo, you just get to move it around.


-- chuck, a Night Driver (rienzoo@en.com), May 01, 1999.

Go have a look at the plain english interpretation of the government's latest report at the following site.


IMHO you would be wise to prepare. And if nothing happens, oh well- you just got a jump on your shopping for next year.

-- Sharon L (sharonl@volcano.net), May 01, 1999.

Hi Linda. We don't have an answer for you. The most important thing to remember is you and your family. Most of us here really do hope that Y2K will be a non-event. Most of us here also feel that we will have problems. What kind, and how bad, and how long, well, nobody really knows. I guess I'm one of the "doomers" because I do believe that we will have problems, and I am trying to be prepared for any problems. Recently, we have a bunch of "pollys" here, people that think this is all a hoax, or that everything will be fixed on time, or a thousand other arguments. This place has turned into one big debate lately. You must make up your own mind. I agree with Sharon. You have nothing to loose if you are ready, and nothing happens. However, if you are not prepared, and something does happen...

Welcome to the forum, don't ever be afraid to ask, and keep your eyes open. <:)=

-- Sysman (y2kboard@yahoo.com), May 01, 1999.

Linda, y2k is real, big and bad and very serious. All the nations of the world,and all the largest corporations of the world would not be spending trillions of dollars of their wealth if y2k was'nt such a serious problem. The world is in a race against the clock.

At stake the lives of millions of people,the power base of the biggest nations on this planet,War and Peace,The greatest wealth transfer in over one hundred years,and our right for us and our families to survive. We are witnessing the evidence of the great wealth transfer through the hyper inflated stock market(remember early 1929 before the crash). We are witnessing great issues of power / War and peace with the war in kosovo and the challenge of Russia not to be provoked to anger after the way the west has treated them so poorly. We are highly blessed that the Russians regard peace with such a high priority. Take the time to prepare, and dont be selfish. It wont be business as usual next year.And it may take many years for things to return to post y2k conditions.

No body and I mean nobody wants y2k to be bad but it's too late to stop this train from running off the tracks. Accept that you will do your best,to give your family as many options possible,prepare diligently and leave the rest in our Lord's hands. Cherish what God Gave you, your family and friends, over money. When y2k get's real bad they will love you for your kindness and love. That you love them enough to find out the facts,and to think about how precious they are to you and that you prepared enough to give them a hope that survival is possible. Y2k will not be about who's right or wrong, It's about who's left. If you don't prepare,you won't be able to eat those electronic promises to pay,when the bank's computers are down because of catastropic computer failures in our major utilites. Y2k is not an easy thing to prepare for.

Start by looking inward at your heart. Say to your self could you live with yourself if every one you knew and loved died because you didnt take the time to do your due diligence to find out how great a threat y2k is and poses to every member of your family and friends. Preparedness is not a luxury it is now a neccessity. You can replace the money spent on preparations if y2k doesnt go ballistic, But you cant replace the loss of a loved one if it does. Don't gamble on them fixing enough of the problem for y2k not to be a challenge. Don't wait until the power goes off and the phones systems go down before you start your preparatons. Heed the warnings. In wwII they had advance knowledge of the impending attack on Pearl harbor but choose to ignore the info to their folly. Don't ignore the y2k warnings it will be to your folly if you do. We all live at the end of a long line of computers that bring our food from the farm to your fork. Fuel from the well head in foreign countries to your gas tank. and etc. We cant afford to take their word for it, without 3rd party independantly verifiable proof. Since our congress has usurped their powers to their corporate masters because of pac money, they are no longer a credable source to watch out for our best interest (the We the people). God bless you and your family. This E-mail is not a valid one for good reasons. Y2k is a hot potatoe, It is not politically correct to say there will be y2k problems. Don't spend your valuble time trying to convince other's, there is alot of work to be done in the time remaining. Y2k aware mike. 15 + years experience in embedded systems/aerospace/military and R&D.

-- y2k aware mike (y2k aware mike@conservation.com), May 01, 1999.

Linda, Do not swallow everything you hear here or anywhere hook, line and sinker. This forum tends toward the idea that there will be problems lasting more than a few day, some even believe months and years. It is biased in that direction, although the degree of fear of failures varies from a few problems to total chaos. Check out other sites that are biased in the other direction and decide for yourself. The most important thing to do is read different views, use your common sense and decide for yourself. Also consider the source when reading what is written, judge opinions by the manner in which they are given. Having an open mind will help you to make up your mind. You will read a lot of "opinions", but there are areas where facts are given and proven. Trust your own judgment and be aware that as in a lot of areas of life there are people who are out to take advantage of you for their own profit. Or ego. If a roofer comes to your door and tries to convince you that your roof needs to be replaced and pressures you insisting they know it needs to be done and wants you to decide right then, without giving you time to think it through or allowing you to get other assesments, you would question their motives, correct? Use your judgment about what people say about Y2K as you would when trying to tell if a child is telling the truth. Sometimes the child believes what they say even if it is incorrect due to the fact that they may not all of the facts of what they are talking about, or the child may be telling a falsehood for their own personal motives (such as trying to get out of being punished) or the child could be telling the truth.

Take a look at the sites below that are biased in opposite opinions to this site and decide for your self. If the people here are firm in their beliefs they will not be concerned if you read a diffeerent "take" on Y2K. (There appears to be a friendly rivalrey between those who post there and the people here)



One last suggestion, Prepare just in case for at least 3 days as it is common sense for all kinds of emergencys can happen if nothing comes of Y2K.

-- Cherri (sams@brigadoon.com), May 01, 1999.

Why believe any one thing? Many of the "doomers" and the "pollys" seem to be stuck in digital base 2 mode, 0 or 1, off or on, BITR or TEOTWAWKI, and nothing in between. My favorite song performed by The Monkees is Shades of Grey (Mann/Weil).

Both camps tend to latch on to one event/report/fact and extrapolate it to the entire universe. This is particularily humorous in the polly camp where they like to lump together Ed Yourdon and Gary North into one congealed mass as if the two held similar views. It of course helps reinforce that view if you studiously avoid reading what either of those people actually wrote and instead depend on what other writers claim are EY and GN opinions. This again refers back to either you are BITR or TEOTWAWKI and nothing in between mentality.

What you might want to do is make a two dimensional grid or arrangment of boxes. On the top, horizontally, make the following columns, It's a Hoax, BITR, Snow Storm, Hurricane, Recession, Depression, Significant Utility Failures, TEOTWAWKI. You can use other labels and more or fewer columns but you get the idea. In this example you have 8 across, now make the same # and labels vertically for a total of 64 boxes or cells. Have the hori. be Planned and the vert. Occured. In each box put results, ie. what would happen to you if you planned for the hori. and the vert. occured. If you seperate each box into three levels of dedication (or levels of preparedness) you'll get a finer level of risk/reward. Example, food. Listening to some people you would think that a years supply of food costs at least $3,000 and more likely $5,000, and if you absolutely must dine on shrimp alfredo this might be the case. Meanwhile back at the Morman 4 + 2, ie. the Kearney diet, $300-400 per year is low end, with plenty of range in between. Or water, multiple Katadyns with spare filters and a case of activated charcoal post-filters will cost you $1-2,000. Meanwhile, a quart of pool chorline granuales and some coffee filters will set you back about $20.

What I'm getting at is this. What is your level of comfort of risk/reward. Example, is your 401k invested in bonds or internet stocks? If you are risk adverse you'll choose one way, medium another, and high risk yet another in both your investments and your Y2K preparations. As in your stock portfolio you may choose to not only diversify among stocks (12 internet stocks versus 2 internet stocks) but also use asset alocation (5% gold, 5% cash in money market, 10% AAA bonds, 15% "junk" bonds, 25% blue chip stocks, 15% small caps, 25% internet stocks). You can do the same with Y2K preparations. If you think that utility failure is possible but unlikely (and of course some locations on this blue marble are likely to have power loss and others vastly less so, it IS possible for one area to have problems and "right next door" no problems) you won't buy or want a generator, but you might want candles and some sterno handy. While you might think that the utilities will stay up or go down just briefly, you are of the opinion that a stock market collapse is sure thing, but "most" banks will be fine. It isn't all black and white.

Well I'm rambling. Oh, if you miss your junior high school days and long for an atmosphere of name calling do by all means go to the above suggested website http://www.smu.edu/cgi-bin/Nova/get/gn.html as the "conversations" are just as mature and considered as the forum's name would indicate.

P.S. There is a nasty rumor abroad, fabricated no doubt by "doomers", that earthquakes, wars, fires, economic boom/bust cycles, floods, tornados, and huricanes will actually occur in the 21st century. Don't worry your pretty little head.

-- Ken Seger (kenseger@earthlink.net), May 01, 1999.

check your sources... then buy guns and food

-- zoobie (zoobie@zoob.zab), May 01, 1999.

Hi Linda,

A note about that power drill. It was a pratice session, to make sure everyone knew where to be and what to do just in case the utilities experienced communications problems later. Like a high school fire drill so students would know what to do and where to go in case of fire.

Some people here called it a test of their systems, which it was not. It was a drill. Then they claimed it was a rigged test because it was guaranteed to 'pass'. But you don't "pass" a practice session. The "rigged test" stuff you hear was (is) pure misinformation.

In reality, electric power is looking good but not great. A lot of progress has been made, a lot more remains to be done. (This appears to be true of every economic sector across the board). How much this situation will clarify one way or the other before the end of the year is anybody's guess. You're welcome to guess right along with us.

-- Flint (flintc@mindspring.com), May 01, 1999.


I started by reading Dr. Ed Yardeni's web Page. He is the only Economist I know who has garnished the respect of the Main Stream and International Community on other issues who has an excellent souce of information about Y2K that he updates regularly.

It scares the Hell out of me.


Check it out. Then browse the web for other sources.

I found some government postings to be informative and there was a recent post or link rather with Graphs and exposition about the world economy.

Read, Prepare and Pray!


-- Thomas G. Hale (hale.t@worldnet.att.net), May 01, 1999.

Linda, presumably you are responsible for your own welfare and safety, and perhaps that of several other adults, children, and animals. They depend on your judgment. In the case of y2k, if you guess right, you haven't lost anything. However, if you guess wrong, you may be placing them at very serious risk. Once you decide on your answer to this very basic question, the following steps are straightforward. Good luck!

-- Norm Harrold (nharrold@tymewyse.com), May 01, 1999.


Whether Y2K is big or small you know that being prepared for emergencies is a wise thing to do. Where I live we've had two major tornados and a city that had to do without municipal water for three months. We are beginning to understand "life happens". As a result many of us are preparing for "life".

Having alternative sources of light, heat, water and a stock of food is not a bad idea whether it's for Y2K or job loss, blizzard or "life".


-- Kay (jkbrooks@bellsouth.net), May 01, 1999.

Perhaps the best advice for dealing with year 2000 problem may be to mirror the advice of Zen Buddhism:

"Do not depend upon books and words because they only point the way. You must work out your own salvation with diligence."

--Capers Jones, the conclusion to The Year 2000 Software Problem.

-- Plonk! (realaddress@hotmail.com), May 01, 1999.

Linda: Welcome to the big question of what the future holds. Y2K is the reason this forum is here. If you get your family pointed in the direction of being a little more self reliant and back to basics , whats wrong with that. Having a well stocked pantry , a garden ,alternate sources of heat and light , sounds sort of how I spend the summers with my grandparents. Best time of my life . The way urban family life is going today , with mom or dad going through the drive-through to put dinner on the table and all the other hurry up aspects , tell me what is so bad about putting a meal together with rice , veggie's out of the garden and some canned meat you put up last year. Without getting too wacked out about all the what if's , being self- reliant can become a life style , rather than an answer to a possible crisis.......Good Luck...

-- Capt Dennis (souza@ptialaska.net), May 01, 1999.

You would like a clear enough answer to act or not. Fact - Tornados strike every year, in some locations with more frequency than others. Some one who wishes to end up with the same survival rate as the tornado shelter users should listen and observe the ones that adequately prepare. Avoid listening to those that say "...it will never hit here.." or "it does no good to prepare". Listen to those that have experience with uncertainty and danger and a successful record.

Make sure you avoid the confusing people - the ones that tell everyone not to prepare, while they are building bunkers to store the 2 years of food they already have.

Many people are addicted to having an audience, followers and make a declaration of what will happen as if they know.

Listen only to those you who have the same success record as you want for you and those you are responsible for.

The defining identification is - What have they done in the past to survive, and what are they doing now to survive.

One of the popular development experiences lately had been the rock climbing camps - teaching the student how to be prepared as well as possible for the unknown so there is the highest chance of survival. Some capabilities are less than others, all are taught to prepare the best they can - only then have they been "right" and been able to help others if the need should arise.

There is a definite challenge in finding out what type of person you are and then finding researchers that match close enough to be providing your interests.

Spend all the time you can studying posts, news and research information and still keep your mental health and balance.

-- David (drgnslay@gte.net), May 01, 1999.

Linda- there was a good post awhile back that asked something like- "what if you're wrong"? I think you need to ask yourself that question. If you do nothing or just minimal prep and Y2K is serious, can you accept the consequences of being wrong? And if you prepare for a serious event and it's merely a bump in the road, can you accept that as well? Decide what you can live with for risks. then do it. whatever "it" is. You'll never find anyone now who can tell you just what will really happen because nobody actually knows till it happens.

So- you need to think about what level of risk you can take and get moving. Or- do nothing if that is your choice. Check the archives. Great stuff in there.

-- anita (hillsidefarm@drbs.com), May 01, 1999.

--think about all the times when you went to get your car fixed-really simple compared to y2k. How many times did the "experts" get the date of completetion or cost correct? For most folks it took longer, and cost more. How about getting your telephone fixed, or cable tv, or if you had a modern pc computer problem? Doesn't it always seem to be more involved, take longer and cost more than the "experts" say? Now y2k has the potential to be seriously life threatening. If you listen to the bro in law who says no big deal, is he 100% prepared to take you in and feed and water and protect you from everything bad for as long as it takes? If you ask yourself that question, you'll probably guess the answer. Technical experts usually err on the side of making themselves look good in advance, and they are masters at coming up with excuses after the fact of being wrong. And the GOVERNMENT? That has GOT to be a no-brainer--the government at it's BEST is hopeless and hapless, and at it's worse it's murderous and venal. If you prepare-become a "survivalist'-that means you have a very good chance of SURVIVING, and being an asset to your family and community in any emergency. Failing to prepare is preparing to fail, and you become a victim, and have to rely on other people to take care of you and your family. U-h-h-h why should we? Who are you to make we who prepare take care of you? Not being personal, just look at it from the folks who do prepare viewpoints. The "polly's"-short for pollyanna-head in the clouds types- want you to believe that the chance is so low that y2k or anything bad will happen to you that you shouldn't do anything, or much of anything, in advance to take care of yourself. Those of us who prepare-a lot of us are proud of the name "Survivalist", urge you to be always prepared, for y2k or whatever. You never know when an unexpected storm or fire or long term loss of employment or whatever might occur, but with y2k we have some serious actual hard evidence that yes, jan 1st will come, and that yes, there's been a heap of problems found so far, and there's a heap more to still be found and fixed. Now big biz and bigbro has already missed quite a few "dates" where all their little busy work toys-computers-were supposed to be fixed. Well, guess what?- some's been fixed, but mostly it seems that a lot of these experts "dates" keep getting pushed into the future, and the gov can only give itself barely passing grades by every month just not counting whole massive computer systems they use now as mission critical. In short, in simple terms, the usual lying and mismanagement and incompetence. Now 2-3 days worth of preparations is a complete joke--absolutely anyone should already be able to do that. And it's very easy to have several months worth of completely independent living preparations, so my advice is to do that, at a VERY minimum. It's neither expensive nor hard to do that, and you'll sleep better, and preparations can be continually recycled into your normal living, and added to on a weekly (or checkly) basis, and knowledge is never wasted. So, be smart,prepare, quit "worrying" about y2k, just be prepared for anything "bad", and you'll have a much better life in general, be an asset, and have a chance of surviving if it's really BAD,which it might be. Besides that, well, what's to know? The little minutiae of details of this or that company's percentage of embedded widgets that may or may not work, or some particular piece of software?--that's a ridiculous way to waste your time. Read between the lines, see who seems to be offering advice based on YOUR best interest, or on their own personal ego's or company or industries alledged reputation. The realty is, there is no percentage in any company or government to ever tell any bad news outloud, and there is every benefit to them to be evasive or lie. Law of averages and common sense would seem to indicate that someplace, somewhere, some big ole company just knows it's so screwed up and behind that it's just not gonna make it. Funny thing is, YOU WON'T FIND IT! NOT ONE SINGLE EXAMPLE OF THAT! Now, I ask ya, ain't that a shade suspicious? Doesn't that give ya pause? For me, the fact that not preparing can be disastrous, and over- preparing(which is hard to do) is merely slightly embarrasing (to some) makes the choice obvious. Wear seatbelts? Pour water and stir on your campfire when camping to put it out? Put the top back on bottles of cleaners after using? All that is "preparing"-a very small beginnings toward the "Survival Mindset"-that awareness and way of looking at things that will help you. NOT having that awareness is dangerous and in my opinion, borderline irresponsibile, especially if you have children or infirm folks in your care, and silly, too. And y2k certainly isn't the only thing that might screw up this year, with "bombs away" billy boy and his amateur nitwits in charge of the US! Anyway, that's my take, and I hope you didn't think I was a wiseass with my statements, just trying to show you how some of us think, compared to the nitpickers and minimalists and corporate apologists and shills here. Take your pick on who to listen to, but don't wait too long to make a decision, this is MAY of 1999, for the "fix" of a problem that's been known about for DECADES. And gee, a lot of last minute zillions of dollars being spent now on this "fix", no? Wonder why, at this late of date? Maybe these companies bosses wanted that mercedes a little more than they should have, maybe? Put off that nasty ole repair they knew about, but were gonna wait for the ole mirace? H- m-m-m-m-m-m, bro in law sounding a little dumb right now, ain't he??? To me, your nephew sounds like he's done a little more research, and has your best interest at heart just a little bit more than that bro-in law.....just my observation........

-- zog (zog@avana.net), May 01, 1999.

Here I break my silence briefly to say "welcome to the confusion." I don't think ANYONE here is absolutely certain about what the impact will be.

My impression is that it will be neither "a bump in the road," "a zero impact," or The End of the World. For those of us who might lose our jobs or be forced out of our homes, it will indeed be "The End of the World As We Know It" (TEOTWAWKI). For others, it will be "business as usual," albeit in a slightly slower and more tangential kind of way. But my guess--at this point--is that we'll all know of how a y2k problem will impact us firsthand. It might not be huge or life-threatening but it will make you want to cuss.

The "bump in the road" analogy is a bad one because it is way too vague and has too mild a connotation. It would be better to say that if the U.S. were a car bolting down the Interstate at 72 miles per hour right now, by the end of the year it will be moving rather slowly through urban contstruction work at say, 25-40 mph. Then in January, the car has to get off the Interstate to take a detour down a gravel road through the mountains. Lots of little small bumps, lots of friction, lots of unexpected twists and turns that don't appear on the map. This sure as heck isn't as convenient as "Just-In-Time," Interstate Travel, is it? You might even "get lost," but ultimately you find your way--that is, if you keep your wits about you and pay careful attention to what's going on. Furthermore, you, as a passenger, will get to witness scenery you've never seen or noticed before, and perhaps even gain new insights about how to better conduct your journey when we're all back on firmer pavement...When? Who knows?

Now I'll retreat to semi-permanent lurker status.

see yall later

-- coprolith (coprolith@rocketship.com), May 02, 1999.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ