Ratcliffe and Theroux: Challenges

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Hip Hippocrite Hater,

Thy wish is my command. :)

Mitch Ratcliffe's challenge

And I'd add this one:Michael Theroux's challenge

But let's go Mitch one better: let's start a legal defense fund. Everyone chip in some money. I've emailed a copy of this to Mitch, and we'll see how much money we can raise so that some of these brave whistleblowers who must hide behind pseudo-names and fake email addresses and whited-out facts can come forward and prove once and for all that the HAPPY FACE CONSPIRACY IS A LIE!

Are you ready to RUMMMMBBBBLE .... ?

-- Stephen M. Poole, CET (smpoole7@bellsouth.net), May 16, 1999


Fuggin hilarious poole.

With you as the purse keeper I doubt if any whistle-blower will see any greenbacks.

-- Andy (2000EOD@prodigy.net), May 16, 1999.


I never said I wanted to be the purse keeper. If Ratcliffe is interested, he can pick whomsoever he chooses.

Besides, I thought you weren't going to "waste any more time" on me? :)

-- Stephen M. Poole, CET (smpoole7@bellsouth.net), May 16, 1999.

Gotta keep tabs on our resident forum saboteur...

-- Andy (2000EOD@prodigy.net), May 16, 1999.

The whole Ratcliffe thing is just his way of making himself feel good and it makes for good copy. "My, what brazenness! $1,000 of his own money!"

Give me a break.

Let's see: I terminate my job (no income), I blackball myself (no career), and set myself up for a lifetime of debt from the legal fees and remuneration to a company with millions of dollars they could spend in a lawsuit against me - and Mitch Ratcliffe offers me a whopping $1,000 to offset all of this.


What a maroon.

Oh but wait, it's not just any old grand - it's a grand from Mitch's personal fortune and private coffers.

Anyone who does anything but laugh hysterically at the stupidity of this is worth hysterical laughter themselves. If this itself doesn't illustrate the dream world that Mitch Ratcliffe lives in, then what else do you need? This is the guy who will soon be debating John Westergaard in New York about Y2K's effect on the economy. Now this is rich. For the sucker who'll ruin his own life and the life of his children, Mitch will dole out $1,000, as though throngs of programmers are stepping back and scratching their chin - "Hmm... a thousand dollars."

If Mitch can so easily fail the economics of this simple little test, how can he be taken seriously at discerning the economics of Y2K at the global level?

To John Westergaard and Ed Yourdon: point out Mitch's own lack of lucidity to him, if you get the chance, would ya? No wonder you and your daughter won the "Y2K Ecomonics 101" war of words, Ed.

To Mitch Ratcliffe: give the $1,000 to a great charity and stop being silly. Or, talk to the deep pockets at ZDNet and have them pony up some real cash and back all legal fees for the poor sap who does himself in before you snare some fool.

-- Brett (savvydad@aol.com), May 16, 1999.

I'm looking for that post here in which Radcliffe replies. Can anyone help me with a link?

-- Stan Faryna (info@giglobal.com), May 16, 1999.

There's a chip failure described in the article at the following link, but Michael Theroux has said it doesn't meet his criteria:


The complete text of the article--not just some snips--is at the end of the thread.

-- Kevin (mixesmusic@worldnet.att.net), May 16, 1999.


Another chip failure that's been reported...


A single ship can have hundreds of microprocessors ("chips" to most of us) working unseen in systems that control functions such as ventilation, ballast, navigation, communications, detection of fires and other hazards, and so on. Operators of one cruise ship thought they had brought it into full Y2K compliance, Naccara says, but when they turned the ship's clocks forward to Jan. 1, 2000, in a test, the stateroom doors all locked automatically and stayed that way, because of an overlooked chip.


-- Kevin (mixesmusic@worldnet.att.net), May 16, 1999.

What is the point of Michael Theroux's challenge, by the way? Is he trying to say there will be no embedded systems failures near January 1, 2000?

-- Kevin (mixesmusic@worldnet.att.net), May 16, 1999.

I guess this response is to Brett? Mr. Ratcliffe didn't SIMPLY state that he would provide $1,000 for a legal defense fund. We all know that would be insufficient. He stated that he would provide $1,000 IF needed...FIRST stating that the source of his information would not be revealed if they indeed could provide the proof. In addition, he stated that he would rally for additional monies. There's another thread somewhere on this forum that addresses Mitch's actual words.


-- Anita Spooner (spoonera@msn.com), May 16, 1999.

Here's the thread with Mitch Ratcliffe's challenge:


-- Kevin (mixesmusic@worldnet.att.net), May 16, 1999.


And the attacks on the challenge are really little more than desperation fakes anyway. If the company is going down anyway, what would the whistleblower stand to lose by coming clean? His/her job is TOAST anyway you spell it; right?

Remember, the Great Geek Migration has supposedly begun, too. Why won't some of *THESE* people come forward? What do THEY have to lose?

I'm sure there are some problems out there; there have to be. I've already stated that I expect there to be a few whoppers (maybe -- MAYBE -- if the Atlanta story can be believed, that city will be one of them. Who knows?). But civilization won't collapse.

Challenges like these usefully address the assertion on the part of increasingly desperate Doomers that there's a gigantic Happy Face Conspiracy Of Silence to cover up the "inevitable" crash in January.


I've told Mitch he should put some restrictions on his challenge, too. Not only is this just common sense to prevent crackpots or malcontents from popping out of the woodwork, it serves a useful purpose: we're talking about computer problems that could cause the type of systemic failures that would require one to stock 6 months' worth of food, water, and other supplies; and/or that could cause Yardeni's Recession; etc. Right?

These types of problems SHOULD be well-documented and repeatable. That's all Theroux is asking for, and that's how it SHOULD be done.

-- Stephen M. Poole, CET (smpoole7@bellsouth.net), May 16, 1999.

This response is to Mr. Poole.

I'll address my most minor point quickly. This term "TOAST" is to me a Milneism, and I certainly wouldn't want it to become a household word for decades to come.

Regarding a whistleblower having something to lose, I think this is called "burning your bridges." IF the whistleblower has a confidentiality agreement with the client (which I know *I* sign each time I sign on for a contract), the person has his/her entire future in the field to lose by confiding ANY detail of the client's status.

As an example of this, I might point out the WorldNetDaily information that seems consistently revealed to them by either those in the military or the National Guard. I'm sure you're aware that WorlNetDaily is the internet version of a supermarket tabloid specializing in conspiracy theories, but I have to wonder how some of these whistleblowers that they reference received security clearances.

Regarding the Great Geek Migration having begun, I've been in this business all my adult life, know HUNDREDS of others doing or having done the same work, and I've not yet come across ONE that intends on leaving their home.

Regarding Mr. Yardeni's recession possibilities, I would think that one would prefer to address Mr. Yourdon's DEpression possibilities in an argument such as this. Not that I'd like to bite the hand of the one who provided this forum, but I would think one would also prefer to address Mr. Yourdon's previous PREDICTIONS, in particular those stated in his treatise entitled something like "Captain, Oh, Captain."


-- Anita Spooner (spoonera@msn.com), May 16, 1999.

Anita said: "Regarding the Great Geek Migration having begun, I've been in this business all my adult life, know HUNDREDS of others doing or having done the same work, and I've not yet come across ONE that intends on leaving their home."

Dr Scott Olmsted is a programmer that has moved due to Y2K.

-- Bill P (porterwn@one.net), May 16, 1999.

This is the article about a chip failure that doesn't meet Michael Theroux's criteria. I'm still curious about Mr. Theroux's challenge. Is he suggesting there won't be any problems like the one this article mentions when the rollover takes place in January?


Computer Date Glitch Locks Workers Out

by Chris Hawke

GREAT NECK, N.Y., Jan. 5 (UPI) The head of an Long Island, N.Y., insurance company says a flaw in the hardware of his brand new card- access security system locked most of his workers out of their office building on Monday because the date had changed from 1998 to 1999.

David Sterling of Sterling and Sterling Insurance says the glitch ended his skepticism about the predicted widespread electronic havoc that will be caused by computer chips confused by the date at the beginning of 2000.

Many computer chips only use two digits to represent the year. The so- called Y2K bug occurs when the computer instructions hard-wired into chips misread 2000 as 00.

Sterling, an expert in Y2K liability, says he was very skeptical about the widespread predictions of malfunctions in everything that uses date-sensitive microchips from telephone and medical equipment to nuclear reactors.

However, after a personal computer-driven security system would not open the magnetic locks on the entrance to his company for over half of his staff of 85 people, Sterling says he has a new attitude.

"What scared me was the problem was not with the personal computer, which we checked. It was a chip in a control panel," he said.

An employee at the security company used by Sterling confirmed to United Press International that one their systems has a bug that took effect on New Year's Eve and needs to be fixed with a chip and new software.

Employees at Texas-based DSX, identified by the security company as the system's manufacturer, refused to comment.

However, the DSX Web site talks about the Dec. 31, 1999, problem in some of their systems and offers a program that will temporarily fix the problem. The site recommends a system upgrade.

Sterling said: "God forbid there is a chip like this in an airplane in a very important role navigational equipment or who knows? On Dec. 31 I'm going to be roasting chestnuts over an open fire with my family and friends around me at home."

Copyright 1999 by United Press International


-- Kevin (mixesmusic@worldnet.att.net), May 16, 1999.

Geek exodus?

Me too, left the densely populated city of San Francisco for more rural Colorado.

-- Andy (2000EOD@prodigy.net), May 16, 1999.


I agree with you in the main, but as Ratcliffe said, in every other case that he can think of, at least ONE -- and all it takes is one! -- civic-minded guy or gal with a conscience has deemed the good of the Many to outweight the interests of the One. Or, in his words,

[other] whistle-blowers have come forward facing much more severe legal consequences than the Y2K tattlers [could] expect ... unlike whistle-blowers in every industry, from chemical processing to tobacco, automobiles ...[snip list] ... these Y2K canaries never sing.

Never. There's not one documented case of a current or former employee of a corporation or government agency delivering credible evidence of imminent Y2K failures. Nada. Not one. None.

It just doesn't make sense ... It's awfully easy to give a reporter secrets, with supporting evidence.

As someone who's been involved with the media most of his life, I concur wholeheartedly. There are plenty of reporters digging for this stuff -- don't you think it'd be Pulitzer-level material? -- trying to find just ONE programmer-type who will produce the hard evidence that a Fortune 500 is going down the tubes due to Y2K. They haven't succeeded, either.

To any reasonable person, this would indicate that the stories which are circulating on the Web are

-- Stephen M. Poole, CET (smpoole7@bellsouth.net), May 17, 1999.

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