Your input requested: actual potential failure that starts the stampede : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Here is my murky view through the looking glass through the end of the the year.

The August 22 GPS Week rollover will come and go with no publicly announced failures (>95% confidence). If this happens, the pollies will crow and try to get the doomers to eat crow (>99% confidence).

The 4 nines date of September 9 comes and goes just like the GPS rollover with barely a ruffled feather.

The October 1 US Government Fiscal year beginning has no publicized failures in this area.

But before you think I'm a polly, read on.

But here's where it gets a bit murky for me. As the New Year approaches, more and more look-ahead (Joanne effect) problems occur in other areas. The potential increases as the time gets shorter for one of these effects to be widely publicized and start the general public stockpiling despite the best efforts of the spin meisters.

December 26. If it hasn't happened by that date, the general public preparation will begin in earnest (reasonable expectation from reading various polls publicized in the mainstream press) and by New Year's Eve the stores will be stripped bare of anything useful for a disaster situation. (Confidence level >75%) This forum will collapse under the weight of people who got WebTV for Christmas logging on, and the regulars who planned to ride it out at home stop participating.

My question is: what is an event could start the herd stampeding prior to Christmas? I'm speaking of an actual Y2K failure that's too big to hide. These might be in the nature of: - an incorrect bill or statement from a company a large number of people do business with - an embedded computer failure in a utility (power, communications) effecting a large number of people (personally I think this is unlikely prior to Jan 1) This failure could happen in one only metropoliton area, and the resulting panic might also be localized.

I'm hoping for some some fairly specific and logical examples of potential attention-getting failures. If you think nothing of the sort will happen, please express a logical reason why (Gary North's being a career doomer is not a logical reason and neither is the fact that it hasn't happened on other look-ahead dates such as last January 1 and July 1)

-- Mikey2k (, July 14, 1999


Mikey2y I would think that in September...we'll say the 15th. When the banks begin limiting personal account withdrawels to $100.00 a day. You'll see the heard begin to panic.


-- Shakey (in_a_bunker@forty.feet), July 14, 1999.

It might not be a failure. It could be something as simple as many noticing the hightened alert status of the military beginning in Sept, or people noticing that the FBI has cancelled all vacations.

Don't discount the fiscal year turnovers either, we still have a local town with no computers since July 1, "and they are working on it".

My feeling is that it will not be any one item that awakens people, it will be an ever increasing stream of sub-threshold events and items.

One main potential event prior to y2k, not necessarily related to y2k, is a burst stock market bubble. Post that event population dynamics becomes quite murkey & I cannot foresee failed confidence in the CB's, Fed, Treasury, SEC, etc as being an especially rosey harbinger of y2k styled panic.

-- Mitchell Barnes (, July 14, 1999.

I agree with most of the above. But remembering what it was like before 'GI', it would take something directly affecting family, friends or money ie; dramatic rises in goods, shortages of money or goods. More than 1 foulup with government checks, unemployment, social security, or any other that is depended upon. Delays in receiving same. Raised awareness reporting in depth of various areas affected already, or just plain finally connecting the dots.

-- Sammie Davis (, July 14, 1999.

One thing I wanted to add is that even if there is an obvious failure and it is big, people won't do anything anyway. This just struck me tonight. It is a very weird thought. From what I am seeing, they won't get it even then. Even in the final days, they won't do anything. It is just too confusing. It won't sink in until they are moved into a shelter and probably not even then. I am scaring myself but I am realizing a very profound, weird thing. They will refuse to get it until their last breath. Am I going nuts?

-- a mom (, July 14, 1999.

To "a mom": While a significant portion of the population will ignore warning signs until they are smacked in the face, another significant portion of the population will react eventually. Getting smacked in the face for the first group may be the second group emptying the grocery store shelves. In my experience, the gas "shortages" of the late 70's started with a few rumours about an insurrection coming in Iran and a few days later the gas lines starting to get longer. People were waiting in line to get just a few gallons to top off their tank. I was out of the country for this second example, but Johnny Carson caused a toilet paper shortage just by making a joke about one. The gas shortages of the early 70's may have laid a foundation just as public media attention whatever your opinion of it is doing now for Y2K.

So yeah, I think there's a significant chance for a stampede before the last chance to party while it's 1999.

-- Mikey2k (, July 14, 1999.

Construction is booming, unemployment at 4%, stock market setting new highs, what's Y2K? Oh yeah, that little problem the government is fixing for us.

Reminds me of the old movies where they are loading them into boxcars. Are they worried? More worried about their luggage than going to "relocation camps". (No disrespect intended here)

-- sue (, July 14, 1999.


IMO, the US stock market crash will trigger the mass panic, and I'm not convinced it will be directly connected to Y2K.

Japan will tank unexpectedly due to either bank runs, earthquakes and/or nuclear missile scares, and that uncontrollable financial panic will pull down the global market. America will lose its last firewall, and our prosperity will be over.

Of course, I could be wrong. We might get nuked into a vast wasteland.

-- Randolph (, July 14, 1999.

a mom

no, your not nuts, thats the way people behave - thats how the've been trained. Not to think, not to respond to outside changing events. Thier chances are slim to none, since that cannot respond except by extending the hand. The no one to run to, the will just sit and wither.

Just something to cheer you up,

Bob P

-- Bob P (, July 14, 1999.

Sue, you said something that really struck me......they were more worried about their luggage than going to a relocation camp. This is "it" to me. This is such a great description of the weirdness here. I guess it is a common human response to an unthinkable outcome. Where is my suitcase?

-- a mom (, July 14, 1999.

I agree with above comments regarding a stock market crash and/or cash withdrawal limits by the banks.

-- Leslie (***@***.net), July 15, 1999.

USA Bank failure, or limiting withdrawals. Followed by stock market crash.

-- dave (, July 15, 1999.

Stock market decline beginning in late November to mid December, although not serious enough to cause widespread panic.

Bank runs beginning in mid to late December, put to a halt by government intervention - limits on withdrawals, cashier's checks issued by banks, etc. Still no mass panic.

Large riots in major cities in first quarter of 2000 due to:

- Depositers realizing that their banks have gone belly-up, they have lost all their money and the FDIC will not be able to reimburse them. They protest, demanding that the government give them their money back "or they will use guns if they have to."

- Intermittent, regional utility outages (water, electric, sewer) cause widespread looting in the cities.


- The public realizes they have been lied to (badly) by the gov't. Lots of jawboning about it, but that's about all. They realize they have been screwed, but it's too late to do anything.

- Those who have prepared go into survival mode and hang low.

- All others wait to be saved. If help doesn't come in time, they roll over and die like the pathetic sheep that they are.

-- Clyde (, July 15, 1999.


I forgot to mention severe food shortages in 1st quarter of 2000 along with the utility outages causing mass death (millions) in many major cities throughout the world. People will be too weak and sick to cause any serious problems for the (presumably better fed) authorities.

-- Clyde (, July 15, 1999.

Responding to some earlier comments and hoping to redirect this back to my original question with a clarification.

I was looking for an example of a _computer_ y2k failure that would stimulate a panic. Many of the examples given are _human_ failures. For example, putting a cash withdrawal limit on September 15th in anticipation of a banking panic and actually causing one. In the absence of another stimulus I don't see many people withdrawing their Y2K walking around money until after Christmas.

Or a stock market crash unless the crash is somehow a result of a computer Y2K failure. If the Dow were to drop to 5000 tomorrow I doubt if the public would clean out the grocery shelves.

As far as certain social welfare payments not being made, I wouldn't think that this would occur directly as part of a look-ahead Y2K software bug, but perhaps indirectly as part of a bug induced while trying to get the software Y2K compliant. It could be a debating point as to whether this is a Y2K problem, but I think we've seen some of these already.

One example given was a small town with the computers still down. But if the town is able to muddle through and provide basic services such as police, fire, water, trash pickup, etc until the computer problem is fixed, then there won't be a problem.

So again I'm looking for potential look-ahead Y2K software bugs that have such a great effect on a large number of people that they can't be swept under the rug or hidden until a fix is implemented. (For example issuing credit cards with expiration dates prior to 2000 until the point-of-sale systems could be fixed). I would be looking for an example of a bug and how it impacts peoples comfortable lives enough and in such a way that they are stimulated to prepare.

-- Mikey2k (, July 15, 1999.

a mom,

If you are "going nuts", at least you have company. I had the same "weird" reaction tonight when I first looked into this thread before you had posted. Back in December or so there was a thread called "When will the panic start?" I remember thinking, "late Fall or early Winter, when people begin withdrawing money from their banks." Tonight I realized I no longer believe that, and it was scary. I would only change one word in your post, "It won't sink in UNLESS they are moved into a shelter and probably not even then." I still have hope that it won't get as bad as that, but it's sobering to think that, if it did, people would still be more concerned about where their luggage was...

-- RUOK (, July 15, 1999.

-- a mom,

Two thoughts:

I read something recently (can't remember where--too much reading lately) about the possibility that most people who survive plane crashes are the ones who climb over seats to get to the exit doors.

Many who don't survive, are the ones who wait to retrieve luggage from the overhead compartments.

Just thinking. . .


-- FM (, July 15, 1999.

Russia trying to blackmail the US, demanding Billions to fix their NUKE computers or they will let them crash. Something quite similar has been happening with the completion of Cuba's Nuclear Power Plant.


Market freefall and investors (not planes) falling from the sky.

-- (, July 15, 1999.

There has already been billing problem affecting hundreds if not thousands of people. GPU, a multi-state electric company in the eastern US was implementing new Y2K software and neglected to send customers their bills. I know people this happened to personally. No big deal, they just billed them more the following month. These people didn't think anything of it. Just one of those glitches we, in our society, have gotten so used to.

So no, I don't think anything as small as a billing glitch, etc. will wake people up.

I think sometime in the fall the banks will begin to limit withdrawls. This, I believe, will be the breaking point. This will affect people in their day-to-day lives. They will no longer be able to ignore us "doomers" and will panic.

We all best be ready by then.


-- Deb (Deb@deb.deb), July 15, 1999.


One thing I really hope happens quickly is rationing gasoline, and/or shutting down the interstates. Then at least, the cities will stay in the cities, and not infest the countryside and smaller communities that have a chance at self-sufficiency.


-- Deb (deb@deb.deb), July 15, 1999.

I think we need to be watching the GPS roll over. I read somewhere (on this forum or a link - can't find it now) that the GPS system does more than tell aircraft and ships where they are. It also has something to do with dates and timing on other things like pipelines and electrical generation and movement, and a lot of other things. It also seems like I remember that it had something to do with the International banking system and the way money is moved internationally. There seemed to be an unsureness about the compatablity between the satellites and the remediated ground receivers because they couldn't test except to pull a satellite off line and test which they did, but with only one satellite. Anyway, will keep searching for that article, but if there are enough problems with the GPS rollover in August, it might trigger several events at once that could start the panic roll.

Other than that, I would expect there to be a pick-up in activity about Thanksgiving time when people start to think about Christmas and New Year holidays which may put them in the "gee-maybe-I-ought- to-do-something" mode.

-- Valkyrie (, July 15, 1999.

Here is a reasonable possibility, though entirely speculative:

If I were mayor of a large city, say, San Diego or LA, I might secretly order that the Y2K-remediated water and sewage systems, city-wide, be put online at some date before 1/1/2000. My reasoning would be:

1. If it works, we're well on the way to guaranteeing at least survival and civic order.

2. If it doesn't work, we're in big trouble and will cause a panic, but we will have 'x' days/weeks to fix before 1/1/2000. See 1. above.

The same reasoning, btw, could be used with respect to chemical plants, nukes, utilities, etc.

Now, if any of those fail in a catastrophic fashion (> 1M people's lives affected for > 1 week and/or it doesn't look like 'x' CAN be fixed within, say, 2 weeks), wider panic will ensue.

For sure, I personally would be putting major at-risk systems on line at least by Dec. 1, 1999 if I had the authority to do so. You might want to factor this reasoning into your bug-out plans.

-- BigDog (, July 15, 1999.

I'm thinking like Valkyrie. GPS receivers are used everywhere these days, including in telecomm and electrical distribution systems. Even excluding these major systems, there are apt to be noticeable (sp?) problems in trucking & shipping. Ever see the UPS guy's gizmo that he carries around with him? Remember when UPS went on strike a couple of years ago?

Maybe failures in GPS receivers won't startle the vast majority of citizens into action, but I firmly believe it will be enough to rattle most fence-sitters off their perches. I think it'll be a powerful illustration of the interdependencies that will make Y2K failures far-reaching.

Whether an 'awakening' of many will disturb the slumber of the rest, I don't know. If cable goes out... get out of the way!

-- Arewyn (, July 15, 1999.

I think many here are misunderstanding what panic really is and how it acts.

Panic is a specific reaction to an nearby danger. It occurs when the danger is perceived as immediate, where the escape route is visible, but that route is very difficult to access. Panic is the blind force launches each individual toward the exit in an effort to escape the danger.

All these elements have to be in place before there is a panic. If there no immediate threat of danger, or no visible escape, or the visible escape is easy to take advantage of, then there is no panic.

A stock market crash is often called a panic, but it is a panic among investors trying to escape the market by selling when there are no buyers - making it a rather abstract panic compared to, for example, a crowd in a burning theater trampling one another to get to the door.

In a Y2K context, I think it is wrong to imagine panic as general. It is necessarily a local phenomenon, but a local phenomenon that may be replicated in a large number of localities. Actual panic would occur when, for example:

a) people are deprived of vital supplies such as water or food, then

b) an insufficient amount of these supplies arrive in a location where there are many hungry people, and

c) the fear arises among some of the hungry people that the supplies will be exhausted before they get any.

That fear would quickly rise to a panic if it were not quelled by visible and credible actions on the part of the people distributing the supplies.

Social breakdown is not panic. They share in common the trait that normal social inhibitions are removed in the interest of personal survival. But social breakdown is not as sudden as panic, and is based far more on calculation and decision.

In a panic, social values are overwhelmed by fear and temporarily forgotten. In a social breakdown, social values are consciously shed, as no longer valid or appropriate under the prevailing conditions. Moments after succumbing to panic, a person may be equally overwhelmed by shame at their actions. In a social breakdown shame sleeps like the dead.

I guess what I am saying is that, if Y2K is a 9 or a 10, we may see local panic events that come and go rapidly, but that the real danger is social breakdown such often happens in war zones, plagues or famines. My own analysis of y2k is that it will only hit the level of a 9 or 10 if it actually triggers war, plague or famine. Without those effects, society will stay intact.

-- Brian McLaughlin (, July 15, 1999.

A bad plane crash at an two planes colliding due to a computor glitz. A nuclear accident due to a computer glitz. A big chemical release on the edge of a city like Houston, that kills many. The mayor of NYC deciding it is too risky to celebrate in Times Square and closing it down as they are going to do on Broadway. A big oil spill due to collision of an out of control oil tanker into a US port.. due to y2k. The Panama Canal jaming up due to computer glitz. The weather warning system, especially hurricane, down due to glitz. But the GrandMa of them all is when the SS checks and the welfare checks don't arrive. Also....people have all heard some where or another, about not having money in the bank on roll over. One newscast showing a bank run in Bumfk, Arkansas will take it all down the fastest.

Taz...who is waiting for the other shoe to drop! My wish is that something that is relatively benign would happen that would scare the beejeesus out of the public. Maybe a bank run, but not something that would kill people. Tho I can see where one could be killed in a bank run too. But I think you know what I mean.

-- Taz (, July 15, 1999.

Alot of good thoughts! Maybe its like a house of cards. We keep building on top of it until it collapses from its own weight. What about canceling holiday leave. I've heard it is happening now. Probably won't be a computer glitch. Day by day the number of GI's grows. Eventually the system won't be able to handle the number of people preparing and that will trigger a final preping frenzy that the government will have to stop.

-- Rick (, July 15, 1999.


Many savvy Jews fled Nazi Germany prior to people being put into the boxcars--like the GIs preparing now. They dared to believe and to survive. The others refused to accept it. "We are Germans..." Of course many did not have the money or sophistication to flee.

What will trigger panic? Very unknown. Think of cattle stampeding. It's sudden, intense, and involves every member of the herd. Should it happen, get out of the way.

-- Mara Wayne (, July 15, 1999.

One of the triggers may be a crisis overseas, probably just before or after the first of the year. Possibilities include:

1. The fall of Boris Yeltsin. 2. War in the Persian Gulf (among nations, or civil war in Iraq, Iran, or Saudi Arabia). 3. War on the Korean Peninsula.

A lot may depend on the condition (or perceived condition) of the American military.

-- Paul DiMaria (, July 15, 1999.

I did not have time to read all the answers. What I am noticing is this. If you look back to this forum one year ago there were just the regular group of posters. This year I am seeing all new names mixed in with the regulars.

People are getting it, slowly but surely. You are here, aren't you? Will there be one big event. I don't know. Awareness will continually increase because of the media, co workers, family and churches to name a few.

I don't think there will be a mass awareness. Some will get it, some won't.

-- Linda A. (, July 15, 1999.

Paul DiMaria:

Boris Yeltsin falls, but his aides help him up. No big problem. Lebed wants his job. Big problem.

North Korea is itching to launch a nuclear missile, and this could cause Japan's citizens to panic. It depends where the missile detonates.

The Middle East will become the biggest powderkeg of all time, and the subsequent explosions will result in TEOTWAWKI.

-- Randolph (, July 16, 1999.

If there is panic buying before December it won't be anythins as melodramatic as the things mentioned above. The thing I am looking for is failed testing at a Fortune 500 company or Utility which leaks to the press. A year ago a large drug company I know of thought they had a system fixed and fired it up for a test and everything shut down. If something like that happens from September on it could snowball into a media fed frenzy.

-- Jimmy Bagga Doughnuts (, July 16, 1999.

Non-Y2k related, but I'm starting to think that the gold sale by BOE might be looked at in retrospect as a very good point to place the beginning of the end of the present intl currency system.

The wind is howling through the dead branches of the tree and wood is cracking all around the treehouse.

-- Mitchell Barnes (, July 16, 1999.

Great post on panic, thanks.

I agree with Valkyrie and Arewere on the GPS being significant but what do I know about the GPS. What does anyone know?

I think we will see a media tidal wave at some point if GPS rollovers smoothly. IF GPS rollover passes quietly then the market would be my best guess. It has already begun....


How Y2K Is Already Affecting The Corporate Bond Market yID=3484

(Scott Gerlach-CNBC)

Think the financial markets are ignoring Y2K? Think again:

Millennium bug malaise is exerting tangible pressure on the corporate bond market right now, just as analysts predicted a couple of months ago. Corporate treasurers seem to be heeding warnings of a potential fourth-quarter meltdown by issuing a whole lot of debt in the third quarter. They worry investors might shut off the money spigot later in the year.

"It is entering into corporate treasurers' minds," says David Bowers, a portfolio manager at Evergreen Funds in Boston. "It's just prudence -- if they can avoid (the fourth quarter), they are trying to avoid it..."

Some money managers call the current situation a "mini liquidity crisis." Issuers are rushing in -- apparently to beat both the millennium clock and any further Federal Reserve rate hikes -- faster than investors can comfortably digest the new supply.

"You can't ignore supply and demand," says Leslie Barbi, a portfolio manager at Pacific Investment Management Company (PIMCO), the giant West Coast fixed income group. "If issuers are really front-loading at the moment, then maybe there will be some scarcity in the fourth quarter."

-- BB (, July 16, 1999.

Here is Gartner's take on when y2k failures will take place. 10% have already occurred. 25% will happen this year with the majority of failures between July and December. 55% will occur on Jan.1 and in 2000. They predict 15% will happen in 2001. Sooooo we should expect media attention soooooon. See North's site for link


-- BB (, July 16, 1999.

That's easy. The first time an empty store shelf is shown on the evening news the REAL panic will begin.


-- TECH32 (TECH32@NOMAIL.COM), July 16, 1999.

Interesting thread. My husband leans toward possible GPS rollover problems, I think probably the stock market. I don't think either one would cause a "stampede" though. Just a much larger "awakening."

I found this last paragraph in the article about California's new Y2K legislation very interesting:

"Dutra is concerned that some unscrupulous retailers will jack up prices in December in an effort to profit from panic buying."

How do they know there will be panic buying? What do they know that they haven't told us?

-- Gayla (, July 16, 1999.


I think you may have got the Gartner numbers a bit confused. Last I read they were predicting only 8% of failures in the first 2 weeks of Jan 2000. (Unfortunately I don't have a link - only my sleep-deprived brain.)

-- Johnny Canuck (, July 16, 1999.

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