Do you have a good analogy that relates to Y2k? : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

How many different analogies have been given relating to Y2K? I can think of a few...
Pascal's Wager
marbles in the Grand Canyon
fire in a theater
an insurance policy.

Can someone add more?

-- rb (, July 19, 1999


You bet: the early days of Nazi Germany in the early '30s, after Hitler took over. Years before, he wrote a book (MEIN KAMPF) and said exactly what he would do if he ever got the chance. Then he got the chance, once he took over.

A few -- VERY few -- Jews "got it" and left Germany, giving up much. Most -- the VAST majority -- did not "get it", and stayed put.

The rest is history.

-- King of Spain (, July 20, 1999.

Y2K analogy games - dominos - house of cards - scrabble with dyslectics - pick-up-sticks - operation (bizzzzit!) - monopoly on acid - bowling (where it's the time's sq. ball and the pins are people!)

-- dw (, July 20, 1999.

*clap* clap*

Simply splendid!

Simply spl...aarghh!!!!

-- b (b@b.b), July 20, 1999.

Depending on the "experts," to guide you but they are misguided themselves.

Being told you are safe and have nothing to worry and then TSHTF and you become a statistic.

-- bardou (, July 20, 1999.

Here's an interesting one that I recall:

The Grand Canyon is full of dirty multicolored swirly marbles. You must clean each one individually, then ensure that you put each one back exactly the same way you found it. You have x number of people on your team, and one year to accomplish it. Some marbles merely have dust on them, while others have tar/mud covering them, so it could be difficult to accurately determine how to place these marbles back where you found them in their exact state.

There's probably a flaw to this, so feel free to slice and dice, folks..

-- Tim (, July 20, 1999.

Almost forgot one leeeetle theeeng...

If you find a cracked marble, you must replace it with an exact duplicate and place it back where you found it.

-- Tim (, July 20, 1999.

Following up on King of Spain's pre World War II history, we have the famous quotes:

"My good friends, this is the second time in our history that there has come back from Germany to Downing Street, peace with honour.." Neville Chamberlain

"We shall have neither peace nor honour..." Winston Churchill

The overwhelming majority thought Churchill was a crackpot.

-- Bonnie Camp (, July 20, 1999.

Originally the ?analogy was to "challenge the perception" that; focusing on certain known malady's, in individual parts, the system is guaranteed survival It is true that each organ, while unique in design and function , can be forced to function independent of the system it supports, But this is not a measure of safety to the sick and dying system. Especially in an environment of increasing attacks that add additional pressure to an already weakened patient.

What makes the system so special in the first place? It is not the individual pieces, parts or subsystems. It is the value it adds, by purpose and function, to the environment in which it interacts. Which it supports. Each piece has evolved to perform a specific function, with individual and often unique combinations of common and often shared elements. The primary developmental processes are the same for all components: A need, a concept, a design, an answer. The POINT-OF-NO return is often invisible during the maturation of the system. As it becomes so complex and so integral to the environment in which it resides. Components must be removed and replaced, wholesale, upon failure. This due to their complexity, availability of spare parts, loss of documentation, logic charts etc. It has become standard practice to discard rather than repair, if needed, because of non-compliance with new standards, updated designs etc.

To hope that things are or will be, or even can be addressed and fixed, after the appearance of symptoms, ill regard of the ramifications, goes against my perception of good sense or logic. Like rabies, once the maturation arrives at the symptomatic, it is too late. Time to remediate, to make contingencies, has run out for the victim.

The specter of being impotent to do anything but watch, while the system that supports your very existence falls in on itself, is abominable. This leaves one feeling a bit exposed, and overly dependent on an unreliable host.

To survive, we must be prepared to operate independently of the support system for an unknown period of time. It may not be able to provide the basic essential needs for survival during the adjustment period.

Fixing the worlds power grid, if possible, is a good thing, but will it feed me? Fixing the water systems, is a very good thing, but will it clothe me? Fixing the worlds banks is a good thing, but will I have a job? Fixing the oil, pharmacies, grocers, ad infinitum .....ok, but will the world, as I see it today, be the the same, or even close to it, next year? Even if we get all the knowns fixed, will the shock of having done so, be so great that the patient will die?

I urge you, do what it takes, without harm to another, to calmly prepare mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually to be non dependent for a while.

- IMHO The challenge to see a bigger picture for anyone new to Y2K and the danger of being led to complacency by those who will not or can not Get It real. This is dangerous Even if you believe the computer bugs will be fixed here, take a broader look around our tiny planet. If you don't, then you will be part of those who scramble for the remaining vestiages of supplies this fall. Like it or not, this is also part of Y2K There is nothing you, or I, or governments can do about it. People are people.

Respectfully: mikeymac

With all our best intentions, all our best resources, all our finest minds at the patients side, our infected system, may or may not pull though. Temporary life support may keep it just above death,. But the spirit that once dwelled in it, is sadly (or not), fast slipping to its' final state

I offer this Y2K paradigm.

A young boy came home sporting a nasty bite on his arm Amidst the fits of sobbing and crying the poor lad explained to his mom the events of the ordeal just passed. Seems as though he had encountered a large dog coming through the wood and been attacked without provocation. He feared for his very life, except for that the dog suddenly turned and ran back into the wood, hollering and whining, till completely out of sight. No one else would ever have understood a word he said in such a broken discourse, but mom's just can.

Mom, as moms do , took a cold wash rag and gently washed the boys tears away, matted down his scruffled hair, and soothed his spirit with that God given salve contained in a mom's voice. The boy somewhat gathered, and feeling safer now, turned his attention to the bite on his arm. Wanting to return to his fright, he gasped, held his breathe for a moment, then once again started crying. But this time with much less virility.

Mom too, turned her attention to the arm and decided it was a prudent thing to proceed to the doctors office. The young man, now anxious to recant the entire trauma, recalled how he had never seen this particular dog before, and it sure was ugly. It looked like it had been lying in the bushes for a long time, and it sure did stink too.

Upon arriving at the doctors office, the youngster magically seemed to be feeling a whole lot better, but mom would not hear of returning without first having Mr. Pool have a look see. The waiting room was not too crowded, so even over the admonitions of her son, mom was soon explaining the details as best she could from a third party point of view.

Dr Pool administered to the wounds while the boy recanted the story about the queer acting dog. Dr. Pool issued the standard *sucker* to the boy and sent them on their way. Mom, still unconvinced, and naturally worried about the welfare of the boy, decided to get a second opinion. Again the physician discarded their fears because of the low probability of anything more serious than a slight infection, for which he had already been treated.

All was well until, a couple of weeks later, mom got a call from the hospital. She was ordered to bring the boy immediately to the hospital where she would met by the doctor. He would explain in detail, there. Never surprise and then corner a mother. An eternal adage. The nurse tried to explain; Seems two other people had suffered bites in the last week from a mad dog, The animal had been destroyed and testing on brain tissue had confirmed the presense of Hydrophobia-- Rabies.

Mom would, truly, have run over anything between her and that doctor. Upon arriving, the next few minutes could not, other than to say heated and confused, be easily described.

Mom, having admitted the boy, was now sitting quietly at his bedside. How, what had she done wrong, how had she failed her son, if only....? Her swollen eyes never leaving her child. The redness permeating the (white). Her soul looking back from them. The weight of her sadness made it hard for her to breathe.

At first light, the team of specialists arrived from the capital. Their demeanor, their language, their clothes, hell, even their smell was so nauseatingly sterile. They seemed to look right past her, right through her, as if she did not exist. This made her angry, but she had little room for selfish feeling.

At the doctors persistence and assurances, she conceded her space to these strangers, in body anyway. The waiting, the absense, were insufferable. Just as she thought she could stand it no more, they emerged. As she hurried past, she strained to pick out some recognizable utterance from their banter. She searched their faces, their inflections, intonations, their body language, but discerned nothing. She received only, in that brief moment of confluence, the deafening noise of silence. Even the sound of her own voice scrapped across raw nerve.

The diagnosis; Hydrophobia.

Passed from infected host to a victim primarily through the saliva, the virus rides the intravenial passages and begins to propogate. Since there is no cure for rabies, the hospital sent the family home without hope. The Boy developed Hydrophobia in a few days. The family gathered members from all corners of the realm to prepare for the impending doom.

One member of the family recalled a hypothesis she had overheard about treating the disease systemically. Since there is no way of treating the entire system holistically, it may be possible to attack the disease on a organ by organ basis. Different organs - different treatments, administered concurrently. But it had never been tried before. The Boys parents, after much soul searching, agreed to attempt this radical approach. The options were nil and the certainty of doing nothing, unacceptable.

The project attracted the attention of many highly respected specialists, in all fields of medicine. So treatment began. The details of the treatment are to extensive to recount, but the synopsis goes like this;

The encephalitic condition of the brain was reduced to an acceptable level; The liver was in a damaged state, but continuing to function; The kidney function was at high risk of total failure, but potential family donors were on record and present; The pancreas may not survive, but with a proper regime of insulin, it would not be the cause of death, and so on throughout his entire system.

All of this was quite overwhelming to the Boy, and he slipped into a comma. The life assist mechanisms were tied into his system and he continued to breath, and showed signs of brain function. The family wept and agreed to hold vigil with the Boy on a rotating basis, and went to their homes. Time passed.

Some of the family thought it was unfathomable that the Boy should be held in limbo by the life support system, while others had come to terms with a decision to hold out hope, no matter what. The hospital, bound by legal issues had no choice, but to continue life support. During family get togethers for mutual consoling, arguments broke out more and more frequently and viloently. Otherwise gentle and reasonable people began regressing into archaic ancestral behaviors. Name calling was frequent, threats issued, and ties seemingly irrevocably damaged.

.............~~~~~~~~~ In the twinkling of a eye, our young lad was standing before Peter in a gown of pure white. There were objects that looked like a huge white pearls on either side of the street which led away from him.

"Hello, my son" said Peter to the tike "Welcome home"

The Boy looked over his shoulder for a moment and sported a slight frown.

"What is the matter, my child?"

"I'm really worried about them" he said, "there still fighting about whether or not I'm really still alive"

Peter held his hands out above the child .... an incredibly intense, but loving light came down upon his head

The young child immediately was embraced and donned an angelic smile. He looked down the street and hollered

"Hey Jesus, wanna play?"

With all our best intentions, all our best resources, all our finest minds at the patients side, our infected system, may or may not pull though. Temporary life support may feign life. But the spirit that once dwelled in it, is sadly (or not), fast slipping to its' final state

I offer this Y2K paradigm. mikeymac

-- spun@lright (, July 20, 1999.

Someone once suggested trying to CHANGE foundations under a brick building. The foundation is cracked. You must replace it in such a way that all the bricks in the building above are still in the same relationship to each other, and to the surrounding buildings. You cannot simply blow up the building and start from scratch. You need all those bricks (data). Now, once you have done that on THAT building.. do it for all the other buildings in.. oh.. say.. New York City.

Ready... set... go. Time's a wasting.

-- Linda (, July 20, 1999.

Some analogies relate to the "big picture" of Y2K itself, some relate to the risks involved, some to the act of preparation at all levels.

At the individual level I feel like I have been swimming against the current. I can also remember having played the "Don't Come" at the Crap tables in Vegas. The other players think you are very "different".

I guess all of us who see problems coming are marching to the beat of a different drummer. So be it. To date, based on the ongoing information available, I would not change one bit of my prior preparations.

So let all that have called me Chicken Little or the little boy that cried WOLF have their fun because I also read about the ant and the grasshopper, the little red hen and the little pig that used bricks.

-- rb (, July 20, 1999.

Here's a good analogy (the Indy 500) about how what will be compliant could be as important as how much will be compliant. Electricity is used an example, but an ample supply of gasoline or drinking water could be a factor, rather than the electricity example given:


One of the most common counter-arguments to y2k usually goes something like this, "Even under normal circumstances, these systems don't operate at 100% efficiency and we still manage to get by. Because we always have to deal with things breaking down, etc. So to say that some things not working properly is going to cause whole systems (power, telecommunications, etc.) to come crumbling down is complete nonsense!"

On its face, this seems like a logical argument. But this really confuses the word "efficiency" with "capacity."

Consider an analogy: the Indy 500. To use round numbers, let's say you start with fifty cars in the race. During the race, individual cars will have isolated failures (gearbox, blowout, engine, etc.) and will drop out of the race. Let's say 20% dropout after the midway point of the race. The argument above would say the race is operating at 80% efficiency when really it's 80% capacity.

The problems with the 20% of cars that dropped out were all isolated. Of the remaining 80% of cars that are still running, they are operating at close to 100% efficiency. In sum, if 80% of your capacity is operating at close to 100% efficiency, you still have a race.

But now suppose that each individual car had just one tire blowout. With each car, 99% of the car is fine and could operate perfectly. Theoretically, each car is operating at 99% efficiency. But the blowout prevents every car from running. You have no race.

If you have ten power plants for an area, and one goes off line, you're still fine as long as the other nine are operating normally. But if they all have one little thing go wrong that shuts them all down, you have big trouble. No race. Or in our case, no economy.

There's a big difference between capacity and efficiency.


-- Linkmeister (, July 20, 1999.

Another good analogy with parallels to Y2K is I, Pencil by Leonard E. Read. The analogy brings home the point that systems can be more complex than any one person has the ability to fathom, and that systems are interconnected:

-- Linkmeister (, July 20, 1999.

All excellent examples folks. As long as you're deeper than a spoon, they make the problem glaringly obvious. I just wish we had fewer spoons in the world.

'The Emperor's New Clothes' comes to mind for me. Let's all perpetuate the spin and hope nobody tells the truth!

-- Will continue (, July 20, 1999.

You may find some others here...

LINKS REQUEST: Need Good Simple Supply Chain & Domino Effect Examples 000rFy

-- Diane J. Squire (, July 20, 1999.

I really like the one I read here, sorry I can't give credit to the author because I don't remember who wrote it.

He/she said we don't know whether y2k's effects will be like a nerf ball hitting a fishing net, or a line drive hitting a spiderweb.

-- Mommacares (, July 20, 1999.

My analogy: You're in your car on a long interstate drive with about, oh, a quarter tank of gas. It's the middle of summer, blazing hot at 103 degress and 80% humidity. What's this ahead? Traffic jam? Your car slows from 71 mph rapidly down to about 30 mph , nearly rear- ending the car in front of you. The car behind you gets rear-ended, though, sending a seat-beltless passenger through the windshield.

You say, "Geez, that poor guy. Sure glad it wasn't MY kid." You drive onward about a half mile until the traffic all but stops. Your motor doesn't like being in idle in this kind of heat with the AC on full blast, so you turn it off and crack the windows down. Sweat begins to ooze out of every pore in your body and your shirt sticks to your back, which is slimy. "Are we there yet, Daddy?" asks your four-year- old. "Looks like we've hit a bad traffic jam, Jr." you say.

You turn on your CB radio and learn that, 5 miles ahead, there had been an overturned semi with debris scattering over both halves of the interstate. Paramedics and firetrucks were rushing to the scene in the emergency lane. Cars began to stall. Four miles ahead there's an exit and some people are making a break for it in the fire lane, obscuring the rescue effort. A bunch get caught and are detained by a single police officer.

You sit there, sweating, for about an hour and notice that your wife has passed out from the heat. You try to flag down an ambulance but they are tending to people bleeding to death, not heat exhaustion cases. So you try to rouse her and get her to drink more water. She is nautious and can't keep fluids down. Your gas tank now reads "low fuel."

Finally, just when you thought you all were going to die, some uniformed officer with starts directing you to pass into the emergency lane and head to the nearest exit, which is a mile from the disaster. Your CB tells you that this was no ordinary semi crash, but that there was the possibility of a Hazmat situation. You make it to the nearest exit.

Welcome to Podunk, Nowhere, USA. The gas station is filled to capacity with a line going down the street. What's this...? Rationing? Do you have an odd- or even- numbered liscesce plate? Whew! Lucky. It's even. Finally you pump your gas, which happens to be sold at about three times the usual price. You pay the attendant, asking him what the fuss is about. He responds in a slow drawl, "Well, now, looks like you an the youngins have been through a lot. Now I'm sorry aboat that but the Middle East situation is out uh hand agin.. Seems thar fighin for oi-yal in the Gulf. Yeh can hear about it if you turn on the radio, now."

Sure enough he was right. You ask about an alternative route to where you need to go. "Sure enough, yer the twentieth person whose axed me that this mornin. Well, whatcha havetuh do is take blah blah blah on this dirt road through the mountains blah blah through Hazard County blah hlah you can have supper at this lil ole place called the Boar's Nest blah blah.."

The alternate route you take gets you lost time and time again. But eventually you make it back home, albeit two days late and with a sick family. All because of some truck that swerved too swiftly to avert a fallen motorcyclist. The motorcyclist had hit A BUMP IN THE ROAD.

-- coprolith (, July 20, 1999.

The Best quote regarding Y2K I have heard happened last week. I must appologize to the originator for using literary license (embellishment). First a little background: this man is a programmer (for real) who has done a large amount of Y2K remediation and this is a replay of a conversation he had with his wife:

After thinking about it along time, John had decided to break the ice and discuss Y2K with his wife. He came home from work and sat down at the dinner table and started the conversation. "Honey, What do you know about the Year 2000 computer bug?" She looked thoughtfully at him for a moment and said, "I know about it, that is the bug that is supposed to destroy civilization, right?"

"You know," she said, "they aren't going to let this thing destroy everything." "Who are they?" John said. "The programmers," she said, "they will work right up to the last minute and fix all the bugs by December 31st."

John thought a moment then looked at his wife and said, "Honey, I am one of *them*, the ones who are supposed to save us, and we aren't gonna make it."

-- ExCop (, July 20, 1999.

From the past: Noah

Relating to complacency: The frog and boiling water

Drop a frog into boiling water, the frog will jump out. Place a frog into room temp water and slowly heat it to boiling-- the frog will stay put and die.

-- winter wondering (, July 20, 1999.

You have 80,000 lbs. of truck on a 20% grade, you flip on the Jake brakes, and every thing's cool, you get up to 80 mph and put on the brakes,,,,,,,,nothing. You look for a runaway exit ( deep, soft gravel ), None. Some little wire shorted, and you have nothing. no brakes,,, the engine is over-reveing,,, and you are going down last chance grade.

-- CT (ct@no.yr), July 20, 1999.

I anticipate in the coming months Y2K to resemble life on board the Russian Spacestation Mir! Where at any moment things can turn horribly wrong. Where leaks, fires and power outages are the norm. Nothing works particularly well. Resupply and help, via some sort of rescue would be rare. What you have at hand, is what you have! Have already exceeded the projected life of the station. No amount of money, media spin, or government prognostications can reverse the fact that it will indeed eventually fall from the sky Y2K or not! Only unknowns are when, whether it will be a controlled or uncontrolled event and how big the pieces will be that come tumbling down.

Prepare for turbulence! Your choice whether you fasten your seatbelt or not!

-- (, July 21, 1999.

I compared our relationship to computers to a marriage, and Y2k problems are a trial separation.

Sorry about the formatting.

-- Craig Hagstrom (dontblow@my.cover), July 21, 1999.

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