Another Y2K Experts Opinion : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Scott Olmsted--BS degree in Computer Science, Harvey Mudd College, master's degree in Operative Research, and a doctorate in Engineering-Economic Systems from Stanford University. He has a special interest in Decision Analysis, the discipline of logical decision making, especially decisions under unceertainty. He has 20 years in software engineering.

July 11, 1999: "There is no question now that there will be consequences of Y2K. The government is not in good shape, small business has barely started, many other countries have hardly begun (including Japan, the world's second largest economy), and the "iron triangle" industries -- electric power, telecommunications, and banking cannot guarantee that their services will be 100% ready. They all have started too late, and there is simply not enough time left to get all the computer code fixed."

-- bardou (, July 21, 1999



Okay ... so you know it, and I know it, and Scott Olmsted obviously knows it. So what?

Chances of changing the mind of undecided citizens? Close to zero.

Chances of changing the outcome even if everyone woke up tomorrow morning and agreed Y2K was a serious problem? Also close zero.

So why waste our time talking about it, whining about it, debating whether the outcome will change if only someone (e.g., the Prez) woke up and admitted the severity of the problem?

Why not just skip over that, and focus on our options AFTER Jan 1, 2000? That's what I've been thinking about for the past couple of months. More details on my web site ( in the next few days...


-- Ed Yourdon (, July 21, 1999.


My feelings exactly, and where I have focused my efforts. I look forward to it!

High regards,

-- (, July 21, 1999.

Sorry, but I disagree. The public's response to y2k could turn like a school of fish, in the blink of an eye. All it takes is one heavy media hit or any of a number of things, to change the whole view from complacency to panic or anything in between. I find this kind of speculation is just that, speculation, based on nothing substantial whatsoever. There is still a lot that can be done, right up to the wire, once the will is there. We need to be preparing for the day that change happens instead of giving up and whining about the denial that surrounds and permeates us. Community food security and low-tech sustainability can be implemented to a large degree in a very short time. We have to be the models, so that the media will pick it up and others can see how simple and cheap it is to do. These are all things that would be good to have whether y2k is big or small. Hopefully, my site, will be fixed up soon by volunteers to become "truly effective". Those who want to give up and fantacize about what to do after 2000, go ahead. But if its big, your fantasies and plans won't mean a thing. Only if its small, may they have some sway in whatever reality ensues. So it may be good for that. But for the rest of us, clear vision precludes falling into any speculation to guide our actions. Common sense must prevail and commonsense says to not prepare fully is folly.

-- Tom Osher (, July 21, 1999.

TOm, WIthout putting words inthe mouths of the folks above, Lordknows they are capable of out wording me, I would suggest you have missed a key point. the question is not really how heavily and for what do we prepare? It is not "What do I need to do to help my community, my neighborhood do to survive?" It IS " What do I need to do to have viable community (in the Commune term) around me in the period following rollover? How do I prepare that Community to survive and be viable, and be a seed from which may grow the NEXT society, the first society of the new Millennium?"

"What are my options, and what are the options of the Community in which I find myself?"

There is very little, if any, fantasizing here. THIS is what COMMUNITY PREPAREDNESS is (or of right OUGHT TO BE) striving for.

Unfortunately, this requires that the community (with or without Capitalization) have leadership which has the intelectual honesty to LEAD, to recognize that the situation has a non-zero probability of a sub-optimal outcome (as we say in Emergency Medicine, as we evaluate why the patient died), and to put in place programs, unpopular at BEST, to stave off this sub-optimal outcome.

Y'all see anybody that fits the bill, raise him or her up onto your shoulders and have them Light the World.

Chuck a Night Driver and part time moderator on another forum

-- Chuck, a night driver (, July 21, 1999.

Glad to see you are back ED! I have to agree with you. (although I don't want to) If old zipperman doesn't get on the tube real quick and spill the beans, very few others will understand the real problem with y2k. I have no hope of that happening.

-- FLAME AWAY (, July 21, 1999.

I've been planning on stocking raw foodstuffs for my neighborhood. By sheerest chance, another prepper is moving about 200 yards down the street. I've got goats, rabbits (plus lots of extra material for more cages), pigs, and chickens on the way.

I'm preplanning security, trying to "eyeball" assets in our little rural area.

Lots of books on older ways to do stuff. Mechanical Engineering handbook (about 8" thick), practical mathematics (4 volumes), etc., etc.

Will it go that far? I don't know. I do know that a blow to our infrastructure is going to unsettle everyone. We won't go "back" to the '30's, or any other time. Whatever and wherever we end up, it will be our unique future.

-- Jon Williamson (, July 21, 1999.

Here's how I see it.

Millions are aware of the Y2K problem and only some choose to take action. I have studied the problem and know what COULD happen.

I have had no experience in this type of situation before. I'm flying with no instruments. It's getting darker and darker.

We all make choices. I know of one that left three people on the bottom of the ocean.

The choice is yours!

-- Lurker (, July 21, 1999.

Ed: You know it, and I know it, so why even buy your book? Perhaps you should recall all your books that are sitting on the shelves of book stores and use them for firewood. Bardou

-- bardou (, July 21, 1999.

Good comeback bardou. Ed, the problem is, there is NO leadership. What SHOULD we be doing? Writing a letter to the local paper? So that everyone in the community can ridicule us because they have been assured y2k "won't be that big a deal" by the PTB and other pollies? Or so they can subconsciously put our address on their back burners as a place to come looking for grub if things go way south?

We post stuff like Scott Olmsteads statement because we want to keep current with what's going on, what the experts are saying, and what the expected ramifications will be. It also helps to keep us from going insane, thinking that we have gone off the deep end, that our fears are imagined.

There is undoubtedly an "ego thing" going on as well, where we feel compelled to silence, or at least tame, those voices we feel are overly optimistic, at best, or dangerously misleading, at worst.

The plan, at least a year ago, was that we could overcome the spin and wishful thinking and alert enough people to prepare early and avoid a more serious calamity. That seems to have failed as badly as the actual remediation.

But I hope the ideas you're working on hold water, and I eagerly await any constructive suggestions. I will try to redirect my energies as well as we enter the home stretch.

-- a (a@a.a), July 21, 1999.

Supply lines, supply lines, supply lines. The Achilles heel.

I'm really not sure any more how much national guidance/control anybody can exert over this mess anyway. I'm no fan of Bill Clinton, but just as a president doesn't really have much control over the economy (though he gets the credit/blame for the economic state of affairs), so he doesn't have much control over the Y2K fiasco, either. Yes, he should have been out front early on advising people of the dangers and the need for prudent preps; and yes, one hopes there are national recovery plans in place should we need them post 1/1/2000. But basically I think this unfortunate mess is just now going to run its course, with anything from a serious recession to an outright depression the quite likely consequence, depending on how the chips fall and on the ways that Y2K problems interact with specific domestic and foreign economic vulnerabilities.

-- Don Florence (, July 21, 1999.

P.S. I personally think that a severe recession (with short- to medium-term regional/local Y2K disruptions) is the most likely outcome of this entire mess, but I can't rule out a depression because of the the extreme vulnerabilities posed by a grossly inflated stock market (among other factors)--vulnerabilities highlighted recently by Soros, Volcker, Sakakibara, the World Bank, etc. Soros, in particular, worries that if this stock market collapses, we could be looking at another Great Depression. With over half of American adults now in the stock market (as opposed to 5-10% in 1929), I think the dangers are clear, though we might debate the consequences.

-- Don Florence (, July 21, 1999.

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