Workarounds, contingency plans, and consolidation : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

I was wondering, even if company A folds because of a y2k failure, that doesn't mean that all of it's systems are shot. for example, i have heard that some oil wells out west are still manual. Even if texaco is gone, what's to prevent a few oil rig bullies to take them over and run their own private crude operation(a la Roadwarrior)? they couldn't refine it, but maybe they could sell it as heating fuel. Museums? ona small scale, could older industrial machinery be put back into use (greenfield village could be a center of civilization)? what about aircraft graveyards? could we see old WWII planes (the confederate airforce) and possibly korean war era planes put back into service? maybe we could still use sailing vessels, or yachts as a minimerchant marine? this may all sound ridiculous, but hopefully, (assuming infomagic/Gary north are right) after the die off, some organizations or parts of organizations can be salvaged from the broken pieces of the giants. Maybe a working widget factory wouldn't be worth much, but perhaps the product, whatever it is, if locally produced can be useful in some way. perhaps landfills can be used to generate methane... any other ideas?

-- Jeremiah (, October 08, 1999


This can be found in context with other responses at:

NOPE it AIN'T LINKED. Get over it.


Infomagic's numbers are not refutable as they are minimum optimistic estimates and assumptions. Can't argue with assumptions, and the math is pretty safe and sound from my dated but varied experience. However, we can (and in fact must) critically examine where he takes the numbers. The arguments on carrying capacity do NOT, a priori direct the conclusion of return to the 1300's or earlier. The carrying capacity of the earth is a bit better than that, ASSUMING access to some kind of energy harnessing/power generation.

I had a discussion with my better half and I pointed out that if you give me running water and a bit of a valley (not necessarily very big, just want an 8' dam) I can power our needs, (by water wheel spinning an hors du combat 10KW genset) drive a water pump (your choice of water ram, or electric), and run a mill (your choice of grain, saw, or manufacturing) all off of an 8' overshot water wheel.

I am by no means an engineer, but I understand how things work, and would probably take a bit of time to get the gearing, and the clutching right, but the lights do not need to go out.

I am also not the only person who can qualify as a man by Heinlein's "Time Enough for Love" standards. (Don't follow the cite? Leaf through the book and as LL is about to take his beloved into the wilds the quote is in there or thereabouts. The other required quote is also there in the list of what survived the first 4 days. Start with the original packing list and read the update!) There are a lot of us out here, many of us preping, and the required construction can be community or personally built with an eye toward increasing the size of the settlement as the opportunity arises.

The fact that some of us can keep the lights on, and can do some rough engineering should serve to guarantee that we can keep an understanding of the technology running until the rest of the settlements can develop. Particularly if each of us that can files for future use a copy of an Encyclopedia, circa 1950 -1960 and another one circa 1995, all on PAPER. As well as Jerrry Pournelles list in "Lucifers Hammer" (See the list that goes into the septic tank!) I much more see islands of light and knowledge, much like the monasteries of the middle ages, with communications (spark gap transmitters, and Xtal radios will be MUCH better than Gutenberg's press, though, we'll still need someone who remembers the formulas of ink, smokeless powder, etc.) making our rise much faster than 5 - 10 generations.

I say this because, in most of the technological colleges and universities, there are nuclear reactors generating some power. Many of these same institutions have large portions of themselves effectively off-grid for heating or power (generated by methane production, wood pulp from a neighboring sawmill (I KNOW, the mill will NOT be up, but the methane will be, etc.) , or other alternative energy sources.

As a case in point, Clarkson University, in the VERY cold Northeast, has (or at least HAD) a VERY cozy relationship with both NYPAS (or PASNY whichever) and Niagara Mohawk Power Co., as far as the use of local lands and some of the smaller generation stations and projects in the area. It has something to do with training more Power Jocks than a lot of other schools. CCT (OOPS, "CU") also worked with the gas company in terms of distribution, etc. I am fairly sure the lights will be on in Potsdam, NY; and Im equally sure that the available "carrying capacity" will support both Clarkson, and Potsdam State (probably as a very downsized, unified entity) which will be able to drive back some of the night, with not only technical trainees (as it were) but with cultural and softer, more civilized pursuits, due to the presence of Potsdam States Arts and Music program which happens to include Crane School of Music/Conservatory.

In my travels about this country, I have seen many similar situations in which the college or university, with only a small amount of "toughening" or "re-engineering" will be able to drive back a lot of the shadows. Those institutions which have hitched themselves to a city (Carnegie in Pittsburgh, MIT in Boston, some of the West Coast institutions may have a bit more to do than the more isolated schools, but I still see them as modern day (sorry about that Chief) monasteries dedicated to the protection of, and increase of the Light of Knowledge that the Church protected in the 13 and 1400s. And, yes, these monasteries will show the same open mindedness as the original model, unfortunately, because they will be populated by entities which breath Oxygen, bleed red and continue the species by heterosexual (of 2) coitus. (People for those not into obfuscation!;-))

In summation of the prediction, the drop from 1999 to 1?00 does not need to be what Infomagic sees. Assuming that the hordes do NOT manage to eradicate the islands of light (and there will be many, either one house generators, one settlement generators, or hydroelectric-powered towns, cities, or counties; the drop will be back to a more manual, equine, canine powered world. Im NOT saying the ride down will not be exhilarating, nor fun. It WILL be VERY BUMPY and VERY PAINFUL, as we lose a LOT of the nonproductive elements in our country. However, it need not progress to the point of total, anarchistic, Luddite nirvana .


A very good question, Alice.

First, secure a secure place.

Second, secure Food, Water, Heat and Light.

Third, build the dam and the raceway.

Fourth, while you have the machinery, rough out the wheel, the clutch system, and the transmission of power system

Fifth, Decide on saw, grain, or manufacturing and rough in those machines.


Seven, Learn enough about animal husbandry (in the BRAODEST sense of the term) to support the family.

Eighth Learn enough farming to be able to USE the legacy seeds and see to it that there is seed for 2004.

Tenth, Delegate these things to several others so that you can concentrate on the important things, which are adding to your settlement, making your peace with whatever you believe presides over our world (God, Jehova, Shiva et al, Gaia, the sprites and nymphs, the five powers (E, A,F,W,S), Odin and Co., the World Worm, WHATEVER) as you will need this.

Chuck, a night driver who hates the Dark, tries to walk in the Light, and refuses to see the Dark triumph simply because no one defended the Light. POTS

-- Chuck a night driver (, November 29, 1998.

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Chuck- what you said makes a lot of sense. Just one thing: Keeping the light alive will be a bitch at first. I predict 90% of the population will die. They will not die easily. They will starve, and there will be a LOT of violence, probably starting midway through the first week, escalating to utter hell by the end of January, and staying lethal for the next few months, with mobs of people (not marauders, just starving people with guns who will do anything to acquire food) go around. Eventually these guys will either settle down (unlikely) or die when they either run out of places to raid or scavenge, or die by violence when they run into a sufficiently tough nut. After that, I see 3 kinds of people alive: -The prepared, the survivalists. -The tough "mad max" jerks who travel around looting -A handful of scavengers who can survive independently in the woods or elsewhere.

The "mad max" jerks would be the main threat to civilisation rebuilding. If they did not exist, if it were safe to travel anywhere you wanted in the US, then you would be able to rebuild society quite easily. All you'd need are enough knowledge surviving. Since most of the y2k preparers and therefore the survivors are technologically- minded people, then that shouldn't be too hard. With the raiders, however, it's a lot harder. With them, travel and communication will be a complete bitch. With them, even basic agriculture will require some kind of perimiter defence. Without them, you could simply take over a patch of unused land and build a house and set up a farm. With them, if you did that then you'd need to put the house in a defensible location and have enough ammo.

However: The raiders will probably not be massive mobs, at least not after the first 180 days. Big mobs couldn't survive. The biggest of the groups would probably number less than a hundred, and the average size I predict will be about 20-30 (this seems to be the size of the group humans will form into naturally. It'd also be enough to overwhelm a smaller group with force, but not too much to drain their supplies instantly.) I also don't think these groups would be all that organised. With that in mind, I believe that if you could organise a defence unit of a hundred or so people, with discipline and order (and a source of supplies, such as donations or a tax from local farms), you could wipe out any individual raider group, and do that enough times to wipe out a LOT of them and make a quite large area secure. If that happened, what's to stop civilisation returning to that area (power, manufacturing, all the rest of it) and that area expanding outwards? If I lived near such an area, I would move there - or actively pay a small tax in order to finance their expansion into the district where I lived.

That's why I believe it'll be a much shorter matter of time (until a competent leader emerges who can make an area safe and establish the start of civilisation in that area, plus the dozen years it would take until the whole country was secure and improving) until the lights come on again. They may only be gaslight, but people would be working hard to bring power plants and manufacturing back online.

Although whether it'll be another 2 or 3 generations before we recover to the level of the 90s, is another story.

-- Leo (, November 29, 1998.

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Chuck, Leo: Good posts. We need to remember the importance of the knowledge and skills which form the basis for the ' islands of light' and our current civilization when contemplating infomagic's words. We don't have to invent a lightbulb or a computer, etc... the knowledge won't disappear. Some will know, others will learn. It isn't square 1 in that respect. Thanks for reminding me.

-- Rob Michaels (, November 29, 1998.

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-- Chuck, a night driver (, October 08, 1999.

If we could get some of these thoughtful people into the same town before rollover, we could provide a model for such islanding that others might learn from and be inspired by (whether they see it for themselves or they hear about it on the shortwave). Hint. Hint.

-- Stan Faryna (, October 08, 1999.


Bruce Beach has established "Ark II" exactly for the purpose you describe. As I recall Ark II is located in the backwoods of Ontario and Bruce has openly invited interested settlers.

Me, I expect a 6-7 and plan to stay put in SW Ohio with rural church group to rebuild if I am wrong on the low side of the Y2K scale.

Peace to you.

-- Bill P (, October 08, 1999.

Some of the guys who service oil wells tap off the high octane stuff and run their cars on it, right from the wellhead. There are several kinds of hydrocarbons that can come out of a well simultaneously, and they can be separated right as it comes out of the ground.

A little rough on the engine, maybe, and hardly legal, but it works.

-- bw (home@puget.sound), October 08, 1999.

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