Rating the y2k severity: 1 to 10

greenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Ok, I've asked and asked, "What is a 6? What is a 3?, ETC." Now others are asking. It's apparent that everyone who throws these numbers around is baseless.

So I am proposing that we officially define all the various levels.

Here is a start; please correct me if you have better suggestions/ideas.

1) Your computer doesn't recognize the date at turnover. You freak out when you look at your calendar book and realize that you have missed your wedding day. By almost 100 years.

2) Your bank's computers don't recognize the date. All the money in your checking account disappears. But you are issued a refund check from the power company for $409,000. Martial law is a possibility. Increased sightings of "chemtrails".

3) The power goes out for several minutes. No damage done to your computer or any other electrical appliance, but you missed part of the Donna Reed Show rerun. Martial law is a probability. Even Pollies are beginning to notice the chemtrails.

4) You are experiencing prolonged brownouts. Your 'fridge is out, your heater fan is burnt out. You are counting your blessings that you stored lots of beans and rice, because your electric stove (older model, without computerized controls) still works, although it takes a couple of extra hours to cook the beans, due to the lower voltage.

5) Your computer has been badly damaged by rolling blackouts. Fortunately, it still works well enough to get on line. Unfortunately, TB2000's forum has melted down. Martial law is declared because the Yourdonites are roaming the streets looking for government coverups. People are beginning to cough frequently. Chemtrails are suspected.

6) More and more sightings of White helicopters and Black vans (gotcha!) The national guard is put on standby, but nobody shows up, as the date of call up shows 01/01/2200.

7)Runs on groceries. You are heartened to see that the runs are very small, because everyone is having to carry the food home in backpacks bvecause all the cars have quit working, showing "oil change 99 years overdue".

8) No more chemtrails, as the planes have either fallen out of the sky and/or run out of aviation fuel due to electrical failures in Venezuela and Mexico, among other places.

9)Clinton resigns, because "Hilary and I ain't gonna work when our electronic funds transfer only credits our account with a dollar three ninety-seven and hour" Russia announces that they have scrapped their missile program because there is nothing worth fighting for anymore.

10) Fill in the blanks___________ _____ _______ ______________________ _______ __ _ _ ____________!


(This is a humor piece, but I am serious about wanting someone to define the various levels in some MEANINGFUL way.

-- Al K. Lloyd (all@ready.now), October 25, 1999


The exact definitions are given in some detail at the Washington DC Y2k group's survey results.

-- bw (home@puget.sound), October 25, 1999.

As per the DCY2K chart my absolute minimum is a 2 and absolute maximum is a 7. I feel very comfortable that it will be a 4.

-- hamster (hamster@mycage.com), October 25, 1999.

"It's apparent that everyone who throws these numbers around is baseless."

It's apparent that your assertion is baseless. Maybe someone who's got more time (and is in a better mood)than I will pull up the link from the archives from "a"'s last official poll...over 100 responses, all tallied, charted and nifty. That one was maybe 3 months ago, so you should be able to find it yourself in the archives if you're interested.

-- (RUOK@yesiam.com), October 25, 1999.

Let's see how this looks:





Infrastructure and Utilities




Irrational exuberance; DJIA breaks 12,000 in 1Q2000

A lot of money spent, but improved quality and efficiency

Everything works just fine

New era of good feelings and optimism

Federal and state governments come out looking superhuman


Y2K's impact on economy is lost in the noise

Some small to medium enterprises (SMEs) have Y2K problems

Some failures, but all caught quickly and handled well

No impact

No real problems or impact


Some market adjustments (stock index down 10%) but recovered within 6 months

Businesses are jolted a bit and scramble to recover; a few supply chain issues

A few short-lived (1-3 days) problems in certain areas; air traffic slowdown due to consumer caution

Y2K jokes in late night talk shows trigger an inadvertent panic or shortage

At least one state government runs into serious Y2K problems


Stocks down 20% and don't recover until the end of 2000; growth flat through 2000

Businesses have Y2K 'holidays' during January to get things fixed

At least one regional brownout/blackout (2-3 days); most airlines scale back flights for Y2K

Surge in stockpiling at end of 1999; drop in consumer confidence and spending

Y2K issues dominate 2000 elections


Economy contracts 1% over 3 months; unemployment rises to 6%

Bankruptcy/acquisition of at least one Fortune 100 company due to Y2K problems (internal, supply chain, foreign, legal)

Transient interruptions in utilities (3-7 days); cutbacks for at least a week in various transportation systems

Isolated social incidents, including discover and prevention of militia-type terrorist plot timed to coincide with Y2K

At least one major gov't agency (HCFA, IRS, FAA) requires that significant contingency plans go into effect


Mild recession (-2.5% over 6 months); unemployment rises to 8%

Major disruptions in production, processing of raw materials, supply chain, manufacturing

Scattered infrastructure & consumer supply problems lasting up to two weeks

Some population shifts to states and regions that appear to be better prepared, milder climates

HCFA not ready for Y2K; Federal government comes under criticism


Strong recession (-5% over 18 months); unemployment to 10%

Most businesses suffer Y2K impact; significant die-off in small to medium high-tech firms as funding, markets dry up

Urban infrastructure, supply problems lasting 2-4 weeks; lesser problems elsewhere; significant transportation disruption

Widescale stockpiling starts earlier in 1999; protests and isolated looting in some cities over Y2K weekend

IRS not ready for Y2K; Congress votes in flat tax, but deficit explodes due to reduced collections, increased social services


Severe recession (-7.5% over 2 years); unemployment to 15%

Widespread layoffs, cutbacks; one of the Big 3 auto mfgrs is acquired or collapses

Regional infrastructure, supply problems for 1-2 months; at least one major environmental disaster

"Peoples Needs" movement organizes community groups to distribute food, other necessities

Widespread gov't problems; both parties blamed; centrist party arises and denies others a majority


Depression (-21% over 3 years); unemployment to 25%

Major meltdown, with massive consolidations and closings in manufacturing and production industries

Infrastructure, supply chain crippled for 3-6 months

Protests, riots in several large metropolitan areas; at least one foreign terrorist attack on US soil timed for Y2K

Curfews and/or martial law imposed in many large cities


Profound depression (-40% over 5 years); unemployment over 30%

Radical cutbacks, mergers, or failures of 50% of the Fortune 500 within 3 years; 80% of SMEs fail within 3 years

Collapse of infrastructure, supply chain (6-12 months)

Widespread social disruption, including internal terrorist from militia groups

Widespread but ineffective martial law; election in 2000 disrupted or cancelled; de facto seces-sion of at least one state


Collapse of economic system (currency, banking, financial mkts)

Collapse or radical transformation of most mid- to large-scale enterprises

Long term (>1 year) shutdown of infrastructure, supply chain

Social chaos

Radical downsizing, transformation, splintering, or collapse of the US government


-- bw (home@puget.sound), October 25, 1999.

10. World Leaders did not have brains enough to shut down - The chemicals in plants release into the air or leak into ground water systems and rivers. The water is unsafe to drink- the oceans begin to evaporate enough toxic material into the air that there are clouds of unhealthy air drifting -

some dimented looser that wants fame adds more poisons to water sources and we wonder if there are enough martial law enforcement persons to keep the purposeful poison polluters down to a survivable level.

(There are not enough gas masks to go around)

You don't have to worry about gangs, looters, robbers and thieves, - they are all smart enough to stay indoors to reduce the toxics they breath.

We all wonder how long air will be dangerous, and how to farm or garden with poison rain and rivers.

-- Living in (the@real.world), October 25, 1999.

Thanks bw, and Ed - good chart.

I might juggle a few things around slightly, but on a Yourdon chart scale I fall into about an 8 estimation, or roughly the 7 to 9 area.

-- @ (@@@.@), October 25, 1999.

When you include the possibilty of military adventures by nations or terrorists groups. I am afaird I become an Infomagic student


-- Shakey (in_a_bunker@forty.feet), October 26, 1999.

For the most part I'd say it'll be a 5 or a 6. Some of what I think will happen doesn't fall neatly into the same category as the numbers shown, but it's a good average.

If more people would prepare, then the figures would drop. Unfortunately, thinking for yourself isn't "in" this year... :-(

-- Deb (vmcclell@columbus.rr.com), October 26, 1999.

Hey! Wheres the categorical definition for an ELEVEN?!

-- Patrick (pmchenry@gradall.com), October 26, 1999.

I'm too lazy to refresh myself on how to do tables, but here's my take on an eleven:

Economy - Goats and shiny rocks are the accepted means of exchange.

Business - In the year 20 ATFU (after the you-know-what up), someone who refers to himself as Ugh, rediscovers the wheel. Someone else remembers these big four legged animals used to pull around something called wagons, and by 25 ATFU, there is something of a transportation industry.

bw and Al, I like both rating scales. bw's for complete breakdown and clarity and Al's for biting insight(G). I especially liked the white helicopters and black vans part...always expect the unexpected. Infrastructure and utilities - Learning to balance water jugs on your head, as you walk to and from the well, is considered to be the latest in "high-tech".

Society - Grunts and exaggerated gestures become the accepted means of communications. People with good hygiene are rare and are avoided, because they don't smell right. The latest rage in Paris is loin cloths made from old curtains.

Government - You touch meat, I club head!

-- Bokonon (bok0non@my-Deja.com), October 26, 1999.

Whoaaaaa! sever editing error. The note to bw and Al was supposed to be after the other stuff. So much for the comedy...it's all about timing (and effective editing) you know.

-- Bokonon (bok0non@my-Deja.com), October 26, 1999.

That wasn't MY table, just a copy/paste out of the WDCY2K survey document. Bruce Webster (WDCY2K head) may have gotten it from somewhere else.

-- bw (home@puget.sound), October 27, 1999.

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