BITR, TEOTWAWKI, and the Middle Groundgreenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread
BITR, TEOTWAWKI, and the Middle Ground
TO MAKE A POEM, we must make sounds. Not random sounds, but chosen sounds. ~ Mary Oliver
I live near the Atlantic Ocean, on the coastal plains of eastern North Carolina. It is 1999, and the last days of October. In September, Hurricane Floyd passed throuh our region, dumping more rain than some of our built environment could absorb or divert. I chose to evacuate my home before the storm struck - a moderately disruptive exercise. The return in three days was uneventful, and cleanup was less than a day. For me, this hurricane was an inconvenience, a mere bump in the road.
But down the road, less than an hour away, there is an impact that I might appropriately describe as the end of the world as we know it - 15,276 homes still uninhabitable. (This figure comes from the North Carolina League of Municiplaities as reported in the Wilmington Morning Star / Wednesday, October 27, 1999)
BITR - Bump in the Road
Will Y2K be a bump in the road? I don't know. I'd be thrilled if it were a non-event. And depending on your chosen timeline for the unfolding of events, it may be just that - a bump in the road.
TEOTWAWKI - The End of the World as We Know It
Will Y2K be the end of the world as we know it? We'd have to be really unlucky for the whole world to melt down - an unprecedented combination of failure sets, cascading and accumulating. But, for each of us, the end of the world as we know it may be cast by where we live and our proximity to isolated failure.
On a scale of 1 - 10, I've been asked, what do you think is going to happen? And of course, what percentage of small and medium business enterprises (SMEs) will have their mission-critical systems ready? These kinds of questions spin my neural network in to "paralyze-processors", and I generally ignore them.
So, what IS going to happen?
I don't know what's going to happen. And rather than expecting those immersed in due diligence to become my personal Shell Answer Man, I look at how things are connected, with special attention to the nature of their coupling.Where there's a tight coupling in a non-linear system, there's a connectivity issue silently crying for attention.
Listen carefully. Can you hear it? The song simply whispers, "Consider the consequences if the connection breaks."
A Manhattan Project
More than once, smarter people than me have wondered aloud, wouldn't a Manhattan-like project be helpful to address the technical issues of Y2K?
A year ago I believed that it would. But, I also wasn't thinking about unintended consequences like those in the original Manhattan Project; or the kinds of difficulties and constraints such as those encountered in The Manhattan CYBER Project .
A major obstacle was maintaining an open line of communication between industry and government
as well as a high level of performance and reliability for outreach sessions. Both were complicated by industry's need to make a business case for participation and government's requirement not to allow product/service marketing.
Personal Responsibility in Leadership at every Scale
Embedded systems and their documented problems are outside my circle of concern. I'm drawn more to how we might do a better job of embedding personal responsibility into our leadership skills. Simplicity in the practice of management is key, and we continue to learn new principles. A good question to ask ourselves is, how grounded are we in our understanding and coordination of variability, complexity and effectiveness?
Here's a simple exercise: Dee Hock's PhD in Leadership, Short Course:
Make a careful list of all things done to you that you abhorred. Don't do them to others, ever. Make another list of things done for you that you loved. Do them for others, always.
A Middle Ground
Will Y2K have a middle ground? Yes. Coast to coast, the middle ground continues to grow. For some, it is an underground activity. Much of the work is quiet. No need for pushing or prodding. Offline, and absent the main stream media, they do their baseline 14 day preparations. As suggested by Chuck Lanza, the Director of the Miami-Dade County (Florida) Office of Emergency Management (OEM), Y2K is more than a storm.
As you prepare your family for the baseline of 14 days, you must consider the needs of those who have not prepared. Remember, you are no more prepared than your neighbor.
From a recent post-hurricane survey in Miami-Dade County:
We can expect almost half of the community to have some or all of their supplies before Y2K.
In addition, we can expect a little less than half of the community to use the last few days
of the millennium as shopping days for supplies. The most astounding and a major concern
is that almost 15% will fail to prepare.
Virtually, you can find the information you need on the World Wide Web.
Let's start by understanding our basic needs. Susan Conniry, as a guest contributor on Westergaard 2000, answers with:
Your survival priorities: ... Shelter ...|... Water ...|... Fire ...|... Food ...
Once you understand the fundamentals, preparing is not such a daunting task. Stan Faryna often posts * 14 DAYS OF PREPS: Getting started on your Y2K preparations for readers of the TB2000 forum..
If you have questions about the how-to's of preparation, Russ "Big Dog" Duffer moderates the The TB2000 Preparation Forum, and Michael Hyatt's Y2K Prep Discussion Group offers a reliable source of material.
Thirty-something years ago I trained at Fort Sam Houston, Texas to work as as a medical corpsman in the United States Army. Now I find myself relearning the basics again. The remarkable Virtual Naval Hospital is a valuable source. My favorites are:
It's best to get hands on training. The Red Cross and FEMA both have first aid training courses available.
And one last word...What's the Big Deal About Y2K?, you ask. I dunno. But if you really need to know before you can take preparation seriously, browse Karen Anderson's site.
Internet Search Engines
It's pretty easy to find current information that will help you get to where you're going.
May I suggest a starting point? Click on the Google link below. Enter "y2k your_state". Be sure to include the quotation marks and replace your_state with the name of the state you're interested in learning about. Each search engine has its own little peculiarities, so experiment until you're happy with the search results.
AltaVista| AOL NetFind | Archieplex | AskJeeves | DejaNews | Excite | FASTSearch | Google | GoTo | HotBot | Infoseek | Lycos | Magellan | MetaCrawler | MSN | Northern Light | SavvySearch | Search.com | Webcrawler
Thomas - Legislative Information on the Internet with an exemplary set of "How do I do this?" questions.
Sites that address primarily the legal aspects of Y2K
Main Stream Daily News
When you have an itch to find out what your neighbors are being presented,
you can do a search on "y2k" in these U.S Major Metros Online.
Check out the results of a search for "y2K" in the Milwaukee Sentinel Journal. If that wasn't too over the top, you can get a more comprehensive read when you search the Washington Post.
I've had an enjoyable two days putting this page together. Thanks for the question, Cherri.
277 Beasley Road
Wilmington, North Carolina 28409
-- Critt Jarvis (firstname.lastname@example.org), October 29, 1999
Thanks for this impressive post
-- Lars (email@example.com), October 29, 1999.
Critt, I know what a busy life you lead and I want to say "thanks very much!" for taking time out of your life to put together this post. Besides being very well designed (which catches the eye immediately), it's brief and to the point without being curt and uninformative. I hope you'll post it regularly for newbies, along with Stan's "14 Days."
-- Old Git (firstname.lastname@example.org), October 29, 1999.
Well thought out, researched, and written.
I can't wait to see what the folks who see nothing but laughter and happiness in the near futere have to say...
Keep up the good work.
-- DavePrime (email@example.com), October 29, 1999.
Good information Critt.
I couldn't help taking a quote out of Arnie Rimmers link below.
If there was a "Hall of fame" on this forum (good idea eh?) this would be around the top.
Y2K And The Erosion Of The Middle Ground
"But as I have watched Y2K unfold over the last
several months, it is the continuing erosion of the
Middle Ground that concerns me the most. Companies
and goverments have rushed to deny that such a
ridiculous possibility exists. They worry only about
their own corner of the universe and seek to protect it
at all costs. Perceptions become more important than
realities and the danger signs are ignored wherever
they occur. Missed deadlines seem to mean nothing.
They have collectively brought their public relations
guns to bear in a war to convince everyone that
significant infrastructure disruptions are absolutely
impossible. They point to the extreme in a
short-sighted attempt to discredit the middle. They
collectively discourage significant preparations by the
masses. In doing so, they dangerously erode the
For if it turns out that such disruptions are anything
more than a "bump in the road", they will surely regret
their folly. So will we all.
-- Arnie Rimmer (Arnie_Rimmer@usa.net), March
19, 1999 "
-- Brian (firstname.lastname@example.org), October 29, 1999.
Great Post! I second the suggestion about posting it frequently, like Stan's 14 days of preps.
-- just another (email@example.com), October 29, 1999.
Thank you for the very well done, thoughtful post. A number of posts on this forum and the Y2K prep forum are talking about Y2K as a catlyst for more deliberate living. This includes renewed focus for building community as well as taking responsiblity for self and loved ones for personal preparation to reduce the impact of natural or man- made disasters.
That is a potential, positive legacy. A long time ago, the boomers started out with this kind of philosophy and it became skewed with focus on self and the acquisition of the next shiny thing. Coming full circle to build a better inheritance for the next generations is a good thing.
-- Nancy (firstname.lastname@example.org), October 29, 1999.
I want to know what you did AFTER coffee break this morning.
AWESOME, DENSE with INFO!!!
-- Chuck, a night driver (email@example.com), October 29, 1999.
Thanks for the OUTSTANDING post! The embedded chip link is just what I've been looking for!
-- Deb M. (firstname.lastname@example.org), October 29, 1999.
Impressive! You touched on some of the major areas that are so important to deal with at this time in Y2K. You also have managed to provide the sources to a good amount of information and thought provoking writings. I've only gone to 8 of them but plan on reading them all.
My Hat's off to you!
-- Cherri (email@example.com), October 29, 1999.
Superb presentation, Critt. Your posts are always worthwhile, and define the level-headed reasoning approach to the problem, but this time you have out done yourself.
Today I will be enclosing this gem in e-mail to all of my DGI relatives, friends and aquaintances. I encourage everyone else here to do the same.
To all who think they have finished their preps: heed Critt's reminder to consider those who have not prepared. We must stand ready to help family, friends and neighbors to the maximum extent of our ability.
-- Pinkrock (firstname.lastname@example.org), October 29, 1999.
Bill Dale's "generally ignore them" link from Critt is right-on.
And, hey, from the perspective of 2200, let alone eternity, Y2K "was" a BITR!
-- BigDog (BigDog@duffer.com), October 29, 1999.
Big pats on back and I raise a caffe latte to ya!
-- Diane J. Squire (email@example.com), October 29, 1999.