Why have some notable Y2kers now feel Y2k is not a threat?

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

Does anyone out there have a plausible theory on why some of the first Y2K "crisis" experts have changed their views? I can't believe its because of all the positive "compliant" reporting thats rolling in. At the minimum the Senate's 100 day report was anything but "warm and fuzzy". I would love to hear any hypothesis.

-- Karla (KarlaCALIF@aol.com), November 02, 1999


To whom do you refer? Supporting information also, please.

-- Michael (mikeymac@uswest.net), November 02, 1999.

Maybe because the FBI is profiling stockpilers of food and guns?

-- Mad Monk (madmonk@hawaiian.net), November 02, 1999.

Michael --I was thinking specifically of de jager.

I was also reading Paula Gordon's White Pages (part 5) and she also makes reference to this.

... A few in public office who showed signs of leadership and statesmanship have at least temporarily gone into retreat. Some are even publicly disavowing the truth that had previously been so clear to them...

Its a very interesting read.

-- MIS (KarlaCALIF@aol.com), November 02, 1999.

Some analysts (DeJager?) apparently feel that some remedials have actually improved the situation.

-- (semi-polly@sunny.Simi), November 02, 1999.

Thought you'd all enjoy these DE JAGER quotes...

"With these [concerted remediation] efforts, doomsday has now been averted, says Peter de Jager, a Brampton, Ont.-based programmer and consultant, whose warnings about the looming Y2K problem helped sound the alarm among government and industry leaders around the world. But Mr. de Jager says he is worried that his most recent pronouncements have been interpreted as a signal that all Y2K problems are solved and everyone can relax. "I'm frankly flabbergasted to read reports that I've said that the year 2000 thing is a dud or that it doesn't exist," he says. "We need to be very vigilant because there are still very large issues out there. No matter how diligent we are, there are going to be problems," he says. Every organization is likely to encounter glitches that have been overlooked or new errors that were introduced when the original problems were being fixed. And with these problems comes a certain degree of risk, he says. "The wild card is what if some of these problems are critical points of failure, where one failure has a far-reaching effect throughout your organization?" - 'Preparing For The Worst, What's The Best To Expect?', GLOBE AND MAIL, 20th April, 1999

"On a personal level, [Canadian Y2K guru Peter] de Jager said every household in North America ought to maintain a normal level of sufficiency for any disaster, about two to three weeks of food, supplies and a generator." - from a report in the (U.S.) Evansville Courier And Press on the "Are You Y2K Okay?" seminar sponsored by the Metropolitan Evansville Chamber of Commerce in May, 1999.

"Even Peter de Jager is astounded by the complacency that greeted his widely reported Doomsday Avoided essay, which ran first on his Internet site and was quickly disseminated with varying degrees of accuracy throughout the world's mass media. As he told us in frustration, "the media can't sing in middle C."" - From the book "KRASH! How Y2K Could Sink The Stock Market And What Canadians Can Do About It," Stephen Gadsden & Jonathan Chevreau, published by McGraw-Hill Ryerson Limited in Summer, 1999.

"In the past few years, various groups and individuals have been preaching the necessity of stockpiling food, cash, candles, camping gear and weapons. The more extreme "Y2K activists" have even recommended building underground bunkers or heading into the woods. Mr. de Jager will have none of it. "Over the next little while, when we go to the grocery, we will buy an extra couple of cans of soup," he says." - In The Houses Of The Gurus', Marjo Johne, Financial Post, 22nd October, 1999.

And this gem from PC WORLD, Sept. 22, 1999 [just imagine - all those power utilities spending hundreds of millions to try to fix a "bogus problem"!]... "Some millennium computer bug prophets of doom are having second thoughts, but others are still insisting that the world faces chaos at midnight on December 31, 1999. Computer industry consultant Peter de Jager has spent more than six years traveling the world warning about the potential for disaster from the millennium bug. He was among the first experts to realize that an old method of recording dates on software could cause mayhem in computers when clocks strike midnight at the end of this year. According to de Jager you can relax. Power generation around the world is unlikely to be affected. Telephone and data transmission will continue as usual. The banking system is rock solid. "Nowhere (globally) has any power utility found anything related to Y2K that could have shut off or disrupted power supply. The whole notion of blackouts is bogus," he says. He reckons that there may be some blackouts over the millennium period, but this will be due to local management problems as demand fluctuates, rather than computer systems. De Jager believes the biggest threat will come from the public's perception of the problem rather than from Y2K itself. If consumers decide to stockpile essentials like food, water, or cash, this could severely disrupt economies." There could be Y2K chaos without a single computer failing. . . ."

-- John Whitley (jwhitley@inforamp.net), November 02, 1999.

John-- Thanks for that, its exactly what I am getting at. He sounds like Greenspan. I thought it was interesting in the initial articles he actually gives details. In the last - none to be found - just Aokay. Why?

-- MIS (KarlaCALIF@aol.com), November 02, 1999.


Thanks for the quotes - you Canadians must be real proud of old Pete.

He gives computer operators a bad name :)

His volte face was truly awesome to behold last year, and I went on record several times that he had been "got at" by certain folks (you guess), or had simply let greed go to his head.

IMHO now I think the spate of u-turns lately is part psychological (we are coming to the crunch now and it's a long way down ... bit like climbing the 10 meter ladder to do a dive then having second thoughts at the top...), and also part calculation... malice aforethought :)

By that I mean, most of these folks are programmers... if, then, do, etc... - think about it, if it's a 8-10 they are enscrewed like the rest of us...

However if by pure damn good luck we get through this singularity relatively unscathed (snowball's chance in hades), then the calculating/conniving types will now position themselves for future work and lecture and book deal opportunities in 2000/1/2/3... by giving themselves an alibi NOW...

ED YOURDON is NOT repeat NOT one of these types, despite what some of his detractors would say.

De Jaeger IS.

-- Andy (2000EOD@prodigy.net), November 02, 1999.

I contributed my warnings to THE TIMES of London, on request, last year and they published them under the headline "Forecast For Britain Looks Very Grim" [on August 18th, as I recollect - the item should still be accessible through the search feature on thir Web site]. Anyway, as a partial aside, I recommended to readers of THE TIMES [an affluent agglomeration :)] that they consider taking their vacation in December this year and in Australia - a far warmer climate!

THE TIMES clipped that paragraph, having asked Peter de Jager for his 'balancing opinion'. Without naming me, he went after *that* recommendation as 'taking irresponsibility to new heights' [or words approximate to that] and THEN said, as closely as I can recollect, that unless everyone stayed at their post, nobody had a chance.

I thought that that was a very revealing statement. My approach might be summarized as 'move to the lifeboats and leave the crew to fix the problem'; his might be summarized as 'we all sink or swim together.' Interestingly enough, I never saw him openly state this presuppositional stance anywhere else other than in tha TIMES item, but I thought it very revealing.

To be fair, his item should also be accessible through THE TIMES archive, so you can readily read it and draw your own conclusions!

-- John Whitley (jwhitley@inforamp.net), November 02, 1999.

Hey! Don't forget me!!

I changed my mind too.

You didn't forget my great show already did you?...

"Just have your checkbook ready, and enjoy the new millenium!!"

-- Robert X. Cringely (boy.@m.i.an.idiot), November 02, 1999.

John, I checked out the Aug.18 '98 Issue, but I could not find the article. I'll do some more digging tomorrow, right now I have to go to sleep.

Night All, and thank you for your posts ;-)

-- overtherainbow (KarlaCALIF@aol.com), November 02, 1999.

LOL, Robert I actually was seriously thinking of putting your name in "specifically" as well. Your virtual ears must have been burning.

-- MIS (KarlaCALIF@aol.com), November 02, 1999.

If the crisis comes in at 0-3 range, we should all get togethor and have a bash. There would be tons of food, (and I actually included a couple of cases of great cabernet in my stockpile). I'm an EFPN, if your wondering why I could suggest such a thing. I truly hope that will be the case!!

-- MIS (KarlaCALIF@aol.com), November 02, 1999.

Aaaah, that's ok Karla, I forgive you.

Everybody will remember me next year anyway. When they are sitting in a cold dark house with no job, no gas in the car, and nothing to eat, they'll say "Bob Gringely said the only thing that wouldn't work was my grocery card... what happened?"

Hey I admit it, I'm a scum-sucking yuppie ok! You would have done the same thing if they offered you a ton of money to say that stuff. By the way Karla... I noticed you have a nice yuppie stockpile with bottles of cabernet. I have a beamer with a full tank of gas... would you like some company on New Year's Day? Do you like to mudwrestle?

-- Robert X. Cringely (moneytalks@bs.walks), November 02, 1999.

Sorry, Karla, I was one day off - those TIMES articles appeared on August 19th of last year...

-- John Whitley (jwhitley@inforamp.net), November 02, 1999.

I think part is psychological. It is hard to maintain a belief against the full weight of the society and media. There were so many straw tigers built on the famous "important dates." When 9/9/99 came and went with few problems after the media build up even if this wasn't reasonable trigger for coding, nothing happened.

See its not even raining how can there be a huricane coming?? After a while the mantra is repeated so often you start to doubt.

There is also the potential for some to cover their bases. What if it isn't so bad, well I can have a deathbed conversion and become a member of the happy campers club. Heck, now I even get to be on National television show's and be invited to all the best parties.

Remember to think for yourself. Common sense is not so common as one would think.

glugg, gluggg, gluggg

-- squid (itsdark@down.here), November 02, 1999.

Andy mentioned


Thanks for the quotes - you Canadians must be real proud of old Pete.


Thanks so much for reminding me. There was a article in the local rag lately that had Peter mention at least 2 weeks so he is selective in his advice. Mind you awareness seems high out here relative to most places.

-- Brian (imager@home.com), November 02, 1999.

Some people think that by spending a trillion dollars, you can fix anything. We'll see.

Tick... Tock... <:00=

-- Sysman (y2kboard@yahoo.com), November 02, 1999.

He assures us all he will be flying over rollover...

Yeah, right, he knows damn well that the FAA will have imposed sanctions by then, and I sure hope he has a pilot's licence as he will be hard pushed to find any level headed pilot that would take the risk.

From what I hear many BA pilots intend to boycott flights at rollover until they find out what's what...

-- Andy (2000EOD@prodigy.net), November 02, 1999.

It's more than just de Jager and Cringely. Bennett and Horn have become less adamant, Jim Seymour has been keeping a low profile, sources who admitted serious problems (like Szygenda at GM) now point to fixes put in and working. Yardeni now says the recession will be less severe than 1973.

Second, the nature of the pessimistic arguments is changing. Even Gary North tends to focus less on clear indications of sure problems, and more on the (impossible) failure to prove there *won't* be any problems. This approach is becoming increasingly common among the remaining warning types (TAVA, Guenier, etc.)

Finally, no new notables have joined the pessimistic camp. Surely if problems really were that serious, a few mucky mucks here and there would have come forward to say so. We need to notice *both* that some famous pundits are leaving the lifeboat, and that nobody new is climbing in. This is, like, a clue.

-- Flint (flintc@mindspring.com), November 02, 1999.

question: are these articles actually de jager as quoted by de jager or de jager as quoted by the media. i was really upset a while back because i felt he had turned on us but then i actually read a de jager article, by de jager and it seemed like he was saying pretty much what he has said all along. i am wondering if the media isn't twisting quotes by some of the y2k experts.

-- tt (cuddluppy@yahoo.com), November 02, 1999.

Gosh Flint, I PRAY that you are right...

Unfortunatley, I haven't seen anything to corraborate that...

-- STFrancis (STFrancis@heaven.com), November 02, 1999.

Hmm...Peter De Jager's still planning to fly on New Year's?

This is from one of the British newswires... ICE RINK NEAR HEATHROW EARMARKED AS MILLENNIUM MORGUE

Sunday, October 17, 1999 12:33

An Olympic-sized ice rink close to Heathrow Airport could be used as an emergency mortuary in the event of a major disaster over the New Year, it emerged today.

Slough Borough Council has ordered the closure of the Berkshire town's Ice Arena for more than a week over the New Year period in case it is needed as a makeshift morgue.

The move comes despite official assurances that Heathrow is fully prepared for the so-called Millennium Bug.

The ice rink, home of the British junior figure-skating finals, will be closed to the public from December 26 until January 4, although ice hockey matches scheduled to take place on December 27 and January 3 will go ahead.

A duty manager at the rink said today: "It has been decided that we will be closed to the public, and if there are any fatalities we are the morgue."

The rink is around six miles from Heathrow, the world's busiest international airport.

There have been fears that the Millennium Bug - which causes computers to interpret the date 01/01/00 as January 1, 1900, instead of January 1, 2000 - could cause problems for air traffic control, radar and navigation systems and flight scheduling and passenger ticketing computers.

But those fears have been dismissed by air bosses, who say large amounts of time and money have been spent ensuring all the computers needed to operate Britain's airports are ready for the year 2000.

A spokesman for the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said computer experts had been working on ironing out any problems since 1996.

He said: "It is absolute nonsense to suggest aircraft will be falling out of the sky. "All UK airports have been independently assessed and are Y2K year 2000 compliant."

The spokesman said it was up to individual airlines to decide whether to operate services over the millennium period, but added: "We are not expecting any problems."

A spokeswoman for Heathrow Airport said: "We have spent over #50 million on testing systems and ensuring they are ready for the millennium.

"We are obviously not complacent, but we are pretty confident everything will be operating as normal over the New Year period.

"We always have contingency plans, but we have not requested Slough Borough Council to provide any extra contingencies. Any further precautions they have taken are a matter for them." Notwithstanding the disclaimer about planes falling out of the sky, these mortuaries - capable of taking thousands of bodies - are being readied in major centres all over Britain. And guess what the official explanation for them is?

You guessed it! "Planes might fall out of the sky"!

Peter had better be *very* confident before boarding that New Year's flight...

-- John Whitley (jwhitley@inforamp.net), November 02, 1999.

"Skating away on the thin ice of a new millennium..."

Jethro Tull

-- Andy (2000EOD@prodigy.net), November 02, 1999.

The missed deadlines, where major problems were predicted and did not happen, are persuasive. While there will be problems it certainly looks like it won't be as bad as some have predicted. Which is okay with me, although I am still pessimistic about the 'everything's fine' prognostications.

-- haha (haha@haha.com), November 02, 1999.


maybe because y2k isn't the threat it was in 96?

You see, most people change with the flow of data. If a type 5 hurricane is predicted, but is way off shore....you start to prepare for it. As it comes inland, if it is downgraded to a catagory 2, you certainly wouldn't run around your neihborhood screeching "they are LYING!!!! PREP FOR A 5, DAMN IT!".....or would you?

Y2k is over as a business issue. Why can't people accept that?

-- Reality Check Bouncer (boing@boing.boing), November 02, 1999.

BTW, the only people to blame for failed predictions are the ones who made them.

They went public with them in an attempt to persuade people to action (for WHATEVER reason....money, booksales, fame, genuine concern....)

THEY need to deal with it themselves....

-- Reality Check Bouncer (boing@boing.boing), November 02, 1999.

Psychologically, it is much easier to follow the herd. Do you notice how economists nearly always have about the same projection and nearly always fail to accurately predict a recession? I greatly admire Ed Yardeni becuase he works for a bank and is brave enough to make a forecast which differs from that of the majority of economists. De Jaeger is a paid consultant and perhaps he feels pressure to say whatever his employers want his to say.

-- Danny (dcox@ix.netcom.com), November 02, 1999.

Thanks for the thoughts -- side bar--- Both North and Hyatt got hit with questions today regarding their views ie., are they backing off. Both denied vehemently.

-- MIS (KarlaCALIF@aol.com), November 02, 1999.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ