Y2K entropy - Mcintosh

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Note: I read Mcintosh's editorials regularly at gold-eagle.com...


Y2K is a scientific phenomenon that is subject to the laws of physics, especially the second law of thermodynamics called Entropy. Entropy, or the universal tendency towards disorder, is also sometimes grouped under the general title of "chaos theory." As regards Y2K, entropy offers some sobering insights beyond its normal meaning of heat loss and energy dissipation. Personally, I like to think of entropy as the teenage room syndrome. This syndrome simply states that any teenager's, or adult's, room will soon become a pig sty unless massive amounts of energy are expended in keeping it clean. If you only clean it once, within a short time (hours, days, nanoseconds?) the fall from the clean state will be noticeable quickly. This is one reason I find the theory of evolution so ridiculous. Any scientific theory that states things advance from the simple to the complex by themselves, without massive outside intervention and energy expenditure, is scientific stupidity. Evolution reverses entropy and then offers no explanation. It's as if a scientific panel held a news conference and then pronounced that the universal law of gravity didn't apply for a three block area in Chicago. Although I'll admit there may be a new life form being created in your refrigerator, if you don't clean it often enough.

Likewise, Y2K is really about advanced computer systems and the energy it takes to maintain them. The core of Y2K is networks-not VCR players, Personal Computers; whether a particular ATM machine works, although the entire ATM banking system is one network requiring constant upkeep. This simple fact seems to be lost on the elite with their Y2K disinformation campaign. It's the system, stupid. It's the total system-all of it. Y2K is about the free flow of information through out the world's financial and communication systems. Y2K is about the free flow of power through a national electrical grid. It's about the total system. It's about whether the total system is compliant and can communicate with itself, power itself and make economic transactions with itself.

Just as the blood must flow thorough our bodies circulation system, capillaries, veins and arteries, so Y2K threatens our global and national information circulation system. Y2K is the computer version of a massive stroke and not the slow process of arteries hardening. Personally, I think 1-1-2000 will not be a massive stroke, but the beginning of a series of mini strokes that threaten to clog this global information flow. Or maybe the overseas infrastructure will collapse with one big boom. This is certainly a possibility in places like Russia, China, India, South America and the Mid-East. Just don't ask Kossi the klown because the corrupt elite isn't saying. 40 plus days to go and it's still the 72 hour crap. You can certainly disagree with me. Just show me the information saying my reasoning is wrong. Show me the information that says the global computer network system isn't subject to the law of entropy. Show me!

The second scientific theory relevant to Y2K is synergy. Many things concern me about Y2K, but only one really scares me-two really, the others being a nuclear meltdown, a.k.a. Chernobyl or a chemical accident a.k.a. Bhopal, India. The one thing about Y2K that has always given me pause is synergy. Synergy is simply a scientific law that states the sum of the total is greater than the sum of the parts. In other words, 2 plus 2 does not equal 4, but equals 5. Which means that people looking at Y2K are not taking into account the totality of system failure. In other words, say the global ATM system goes down and causes a synergistic effect beyond simply people not being able to get $40 out of an ATM. The synergistic effect would be the people conclude the system has failed and start a bank run. You see? You wouldn't have a clue as to the nature and intensity of the synergistic effect until the original effect happened and you were suddenly faced with, in this case, a bank run. Now, if you have believed Kossi the klown you wouldn't be prepared for the original minor Y2K effect, much less the synergistic effect. After all, a tidal wave is only one or two inches high until it reaches the shore line. At that point, it is compressed and becomes ten, twenty or thirty feet high. I'm not saying Y2K is like that, because I don't know. One of the reasons I don't know is that Kossi the klown is conducting a massive, highly effective disinformation campaign. I just don't plan to be on the beach when the Y2k wave hits.

The third area of Y2K concern is what I call structural flaw for want of a better term. This isn't scientific, but refers more to the cultural and political aspects of Y2K, a particular interest of mine. It's all about dams I think. Several years ago I saw on Television one of those Yugoslavian World War Two movies where the allied commandos were parachuted in to blow up a big dam. This particular movie starred the fine English actors Edward Fox and Robert Shaw if my memory serves me right. The Fox character was an eccentric demolition expert who was led by a British officer played by Shaw. The movie climaxed, after a whole series of exciting adventures of getting to the dam, with Fox and Shaw penetrating the dam, planting the explosives and then escaping down river from the Nazis. The scene is set as Fox and Shaw sit on the riverbank and wait for the explosion. Shaw waits expectantly while Fox puffs on his pipe. There is a distant boom and a small hole appears in the dam wall. Sirens sound. Nazis scurry around checking everything. All appears well. The danger has passed.

The British Captain Shaw stares in amazement as the dam is still standing. He screams as Fox. He grabs Fox by the neck and threatens to strangle him. It's really a great scene acted out by these two great English actors. Fox gathers his wits and calmly replies, "Well, you didn't think I had enough explosive to do it did you? I'm using the weight of the water to destroy the dam."

As the enraged Shaw watches, the hole in the dam with the water spurting out begins to get larger and then the whole damn begins to collapse. Eventually, the dam is destroyed and the Nazi division driving up the valley to kill them is drowned. The Y2K point being that 1-1-2000 is likely to be the original explosion in the dam. The question is will that be enough to bring down the system later on?

The answer to that question is two part. The first is technical and the second is human. The first refers to information resources and computer code and whether the computer networks will actually work. The answer to that is beyond my expertise since I'm not a computer expert, although I have my own opinion based on nearly 18 months of research. Think upon me as an inspired amateur. Based upon the fact that there is an organized, officially sanctioned government, corporate and media disinformation campaign; based upon the fact that every single imposed deadline has failed, i.e. December 31st 1998, with a year for testing, March 30, 1999, June 30, 1999 and September 30, 1999, a reasonable person would conclude that the final Y2K deadline of 1-1-2000 will be missed also. The only real issue is deciding what this final failure means to you personally and tothe computer networks controlling our global infrastructure.

Believe what you want. Just don't accuse me of trying to sell you something and ignore what I say. If you think I'm wrong, or crazy or just bored: fine. Just investigate the facts yourself, in the few days remaining and come to your own conclusions. Or do nothing and trust Kossi the klown.

The second aspect refers to the condition of the dam prior to the explosion. If you think of the dam as the social infrastructure of the world and in particular the United States, then you would be worried about whether the contractor used high quality concrete to build the dam. You would be worried about whether the technicians were competent and whether the management was awake. The management, President Clinton, Kossi the klown et al don't inspire much confidence. Lest you accuse me of picking on President Clinton, let me say a word about the Republican losers. If, as I am, you are appalled at President Clintons sexual and moral lapses, then you can only react with the deepest contempt for the Republicans. Newt Gingrich's divorce now shows that he has also had an adulterous affair his whole term of House Speaker. While President Clinton was over in the Oral office with Monica, Speaker Newt was cheating on his wife-with both men giving family values speeches the whole time. Mark my words: This hypocrisy in our political leaders will have Y2K implications. Once the explosion in our social infrastructure dam happens, everyone will look to our integrity challenged leaders for leadership. Finding none, they will act accordingly. Or as the Old Testament puts it so eloquently in the final sentence of the Book of Judges: "In those days Israel had no King; everyone did as he saw fit."

The United States will have a political, corporate and media leadership that is held in contempt by the populace. This leadership will expect to be obeyed and taken seriously in a chaotic situation that they have repeatedly said never could happen. Assuming the social system holds together, there will be severe political consequences for incumbents in November 2000. If the social system doesn't hold together, then there will be severe consequences for everybody.

1-1-2000 will be the first explosion in the dam. I honestly don't know what will happen after that either technically or socially. It just seems smart to me to not be fishing below the dam.


Doug McIntosh 20 November 1999

watchin' the cat...

The Dog

-- The Dog (dogdesert@hotmail.com), November 24, 1999


Hey The Dog!

Actually I kinda liked that article. Used it on an uncle of mine (he loved the movie--I like "Kelly's Heroes" better myself.

Makes a good point.

-- (Kurt.Borzel@gems8.gov.bc.ca), November 24, 1999.

The Dog,

I really enjoyed your essay, especially the reference to the movie which is one of my favourits (particularly the scene and the script after the explosion of the Dam). I often thought of Y2K in those terms - let nature take its course, all you need is a small event to trigger it. However, I still have some hope because I have been wrong before many times when I expected what seemed to me logical consequences of our leaders' stupidity and it did not happen. Our leaders (industry and government) are so stupid (I know this from 28 years of programming experience and just watching the world around me unfold) that it is a miracle we have not had major disasters more often than we did (nuclear, chemical, biological accidents/terrorism, airplanes crashing, buildings/bridges collapsing, etc.) My suspicion is that the competent and consciencious grassroot-level technicians and engineers compensated for most of the stupidity and averted many disasters (could not help the Challanger astronauts though, primarily because one chief engineer was ordered by his manager peers to "take off your engineer hat and put on your nanager hat and vote with us")

I know that Y2K can overwhelm them when it hits and, if it reaches "critical mass", it can get out of control, but I can't help the nagging doubt that maybe, just maybe, we can save our rulers's asses again (John Galt would disapprove). If, contrary to my expectation, today's world is still functioning more or less reliably in spite of the mind-boggling stupidity, short sightedness and downright destructiveness of our leaders, then maybe there is still enough vitality in the system to pull us through yet one more time.

I am not betting on it, I am as fully prepared as I could manage with my resources, but I have been going that way for years anyway - I don't think there is anything wrong with being as self-sufficient as possible. Has anyone ever heard of Scott Nearing? He started a self-sufficient homestead at the age of 50 when he was blacklisted as a university professor in the 30-s for fighting aginst child labour.

I think in the long run humanity is self-destructive and the more powerful our technology, the more complete the destruction. Human nature has a basic design flaw in it and because of that the species is not quite viable. I suggest you read the "Warning to Humanity" document signed by 1800 of the world's leading scientists (including most Nobel laurets) at http://www.shadow.net/~holodi/warning.htm - it was published in 1993 and gave us 10+ years to reverse the environmental destruction.

In the meantime (while "waiting for God") it would be nice to hold things together as long as possible to gain time, who knows, maybe some alien civilization shows up and helps us out with the proper genetic correction so we don't have to kill each other after all (I am not holding my breath). I know I sound pessimistic, but I have studied History and Philosophy quite intensively the last three years and it didn't cheer me up.

Well, good lucj we willl know in a few weeks what is likely to happen in the new year.

-- Alien (cfmont@bmts.com), November 24, 1999.

Actually, the "Law of Entropy" should be referred to as an axiom. The definition being:

"a proposition that is assumed without proof for the sake of studying the consequences that follow from it."

In actuality, the universe does NOT tend to disorder. Look around you, order is everywhere. The sun comes up in the East. The law[sic] of gravity operates in a discernible way. The stars shine, regardless of whether or not we choose to look at them.

Just because cities crumble, and roads crack with plants if they're not maintained, people say that entropy (disorder) is rampant.

In actuality, the ROAD is the disorder, and the plants are not. Man is so self-centered he does not see it that way, but it's true nevertheless.

Most systems in the universe are self-maintaining, and self- regulating. They reach a natural state of equilibrium. Their actions are predictable, with enough knowledge.

And THAT is why, a butterfly flapping its wings does NOT cause anything out of the ordinary to happen.


-- Jollyprez (jolly@prez.com), November 24, 1999.

Nice try Jolly...

Entropy is a common colloquial name for the Second Law of Thermydynamics, which has yet to be refuted by modern science, as opposed to experts like yourself.

The butterfly effect is a commonly known term describing the magnified effects of seemingly inconsequential events--especially in systems under stress.

No doubt you'll flame me to support your view. Try flaming Sir Isaac Newton and Stephen Hawking instead.

Don't waste people's time.

-- (Kurt.Borzel@gems8.gov.bc.ca), November 24, 1999.


Like my old friend Albert Einstein says.."It's spooky action at a distance" For every positive, there must be a negative, for every action, there must be a reaction, for every motion, there must be an ummm ...emotion? [g] Angular momentum! Carpe diem, times a wasting!

-- Michael (mikeymac@uswest.net), November 24, 1999.

Well, actually Kurt, I don't flame normally. But what The Dog was referring to is a bastardization of the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics. And yes, I know the other ones, too. Including conservation of energy (for example).

As for Newton and Hawking. Well, I wouldn't put Hawking in the same realm as Newton. Ole Isaac wins hands down. Do I put myself in Newton's league? Not at all. Hawking? Perhaps. It remains to be seen (IMO) just how great a theoretician he truly is. Personally, I think he has excellent PR. If he hadn't been handicapped, I doubt we'd know him any better than Bohr, Faraday, or Maxwell.

As for the "law" of entropy, I stand by my statement. Again, our prejudices do not affect the true laws of the universe.

And by the way, "Conservation of Energy" is a much abused "law" as well. But now I'm just pushing your buttons, and no, I am not trying to sell any greater than unity energy machines.


-- Jollyprez (jolly@prez.com), November 25, 1999.

I once read an excellent book - Entropy, by Jeremy Rifkin which discusses the concept in some depth. One notion which I remember in particular was that "order" in the universe is always obtained by some degree of "disorder" elsewhere, the disorder being a loss of "available" energy and/or matter. A road for example, while representing order to society is obtained by using up available energy (eg. fossil fuels) and matter (sand, aggregate). The result is a permanent loss of the available energy/matter that was used in the construction of the road. The road is subject to environmental forces causing degradation, and further energy/matter must be expended to maintain it, thus further reducing the amount of available energy/matter. Entropy is the term used to represent this accumulating loss of available energy/matter, and in a closed system, is one-way.

-- Katherine Davies (kathydv26@hotmail.com), November 25, 1999.

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