New Major Article: The Ultimate Y2K Quiz : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

This piece will eventually be on my website, but I am posting it here at this time so that people on this forum who find my writings useful may see it without delay.

MinnesotaSmith my site:

The Ultimate Y2K Quiz

This quiz gives what I believe to be representative answers from each of the following four viewpoints on Y2K that everyone interested in Y2K is highly familar with. You can use it to find out which one of the following people you really are:

G.I.: A "Gets It" about Y2K. Thinks it'll probably play out between a 3 (market drops a little; minor problems) to a 6 (strong recession at worst).

R.G.I.: A "Really Gets It" about Y2K. Sees much unpredictability in Y2K, with neither a 6 nor a 10 (billions of people eventually die from its effects) viewed as impossible. Expects a 7 (borderline depression) to a 9 (collapse of infrastructure, widespread martial law) as most likely.

D.W.G.I: A "Doesn't Want to Get It" about Y2K. This is basically a person who holds their hands over their ears and loudly chants "LA LA LA LA LA" whenever the subject of Y2K comes up. Presuming they even remotely grasp the concept, this person thinks the whole problem was completely taken care of months ago by large organizations purchasing new computers and software, and/or by turning back the date on computers. Does not think Y2K will ever get to the point that it causes as many problems as it is causing currently.

Koskinen's Man: Named after John Koskinen, President Clinton's Y2K spokesman, this person is a public relations flack for either a Fortune-500 corporation, a bank, a utility, or a government agency. If he doesn't receive paychecks from one of these sources, in justice he should start getting them.

The Questions:

1. What is the origin of Y2K? 2. What will the U.S. economy be like in 2000? 3. Going to shelters, getting on white buses/railroad cattlecars 4. The supply of electricity in 2000 5. Starving relatives/neighbors on your doorstep 6. Clinton/rest of gov't leaders doing how good a job re Y2K? 7. The supply of gasoline in 2000 8. How will Y2K affect the banks? 9. Embedded systems 10. Nuclear power plants and Y2K 11. U.S. Presidential Elections in 2000 12. What do you think of Gary North and Infomagic? 13. Actions I have taken (or would if I could) 14. Gold and the currency 15. What are the most important lessons from Y2K?

Scoring your answers:

This is easy; whichever category you answered most frequently, you're most likely one of those. Incidentally, if your answers are all over the place, especially with relatively few "G.I." answers (this is the middle-of-the-road result for most questions), then there is some question about the honesty of your answers. If this applies to you, ponder the questions and possible answers, and try the quiz again.

Now, the questions:

1. What is the origin of Y2K:

G.I.: The programmers used a shortcut in the early days of computing and waited kind of late to start using 4-digit years in code.

R.G.I.: Programmers came up with an elegant way to conserve use of scarce computer memory in the early days of computers. They presumed (quite reasonably) that programs and systems containing 2-digit years would be retired long before the Year 2000. Short-sighted/nontechnical/penny-wise and pound-foolish managers in corporations and officials in government kept the old systems and software from being replaced in time.

D.W.G.I.: Deep down, I think this whole Y2K thing is just a bogus hoax for computer people to get business and for fearmongers to scam money from gullible people. The peole running big corporations and serving in government are smart, honest people, and they would never make the kind of mistake the Chicken Little types are saying Y2K is.

Koskinen's Man: same as G.I.

2. What will the U.S. economy be like in 2000?

G.I.: Many companies will have problems for certain, and a lot of stock prices will go down some. Some people will probably become unemployed for a while from layoffs; unemployment could go to 10 - 15%?

R.G.I.: Hundreds of thousands of companies of all sizes will be largely unable to function for a while, and many of these will go bankrupt. The stock market will drop to at most half of its current valuation level; to a third (or less) is likely. I expect 40% unemployment (or worse) when the effects of Y2K are at their worst.

D.W.G.I.: My stock portfolio will keep going up at a rate of 40% annual valuation increase indefinitely. My job and my company will be unaffected. If I think positive, that's how things will go!

Koskinen's Man: Although a few minor glitches will cause the occasional problem for a few companies, mot much will really be different. People's jobs, the store shelves, and the functions of government agencies will be unaffected. The potential for panic is the real problem, not broken code that won't be fixed in time. Things will be O.K. as long as fearmongers shut up and the public doesn't panic.

3. Going to shelters, getting on white buses/railroad cattlecars:

G.I.: I don't know much about these, but something about the idea just doesn't seem right to me. I'll avoid going if I can.

R.G.I.: No #%*& way is the government taking me or my family to a shelter or getting us on one of their vehicles. We will all lie, turn off the lights and not answer the door, or resist with armed force if that is what it takes to keep from being removed from our home. Our supplies are here at our home, so anyone trying to make us leave our home would have something besides our best interests in mind. TPTB would be criminal to forcibly remove people from their homes.

D.W.G.I.: How novel! Sounds kind of exciting! Heard they have showers, too! I hope so!

Koskinen's Man: Uh, I have something else lined up, so there's no need for ME to go to a shelter, but if TPTB say that a mandatory evacuation/relocation to shelters is needed, well, I'm sure they'll be doing what's best. It should be just fine for OTHER people to go to them.

4. The supply of electricity in 2000?

G.I.: I guess we might be without power for days or possibly even a couple of weeks. I don't really know what to expect, but something will surely happen to the power in some areas.

R.G.I.: I expect much of the country to lose electricity for weeks at least. Months would not surprise me, and there is definitely a chance of no power in some areas for over a year. Electricity will probably be rationed or of erratic quality ("dirty") in much of the country [that has power at all] for a long time.

D.W.G.I.: The power going off for a while, just because it's New Year's Eve? How ridiculous! Nothing like that happened last New Year's Eve! Besides, the local power company has said they're "Year 2000 Ready", and that guarantees no problems with electricity in the year 2000.

Koskinen's Man: The power companies have spent lots of money on this problem, which means that they have dealt with/will have dealt with all of their critical Y2K issues before the end of 1999. Besides, haven't practically all of them already announced that they're "Y2K Ready"?

5. If there were to be sustained food shortages, and some of your [unprepared] relatives or neighbors showed up at your door and loudly knocked, wanting to be let in and given food, what would you do?

G.I.: I'd definitely let the relatives come in, and give them food, letting them stay pretty much as long as they liked. I'd probably give some food to neighbors I know, but wouldn't let them stay.

R.G.I.: I wouldn't open the door for anyone not already part of my household. If they started trying to break down the door, I would shoot through the door until the attacks on my door ceased.

D.W.G.I.: Of course I'd let them in! I'd share whatever food I had, too; remember the lesson about the loaves and fishes? Sharing makes food go farther!

Koskinen's Man: They would have a right to be let in, and to share the household's food. If hoarders won't let needy people share their food, the police should force them to. It's only fair. "From each, according to his ability; to each, according to his need" - that's our motto! [originally from Karl Marx; now the credo of all welfare states]

6. Clinton and the rest of the top government leaders are doing how good of a job with respect to Y2K?

G.I.: It sounds like a whole lot of work is getting done, but they seem to have gotten the ball rolling on this Y2K thing kind of late. We'll know how good of a job they did by how things turn out.

R.G.I.: They have constantly lied about the Y2K situation and been derelict in their duties. I expect hundreds of thousands (or more) Americans will die because of Y2K, and/or for us to have another Great Depression at best. If this happens, they should be tried by a Nuremberg-style court for crimes against humanity and shirking their oaths to the Constitution. They certainly should be forced to refund their salaries during the last 5+ years for not doing their jobs on a critical issue.

D.W.G.I.: I'm sure they're doing a fine job, just super! After all, think of how caring and feeling they are! This is the most ethical administration in history, just like they promised us, right?

Koskinen's Man: They are doing a magnificent job, especially in keeping confidence high [markets high], and avoiding panicking people. Anyone who criticizes them is ignorant and backward, and in an ideal world would go to jail for speaking out against the government (against Democrats, anyway).

7. What will the supply of gasoline be like in 2000?

G.I.: Prices will surely be a lot higher for a while, and there might be some rationing.

R.G.I.: Gasoline production from refineries in 2000 will be half or less of what it was in 1999. The government will grab nearly all of it. Black market sales (of gasoline stolen back from/bribed away from government sources) will probably provide most of what little gasoline is available to the average citizen for much or most of the year (at least).

D.W.G.I.: Gas prices might go up 7 - 10 cents a gallon for the first week in January 2000. This would only happen if people got needlessly scared, though.

Koskinen's Man: It'll be fine, just fine. Can we talk about something else?

8. How will Y2K affect the banks?

G.I.: They might ration withdrawals of cash for a few weeks. They might also try to push people withdrawing money to accept cashier's checks or traveler's checks instead whenever possible. I know the Federal Reserve is making an extra $50 billion available to the banks, but I don't know how far that will go.

R.G.I.: Bank runs will force a de facto shutdown of the banks. Cascading cross-defaults, the inability of many bank computers provide account information or normal business accounting, and borrower defaults due to economic contraction can be expected to keep many of them from ever reopening. Only the first one percent of people trying to withdraw all their money have any chance to succeed in getting it, since there is only enough actual currency in the system for that number of people to get cash. The Federal Reserve's touted extra $50 billion is probably a bald-faced lie, since the greenback printing presses were already running 24 hours a day. Besides, even if it were true, that wouldn't be enough to matter.

D.W.G.I.: Why would Y2K affect the banks?

Koskinen's Man: Things will be fine. The extra $50 billion will more than cover any needless withdrawals by jittery people. Your money is safest in the bank, and remember, it's FDIC insured!

9. Embedded systems:

G.I.: I know they are in a lot of things, and I guess they'll cause some problems. I don't really know all that much about them.

R.G.I.: There are scores of billions of them, and millions upon millions of them will not work right in 2000. Testing of embeds has barely begun in the most Y2K-aware countries. The excess-functionality aspect, inability to even locate many microprocessors, nonmanufacture of embeds after 3 years, together made timely embed system remediation nearly an impossible task. The telcos, power companies, manufacturing facilities, oil & chemical facilities, air/land/sea transport, and water/sewage plants will all probably be hit hard by embed failures. Repairs will be lengthy. [for companies that stay in business long enough to do repairs]

D.W.G.I.: Why would these be important? My car and my coffeemaker don't care what day it is, and I've never managed to set the date and time on my VCR, anyway.

Koskinen's Man: Most of them have been tested (and replaced if needed) in critical systems. The ones that haven't been found or tested either don't use dates or are Y2K compliant.

10. Nuclear power plants and Y2K:

G.I.: I haven't really thought much about them. I'm sure a lot of work has been done on them; I hope it's enough. I'd really rather not think too much more about this, because if I did, I'd feel like a criminal for not moving my family to where there aren't any nuclear plants.

R.G.I.: Some nuke plants in the former Soviet Union will surely undergo meltdown. Some meltdowns in the Third World, Europe, and/or Japan would not surprise me a bit. Meltdowns in the U.S. are not impossible; this is why I have moved my family to a location no closer than 100 miles upwind and 300 miles downwind from any nuclear power plants. I have purchased potassium iodide.

D.W.G.I.: They'll go on making electricity the same way they always have, because they have to. Chernobyl was a one-time fluke; a meltdown is impossible in the U.S., Western Europe, or Japan.

Koskinen's Man: All of their systems either are analog or have manual backups. Besides, almost all of them are all done, or practically so, at least according to the self-reports NERC is going by. Chernobyl was a one-time fluke; a meltdown is impossible in the U.S., Western Europe, or Japan.

11. U.S. Presidential Elections in 2000?

G.I.: I expect them to happen. There might be some delays, though, in transporting and counting ballots.

R.G.I.: Social chaos and failure of telecommunications will make the prospect dim for using the usual method for selecting the next President. However it is done, it won't involve computers, because no one would trust the results. One possible alternative method for Presidential selection would be to have the U.S. House of Representatives vote, the way the Constitution has Electoral College deadlocks settled . Also, something like the method by which U.S. Senators were selected for most of our history (before the 17th Amendment in 1913) might be used. This last involved the state legislatures. However, keep in mind who is President now; he has repeatedly remarked how much he would miss being President. Also, he greatly admires FDR, the only U.S. President with the hubris to refuse to follow the example set by George Washington to self-limit to 2 full terms. For this reason, I suspect Bill Clinton may try to use Y2K as an excuse to cancel the 2000 elections and remain in office. If he offers the same benefit to current members of Congress, they would have a huge additional motivation to go along with it.

D.W.G.I.: They'll be held just the same as they always are. I can't wait to vote for Al Gore!

Koskinen's Man: They'll be held just the same as they always are. The few days or at most couple of weeks of minor glitches will be long since repaired before November 2000. Besides, all important Federal Government agencies (including the FEC) have practically all of their critical systems fixed by now, don't they? They've said so.

12. What do you think of Gary North and Infomagic?

G.I.: GN's website has been very useful in helping me to understand Y2K. Without it, I would not have G.I.ed as soon as I did. I haven't read more than a few hundred articles from his site, starting in around early 1999, but that was enough. I think he is definitely too pessimistic, but I still look at his site around once a week. Infomagic? Haven't read his stuff. Isn't he another Y2K pessimist?

R.G.I.: I thank God [or whatever I hold sacred] every day for him and his website. The thousands of articles on his website that I have read were instrumental in my before 1999. I look at the newest articles on GN's site practically every day I have Internet access. His site is the best tool I have found for bludgeoning D.G.I.s [those with some reasoning capability and good attention spans] about the certainity of the severity of Y2K. Infomagic? I pray he is not completely correct in his conclusions, but with worldwide remediation status as it stands in December 1999, I find his conclusions increasingly inescapable. He helped me better understand just what TEOTWAKI could really mean for humanity.

D.W.G.I.: Who? Who? [like an owl]

Koskinen's Man: Gary North is a trouble-making fearmonger with an unusual religious viewpoint [Christianity], out only to make money from his [free] website. Besides, why should anyone pay attention to anything on his site? [besides the links to official corporate and government documents] He is not a programmer, either. Infomagic? [who is a programmer] I won't even admit he exists, let alone discuss his writings.

13. Actions I've taken because of Y2K (or really, really wanted to take):

G.I.: I've bought several months worth of food, mainly stuff I normally eat, including a bunch of [water-packed] canned goods. I may have gotten one dog or one firearm if I didn't already have them. I may have moved from an urban residential location to a suburban one, but I haven't gone farther out than the suburbs. I have flashlights with extra batteries and some candles.

R.G.I.: I've bought either or both of thousands of pounds of whole grains and at least a year's supply of specially preserved foods (freeze-dried, nitrogen/CO2-packed in buckets or #10 cans, that sort of thing). I own at least 2 dogs over 35 pounds and 3 firearms easily capable of use against human-sized targets. I have moved to a rural location, or have one set up to go to before the end of December 1999. I have at least investigated veterinary antibiotics, vaccinations, generators, solar/windmills, and water cutoff switches/churney balls. I own a device intended to serve as an alternate heat source for my dwelling. I have a large supply of candles and own multiple kerosene lamps.

D.W.G.I.: I may have seen the Red Cross Y2K pamphlet, but I either just glanced at it or didn't read it at all. I may pick up some extra frozen food and an extra gallon of fresh milk on December 30th or 31st.

Koskinen's Man: Officially, I haven't done a thing different than what I normally would do to get ready for the New Year's Eve weekend, and I constantly tell people in the course of my job that they should deal with it the same way. This is because I officially proclaim that there's nothing that individuals need to do to prepare for the rollover except buy a bottle of champagne. Unofficially, quite variable, but often the same as G.I.s.

14. Gold and the currency:

G.I.: I have at least considered buying some gold because I think Y2K will make it a good investment. I have gotten extra cash in hand since I think bank withdrawals and cashing checks from the government or employers may be delayed for a while.

R.G.I.: I bought gold if I had money left over after funding my physical preparations (relocation, food, water, security, medical, communications, etc.). I have tried to get as much currency as I can, but have largely converted it into material goods. I have closed all but one of my bank accounts and keep a mimimum amount of money in it. I expect that prices will go up drastically soon after rollover on critical goods (food, fuel, etc.), while people's incomes will generally go down drastically. There may be a period of time next year in which prices are actually falling (deflation) because of cash having to do the work of credit cards, checks, etc., but people will be so broke that honest unprepared people will hardly be able to buy anything. If Y2K goes 9+, U.S. currency becoming virtually worthless wouldn't surprise me. Besides, money should be gold-backed anyway, and fiat currencies [like U.S. greenbacks] historically eventually die anyway, so Y2K may simply hasten the inevitable.

D.W.G.I.: I do not expect that much will change. I have not bought any gold if jewelry does not count. [it doesn't] I may withdraw an extra $50.00 from my ATM on December 30th or 31st, but do not think very many other people will do this.

Koskinen's Man: I may have at least considered buying some gold because I think Y2K fears might make it a good investment. Officially, I've done nothing, telling everyone who will listen that things will be essentially the same with respect to money. Gold as an investment for the public is out-of-date; people should put their money in the stock market.

15. What are the most important lessons to be drawn from Y2K?

G.I.: To remain flexible both mentally and in how our lives are set up. That computers were adapted too fast for reliability. That JIT supply lines for goods have drawbacks. Like the Boy Scout motto, it's wise to "Be Prepared!".

R.G.I.: [same as G.I., plus:] Not to believe the words of governments and corporations when they have incentives to lie. That people's actions tell you more than their words. [such as corporate stockpiling and government Y2K bunker construction when they tell the public that Y2K will be no big deal] That society has become too complex to be reliable. That fiat currencies and fractional reserve banking are nothing but more ways the powerful steal from everyone else. That the quality of communication and decision-making in our society in general is far, far worse than most people realize. That most people are very poor thinkers and are terrified of ever doing things [or even thinking] "differently" from how they perceive other people do them. That the rules and lessons of history still apply very much to us.

D.W.G.I.: That I really don't understand how computers [or much of anything else] really works. People discussing the subject of Y2K keep bringing up weird boring stuff I have never heard of and don't care to hear about. Can I turn the T.V. back on now?

Koskinen's Man: That the "Big Lie" media manipulation technique pioneered by Adlof Hitler still works. That Americans have short attention spans. That the Internet is a pain in the neck for effective spin control by TPTB. When individuals cannot speak in public, publish books, or post on the Internet without prior approval from the government, controlling the public's perceptions of events will be a lot easier. That stooping to any act to stay in power pays off. [at least for a while...]

by MinnesotaSmith 12/11/1999

-- MinnesotaSmith (, December 11, 1999


You forgot the "infomagic" category...

-- zoobie (, December 11, 1999.

"D.W.G.I.: They'll be held just the same as they always are. I can't wait to vote for Al Gore!"...... What's with the anti-democrat demagoguery?Has Rush Limbaugh convinced you that y2k is a partisan politcal issue?

-- mike (, December 11, 1999.

Well, 20 days left and we have Minnesota Smith's "high water mark" intellectually. Oh, and dividing the world into "Get's It" and "Doesn't Get It" rates a 10 on the arrogance scale. This is worth a cut-and-paste for next year.

-- Ken Decker (, December 11, 1999.

Mike, Al Gore is mentioned less in his capacity as a Democrat than as a member of the current Presidential administration that is A) falling down on the job, and B) that a DWGI will want to keep in power due to incorrectly thinking that things are going along fine and that Clinton/Gore deserve the credit for this. If you will look at the RGI category in item #11, you will see a reference to grossly unethical behavior by Republicans in national office (as well as Democrats) that I consider somewhat probable next year.

As far as any other inappropriate anti-Democrat bias above, please remember these thoughts:

1) Democrats are currently in power in the Executive branch.

2) Remember the merciless treatment given to Newt Gingrich and Dan Quayle by the media, contrasting it with the gentle treatment Clinton and Gore have gotten on their questionable campaign contributions .

3) The primary point to this article is to describe what the boiled- down viewpoints of people in each of these perceptual categories. Yes, there is a satirical/humorous aspect in a few places, ala Jonathan Swift IMHO, intended both to entertain a little and to reveal what I believe to be the truth of the situation. I do not take responsibility for how other people think; my objectively discussing what they do indeed appear to believe (in a discussion on that topic) - I do accept responsibility for that.

4) What category did taking the quiz classify you as, anyway, Mike?


Zoobie, what are you telling me when you say that I forgot the Infomagic category? Did you read item #12 thoroughly? I do mention Infomagic in each category in that part. Mention of what these archetypes presumably think of him was not broken out separately, and could be missed by a skim through the article. Perhaps that was the source of the confusion.

Anyone, if you want to let the other forum members know where the quiz classifies you, it would IMHO probably be interesting. I came through it with an R.G.I. label, not that this surprised me...

-- MinnesotaSmith (, December 11, 1999.

I take it you got pegged by the quiz as a "Kosky's boy", huh, Decker? If the shoe fits...

-- MinnesotaSmith (, December 11, 1999.

Oh, two more points, Decker:

1) FYI, my handle does not have a space between "Minnesota" and "Smith".

2) My quiz contained FOUR perceptual categories vis-a-vis Y2K, which is stated on the 7th line of my post. Did your attention span not hold out that long?

-- MinnesotaSmith (, December 11, 1999.


Put me down as a RGI please...

Ken Decker:

It's nice to know you're absolutely spout idiocy.

-- (, December 11, 1999.

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