Y2K -- A Glimpse of Eternitygreenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread
By Chris Gilbey
[Fair use/educational purposes]
Governments and large organizations all over the world have now adopted a "command and control center" management strategy to monitor what happens over the early part of the new year. This strategy is a logical one that should provide a measured response to deal with any problems that arise from ongoing Y2K failures. However there is one caveat. If there are a lot of simultaneous failure events, clearly emergency response teams will become over-committed. This will be the nexus at which cascading problems become more of a probability than a possibility. If they are long lasting, then there may be social disorder and even financial panic, particularly if people have remained complacent.
Can this possibly happen? Well, if everyone who has been reporting on their remediation activities is telling the truth, then this scenario is hardly likely. However, it is generally acknowledged in the IT community that a state of massaged optimism has permeated most organizations over the last 6 months as management has not wanted any negative internal reporting. So the question is whether this optimistic trend in internal reporting will be at odds with reality. Only time will tell.
We also know that there are a number of countries that are exposed across the board in spite of their protestations to the contrary. If there are extended financial, utility or social failures in these countries we have yet to find what impact this will have on either their trading partners or the global economy. Economists' models are built on the basic rules of logic (however warped these may seem to some of us). These provide that you can only reach a true conclusion if you start with a true hypothesis. Since so much of the data that is in circulation is known to be false, the economists' analyses have less relevance than the weather forecaster's predictions. This again doesn't mean that the economic forecasts will be proven to be wrong; it just means that if they are right it will be more as the result of luck than the result of good science.
While this is taking place on one level on another there is a heightened level of media speculation about new computer viruses, evacuation plans for embassy staff from certain countries, and about religious fundamentalist and other terrorism. While the governments of the western world speculate with tabloid fervor about these possibilities, they are telling their own people that everything is fine on the Y2K front.
If there is no Y2K problem, why is it that some 21 nuclear reactors are shutting down in Japan, trains are to stop running over the rollover all over the world, the channel tunnel between the UK and France is to close, smelters and foundries are to stop operation, etc., etc.
Could it be that there really is a very big problem, but the governments of the world woke up too late? Could it be that they don't want to admit their errors and are manufacturing a lot of public paranoia? There is after all nothing like a dose of terrorism to give governments the green light to prepare militaristic responses. And equally they don't want to prepare for Y2K in a highly visible way in case it turns out to be a non-event. After all, if they prepare for something that doesn't happen they may be found accountable
Finally: In my local newspaper an article appeared describing preparations for the fireworks due to be set off for the millennial roll-over. Apparently the word "Eternity" is to be etched in fireworks across the Sydney Harbour Bridge as the peak of the display -- which will be seen on TV all over the world. Ironic, is it not, that a word meaning "infinite time" should be used to herald a moment of time so totally finite?
-- Steve (email@example.com), December 23, 1999
Short version: watch what they do, not what they say.
-- Servant (firstname.lastname@example.org), December 23, 1999.