WESTERGAARD.COM: "A Framework to Answer the Y2K Aftermath Question: How Could It Have Gone So Smooth Abroad in Core Infrastructure Facilities?"

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

A Framework to Answer the Y2K Aftermath Question: How Could It Have Gone So Smooth Abroad in Core Infrastructure Facilities?

By Roleigh Martin
January 7, 2000

On the Westergaard Year 2000 Mission Page, it states "We aspire to be your trusted source for important Year 2000 news and commentary as we approach the Millennium and beyond." In my past Y2K Tip of the Week Columns, I strove to be a trusted source even if I seemed to be downplaying the Y2K Problem as we approached the rollover.

In my last 1999 column, written before Christmas, I wrote: "Initially next year, I think the optimists will claim 'victory,' -- it will take time for the pessimists to feel vindicated. The ancient Chinese proverb, 'torture by a thousand small cuts' will be the prevailing proverb for the overall Y2K impact."

In my November 29th, 1999, column, I wrote:

Let's face it, the electric industry has done a better job, industry wide, than any other utility sector in proving they are as Y2K ready as can be expected of an industrial sector which had too late of a start for my and other critics' high standards. Here are my odds on the electrical picture in January 2000. They are not as high as industry advocates publicly assert for the critical reasons I outline in earlier Westergaard columns:

If either your utility is among one of the 200 NERC bulk providers or your utility has an impressive Y2K plan that you've inspected, I'm guessing (and only an intelligent, somewhat skeptical guess) that odds are 90% plus that you will have electricity continuously with no more than a few contiguous hours of problems in January 2000.

Obviously, in hindsight, I was heavily leaning in the right direction about the utilities, just not 100% enough, but who has 100 percent foresight? Even the optimists in government positions foresaw some problems, especially abroad.

When I gave a 90% thumbs-up odds, that did not mean I predicted 10% would fail. Since the behavior of the utilities was not random, it was like betting that a group of like-minded travelers heading down a maze would take the correct turn -- with 9 of the 10 possible turns being correct. Hence, because the group acted similarly, the group would either succeed 100% or not. This is because they were all likely to take one of the 9 correct turns (at one extreme being the least expensive but successful way to succeed, the other extreme being the most expensive and successful way to succeed). Thus I could truthfully assess them at a 10 percent risk of failure but a 100 percent success does not deny that 1 of the 10 turns would have been a wrong turn. It is only when studying randomly acting behavior of a large non-homogeneous group that a 90 percent risk-assessment predicts a 10 percent failure.

Well, then how come the rollover went as smooth as it did in regards to core infrastructure facilities? There are two aspects to answering this question:

The first question is easier to answer, it provides a framework for doing the painstaking investigation required to answer the second question, which must be specific for each country/infrastructure-sector investigated.

In this piece, I focus on this easier question as well as providing asides.

First of all, some references to interesting reads as background to this column.



-- Linkmeister (link@librarian.edu), January 07, 2000.

When the Posse of Doom from Westergaaaard starts quoting Koskinen as their guiding light on Y2k, the Fat Lady is in her dressing room reading the reviews.

Another craven appearance by one of the lead hysteria-mongers. Join Ed, Jim, Lane, Gary, Michael, Mr. CEO, RC, Milne and the rest in the dustbin of history.


-- Bradley K. Sherman (bks@netcom.com), January 07, 2000.

Heh. I used to work in the same company with Roleigh Martin, not too long ago, either. He's actually a pretty nice guy. My group used to get (still gets, over there, probably) emails from Roleigh that were, um, detailed. We would meet in someone's cube to have impromptu "Roleigh meetings" to try to figure out what he was asking. That post brings back memories. Hope he finds another cause as fun as Y2K!

-- PollyPollyPolly (getyour@verbs.here), January 07, 2000.


Was on my way to post this very same article, when I saw someone beat me to the punch(G).


So you don't find anything odd, about the smotthness of the rollover, eh?

The way I see it, you have three choices: 1) Roleigh Martin's explanation, or something similar to it. 2)The doomers are right, and there's actually massive problems a brewing, and THPTB are covering it up. 3) Y2K was a grand hoax.

If you're proposing #3 (which I assume you are, since you've laughed at #2 before, and you're laughing at #1, now), I find that highly amusing Pulling off such a grand hoax, would require a GRAND CONSPIRACY. I always thought that part of the polly party line, was to laugh at Doomer's assertions that there are GRAND CONSPIRACIES afoot. Chuckle, chuckle....don't you just love irony?

-- Bokonon (bok0non@my-Deja.com), January 07, 2000.

The Internet has been over-hyped, but it is not a hoax. Y2k has been over-hypted, but it is not a hoax. There was a Reuters story today about the busiest port in Brazil getting hit by a Y2k bug. Not a hoax. But the port kept right on operating! In the TB2000 world it would have led to cascading failures. Why? Because you swallowed the hyperbole of the Posse of Doom without question.


-- Bradley K. Sherman (bks@netcom.com), January 07, 2000.

No, Bradley, we asked a LOT of question, VERY TOUGH questions at that, which noone seemed to have good answers for. So, wishing to err on the side of caution, many of us prepared on a personal level.

Now, do you get THAT???

-- King of Spain (madrid@aol.cum), January 07, 2000.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ