"39 unanswered questions" revisited

greenspun.com : LUSENET : TB2K spinoff uncensored : One Thread

Thought a few of the "old farts" would get a laugh out of these.

1. Why is there not a single Fortune 1000 firm that has said, in its 10-Q SEC statement, that it is fully, unequivocally Y2K- compliant?

2. How can an entire industry be deemed "Y2K ready" if no members of that industry are claiming full Y2K compliance?

3. Why is it politically correct for pharmaceutical companies to stockpile life-saving medications but not for a family to do the same thing?

4. How can the U.S. economy not be impacted by major infrastructure failures in countries with which America trades goods and services?

5. Why did the April 9, 1999 and September 9, 1999 power industry drills held by the North American Electric Reliability Council (NERC) not test power generation or power distribution equipment? And why did NERC say, in a document found on its web site, "Do not make the drill too complex. We want to have a successful and meaningful story for publication." Source: Y2K Newswire: http://www.y2knewswire.com/archives/power/NERCdrill.pdf

6. Were you aware that our nation's political leaders made a conscious decision to downplay preparedness advice out of the fear it might threaten banks and the stock market? Isn't this a strategy that essentially says the stock market is more important than the safety of Americans? Source: WIRED News, February 18, 1999: http://www.wired.com/news/news/politics/story/17986.html

7. Why was the FAA unable to produce documentation backing up their claims of an independent audit declaring 100% Y2K compliance? More importantly, why did no publication in this country even attempt to track down these independent audit documents before repeating the FAA's claims as fact? Source: Y2K Newswire: http://www.y2knewswire.com/reports/Airfoiled- Public.htm

8. Has anyone from your publication actually seen a single signed, independent third-party audit that assigned 100% Y2K compliance to any Fortune 1000 firm or federal agency?

9. If your publication only trusts and quotes "official sources" on Y2K topics, and if those same official sources have political, professional or financial reasons to understate the severity of the problem they're facing, isn't it true that the information you're relying on for Y2K reporting may be inaccurate?

10. Given that Y2K remediation costs have already exceeded the cost of the entire Vietnam War, with some organizations spending over a billion dollars on repairs, isn't Y2K already in the category of a huge, man-made crisis, even if no problems occur on January 1? Y2K remediation costs dwarf Savings & Loan bailouts, yet the S&L situation is, still today, called a "crisis" by publications like USA Today and the Washington Post. But S&L bailouts pale in comparison to the hundreds of billions already spent on Y2K. Why is a $6 billion mistake called a "crisis" but a $600 billion global mistake called no big deal? Sources: USA Today: http://www.usatoday.com/news/court/nscot010.htm Washington Post: http://washingtonpost.com/wp- srv/politics/govt/fedguide/stories/fdic.htm

11. Why has no Fortune 1000 firm yet conducted full, end-to- end testing of the Y2K compliance of their computer systems? Earlier this year, the Pentagon held a test that John Koskinen called the largest test ever conducted on Y2K. Yet this test only involved 2% of the Pentagon's total systems. If this is truly the largest test ever conducted, doesn't this mean most organizations have probably only tested 1% of their systems? And if so, isn't this fact newsworthy?

12. Why, in early 1999, did the federal government drop over 3,200 computer systems from "mission critical" lists? And what happens if these previously-mission-critical systems are not fixed? Has your publication explained to its readers the significance of this subtle redefinition strategy and how it deceives the public by inflating "progress" statistics?

13. Why did NERC distribute a template "Y2K Ready Letter" with suggestive phrases and claims that companies could send back to NERC as part of their "independent" claims of Y2K readiness? Isn't this like giving out the answers right before the test? Source: Y2K Newswire: http://www.y2knewswire.com/archives/power/NercTemplate.pdf

14. If the IRS spent $4 billion over eleven years in a failed effort to revamp their computers, how can it possibly solve Y2K in just two years? And why hasn't the American press focused on the urgent issue of having a contingency tax system (like the national retail sales tax) in place, ready to roll, in case the IRS suffers critical problems?

15. Recently, NASA apparently lost yet another Mars probe due to unknown reasons. The last Mars probe was apparently lost due to a unit conversion error made by NASA personnel. If NASA scientists and programmers typically operate at ten times the accuracy of "regular" programmers, and yet they still manage to make mission-killing mistakes, why should the world believe that industry Y2K programmers won't make any such mistakes? At one point in 1998, Y2K "no big deal" commentators appeared on national television, explaining that the whole problem could be solved by recruiting welfare recipients to learn COBOL. This was reported as a genuine, credible strategy for solving the Y2K problem. Have you followed up on how many mission- critical systems have actually been remediated by welfare programmers? And if so, how likely are these systems to be error-free on January 1?

16. Auto manufacturers typically rely on well over ten thousand suppliers for critical parts. If 99% of these ten thousand suppliers are Y2K-compliant, doesn't that still mean one percent (one hundred suppliers), on average, may suffer failures? How will auto manufacturers build cars with only 99% of the parts? Why isn't this simple mathematical exercise being described to Americans?

17. The power plant that serves Santa Fe, New Mexico, has now announced there is a "high probability" that electricity will be cut off to the city on January 1. The city apparently hasn't yet funded the installation of a backup generator for the sewer system, either. What will happen to Santa Fe residents if power cannot be restored for a week and the sewers don't work? Is this a scenario for which citizens should continue to not prepare? Source: http://www.abqjournal.com/news/23news12- 02-99.htm

18. If Y2K is a non-event, why did our federal government spend $50,000,000 on a Y2K command bunker? Why are cities like Boulder, Colorado deploying armed SWAT teams and "prisoner transport teams" on New Years Eve? Source: Sunday Camera, November 28, 1999, www.bouldernews.com

19. Throughout 1998, nearly every company claimed it would be Y2K compliant by December 31, 1998, "with a full year for testing." Can you name a single Fortune 1000 firm that achieved and announced full Y2K compliance on that day? What happened to the full year for testing? Is this an important missed deadline, or were all those companies lying when they said they needed a full year for testing?

20. If Venezuela, one of our nation's chief suppliers of imported oil, was 100% non-compliant in March, how can it be 100% Y2K-compliant today? How did this small nation apparently accomplish in ten months what has taken the Social Security Administration ten years to achieve? What will happen to our economy if Venezuela cannot export oil for thirty days?

21. We keep reading stories of little old ladies who were robbed after they withdrew cash from their banks. Can your publication produce a single police report that details such a robbery?

22. The Y2K compliance claims of the United States sound just like the claims from other countries: Italy, China, Russia, South Africa, even Jamaica. Every country says it is fine. Ilya Klebanov, for example, Russia's deputy prime minister, says, "We will pass quietly through 2000 just like we have every other year. ...I think it's best not to scare the little children of Russia." How have you, as a journalist, determined where to draw the line between "countries that are lying" and "countries that are telling the truth?"

23. If the world's oil production is not at all threatened by Y2K, why has the International Energy Agency (IEA) drawn up plans for global rationing of oil reserves? Source: Reuters (London), November 30, 1999.

24. What will happen to our technology industry and dot-com stocks if computer parts shipments from Asia are disrupted because of Y2K problems there?

25. The White House says that all federal systems will work just fine, but smaller, local systems will experience problems. Yet we know, from experience, that the opposite is true: larger, more complex systems usually take longer to fix and have more post-remediation problems than smaller systems. Why hasn't your publication publicly questioned the contradiction in this official explanation?

26. As organizations in the United States purchased new equipment for Y2K, they sold much of the older, non-Y2K- compliant equipment to after-market importers in less-wealthy nations. This includes medical and telecommunications equipment. By doing this, isn't America actually exporting a Y2K crisis to nations that can least afford one? And won't this result in widespread international blame when people die in those countries as a result of, for example, failed medical devices? Doesn't this make Y2K an important foreign policy issue that should be addressed by the national media?

27. The White House says any Y2K problems that occur will be due to "overreaction by the people." Isn't this really an attempt to blame the public for a problem originally caused by the federal government's establishing the two-digit year standard in the first place?

28. If prepared people are less afraid, and only non-prepared people are likely to panic during a disruption, why has the federal government generally discouraged adequate Y2K preparedness? Isn't this ultimately contributing to the potential for panic? Why does the White House tell Americans to have half a tank of gas and not a full tank?

29. The Federal Reserve promises to pump nearly $200 billion in currency into the banking system in an effort to make sure banks don't run out of cash. There is more than enough to go around, we're told, so it's fine if people want to take out a few weeks' cash. If this is true, why are banks targeting the elderly, using fear tactics (stories of muggings) to prevent them from taking out their cash? If an elderly person remembers the crash of 1929 and the subsequent bank failures, isn't she acting rationally by protecting her life savings? And isn't it true that her actions don't threaten the system anyway because the Fed has delivered all this extra cash? Shouldn't banks try to make customers feel comfortable instead of fearful?

30. Why is it socially acceptable to buy fire insurance, car insurance and life insurance but not "food insurance" by having some extra food stored away? Through what mechanism did the Boy Scout motto, "Be prepared" become politically incorrect? Will Boy Scouts now be called extremists? Or will they be forced to change their motto to, "Be prepared, except for Y2K."

31. Why are Californians urged to have a two-week stockpile of supplies for earthquake preparedness, but only a three-day stockpile for Y2K? Should Californians throw out eleven days of supplies to be politically correct for Y2K?

32. If stock prices are based on rational, justifiable earnings per share, why is the NASDAQ exchange planning on running year-end advertisements that urge shareholders not to sell their stocks? If a company did this, wouldn't it be in violation of SEC regulations?

33. Why is virtually no member of the press asking Presidential candidates for their views on the Year 2000 problem?

34. If the banking industry is rock-solid, why does it seem to be terrified of radio and TV advertisements that poke fun at Y2K? Are we to believe that a humorous television advertisement can threaten our entire financial system? And if so, how strong a system is that to begin with?

35. If your publication is funded by advertisements from companies that would be financially harmed if you reported they were non-compliant, don't you have a clear-cut conflict of interest that prevents you from investigating their compliance? Have you explained this conflict of interest to your readers when you publish stories about Y2K?

36. Most publications in the United States rely on news wires from AP and Reuters. When you publish Y2K-related stories borrowed from these wire services, what percentage of the statements from AP and Reuters do you actually verify? For what percentage of the stories do you conduct your own investigations and add additional facts?

37. Many Year 2000 contingency plans rely on manual operations in case computer systems fail. Isn't there a gaping contradiction in the idea that everybody has been made more efficient by technology, but then we don't really need these computers because we can do it all by hand anyway? Furthermore, how will U.S. railroads go back to manual operations if the actual hand-thrown track switches have been removed? How will the IRS hand-write checks to million of taxpayers, as they have suggested they might do, if the refund database remains lost inside the crashed computers?

38. CCD Online Systems, a Y2K solutions provider, has offered to donate $50,000 to schools in the name of any of fourteen organizations on their "challenge list" that can pass an independent Y2K compliance test. If everyone is already Y2K compliant, as the public has been told, why has no organization on this list answered the challenge? Aren't they acting socially irresponsible by denying tens of thousands of dollars to our nation's children? Source: http://www.ccdonline.com/en/News/t_press16_e.html

39. Finally, the American public has been told to expect -- and base their preparations on -- the best-case outcome; the "no big deal" outcome or "three day snowstorm" scenario. When, in your entire life, have you ever seen the federal government take on a highly-complex, multi-billion-dollar project and get it right on time, the first time?

Bonus question, just added on December 7, 1999: Social Security has been widely touted as being 100% Y2K- compliant after having spent ten years on the project. Nearly a year ago, President Clinton declared Social Security to be 100% compliant. Yet last week, thousands of Social Security notices containing mixed-up numbers were apparently mailed to senior citizens who were shocked to find their Social Security numbers scrambled. If Social Security is fully Y2K-compliant, why is it still experiencing glitches in 1999? More importantly, if this is the result of ten years of Y2K remediation, what outcome is likely for federal agencies that have only spent two years, not ten, fixing Y2K bugs? Source: http://www.tri-cityherald.com

-- Mike Goodin (y2k@loose.wire), May 08, 2000


Look at y2ksupplies website now

"Sorry, you do not have authorized access to this area. If you are a member, you need to log in through the members-only login page.

Note that due to security reasons, you cannot expect to reach members-only pages by bookmarking them. We change the access password on a regular basis. "


-- losers (losers@every.where), May 08, 2000.

This is very amusing! We could have answered all these questions (and some of us tried) but they just wouldn't listen. Very funny, indeed.

-- Maria (anon@ymous.com), May 08, 2000.

If we knew for a fact ahead of time that Y2k was going to be the non- event that it has been, why did businesses need 'command centers'?



A survey of Fortune 500 firms released last month by Cap Gemini America LLC in New York found 85% of the companies surveyed plan to build Y2K command centers or crisis-management centers  up from 40% just five months earlier.

"Companies are demonstrating their sense of caution by placing greater emphasis on managing possible year 2000 risks," says Jim Woodward, a vice president at Cap Gemini.

The risks are many. Aside from problems related to unremediated software and hardware, organizations must be prepared for losses of power, telecommunications and water, as well as the possibility that their suppliers' or customers' unfixed code could infect their systems during data transmissions.

-- (Question@#.40), May 08, 2000.

Ah Kev, you know why! (still siting out of date newsarticles huh? Haven't you learned by now that newspaper clippings are not real "research"?)

The whole thing was CYA because of the pressure of a few EXTREMISTS with BIG DAMN MOUTHS.

-- neviK (cisumsexim@att.bell.com), May 08, 2000.

Question #40: Why Command Centers? Answer: FUD

It's still extremely funny.

-- Maria (anon@ymous.com), May 08, 2000.

Thanks for the snooze.

Why are you re-posting an old rant?


-- (retired@and.happy), May 08, 2000.

Dear "retarded and happy about it",

You must be new to the y2k scene. Last year, Mike Adams (ariel marketing) spearheaded (or "dickheaded" depending on how you view the jerk) a media spam in which he gave out many e-mail address of news sources on the 'net and encouraged all his "followers" to spam them all with his ridiculous 39 questions.

I thought in retrospect it was even funnier NOW than it was THEN (for those of us that knew the media wasn't "spinning" anything but the doomers paranoia!)

-- mike goodin (y2k@loose.wire), May 08, 2000.

Hey, whatever happened to Dear Ol' Mike? Haven't seen anything by him since January.

-- (kb8um8@yahoo.com), May 08, 2000.

Thanks for the memories, Mike, the Mike Adam's "39 silliest y2k questions ever created" was hilarious the first time I read it, and even more so post Y2K apocalypse, lol. I think many of us found the wording of these questions so silly that we didn't find the thing worth responding too, although some did.

In fact, Mich Ratcliffe of ZDY2K blew the whole lot of these fluffballs away quite easily in his article Mike Adams' last gasp

I enjoy these little "posts from the past", keep it up!

-- FactFinder (FactFinder@bzn.com), May 08, 2000.

Funny, yes. Didn't this approach (and most of these questions) originate with Gary North? In retrospect, we can see that all these questions are based on false underlying assumptions. This is called "framing the discussion", getting your reader to accept those assumptions without even realizing it.

As I recall, making the assumptions explicit and showing their lack of substantive base was a lonely battle indeed. And we laugh today when we know better, yet approach each new topic the *same way*, and the lonely battle never ends. If it weren't entertaining, why bother?

-- Flint (flintc@mindspring.com), May 08, 2000.

Why is it that the doomers have moved on with their lives, yet the pollies just can't seem to "let go"?

I find this aspect of the Y2K mess to be the funniest and most ironic of all. Perhaps a few visits to your local mental health professional might be in order??


-- Yeah Right (Ahhhh@haaa.haaa.haaa), May 09, 2000.


Sorry. I totally misread it. I responded without thinking.

-- (retired@and.happy), May 09, 2000.

Why is it that the doomers have moved on with their lives, yet the pollies just can't seem to "let go"?

I find this aspect of the Y2K mess to be the funniest and most ironic of all. Perhaps a few visits to your local mental health professional might be in order??


-- Yeah Right (Ahhhh@haaa.haaa.haaa), May 09, 2000.

Yeah, right, "Yeah Right". Doomers have moved on with their lives? If you mean moved on to the next doom scenario, then I guess you're right.

-- Buddy (buddydc@go.com), May 09, 2000.

good link FF! I think it deserves a C&P:

The last time I published the facts about Mike Adams, he threatened to sue me. This week, he's encouraging a national spamming campaign against the press and politicians to stir up enough anxiety to clear the shelves of Y2K supplies. So, I guess I should warm up the lawyers, again.

Adams' "Thirty-Nine Unanswered Questions About Y2K" have arrived in my mailbox about 50 times today, forwarded by people who apparently have not taken the time to read ZDY2K, because we've dealt with every one of these issues over the past 18 months. Nevertheless, in the interest of full disclosure, I'll take the time to respond.

I would have liked to receive feedback that was actually targeted at our coverage instead of the Adams-spam. We do want to hear from you and I have responded to every email sent about Y2K personally. We urged you, dear reader, to take matters into your own hands more than a year ago, in "Suggestions for Y2K Leadership."

It is unfortunate that we must acknowledge Adams at all when responding to this spam campaign. However, I think it's important to point out his background, which, according to the bio posted earlier this year on one of his many marketing Web sites, includes:

"In 1999, in an effort to fine tune his web marketing techniques, Michael launched a six-month experiment to determine what kind of revenues are possible when combining his proprietary techniques and technologies with a high-awareness topic. The result? In six months, with the help of only one employee, he created a subscriber base of over 50,000 people and sold over $400,000 worth of information products while offering an open-ended, 100% moneyback [sic] guarantee."

The high-awareness topic was, of course, Y2K. He told me by telephone he was dedicating himself to full-time during 1999. The statement from the Web site stands in stark contrast to Adams' repeated assertion that he has no profit interest in Y2K. THAT says it all, man.

-- mike goodin (y2k@loose.wire), May 09, 2000.

Buddy, Yeah Right doesn't deserve a response to that post. This person keeps posting the same thing every time we pollys bring up the topic and I usually ignore it. However, this particular post accusing me of needing psyc help forces me to briefly comment.

Yeah Right, I find this post extremely amusing. What's wrong with a good laugh. You say you've moved on; but obviously not, since you continue to post on the topic. This shows how emotional you still are about Y2K's non-event. I suggest that you seek professional help. In the meantime I can continue to laugh about how stupid Y2K doomer mentality was. You really should admit how comical it was and then probably you'll be able to truly move on.

-- Maria (anon@ymous.com), May 09, 2000.

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