Report on Ed Yourdon at DC meeting : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

I attended the Yourdon/Gordon meeting. Ed has been hitting the donuts as badly as I have, he was looking "prosperous". Like bears storing up for a long winter, Ed and I will be ready. Anxiety makes you eat more.

Ed's talk was, well, you all know the story, he didn't cover anything new but he did put several things into perspective and did clarify an important point. 1 year followed by 10. No kidding.

Get ready.

For those of you who haven't heard Ed talk, he's entertaining, to the point, and keeps your interest. I took notes (will be in WRP116 or what ever, who knows.)

On the other hand, Paula Gordon (who is much nicer to look at than Ed) rambled on and didn't have anything to say. Something about Nukes, embeddeds, email with Ko-Skin-em, and Dave-this, Joe-that, who knows, I sure couldn't follow it.

Paula had an assistant, I have no idea what she was talking about either, I sure wish -bks- or DS from C.s.y2k were there to cat-call from the audience. They weren't so I had to do the honors. "Prove-it!" "What ARE you talking about?"

Other than my harrassment, there were excellent questions from the audience. People have done their homework. You should have been there.

1 year followed by 10. Get ready.

-- known troublemaker (, March 25, 1999


Or he could be wrong - it could be worse (if you live 10 miles from a 7-11 you're toast)

-- a (a@a.a), March 25, 1999.

Why were you even there if you didn't know what any of the people were talking about? I mean are you stupid and can't follow a conversation, a lecture, or meeting to gather information? You had no idea what Paula was talking about and your going to write an article about the meeting? Give me a break "known troublemaker," you've already lost my interest in reading whatever you have to say. The only thing you noted was how fat, happy and prosperous Ed looked, no substance whatsoever, I guess that's why you call yourself a troublemaker.

-- ~~ (, March 26, 1999.

Um, Cory usually writes very well, and with details! He must be tired, if it is really him. I'll pop on over to csy2k and see if this is posted there.

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-- Leska (, March 26, 1999.

Yep, it's Cory, same thing on csy2k, with this addition:

"Their thesis seems to be that the nukes will blow up, gas pipelines too, and, oh yes, the muties will swarm out from somewhere

I handed out copies of WRP114 (Print)."

How come he leaves the juicy stuff out for us? ;-)
Cory doesn't answer eMails either. Must be too busy.

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-- Leska (, March 26, 1999.

Re: People have done their homework. You should have been there.

I wish I WAS at that meeting. Seems to be some interesting community meetings going on there. It's been hard to get much community interest here in Sacra-tomato, although some of us are still trying.

I look forward to reading the transcript. WRP116, you say?

-- Margaret (, March 26, 1999.

-- Leska (, March 26, 1999.

Thanks, Leska, for the link.

-- Margaret (, March 26, 1999.

~~ -

Cory Hamasaki is a serious mainframe geek and the publisher of the fairly gonzo "DC Y2K Weather Reports" (A.K.A. DC WRPs). Known to stir up trouble at DeeCee area Y2K meetings by asking speakers tough questions or just simply making rude comments. Subject is considered "doomer" by all but the most hardcore Y2K watchers. If encountered, do not approach without backup (or at least a dozen jelly doughnuts). That is all.

-- Mac (, March 26, 1999.

This Forum has a thing about doughnuts ... ;-D

-- Leska (, March 26, 1999.

Corys Current DC Y2K Weather Reports current.html

Chuckles, Leska!


-- Diane J. Squire (, March 26, 1999.


Your link requires a password. newsgroup hierarchy ...

-- Diane J. Squire (, March 26, 1999.


Many of us haven't found a way to be comfortable with public speaking or public writing. But, it hasn't stopped us from communicating.

Each of us communicates. Always.

And our attentiveness, what we are able to attend to, fills out the quality of the whole communication.

Perhaps there's more to Paula's presence than some folks choose to listen for.


Critt Jarvis

-- Critt Jarvis (, March 26, 1999.


If you ancient mainframe dinosaur types had switched to client-server Unix in the early 90s, everything would be OK! (NOT!!) Sorry, couldn't resist.

Unix: A bunch of guys (Unics) with no balls...

-- Anonymous99 (, March 26, 1999.

Look, I was there, and I would like to essentially affirm everything that Cory said. Lets just say that of all the Y2K meetings that I have ever attended anywhere, this one was probably one of the most somber and depressing, due to the sheer frustration on the part of Ed and Paula trying to get the message across to the Powers That Be who simply will not listen. (Actually, there was one humerous event: A lady who must have weighed somewhere around 300lbs -- she said she spends 18 hours a day on the Internet researching Y2K -- lost her footing, and nearly bowled over Ed. She had only minutes before talked of tying a chain around herself and jumping from the Capitol or something like that to call attention to Y2K.)

Ed believes that the greatest hope of any kind of national action will come by way of example from the more rural areas, such as in the West, where grassroots Y2K action groups are forming. He said that politicians hate being considered irrelevant, and if a great Y2K grassroots effort comes to life, the politicians in Washington will suddenly start to take notice.

Like Cory, I could not figure out what Paula was actually trying to say. Her thoughts seemed disoriented, and not very focused; she easily confused herself by constantly adjusting her microphone. Most of her spiel seemed to be how she was always sending e-mail to John Koskinen and how he would thank her but then not really do anything. She is convinced that the big reason that nobody seems to say much about embedded systems is because nobody really understands them. Look for upcoming gas pipeline explosions here.

-- Jack (, March 26, 1999.

Besides the anger and anguish, and the electricity off, and civil unrest, the 3 big problems to look for the first week of 2000 are:


And they weren't even considering nuclear power plant mishaps or embedded failures.

Anyway the top 3 is what the "local" emergency operators have been told to look out for, nationwide, where naturally everything does occur at the "local" level (duh).

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-- Leska (, March 26, 1999.

LOL Jack! From I--who could afford to lose a few pounds myself--I've been thinking for months about all those evening news stories about how so many people in this nation are overweight. We're bombarded by them. So--Y2K as a solution? Got vitamins? I don't mean to be irreverent (sp) here, but as Paul Milne once predicted, at some time in the future the average joe-six pack will look like a skinny Ralph Cramden. Maybe that will be an upside if things go really bad. (Hate to think about the children though. . .) Sorry if I've offended anyone by the above.

Now--those of you who really want to monitor Corey, use the following link (boy is it a doosie--but it takes you to all of his posts.)[ST_rn=ps]/dnquery.xp?ST=PS&QRY=&defaultOp=AND &DBS=1&format=terse&showsort=score&maxhits=25&LNG=ALL&subjects=&groups

On a related note: We've all heard that the Dee Cee area is in big trouble. I keep wondering if Corey is so pessimistic because he happens to live in that vicinity? Same with Milne. Thoughts anyone?

(God help the person who tries to turn the above URL into a link. Thanks in advance. I have one for Milne too, if anyone wants one.)

-- FM (, March 26, 1999.

Yes, FM, please post the URL for Milne too. Thanks! This will make fun reading for the day ;-)[ST_rn=ps]/dnquery.xp?ST=PS&QRY=&defaultOp=A ND&DBS=1&format=terse&showsort=score&maxhits=25&LNG=ALL&subjects=&grou

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-- Leska (, March 26, 1999.

Leska--you hospice angel you--your wish is my command. Prepare to cringe and ROTFLYAO. Milne's been kind of quiet lately though. Wonder if that's because some his regular baiters (DGI's) have converted?

By the way--if indeed I have the Leska who works with hospice patients, I'll tell you via private email sometime about the work of one of my dear friends who helped pioneer hospice in America. Email me if you're interested.

Anyway--ta dah!--here's the Milne link.*&DBS=2&ST=PS&defaultOp=AND&LNG =ALL&format=terse&showsort=score&maxhits=100&subjects=&groups=comp.sof tware.year-2000&authors=fedinfo*&fromdate=&todate=


-- FM (, March 26, 1999.

http://www.d*&DBS=2&ST=PS&defaultOp=AND&LNG=ALL&format= terse&showsort=score&maxhits=100&subjects=& 000&authors=fedinfo*&fromdate=&todate=

Thank you so much, FM! I've "favorited" this thread so I can more easily keep up with Milne & Hamasaki -- csy2k is a thick forest of hubris and it's hard to go doomer-picking there.

We too wonder why Paul Milne does not post as much, although we see and feel how there's not that much left to say; either one prepares or doesn't. We can't bug out, at least not yet, probably not at all, but still like reading about it because we know it is the right thing. Paul used to answer our eMails, but hasn't for a long time; Cory never has; they must have written us off as 7-11 milktoast. Hey, but we're not dead yet! Oh well ;-)

Yes, we're the hospice folks, and Ashton is a near-saint, but I'm not so angelic, fighting this 'Net addiction, which actually is a great help on the job, so it's not all bad. Our eMail addy is real, but I'm into extreme escapism and am having trouble addressing anything serious or answering any eMails. Just wanna cyber-cruise and party and stick my eyeballs in the sand of the 'Net and exist only in vaporware. But Ashton keeps dragging me off to prep activities ... LOL, if it weren't for him, I'd have turned into a complete jellified sloth.

Onward and upward :^) .....

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-- Leska (, March 26, 1999.


Thanks for linking us to the beginning of the DC reports - this we see the get the author's warning and disclaimers. Appreciate your stiving for accuracy.


-- john hebert (, March 26, 1999.

Sounds like the message may have lost some impact by the presentation problems - damn.

Media, politicians, political aides present? Or was it "professionally ignored" by the mainstream media since it didn't meet the administration's approval?

I agree with your perception that the closer one gets to any large Democratically controlled city, the more insurmountable the problems appear.

-- Robert A Cook, PE (Kennesaw, GA) (, March 26, 1999.

I hate to admit to this, but I notice I have been gaining weight. I think it is due to worrying about Y2k. I think I will have a sweatshirt made that reads, "I'm Not Fat, I'm Storing Up for Y2k."

Does anyone else need one? This is a joke. I'm not in the sweatshirt business.

-- Linda A. (, March 26, 1999.

"Preparing Our Pad for 3 Y2K Months" LOL
Think it has to do with sitting and reading the puter screen ...

-- Leska (, March 26, 1999.

I suspect that both Ed Yourdon and Paula Gordon are becomming quite weary and frustrated with the task at hand. It is the same frustration that many of us here are feeling. They are both trying to be taken seriously by the people with the power to change things but the results are far less than what is needed.

The people with the power will never take Milne or Hamasaki seriously. Politicians never like to listen to sentences that begin with "Hey butthead..." and end with " ... you total moron!". Unfortunately, at this time, the politicians also seem unwilling to listen and act on polite, diplomatic, well-reasoned concerns either.

Despite the best efforts of people like Ed Yourdon, Paula Gordon, Senator Bennett, Senator Dodd, Congressman Horn, and others, we seem to be collectively determined to miss every opportunity to mitigate this situation.

The fact that Ed Yourdon and Paula Gordon recognize the potential for danger, the difficulty of the task at hand and still chose to continue the struggle at this time deserves our support, respect and thanks, not inane criticisms that do little to help us reach the goal. Would it not be far easier for these people to quit subjecting themselves to such frustrations and simply go quietly into the night?

-- Arnie Rimmer (, March 26, 1999.

I've noticed that good writers are not necessarily good speakers, and vice versa.

It seems that Dr. Gordon is a researcher at heart, and it was noted in a prior thread that she was not a good speaker.

To witness her impressive works, see the following:

-- mabel (, March 26, 1999.

Jack, Cory: Do you think that Paula could make it at mudwrestling?

-- King of Spain (, March 26, 1999.

known troublemaker's post provided no insight whatsoever as to any substance of the meeting.

Jack's post ran along the same lines as known troublemaker's but did go some way in providing an insight that there did appear to be some sort of a message.

People sometimes need to look beyond physical appearance and listen to the message.

There must have been a lot more said at this meeting than what either of these two posts indicate. Concentrating and commenting on physical appearance seems rather juvenile to say the least. And despite Dr. Paula Gordon's lack of public speaking skills, she still invariably manages to get some sort of a message across.

It's a shame that we couldn't hear from someone who attended this meeting with the skills to get beyond the frivolous and hear the words that must have been spoken.

-- More (, March 26, 1999.


Well said. I always enjoy reading what you have to say.

-- More (, March 26, 1999.

Almost everything that Ed discussed was in line with what he has at, especially his recent paper, "Y2K and The Year of Living Dangerously". I make the assumption that people who read this forum have at least read that much, if not his book (which many brought to get his autograph on). The only thing that I felt worth bringing up was his comment regarding the grassroots Y2K intitiative that is gaining momentum and may yet get the attention of Washington, because that is New Stuff that I had not seen before, and clearly is pertinent to the second event (scheduled for today at 1:30PM). Honestly, for anyone who keeps abreast of Y2K and Ed's writings, there was not much else that one could classify as new (like Cory said...).

As far as Paula Gordon, I make no apologies. I stick to what I said, and at that I think that I was being kind. Maybe she should just try reading her papers verbatim at her presentations.

-- Jack (, March 26, 1999.

Jack --- Your said this to "a" on another thread:

"a, regardless, the April 1999 issue of Wired has the best Y2K articles to date of any mainstream magazine. One of the Y2K questions that Ed Yourdon entertained last night at the end of his presentation in D.C. was, "Why doesn't Silicon Valley 'get it'?" Those folks do read Wired."

What was Ed's response to that question?

-- BigDog (, March 26, 1999.

Has anyone seen Dr. Gordon present elsewhere? If this presentation was significantly worse than others, it's a pretty good bet that the whole Y2K "Paul Revere" effort has seriously worn her down, perhaps even set off a depressive episode. Part of the recurring "grief" cycle that is associated with dealing with Y2K.

Leska, all you other medico types out there - comments?

-- Mac (, March 26, 1999.

Linda A, I love that sweatshirt idea. We have to talk : )

To Cory, the known troublemaker, Ed, Paula Gordon and all those who speak to the public regarding Y2k issues, thank you. Thanks for being there and making trouble. Thanks for being there and reporting what you see and hear. Thanks for taking the initiative and putting yourself out there, pushing the issue and taking a lead role in trying to get people aware and to prepare.

Cory, I get the impression you're tired. Honestly, I don't know how you do it but I'm grateful you do. Have a donut... uh, I mean store up a little extra, on me.

Mike =============================================================

-- Michael Taylor (, March 26, 1999.

BigDog, I can't swear by it, but I believe that question came just before the Human Bowlingball nearly got a strike on poor Ed. I'm not sure if it ever got answered.

BTW, I stayed around to shake Ed's hand, and told him that it was nice to see him posting more these last couple of weeks. He said that it was all a function of time, etc. I'm sure that he will eventually see the Silicon Valley question on the forum and answer it directly.

-- Jack (, March 26, 1999.

Mac, I couldn't say, wasn't there. Waiting for Ed Yourdon to make his observations himself on this thread. More from csy2k:

These are extracts from another post of Cory Hamasaki:

<< Sorry, it was late, I was tired. I'll devote a future WRP to this.

I am optimistic in comparison to Ed "1 year plus 10" Yourdon. I have no arguments with anything that Ed said. If anything, my INTEL says that the Fortune 5,000 is in worse shape that his. I would not be surprised to see 10, 20, 30 percent of the Fortune 5,000 tank out in the next 5 years. Some of this is geekvine stuff, some is experience, some is first hand knowledge which I will not indentify.

Where we differ, and this is so subtle that it hardly counts, is that Ed seems to be preparing for a 10 year depression. While I don't count this out, I can see positive sides to "the burn out".

Note, this doesn't make it true. Ed Yourdon and I both work in the enterprise systems world, where one computer costs 5 million dollars and if you want disk drives, why didn't you say so, that'll be another 5 million dollars.

Someone here occasionally entertains the thought that if the large governmental systems fail, this might be a good thing. Who could that be?

It was the cat-calling from the audience, the asking for evidence or a reasonable statement explaining how they (Paula not Ed) arrived at their conclusions.

That's me, and I'm balding too.

Here's the problem, check out the second link in my article :

/* Important Note to c.s.y2k extreme libertarians, tcmay, croaker, you know who you are; this is scary stuff, follow the link at your peril. If you think I was rambling, read the almost 100 pages of the paper linked off that URL. I don't want hear how you were found dead, stroked out in front of Netscape, page 19 of the paper on the monitor. */

Paula wants the Feds to establish a "Y2K Sit Around and Think Big Thoughts Office" funded like the nothing has ever been funded before.

Paula and her assistant (friend, colleague, I didn't grok the business relationship.) made loose-as-a-goose statements about riots, nukes blowing up, gas pipelines also blowing up, embedded, embedded, embedded, the embeddeds are coming to getcha, the embeddeds are coming to take you away.

Where I went -bks- was in daring to ask, "What the Hell are you people talking about?" Although they interpreted this to mean, "I'm a polly on Y2K and I stubbornly refuse to comprehend anything that I can't eat."

My point was more, I don't have clear evidence of embeddeds (nukes, gas pipeline) problems leading to explosions, then large scale riots, followed by the fall of western civilization; you seem to, take 5 minutes and present your points, I'll shut up and listen.

I'm fairly sure that there will be a few Y2K chemical plant explosions but from what we've seen this year, these things (power plants too) blow up on a regular basis. If anyone has evidence that it will be worse than that, please, open up a c.s.y2k thread.

A few plant explosions does not justify a new "Federal Y2K Office of Picking Tim May's Pocket."

Post talk, I got into an argument with Paula on the 1970's energy crisis. She said, the Feds solved it by establishing a massive office to study the matter. ...and they did what? 55 MPH, Odd-Even, Fuel allocation, thankfully they didn't get around to ration coupons.

She also claimed Y2K is solvable if we have enough bureaucrats, University research grants to appreciate the problem, new legislation, meetings in plush settings, press coverage, the attention of Billy Clinton. It was surreal.

Ed, on the other hand, spoke about working with his small community, his water supply, emergency communications, doing it with his neighbors and without the state or federal government to "help out".

He mentioned "don't even think about going to the High School gym" for food, heat, water. It won't be there.

I had the impression that Ed is ready. He also said that in some circles "out west" there is the sense that the Feds are irrelevant and that Y2K may demonstate that.

[ snip ]

cory hamasaki 280 Days, 6,735 Hours, >>

---------------------------------------------------------------------- ----

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-- Leska (, March 26, 1999.

" some circles 'out west' there is the sense that the Feds are irrelevant and that Y2K may demonstate that."

Anyone else read Joel Garreau's The Nine Nations of North America ? We may see the formation of "Ecotopia" and "MexAmerica" yet...

-- Mac (, March 26, 1999.

Ye Gods, maybe this Paula Gordon is bonkers!!??!! Just what we need in Washington, a delusional nutcase, conjuring up all kinds of panic about EXPLODING gas and nukes, but saying that it can all be fixed with ENOUGH MONEY even at this late-late-late date???

And we need to know more about this "relationship" with her "assistant". There is much to learn about here, I am sure.

-- King of Spain (, March 26, 1999.

Hey Mac! Maybe Cascadia's time is nigh ;-)

-- Leska (, March 26, 1999.

I never thought Dr. Gordon knew what she was talking about anyway. She just jumped on the Y2K bandwagon looking for research funding.

-- ... (polly@nna..), March 26, 1999.


Why don't you read Dr. Paula Gordon's bio before you make wild assumptions.

She certainly appears to have more than enough know-how and experience to be able to research and put 2+2 together and figure out enough to determine whether or not we might face problems with embedded chips.

I hardly think that GWU would endorse a raving lunatic.

-- Experience (, March 26, 1999.

I've read Gordon's analysis and bio. No technical background and her white paper is getting old fast. And believe me, there are plenty of raving lunatics at major universities.

-- . (polly@nna.), March 26, 1999.

I'm not entirely sure ANY university nowdays would reject any position based on crediblility and reason - the mere fact that GWU (or any other university) employes anyone means nothing. George S. (who was Clinton's mouthpiece) teaches a course in political science and morals - Anita Hill teaches at another University - becuase she was "politically corrupt" for the right cause at the right time.

To be useful in training peopel to accept ideas not popular and not easy to implement - to teach people they must 'swim against the current in cold water to survive", she must be both correct and credible. Most important to today's media, she must present the APPEARANCE of being correct and credible.

Apparently, she was neither.

-- Robert A Cook, PE (Kennesaw, GA) (, March 26, 1999.

i've been looking like city mouse lately. i was going to go on a diet, but maybe i shouldn't bother. i like the "storing up for y2k" idea.

-- jocelyne slough (, March 26, 1999.

Thinking through that - and reflecting on the overall - I've got to wonder:

In a visual medium - where TV taklking heads no longer research and present news on the main pentgram of CBS-NBC-ABC-CNN-MSNBC- Sports Ilustrated-Cosmo-Vanity Fair world, where apparently "what you look like" matters, just how to "we" collectively get a serious message out to people already in the bread-and-circus cycle?

Dr Gordon? Any thoughts? Ed?

-- Robert A Cook, PE (Kennesaw, GA) (, March 26, 1999.

Robert --- we don't, it's co-opted on arrival by the very nature of the media--system-is-the-message. I assume this is why Ed has cottoned to the community thing (don't mean that to be patronizing, quite the opposite).

"Y2K is local" is the one true thing the government has said so far about this, though the sheer fact that they've said it is quite suspicious, natch.

Unfortunately, as bardou never tires of reminding us, there is local and then there is loco, which characterizes most of our communities, sadly. But not all.

Remember "think global, act local", a saying I personally loathe? Better, "think local, act local". This isn't some sort of crusading solution, there ain't none, there ain't none, just the reality we're left with on March 26, 1999. Just as a by-the-way, it's one of the reasons most people should STILL be moving or planning bug-outs to appropriate communities (ie, where people still act remotely like citizens).

-- BigDog (, March 26, 1999.

You need a good advertising or PR consultant to "market" Y2K.

-- mabel (, March 26, 1999.

Ed Yourdon and Paula Gordon at George Washington University

Is there still time for the government to act?

25 March 1999, 7:30 - 10:00 PM, Corcoran Hall

About 50 people attended. The building had no flyers up, even on the door of the room, and an English class was scheduled to meet in the same room at 7:10 and was moved to another classroom. Five individuals had reserved seats in the first row; one of them moderated the question and answer session. Ed spoke first, then Paula, then questions and answers.

Ed is definitely older than his picture on his web site. He was a jovial, corpulent fellow. He started by thanking GW for his existence his parents met there. He said his talk would be available as a PowerPoint file on his web site.

Eds talk had two parts and some commentary.

The first part concerned the deja vu debate. This has to do with whether fixing Y2K software problems is like any other software project or is an unusually easy case. Presumably it would be easier if there were fewer managerial decisions to make. Ed gave examples in support of the view that Y2K software repair has as many specification and policy decisions to make as other software projects. He summarized with the one-liner if you start late, you finish late.

The second part asked what government could do. He said the die is already cast for federal agencies and Fortune 500 companies. By summertime, it will be too late for small businesses, e.g., it may be impossible to buy generators. So it is now too late to start offering SBA loans. He said that auditing is a possibility, but not like the bank auditors who receive a two day crash course and go around with a check list. He described a situation where an auditor with a checklist came to his daughters office. Do you have a computer? Yes, it is sitting on my desk in front of you. Any problems?  No. Thank you. Hey, wait a minute here, you just checked my office for Y2K compliance? Yes.

Ed thinks the government should focus on Health and Human Services and declare a national emergency for that agency.

Ed then went into some comments about the difference between the BosWash corridor along the east coast and those west of the Charles, Hudson, and Potomac rivers. Out west he sees an embryonic populist movement of Y2K community action groups. In his area there are 6 of them, with only one (?) of them listed among the 300 groups on the Cassandra web site. He is a member of one. They meet every 2 weeks and bring in an important person in the community. He discussed bringing in the head of the local hospital who told them the hospital would need volunteers to help out in the case of a crisis. The local mayor told them they would be on their own if there was trouble and some higher level state official said the same.

Paula Gordon was up second. She looked severe. She said she was nearing a 9 and a half if the government does not get it act together.

Her main message was that the problem is not being defined appropriately. She put up a slide with concentric circles. The inner disk was labelled IT and CT (communications technology). The middle annulus was labelled embedded systems. The outer layer was something like social fabric. She put up these pictured that looked like wine glasses showing how the problem was regarded by various nations. The glass filled half of the IT region, and was a spike in the embedded system and social fabric regions, meaning that those aspects of the problem are being neglected.

She thinks there should be something like the Manhattan project or the rescue mission for Apollo 13, or a number of other highly focused projects to prepare to deal with any major technological disasters or riots. A chart of Suojanens 3 types of organizations was put up: 1) routine oriented, 2) crisis oriented, 3) knowledge utilizing/ problem solving. This part of the talk was vague and interspersed with anecdotes about email messages. The issue seemed to be that such a project could only be created at the highest level and having the ear of Bennett or Koskinem is not high enough.

Then some anecdotes about various problems came up: vacillation of Senator Bennetts views on embedded systems, unnamed natural gas company executives asserting there will be some gas line explosions, unspecified problems with Trident missile and a story about a commander of a Russian nuclear submarine threatening an electric company executive with a pistol to get power back to the submarine to prevent something, an EKG machine that failed (I think this was not from Paula, but from the audience) and a hospital whose generator was no longer of sufficient capacity for the newer equipment.

Paula concluded by discussing labels for people in her position - alarmist, Cassandra, Paul Revere. She likes to think of herself (and others) as being like the sacred geese of Rome that warned of an assault by the Gauls when the watchdogs were asleep.

After the talks there was a question and answer session. Here are a few of the remarks.

Ed said that a major Y2K remediation company now had 800 programmers on the bench. He speculated that companies are putting money aside for future problems and trying to handle remediation in-house to save the money, although maybe the remediation is all done except for the testing.

Paula said she feared the collapse of Washington, DC or New York City resulting in an economic collapse. Cory heckled her at this point asking why she believed this could happen. There was some talk about how quickly looting got started during the late 1970s power outage in New York.

Ed said he thinks there will be some major eye-opening and embarassing event over the summer or at least before the end of the year. This provoked a woman in the audience to declare she should chain herself to the White House gates. Ed looked like he felt he was going out a bit on a limb with this remark, but he didnt want to not say it either.

I hope I have not misrepresented anyone in this summary. Thank you, Ed, for this forum.


-- dandelion (, March 26, 1999.


Thank you for your insightful post. It's nice to know that someone actually witnessed more of the substance than others did.

-- Really (, March 26, 1999.

Thanks Dandelion, I wonder who you were, the short brunette, perhaps?

Your report reminded me that Paula's circles and pipe-drains didn't make any sense. I suppose it's rude to point these things out but, well, I took one of my last computer science graduate school classes in that very building from a no-nonsense professor.

He said, "If you can't explain XXXXX to your grandmother in 5 minutes, you don't understand it." Where XXXX is computer viruses, operating systems, whatever.

Paula rambled on for over a half hour on a topic I understand very well. Her talk made very little sense. When I asked her to "Prove it", I was hoping that she would realize that she needed to speak clearly and reiterate her points, perhaps tighten up her reasoning, draw on facts.

Quite frankly, I'm concerned about her conclusion. How can a "Federal Y2K Office" no matter how well funded, solve this problem in the remaining 280 Days?

That time is over. It was over at Day 500. We need to make our peace with that and move on. Ed Yourdon has done it. I'm not convinced that Taos NM is the place to be. Neither am I convinced that all the cities will burn. However, it is time for each of us to take a hard look at our circumstances and make our own decisions.

Paula is still in "negotiation". She thinks that if she sends Ko-skin-em enough email, if the right people clench their fist and bark out orders, that the computers will snap to.

One of her "solutions" is to appoint Colin Powell as the Y2K Commandante. OK, as Dr. Morbius said in "Forbidden Planet", all you need to command is a loud voice. I'm not slamming General Powell, simply pointing out that the computers frankly don't give a damn.

It really is time to move on.

I recommend that we each make a personal assessment this weekend. If you are a religeous person, reflect on Y2K in church; if you are not, look to your family and neighbors. Make your peace now, decide, and move on. No one will do this for you. Don't keep wishing that Ko-Skin-em, Colin Powell, Bill Clinton, who-ever, if they would just listen, we'll be fine.

It's not going to happen and even if it did, it's too late. That's why Ed is in Taos, that's why SHMUEL won't tell me what his plans are, that's why I help a long time pal prep his farm in the Shennandoah Valley.

Time to move on.

-- known troublemaker (, March 26, 1999.

Great point Cory,

The only thing that we can assume the government is capable of is over reaction to a problem they should have been dealing with all along. That is what they do best regardless of what our hopes they will do might be. They've had years to prepare and did nothing. They've had months to warn and done very, very little. They'll push at the 11th hour and it just wont be enough.

Mike ==============================================================

-- Michael Taylor (, March 26, 1999.

I attended today's (Friday) press briefing. Including the cameraman/soundman, a grand total of (drum roll....) thirteen citizens of our fair nation witnessed the press briefing.

To say I was thoroughly shocked at the poor turnout is an understatement. As mentioned by dandelion in her/his post above, no flyers were posted anywhere in nor near the building. I inquired with a few departments (Pol. Sci., Public Policy)- no one had any info on this two-day event. I learned about it through this forum. Why was there so little in the way of publicity?

Total # of press people in attendance - 1. ONE. O-N-E. The Washington Post was a co-sponsor of the event. Can you guess which media outlet employs the reporter who bothered to show?

The presentations (sans overhead projector) were apparently very similar to those of Thursday evening.

Ed is an excellent public speaker. Quite able to get his points across both forcefully, with a good sense of humor to boot (no pun intended). A few issues he addressed which made an impact on me - (Ed please forgive me if I misrepresent anything you may have said):

1. Policy-makers in D.C. are, for the most part, computer illiterates. Yikes! This obviously makes it very difficult to get across to them the grand scope of the Y2K problem.

2. Silicon Valley has utterly dropped the ball. They had the chance to take on leadership roles. I hope Ed will elaborate in a future post.

3. He stressed that auditing of Y2K projects must be ramped-up quickly. Inform the general public as to where particular industries stand. Speculation sucks (my words). We deserve to be treated as adults. We are not mushrooms! Also, Ed stressed the relative lack of computer experience of the auditors he has come across. Yikes again!

4. He spoke on the issue of mission-critical systems with obvious angst. What is a mission-critical system, & equally as important, who makes the call? Are these decision-makers qualified to signal thumbs up or down? Ed stated that in some instances the answer is no, they are not capable.

5. Contingency planning in the Federal Government appears to be lacking. This is an egregious error sure to cause disaster down the road.

I agree with Jack, who stated in his post above: "this one was probably one of the most somber and depressing (Y2K meetings), due to the sheer frustration on the part of Ed and Paula trying to get the message across to the Powers That Be who simply will not listen."

Yes Mabel, good writers are not necessarily good speakers. Dr. Gordon's good skills as a speaker were not on display this afternoon. I spoke with her after the presentation & she was quite cordial. I try not to engage in derisive attacks on people. It's a good policy. I'll say no more.

I'll close by proclaiming my ever-increasing gratitude to those folks who put their reputations on the line by speaking out on the subject of Y2K.

Thank you Ed Yourdon. Thank you Dr. Gordon. The good karma is sure to keep flowing your way!

-- Bingo1 (, March 26, 1999.

Good evening, brother Bingo1, and you have good karma for attending and giving us this kind report. Thank you! ;-) And you have our prayers that you pass your accumulated Y2K true-aware knowledge on to those who most certainly deserve the truth so they can prepare. JG

xxxxxxx xxxxxxx xxxxxx

-- Ashton & Leska in Cascadia (, March 26, 1999.

Oh, OK, so thats how the geese got involved. Now I'm following, its all starting to make sense now....

-- Jack (, March 26, 1999.

I still think she sounds bonkers. And how come dandelion didn't say anything about the EXPLOSIONS???

-- King of Spain (, March 26, 1999.

Bingo 1 - and all the others who contributed to this thread:

Thank you for going and thanks for your thoughts.

Bingo - I think your #1 made me finally "get it" as to why the cry has not arisen to man the trenches in this battle. You said the policy makers are mostly computer illiterates. This is because they are mostly lawyers and we all know that lawyers must take "How to Rid Yourself of Common Sense 101" at the very least. That has to be it, because I don't know much more about computers than how to type on the keyboard but I GET IT. And the more I type the more I get it - thanks to this forum. Is there some way we can e-mail them the entire forum? I wish...

-- Valkyrie (, March 26, 1999.

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