For Those of You Who Are New to Y2K and/or to This Forum.. : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Hello to you and welcome aboard. :o)

This site is dedicated to working together to discover and uncover what's afoot regarding Y2K, and to provide helpful information about how do deal with it. Many of the regulars here are seasoned computer veterans who have much insight to on what's happening in the Y2K trenches.

On the other hand, we are often blitzkrieged by a small but determined band of what we call "Trolls," whose only pastime seems to be disrupting the forum and trying to discredit anyone who is trying to prepare for Y2K. You will recognize them by their posts, which consist mainly of unbridled attacks against other posters (flames) and/or warmed-over rehashes of the mainstream media message of "It's going to be ok, don't worry about Y2K." Finally, to get you up to speed on why we're concerned about Y2K, here's a linkto a list of documented glitches that have already occurred.

In addition, there is an interesting new link today to Y2Knewswire's latest site, which asks the interesting question,"If Y2K were already solved, then why..."

We hope you enjoy the forum. Again, welcome aboard.

-- Sandmann (, June 28, 1999


It is people like YOU who are the "small but determined" group. Over 90% of the American people don't agree with you.

It takes chutzpah to call people who disagree with you, who happen to represent the majority, "trolls."

To anyone lurking here: don't trade your hard-earned money for guesses, read-between-the-lines rehashes of old news and government reports, and Millennial Madness in general.

These people here are so far off the deep end, it's not funny. No wonder Ed Yourdon decided to distance himself from this forum.

-- Da Judge (, June 28, 1999.

There are some people that simply cannot deal with the thought of "large scale change" or any "change" for that matter. You do not want to be one of them. Prepare and educate yourself as much as possible for any possible threat, not just y2k..

-- BiGG (, June 28, 1999.

There you have it, newbies. There are two extreme sides, and neither one is listening to the other. But there is such a thing as the "middle ground, although the extremists from both ends shout down anyone who DARES to be a "middler". Check out this excellent essay by Arnie Rimmer.


March 27, 1999

Y2K And The Erosion Of The Middle Ground

By Arnie Rimmer

Somewhere between "a bump in the road" and "the end of the world as we know it" lies the Middle Ground. It is a place where bad things can and do happen but where people with courage, skills and determination work together to overcome difficulties. They don't always succeed -- for The Middle Ground is not a fairy tale universe where everyone lives happily ever after. Sometimes success is only partial and is often bittersweet.

The Middle Ground not a pretty facade, a bedtime story or a marketing campaign. It is not a place where denying reality helps you to see the next sunrise.

It is a place where risk must be assessed and fears faced. It is a place of suprises, not all of which are pleasant. It is a place where luck can be just as important as prudent preparation.

The Middle Ground is where Captain Alfred Haynes and the crew of United Flight 232 landed their DC-10 aircraft that July afternoon 10 years ago.

At 3:16pm on July 19th, 1989, United Flight 232, suffered a catastrophic engine failure while cruising at 37,000 feet. The fan rotor of the aircraft's number two engine disintegrated, causing the loss of all three of the aircraft's redundant hydraulic flight control systems. This made the aircraft nearly impossible to control.

"Everyone was confident that the complete loss of all flight controls was impossible."

But everyone was wrong.

The companies responsible for the aircraft were so confident, in fact, that pilots were not even trained for such an "impossible" scenario. The designers were very proud of their design and their attention to detail, safety and redundancy. When first reports of the loss of control systems were broadcast, company PR reps rushed to say how "impossible" this was. It had to be something else. The odds were said to be "one chance in a billion". But the odds were not flying the aircraft that day, Captain Haynes was.

The crew soon knew that the aircraft was in very serious trouble. The crew of United 232 did not deny that the problem was real nor did they waste time "thinking positive thoughts" or telling passengers and air traffic controllers "everything will be OK". Neither did they give up and let the plane fall from the sky. They walked the Middle Ground. It can be a very narrow place to find your footing sometimes. But through a combination of luck, skill and preparation of the flight crew, the air traffic controllers and the emergency response personnel, the aircraft and its passengers took the only path that remained for them that day. Without the prudent preparations of all these people, the Middle Ground would have vanished.

There were 285 people on board United 232. For 111 of them, it was indeed the end of the world. For many who lost loved ones, it was also the end of the world as they knew it. But had the crew not stood on the Middle Ground, somewhere between denial and despair, 174 more people would have perished that day.

As a professional software developer, I know that the Y2K problem is real. I also know that the potential for disruptions of our infrastructure is also real. What I cannot tell you is precisely what will happen and how bad it will be. There are just too many variables. But I am convinced that serious preparation by all people is a prudent and wise thing to do. It adds a resilience that allows us to collectively withstand moderate disruptions without panicking. I am also convinced that we will face nothing so horrible in Y2K that it cannot be overcome by prudent preparations. But lacking those preparations, we needlessly erode the Middle Ground. Could Y2K be a 'bump in the road'? I suppose it could, but I am becoming increasingly pessimistic. I think somewhere in the middle is much more likely.

But as I have watched Y2K unfold over the last several months, it is the continuing erosion of the Middle Ground that concerns me the most. Companies and goverments have rushed to deny that such a ridiculous possibility exists. They worry only about their own corner of the universe and seek to protect it at all costs. Perceptions become more important than realities and the danger signs are ignored wherever they occur. Missed deadlines seem to mean nothing. They have collectively brought their public relations guns to bear in a war to convince everyone that significant infrastructure disruptions are absolutely impossible. They point to the extreme in a short-sighted attempt to discredit the middle. They collectively discourage significant preparations by the masses. In doing so, they dangerously erode the Middle Ground.

For if it turns out that such disruptions are anything more than a "bump in the road", they will surely regret their folly. So will we all.

-- Bob (bob@bob.bob), June 28, 1999.

June 28, 1999 Doomsday prophesies test even the rational Lee Weisbecker There's a zany side to Y2K, the side with dire predictions about airplane crashes, massive power failures, food shortages, gas explosions, banking failures and assorted chaos.

In fact, forecasting startling events associated with the coming of Jan. 1, 2000, has become both an industry and cult hobby of sorts.

The whole thing reminds me of an episode a few years back when a geology professor at UNC-Chapel HIll got real worried about the supposed instability of the ground beneath the nuclear power plant south of Wilmington. He was thinking an earthquake was due.

Indeed, he got so alarmed by his subsurface measurements in the area that he took the incredible step of soliciting the services of a National Enquirer psychic named Clarissa Bernhardt.

What happened next was Y2K in a nutshell  a scary prediction about a specific date, science momentarily linking itself with phantasmagoria and apprehension turning to fear for less than logical reasons.

In Wilmington, the professor hired an airplane for Ms. Bernhardt and flew her around the Cape Fear region and the nuclear plant. She was a thin, middle-aged, elfin-like woman with bad hair who, according to her press clippings, had supposedly predicted the date of a earthquake that hit the Philippines or some such place.

Stepping off the plane in Wilmington, the psychic reported receiving some pretty funky vibrations. Yes, she said, the area was earthquake prone. But she didn't stop there.

The City of Wilmington and environs, she predicted, would be hit by a massive quake, way up on the Richter scale, in 30 days' time, on a specific date. Perhaps the date was Sept. 12, but don't hold me to that  memory fails.

We at the local newspaper picked up on all these goings on and contacted the professor who wanted to release Ms. Bernhardt's startling prediction in a full-blown press conference with charts and graphs "and full context."

Ignoring his pleas to not to rush to print, we wrote a front page story that ran under the unfortunate headline, "Earthquake Forecast Here."

The fact that a real live geology professor, who'd actually been making subsurface measurements, had thrown his weight behind Ms. Bernhardt's appearance gave the story some credibility.

If Ms. Bernhardt had stumbled into town by herself, we would have laughed her off.

Well, at first nobody knew what to make of the story or the prediction. It just sat there. Then TV reporters began running half tongue-in-cheek stories about how people were talking about it.

A few people turned up at insurance offices to buy earthquake coverage.

The story had taken root and the media responded. We began investigating and writing stories about Ms. Bernhardt and her past predictions, about the professor and his work, about whether the town had plans to handle a major disaster and on and on. TV did the same; the state's major papers dispatched correspondents.

The ball was really rolling. And the days leading to D-day  D for disaster  were getting fewer.

By now, customers were streaming into insurance offices for coverage.

Psychology students from a nearby university fanned out over the city to document how mass hysteria spreads.

National Geographic dispatched planes and photographers to Wilmington to snap a baseline series of "before shots."

At t-minus 48 hours, a woman clutching a baby turned up at the newspaper office, pleading for advice over whether she should leave town.

People began stocking up on flashlights, first-aid kits and ice.

A well-known Wilmington attorney and former state senator, stopped me on the corner to say, "There's fear in the air, young man." The next day, he left on an impromptu trip to the North Carolina mountains.

City officials said they were prepared for come what may.

And a day before D-day, the local TV station ran a documentary film on a terrible disaster, it could have been London during the Blitz, with pictures of giant fires and windows smashing and brick walls crumbling. Real end of the world stuff. When the film was over, the local commentator came on the screen and said something like, "These pictures speak for themselves."

All was anticipation.

Well, on D-day, the sun rose and then it set.

Nothing happened.

The only paper to make note of that fact was The Chapel Hill Newspaper, which ran a story headlined, "Thousands Unhurt in Wilmington."

It was like the town had suddenly recovered from a bout of the flu. I think those who fled from Wilmington on D-day were embarrassed by it. I sort of felt like Orson Welles after the 1938 "War of the Worlds" radiocast.

There's a strange and not unpleasant sense of intoxication that comes over people when the end seems near. Getting caught up in it may lift you from the humdrum of daily life. But when the humdrum reasserts itself, just make sure you're not standing there with too much egg on your face.

-- cd (, June 28, 1999.

A Simple Illustration:

If you do nothing (about Y2k) and nothing happens, you've lost nothing!

If you do nothing and something happens, your in trouble (deep)!

If you do something and nothing happens, you've got extras!

If you do something and something happens, you will be extremely glad you did!!!

Do you feel lucky enough and in control of all facets of your life to risk any of the above scenarios without preparation???

Where is the downside in this illustration if you do something (to prepare for you and your family)????? Can any polly answer that question rationally???

Remember, Y2K is not a problem, "unless" you like to eat!!!

Time is running out for waffling, perception sometimes is more powerful than reality!!! i.e. things might get bad because people think they will get bad and cause panic to ensue. If you don't like standing in long lines, NOW might be a good time to take some action.

Sandman, thanks for the thread, maybe another "individual" will find his way to safety.

-- Harry (feelin lucky @well do, June 28, 1999.

I'm a housewife and mother of two. I found this site about 4 days ago. I have read almost everything since then here. What I find hard to believe is that anyone who has children would take the chance on their lives that nothing would happen. Sure if your single and have no kids and feel brave, go ahead and do nothing. But for anyone else, they have to protect their families as far as I concerned.

If nothing happens, well, I won't have to buy tp for a while, or other can goods. But how can others out there just sit back and wait for y2k with nothing for their families. I just don't understand.

All I can say, when you get hungry, don't come to our house. We tried to tell you.

-- Donna Gomes (, June 28, 1999.

cd, my spouse has predicted that, based on current evidence, we'll have some problems come Y2k. He's not a psychic, he's a computer pro who got his BS in 1979 and is a few hours short of an MS (4.0), flew several multi-million dollar computers for the Navy, and has worked in surface computers before, throughout, and since he left the Navy. His experience encompasses defense, private industry and business admin, nonprofit consumer testing, and (currently) the state judicial system. I used my first computer in a political campaign in 1971. It had punch cards. The last time I worked with computers was programming in dBaseII in about 1987. My work experience is mainly in nonprofit social services agencies (especially War on Poverty programs), state government and the legal field. I'm not a psychic, either, but I think we'll have a few Y2K problems too.

It may help to be crazy when you think about Y2K, but you don't have to be.

Newbies, it's better to have and not need than the other way around. If you feel comfortable having a month, two months, three months, six months or a year of emergency supplies, have at it. You do whatever YOU feel comfortable with, providing you don't run yourself and your finances into the ground. Buy only what you'll consume--be wary of special one-year packages from firms specializing in so-called survival foods. If you need help on what to buy, see the Food archive or ask here. Don't be afraid of the trolls--there are lots of us here who will lend a sympathetic ear and help you prepare to the level YOU want within your budget.

Several of us are grandmothers (or, in my case, old enough to be if not in fact); we've been around a long time and seen a lot. Don't be afraid to ask questions.

-- Old Git (, June 28, 1999.

I have been associated with oil rigs for years and I can tell you that there are imbedded chips in every major oil rig offshore that the companies are not even thinking of repairing until they fail. Expect major oil-refining-delivering problems. If you don't think this is going to have a major impact on our economy within the first few days after Y2K (you especially, Da Judge), then you are in for one huge eye-opening experience!

-- Grady Bennett (, June 28, 1999.

This is one of the better threads from the past...worth a read:

"What if you're wrong?" [about Y2K]

-- Linkmeister (, June 28, 1999.

(Good job, Sandmann!)

Here are a few links to places that might help you:


How-to Survival Library

Preparedness Checklist

Y2K for Women


Y2K News Magazine

Y2K Press Clippings

-- Gayla (, June 28, 1999.

(Disclaimer: these are my personal opinions. This is how I define trolldom for myself. Others may differ, and I'm sure they will.)

So -- how does one qualify as a troll?

Not by expressing disagreement here. And not by holding different opinions, either. The only thing certain about Y2K is that a great deal of uncertainty exists as to its eventual outcome.

Obviously, many of those who post here do claim certainty. Sometimes loudly. Yet being certain does not a troll make, either. There's a lot of room for different opinions. And people argue. Sometimes loudly. Nothing wrong with that.

A troll is one who insists some person or group is wrong, but attacks their character or intelligence instead of showing how they're wrong.

A troll is one who tries to interfere with the intended function of this forum, which is "to discuss various fallback contingency plans with other like-minded people."

A troll is one who assumes another's identity when posting here. (Anonymous posts are acceptable; impersonating someone else is not anonymity, but fraud.)

A troll is one who never contributes, but only complains.

-- Tom Carey (, June 28, 1999.

This is from an article in February about the release of the Senate committee's report on Y2K. It sounds like more than just an urban legend to me:


The report, scheduled for release this week by Sens. Robert F. Bennett (R-Utah) and Christopher J. Dodd (D-Conn.), includes a letter to Senate colleagues describing the problem of computers' ability to recognize dates starting on Jan. 1, 2000, popularly known as Y2K, as a "worldwide crisis" and as "one of the most serious and potentially devastating events this nation has ever encountered."


-- Linkmeister (, June 28, 1999.

To Grady Bennett:

Thank you for posting that very important observation. There has been an ongoing debate that I started in two other recent is about to go off the boards and into the archives. The other one went off the boards a week ago. You can find them in the "transportation" archives, I think, if you're new here and didn't catch those threads you might want to dig them out for review.

I've been posting my thesis that it is very possible that the oil industry problems may be so extensive in Y2K that it becomes the most crucial factor in how Y2K plays out instead of what most people think will be the Electric power industry. My personal first hand sources information lead me to think oil problems will be extensive, serious and very complicated and may take 6 months to a year to resolve, maybe even a lot longer...but certainly more than just a bump in the road.

Towards this end of discovering more information... I am about to open a new thread asking for folks like yourself who work in the oil industry to file a personal report on what they are seeing. If someone wishes anonymity...I think that person could perhaps e-mail the moderators asking them to post their comments to that thread anonymously. I would invite you to direct yourself to such a thread for oil refinery workers first hand testimony.

Again, thank you for taking a moment to make your above post and hope you might share even more of what you know with the rest of us. Perhaps with everyone's contributions we might gain better perspective on what the real-world situation in your industry is really like right now.

-- R.C. (, June 29, 1999.

Oh goodie, newbie links time again!... <:)=

Year 2000 Preparation Archive Top Level

HTML Senate Report on Y2K with bookmarks

Y2K Failure Lists - Parts 1, 2, and 3, followed by the new Part 4.

Sanger's Review of Y2K News Reports

Yahoo! Full Coverage: Year 2000 Problem

-- Sysman (, June 29, 1999.

Hummm, and how could I forget our Friend Drew at CBN (I just remebmered in another thread...) <:)=

-- Sysman (, June 29, 1999.

Welcome Donna and Grady, and any other onlookers new to this forum.

I have only been here for a few months myself. I've found some of the most intelligent and thoughtful people here, as well as *the others*.

The sources available here cover just about everything you can think of in the way of preparing for changes in the status quo. If you're very new to Y2K, you can be comforted in knowing those here have experienced most of the feelings you may be going through.

The good news is this. Through diligent gradual effort, you can begin to lose the sense of hoplesness, of being overwhelmed by the potentials. Each step you take, each item you scratch from the critical needs list, empowers you with hope.

You should consider yourself fortunate and wise to show the good sense to prepare for a possible disaster...before the flood waters arrive at the door.

Resist the temptation to become frozen in the headlights so to speak. You can be a valuable asset to loved ones and others, if and when circumstances warrant.

Good luck, and God bless.

PS check out the archives.....hey Briiiaannn!...

-- Michael (, June 29, 1999.

Thanks to all of you for your wonderful posts...

except for DA JUDGE, who said: These people here are so far off the deep end, it's not funny. No wonder Ed Yourdon decided to distance himself from this forum.

I shall not comment on this; with this attack, you have tarred yourself as a Troll with your own brush, JUDGE.

CD, your attempt to equate Y2K with some non-event of the past is quite transparent. Y2K and its associated problems WILL ARRIVE; only the degree of disruption is in doubt.

Donna and Michael (and any other newbies)... welcome to the forum. Take some time to check all of the links we've given you, so you can come to your own decision about getting ready for Y2K. I believe any rational analysis leads to the conclusion that it is better to prepare and maybe smile to yourself if nothing happens, than to ignore Y2K and find yourself and your family without food, water or shelter.

-- Sandmann (, June 29, 1999.

Many of you have pointed out that there is no down side to preparing. You really need to make that statement "preparing within your means". Why do I say this? Because there are some people who CONVINCE themselves that y2k will be TEOTWAWKI, and that the IRS will be history, the banks will be toast, that the cities will be war zones, and make their decisions based on those assumptions.

So, they run up the credit cards, cash out their 401(k), sell their house, quit their jobs and move to the sticks. After all, the banks won't come after them for the money, since they will be toast. Ditto the IRS. But what if you're wrong? If y2k ends up being primarily an economic problem (a very real possibility), then how do you pay off those credit card bills with no job? How do you support yourself in the sticks, where jobs in a recession/depression are even harder to come by? Where does the money come from to pay the property taxes?

Sure, you can raise some chickens and pigs, plant a large garden, and *survive*. But if it's a sharp recession/depression scenario, you could find yourself with no health insurance, no way to pay the taxes, no way to pay the credit cards, and face losing everything you have.

Before you flame me for accusing everyone here of "preparing beyond their means", that's NOT what I said. Nor am I a polly advocating no preparations. I personally am prepared to a large extent. But there is a very real danger of going overboard preparing for a months long blackout, the collapse of government and banking, and then finding yourself in miserable shape if those things don't happen. You then have put yourself in the postion of NEEDING TEOTWAWKI to happen to remain financially viable.

-- Bob (bob@bob.bob), June 29, 1999.

Bold off.

-- (no@longer.bold), June 29, 1999.

Great story cd! Y2K in a nutshell, except of course there is evidence of real problems, but the embedded system "threat" has turned out to be the embedded system "nuisance", with relatively few true hard failures, and lots of minor date logging problems.

And Grady, I deal in facts, working on y2k in the nuclear power industry. You state that "imbedded chips in every major oil rig offshore that the companies are not even thinking of repairing until they fail." Details please, so that I may verify. Can you provide a manufacturer/model number of the devices those "chips" are in? Your statement is contradicted by those working on Y2K in the oil industry, and I want to warn these guys with your facts...if you have them. Regards,

-- FactFinder (, June 29, 1999.

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