Epiphany. Finally speaking face to face with someone who "gets it"

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Had a casual conversation with a software engineer at Visteon (yeah, I'm naming names, because the following has nothing to do with the state of the company's Y2k remediation efforts).

For those of you who don't know, Visteon is an automotive supplier that manufactures and sells complete automotive systems.

Since we both have an interest in the survival of the American auto industry, we started talking about supply chains. When I told the engineer what I knew about the difficulties facing large organizations with many suppliers, he nodded, knowingly. We talked further about the IEEE report (again, nodding recognition), etc.

Then the conversation got personal. I shared what I had researched (solid sources) on status of various utilities in our area. We discussed the Red Cross guidelines.

A lightbulb went off in the engineer's head, because until now, he hadn't given a whole lot of thought about the potential impact to our local infrastructure, and the need to be personally prepared for potential problems. I'm quite certain he will be checking the American Red Cross preparation site.

As the discussion ended I asked him to explain to me why it is that so many people in the computer industry have discounted the potential of problems arising as a result of Y2k?

His reply was had something to do with a general mis-understanding about computer languages, etc. (I won't repeat the answer precisely, because I know I'll fracture it if I do.)

But the thing that stuck with me, was his last comment:

"I don't even discuss Y2k with most people anymore. When I'm talking to someone who doesn't believe Y2k could cause a lot of problems, I just walk away."

Yeah, I'd say this person "gets it."


-- FM (vidprof@aol.com), July 20, 1999


<"I don't even discuss Y2k with most people anymore. When I'm talking to someone who doesn't believe Y2k could cause a lot of problems, I just walk away.">

Yeah. It's a shame. I do the same thing now. SIGH

-- Cheryl (Transplant@Oregon.com), July 20, 1999.

Cheryl, I react the same way to everyone but family members. I will NOT give up on them. I can't. I won't. I shan't. I don't.

-- Randolph (dinosaur@williams-net.com), July 20, 1999.

Randolph - sadly, I have even given up on family and friends. It happened almost 3 months ago when I was preparing for an oral report for a class - topic: "Y2K and the Food Supply". Researching for the report caused me to do even more reading than the usual 2 - 3 hours a day. Actually read (not just scanned exerpts) all the Senate reports, GAO reports, NERC reports etc.


The effect, oddly, was of having the doctor tell you that your loved one (a lifetime smoker) now has terminal lung and brain cancer. The time for nagging them about smoking was over. Time to just love them. So, partly because I was busy writing the report and with other daily life complications, I just stopped sending the frequent Y2K articles. I had gotten little feedback from any of them anyway over the months and months of trying to get them to prepare. Thought they might at least ASK why the stream of articles had stopped. But Noooooo. 3 months and counting. We still talk and email, but don't mention Y2K. They certainly know my position, and I am open for discussion or tips anytime, but... well, they have busy lives you know. So much to do. No time to worry about Y2K. They "keep sending you lightbulb, blonde, or Bill Gates jokes, and urban legends like the Arizona rocket car story." (Cory)


-- Linda (lwmb@psln.com), July 21, 1999.

Ok, I give up. I keep seeing references to it, so I must be the only person who's out of it.

Will someone tell me what the Arizona Rocket Car thing is about?


-- bw (home@puget.sound), July 21, 1999.

Linda, you hit it right on the head! The same people who ask me not to send them anymore Y2K-related e-mails, send me all those inane items you mentioned above!!! It is as if the majority of Americans have become so fully escapist that they do not even wish to know about the most important event they will ever experience...as if they've become so lazy that they cannot even contemplate preparations. This includes some of my dearest loved ones. Last Saturday I had a call from a beloved friend in another city, and she just believes that if something bad happens, "they" will get her to a shelter if it passes. This after all I have sent to her in information. She let me know she didn't think I was spending my time as wisely as I could be, because I'm using it to prepare. My heart aches so that I am like someone in mourning already, for those who cannot possibly survive a middle-case (if there IS such a thing!) scenario. Yet I have had to release them to God, and try not to allow this to overwhelm me, or to deter me from my preparations. It is all so very, very sad.

-- Elaine Seavey (Gods1sheep@aol.com), July 21, 1999.

Yep, my sister-in-law told me that the gov. would set up shelters and she and her son would go there ...

Amazing how many people depend on the gov. Sad, really.

-- mar (derigueur2@aol.com), July 21, 1999.

Sadly, most people are in the frame of mind of the old paradigm of trust in your government, in your elected officials (after all, you put them there), trust in the media, and trust in the mass opinion (which was, at one time, accurately portrayed).

We are encountering a cross generation of the population who cannot conceive that there is deception happening all around them.

The only word I have for this is 'tragic'.

-- Glober (globe-ular@bigfoot.com), July 21, 1999.

bw -- here is one version of the Arizona rocket car incident. The driver is said to have been (posthumously) awarded the Darwin Award for constructive contribution to the evolution of the human race.
The JATO/Impala Story

The unidentified driver was the mystery owner of a jet-propelled Chevy Impala. The Arizona (USA) Highway Patrol came upon a pile of smoldering metal embedded in the side of a cliff rising above the road at the crest of a curve. Wreckage resembled that at an airplane crash, but it was a car--make and model unidentifiable at the scene. A lab figured out the story. It seems the driver had somehow gotten hold of a JATO unit (Jet Assisted Take Off--actually a solid fuel rocket) that's used to give heavy military transport planes an extra "push" taking off from short airfields.

He drove his Chevy Impala out into the desert and found a long, straight stretch of road. Then he attached the JATO unit to his car, jumped in, got up some speed and fired off the jet device. The cops calculate that the driver of the car...hit JATO ignition at a distance of about 3 miles from the crash site. Ashphalt was scorched and melted there.

Reaching maximum thrust within 5 seconds, causing the Chevy to reach speeds well in excess of 350 mph and continuing at full power for an additional 20-25 seconds, the driver, soon to be pilot, most likely would have experienced G-forces usually reserved for dog fighting F- 14 jocks under full afterburners, basically causing him to become insignificant for the rest of the event.

The individual remained on the highway for about 2.5 miles (15-20 seconds) before the driver applied and completely melted the brakes, blowing the tires and leaving thick rubber marks on the road surface.

The Impala became airborne for an additional 1.4 miles, impacting the cliff face at a height of 125 feet and leaving a black crater three feet deep in the rock. Most of the driver's remains were not recoverable; however, small fragments of bone, teeth and hair were extracted from the crater and fingernail shards were removed from a piece of debris believed to be a portion of the steering wheel.

This story is not necessarily true.

-- Tom Carey (tomcarey@mindspring.com), July 22, 1999.


Thanks! And thanks for your other contributions, too. Very useful.

-- bw (home@puget.sound), July 22, 1999.

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