On This Day Pre-Y2K

Confused by any of the jargon you see below? Check the Y2K Glossary!

January 13, 1999 Permalink

Thoughts on the psychology of GI vs DGI: I can’t help but notice the analogy to how one deals with diagnosis of a fatal illness (in oneself or a loved one). In my experience less than 10% of people deal with this in a reasonable manner (i.e., admit illness is fatal, don’t indulge in cover-ups, allow oneself to grieve). The rest CANNOT handle it. They do not have the emotional wherewithal to bear sadness and fear and allow grieving to occur. In the Italian side of my family, we had an elderly relative who, upon learning of a death in her family, responded by embracing one of the survivors and sobbing/screaming for several minutes. This, in my opinion, was a healthy way to grieve, was probably the norm in older cultures, and is something we have lost (to our misfortune). I find that I have had to bear more sadness and fear around y2k than anyone in my family or circle can tolerate; they have to avoid the topic because it is literally beyond their ability to “sit with it”, as we say in the mental health field. I’ve also thought that going on with normal life (showing up for work, making vacation plans, etc) while carrying a y2k awareness is quite similar to what (I imagine) those with a terminal illness must go through as they live out their time; no one wants to talk about it, so they live “as if” everything was OK.

—judy, Time Bomb 2000 Forum (LUSENET), 01/13/99

If the power grid goes down for 60 consecutive days, we will lose this civilization. Our cities, and the infrastructures dependent on them, will not sustain their populations.

This, no one argues against. Nobody has come forth to say, “You’re wrong. We can lose all electrical power for two months, and urban life will survive. Yes, there will be problems, but people will muddle through.”

The North American Electric Reliability Council is a tiny arm of the power industry that the then-Secretary of Energy asked to hold the y2k bag for the Department of Energy. That was on May 1 (May Day!), 1998. NERC agreed, and Mr. Pena then resiged.

NERC has no authority to compel anyone to do anything, including tell the truth. NERC accepts at face value the reports submitted to it by industry executives. It then passes summaries of these reports along to the Department of Energy, which immediately publishes them. The press quotes from these reports’ unverified “Boola! Boola!” sections, and the public rolls over and goes back to sleep.

NERC submitted a report on September 17. It said, basically, that they were cautiuosly optimistic, but they could not say if the grid will survive.

On January 11 NERC issued a second report. Now NERC is uncautiously optimistic, strut-our-unverified-stuff optimistic. But, once again, we are told that no one knows.

Understand what they are saying: No one knows if this civilization will still be here on March 31, 2000.

But the media sit there, anesthetized.

One thing NERC wants you to know. This is crucial. They’re working on it. “In our favor is a workforce of competent people, dedicated to maintaining reliable electric system operations, who are working hard to solve the problem.”

I feel safer already. What about you?

—Gary North, garynorth.com, 01/13/99

We have run out of time to fix this mess. The US will not make it in time. The “rest of the world” has no chance.

Don’t believe me?

By my reckoning we have about 230 working days left to get every single entity on earth up to speed. Let’s take the USA for example as it has the lowest amount of vacation days in the world. (e.g. Saudi Arabia takes 3 months off, Ramadan plus regular vacation. France takes the month of August off every year plus 15 public holidays, plus strikes (their national sport) - you get the picture...)

So. 230 days. Factor in public holidays. 220. Factor in sickness. 210. Factor in vacation time. 190. You could also factor in Friday afternoons in most shops and water cooler and fag breaks and long lunches and burn out and *unknown factors* (Martial Law anyone???) if you wish.

So - about <190 days is all we have left to fix everything in the USA. Whup-ee-do.

On the plus side - there may be overtime and death marches for geeks. A tired geek is not a good or careful remediator. It will not work. Entities have seriously underestimated the scope of the problem. Testing has all but gone out the window for many of them.

Factor in the great geek exodus from the cities (for I am one) late next year. I will *NOT* be at a mainframe site in a big city at rollover unless there is a helicopter standing by to take me home and they pay me mucho gold coins.

Time has run out. Face it.

Less than 190 days.

—Andy, comp.software.year-2000, 01/13/99

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