Ken, here are the thoughts you requested : LUSENET : TB2K spinoff uncensored : One Thread


I am sorry to be so long in replying to your response. A family emergency took precedence. Thanks for inquiring as to my thoughts.

"Not once during the Y2K debate did I attempt to dissuade someone from making preps".

If, at any time, you attempted to dissuade anyone from making "preps", I am not aware of it . I have never stated that you made such an attempt.

"I do NOT think personal experiences are reliable as an analytical tool".

Possibly not. However, I doubt that anyone, including you, ever makes an unemotional, purely analytical decision. Unless a person lives in a vacuum, his or her thinking is affected by experience. Wasn't your thinking about the ramifications of Y2K influenced by your knowledge of computers and your experience with them? I seem to recall that you posted about what you learned from your personal experiences in Montana, especially from your grandparents at the farm, and how you have translated those experiences into your personal life today; especially the value of hard work. By your own admission, your decision about your life and your work ethic was influenced by your experiences.

"If a racist came along and said, "Sonny, I've been alive for 80 years and I just know a lot more about the Negroes than you do", I would reject this argument". Would you please enlighten me as to how you deduced from that statement that the person who made it was a racist? If he is much older than you, it could be just a statement of fact. Why did you interject racism into this discussion? I fail to see how it is germaine to the Y2K issue.

"Any one person's experience was far too limited to fully analyze Y2K".

I agree and that is why, for many months, I lurked on every forum I could find that was frequented by people with IT experience. I read their opinions, both pro and con. I read opinions of economic analysts, I read reports from the electrical industry, I talked to the people at my electrical co-op and my water co-op and my bank. I got no positive assurance that there would not be problems. Finally, I erred on the side of not taking the risk .

"My contention is simple ... if 100 open-minded , objective people were to have analyzed the data during 1999, 98 would have reached the BITR conclusion".

That statement is a fallacy. Because l00 people are open-minded and objective means nothing unless they have the technical knowledge necessary to analyze the data.

"For the record, I think the vast majority of the Y2K frightened were good, decent people". Some were quite bright and articulate. They just reached the wrong conclusion, possibly because they relied too much on personal experience..."

Please don't patronize me by inference. I never said I was frightened. Also, you infer that you have never relied on personal experience to help make a decisision so ergo you have never made a mistake. I don't for one minute believe that.

-- Nadine Zint (, April 14, 2000


There never was a need to be scrared. Think for yourselves and take care of yourselves. It is up to everyone to take the messures that they see fits them. The things that are happening know don't look good. I just go with the flow.

-- ET (, April 14, 2000.

Nadine -- I am not as old as you, being only in my mid-40's. And. like you, I rely (in large part) on life experience to evaluate new situations. And, like you, I've seen a lot of "end of the world stuff" come and go. We've both seen zealots argue to us about the facts of:

-- Endless religous stuff -- That California will fall into the sea (circa the '70s) -- The Cold War (and that was the ultimate, real threat) -- Meteorological Stuff (floods, famines, etc.) -- Economic Stuff (the next great depression is just around the corner, etc.) -- Astronomical Stuff (comets, portents and the rest).

And I suppose weve just gotten used to it.

And then, we get a new and unique doomsday scenario:


And it went on from there. Seems silly when you look at it that simply, doesnt it? As best as I could tell, most of the TimebombY2K stuff was just loud noise. And, like most of the quasi-cult stuff youve probably seen in your long lifetime, you could never trace the suspicions and the speculations down to real fact.

So, why did you let this particular Doomsday scenario frighten you so much? Obviously, there was some truth in it. No one doubts that the Y2K bug was a reality. But, why did you not think of it as a small problem, easily extinguished by the same programers and IT professionals who brought it into being so many years ago?

-- E.H. Porter (Just, April 14, 2000.

Hey Nadine,

It's flora here. And I'd like to hand it to you for hanging in there with everybody. {There are some tough old birds around} I think we all have something to share with each other and something to learn at this time.

I'm an inbred loony from California, and think we've got alot to learn, share, & laugh with each other about. 'Else why are we here?

-- flora (***@__._), April 14, 2000.



I appreciate what you are saying, although 1990 is open to question; but it is possible that Nadine didn't have access to people with the answers. The IT people that I work with, knew a lot about solving potential problems on our systems; yet they didn't know squat about refineries or power production. The system problems were too "far flung". I was able to access people in many of those fields. I got their opinions and made my decisions. It is likely that Nadine did't have those options.

You may not respect my opinion; it appears that, on the old forum, I thought that Decker should be a sysop :o). Wow, will I ever live that down. Even so, Ken would have probably done a good job. I would now like to see him as a sysops on EZboard Ken, shall we suggest it. Anita can still post there. She can take the message. Even if it is her last message.

Best wi

-- Z1X4Y7 (, April 14, 2000.


I did not say I was frightened - overly concerned might be a better way to state it. My thinking was influenced by my limited knowledge of computers.For many years I was head of the Retail Accounting Department of a major food distributor. Back then we had the key punch system and the large IBM computers. When something went wrong, it might be two or three days before we could get our statements and then they might not be correct. Production was affected. Our inventories were not correct.

So my thinking followed this pattern: We depend on countries overseas for many of our necessities. If their computers won't operate or will not operate properly, there will be a shortage of goods. If oil becomes a problem, there will be a shortage of goods. If we lose electricity it could be a disaster. If only a portion of these things actually occur, it could lead to a severe recession or a depression.

Also, society is different today than it was when I grew up. I can remember men coming to our door hoping for something to eat. They did not ask for food, but asked if there was any work they could do in paymnt for food. Can you tell me that you honestly think that would be the reaction today?

It is very difficult to put your thoughts on a blank monitor screen and try and project your feelings to someone you can't see but if you are truly interested, and you appear to be, I will try to answer as best I can.

-- Nadine Zint (, April 14, 2000.

Nadine -- thank you. That's a very touching post. But, my question regarding the whole Y2K hysteria thing was I that I never could see why an obvious and serious computer problem couldn't be fixed in time and could cause the world as we know it to end.

You say in your response "Back then we had the key punch system and the large IBM computers. When something went wrong, it might be two or three days before we could get our statements and then they might not be correct. Production was affected. Our inventories were not correct."

So, if something like that had occured as a result of Y2K, why did you think there was any evidence the world would not have done what it did in the past -- just keep on muddlin' through?

-- E.H. Porter (Just, April 14, 2000.

z -- yea, an obvious typo. Should have been "1900" not "1990"

-- E.H. Porter (Just, April 14, 2000.

Hi Flora, Thanks for the kind words. One can never have enough of those.

Hi Z,

Bad idea (grin) but hilarious.


Taken one business at a time, not too bad. It was the possibility (however unlikely) of many businesses having problems at the same time. I never thought the world was coming to an end because of Y2K - my concerns were always for the economy.

-- Nadine Zint (, April 14, 2000.

Nadine -- I was scared shitless for a while. I was afraid someone would die because the phones weren't working and I didn't know how to give the right medical care...etc. Toward the end I felt better about the neighbors being able to take care of most of their daily needs and just let them know we were available to help them if necessary. That's the way we've always lived anyway.

Today my small child nearly choked to death on a piece of candy. We live too far for an EMT to arrive in time even if we had 911 service. I knew what to do for him and he's ok. I was scared shitless again for a minute or so, but we muddled through. I hope we always muddle through.

Good luck to you and yours.

-- helen (, April 14, 2000.


Thank god your child is okay. Way to go with that heimlich.

-- FutureShock (gray@matter.think), April 15, 2000.


Thank goodness your child is all right. I know the feeling. When we moved to this rural area my son was eight years old (had him late in life) and the only telephone service available was an eight party line; and 3 days out of the week the telephone service would be out. We had no near neighbors. It is really scary to know that you might not be able to get help when you really need it.

-- Nadine Zint (, April 15, 2000.


In your earlier post, you inferred that your age and life experiences gave you insight into Y2K. (And, if I recall, you insinuated a person of my relative "youth" might not share this same level of insight.)

My counter-argument was relatively simple. I fail to see how one's age (or personal experience) might validate a given position on an essentially technical problem. Who would you rather have repair your computer... a 25-year-old MCSE or a 72-year-old retiree who has never touched a computer? Who would you pick to perform heart surgery... a 35-year-old cardiovascular surgeon or an 80-year-old general practitioner? If two chemists have a disagreement, do you assume the older one is more likely to be correct? Or should the issue be resolved through scientific inquiry... experimentation, validation and peer review?

In general, we rely on subject area experts for technical analysis. We also judge experts based on credibility, education, training, professional experience and a track record. (See Gary North) What does it mean to have "lived" through the Great Depression? Does this make you more insightful than, let's say, David Kennedy, author of an epic history of 1930s America?

We try to debate technical and scientific issues on the data, not on the personalities. What happened during Y2K (for some) was that the conclusion drove the data. Once a person accepted the coming of a Y2K catastrophe, it was easy to find data that fit the theory. Folks like Y2Knewswire were more than willing to provide "massaged" information.

As for my personal experiences, of course they help form my values. I never suggested I had a unique insight into Y2K because I grew up in rural Montana. When I wrote about Y2K, it was grounded in my training and experience in economics and public administration. When someone suggested we would not have water after rollover, I explained how at least one small municipality (mine) would have clean drinking water. This was not based on second or third hand data... but on actual field tests of a real water system.

I did not suggest ALL water systems were Y2K-ready based on my personal knowledge of one system. My position on water systems was based on industry-wide data collection from groups like the AWWA. Of course, many doomsayers claimed the AWWA reports were false without demonstrating any particular expertise in water systems management.

The Y2K debate was filled with people who did not have any particular training, education or experience... and yet they felt qualified to comment and evaluate the work of others. Some apparently felt they simply had lived long enough to know better than the rest of us.

During the debate, I readily admitted to areas of complete ignorance like embedded systems. I also thought most of the doomsayers writing about embedded systems shared my lack of knowledge. On rollover, the Paula Gordon's of the world were proven wrong.

I still contend that the only way to have reached the "doomsayer" conclusion during 1999 was to 1) ignore or discredit the countless positive reports coming from established private and public entities and 2) give full weight to every negative report. Personally, I'm not sure how your life experiences biased your analysis of the data. And I have no bone to pick with you on the approach of "better safe than sorry." From the beginning, I accepted there was a nonzero chance of catastophe. I simply felt the percentage (based on a rational analysis) was too small for me to worry about. The only time I bumped heads with the pessimists was when they suggested I was killing innocents because I dared to share this (wrongheaded) opinion with others.

Finally, Nadine, I'm the first to admit that I use personal experience in making some decisions. In providing analysis, however, I try ensure my personal experiences (and biases) do not interfere with an objective analysis of the data.

-- Ken Decker (, April 17, 2000.

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