Video of April 12, 2000 Program at GW now online. "Y2K: What Happened and What Has Been Happening Since January 1?" : LUSENET : TB2K spinoff uncensored : One Thread

Cross-post from GICC:

Washington, DC: Video of April 12, 2000 Program at GW now online. "Y2K: What Happened and What Has Been Happening Since January 1?"

A video of the April 12, 2000 panel program on Y2K at George Washington University is now available for viewing online. Two of the presentations are also available in text form at the URLs below.

The panel program was entitled: "Y2K: What Happened and What Has Been Happening Since January 1?" It can be found at

The following individuals participated:

Stuart Umpleby, Professor, Department of Management Science and Director of Research Program in Social and Organizational Learning, George Washington University

Paula Gordon, Director of Special Projects, Research Program in Social and Organizational Learning, George Washington University

Olivia Bosch, Senior Research Associate, Center for Global Security Research, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and International Institute for Strategic Studies, London (For a copy of her presentation see

Stuart Rodman, Director of Communications, Ecological Life Systems Institute "Technology, Knowledge, and Power: Mapping a Course Towards a Sustainable Future" (See for copy of prepared remarks.)

-- abc (abc@ba.cum), May 23, 2000



You should have the courage of your convinctions and post your name along with this information. If you believe in your views then the words of others should not cause you to leave off your name even if your views bring gflames.

If you believe you are right then you should stand by your beliefs, if you now feel you were wrong then you should have the courage to admit it. People tend to respect those who have the fortitude to admit mistakes.

People have little or no respect for those who realise they made a mistake and try to weasle their way out of owning up to it.

-- Cherri (, May 23, 2000.

Milk it Paula baby, milk it.

-- (, May 23, 2000.

Bwahahahahaha Paula can't get ANYONE to watch her videos so she has to post here!

What a loser.

-- (Anti @intellectual .cam), May 23, 2000.

So glad it is on video, what a show!!!! Nothing like watching wood warp I always say!

But then again, if you are Do-Nothing-in-Training, this little series of BS may hold nuggets on how it be done.

-- Doc Paulie (, May 23, 2000.

It's posted at Stuart Rodman's site? How did he get involved in Y2K? Why was he even on the panel? Why have a confernece about a techincal subject without one technical expert on the panel?

Oh, yeah, it's Doc Gordon doing this. Ignore my questions.

-- Jim Cooke (, May 23, 2000.

Also, take a look at Olivia Bosch's site. It's a Powerpoint presentation that takes about 15 minutes to load but the results are comical. She's another moron who actually still lists "embedded chips" as a Y2K problem. It was never "chips", it was always systems. Always the sign of another non-tech type trying to sound like they understand embedded systems. I'm sure the rest of her presntation was supposed to make some sort of sense but even Al-D could have done a better job.

No wonder my taxes are so high with people like this on the payroll.

-- Jim Cooke (, May 23, 2000.

I wonder if this was the same program that a reporter from that bastion of journalistic integrity "WorldNetDaily" was originally sheduled to cover?

-- CD (, May 23, 2000.

This isn't even funny anymore.

-- Buddy (, May 23, 2000.

Uh, Buddy, JMHO but it gets funnier by the minute. Did you happen to catch Ms. Bosch's "opening statement"? This is VERBATIM (took me a few minutes to transcribe, but it's worth it):

"Um, I put forward the methodology that the advanced, more IT- dependent countries, uh, would be most affected, partly because of the sheer volume of uh, having computer systems; uh, I believe [I think she said "believe"; the word is kind of jumbled], systems."

It took me and SO almost 30 minutes to stop laughing.

-- Patricia (, May 23, 2000.


Exactly why I don't think it's funny anymore. These people never did know what they were talking about. They're professional band-wagon jumpers. It's amazing to me that they got as far as they did, and scary too. I'm glad nobody is listening any more.

-- Buddy (, May 25, 2000.

The first time I saw Paula Gordon was when I was in Sandiego Ca, she literally scared the hell out of me. It served to reinforce ALL my y2k preps.

I believed she knew what she was talking about, and yet I STILL wonder today, What WAS the reasoning? Why did I allow myself to fall into the y2k ordeal.

I guess I'll never know, other than I was a paranoid to begin with and hearing so-called professionals didnt help any.

Looking back I laugh, everytime I got on G North site followed up by Yourdon, I went SHOPPING....LMAO!!!!

No offence to anyone, but I am not going to watch the video, been there did that.

----feels now like yelling "STOP THE INSANITY".

-- consumer (, May 25, 2000.

I thought Stuart Rodman was a character in the Stepen King novel ___"The Stand". Is he really a real person? No wonder he was able to save the free world, with credentials like that. I thought he just drank beer, hung around gas stations, helped pregnant women, and dreamed alot.

-- salene (, May 25, 2000.

A thread concerning the 4/12/2000 panel appears at 92357

Here is a recent comment Paula Gordon posted to that thread:

"...The Y2K story at this point in time seems to me to be much more like a Sherlock Holmes mystery than an Alfred Hitchcock thriller however. Even so, I think the Y2K story has more layers than any mystery. That makes it very hard to share the story with others. It certainly cannot be done in sound bites. There is too much about what has happened and what is happening that boggles the mind. Long explanations with lots of background and information has to be provided. This takes time, patience, interest, and openmindedness.

It helps, I think, to have the disposition of sleuth. Figuring out what happened and what is happening with Y2K can best be approached deductively, searching out pieces of the puzzle and piecing together evidence, including circumstantial evidence. Just when the most important pieces seem to be in place, some new information or insight surfaces and modifies the emerging picture. Sherlock Holmes would be working overtime on this case.

Even those with the mind of a sleuth are likely to find it difficult to believe that hardly anyone in Washington or anyone with any connection to the media is tracking the problems that could well be caused by embedded systems problems.

Another aspect of this situation that will be difficult for many to grasp is that hardly anyone who knows about the embedded systems problems or who knows about the ways in which they can malfunction seems to be sharing that knowledge with anyone, including persons in roles of responsibility. In addition, those who understand or are in a position to understand the implications of the tangible, if often circumstantial evidence involving unusually high numbers of uncommon problems in a variety of high risk sectors are not tending to share their understanding and their concerns either. That may all yet change.

Until it does, we are left with some significant concerns:

1) the world has sunk billions into minimizing the impact of Y2K and while worst case scenarios have thankfully been averted, few seem to recognize that the job that was started is not really finished yet and

2) if we fail with Y2K to involve those with technical expertise in all phases of assessing and addressing the complex technical problems including having an appropriate role in making sure that the job is completed, what a poor precedent we will be setting for other equally complicated and daunting problems already at our doorstep..."

She has been also been posting to other threads at that same coolboard site. These postings include additional comments on "John Koskinen's Responses to Questions..March 22,2000". That Q&A piece was posted at and includes her views regarding where things stand and the basis for continuing concern regarding problems that, in her view, are not being adequately acknowledged or openly addressed.

-- whoknows (whoknows@who.cares), May 25, 2000.


It appears that you need to call Paula.

Another aspect of this situation that will be difficult for many to grasp is that hardly anyone who knows about the embedded systems problems or who knows about the ways in which they can malfunction seems to be sharing that knowledge with anyone, including persons in roles of responsibility. In addition, those who understand or are in a position to understand the implications of the tangible, if often circumstantial evidence involving unusually high numbers of uncommon problems in a variety of high risk sectors are not tending to share their understanding and their concerns either. That may all yet change.

Would you do that in the near future. Thanks.

Best wishe

-- Z1X4Y7 (, May 25, 2000.

We all knew embedded problems didn't happen, so it's no wonder finding them would tax the abilities of Sherlock Holmes. As the old children's rhyme has it:

The other day upon the stair, I saw a man who wasn't there. He wasn't there again today, I wish that he would go away!

If Paula Gordon would refocus on finding WHY nothing happened, rather than trying to find what isn't there, she'd have a lot more success.

-- Flint (, May 25, 2000.

All of the following thread is from GICC:

"Refinery problems" figure into soaring gasoline prices : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

9:05 AM - May 26, 2000 CST "Refinery problems" figure into soaring gasoline prices

From Pro Farmer

We're posting the daily AP commodity roundup below because there's a quiet zinger tossed into Dave Carpenter's comments about gasoline price rises: "problems at refineries" figured into concerns about gasoline prices. Our sources suspect that many of these persistent problems trace back to old process controllers with embedded chips -- which were time sensitive and never replaced during the petroleum industry's massive effort to retool for Y2K -- Year 2000 -- rollover. Although those concerns are largely forgotten, they're not really gone.

A significant fraction of the processors used on assembly lines and process control equipment were stock items which depended on Y2K-sensitive timing logic. Although nobody's focusing on Y2K specifically, these bugs are now cropping up, seemingly at random, causing occasional hassles and chipping into production-line efficiency. That's especially significant in oil refining, which is now crowding its maximum effective capacity. Just a few percentage points of lost efficiency can mean a substantial jump in price. Gasoline prices, like pork prices, are fairly "inelastic:" A 1% shortage raises the price substantially more than 1%. Here's the AP commodities report:


Associated Press Online // By Dave Carpenter

Unleaded gasoline prices zoomed higher Thursday on the New York Mercantile Exchange, pushing to nearly a nine-year high on the eve of the U.S. summer driving season, which traditionally begins this weekend.

Natural gas futures and crude both joined the bull market for energy products -- natural gas hitting its highest levels in four years, crude its priciest in nine weeks.

In other commodity markets, gold futures tumbled and so did prices for America's top two crops, corn and soybeans.

Gasoline futures topped the $1-a-gallon mark and pushed to within a penny of the nine-year high of $1.025 set in March, just before OPEC countries raised production. Gasoline for June delivery settled 3.19 cents higher at $1.0121 a gallon.

The latest surge comes just as demand is expected to start soaring on Memorial Day weekend, when American motorists hit the roads en masse. Thirty-four million people are expected to travel 100 miles or more over the weekend.

``It's reality setting in,'' said Phil Flynn, energy analyst for Alaron Trading Corp. in Chicago. ``Traders are realizing we're coming into the summer driving season with the tightest supplies in years.

``We're really in a situation where refiners are going to have to refine at a 97 percent clip just to keep up with demand,'' he said.

The latest figures from the American Petroleum Institute, released Tuesday, showed refiners operating at 94.5 percent of capacity last week.

Two other factors buoyed the gasoline market Thursday.

Specifications for reformulated gasoline, a cleaner-burning brand of fuel that represents about a third of the nation's supply, are changing at retail pumps as of June 1, now less than a week away. Refinery problems also exacerbated concerns about low supplies.

Valero confirmed that a sulfur plant at its 80,000 barrel-a-day Houston refinery experienced an unplanned shutdown Thursday. And Venezuela's state oil company was reported to have shut down a 90,000 barrel-a-day facility at its Amuay refinery for 30 days of routine maintenance.

June natural gas rose 16.3 cents to $4.236 per 1,000 cubic feet amid doubts that storage facilities will be replenished by next winter.

July crude settled 58 cents higher at $30.51 a gallon after peaking at $30.55. Also, June heating oil rose .58 cent to 79.09 cents a gallon.

In London, July Brent crude from the North Sea rose 58 cents to $29.19 a barrel on the International Petroleum Exchange.

Gold prices slid in what market watchers described as a technical slide. Dealers said buying interest has dried up in the wake of Tuesday's British gold auction, which produced lackluster results.

June gold settled down $3.10 at $270.70 an ounce on the Comex division of the New York Merc.

Soybean prices dove after the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration called for a significant reduction in drought conditions in the western Midwest.

Most of the Midwest is expected to receive 1 to 3 inches of rain in the next five days, with the hardest rains falling on the center of the worst-hit drought area. Three to five inches of rain are forecast for eastern and southern Iowa.

July soybeans fell 15 cents to $5.27 1/4 a bushel.

-- Martin Thompson (, May 27, 2000 ________________________________


The story about the connection between the refinery outages and embedded chips will be the Y2K story of the year.

-- spider (, May 28, 2000.


Here is a related article from IEE:

The Institution of Electrical Engineers

The Millennium Problem in Embedded Systems

Embedded Systems Fault Casebook (May 1999)


Equipment Type DCS

Industry Sector Oil & Gas

PC or Computer based No

System Age 6 years

Application DCS control system control for petrochemical plant

Description of the Problem Online rollover to Year 2000

How was it Identified During testing. Offsite testing on a testbed was performed with satisfactory results. Upon testing of stations on site, control was no longer possible after the system had rolled over to Year 2000. It was not until this problem was evident on three of the four operating stations was testing aborted.

What was the Solution No known workaround. Plant had to be operated from one station until problem could be rectified

Consequences for the SYSTEM System Stops

Consequences of failure to the BUSINESS Near catastrophic. Limited reliability and operability of plant. Reduced production

The Institution of Electrical Engineers

-- spider (, May 28, 2000.


Martin: Thanks so very much for the post.

Thanks, Spider, for the IEE material.

I am attaching an excerpt from a report of the International Energy Agency that serves as a perfect complement to your posts.

FORWARDED MATERIAL (This material was posted on the web in May of 1999. The actual report may predate that posting.)

Oil Refineries Are at Risk, Says IEA Report


Refineries are by design highly complex relying heavily on computers for smooth operation. An extensive survey of a refinery in the UK identified 94 systems requiring investigation for Y2K compliance. Of the systems assessed it was found that three would fail and that two of these three failures would cause a shutdown.

Attempting to trace even a small number of potential Y2K problems at a refinery is undeniably a major undertaking.

Refining is but a part of the general problem facing oil companies trying to address Y2K issues. It is a technologically intensive industry and companies are likely to operate myriad date sensitive integrated systems.

Embedded processors are the main source of this sensitivity and are found in devices such as flow meters, transmitters and smart valves. They are found throughout the oil industry and in all sectors, including drilling platforms, production platforms, pipelines and process plants. In the case of process plants, the devices containing embedded chips are interconnected, making the problem even more complex and increasing the possibility of Y2K failure.

A pilot inventory and assessment of a catalytic cracker and co-generation plant in the US revealed 1,035 systems of which 21% were not Y2K compliant and 6% that would lead to serious plant shutdowns or reduced production capabilities. The catalytic cracker would fail, rendering the refinery incapable of making gasoline. Given the widespread use of catalytic crackers in modern refineries, questions must inevitably be raised about their reliability in other refineries. For the co-generation plant 19% of the hardware, 36% of the software and 24% of the custom code was found to be non-compliant.

In late 1997 one oil companys engineers testing valve control equipment in their refineries discovered thousands of terminals controlling the dispensation of oil to have microchips with Y2K problems. All of the chips required replacement, however it was discovered that the replacement chips would not fit on the existing motherboards. It was therefore necessary to order both new chips and motherboards. Worse still, the replacement motherboards were found not to fit the old valves so the valves themselves had to be replaced. This example demonstrates how a Y2K problem can escalate beyond the original fault to include systems that may actually be compliant. An items Y2K compliancy is therefore no guarantee that its replacement will not be necessitated by problems arising in other equipment. End of forwarded material

-- Paula Gordon (, May 28, 2000.

[End of forwarded GICC post.]


-- Paula Gordon (, May 28, 2000.

Minus all the speculative verbiage, what I'm reading here is that someone posted a report to GICC, a YEAR ago, to the effect that at some indeterminate time prior to THAT, someone found date bugs in refinery process controls requiring a simple, effective workaround IF not fixed.

OK, so? Nobody said there were NO y2k bugs in the process controls, which is why the testing took place. The testing found some bugs. Then what?

Absolutely silence, near as I can tell. Not a word about fixing the bugs, not a word about a single actual date bug causing a single refinery problem anywhere in real life. Maybe we can presume that the bug discovered in testing early last year was fixed, on the grounds that (a) That's what the testing was for; and (b) IF there had really been a failure, Paula Gordon would almost surely be using CURRENT failure reports, rather than OBSOLETE test results, to build an otherwise nonexistent case.

Come on, Paula. Give us a documented case of a REAL date bug, that really IS causing, or even ONCE caused, a significant refinery problem. I'm not claiming there never were any, but I haven't seen one and you haven't produced one although your career DEPENDS on it. Are old test results really the best you can muster?

-- Flint (, May 28, 2000.

Amen to what Flint said.

See my comments on the new thread devoted to the above article.

FWIW, the IEE information was and still is less than useless, because no specific information about make and model are given. Further, the most commonly used device in the power industry with date functionality and highest criticality is the relay, and note that the IEE site has ZERO instances under the heading "relay".

-- Dan the Power Man (, May 28, 2000.

Actually, the best lesson to learn from Ms. Gordon's saga is -- never trust anyone who's job title is "director of special projects" (unless, of course, you are in fact a character in a James Bond movie, and you want someone killed -- then, your organization's "director of special projects" would probably be the person to talk to)

-- E.H. Porter (Just, May 29, 2000.

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