Is it Y2k yet?

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Dear Friends, Foes, and Neutrals,

I haven't visited this site in weeks, and who do I see posting? The king of mud-wrestling.

KOS makes an excellent point in his opening remarks (and proceeds, in a brilliant tact of prose, to distinguish it by surrounding it with points of contrasting quality...), which is [paraphrased] "the afterbirth of the debate about whether or not Y2k will bring about the end of the world as we know it is the debate about whether it ever could have."

We have heard many a clever argument about the issue. Doomers even won a few arguments - before the non-event. Since that time, they have changed handles here (with few, noted, and courageous exceptions) and rambled about how it "could" have been bad, "insurance," and similar drivel.

Post-mortems on the debate will continue, I suppose. They will not sell many books (I have a publisher who will attest to this fact), but will continue - in the minds and from the keyboards of the dozen or so remaining interested - for quite some time nonetheless.

I want to address KOS's excellent point, but first - an anecdote about logical thinking:

Three gentlemen enter a hotel seeking shelter for the evening. Rooms are 30 dollars each, so they each pay 10 dollars. Later, the manager realises rooms are only 25 dollars this evening, and sends the bell-boy up with the 5 dollars. Perplexed as how to divide the 5 dollars evenly between them, the three men agree to each take one dollar and return the remaining 2 dollars to the bell-boy as a tip (big tippers). In the end, each man spent 9 dollars on the room - totalling 27 dollars - and gave the bell-boy a 2 dollar tip - which, when added, accounts for 29 dollars. But we started our mathematics with 30 dollars...where did the other dollar go?

Logic is not always intuitive. And intuition is rarely (and then only accidently) logical. In the anecdote, there are two logical errors (incorrect order of operations and mis-application of the associative property) - correcting either of which will render the correct result.

And, computers are logical machines.

Lots of people "felt" (intuition) things. They "believed" things such as "we are due some calamity because of our sin/propserity/damage to the ozone/environment/oppressive taxation/abuse of governmental authority/et cetera ad infinitum ad nauseum." These collective (gestalt) and common mental beliefs and feelings have been studied - they are referred to by some as "memes." Memes are, simply, mental patterns similar to genes. They are thought to passed through either genetics, environment, both, or other. The field is fascinating. We humans tend to act very predictably most of the time (an insight not wasted on wanna-be-dictator-pissant-historians who wish to see their government over-thrown). Some believe memes offer an explanation for this behaviour. The Y2k debate at the Hysterium validated these contentions.

Regarding the question of "could it have happened?", I and other pollies maintained throughout the debate that people were free to spend their money as they saw fit - and this extended to wasting it on preparations for an event that could not possibly occur. In hindsight, were I a doomer with a brain, the fact that someone said it would be like this before the fact would be Clue #1.

In my (pre-non-event) arguments, I asked people to consider the fact that in most industrialised nations (especially the US), it is illegal to market, build, construct, or deploy any mission-critical electrical control system without a manual (and fully functional) backup control system. For companies that enjoy making money and remaining in business during unforeseen adversity, it is also a good idea. We exist in an entropic universe. Things break. Anyone (nearly) can design a system that will function properly under ideal conditions. Engineers and programmers realise (from experience) that error-trapping, fail-safe devices and design, and fault tolerance consume from half to 90% of any project.

The fact that Mr. Yourdom's statistics show so many projects finishing over budget and late is indicative of at least two things:

• The people who talk to Mr. Yourdom about such internal matters (likely his clientele) hire the wrong people; and
• The people who talk to Mr. Yourdom and do this sort of work (likely the people Mr. Yourdom recommends to his clientele) are not very good at what they do.

The argument I offered very early in the debate was "we're not that automated yet." It was simple. Perhaps too simple, in hindsight. But it was also true. And it remains so.

The short answer to "could it have happened" is no. It could not have happened. Not at this time. Perhaps in 25 to 75 years hence, but not now.

The remaining question is "was it prudent to prepare?" I will state this yet again, in response: If you believed your family, friends, community, or loved ones were in danger, then you did the correct thing by preparing. Your beliefs were incorrect, but your actions were correct and in accordance with them.

Was there a need to prepare? No.

Vindicated Regards,
Andy Ray

-- Andy Ray (andyman633@hotmail.com), September 02, 2000

DITTO.
Except for one thing. The EXTREMISTS WERE THE **DOOMERS**. NOW KOS returns to "instruct us" in the wisdom of following his "path". BULL SHIT CUBED. HE/SHE IS STILL ANOTHER ANONYMOUS MOUTH IN THE CROWN OD Y2k FUD BULL SHITTERS. ALL He/she has as "credentials" is a SCREEN NAME but curiously, KOS represents a sector that is always around........down at the coner of the bar or the last table in the diner muttering to themselves about "next depression (crisis, inflation, disease, global warming, "comtrails", UFOs)....... right around the corner better get ready". FRUIT LOOPS LIKE KOS AND SCHENKER AND GAREEE DUCT TAPE SHOULD BE DISMISSED FOR EXACTLY WHAT THEY ARE...........A TINY SEGMENT OF ABERRATION IN THE POPULATION REPRESENT ******EXTREME VIEWS****. SINCE "Black and White" didactic types such as the DOOMERS can't admit that they "went overboard", they have spent the time SINCE SUMMER OF 1999........BULL SHITTING THE WORLD AND THEMSELVES ABOUT Y2k. ALL OTHERS WERE **ANTI-DOOMERS** including the De-Bunkers and so- called Pollies. However, the only real "pollies" were people who thought absolutely nothing would happen and went skipping along with their lives. THAT WAS ABOUT 80% of the population. THE..........EFFORT BY THE DOOMERS TO PORTRAY THEMSELVES AS SOME SORT OF "MODERATES" ..........if they were not 100% North or InfoMagic IS BULL SHIT. THE EXTREMISTS WERE THOSE WHO WENT OVERBOARD ON Y2k FUD. Instead of supplies for a "THREE DAY STORM" AS **INSURANCE**......THEY BOUGHT UP TO YEARS OF SUPPLIES ****--->COMET INSURANCE<<------.

-- cpr (buytexas@swbell.net), September 02, 2000.

DIITOS from the WONDEFUL STATE OF MONTANNA! I just found out that THE EXCELLENT SKA GROUP five iron frenzy STARTED OUT OF the ashes of A INDUSTRIAL THRASH METAL band of ALL THINGS? THEY were called EXHUMATOR. I CAN't BELIEVE it, but cpr HAS INSPIRED ME by his witty WRITING STYLE, imitating DIETER OF ALL PEOPLE. The doomzies will NOT BE SENDING CPR cold hard earned CASH - SO WE THINKING PEOPLE need to do it. Not tomorrow, BUT TODAY. THIS FORUM was never about KoS it was about CpR - the man, the myth, THE LEGEND. Sure the man has never been able to TYPE IN ALL SMALL LETTERS, but hey this IS AMERICA!

-- your fan (a@fan.cpr), September 02, 2000.

These collective (gestalt) and common mental beliefs and feelings have been studied - they are referred to by some as "memes." Memes are, simply, mental patterns similar to genes. They are thought to passed through either genetics, environment, both, or other. The field is fascinating.

Fascinating, truly fascinating, Andy Ray. May we hear your insights on the application of the Gestalt doctrine to this meme and this meme?

-- (me@meme.memetic), September 02, 2000.

I don't know about you guys, but I was having a hard time reading the post by CPR. Please excuse me if this is too easy to read, but at least for me, it helps. Thanks.

"DITTO. Except for one thing. The EXTREMISTS WERE THE **DOOMERS**. NOW KOS returns to "instruct us" in the wisdom of following his "path". BULL SHIT CUBED. HE/SHE IS STILL ANOTHER ANONYMOUS MOUTH IN THE CROWN OD Y2k FUD BULL SHITTERS. ALL He/she has as "credentials" is a SCREEN NAME but curiously, KOS represents a sector that is always around........down at the coner of the bar or the last table in the diner muttering to themselves about "next depression (crisis, inflation, disease, global warming, "comtrails", UFOs)....... right around the corner better get ready". FRUIT LOOPS LIKE KOS AND SCHENKER AND GAREEE DUCT TAPE SHOULD BE DISMISSED FOR EXACTLY WHAT THEY ARE...........A TINY SEGMENT OF ABERRATION IN THE POPULATION REPRESENT ******EXTREME VIEWS****. SINCE "Black and White" didactic types such as the DOOMERS can't admit that they "went overboard", they have spent the time SINCE SUMMER OF 1999........BULL SHITTING THE WORLD AND THEMSELVES ABOUT Y2k. ALL OTHERS WERE **ANTI-DOOMERS** including the De-Bunkers and so- called Pollies. However, the only real "pollies" were people who thought absolutely nothing would happen and went skipping along with their lives. THAT WAS ABOUT 80% of the population. THE..........EFFORT BY THE DOOMERS TO PORTRAY THEMSELVES AS SOME SORT OF "MODERATES" ..........if they were not 100% North or InfoMagic IS BULL SHIT. THE EXTREMISTS WERE THOSE WHO WENT OVERBOARD ON Y2k FUD. Instead of supplies for a "THREE DAY STORM" AS **INSURANCE**......THEY BOUGHT UP TO YEARS OF SUPPLIES ****--->COMET INSURANCE<<------. "

-- (BIG@TEXT.MAN), September 02, 2000.

Not bad, Andy Ray. In hindsight, probably a reasonable assessment, in the technical sense.

Do have an explanation as to why this was not universally accepted by those supposedly "in the know" early on, so that needless \$50M (or maybe it was \$40M?) Y2K Crisis Centers did not get built, thus giving credibility to the "doom and gloom" worries?

-- King of Spain (madrid@aol.cum), September 02, 2000.

A FAn, I onlY DIsliKE YoU! yOu ARE a sCRotUm!!! ThE HumUliAtIon tHAt mUST fILL YOuR LiTtlE SkA-mUsiC-bAsEd ExHistANCe hAs LeFT yOu wEAk!! I InFeST yOU!!! I iNfEst YoU!!!

-- Bemused (and_amazed@you.people), September 03, 2000.

Do have an explanation as to why this was not universally accepted by those supposedly "in the know" early on, so that needless \$50M (or maybe it was \$40M?) Y2K Crisis Centers did not get built, thus giving credibility to the "doom and gloom" worries?

KOS,

The short answer to your question is "no." I do not have an explanation.

I can render an educated guess, however.

I believe part of the answer lies in the phrase "people 'in the know'". I believe you are referring to government officials, and they are rarely people who "know" anything in my experience (save how to spend confiscated capital).

My guess is that these goverments (similar to individuals) acted on a perceived problem. Individuals did, when they prepared for what they believed would/could occur. I believe if one compares the monies spent by individuals preparing for the potential of supporting a family through a few days or weeks of outages to the monies spent by governments, one would likely find the governments spent less, percentage-wise.

This is only a guess, however.

I do not believe anything is "universally accepted" - especially in the arena of science.

I believe "credibility" was not an issue in the minds of most "doom and gloomers." Some, not all, clung to the belief that bad things would occur despite the growing evidence of failed predictions by the Hysteria leadership throughout last year. In fact, a few remain clinging to this belief - and defend it at every opportunity and in sundry ways.

Others posted a list of excuses for their actions and beliefs (your reference above included in nearly all of them) and used the word "apology" in the title of their post - though these were far from apologies of any sort.

A noted few (a couple or three, really), offered true apologies for their misleading statements - without excuse, without rebuttal. These people have my respect, though it may mean little to them. I would like to believe I would behave similarly when found on the wrong side of any debate, but I doubt I am capable of conducting myself with the honour and dignity the few I reference did.

Regards,
Andy Ray

-- Andy Ray (andyman633@hotmail.com), September 03, 2000.

Interesting speculation, Andy Ray. Obviously, if the percentage spent by the government was relatively miniscule, then nobody is going to get fired, no matter how unjustified the expenditures. Yet, by the same token, had Y2K turned out to have problems, definite expenditures could be cited to show that indeed Y2K was taken seriously.

-- King of Spain (madrid@aol.cum), September 03, 2000.

KOS,

Good point. It sounds a lot like governments played it right down the middle, to be safe.

Regards,
Andy Ray

-- Andy Ray (andyman633@hotmail.com), September 03, 2000.

One of the more interesting discussions regarding the Y2K non-event. I have been visiting this board since early 1999, and was a litle suprised by the virtual absence of problems after rollover. I know that a lot of talented folks worked very hard during all of 1999 correcting problems (real or perceived) at my place of employment.

KOS and Andy Ray - a question -

In hindsight, how much of a problem would Y2K have been if rollover had been earlier, say summer of '98?

Cheers,

-- thinkstwice (thinkstwice@earthlink.com), September 03, 2000.

thinkstwice:

I don't think it would have made any real difference at all to the average person. I base this on the fact that countries like Italy, which did hardly any Y2K remediation, came through the rollover just as well as countries like the U.S., where supposedly all kinds of money was spent and work was done.

Don't get me wrong, there surely would have been more Y2K computer glitches had rollover occurred earlier, but it would simply mean that computer techies would have put in more overtime, people would have had to devise more workarounds and alternative ways of doing things, etc. In other words, the standard claims of Stephen Poole, Paul Davis, et al -- that whatever problems occurred would be relatively minor and quite fixable quite fast -- have proven to be on target.

And, of course, the biggie of them all -- failing embedded systems/chips -- turned out to be absolute hogwash. It makes me wonder how "Wired" magazine, well respected by computer geeks, could have put out their Y2K issue in late '98 or early '99 (it even had an all-black cover, symbolizing how the lights may go out on Jan 1, 2000) that had article after article giving high credibility to the embedded chip problem, showing how companies like Texaco were tediously checking their oil pipelines for non-compliant chips, etc., etc.

Scared the willies out of me, let me tell ya... Anyhow, that's my \$0.02.

-- King of Spain (madrid@aol.com), September 03, 2000.

Thanks for the opinion KOS - nice to see your moniker again after so long. I feel like I know you even though these are my first posts. I just bought a PC for home use. Posting at work is a no-no.

My company had 97 manufacturing lines (worldwide) go down at rollover - all of the older pdp-11 and Vax based SCADA systems, and this was after remediation. The equipment doesn't run if the SCADA isn't working. Ten guys (sorry gals) worked for twelve hours on New Years day to get them back up, which would not have been possibe had telecom services been interruped. All of these lines are JIT (just-in-time) delivery to most of the big automobile companies. Pretty good evidence that FOF wasn't a pipe dream, at least for this type of failure.

I agree that an early rollover would not have mattered much to most smaller companies or countries, but I suspect that a WHOLE bunch of work was completed in the US during 1999.

Cheers and good night,

PS - mudwrestling is very popular 'round here.

-- thinkstwice (thinkstwice@earthlink.com), September 04, 2000.

Jamaica Experience Shows Why Dire Y2K Predictions Went Wrong

http://greenspun.com/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg.tcl?msg_id=003b57

-- (sorting@it.out), September 04, 2000.

thinkstwice,

I agree with KOS's assessment above,

There was no way for a date-based deadline to "sneak up" on the world. Sorry to hear you experienced glitches/failures. Glad to hear the techies triumphed, once again!

A freind recently shared the story of John Henry with me. Mr. Henry, legend has it, defeated a steam drill in a contest. But then, supposedly due to ever-exertion, Mr. Henry died. My friend's conclusion was this is a popular US anecdote because it demonstrates human superiority over machines - but that this is false. She states the best of both worlds could have been achieved if someone had trained Mr. Henry on how to operate the steam drill -thus leveraging his expertise and perhaps, sparing his life. In any event, she contends Mr. Henry won the battle and lost the war.

Regards,
Andy Ray

-- Andy Ray (andyman633@hotmail.com), September 04, 2000.