NHNE Y2K Report 21
Monday, April 12, 1999
& Consumer Protection
for Spiritual Seekers"
NHNE Y2K Report 21
Monday, April 12, 1999
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Volunteer Y2K Corps Formed
Power Industry Says Y2K Drill A Success
Backup Generator Fails At Seabrook Nuclear Power Plant
Pacificorp Sets Clocks Ahead to Avoid Y2K Problems
FCC: Large Telecom Carriers Y2K Ready
List of Y2K-Troubled Airports Kept Secret
Continental Airlines First to Make Year 2000 Test Flight
President Signs Small Business Y2K Readiness Act
ABC Plans 27-Hour Millennium Special
Larry Sanger Steps Down As Editor of the Review
Y2K GLITCH WATCH:
Two States Issue Food Stamps By Accident
New D.C. Computer System Starts Off With Glitch
Brazilian Nuclear Power Plant Test Goes "Haywire"
Y2K Could Hobble Buildings
To Find Out Who We Are Is the Quest
You Get What You Pay For
I Feel Like I Am Going to Pop
A Matter of Grave Concern
THE NHNE Y2K ACTION NETWORK:
Y2K Risk Management
Suspicious Accidents In Refineries & Power Plants
Demand for Y2K Survival Goods Slowing Down
California Maps Out Potential Y2K Impacts
A Wise & Balanced Approach to Y2K Business Remediation
Tom Atlee's Recommended Y2K Resources
"A Survival Guide For The Year 2000 Problem" on the Net
Free Download of Emergency Preparedness Manual
Free Survival Manual
Directory of Local Y2K Community Preparedness Groups
Y2K from A Woman's Perspective
Handpump Installs Alongside Submersible
THE LIGHTER SIDE OF Y2K:
Who Believes What About Y2K
Bean Bugs for the Millennium
THIS WEEK'S NEWS SOURCES
WHEN DESPAIR GROWS IN ME
"When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake rests in his beauty on the water,
and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief.
I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars waiting with their light.
For a time,
I rest in the grace of the world,
and am free."
--- Wendell Berry (Thanks to Tom Atlee & Meg Wheatley)
VOLUNTEER Y2K CORPS FORMED
(Source: Bob Sullivan, MSNBC, 4/6/1999)
The INTERNATIONAL Y2K COOPERATION CENTER, established by the U.N. in
February (Y2K Report 13), has announced formation of the "YES Corps"
-- a Peace Corps-type organization designed to match volunteer computer
Y2K experts with the world's most serious millennium mishaps. The YES
Corps (the name stands for "Y2K Expert Service") will be administered
by Gary Beach, founder of the U.S. TECH CORPS, a non-profit organization
that coordinates 10,000 volunteers to help bring technology to education.
Beach's message to potential volunteers: 'You, the digitally blessed
out there: There's a lot of people out here who really need your help."
Volunteers will do most of their work over the Internet from home, said
Bruce McConnell, Director of the INTERNATIONAL Y2K COOPERATION CENTER,
but some volunteers might eventually be sent to countries struggling
with Y2K problems. Volunteers can offer anything from full-time help
to a few hours a week. McConnel said both China and Russia, often cited
as lagging behind in Y2K remediation efforts, have requested help from
the YES Corps. The YES Corps is now accepting applications via their
YES Corps Website: http://www.iy2kcc.org/
POWER INDUSTRY SAYS Y2K DRILL A SUCCESS
(Source: ASSOCIATED PRESS via FOX NEWS, 4/10/1999, thanks to Ron Cornish)
Power plants across the country shared information via radio rather
than computer Friday to test whether they could keep the lights on even
if the Y2K bug knocks out communications. The NORTH AMERICAN ELECTRIC
RELIABILITY COUNCIL (NERC), a New Jersey-based industry group assigned
by the U.S. DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY to make sure the nation's utilities
are ready for the new millennium, said the much-hyped test of its readiness
for the Year 2000 bug was a success. But critics say Friday's drill
didn't tell consumers anything about whether power will keep flowing
to their switches in the event of massive computer glitches. "They've
been planning this drill since the beginning of the year," said Randy
Guidry, managing editor of Y2K News Magazine. "I would compare it to
a student in high school taking a test after he's had three months to
make up the questions on the test." While the NERC declared the test
a success, it also said some backup systems did not work as planned
and some workers may require additional training on the satellite voice
BACKUP GENERATOR FAILS AT SEABROOK NUCLEAR POWER PLANT
(Source: Leslie Miller, ASSOCIATED PRESS, 4/07/1999)
In response to last month's call by Massachusetts Congressman Edward
Markey (D-Malden) that all 103 nuclear power plants in the U.S. should
be inspected to make sure their backup generators, which are essential
to keeping coolant flowing around the fuel rods in the reactor during
a blackout, were working properly, a spokesman for the Seabrook nuclear
power plant in Seabrook, N.H., announced publicly that the power plant's
two backup diesel generators had never failed. But on March 31, plant
operators discovered that an electrical relay used to turn on one of
the two generators was faulty and may not have been working for the
last 21 months. Seabrook is one of 13 nuclear power plants the NRC has
audited for Y2K problems. "We see no cause for concern," said Victor
Dricks, NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION spokesman, who claimed the control
room operators could have turned on the generators by flipping a switch
if the relay had not worked during a power outage. But according to
Markey, the Seabrook incident highlights the NRC's cavalier attitude
toward problems with the backup generators that are supposed to prevent
blackouts from causing meltdowns. "Every major accident that has ever
occurred at a power plant, from Three Mile Island to Chernobyl, began
with a technical problem that a human operator attempted to address
and then managed to make worse," Markey said. The Malden Democrat is
pushing the NRC to include backup diesel generator reliability in Y2K
inspections for all the nation's nuclear plants. (JG)
PACIFICORP SETS CLOCKS AHEAD TO AVOID Y2K PROBLEMS
(Source: ASSOCIATED PRESS, 4/7/1999)
In an attempt to reassure its 1.5 million customers in Oregon, Utah,
Wyoming, Washington, Idaho and California that there will be power in
the new year, PACIFICORP has begun the process of advancing control
system clocks and calendars to the Year 2000, with the objective of
having all its thermal power generating units thus configured by June
30. "As far as the computer knows, it's [already] the Year 2000,"
explained David Register, the company's Year 2000 Project Manager. PacifiCorp
is also advancing the clocks for its transmission and distribution systems.
The company's equipment calendars will continue to run ahead until March
31, 2000, when workers will begin resetting them to the correct date.
Gene Gorzelnik, NORTH AMERICAN ELECTRIC RELIABILITY COUNCIL's Director
of Communication, expressed confidence in PacifiCorp, parent company
of PACIFIC POWER and UTAH POWER, to move into the year 2000 now. "There
are a number of utilities that are doing that," he said. "It has been
seen as a very effective way to deal with the issue." So far, about
25 percent of PacifiCorp's equipment have been set ahead, with no apparent
FCC: LARGE TELECOM CARRIERS Y2K READY
(Source: Kristi Essick, IDG, 4/1/1999, thanks to Ron Cornish)
According to a recent report from the FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
(FCC) analyzing the Y2K preparedness of the U.S. telecommunications,
radio, broadcast, satellite and cable television industries, America's
largest telecommunications providers will have their systems upgraded
in time, but smaller carriers are alarmingly behind schedule. "The Y2K
Communications Sector Report" concluded that the largest local and long-distance
fixed-line providers "are expected to be 100 percent ready, including
having their contingency plans in place, by the second quarter of 1999."
The large local carriers control 92 percent of all U.S. access lines
and the big long-distance companies, in turn, control 82 percent of
that market. U.S. residents can also be assured of few disruptions to
the broadcast television and radio networks, the FCC said. Although
there will be isolated Year-2000 related incidents, most broadcasters
surveyed said they have year 2000 plans in place and expect to complete
upgrades in the first half of this year, with ample time for testing
prior to Jan. 1, 2000. While the FCC is pleased with the progress of
U.S. telecom operators, it is concerned about the interconnection of
U.S. networks with foreign ones. Regions seen as high-risk include Central
and South America, the Indian Sub-Continent and Sub-Sahara Africa, the
report said. (JG)
LIST OF Y2K-TROUBLED AIRPORTS KEPT SECRET
(Source: COMPUTER WEEKLY, 3/18/1999)
A list of airports whose flight system computers could fail as a result
of the millennium bug, is being compiled by the INTERNATIONAL AIR TRANSPORT
ASSOCIATION (IATA). However, the report will not be made available to
the public until after the millennium. IATA spokesman David Learmount
explained that to publish the list of unsafe destinations before the
date change would be "scaremongering." "The idea [of the report]
is to...let the airlines know which destinations are reliable," not
to inform the public. He says that people flying during the date change
should not worry about crashing, but admits, There is quite a high probability
that there will be considerable delays during that time." (JG)
CONTINENTAL AIRLINES FIRST TO MAKE YEAR 2000 TEST FLIGHT
(Source: PRNEWSWIRE, 4/2/1999)
CONTINENTAL AIRLINES recently completed a successful airborne Y2K test
of its aircraft communications system -- the first commercial airline
to fly an aircraft in a simulated Year 2000 environment. A Continental
Boeing 737-700 flew over Houston, Texas, for one hour, simulating a
flight from Dec. 31, 1999 to Jan. 1, 2000. The test flight focused on
the Aircraft Communication Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS),
a global air-to-ground data link communications system installed aboard
all Continental Airlines aircraft. The date-related systems on the aircraft,
including the flight management computer, were reset to the last hour
of the last day of the century. "This demonstration flight shows that
we can achieve consistent, reliable air-to-ground communications through
and beyond the millennium clock rollover," said Continental Senior Vice
President and Chief Information Officer Janet Wejman. "The results are
consistent with what we expected." These tests are part of a larger
goal to prepare the airline for the coming millennium change. Continental
Airlines is the fifth largest airline in the U.S., offering more than
2,200 departures daily to 128 domestic and 79 international destinations.
PRESIDENT SIGNS SMALL BUSINESS Y2K READINESS ACT
(Source: Press Release, Office of the White House Press Secretary, 4/2/1999)
On April 2, 1999, President Bill Clinton signed into law S. 314, the
"Small Business Year 2000 Readiness Act." The legislation was created
to ensure that the nation's small businesses have access to the capital
they need to be "Y2K-OK" in the Year 2000. The Act authorizes the SMALL
BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION to provide loan guarantees for two Y2K purposes:
1. To purchase the systems, software, equipment, and services necessary
to become Y2K compliant.
2. To assist small businesses that suffer economic injury as a result
of the Y2K problem during the Year 2000.
This special program will terminate on December 31, 2000. (JG)
ABC PLANS 27-HOUR MILLENNIUM SPECIAL
(Source: David Bauder, AP, 3/24/1999)
ABC TV is planning a 27-hour telethon-like affair to mark the start
of the Year 2000. The special will blend news and entertainment, with
ABC correspondents stationed in different time zones around the world
to mark the historic entry into the new millennium. Peter Jennings will
host the show from a new studio ABC is building in New York's Times
Square. Veteran Dick Clark will retain to his traditional role as host
of ABC's "New Year's Rockin' Eve" in the New Year's special. (JG)
LARRY SANGER STEPS DOWN AS EDITOR OF THE REVIEW
By James Gregory
Larry Sanger, founder and editor of SANGER'S REVIEW OF Y2K NEWS REPORTS
-- a major resource for the Y2K Report, has resigned. He cites needing
the time to wrap up his Ph.D. dissertation and insufficient income as
his main reasons for stepping down. He has already hired a replacement,
but his site is temporarily off line until the new editor gets up to
speed. Sanger's lack of bias, clear thinking and economical editing
will be missed.
Y2K GLITCH WATCH:
TWO STATES ISSUE FOOD STAMPS BY ACCIDENT
(Sources: Jeff Kass, DENVER ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, 4/10/99, Wayne Parry,
ASSOCIATED PRESS/THE BOSTON GLOBE, 03/22/1999, thanks to Ron Cornish)
The COLORADO STATE WELFARE AGENCY issued almost $1 million in March
food stamp benefits to unqualified residents. It's the first time anything
like this has happened in Colorado, but the problem has been corrected.
The error occurred in late February as the state agency was updating
its databases and preparing computers for Y2K, according to DEPARTMENT
OF HUMAN SERVICES spokesman Dwight Eisnach. A duplicate data field gave
an average of $160 in benefits to those who had qualified for the program
in February but did not qualify in March. With up to 5,800 people affected,
the total comes to $928,000. Officials caught the error almost as soon
as the benefits were sent, but it was too late. The department will
now ask as many as 5,800 low-income people to repay the state. "We realize
these are low-income families," Eisnach said. "It may be difficult."
New Jersey's main welfare computers also experienced a Y2K-related glitch
that enabled thousands of food stamp recipients to access their April
benefits a week-and-a-half early. Spokeswoman Jacqueline Tencza said
the state's main welfare computer underwent an upgrade and overhaul
to improve its capabilities and to protect against the millennium bug.
Because of an error in the upgrade, the computer wrongly sent a message
to credit benefits as of April 1, 1990, instead of April 1, 1999. The
error affected 194,000 people and as much as $58 million may have been
involved. Howard Rubin, a Hunter College professor familiar with Y2K
problems, called it the "biggest visible occurrence of Y2K impact on
the public." No decision has been made about whether to penalize anyone
who improperly drew on benefits wrongly posted to their accounts. (DS,JG)
NEW D.C. COMPUTER SYSTEM STARTS OFF WITH GLITCH
(Source: Sari Horwitz, WASHINGTON POST, 4/7/1999)
The District's brand new state-of-the-art computer system got off to
a bumpy start on its first payday, when 30 city employees were overpaid,
and an additional 300 District workers couldn't get at their money because
payroll checks that were supposed to be deposited directly into their
credit union accounts were inexplicably held up. All the problems were
cleared up by the afternoon of the same day. "Somehow there was a glitch
in the program," said Aaron R. Andrews, Director of the city's Comprehensive
Automated Personnel and Payroll System project. "Even though you try
to make these things as perfect as possible, when you're talking about
a complex system of this magnitude, things like this are going to happen,"
Andrews said. "I'm just thankful it was resolved and the people got
their money." The new Y2K-compliant system was six years in the making.
The computer program that previously kept track of payroll and personnel
for the District's 32,000 employees was first installed in 1972, and
relied on '60's technology. The new $10.2 million system, which merges
the city's personnel and payroll records for the first time, was supposed
to be up and running two years ago. (JG)
BRAZILIAN NUCLEAR POWER PLANT TEST GOES "HAYWIRE"
(Source: Laurie Goering, CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 3/21/1999)
In Latin America, where planes, phones, computers, power grids, hospitals
and the government itself rarely work properly anyway, few people are
worried about Y2K, which is perceived as less a threat than in the U.S.
"I don't believe there will be chaos... [just] some small problems,"
states Marcos Rabstein, Director of Market Relations for Brazil's NATIONAL
CONFEDERATION OF INDUSTRIES. U.S. analysts, however, warn that Rabstein
could be wrong and that such a relaxed attitude may be leading toward
serious problems. "You get a lot of false optimism from people who started
late," says Dale Vecchio, a research director at the GARTNERGROUP, the
leading U.S. information technology company focused on Y2K problems.
"The more people look at this problem, the more they find that needs
to be fixed." For example, last year, when technicians at the huge Xingo
hydroelectric dam on Brazil's Sao Francisco River set the dates on the
plant's main computer forward to Jan. 1, 2000 as part of their routine
Y2K remediation, "the whole control board went haywire...[with]
12,000 warning lights [and] all kinds of alarm information,"
remembers Marcos Ozorio, one of the members of Brazil's PRESIDENTIAL
YEAR 2000 COMMISSION. Technicians quickly switched back the date, and
are now hunting down the plant's Y2K bugs. According to Ozorio, "If
you had been surprised by a situation like this [in 2000], you'd
have to...shut down the plant until you found where the failures were...taking
off the energy board 30 percent of northeast Brazil." GartnerGroup ranks
Brazil, Chile and Peru as the Latin nations least likely to suffer infrastructure
breakdowns; Argentina, Colombia, Venezuela, Guatemala and the Dominican
Republic a greater risk; and Ecuador, Costa Rica and Uruguay at serious
risk. For countries in the last group, interruption of government services
is expected to be "widespread and severe." (JG)
Y2K COULD HOBBLE BUILDINGS
(Source: Benny Evangelista, SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE, 3/22/1999)
These days, any modern office or large apartment building relies heavily
on computer systems and microprocessors to run everything from air conditioners
to elevators. Yet, at a recent meeting of San Francisco building owners
and managers, half said they haven't even started looking for potential
Year 2000 problems that could affect those computers and chips. James
Szel, of SYSKA HENNESSY, a company that helps building managers around
the world with Year 2000 problem planning, predicts "there will be some
buildings that will not be fully operational." He cites the following
- The owner of a major building in Mexico City had his staff spend six
months working on the Y2K problem. They even had letters from companies
that made key microchips and computer systems certifying that everything
would be okay. But when the staff reset the computer clocks to January
1 as a test, "every system, air conditioner, fire, security, all froze."
- While tests of a Concord building's individual computer controlled
systems like security were successful, when engineers ran a full test
of the building's main computer that controlled those individual components,
the whole system locked up and had to be reset.
The building owners association has published a book on commercial real
estate Y2K testing and contingency planning. Information about the book
can be found at: <www.boma.org/year2000>. (JG)
TO FIND OUT WHO WE ARE IS THE QUEST
"I am inspired as a result of the many letters you received and wanted
to respond with my thoughts. I, too, have been working with two others
and another level of supporters to inform our community. We also have
run into some bumps in the road: rooms not being available to hold meetings,
miscommunications between the group, etc. I do feel this is something
running through the larger group. I know from my spiritual work that
whenever work is being done for the light, that darkness or resistance
always shows up to try to thwart the efforts for the greater good. I
see this as part of our challenge; to discover more of our Godliness
and to just keep going, doing what we can to inform our communities
and prepare ourselves, especially spiritually. As one of the writers
said this is just 'all a joke.' To find out who we are, is the quest.
Keep up the good work, there are those who appreciate it."
--- Quila Rider, Show Low, Arizona
YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR
"Was just reading the article, "Firm's Illusion of Compliance Shattered,"
from Y2K Report 20, and I'm grinning ear to ear. I've said all along
that the bean counters got us into this mess, and it will be the bean
counters (namely bill collectors) that will get us out, because they
will figure a way to get their bills through, and, in the process, find
and fix so many of the errors. If anyone ever needed a confirmation
of how cause and effect work, they need only look at the cost of fixing
Y2K. Ironically (or appropriately, if you understand karma), the management
decision to save a few dollars back in the '50s is now costing plenty.
That happens time and again when big business makes any decision strictly
on the basis of cost instead of value. In my opinion, Y2K is the greatest
teacher of the lesson: you get what you pay for!"
--- Debra A. Hegerle, Martinez, California
I FEEL LIKE I AM GOING TO POP
"I couldn't agree more with what Larry Shook said in 'The Beggars of
Y2K' (Y2K Report 19). I have a few other compatriots who, like me, feel
we were basically born for this. But most of the folks I know live in
either blatant denial, or this semi-fog where they say the right things
about Y2K -- but do nothing to change their lives. Sometimes I feel
like I am going to pop with the tension of living in a world so asleep.
I think Y2K is some kind of 'release valve,' and I just pray that something
happens. What will we all collectively say when we look back on this
era? Probably something like: 'There was a force larger than all of
us, pulling us into unconsciousness. We fought it but repeatedly succumbed.
Then there was the awakening!' I want to thank you profoundly for the
work you do. Between NHNE and Tom Atlee, I stay alive. Know you are
--- Suzanne Walker, Boulder, Colorado
A MATTER OF GRAVE CONCERN
"I personally have no problem with your concentration on Y2K issues.
I believe this is a matter of grave concern and it cannot be treated
lightly. Your work has far-reaching effects and I, for one, appreciate
--- Flo Johnasen, Aiea, Island of O'ahu, Hawaii
THE NHNE Y2K ACTION NETWORK:
Y2K RISK MANAGEMENT
By Peter Culpan
For the past 30 years have worked in the film and television industry
as a safety consultant and safety supervisor. I deal with stunts, special
effects, hazardous action and hazardous locations, often with a cast
and crew in the hundreds. My working life is dealing with risk management.
I'm trying to deal with the future in the same way, but it's very difficult
with non-cooperative 'heads of departments.' Through the inspiration
of your site and other similar ones in the U.S., I have become involved
in community action. The awareness level around me grows every day,
but there is still too much of the "She'll be right mate, don't worry"
approach, which is fine, but only once all the preparations have been
David Sunfellow very kindly sent me several copies of the "Utne Y2K
Citizens Action Guide" of which I am most appreciative, as I have not
seen it here. I left a copy with a very skeptical policeman at our local
Neighborhood Watch office. I had requested their cooperation in putting
a notice in their newsletter which is delivered to every house in the
area, but I have severe doubts as to whether they will agree. They don't
understand, so they won't commit. I'll keep plugging away at them and
all the other procrastinating civil representatives. It sure is difficult
to talk to these people. I'm still seeking ways of discussing with my
neighbors. How do you talk to a couple with three very young children?
I believe that in our part of the world we have a slightly better chance
than most: we don't have hostile borders; we don't have many divisions
in the fabric of our society; we could feed ourselves when the crunch
comes; and our climate is not too severe.
Thank you for your assistance and kind help. I hope you can all feel
the love and respect we have for you out here.
--- Peter Culpan, Safety Consultant, Ivanhoe, Victoria, Australia
SUSPICIOUS ACCIDENTS IN REFINERIES & POWER PLANTS
By James Gregory
Over the last two months, fuel prices across the U.S. have jumped by
an incredible 50 percent. Here is an edited excerpt from a letter to
Keith Robertson of California from his gasoline dealer, TOM'S SIERRA,
explaining some of the reasons why:
"In general, the petroleum companies we buy our fuel from don't tell
us why they raise the prices. As a result, we often don't have an explanation
for increased prices. However, a recent explosion and fire have forced
the TOSCO refinery in Avon to close for repair and safety compliance.
Following a routine maintenance shut down, EXXON was unable to restart
its Benicia refinery. Finally, an ARCO refinery in Southern California
shut down for technical problems. Suddenly there is a limited supply,
and the petroleum companies have rapidly raised the prices we pay."
Sheri Nakken of the Y2K Network points that the CHEVRON refinery in
Richmond has also had problems. She speculates, "Four refineries in
a few weeks? Arco and Exxon -- 'technical problems'? 'Routine maintenance'?
In addition, there was an equally-suspicious report of an explosion
recently at TECO ENERGY's thermo-electric Gannon plant near Tampa, Florida.
The explosion blew one corner of the outside shell off and set part
of the building on fire, killing one person and injuring 45 others.
The plant consists of six coal-fired units with a total capacity of
1,270 megawatts. According to industry sources, the unit affected, No.
6, was already shut down for "maintenance." However, after the incident,
the other five units were also shut down. The utility said it did not
know when the plant, which supplies about one-third of TECO's electric
power, would be back in operation.
While there is no confirmation at this time that Y2K is the mysterious
thread that links these stories, this is definitely a trend to monitor
closely in the future. (Sources: Keith Robertson, Y2K Network, 3/26/1999;
Robert Green, REUTERS, 4/8/1999)
(Sources: Y2KNEWSWIRE, 3/22/1999; Ed Yourdon, from his essay "Y2K and
the Year of Living Dangerously," 3/23/1999; Adam Entous, REUTERS, 3/22/1999)
In a recent report to the U.S. Congress, the Deputy Director of the
FEDERAL EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY (FEMA), Mike Walker, announced that
the Year 2000 computer bug now posed little risk to property or lives,
and there was no cause for the American public to panic. Walker said
while the millennium bug could temporarily disrupt traffic, communications
and power systems in parts of the U.S., "there is no need to hoard.
There is no need to take money out of banks. There's no need to head
for the hills. In fact, those kinds of extreme reactions could actually
cause a disaster that otherwise would not happen."
Despite the above statement, FEMA IS hoarding food, according to Y2KNEWSWIRE,
which learned that regional FEMA offices are stocked with emergency
food and water supplies. Y2KNEWSWIRE comments: "If stockpiling is bad,
why are they doing it? Their answer is probably, 'Because we need to
have supplies to distribute to people.' But wouldn't it make a lot more
sense if people had their own supplies and didn't need to rely on FEMA?"
Y2K guru Steve Davis also points out on his website: "You may be interested
to know that while FEMA is [now] only recommending two to three
days of preparedness for Y2K, they have traditionally recommended two
weeks of preparedness as a short-term disaster supply kit. Due to the
conflict that this presented to them, they removed this two-week guidance
from their website."
What should we conclude about all of this? Y2K analyst Ed Yourdon posits
that there are only a few possible explanations for the government's
determined efforts play down the dangers and popularize the "three-day
winter snowstorm" metaphor:
- The government is privy to some amazing secrets about a positive outcome
to the Y2K situation that veteran software engineers have never heard
- The government doesn't really know what will happen, but hopes that
a combination of edicts, mandates, orders, and the power of positive
thinking will somehow accomplish Y2K miracles.
- The government actually does understand that things are likely to
be far worse than publicly admitted, but has decided that it's not a
good idea to say so publicly.
Yourdon recommends that each citizen decide which of these three explanations
is most plausible, and then, based on that decision, formulate personal
plans for dealing with the potential Y2K threat entailed. "As for me,"
says Yourdon, "I've come to the conclusion that, instead of a three-day
bump in the road, it's more likely that Y2K will be 'the year of living
DEMAND FOR Y2K SURVIVAL GOODS SLOWING DOWN
(Source: Ashley Dunn, LOS ANGELES TIMES, 4/2/1999)
Survival companies are a sensitive gauge of public perceptions about
the Y2K problem. In 1998, the survival business, a once-obscure industry
serving campers, survivalists, homesteaders and the Amish, launched
into the mainstream, fueled by concerns about critical industries and
government agencies and reports of suburban families fleeing for the
hills or stockpiling loads of food and supplies because of the Y2K problem.
Sales of Year 2000 survival food spiked upward at the beginning of 1999
and water purifiers, electric generators and survival food were selling
at their hottest pace ever. However, in the last few months, progress
in repairing the computer glitch, saturation of the market, and a subtle
shift in public perceptions about the dangers of the millennium bug
have dampened sales from their once stratospheric levels. "We're around
a little less than an order a day now," says Richard Bauly, owner of
BAULY SPECIALTY FOODS INC., a camping food business in Toronto specializing
in 20-pound cartons of "BeReady" survival packs. "That's about half
the volume of February."
At LEHMAN'S HARDWARE & APPLIANCE INC. in the heart of Ohio's Amish
country and one of the nation's biggest suppliers of nonelectrical appliances,
not only have sales dropped off, but the type of products being bought
has changed as well. Last year, the company sold a record number of
large wood-burning cookstoves -- a hard-core survival product for those
expecting a long existence without gas or electricity. But in the last
few weeks, sales of the $850 to $4,000 stoves have tapered off. According
to Galen Lehman, Vice President of Lehman's, customers are now clamoring
for propane stoves and kerosene lamps -- products that are better suited
for short-term emergencies, since they still require fuel. "It seems
like people now are worried about a lesser type of problem," he said.
At SAFE-TREK OUTFITTERS in Bozeman, Mont., one of the oldest names in
survival food and equipment, a two-month backlog of orders has largely
evaporated. "I would say it's different these days," said Stephen Quayle,
Safe-Trek's chief executive. "People are just assuming that Y2K is going
to be just a bump in the road." While things have slowed considerably,
sales are still running about triple the usual rate. Quayle said that
last year one of the company's hottest sellers was its "Gary North pack"
-- a 2,344-pound collection of dehydrated fruits, soup mixes and soy-based
meat substitutes, named for one of the better-known Y2K alarmists. The
$3,999 package can feed four people for a year. More recently, sales
have been picking up for the company's "basic" package, designed to
feed one person for a few months.
Some store owners believe that the biggest sales rush is yet to come.
As Year 2000 draws closer, people who may have been thinking about buying
a generator or laying in some emergency food and supplies, might finally
start ordering. "Those on the edge, when they hear a few reports of
problems, they'll go out and buy [supplies]," predicted Bauly.
CALIFORNIA MAPS OUT POTENTIAL Y2K IMPACTS
(Sources: CALIFORNIA OFFICE OF EMERGENCY SERVICES Website; Y2KNEWSWIRE,
The State of California has published a "risk matrix" that outlines
potential Y2K-related failures and their consequences. While the OFFICE
OF EMERGENCY SERVICES (OES) points out that these are potential impacts
only, California emergency services officials are taking the potential
threats very seriously. Some of the items in the risk matrix include:
- Loss of operational control of dams, resulting in loss of life, property
damage and environmental damage from floods.
- Response delays in emergency services due to communications failures;
inoperability of engines, ambulances, aircraft and other rescue support
units, resulting in increased civilian deaths and increased property
- Safety system and pollution control system failures in hazardous materials
facilities, resulting in explosions, fires, mass casualties, environmental
contamination, property damage and delayed essential supplies.
- Failures in medical equipment and facilities, resulting in a reduced
ability to cope with disaster casualties.
- Loss of computer control systems in nuclear power plants, resulting
in widespread blackouts, meltdown and release of radiation, or a forced
- Air traffic control malfunctions resulting in slowed deliveries of
medical supplies, aircraft collisions, mass casualties and fires.
- Transportation system gridlock resulting in delays in mail and medical
supplies; also inhibiting emergency response services.
- Loss of generation or the transmission of electrical power resulting
in food spoilage, failures of security systems, water pressure, medical
equipment, heating and cooling, public safety, lighting, and more.
- Loss of handling capacity of solid waste disposal resulting in bio-hazardous
waste, methane gas, and environmental pollution.
- Satellite system failures resulting in failed pagers, cell phones,
credit cards and bank functions.
Y2KNEWSWIRE observes, "[Had we] authored this risk matrix, we
would have been instantly labeled doomsday alarmists, but when a state
prints the list, it's called 'responsible strategic risk assessment.'"
California risk matrix: http://www.oes.ca.gov/oeshomep.nsf/10884826d3b7
A WISE & BALANCED APPROACH TO Y2K BUSINESS REMEDIATION
(Source: Douglass Carmichael, Y2KWEEKX, 4/5/1999)
Here is a wise and balanced approach to Y2K remediation that analyst
Douglass Carmichael promotes in his Y2K business seminars:
1. Don't do anything for Y2K that is not also an investment in a post-Y2K
2. This post-Y2K world will be different in some ways: more awareness
of technology; greater discernment about costs and the need for clean
systems; a shift in choices of technology, such as more Internet, more
distributed energy and telecom, wider use of agriculture in local variants.
3. Y2K is just another outside challenge. Use it as an occasion to reinvent
markets and partnerships.
4. Make sure Y2K efforts are integrated with your organizational strategy.
5. Y2K exposes weaknesses in management structure. Recognize it for
what it is: a challenge that can only be met by developing more internal
honesty, greater awareness of external forces, and quality communication.
6. If your organization is to continue, your employees must chose to
come to work. This means that coming to work must be attractive and
meet the needs of the employees towards family and dependents.
7. Employees are embedded in their communities and will only feel secure
if their communities feel secure. You need to reach out to the community
level and be a leader for community coherence and resiliency.
8. Y2K is interesting. Approach it not as maintenance, but as an adventure
in building awareness and knowledge that will benefit your organization.
TOM ATLEE'S RECOMMENDED Y2K RESOURCES
(Source: Tom Atlee, personal correspondence, 4/5/1999)
"Here are five new resources that look pretty good to me," says Y2K
analyst Tom Atlee:
"The Year 2000 Problem: An Opportunity to Build Sustainable Community"
by Doug Mosel: This study circle (the package has both study materials
and a process guide) provides inspiration and ideas for building neighborhoods
and communities that are not only prepared for Y2K, but more sustainable
and better places to live. This is a great course to do with friends
or as part of a Y2K community group. It is free at: <http://www.co
"Y2K Bug: 101 Things You'll Need to Be Prepared" by Charlie Magee: A
48-page booklet with cartoons, humor and common-sense insight to help
you prepare for potential Y2K disruptions in your life in a simple,
rational, step-by-step manner. Sometimes, less IS more.
"Action Y2K: A GrassRoots Guide to Year 2000" by Richard Thomas Wright
and Cathryn Wellner: A guide for the coming millennium with solutions
for communities, businesses, and individuals. This book maintains a
positive outlook and approach, showing that community action groups
working to build resilience and capacity can tip the balance toward
the positive side of any Year 2000 problem. (250) 296-4432 or <http://grassrootsgroup.com/y2kguide.htm>.
"Just in Case: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the Y2K Crisis" edited
by Michael Brownlee, Barbara Stahura and Robert Yehling: An up-to-date
book with a transformational perspective, including 38 pages of transformational
articles by Meg Wheatley, Tom Atlee, Gordon Davidson, and others. (888)
267-4446 or <http://www.JustInCaseY2K.com/>.
"Y2K: A Family Survival Guide" narrated by Leonard Nimoy: a high-minded
and practical Y2K video, with a measured and thoughtful approach that
covers the history and complexity of the problem, and puts the philosophical
emphasis on a collaborative, community response. (JG)
Many of these resources can also be ordered through NHNE's link to AMAZON.COM:
"A SURVIVAL GUIDE FOR THE YEAR 2000 PROBLEM" ON THE NET
(Source: Jim Lord, WESTERGAARD YEAR 2000, 3/22/1999)
Y2K analyst Jim Lord's book, "A Survival Guide for the Year 2000 Problem,"
is now available on the Internet at no charge. Also available from the
same site are over a year's back issues of Lord's "Y2K Reality Watch"
Jim Lord's website: http://www.SurviveY2K.com
FREE DOWNLOAD OF EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS MANUAL
(Source, Gary Pope, EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS MANUAL Website)
Mormon Gary Pope has written an 85-page emergency preparedness manual
that can be downloaded for free from his website. ADOBE ACROBAT is needed
to read it, and you must fill in a registration form before downloading.
A printed copy of the manual is also available for $15. (JG)
Emergency Preparedness Manual Website: http://www.mormon.com/epm/download/index.htm
FREE SURVIVAL MANUAL
(Source: Cresson Kearny, Nuclear War Survival Skills Website)
Cresson Kearny's "Nuclear War Survival Skills" is now available on-line
for free. According to Y2K analyst Gary North, "This is a crucial manual."
You can download it or print it out.
"Nuclear War Survival Skills" Manual: http://oism.org/nwss
DIRECTORY OF LOCAL Y2K COMMUNITY PREPAREDNESS GROUPS
(Source: Marc Pinneo, Y2K COMMUNITY PREPAREDNESS GROUPS Website)
Marc Pinneo, author of "A Layman's Guide to the Year 2000 Computer Crisis,"
is compiling a directory of Y2K community preparedness groups on a state-by-state
basis. He is offering a free web page to groups that would like to be
included in the directory. Pinneo can be emailed at: "MarcP@ocweb.com".
Y2K FROM A WOMAN'S PERSPECTIVE
(Y2K UPDATE REPORT Website)
Starting on May 9, 1999, the Y2K UPDATE REPORT will feature a special
ongoing online event providing useful information about Y2K from a woman's
perspective. Scheduled presenters include Wendy McClelland (Biz Resource),
Marlene Brown (Technotouch), Karen Anderson (Y2K Women), Eileen Buckholtz
(Y2K Run), Jackie Kessler (Y2K Survival Guide), Paloma O'Reilly (Cassandra
Project), Teresa Wilson (Y2K News), Meg Wheatley (Berkana), Natasha
Flazynski (Y2K Links), Eva Rosenberg (Y2K Money Issues), Susan Conniry
Urban (Survival School), and Jeanne Boyd (Why 2000).
1. Preparing Your Business For Y2K
2. Community Action Planning Program
3. Best "Home" Practices Program
4. Keeping Your Family Together during Y2K (JG)
The Y2K Update Report: http://www.y2kupdatereport.com/mothers/index.html
HANDPUMP INSTALLS ALONGSIDE SUBMERSIBLE
(Source: DEAN BENNETT SUPPLY COMPANY Website)
With Y2K approaching, many people are looking for alternative ways of
pumping water should power be interrupted. DEAN BENNETT SUPPLY COMPANY
sells the "Stalwart Emergency Hand Pump" that can fit into a well alongside
a submersible pump, without removing the submersible -- that way it
is always ready for use. The company has been selling windmills, traditional
hand pumps, and pump jacks since 1965. They also offer a free catalog.
Dean Bennett Supply Company
Phone: (800) 621-4291
THE LIGHTER SIDE OF Y2K:
WHO BELIEVES WHAT ABOUT Y2K
(Source: Laura A. Bruce, BANKRATE.COM, 2/12/1999)
Having trouble keeping track of the different Y2K groups in circulation,
such as Gary North and his hardcore end-of-civilization survivalists,
corporate America, X-Files conspiracy geeks, religious extremists, and
old-style tax-protest survivalists who knew something would replace
the Reds? BANKRATE.COM has a handy chart to spell out the similarities
and differences. Here is the lowdown, for example, on "nouveau survivalists":
What They Believe: Not as convinced of imminent destruction as North
and his followers. They want to be ready just in case. They're prepared,
but not panicky. They're stockpiling a couple of weeks' worth or canned
and dried food, water and maybe a generator.
Motto: Look at the Post Office -- do you trust the government to handle
Theme Song: "The Morning After" (theme song from the movie "The Poseidon
Favorite Food: Wine and cheese. (They are saving the canned stuff for
How They'll Spend New Year's Eve: At home, sipping champagne, thinking
it would be cool if the lighted ball at Times Square goes dark as it
BEAN BUGS FOR THE MILLENNIUM
(Source: Marco Commisso, TECH TALK, 3/8/1999)
First it was Cabbage Patch Kids, then Beanie Babies. Now another toy-induced
craze has hit the country -- "Bean Bugs for the Millennium." BIANET,
a Texas company that makes bean-stuffed cartoon characters has launched
a new product line called "MicroBytes," featuring "Techie," a computer
nerd that's blue in the face and "Glitch," an evil, but cuddly, Y2K
bug. Each month until the millennium, the company plans to offer Glitch
in a different outfit to represent a holiday or computer problem. For
instance, March features "Hoarder Glitch" with a backpack containing
a gallon of water, a pound of sugar, a box of penicillin, some coffee
and other supplies in case the lights go out. July's "Rich Glitch" character
has dollar signs for eyes and is wrapped with ticker tape. In October,
the mean little buggy turns green and becomes "Nuclear Glitch." Each
month, Glitch is accompanied by other bean-stuffed computer paraphernalia
such as "Joy" the joystick, "Scurry" the mouse, "CD ROMeo" and "Sergio"
the power surge. Designed by cartoonist Harvey Siegel Williams, creator
of Rocky and Bullwinkle, the toys are designed to educate children and
complement a series of children's books scheduled to hit the shelves
this summer. Bean Bugs for the Millennium cost between $9.95 and $12.95.
Sales are brisk. (JG)
THIS WEEK'S NEWS SOURCES:
The stories in this week's NHNE Y2K Report were drawn, in part, from
the following news sources:
SANGER'S REVIEW OF Y2K NEWS REPORTS:
YEAR 2000 INFORMATION CENTER:
GARY NORTH'S LINKS AND FORUMS:
Sheri Nakken (Y2K NETWORK):
Copyright 1999 by NewHeavenNewEarth
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