NHNE Y2K Report 29
Sunday, June 13, 1999
& Consumer Protection
for Spiritual Seekers"
NHNE Y2K Report 29
Sunday, June 13, 1999
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MOMENTS OF HELPLESSNESS
"The journey into a life of awareness begins for most of us in
a moment of helplessness. When our lives are going well, we do not feel
any need to change them, or ourselves. We are content to go on as we
are, coasting, serene as planets in their orbits, or caribou on seasonal
migration. Our habits of mind are sufficient to sustain us through the
days. We are unperturbed, and half asleep.
"Then a crisis arrives: a child falls ill, a lover disappoints,
or some vast, neutral power of the earth, such as a hurricane or a fire,
strips us of everything we have relied upon to stay the same. We will
have other descents in life but this first one has a terrifying vividness.
Change is sure, and change brings suffering, which is an inner as well
as outer event. Under the impact of a crisis, images we have worshipped,
beliefs we have cherished, also break and fall away. We lose not only
houses, photo albums, and people dear to us, but our idea of what life
is. We find ourselves plunging unprepared, a weakness in every limb.
"Yet this unexpected fall is also a gift, not to be refused --
an initiation ordeal preparing us for new life. The enveloping dark
strips us of our sleepyheadedness, our assumption that who we now are
and the life we now know will be enough. The night is not interested
in our achievements. Pitching headlong into this first descent of the
journey, we struggle, we suffer untellable grief, but we also wake up
-- we begin to see ourselves and our lives for what they are. We cannot
return to the way it used to be, even yesterday. We realize that we
have no choice: before we can rise up, we must go down and through."
--- From "The Light Inside the Dark" by John Tarrant
A MESSAGE FROM THE PUBLISHER:
G-8 Leaders to Establish Y2K Crisis System
Bennett: Half of Nation's Hospitals Not Y2K Compliant
Noncompliant Ships Not Welcome
U.S. Stock Markets to Close Early for Y2K
Russian Electricity Giant to Change 15,000 Computers
Most Germans Think Y2K Overrated
New Australian Computers Not Compliant
British Government to Launch "Facts Not Fiction" Campaign
Nigeria Unprepared for Y2K
Glitch At Chemical Plant
Ohio Secretary of State's One-Year-Old Computer Not Compliant
Survey: 45 Percent of Y2K Experts Worried
Food Industry At Odds with "60 Minutes" Y2K Report
Lines At the Pump?
Community Preparedness, After the Fact
Panic & Other Myths
Plan, Do, Check. Repeat.
Plan for the Worst In Y2K Liquidity Contingencies
Bennett Requests Your Participation
Don't Chase Y2K Red Herrings
Year 2000 Investor Kit Issued
Tips on Home Canning
THE LIGHTER SIDE OF Y2K:
Cashing In on Y2K
THIS WEEK'S NEWS SOURCES
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A MESSAGE FROM THE PUBLISHER:
This is our last issue of the NHNE Y2K Report. Future Y2K news will
be incorporated into other NHNE publications. In the coming weeks, I'll
be sharing with you what has been going on behind the scenes and why
we are altering our direction. I will also be announcing some new projects
and asking you to share your thoughts on where we, as a network of spiritual
seekers, should be investing our time, talent and resources.
Until then, I send you my best and hope all is well in your part of
With Love & Best Wishes,
G-8 LEADERS TO ESTABLISH Y2K CRISIS SYSTEM
(Source: THE DAILY YOMIURI, 6/6/1999)
Leaders of the G-8 industrialized nations are looking into establishing
an international crisis-management system that would include an emergency
hotline to solve problems in international financial transactions stemming
from errors caused by the Y2K bug. At a summit starting on June 18 in
Cologne, Germany, the G-8 leaders will also talk about securing backup
systems for international communications networks. Until now, G-8 nations
have mainly worked on protecting domestic computer systems from the
Y2K bug. However, with the Year 2000 just six months away, G-8 leaders
have come under pressure to take steps to avoid problems on a global
scale, as the bug may easily leap across borders due to the globalization
of finance, transport and communications networks. The leaders are expected
to outline measures to deal with the problem in a joint summit declaration.
BENNETT: HALF OF NATION'S HOSPITALS NOT Y2K COMPLIANT
(Source: Norma Wagner, THE SALT LAKE TRIBUNE, 6/10/1999)
Half the 6,000 hospitals in the U.S. will not be Y2K compliant when
the new year rolls in around, says Sen. Bob Bennett (R-Utah), Chair
of the Senate's Y2K committee. Particularly unprepared are hospitals
in rural areas, adds Mark Stoddard, President and CEO of the RURAL HEALTH
MANAGEMENT CORP., who claims that because patient loads in those facilities
are not as high as in urban hospitals, administrators have no way to
make up the losses. Getting a CT scan machine ready for the new year,
for example, can cost up to $1 million. Stoddard holds the federal government
at least partially to blame for the mess -- federal legislators cut
hospital reimbursement rates in the MEDICAID and MEDICARE programs based
on the average-sized hospital in the U.S. "They felt these facilities
would have a negative impact [from the cuts] at a certain percent, but
that impact is typically greater for the smaller hospitals because we
don't have the kinds of numbers in patients to offset those reductions.
Stoddard is asking the federal government to re-evaluate reimbursement
rates for rural hospitals so they not only will have more funds to address
potential problems resulting from Y2K, but also will be able to survive
NONCOMPLIANT SHIPS NOT WELCOME
(Sources: Associated Press, 6/3/1999; Ashley Dunn, LOS ANGELES TIMES,
By the end of June, the U.S. COAST GUARD will require operators of commercial
vessels in American waters to prove their on-board computers won't create
safety problems when the Year 2000 arrives. Vessels ranging from fishing
boats to big cargo ships will have to answer a series of questions about
safety equipment, said Capt. John Veentjer, Chief of the MARINE SAFETY
DIVISION for the Coast Guard's 13th District (Washington State). The
questions will seek information on the vessels' navigation, steering,
propulsion and power generation systems, cargo-handling equipment, and
other safety gear. The concern is that equipment failures could cause
vessels to lose control, spill hazardous materials or cause other safety
problems. "We will also ask if the company owning the vessel has
a documented Y2K policy in place." The Y2K questions will be asked
when the vessels routinely provide 24-hour notice of their intent to
enter any American port, with each port having authority to make judgments
to account for local conditions. "We could ask a vessel to remain
at sea or merely not to use autopilot as it enters our navigable waters,"
said Cmdr. Mike Moore. Similarly, the port of Rotterdam in the Netherlands
has announced that it will bar all ships that cannot prove their Y2K
compliance during the New Year's period. And the petroleum tanker industry
has voluntarily decided to have all of its vessels at sea or tied up
at dock on the critical date. If they are at dock, they will not transfer
oil until they are sure they don't have unexpected computer problems.
U.S. STOCK MARKETS TO CLOSE EARLY FOR Y2K
(Source: AP/USA TODAY, 6/4/1999)
Trading on the NEW YORK STOCK EXCHANGE (NYSE), the NASDAQ STOCK MARKET
and the AMERICAN STOCK EXCHANGE will end at 1 p.m. on Dec. 31, as a
precaution against any Year 2000 computer glitches. Traditionally, the
markets only close early on the day after Thanksgiving and Christmas
Eve. "We have the utmost confidence that our systems and the systems
of those who use the markets have been remediated or will be in perfect
shape for the millennium change," said Richard Grasso, Chairman
of the NYSE, but he added, "I believe it's a prudent step [to close
early.]" Grasso made the comment after announcing the NYSE would
not offer extended trading hours until the second half of 2000. He didn't
want to "upset the apple cart" by demanding more changes to
the trading systems on top of Year 2000 efforts and plans to switch
stock prices to decimals from fractions. (JG)
RUSSIAN ELECTRICITY GIANT TO CHANGE 15,000 COMPUTERS
(Source: RUSSIA TODAY/AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE, 6/8/1999)
The giant Russian electricity authority, UNIFIED ENERGY SYSTEM (UES),
is planning to change at least 15,000 of its 50,000 computers because
of fears of the Year 2000 bug. The company is planning to spend at least
$15 million to resolve the Y2K problems, with 70 percent of the sum
going to buy new computers and software. The operation is expected to
be completed in October. UES is Russia's biggest company, coordinating
the activities of 72 regional electricity companies, including all the
country's nuclear power plants, and producing 75 percent of the electricity
consumed in Russia. As a precaution, UES is also planning to provide
training to staff working at nuclear power plants in what to do should
a computer breakdown occur at midnight on Dec. 31. (JG)
MOST GERMANS THINK Y2K OVERRATED
(Source: Carol J. Williams, LA TIMES, 6/6/1999)
With confidence instilled by the launch of a common currency earlier
this year, most Germans regard Y2K as an overrated "technical problem."
They are claiming that the more daunting conversion of European society
to the new euro currency proves they can handle a simple challenges
posed by the millennium bug. "I'm quite confident that we won't
have an economic crisis," says DEUTSCHE BANK's Gerhard Singer,
Germany's chief expert and trouble-shooter on Y2K problems. "I
think people who talk about an economic crisis of such magnitude have
an interest in selling survival products." In contrast to such
brave talk, consulting firms such as GARTNERGROUP and CAP GEMINI warn
that Germany is woefully behind in the worldwide effort to avert a Jan.
1, 2000, catastrophe, and the FEDERAL ASSOCIATION OF PRODUCERS OF MEDICAL
PRODUCTS describes Germany's largest hospitals as alarmingly unprepared.
Despite the prevailing calm, such warnings have given rise to a small
force urging hibernation as the best hedge against disaster. "Stay
home and keep enough cash and food to get along for several days without
a supermarket," advises Wilhelm Schaefer, a computer science professor
at the UNIVERSITY OF PADERBORN who believes the worst-case scenario
is highly unlikely, but that there's nothing to lose in hiding out.
NEW AUSTRALIAN COMPUTERS NOT COMPLIANT
(Source: James Riley, THE AUSTRALIAN, 6/8/1999)
Few PCs sold in Australia are truly Y2K compliant according to PC RESQ
Managing Director Richard Smythe, who charges that, in the absence of
a global standard for PC compliance, Australian vendors have been using
a lower definition from the U.S.-based NATIONAL SOFTWARE TESTING LABORATORIES
than that recommended by STANDARDS AUSTRALIA (SA). SA sets out three
levels of compliance. Level 2, which Australian PC vendors have been
claiming as "fully compliant," refers to PCs that have only
undergone a software fix to update the system BIOS so it understands
2000 dates; Level 3 compliance refers to machines that are hardware-compliant,
with a fully Y2K-compliant real-time clock. While experts warn that
companies running 24-hour, mission-critical applications could encounter
date-change problems in the Year 2000 unless they are Level 3 compliant,
they concede that for most home users, Level 2 compliance should be
sufficient. The AUSTRALIAN COMPETITION AND CONSUMER COMMISSION is investigating
the complaints. (JG)
BRITISH GOVERNMENT TO LAUNCH "FACTS NOT FICTION" CAMPAIGN
(Source: Paul Rubens, VNUNET, 6/10/1999)
The British Government has unveiled a $12 million publicity campaign
intended to prevent panic about the effects of the millennium bug. The
cornerstone of the "Facts Not Fiction" Campaign is a booklet
distributed in national and regional Sunday newspapers and in the main
TV listings magazines in mid June. The booklet, which is also available
in most post offices, was compiled by ACTION 2000, a government-backed
company set up to raise awareness of the millennium bug. The campaign
has been criticized by TASKFORCE 2000 for ignoring many potential bug
related-problems and encouraging complacency. "Nowhere in the booklet
does it mention the emergency services, local authorities or large companies
which keep the economy going," responded Rob Wilson, Assistant
Director of Taskforce 2000. "If everyone is convinced that everything
is all right, then the problem won't get the leadership it needs. There
is still much to do." (JG)
NIGERIA UNPREPARED FOR Y2K
(Source: Y2KTODAY/AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE, 6/1/1999)
With less than seven months to the arrival of the new millennium, Nigeria
has yet to draw up a plan for responding to the millennium bug. Despite
the fact that the country has the second largest economy in Africa,
it does not have a policy to regulate the influx of non-Y2K compliant
computers. "A lot is still very much under consideration from a
government policy standpoint," said Noble Ekajeh of WEST AFRICA
COMPAQ. "The government has not clearly elucidated its position."
Nigeria has large banking and industrial sectors which could suffer
if nothing is done to bring companies up to date on the bug. (JG)
GLITCH AT CHEMICAL PLANT
(Source: Y2K TODAY/AP, 5/30/1999)
During a Y2K test at the huge NOVARTIS pesticide plant in Louisiana,
when the card reader controlling the main gate saw the date 01/01/00,
it mistakenly assumed that it meant Jan. 1, 1900, and refused to open
the gate. If experts hadn't uncovered the computer glitch, truckers
hauling raw materials would have been unable to enter the plant on Jan
1, 2000. In addition, workers starting their midnight shift would also
have been shut out because their key cards would not have worked.
While industry and government officials claim that most millennium bugs
would cause only minor problems, Novartis is one of a growing number
of industrial plants that will call a time-out as the Year 2000 begins,
shutting down all processing areas of its plant on the chance that some
computer program or chip wasn't fixed. With 85 million Americans living,
working or playing within five miles of the nation's hazardous chemical
66,000 plants, a report issued this year by the U.S. CHEMICAL SAFETY
AND HAZARD INVESTIGATION BOARD agreed that being prepared for an accident
is the intelligent approach. And while the board said it has not been
notified of any single Y2K-related failure that could cause a catastrophic
chemical accident by itself, "it is unclear what the outcome might
be from multiple failures."
Potential problems include:
- A loss of electricity could trigger a shutdown of manufacturing equipment,
monitoring equipment and safety systems.
- Fire suppression systems might accidentally be triggered that could
result in a loss of water pressure necessary to fight a fire.
- Software or chip problems could trigger anything from an unexpected
opening or closing of valves -- resulting in accidents, spills, fires
or explosions -- to the manufacture of materials that do not meet quality-control
Tab Troxler, Emergency Operations Director for St. Charles Parish, has
been keeping tabs on industry readiness. He sums up the dilemma by saying,
"The two extremes will be that absolutely nothing occurs, or that
things go off a cliff." (JG)
OHIO SECRETARY OF STATE'S ONE-YEAR-OLD COMPUTER NOT COMPLIANT
(Source: Dan Crawford, BUSINESS FIRST, 5/24/1999)
In the eight years under Bob Taft, the Ohio SECRETARY OF STATE's Business
Services Division was run so poorly that incorporation filings went
from taking a week to process to more than two months. In one particularly
bad week in mid-December 1998, 88.5 percent of calls made to the business
services center in the Secretary of State's Office were greeted with
busy signals. In addition, a $7 million computer system installed during
Taft's tenure not only frequently crashed unexpectedly, but was non-Y2K-compliant
even though its installation was completed just last year." When
the system was installed, everybody on the planet knew about the Y2K
problem," said William A. Guy, retired State Deputy Treasurer.
"I don't know how this happened."
With the posting of a new Secretary of State, J. Kenneth Blackwell,
changes are now in the works to rectify the problems, including a plan
to purchase a new computer system to replace the one that "goes
down without notice, fails to capture data as promised, loses data that
has been captured, and, even today, the lead vendor cannot certify is
Year 2000-compliant." Gregory J. Vehr, Blackwell's chief of staff,
said the existing computer system "just went out of control. We're
going to have to suffer through the recent legacy of this office. We
can't fix this overnight. But at this point it isn't effective for us
to point fingers."
Taft was elected Governor of Ohio in 1998. (JG)
SURVEY: 45 PERCENT OF Y2K EXPERTS WORRIED
(Source: M.J. Zuckerman, USA TODAY, 06/10/1999)
With little more than six months to go until the new millennium, nearly
half (45 percent) of the experts grappling with the Y2K computer problem
remain deeply concerned, according to a survey recently published in
USA TODAY. For example, Y2K experts share a marked pessimism about the
survival of essential services and infrastructure such as transportation
and utilities. The general public, however, is more optimistic, with
only 23 percent expecting major problems.
The survey shows other varying degrees of concerns:
- Economy: 38 percent expect a 20 percent loss in stocks and recovery
by 2001; 45 percent expect a mild six-month recession with 6 percent
- Business: 35 percent predict it will be "jolted a bit" with
January "Y2K holidays" to make fixes; 28 percent see "major
- Utilities and Infrastructure: 40 percent predict at least "short-lived
failures" up to seven days; 42 percent expect scattered supply
and utility problems lasting at least two weeks.
- Government: 19 percent predict one state government will run into
"serious Y2K problems"; 30 percent expect "at least one
major government agency," such as the IRS, will fail.
White House "Y2K czar" John Koskinen takes issue with such
surveys, saying, "No one can tell you with any certainty what the
end of the year is going to look like because so much work is still
under way." (JG)
Survey results: http://www.wdcy2k.org
FOOD INDUSTRY AT ODDS WITH "60 MINUTES" Y2K REPORT
(Source: USDA Website, thanks to Steve Davis)
In response to a hard-hitting report recently aired on "60 Minutes"
(Y2K REPORT 27) that warned, amongst other things, of Y2K-induced food
shortages and riots, several of the food industry groups (FOOD DISTRIBUTORS
INTERNATIONAL, GROCERY MANUFACTURERS OF AMERICA, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION
OF CONVENIENCE STORES, and the NATIONAL GROCERS ASSOCIATION) sent the
following letter to "60 Minutes":
"Your report on Y2K readiness last Sunday raises important questions
for consumers. One of them: to what extent can we rely on our local
grocery and convenience stores as the year ends? The food industry,
from the farm to the fork, has been working hard to make sure that January
1, 2000 will be like any other shopping day. From the farm, to the processing
plants and manufacturing firms, to food distributors and retail stores,
companies have invested millions of dollars and years of hard work to
prevent disruptions caused by Y2K. Up and down the food industry's supply
chain, computer systems are being fixed and tested. Companies in this
very competitive industry have to do that, if they want to stay in business.
Supermarkets, convenience stores, and their suppliers will have extra
products on hand, especially as the busy holiday season approaches.
And, their backup systems are ready to go. Our best advice: shop like
you normally would for any long holiday weekend. The worst scenario
would be for consumers to panic and begin to hoard excess amounts of
groceries. That's when shortages, and inconveniences, could occur. Bottom
line, we are confident that our food industry is well prepared to provide
consumers with an ample supply of food on January 1, 2000 and beyond."
Y2K analyst Steve Davis comments: "This position... is diametrically
opposed to emergency and community preparedness efforts to have the
population achieve some level of preparedness before the century time
change.... I wonder if this confidence is based on an assessment of
compliance efforts of the entire supply chain (producers, retailers,
telecommunications, transportation, etc.), or just a feeling that they
need to reassure the masses?" (JG)
LINES AT THE PUMP?
(Source: DCI, 6/9/1999)
While many consumers have expressed fear that even a slight drop in
oil production has the potential to cause havoc at the gas pump, experts
in the oil field assure us that there is no need to worry about the
Y2K bug adversely affecting the U.S. oil supply. Whom to believe?
Most of the apprehension centers on the readiness of foreign oil suppliers.
The U.S. imports a full 56 percent of its total oil requirement -- approximately
10.4 million barrels per day. And according to a Senate special report
released in March, three of the top five U.S. oil suppliers -- Venezuela,
Saudi Arabia and Nigeria -- are up to 18 months behind in preparing
for the millennium bug.
There is also a concern that infrastructure problems in some countries,
such as electric power or telecommunications shutdowns, could prove
especially disastrous for the oil industry, as disruptions could occur
anywhere along the supply chain -- from oilfields and refineries, to
shipping, docking or unloading. Even if crude oil supplies were only
mildly affected, U.S. gasoline prices could rise sharply. "It wouldn't
take more than a two percent cut in output to dramatically alter oil
market fundamentals and lead to a significant price increase,"
says Peter Bogin of CAMBRIDGE ENERGY RESEARCH ASSOCIATES. Sen. Robert
Bennett, R-Utah, head of the Senate Y2K panel agrees and points out
that even the slight reduction in OPEC production recently resulted
in a 20 percent increase in gas prices.
However, at a recent round of Senate hearings on the subject, oil industry
representatives assured government officials that the fear of a severe
oil shortage in the U.S. was unfounded. Robert Kripowicz, the ENERGY
DEPARTMENT's Deputy Assistant for Fossil Energy said that the oil industry
has a reliable fallback in the nation's Strategic Petroleum Reserve,
which currently holds an inventory of 561 million barrels of crude oil.
Red Cavaney, President and CEO of the AMERICAN PETROLEUM INSTITUTE (API),
was equally optimistic, saying, "The industry has been working
hard on this problem for more than five years." The API is working
with the INTERNATIONAL OIL COORDINATION COUNCIL, the DEFENSE DEPARTMENT
and other agencies to ensure uninterrupted oil and gas supply.
If the experts are to be believed, U.S. citizens have no cause to worry
about oil shortages at the pump come the New Year. However, the fact
remains that much depends upon the compliance efforts of other countries
and agencies -- over which the U.S. has little or no control. (JG)
(Source: Nora Underwood, THE GLOBE AND MAIL, 4/30/1999)
No one can say for certain what disruptions the new year may bring,
but one thing is sure: any traveler away from home when the Year 2000
rolls around will be especially vulnerable to the potential foul ups
that could result. Consider the potential nightmare-in-the-making in
Italy, where the government only formed a committee to deal with the
Y2K question in February, yet 25 million visitors are expected to visit
the country in 2000 to celebrate the bimillennial anniversary of the
birth of Christ. Sheila Green, a senior analyst at the CUTTER CONSORTIUM,
offers this sobering advice: "Don't travel if you don't have to,
unless you feel that you can stay for an extended period if you get
stuck." Taking the concept to the extreme for travelers, GLOBE
AND MAIL writer, Nora Underwood, postulates these five worst-case scenarios,
or "nightmares," as she calls them:
Airplanes: While most planes themselves don't use date-dependent computer
chips, think of the fragile, interconnected, time-dependent infrastructure
of the airline industry -- everything is computerized to some degree,
from the reservations systems to the control towers. High-placed officials,
from Chinese airline executives to the head of the U.S. FEDERAL AVIATION
ADMINISTRATION (FAA), have promised they will be in the skies as the
century turns. But analyst Green, who is a frequent flier, will certainly
not be joining them. "Personally, I think there's a great probability
that the FAA will not have their systems fully compliant by January,"
she says. "Consequently, there's a great likelihood that air traffic
controllers will not have the information they need to do a good job."
That could mean a lot of planes circling a lot of airports and running
low on fuel.
Trains: Even if there are no problems with the computer-heavy industries
that supply electricity to train stations and fuel to locomotives, railways
themselves are heavily computerized -- from the reservations and ticketing
systems, to mechanisms that switch the tracks, and the light signals
that guide the trains' movements. U.S. railway authorities have said
they can deal with any switching problems by taking them over manually,
but Green is concerned that technical upgrades have been so extensive
that that may be a pipe dream.
Cruise Ships: Computerized control systems in ships are not the only
potential disaster waiting to hit the high seas. As with airlines and
railways, ships are reliant on a number of providers of essential services
and goods. "And," says analyst Green, "there are problems
with ports being compliant and questions about the safety of entering
them." The current scuttlebutt in the industry is that some ports,
finding themselves ill prepared, will decide to close to foreign vessels.
[For more details, see the Y2K Headline "Noncompliant Ships Not
Welcome" in this publication.] Much depends on which flag the ship
is sailing under. "Most people sail on ships under foreign flags,
and foreign countries are not as far ahead on their Y2K compliance."
As a result, while cruising is a hot choice for revelers hoping to bring
in the New Year in style, many may find themselves lost at sea.
Money: If there are last-minute infrastructure problems, such as power
or communications failures, there could be real headaches. You can't
authorize a credit card transaction if the phones are down. If there
are such problems, merchants may choose to restrict transactions to
cash until the situation is resolved. And if there's no electricity,
there's effectively no money in ATMs. Even if there were, there'd probably
be a run on it, as there likely may well also be on water, canned goods,
and anything else on which people depend day to day. "Because of
the uncertainty, you may not have access to your bank account for an
extended period of time," says Green. "I recommend people
have more than just a weekend's worth of cash with them."
Hotels: The possibilities for this one are endless -- from messed-up
reservation systems, to stalled elevators, to card keys that refuse
you entry into your room, to check-out clerks insisting you've spent
100 years on long-distance telephone calls. (JG)
COMMUNITY PREPAREDNESS, AFTER THE FACT
(Source: Robert Waldrop, COALITION 2000 LISTSERV)
Here are some edited excerpts from another refreshing posting on the
Coalition 2000 Listserv which puts forward the radical concept that
since most people aren't going to prepare for Y2K, it will fall to those
who do prepare to help them:
"Since the first week of May, I've been working on tornado relief
in Oklahoma City with CATHOLIC CHARITIES. Because of the scale of the
disaster here (45 tornadoes in about 3 hours, over 8,000 houses destroyed
or severely damaged, 44 deaths), the non-profit sector has been meeting
regularly with our government counterparts to coordinate our actions
so that we don't needlessly duplicate efforts."
"Everybody is pretty focused on the disaster at hand, but everybody
knows about Y2K. I get the impression, however, that nobody is quite
sure exactly what to do about it. In fact, I strongly suspect that even
if the President came out tomorrow and said, 'Prepare now,' most people
wouldn't pay much attention. Y2K is already a question of politics,
and that isn't helping the situation at all. Most people who live in
earthquake and hurricane zones don't make advance preparations, and
many people in Oklahoma City did not have access to a good tornado shelter.
That's why so many people died; there was plenty of warning."
"So in considering what's to be done [with Y2K], we should include
contingency plans for informing the rest of civil society about what
should be done when disruptions happen. Unless I find something better,
I'm working on a series of handouts with the message, 'Here's what you
can do about the Y2K problems we are experiencing now,' that will be
copied in advance and distributed as failures occur. For example: a
page on water, another on emergency heating, another on the location
of soup kitchens, a third on emergency sanitation and garbage. Then
there would be a handout for civil society organizations, another for
churches, and still another for neighborhood organizations."
"My assumption is that most people won't make any preparations
before Y2K, so, it's kind of like plotting a 'revolution.' I call this
the 'Vanguard Theory' as it relates to creating a resilient community
[You can join this listserv at the Coalition 2000 Website. -JG]
Coalition 2000 Website: http://www.coalition2000.org
PANIC & OTHER MYTHS
(Source: Kali Grosberg, 4/5/1999)
The following information was received by Kali Grosberg at a recent
RED CROSS Disaster Mental Health training workshop. It refutes the reason
most often given by corporate and government officials for holding back
information about Y2K -- they don't want people to panic. These edited
excerpts are from the RED CROSS training manual for Disaster Action
Teams by Stan Bush:
"One of the most surprising discoveries made in studying citizen
responses is that people do not panic. Many officials presume they will,
but study of over 300 cases just does not bear this out. There is panic
under certain [specific] conditions:
1. When individuals are under immediate and severe danger.
2. When there are limited or closed escape routes.
3. When there is a lack of communication about what is happening.
"But all three conditions must be present. More typically, people
seek to take actions to protect themselves, friends and relatives based
on the information and experience they have. Apparently our conception
of how people will respond is incorrect. Rather, the opposite tends
to happen if there is an extended time of warning."
Other myths debunked at the workshop:
Crime: Crime falls drastically during and immediately after a disaster.
Looting: While widespread in civil disorders, there is no evidence to
show that looting is a major problem in a disaster. The major problem
appears to be the fear of looting by officials and citizens.
The primacy of strong leadership: Research proves that respecting and
trusting others' abilities wins out over top-down command. Coordination
and cooperation are more important. (JG)
Red Cross Website: http://www.redcross.org/
PLAN, DO, CHECK. REPEAT.
(Source: David O'Daniel Eddy, WESTERGAARD YEAR 2000, 4/28/1999)
Y2k analyst David O'Daniel Eddy has been tracking the Y2K progress of
ASI (fictitious name, real company) since the fall 1997. Their business
is logistics, and according to Eddy, "These guys are the best of
the best." They are major players (U.S. $1 billion in revenues
with approximately 500 employees) in a highly-competitive market where
the end-consumer can easily buy a competitor's product if ASI's product
isn't available. Their computer systems have to ensure that the right
parts get to the right customers at the right time. ASI's Y2K efforts
have taken 11 years, because that's what it takes to assure success
on complex software projects of this magnitude. Here are a few highlights
of their chronology:
September 1988 -- began use of 4-digit years in all new data structures.
December 1994 -- code inventory found 3.2 million lines of code; 62
percent was COBOL.
June 1995 -- purchased new impact analysis and automated code-change
March 1996 -- began conversion of COBOL programs.
October 1997 -- finished COBOL conversion.
April 1998 -- Y2K-compliant version of database put into production.
July 1998 -- identified critical trading partners.
December 1998 -- mainframe applications compliant.
Total staff hours through the end of 1998 -- 20,300 ($.40 per line of
Eddy concludes: "Odds are that your organization is far less organized,
disciplined, and focused than ASI. Extrapolate across the Fortune 500.
Now, make your own judgments about the public pronouncements about Y2K
project progress." (JG)
PLAN FOR THE WORST IN Y2K LIQUIDITY CONTINGENCIES
(Source: Leonard Matz, FEDERAL RESERVE BANK OF SAN FRANCISCO Website)
What can you do to ensure that you have enough liquidity for potential
Y2K problems? Here are some edited excerpts from an article by Leonard
Matz posted on the FEDERAL RESERVE BANK OF SAN FRANCISCO Website:
"When you estimate how much liquidity you may need for a Y2K problem,
we strongly suggest that you focus on developing a worst-case scenario.
The risks and rewards associated with liquidity are asymmetrical. By
that we mean that the risk of having too much liquidity -- less robust
profits -- is almost always much smaller than the risk of not having
enough liquidity -- in the extreme, bank failure. Consequently it makes
sense to focus contingency planning on a potentially severe crisis."
"If there is a Y2K liquidity problem, it will probably impact financial
markets, not just individual financial institutions. In a typical, institution-specific,
liquidity crisis, like those we saw in the 1980s and 1990s, a bank could
easily sell marketable assets like Treasury securities to raise cash
quickly. Often the issue for those banks was simply whether or not they
had enough marketable assets. The situation in a systematic crisis is
quite a bit different. In a systemic crisis, lots of investors try to
sell their marketable securities. As a result, prices for those securities
plummet. Your Y2K liquidity plan should not emphasize the sale of marketable
securities as a primary source of new funds."
"Be particularly conservative when you estimate worst-case potential
drawdowns of lines of credit backing market funding. The most obvious
examples are the back up lines of credit that support commercial paper
issued by large corporations. If a Y2K liquidity crisis does occur.
it is reasonable to assume that most, if not all, such lines will quickly
be [with]drawn." (JG)
BENNETT REQUESTS YOUR PARTICIPATION
(Source: Liza Christian)
Congress' JOINT ECONOMIC COMMITTEE is sponsoring a 1st-ever NATIONAL
SUMMIT ON HIGH TECHNOLOGY to highlight, explore and advance issues that
are important to this growing and critical sector of the US economy.
June 14th, 15th and 16th.
The Summit will consist of three days of high-profile hearings with
testimony from recognized leaders in the high-tech industry.
FEDERAL RESERVE Chairman Alan Greenspan will kick off the Summit on
Monday June 14th, and will highlight the outstanding impact this growing
and relatively new segment of the economy has had on jobs, wages and
standards of living.
MICROSOFT CORPORATION Chairman and CEO Bill Gates will kick off Day
Two of the Summit on Tuesday, June 15. Gates will make a presentation
and provide remarks that will include his thoughts on the economy, the
high-tech industry, and where he sees technology taking us in the future.
As well as discussing new technologies, the Summit will incorporate
them. Witnesses will be able to testify via video teleconference; the
Summit will be live-streamed over the Internet; and schools around the
country will be linked up so that students will be able to participate
and ask questions.
Finally, Senator Bennett invites those with Y2K-related questions for
Bill Gates, Louis Gerstner, Jr.; Chairman and CEO of IBM and others
to email in their questions. (DS)
Joint Economic Committee Website: http://jec.senate.gov/techsummit/
Joint Economic Committee email address (please state your home town):
DON'T CHASE Y2K RED HERRINGS
(Source: E. L. Core, WESTERGAARD YEAR 2000, 4/16 & 29/1999)
A red herring is defined as "something that draws attention away
from the central issue," and is derived from the use of smoked
herring to distract hunting dogs from the trail. Here are a sampling
of Y2K herrings noticed by Y2K analyst E. L. Core with some edited comments:
Planes will not fall from the sky: "I am unaware of anybody who
has seriously suggested that planes might 'fall out of the sky.' Moreover,
it distracts from the real Y2K issues of air transportation: Will air
traffic control be ready? Will airports be ready? Will insurance be
available? Will flight crews be willing to take the risk? Will international
flights be canceled or curtailed to countries far behind in Y2K preparation?
And how might that affect international trade?"
Microwaves, VCRs, coffee makers, etc. don't care what the date is: "We
shouldn't be wondering about microwaves and VCRs. We should be wondering
about international trade and oil supplies."
Bank vaults will open, ATMs will work, accounts won't be zeroed: "Don't
let anybody -- especially bankers -- make you confine your thinking
about the banking industry to the immediate and the obvious."
The profit motive will make companies get the job done: "Baloney.
Motivation itself accomplishes nothing. Work is what accomplishes something."
Trigger dates: "Harping about 'trigger dates' is the Y2K alarmists'
most effective way of shooting themselves in the foot, by setting up
false bad expectations."
They're making progress: "We know companies and governmental agencies
are making progress. Question is: will enough of them make enough progress
At worst, Y2K will be like a winter storm: "The notion that Y2K
failures will be wrapped up in a few days, and that their consequences
will perforce be short-lived [is] patent nonsense."
It won't be "The End Of The World As We Know It" (TEOTWAWKI):
"This Y2K red herring uses the acronym TEOTWAWKI as if it were
just "The End Of The World" (TEOTW). TEOTWAWKI is a lot less
The Y2K witching hour: "There will be a Y2K Witching Hour. It will
be the beginning of a period of troubles, not the end of it."
These short circuits in thinking -- deliberate or not -- are intellectual
dishonesty. According to psychotherapist Douglass Carmichael, they might
very well have real-world consequences unlike any we have encountered
before: "First, they are preventing a more rigorous investigation
of the extent of the problem. Second, they are slowing down the awareness
of the intensity of the problem... and the urgency of the need for solutions....
Third, they are making almost certain a higher degree of ultimate panic."
YEAR 2000 INVESTOR KIT ISSUED
(Source: ASSOCIATED PRESS, 6/9/1999)
The PRESIDENT'S COUNCIL ON YEAR 2000 CONVERSION, in cooperation with
the SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION, the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF
SECURITIES DEALERS and the SECURITIES INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION, have put
together an information package to help investors prepare for the new
millennium. In addition to a review of the financial industry's efforts
to prepare, the "Year 2000 Investor Kit" includes a list of
questions frequently asked by investors, a Year 2000 checklist, and
the following advice:
- Keep good financial records.
- Stay informed about what actions your financial service companies
are taking to become ready for the Year 2000.
- Get the Year 2000 publications provided by your brokerage firms, mutual
funds, investment advisers and corporations in which you hold stock.
- Continue to invest for the long term.
- Check the Year 2000 readiness of your personal computers. (JG)
Year 2000 Investor Kit: http://www.nasdr.com/3600_inv_kit.htm
TIPS ON HOME CANNING
(Source: Karen Anderson, DEAR KAREN, 5/24/1999)
Here are some tips on home canning from homemaker and Y2K analyst, Karen
Anderson (references at the end of the article):
Foods, when properly canned, can last up to a year and sometimes even
longer. The process is fairly simple. The trick is learning how to do
Some of the problems with store-bought canned food are price, quality,
and variety. Home canned food is as close to fresh as you can get. You
control what goes in it therefore maintaining a higher quality of nutrition
for your family. Buy from a local farmers' market because you get to
meet the farmers and the prices are about half of the local grocery
The first step in the process is knowledge: read about it. The "Ball
Canning Book" is a great place to start. "The Joy of Cooking"
has a section on canning that is also helpful.
You will need a few things to start:
- A canner (buy a large one)
- Proper jars and lids
- Utensil to grab your jars out of the hot water
If you are a beginner, go strictly by the book before you start experimenting
on your own. There are a few things that are easier than others, such
as jellies and tomatoes.
Food safety specialists say food preserved at home by inexperienced
canners may pose a threat of food poisoning. Bill Evers, foods and nutrition
specialist with PURDUE UNIVERSITY Cooperative Extension/Service, notes
that the Clostridium botulinum bacterium (botulism) which can cause
paralyzing effects in humans, is the biggest concern - especially for
the first-time canner who might make a mistake that could contaminate
the food. Evers says, "Canning requires pressure cooking with the
proper canner at 10 pounds pressure to kill the organism and make food
safe." He points out that in addition to the danger of botulism,
any food that is improperly handled is subject to growth of other food
poisoning bacteria such as Salmonella, E. coli, and Listeria, all of
which can cause serious sickness or death. When in doubt, throw it out!
One of the major suppliers of home canning products is the ALLTRISTA
CORPORATION, makers of Ball and Kerr brand products. They don't have
a website yet, but they do have a have a toll free number to call for
tips, recipes, and answers to any questions about home canning. Stock
up on now while all the seasonal canning supplies are in great abundance.
Don't use mayonnaise jars because they may break in the pressure canner.
Knowing how to can, you can put up in this season enough food to last
your family a year. That knowledge alone gives peace of mind on Y2K.
For more information, the U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE (USDA) has
a website called the "Complete Guide to Home Canning" that
has a wealth of information on various topics and includes the National
Food Safety Database. (JG)
Publications on canning and food safety: http://www.agcom.purdue.edu/AgCom/Pubs/cfs.htm#8
Joy of Cooking: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0452279232/y2kwomen
Ball Canning Book: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/9990800650/y2kwomen
USDA Complete Guide to Home Canning: http://www.foodsafety.org/canhome.htm
Alltrista Corporation: (800) 240-3340
THE LIGHTER SIDE OF Y2K:
CASHING IN ON Y2K
(Sources: REUTERS/WIRED NEWS, 6/9/1999)
When it comes to Y2K, the public is typically divided into two camps:
those who expect moderate to serious disruptions and are preparing accordingly,
and those who think Y2K is perhaps the biggest scam of the 20th century.
But there is also a third group of people: entrepreneurs seeking to
make a quick buck on all the commotion.
A few examples:
Jonathan Gavzer, an acupuncturist/masseur in San Francisco, is marketing
a body lotion called "Y2K Jelly -- Millenni-lube." The potion
combines herbs and floral essences, which Gavzer said are helpful for
easing fear and anxiety. Millenni-lube is not to be confused with the
product registered to Kevin Nelms of Fort Worth, Texas, whose Y2K jelly
is described as a "computer cream."
There's also the "Y2K Guardian Angel" -- a plush decoration
for computers that, presumably, keeps bugs at bay. If it doesn't work,
maybe you need "Y2K Computer Bug Spray" -- which inventor
Gary Mazur of Springfield, Virginia described as "compressed air
or gas to clean computers and clocks, etc."
At $12.99, the Y2K Bug ornament from BRONNER'S CHRISTMAS WONDERLAND,
was designed to sit on your monitor with the message "Happy New
Year 2000! Hope I'm not bugging you."
And if you don't get computer bugs, you can always pretend you did by
playing the electronic interactive game, "Y2K Millennium Bugs,"
from ABC INTERNATIONAL TRADERS of California.
When it's all over, you'll need the T-shirt or the baseball cap to say,
"I Survived Y2K," "Byte Me Y2K," "Y2KDE'BUG,"
There is also the "Y2K Survival Kit" -- a $14.99 gift from
COMPUTERGEAR that includes a squirt gun to protect your family; sunflower
seeds, to grow your own food; and a forked twig, for finding water.
Jerry Horton of Minneapolis has a better idea: the "Y2K Rock."
Horton says, "If your computer doesn't work, you throw the rock
at it." (DS)
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):
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