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NHNE Y2K Report 2
Sunday, November 15, 1998


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NHNE Y2K Report 2
Sunday, November 15, 1998

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"We are about to face a phenomenon the world has not seen since the boat shortage in Noah's day."

--- Gary North, GARY NORTH'S Y2K LINKS & FORUM, 10/31/98




Specter of Civil Chaos
Y2K Top Priority at Pentagon
Y2K Reporting Suspect
Nuclear Industry Preparing for Y2K
The More You Know, The Lower You Go
Have Telephone Companies Exterminated Millennium Bug?
New Y2K Disclosure Rule in Effect
Fix Y2K or Face Bankruptcy
Sales of Gold Coins Skyrocket
Four More Threats


Isn't Apple Compliant?


Year 2000 Home Preparation Video
Y2K No Longer A "Fringe" Issue


Y2K War: Less Time, More Money
Date-Change Problems Have Already Started
Crunch Time for Y2k Suppliers
Concern for the Individual
Is Y2K a Conspiracy?
Embedded Chips Not Such a Big Problem?
A Wrinkle in Time
Y2K & the Pharmacy
Canada Prepares for Y2K
Bank Experts Nervous
Christian Groups Respond to Y2k Bug
Into the Future with Oil Lamps


Russia Threatened by Starvation


The Y2K Fun Page
Stupid Things Said About Y2K



(Source: SCOTSMAN, 11/5/98; Peter Branton,VNU NEWSWIRE, 11/5/98, both via YEAR 2000 INFORMATION CENTER)

The British government fears that the millennium computer bug will lead to a disaster that could result in troops in the streets. Secret contingency plans have emerged as a result of a leaked letter from the first minister of the Scottish Parliament, Donald Dewar. The correspondence, marked "Restricted Policy," raised the specter of power blackouts resulting in civil unrest and revealed that Jack Straw, the British Home Secretary, would be on emergency standby over the millennium period to take control of a top level committee in the event of a "massive disaster;" Dewar would be on standby in case a crisis occurs in Scotland. Dewar is concerned that cuts to the Territorial Army could leave the Government unable to cope in the event of a shutdown of key services such as electricity and telecommunications which could lead to a civil emergency. In response, Margaret Beckett, leader of the House of Commons, assured the public that, "This government's top priority in terms of the millennium bug has always been the safe and secure supply of essential services...whatever the outcome." (JG)

Link: http://www.scotsman.com/news/ne00spla981105.1.html Link: http://webserv.vnunet.com/www_user/plsql/pkg_vnu_news.right_frame?p_story=67939


(Source: Richard Burnett, THE ORLANDO SENTINEL, 11/2/98 via Y2K NEWS)

The Y2K problem is now a number one priority at the Pentagon, where efforts to solve the year 2000 computer flaw have taken on almost emergency proportions. "We don't even know yet what we don't know about how Y2K will affect defense systems," said former Director of the DEFENSE INFORMATION SYSTEMS AGENCY, retired Lt. Gen. Albert J. Edmonds, at the defense industry's annual 10-Year Forecast Conference. "Only 29 percent of our mission-critical systems are now Y2K-compliant." (JG)

Link: http://www.startext.net/news/doc/1047/1:COMP23/1:COMP23110298.html


(Source: Bill Koenig, Y2K TODAY, 11/5/98)

In October, the SECURITIES EXCHANGE COMMISSION (SEC) took its first disciplinary action against 37 American brokerage firms for failing to file disclosure reports about the steps they are taking to address their Year 2000 problems. Now the SEC is pushing for more accurate earnings estimates by publicly-traded corporations because many companies are suspected of making inaccurate reports for fear of what effect the truth will have on their stock prices. (JG)

Link: http://www.y2ktoday.com/modules/home/default.asp?feature=true&id=495


(Sources: THE ELECTRICITY DAILY, 10/29/98; NANDO TIMES, 11/2/98)

The U.S. NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION (NRC) says it has completed 3 of 12 audits at nuclear power plants in order to evaluate progress in dealing with the Y2K problem. "So far," said the commission, "results have not shown the need for further NRC regulatory action." For some time now, the nuclear industry has claimed that problems with safe operations or shut down of nuclear plants during emergencies are unlikely because most are controlled by mechanical equipment, not computers. The NRC is also spearheading an effort to turn the INTERNATIONAL ATOMIC ENERGY AGENCY in Geneva into a clearinghouse for information on worldwide efforts on Y2K. The NRC admits that Y2K problems may be more difficult to deal with in nuclear facilities in the former Soviet Union than in the U.S. and western Europe. To further promote dialogue, Canada's NUCLEAR ENERGY AGENCY plans to host an international workshop on potential millennium problems for the world's nuclear industry in February. (JG)

Link: http://web.lexis-nexis.com/more/cahners/11368/3928032/18 Link: http://www2.nando.net/newsroom/ntn/info/110298/info2_1422_noframes.html


(Source: Edward Yardeni, ZDY2K via SANGER'S REVIEW OF Y2K NEWS REPORTS)

In early April 1998, the BASEL COMMITTEE ON BANK SUPERVISION released the results of their survey on Year 2000 preparations. The survey covered the 12 countries on the G10 committee plus 28 non-G10 countries, representing a broad cross-section of industrialized and emerging market countries. The bad news is that before the beginning of 1997, only nine countries had programs for assessing bank preparations, and 25 percent did not begin to assess the situation until the last three months of 1997. It also appears that the more time supervisors spend on the problem, the more pessimistic are their appraisals of the situation. (JG)

Link: http://www.zdnet.com/zdy2k/1998/10/5040.html



Good news, if you can believe it. Representatives from telephone companies around the world reported recently that they have taken precautions to protect themselves from the millennium computer bug. For example, South Korea and BRITISH TELECOMMUNICATIONS (BT) claim that they have almost completed their remedial programs. But Ross Anderson of CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY's Computer Laboratory says that something has to be wrong -- both are using the same equipment, yet while BT has spent $750 million to repair Y2K-related problems, South Korea has spent nothing. (JG)

Link: http://www2.nando.net/newsroom/ntn/biz/110598/biz18_18665_noframes.html



The U.S. GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTING STANDARDS BOARD has just enacted a rule that forces state and local governments to report the amount of money and resources they have committed to fix the Year 2000 problem. The Board said that failure of state and local governments to address the problem adequately would "cause major disruptions in government services, including the performance of power plants, water and sewer systems, law-enforcement agencies and fire departments." (JG)

Link: http://www.msnbc.com/news/211432.asp



According to Don Cruickshank, Chairman of ACTION 2000, any business that has not checked, upgraded and tested its digital systems by next autumn runs a serious risk of being bankrupt within six months. "I am less optimistic about the fate of smaller companies in Britain than I was." Only 60 percent of British firms have assessed the risks of the bug to their business. "Many businesses think it is just to do with PCs," says Gerard Long, Senior Manager for the Year 2000 Program at MIDLAND BANK. "They haven't thought about contingency plans and they are very vulnerable to glitches that could put them out of business." (JG)

Link: http://www.sunday-times.co.uk/news/pages/sti/98/11/01/stisuptwo02011.html?1121017


(Source: Howard Wolinsky, CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 11/1/98 via GARY NORTH'S Y2K LINKS & FORUMS)

A Chicago coin store that would normally sell $100,000 in gold coins per quarter, has sold $3.5 million over the last four months. Harlan Berk, owner of HARLAN J. BERK LTD, said demand is big for British gold sovereigns and 20-franc coins from Belgium, France and Switzerland. One sovereign sells for about $90 and contains a quarter ounce of gold. These coins are more popular than those containing a full ounce of gold because they are more affordable and easier to exchange if there is a shortage of cash or the banking system goes down. Up to a few months ago, gold coins were just a sideline for this store. No increase in staff has been required to handle the increase in volume -- the size of each order has just gotten larger. Gary North, Y2K analyst, reports that the same scenario is being played out in other coin stores as well. (JG)

Link: http://www.suntimes.com/output/news/surv01.html


(Source: ASSOCIATED PRESS via FOX NEWS, 9/10/98)

Just when you thought that Y2K was the only major problem on the horizon, FOX NEWS has come up with four more things to worry about:

- The conversion to the new eurocurrency begins in January, 1999. - The Global Positioning System calendar fails on August 22, 1999. - The U.S. is running out of social security numbers. - The world is running out of phone numbers.

That the eurocurrency conversion is scheduled to begin less than a year from the arrival of the new millennium seems to be quite an oversight, considering the fact that there are not enough programmers to deal with either issue. (JG)

Link: http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/100998/y2kcousins.sml




"Re. you comment in NHNE Y2K Report 1 that '...there is not a single Fortune 500 company all set...,' is APPLE not a Fortune 500 company?"

--- Michael Sohaski, Cottonwood, AZ

[Surprisingly, while there are little or no problems with Apple computers (http://www.apple.com/macos/info/2000.html ), Apple, as a company, is not yet Y2K compliant and has issued one of the vaguest SEC reports I have seen. The report reads in part:

"The Company is aware of the Year 2000 issue and has commenced a program to identify, remediate, test and develop contingency plans for the Year 2000 issue, to be substantially completed by the fall of 1999....Should the Company's internal systems, its software and/or hardware products to be delivered to customers or the internal systems of one or more significant vendors, manufacturers or suppliers fail to achieve Year 2000 compliance, the Company's business and its results of operations could be adversely affected."

For the complete report, go to: http://www.progsys.com/yardeni/Y2KFind.asp and search for "Apple Computer" -- DS]



(Source: Avian Rogers, Y2K SOLUTIONS GROUP, INC.)

Ed Yourdon, Y2K authority and author of "TimeBomb 2000," has just created a credible, level-headed, practical video presentation on what people and their families need to do to get ready -- and WHY. Topics in "Ed Yourdon's Home Preparation Guide" include food and water storage, alternative sources of heat, and safety and health concerns. Each video comes with a "Year 2000 Preparedness Catalog" which carries everything from food storage products to solar flashlights. Yourdon's companion website offers quality information and links, vendors of preparedness equipment and food offer discounts. The site features weekly tips and charts for determining your family's needs for food and water, plus an upcoming biweekly "Y2K-Ready Newsletter." His approach to the Y2K problem is neither doom and gloom nor complacency, but rather assumes the possibility of a temporary break in the infrastructure that delivers essential services and goods. (JG)

Link: http://www.readyfory2k.com



The press is finally starting to wake up and take notice of the Y2K threat. On November 1, the LONDON SUNDAY TIMES published a series of 12 excellent articles introducing various aspects of Y2K. The ECONOMIST ran a similar series on Sept. 19. The most recent edition of COMPUTER WEEKLY features 10 articles on Y2K and relates issues. Any of the series would be good to show to friends who are still under the mistaken impression that serious Y2K concerns are limited to the fringe element. (JG)

Link: http://www.sunday-times.co.uk/news/pages/sti/98/11/01/stisupcon01001.html?1733620 Link: http://www.year2000.com/articles/NFarticles.html



(Sources: REUTERS; Erich Luening, CNET NEWS.COM, 11/10/98 via SANGER'S REVIEW OF Y2K NEWS REPORTS)

The Year 2000 bug is hitting corporate budgets hard on a global scale. In what might be the most important Y2K news story in weeks, IT consultant company CAP GEMINI has just released its Millennium Index study of 1,680 companies in Europe and the U.S. The results are quite surprising:

- Total company Y2K spending estimates, for both U.S. and Europe, rose to $858 billion, up from the $719 billion predicted in April.

- Since April, nearly 60 percent of all available IT labor resources have been focused on Year 2000 efforts.

- Most respondents have already spent more than 40 percent of their total projected Year 2000 budgets, ranging from a high of 61 percent by the U.S. to a low of 37 percent by Spain.

- While 83 percent of U.S. respondents were confident critical systems would not be affected, 98 percent have adopted contingency plans; In Europe, where 95 percent of European firms were confident that critical systems would not be affected, 60 percent have adopted contingency plans.

- 67 percent see potential failures of essential services.

- 38 percent are stockpiling inventories.

Cap Gemini vice chairman Geoff Unwin remarked that "the fight against the millennium problem will go right down to the wire. As costs increase, many organizations are working on ultra-tight deadlines, with only half doing real-time testing before the year 2000." (JG)

Link: http://www.news.com/News/Item/0,4,28566,00.html


(Source: DAILY TELEGRAPH, 11/5/98; Anastasia Stanmeyer, NEWSWEEK/NEWSBYTES, 11/10/98 via SANGER'S REVIEW OF Y2K NEWS REPORTS)

Problems with the date change from 99 to 00 have already started around the world:

- In Holland, motorists with newly-issued bank cards showing "00" expiry dates had them rejected at petrol stations.

- A 109-year-old Swedish woman received a letter informing her of the various schools available to her when she reached 10.

- A tin of corned beef from MARKS & SPENCER was dumped on the grounds that the food was 96 years out of date.

- A date roll-over check on a power station led to its shut-down within 20 seconds. The fault was traced to a flue stack temperature sensor that was programmed to minimize fluctuations using the date to make calculations.

- A computer clock set to 2000 at a CHRYSLER MOTORS plant locked all the doors and refused to let staff out.

- Some banks in China have already been unable to establish three-year fixed rates for depositors because their computers couldn't handle the Y2K change.

- During a test in an American nuclear power station, the device that controlled the depth of fuel rods in the core began to oscillate because the date-sensitive air-conditioning system in the control room failed.

- The U.S. social security computer system was not able to process payment schedules that ran beyond the end of the present century.

- For the first six months of 1997, VISA had to stop issuing cards with expiry dates in 2000 for fear that they would be rejected. (JG)

Link: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/et?ac=001175829442254&pg=/et/98/11/5/nbug205.html Link: http://www.cnnfn.com/digitaljam/newsbytes/121179.html.


(Source: Declan McCullagh, WIRED NEWS, 11/5/98)

The looming Year 2000 bug has sent thousands of Americans scrambling to load up on bulk food, generators and solar cells. If ordered today, some of the products won't arrive on a customer's doorstep until spring 1999. And delays are expected to grow. "99.99 percent of the people we deal with are preparing for Y2K," says Tamera Toups, office manager for Montana-based bulk food supplier PEACE OF MIND ESSENTIALS. "If anyone doesn't have an order in by the end of April, their chances of getting it before 2000 are pretty slim," she says.

Trying to procure a diesel generator is also shaping up to be increasingly difficult. "Orders are up about 1,000 percent since the first of the year," says Loren Day, President of CHINA DIESEL IMPORTS, the largest U.S. distributor of diesel generators. Shipments of his company's most popular 8,000-watt model are already running six months behind. He now has the world's two largest generator manufacturers running at near capacity in China to satisfy U.S. demand. "And the amount of people who will want a generator now is nothing compared to the amount of people who will want a generator later," Day adds. Diesel generators are preferred over gas for their reliability and fuel economy.

Renewable energy products are also a hot items. "A lot of small [solar] installers around the country that have been struggling to make a living are now booked for months in advance," says Karen Perez, publisher of HOME POWER magazine. Laura Myers, a sales representative for solar equipment distributor SUNELCO, confirms, "We're totally swamped by Y2K." She predicts that orders placed after next spring won't arrive until 2000. (JG)

Link: http://www.wired.com/news/news/politics/story/16035.html?1


(Source: THE GARTNER GROUP, 10/28/98)

While many Y2K consulting firms have written extensively on the impact the looming Year 2000 Problem is expected to have on enterprises and economies, few have focused on the individual. For this reason, the GARTNER GROUP has just released a Strategic Analysis Report that provides strategies, models and advice to help an individual lower the risk of being seriously disrupted by the Year 2000 problem.

The report urges individuals to take a long-term view of the issues. Based on their assumption that most mission-critical failures will be corrected within three days, preparing for the new millennium should be much like preparing for a hurricane that will last less than a week.

For the most part, preparing for the Year 2000 requires common sense and the implementation of contingency plans in a timely manner. As "no man is an island," individuals should work with friends, neighbors and their communities to create a comprehensive plan for assessing and dealing with the risks associated with the "Millennium Bug."

The Gartner Group's bottom line: individuals should prepare for localized failures of services and infrastructure rather than an apocalypse. The type and number of failures will vary geographically and cannot really be predicted. Individuals should ensure that they have at cash reserves equivalent to at least two week's salary and a five-day supply of key consumables such as food, fuel and medication. (JG)

Link: http://gartner4.gartnerweb.com/public/static/home/00073955.html


(Source: Jim Lord, Y2K TIMEBOMB, 11/2/98)

One of the most frequently questions Y2K authority Jim Lord gets on the speaking circuit is, "Is Y2K A Conspiracy?." Here is part of his response:

"I find it impossibly hard to conclude Y2K was created as part of an international conspiracy....In my experience, [programmers, computer scientists, software engineers and systems analysts] are about the least controllable, most cantankerous, anti-social group of people in existence....The idea they could have created Y2K surreptitiously, under the guidance and control of some shadowy group of conspirators and on a totally global scale is unbelievable to me.

"I spent nearly 40 years working in technology and managing technical people across a broad spectrum. This included 24 years of active duty military service and another 15 as a defense contractor. I've been involved in maintenance, repair, design, engineering, operations, analysis, testing, training, program management and marketing. I've held multiple high- level security clearances and worked on large, classified government programs. I've been intimately involved in a great deal of the technology that is now at risk. In short, I have a lot of first hand experience with government and its management of high technology. I can tell you with a certainty that the national security apparatus is struggling with Y2K right along with all other parts of the federal government.

"In short, the idea that such a conspiracy could have occurred is beyond credibility....Y2K is happening because of bad technical management, the worst of which is found in the U.S. government.

"My Tip for this week is to keep focusing your energies on preparing yourself, your family, your neighborhood and your community for the potential economic disruptions that Y2K could bring into our lives. Don't waste your time looking for boogie-men where none exist." (JG & DS)

Link: http://y2ktimebomb.com/Tip/Lord/lord9844.htm


(Source: Mitch Ratcliffe, ZDY2K, 10/14/98)

Embedded systems are microchips that control functions in digital devices. Some are very specialized, while others are designed for generic applications in a variety of devices. While early predictions estimated that as many as 20 percent of the billions of embedded systems around the world would fail in the Year 2000, it now turns out that as few as 1 in 100,000 embedded chips may actually be faulty, according to Mitch Ratcliffe, referring to a recent report by the GARTNER GROUP.

Moreover, it's not clear that all those date-dependent chips need to be replaced. Many systems will fail in non-critical ways, says Ratcliffe. This only increases the importance of assessment programs, since organizations and individuals that could be impacted by a chip failure need to make an informed choice about whether they should replace it. Ratcliffe cites the following examples to support his position:

- In a test of 540,000 embedded chips, WASHINGTON WATER POWER, a Pacific Northwest utility company, found only 1,800 with date-related problems. Of those chips, only 234 actually needed to be replaced (43 per 100,000).

- The ASSOCIATED PRESS reports that hospitals nationwide are using IV pumps that will shut off in 2000 because they will think they haven't been recalibrated since 1900. But presumably, speculates Ratcliffe, these systems will fail only once, on January 1, 2000, and simply by recalibrating these instruments, you get another 100 years of use out of them. And since they have had to be recalibrated every six months anyway, it can be safely assumed that this is something hospitals should be able to deal with as a part of their normal operation.

- The SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS reports that when the GUADALUPE VALLEY HOSPITAL discovered that all its anesthesia machines would have to be replaced due to an embedded-system problem, it was told by the vendor that the total bill would be $160,000. When the hospital's administrator announced that he intended to buy from another company, the vendor, after a two-day delay, reluctantly offered to fix the existing systems for only $4,000. (JG)

Link: http://www.zdnet.com/zdy2k/1998/10/4925.html

[For a balanced, public discussion between Mitch Ratcliffe of ZIFF-DAVIS Y2K and Harlan Smith of COMPUSERVE's Y2K FORUM re. the claims made in the above article, see: http://www.zdnet.com/zdy2k/1998/10/4982.html]


(Source: Barnaby J. Feder, NEW YORK TIMES, 11/9/98 via SANGER'S REVIEW OF Y2K NEWS REPORTS)

In August 1997, Jace Crouch, a professor of Western Civilization at OAKLAND UNIVERSITY in Michigan, decided to advance the clock in his office computer to Dec. 31, 1999 to see how it would handle the transition to the Year 2000. The rollover happened without a hitch. Afterwards, since Crouch was using the computer for word processing in which the date made no difference, he decided not to reset the clock. During the next two weeks, much to his puzzlement, the computer's clock jumped ahead to December 2000. Others, including Michael Echlin, a programmer at ATOMIC ENERGY CANADA LTD., reported equally mystifying behavior, such as: computers clocks jumping ahead, leaping backward or simply slowing down, and computers unable to locate the pathway to outside phone lines or even their own hard drives. The phenomenon has come to be known as the "Crouch-Echlin Effect" or time dilation (TD).

Crouch and Echlin are selling a fix for the problem, but some criticize them for "selling a fix for something they can't even explain." The puzzle has ignited a simmering technical debate in which some experts see a real, if imperfectly understood, flaw that could cause many computers to malfunction after seeming to sail smoothly into the year 2000. The controversy turns on the intricacies of how computers keep time. A clue as to what might cause the problem is the fact that so far, the Crouch-Echlin Effect has for the most part been observed in computers with "nonbuffered" real-time clocks -- a design not used in today's name-brand computers but common in older devices; however, some recent IBM clones are also said to be susceptible and there is one report of the flaw involving an Mac.

Pressure for a verdict is building, especially with a recent announcement from COMPAQ that the computer giant will be reselling the software fix created by Crouch and Echlin. If the Crouch-Echlin Effect is real, computer users may have to spend billions of dollars testing and possibly replacing equipment that seemed ready for the next century. (JG)

Link: http://www.nytimes.com/library/tech/98/11/biztech/articles/09bug.html



The following excerpts are from an address by Ron Streck, President and CEO of the NATIONAL WHOLESALE DRUGGISTS' ASSOCIATION (NWDA), to the SENATE COMMITTEE ON THE YEAR 2000 TECHNOLOGY PROBLEM:

NWDA is the national trade association representing distributors of pharmaceutical and related healthcare products...[who] provide distribution services to the 130,000 pharmacy outlets in the country...Typically, a single wholesale distribution center stocks an average of 24,000 items and will process over 13,000 order lines per day. Virtually all orders placed by pharmacy customers to their wholesale distributors are transmitted electronically and more and more "electronic" picking devices are used to fill these orders.

NWDA and our members have long been concerned with the potential for Y2K problems...Based on the number of suppliers, customers and orders, it does not take long to speculate on what would happen if there were an interruption of electronic transfer of information. Even if all parts of the prescription drug supply chain are compliant and ready, if there are failures in other links, it would be irrelevant that we are ready....If drug wholesalers cannot provide pharmaceuticals to the pharmacy or hospital when they are needed, the results could be catastrophic.

Over 75 percent of prescription drugs are reimbursed through various third party and government programs. Pharmacies and hospitals purchase products on credit with the expectation that there will be a continual flow of reimbursement to offset these expenses. If prescription drug reimbursements for their Medicaid and Medicare patients should be interrupted for any length of time, we are concerned that many retail pharmacies and rural hospitals will not be able to weather the storm.

Patients and providers are starting to talk about trying to stockpile products as a contingency plan. Not only are there cost and efficiency concerns, but more importantly, there are safety and efficacy issues...due to expiration dates and sensitive storage requirements...Also, many patients are prohibited under their insurance plans from obtaining more than a 30-day supply of their prescription. Clearly, stockpiling or hoarding prescription drugs is not the answer. (JG)

Link: http://www.senate.gov/~y2k/statements/100798streck.html


By James Gregory

The CANADIAN BROADCASTING CORPORATION (CBC) considers Y2K issues of such national importance that it has launched a weekly news report on its flagship radio show, "This Morning." The host, Robert Harris, kicked off "Y2K Today" on October 8, 1998 with the following headlines:

- "Cars May Not be Free From Y2K Harm:" Mark Frouchey, computer automotive specialist, warns that the embedded chips in new car engines control the ignition, power steering and power train. As of the first day of the year 2000, your car may not work.

- "Pat Boone Joins Y2K National Education Task Force:" Boone, dubbed the "Millennium Spokesinger" encourages everyone to make preparedness a family project. His message is simple: "Don't panic."

- "The ROYAL CANADIAN MOUNTED POLICE (RCMP) Cancels All Leave:" Canada's national police force, has issued a nationwide ban on all leave in order to ensure that a full force is available to fight the millennium bug.

While Harris uses a light-hearted approach to "our wacky look at the millennium bug," he admits that over the last six months the media's attitude to Y2K issues has shifted from: "Is this for real?" to "How bad is it going to be?" The significance of such announcements, such as all RCMP leave being canceled, shines through. The ban, which extends from December 27, 1999, to March 15, 2000, is part of the RCMP's emergency preparedness strategy to "expect the unexpected," said Dave Morreau, who heads the RCMP's Year 2000 project. "If people don't have heat and water, then survival becomes a question." The order marks one of the few times that agency has imposed a national ban on leave for all its 15,000 police officers and 2,400 civilian staff.

Preparing for a civil emergency resulting from mass computer collapse on January 1, 2000 has also become the highest priority of the Canadian military, according to Brigadier General Walt Holms, commander of ground forces in the province of Ontario. The military is taking the millennium bug so seriously, that its Y2K contingency plan, code named Project Abacus, has been assigned a higher priority than Canada's role in the NATO force in Bosnia-Herzegovina, where 1,319 Canadian soldiers are stationed to help enforce the Dayton Accord.

While Canada is more advanced than most countries in dealing with the Y2K problem, preparations lag about six months behind the U.S.

(Sources: Robert Harris, CBC Radio 1; 10/8/98; Patrick Cain, Capital City, 10/8/98; The Ottawa Citizen, 10/3/98)



The good news is that many independent analysts have ranked the American banking industry as one of the most aggressive in confronting the Year 2000 problem. For example, the GARTNER GROUP rates the domestic financial services industry as "low risk." Furthermore, banking is the most intensely regulated industry in the U.S. and bank examiners have been busy issuing guidelines, assessing the adequacy of each institution's project, and setting deadlines for remediation and testing.

So the "official" Y2K word from U.S. banks is that they are doing just great, thank you very much...or are they? At a meeting of the INTERNATIONAL BANKERS ASSOCIATION in October in Carlsbad, California, John Hosack, a partner in the law firm ARTER & HADDEN who specializes in Y2K litigation, warned that problems associated with Y2K will result in whopping losses in the nation's banks and financial institutions in the coming two years, to the tune of one trillion dollars in liability claims alone.

According to a recent industry-wide survey released by WEISS RATINGS INC., about 1,300 out of the country's 11,000 banks (12 percent) are behind schedule in addressing the problem, which Martin Weiss, the survey's director, noted was a cause of "grave concern."

In the worst case scenario, a bank could fail if its problems became insurmountable. In that instance, funds deposited in insured accounts amounting to $100,000 or less would be repaid by THE FEDERAL DEPOSIT INSURANCE CORPORATION (FDIC). Note that during the past decade, banks have offered an increasing quantity of non-deposit investment products such as mutual funds, money market funds, and fixed rate and variable rate annuities. These types of accounts are NOT insured by the FDIC. If you are unsure if your funds qualify for FDIC insurance, talk to your bank manager.

Business owners have more to fear from the possible failure of their banks and the consequent forced transfer of their banking business to other institutions. While the FDIC will protect a business's insured deposits up to $100,000 in aggregate, no similar protection is accorded to borrowers.

Experts recommend that by the end of the year, depositors select banks that are Y2K compliant; and even with this assurance, depositors are encouraged to keep detailed records of financial transactions over the next two years to spot any inaccuracies resulting from unexpected Y2K-related glitches.

Experts also recommend that you keep some cash on hand during the date-change transition. Once you have decided how much you will be withdrawing, you should discuss your plans with the bank manager, who should be able to arrange for you to receive your cash in a private area, away from any prying eyes in the bank lobby. Don't leave this until the last minute. By planning ahead, you will be helping your banker determine how much cash to order to accommodate increases in consumer demand. (JG)

Link: http://www.y2ktoday.com/modules/home/default.asp



Christian organizations in the U.S. are concerned about the Y2K bug and are responding in a variety of ways:

- Pat Robertson's CHRISTIAN BROADCASTING NETWORK (CBN) has aired a two-part special on Y2K, offering six free fact sheets and newsletters on Y2K. So far, 120,000 people have placed orders.

- JOSEPH PROJECT 2000, a new ministry based in Woodstock, Ga., is encouraging church leaders across the country to help prepare their communities for Y2K. Volunteers are doing everything from checking to see if local utilities are Y2K compliant to storing water and grain.

- The ASSEMBLIES OF GOD has issued a statement condemning "alarmist tactics" related to Y2K, which reads, in part: "We encourage our people not to engage in hoarding food, withdrawing money from banks, or believing doomsday scenarios."

-- Religious broadcaster Morris Cerullo links the Y2K computer issue to end-times prophecy. In his book "January 1, 2000...The Day the World Shuts Down?" he claims that "the world may very well be headed into the worst tribulation it has ever known."

- CATHOLIC CHARITIES USA in Alexandria, Va. is conducting a compliance survey of its vendors, and will distribute the results to its 152 member agencies.

- Jerry Falwell's LIBERTY BROADCASTING NETWORK has produced videotapes of programs informing their audience about Y2K. More than 1,250 copies of Falwell's three-part sermon on the topic have sold at $28 each. (JG)

Link: http://www.startext.net/news/doc/1047/1:RELIGION42A/1:RELIGION42A110498.html


(Source: Louis Lavelle, BERGEN RECORD CORP, 11/1/98 via YEAR 2000 INFORMATION CENTER)

Consider the following Dec. 31, 1999 scenario:

The new millennium first arrives in the Pacific, traveling west from the international date line. In Auckland, New Zealand, the celebration comes to an abrupt end as the city plunges into darkness. Television screens showing the festivities in Sydney, Australia, suddenly go blank. In Tokyo, Beijing, Tehran, and Moscow, the stroke of midnight is accompanied by silence, darkness, and confusion. In Paris, the City of Light disappears behind the dark veil enveloping the globe. As the millennium races across the Atlantic, a rising tide of panic overtakes the U.S. Alarm creeps into the voices of television anchormen. Civil defense sirens puncture the night sky. Parents reach out for their children, husbands, for their wives. In New York, parties disband early and revelers flee the city en masse. The bridges and tunnels congeal into a solid mass of vehicles, making escape impossible. Then at ten seconds to midnight, what's left of the civilized world watches as Times Square partygoers -- unaware that the world around them has been plunged into darkness and chaos -- begin the countdown. The ball makes its descent...and the lights go out.

This dark vision is shared by thousands of Americans who, because of their fear of the fallout from the millennium bomb, are going to extraordinary lengths to make sure they get through the first few years of the 21st century relatively unscathed. They are buying farms, stockpiling food, and preparing for the day when, they believe, anarchy will be loosed upon the world. Their goal is complete self-reliance, of the sort virtually unknown in the United States since the previous century. Where most people see a minor inconvenience, these survivalists see "the end of the world as we know it." Where most people see the basic goodness of human nature preventing a large-scale breakdown in the social order, survivalists see savages in sheep's clothing.

Michael Barkun, a political science professor at SYRACUSE UNIVERSITY who has spent 30 years studying the rise of apocalyptic movements in the U.S., says survivalists are not psychotics. "If you believe in the kind of scenario of an unfolding future of chaos and violence and disorder, then the response is a logical response." Barkun believes that the present apocalyptic mood is the most widespread in U.S. history, with adherents possibly numbering in the hundreds of thousands. The only comparable movement is the Millerite movement of the 1840s. (William Miller, a sectarian leader from Massachusetts, convinced tens of thousands that the Bible prophesied the second coming of Christ in 1843, prompting many to prepare for the "Day of Judgment." When that day, and a second date, passed without incident, the movement fizzled out. A few diehard adherents went on to found the Seventh Day Adventist Church.)

One difference between then and now is the Internet. Jerrold Post, Director of the political psychology program at GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY, says the Internet allows people to form a virtual community, making it easier for extreme beliefs to take root. "We're really in a whole new era of virtual group dynamics. People who never met face to face are reinforcing some pretty extreme beliefs."

Many people dismiss the doomsday predictions of survivalists, but that becomes much harder to do when the apocalypse scenario is described by intelligent, lucid people such as Bernard Sayers, a 57-year-old computer consultant from New Jersey. Sayers expects the first rumblings of a global Y2K panic to begin as early as this coming January, with families across the country buying large quantities of food for long-term storage, water storage systems, and generators. As he sees it, people will move assets out of the stock market and into hard currency, gold, and other precious metals. Land values in rural areas will skyrocket as families flee the cities in search of hideaways.

Sayers plans to greet the new millennium at his 95-acre farm along with 75 or so of his friends and relatives who are willing to shell out $25,000 each to reserve berths at the compound. Sayers expects that he will have no trouble finding that many to join him. By this time next year, he says, he will be fighting people off.

Link: http://www.bergen.com/news/survive2519981101.htm



(Sources: Alexei Bayer via BRIDGE NEWS, Leslie Shepherd via ASSOCIATED PRESS, THE OTTAWA CITIZEN, 10/21/98)

The specter of mass starvation by the end of the century is looming over Russia. Imports of foreign food have all but dried up with the devaluation of the ruble, which has fallen from 6 to the U.S. dollar in August to 17.1 in October. Normally, life without imported foodstuffs would be dreary but not disastrous. What complicates the situation is that most of the staples of the Russian diet are produced on tiny private lots worked by family labor, and historically Russian peasants withhold food in times of trouble. The country's deepening financial crisis has even resulted in a new kind of crime in recent weeks -- burglars are breaking into private apartments and country houses for the sole purpose of stealing food.

Living standards are falling even faster than previously believed, with almost one third of the population now living in poverty, up more than 40 percent from last year. The numbers are expected to climb as the government struggles to come to grips with the three-month-old economic crisis. Inflation is expected to balloon to 200 to 300 percent by the end of the year as the government prints more money as a stopgap measure. To make matters worse, the country is suffering from one of the worst harvests in decades. Large cities in the north and eastern parts of the country are expected to be hardest hit by the food shortages. (JG)



(Thanks to Einiyah ben-Elyon)

Sometimes Y2K issues can get a little heavy, so it was a pleasant surprise to come across a website devoted entirely to the lighter side of Y2K. Here are some samples of the Y2K Fun Page index: "100 Steps to Kill the M Bug" (a new Y2K-related cartoon each week), "Millennium Music" (for the big party), "The Y3K Page" (it's never too soon to start worrying about the Year 3000), "Year 2000 Trivia", "Y2K For Women," "Alphabet of the Apocalypse" (from Airline Groundings to Zero'd Account Balances), "The stupidest thing said about the Y2K problem in the past month."

An item called "Unforeseen Consequences of the Millennium Bug" lists such bloopers as: Jesus shows up late for the Second Coming -- blames it on COBOL programmers. IRS demands a hundred years of interest from stunned taxpayers. "99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall" song gets stuck in infinite loop. At the stroke of midnight, Windows 99 turns back into DOS 1.0, the Pentium V turns back into an 8088, and the user is left holding a beautiful glass mouse. Sales of Coca Cola jump dramatically after original cocaine-laden formula becomes legal again. Unexpected demand for COBOL programmers results in severe understaffing of fast-food restaurants.

And there is a link to a site that offers a free "Y2K Countdown Screensaver." But don't get too attached: it's not Y2K compliant! (JG)

Link: http://www.leonardsloan.com/about/y2k/index.htm


(Source: Ken Orr, DUH-2000)

Ken Orr of the DUH-2000 website conducts a monthly contest to determine the stupidest thing said about Y2K. Here are some of the candidates for October along with Orr's comments in square brackets:

CNET NEWS: "The State Council [of China] decreed last month that all government computer systems must be revised by March, and millennium bug tests must be completed by September 1999. Those that fail to meet the deadlines will be punished." [The floggings will continue until morale improves.]

John Koskinen, Chair of the PRESIDENTIAL COUNCIL ON YEAR 2000 (AFR NET SERVICES): "Every action -- launching a missile, engaging in any military actions -- requires human intervention, so that we are reasonably confident there will not be accidents in terms of systems automatically going off on their own". [Is it just us, or is anyone else bothered by the use of the phrase "reasonably confident" in the same sentence as "launching a missile?"]

Mark Sainsbury, President of the NEW ZEALAND INBOUND TOUR OPERATORS COMMITTEE (NZINFOTECHWEEKLY): "When you are talking about respectable airlines like AIR NEW ZEALAND, you just take it for granted that they will have that covered. They are not going to let their aeroplanes drop out of the sky because of the millennium bug." [Sainsbury later admitted ITOC had not yet talked with Air New Zealand about the implications of Y2K. But we're sure they are working hard on the problem. No need to worry. Nothing can go wrong.]

James Derk, Computer Research Editor for THE EVANSVILLE COURIER: "Unless you live in a foxhole, you know that the world as we know it will cease to exist at midnight on Dec. 31, 1999. That's because all of the computers and electronic devices in the world will think it's the year 1900 instead of 2000. My solution?...We simply agree that it really is 1900 again. We adjust our clocks all the time, why not our calendar? Hint: Take your money out of the stock market on Oct. 20, 1929, keep an eye on the Germans in the 1930s and invest heavily in IBM and MICROSOFT." [And be sure to speak to Captain Grace Hopper in the 1950s so that COBOL is defined with a four-digit default year so we don't have this problem again.]

bob [snip] (Y2KCLASSIFIEDS.COM): "Im not personally going for the y2k problem being computer litterate. But i would like to sell guns to the people as long as they don't want to bring them back after 2000. Glocks are back ordered from the police purchases so the used ones are all gone. I can get you new ones for $450." [And are those Glocks Y2k compliant?]

To nominate someone for the Duh-2000 contest, email the quote and a URL for the reference to: "contest@duh-2000.com". The monthly prize is a Dilbert action figure. (JG)

Link: http://www.duh-2000.com/


Copyright 1998 by NewHeavenNewEarth

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