Date: Thu, 28 Jan 1999 13:27:47 -0500
From: Gary Elliott <firstname.lastname@example.org>
X-Mailer: Mozilla 4.5 [en] (Win95; I)
To: Jane Sooby <email@example.com>, firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: Re: postscript to Y2K
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I thank you for your correction of my language. I meant to say "niggling", which
means petty, or small and of little importance. It was late at night. How you could
even comtemplate that "niggardly" is offensive is beyond me. What is the association
to "nigger", other than the first four letters? If the language is there, we use it.
I am sure you use the terms pop, stop, top, drop, cop etc, all the time, and you
certainly do not offend any Italians.
Context is everything in this world.
For your take on Y2K: You say that it is in business's best interest to fix the
problem to keep operating. You are right. But I will tell you what has gone on in
the past, say 10 years. The computer types is business and government knew what the
problem was. They also felt rather sheepish ( there I go again, probably offending
sheep now) because they had been in the centre of the evolution of this problem. So
they danced around the issue when they discussed it with top management. Management
wanted to ignore it in the short term, because systemically reworking their systems
would be a pure expense, and take away from the bottom line. This could affect share
prices, and their bonuses. This is how the system worked.
So now we are looking at an immoveable deadline, in an industry that often misses
deadlines. Canada and the States are ahead of the rest of the world, but we will
not have systems complete. Read Senator Dodd's periodic report cards on the state of
the US government. The US Department of Defence is looking at being complete in the
year 2029. That's right. 2029.
In Canada, the Defence Department has established something called "Operation
Abacus". It entails having every military person not stationed overseas to be
deployed across the country in the cities at year end 1999.. They are to help the
citizens in case of breakdowns. They will also be there to help Police Deartments
maintain civil order. This has been published in the mainstream press. We Canadians
like our civil order!
In the US, do some searching re the National Guard. There are plans to call up
460,000 members for the same reasons. Some senior officers recently leaked the
plans. This does not make the mainstream press. If you would like the contact
details, email me. Also, you will find that most police departments, fire
departments, utility workers, hospitals etc have cancelled vacations from a period
of Dec 15 through to the middle of January 2000.
You say that any dispute over the matter will be resolved soon enough. Well, you are
wrong. I am in contact with companies and can tell you stories from those in the
trenches that would scare you. You see, companies have been rushing through their
remediation plans to get to testing. The testing part takes one half of the effort.
Most testing plans I see are usually designed not to test the corrections, but to
fit into a time frame that management has set. Testing is our achilles heel.
Oil refineries: Chevron has already announced that they will not be done in time.
Why, because there is too much work. Oil refineries are a terrible problem to
repair, SCADA systems in the pipelines, and embedded chips in the refinery
Japan. I can see utter (sorry cows) disaster in Japan. They are the world's second
largest economy, and are terribly behind. They are behind for different reasons.
One, the social date there is based on when the last emperor assumed the throne. So
it is something like the year 12 there.
Secondly, the Japanese hate to admit they have made a mistake. Think of their
behavior in WW2. So they study the problem to death. Committees and more committes.
I was invited to speak at a conference being held in the Philippines being held in
March. They were bringing in big business types from throughout the country to
explain the proble. President Estrada is going to be the keynote speaker. I politely
declined, the thought of trying to get them motivated with nine months to go was
even beyond me.
I can go on and on, about situations in North America and the rest of the world.
Just do not think that if we are semi OK here that we will not be acutely affected
by breakdowns in the rest of the world.
You will either convince yourself there is a real threat to the world's mechanical
and information infrastructure, or you will be wrong.
Jane Sooby wrote:
> Dear Gary,
> Your posting on y2k was not enough to convince me. It seems to me as if it
> is in big biz's best interest to anticipate any potential problems and fix
> them so they can continue running that wheel of capital across the land. Any
> dispute over the matter will be resolved soon enough.
> I must take issue with your use of one word in particular:
> >The technical boys ... jury rigged a computer system over the past 35 years not
> >thinking there might be anything so niggardly as a century change to
> >come down the pike.
> "Niggardly" is a very old-fashioned word that means "grudgingly reluctant to
> spend or grant" or "stingy." Because of its close association with the word
> "nigger", an extremely offensive epithet, I would avoid its use unless there
> were absolutely no other word that would convey the same meaning.
> Unfortunately, the way you use it isn't even correct. I wonder what exactly
> you do mean by that word.
> I appreciate your social perspective and desire for change, yet some of your
> language put up red flags for me.
> Jane Sooby
> University of Nebraska-Lincoln alternative crops research technician
> Nebraska Sustainable Agriculture Society western organizer
> High Plains Ag Lab
> 3257 Rd. 109
> Sidney, NE 69162
> 308-254-2402 (FAX)
> 308-254-0725 (HOME)
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