> ....My take is a little different. No matter what I choose to buy,
> advertisers are in my face. The emerging commodity of importance in
> the mass-marketing economy is YOUR ATTENTION. One of the most
> important aspects of advertising and public relations these days is
> not what you buy, but what you're aware of. The engineering of
> For example, water purifier, electrical generator, and bunker-food
> companies have always tried to make money off of people by scaring
> them with various potential catastrophes. But it wasn't till a group
> of very savvy Internet consultants engineered the Y2K scare--and
> wormed it into everyone's consciousness--that it generated a mass of
> commercial activity. That is, folks buying their Y2K rations....
I always enjoy reading Misha's acerbic take on the supposed realities
modern life, but her take on y2k as a manufactured problem created by
"Internet consultants" has me shaking my head.
The computers that are the infrastructure of our modern civilization
with a design flaw. Companies and governments around the world are
billions to correct the problems. And you say they all were convinced by
Internet consultants? Politely put, Misha, this is nonsense.
I will quote from the US Senate Year 2000 report issued in September:
"...the likelihood of disruption in oil imports is high due to the lack
of preparedness in key oil producing countries..."
"Several countries of strategic and economic importance to the U.S. are
severely behind in Y2K remediation efforts..."
"The committee remains concerned about the hundreds of different types
of electrical biomedical devices used by all healthier providers... the
difficulty in testing and limited resources available for replacement of
devices at some institutions contributes to the Committee's concern and
raises serious patient safety questions..."
I could go on. This is from your Senate. Y2k is real. Ask the next
person you meet the year of car they own. Invariably, they will say " a
93", or "an 88". We thought in two digits. And we built everything with
that way of thinking.
Think "supply chain breakdown". Our systems have a fault tolerance level
built into them. This tolerance level is about to be sorely tested. I am
afraid we will not like the results.
The problem is being fixed. Unfortunately, we started too late. The
scenario went like this: In 1995 the CIO for a large company sheepishly
went in to see the CEO to try to explain the problem. He or she was
rather sheepish in explaining it, not wanting to appear to be a complete
idiot, for allowing it to happen. The CEO always thought of the IT
people as a necessary evil, modern day mechanics required to implement
and run all those magical computer things that allow him to look good
and perform. A technological servant, so to speak.
The CEO heard what the CIO said and thought, "Okay, they want a lot of
money to fix something that is running fine right now. What is this
going to do to my profitability and my stock options? I guess we can
wait a little bit longer, besides, in 2 years I can cash out and move on
to something else. Let's let the next guy fix it."
Multiply this many times. This is why we will be late. In 1998 the
mantra from companies was to have Y2K remediation done by end
of 1998, leaving a full year for testing. Well that got delayed by 99%
of companies and governments to March 31,1999. Guess what, they delayed
it again. And again. What is happening is that the testing phase is
being shortened and shortened.Testing is between 40% and 70% of a Y2K
project. We are a civilization heading like
lemmings toward the end of the year with our collective fingers crossed.
What about the main stream media? Well, they long ago figured out that
we citizens only like two kinds of "news", one, news that is about the
misfortune of someone else, and two, news that is about our own good
fortune. They give us very little else.
We have become a civilization too wrapped up in what entertains us, and
totally resistant to what can inform us.
Americans have this silly habit of thinking the world is them. It is
not. You are very dependent on trade with the rest of the world, Jesse
Helms notwithstanding. You just do not want to hear about it. I have to
smile when the financial wizards explain that the U.S. is way ahead of
other countries on Y2K, so the U.S. will not have any problems. You
My prediction: The coming breakdowns and disruptions around the world
over the next two years will be the most significant event we have ever
experienced in our collective lives. I have always been amazed by the
sustainable ag people's disinterest in Y2K. See it for what it is! We
built an unsustainable computer infrastructure. It is a prime example of
what we all preach about what is happening in agriculture.
My emotions tell me I must be wrong about Y2K. Logic tells me I should
be right. I have spent untold hours reading, researching, and
cultivating contacts in the know around the world about Y2K. It is not
about hype, it is about the Bill Gates and IBM types rushing around
trying to dominate each other, and never stopping to look at a calendar
Sylvan Organic Farm
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