see also "Change of visible pace" - Cynthia's Jan 12 statement
by Cynthia Beal - 2 Jan 2000
"The more cautionary news is that only 10 percent of the world's systems
went to the gym last night. Ninety percent of them weren't exercising,"
noted Howard Rubin, a leading Y2K expert in the United States who was
nevertheless amazed at how well the world did.
From EXPERTS: Y2K BUG STILL MAY BITE
By Frank Bajak
Associated Press/Washington Post
Saturday, Jan. 1, 2000; 5:19 p.m. EST
Quick thoughts - I'm in the store this morning, working at
speed, and I want to take a moment to share these things.
[In the next paragraph, Cynthia speaks to several Y2K activists who wrote of having to "eat crow" now that Y2K didn't hit as strongly as expected on New Year's Day. One of them had even commented that there were crows outside his window, waiting. -- Tom]
First, Gordon (and others) - don't cook up the crow yet. I
think those are
hawks in those trees, and the sun's just coming up, and the little baby
bunnies are sticking their heads out of the burrow saying "OOH, yum, green
grass..." You should, of course, apologize to those you were rude to, but
heck - you should do that no matter what.
Second - Can you spell R-E-P-R-I-E-V-E? Keep your shorts on, folks.
Three - This is a moment for great thanks. Let's learn from
Blessing. It's a wonderful gift to get up in the morning, still have the
infrastructures I know I depend upon, and smell the Presence of Grace.
That was Grace, folks. Not a Non Issue. Grace. There's a difference, and
the Gods generally get miffed if that goes unrecognized, so give thanks to
God, Spirit, The Universe, and the Folks Who Held the Global Maginot Line,
and stay in your trenches!!!!
Four - Figure out what your trenches are. Mine was never a
was Community. The Work didn't go away. It's clearer than ever. I know
that I've got at least 2-3 weeks for the next major supply chain crunches
to start. In this rift of time I am now re-organizing my store and life to
continue to maximize all the gains I made over the last 2 years. I've
preached the maxim "Make it work Now, Make it work When, Make it work If"
as the rally for Resilience for a long time now. That hasn't changed.
Five - As Cory Hamasaki said "Set Recovery On". Now's
when I think this
group should/could take any available energy and really consolidate the
tools for recovery needed as the needs emerge.
Six - Last night the wood stove was going. We had a great dinner
our lovely hard earned food stores. We - the love of my life - and I lit a
lot of candles, and played a great chess game (I won a very nice prize).
I was struck by the need for strategy, especially since I'd lost the last
game and he was crowing "Two out of Three". So, I pulled out my
principles: 1) Make no worthless moves 2) Treat your ranks (rooks,
knights, bishops, pawns) with respect - don't send them out into the cold,
unprotected, unless it's for a very good reason. 3) Back up your supply
lines. 4) When you make a mistake, recover through consolidation 5) Give
your King enough room to take care of himself 6) When it's time to press
your advantage, don't hesitate and again, make all losses count.
It's time for visible change, friends. You can either retreat
background, or you can stand firm on the hill you've taken for yourself.
If we hold our hills together, we can have territory. If we have territory
in common, and it's held in peace and to good end for those we care for,
we have Community.
As Gil Scott Heron said: "The revolution will not be televised.
not see it on the 6 o'clock news."
More later. I still have a year's worth of accounting to reconstruct
my program *did* die (one of those non-y2k issues, just a y2k-compliance
upgrade rushed out in a few weeks, that wasn't properly beta-tested) and
lights on or not, I still have to do the work. But then again, few care a
whit about that, and we're now still firmly - even more firmly - in the
place that many of the altruistic of us have worried about for the past
couple of years: the problems will happen between the cracks, unseen,
unnoticed, denied more strongly than ever.
In short, business as usual.
Let's be different, shall we?
This is my own mini-summation - not a "goodbye", but definitely a "change of visible pace."
January 12, 2000
I don't think Grace comes because everyone wants it. I think
it can happen
if only a few people want it. I find it useful to think that, because it
leaves a lot of room for people to have differing points of view, some
disagreeing totally about Grace, and yet Grace can still happen.
Grace also doesn't eliminate the work factor. It may have been
work and 1% Grace. Or less. Grace is the polite way of saying "I don't
understand it, but I'm glad it came out the way it did, and maybe there
was more to this good outcome than my own perspective on what was or
For me, the gentle movement of our planet's human society into
2000, with cooperation and mutual celebration far outshining the incidents
of war, poverty and strife that seem part of our ongoing human condition,
with people prepared for our darker sides to emerge while praying for the
light, was awe-inspiring - even though I was stuck with a crashed cash
register at 11:30 pm, bogged in year-end tapes, and my champagne was
There was a feeling to the following New Year's Day that was
patiently constrained and cautiously amazed, and I'm only now getting
enough emotional distance for a wider perspective to re-emerge.
I engaged in Community Preparedness out of a sense of social
responsibility. I did so on the premise that I am an independent citizen,
and that I have the obligation to respond in the manner of my choosing. I
was interested to discover exactly what leeway and freedom I actually have
as a Citizen, and I'm pleased to report that I have a lot of both.
Overall, it has been an incredibly empowering time, and I continue
ascribe the bulk of that capacity to the phenomenon I still call "Grace".
I can't agree with others that this was an uneventful rollover.
I am as
uncertain now as I was prior about what is going to happen with this
particular trigger - not 1/1/00, but the combination of issues arising
from this particular programing practice, and the set of unknown
interconnectivies it has made possible. I think it's much too early to
proclaim it a non-event. After all, there were lots of predictions about
what would fail, based on statistical models. Even if the models were
"off", could they really have been off by *that* much? Perhaps, but we
really do need more time to state that with certainty. People with greater
skill than I will be doing that for a long time, I'm sure.
The numbers I recall seeing had a lot to do with the errors
that could be
expected in which systems, and approximately when. The assumption I see
the statisticians (scientists in their own right) making here is that the
errors exist transparently - i.e., obvious to an observer. There is no
additional template applied that suggests what percentage of errors won't
be visible after they've occurred.
On top of that, there's no applicable template that suggests
that not only
will there be invisible errors, but there will be willfully hidden errors.
Additionally, the incentive to hide the errors is massive, with immediate
financial and political punishment meted out to all who fail to hide the
errors. And, to cap it all, contingency planning quite possibly included
strong strategies for hiding the errors - work-arounds mean continuing
business-as-usual; if business-as-usual depends upon covertly experiencing
Y2k errors, that will be planned for.
So, the only Y2k errors we are likely to see are those visible
cannot be contained, no matter what the cost, unless they are extremely
trivial, or assumed to be unimportant, until it becomes financially or
politically advantageous for the Y2k relationship to be exposed.
With respect to continued tracking of Y2k events, I think that,
than pronounce the Y2k event as "over", we should instead be looking at
what is being reported. Currently, the issues are considered "trivial".
Love Canal was certainly "trivial" to all but nearby residents, until it
was investigated and prosecuted over.
But I digress, since the task of attributing Y2k as a cause
is no longer
of high interest to me, other than to note that the lack of readily
apparent Y2k-related failures implies manipulation of the world
information stream, and wherever the obfuscation is obvious, I learn
something. So, I'll continue to watch, because wherever the factual can
emerge, reality lies somewhere nearby. Right now, the factual is *not*
emerging from the centralized press.
For example, the mainstream world would have me dismiss "anecdotal"
evidence. Their self-serving purpose is to control the dissemination of
facts by training, providing and controlling the "experts" that will
provide the palatable real, as opposed to uncomfortably anecdotal,
Anecdotal information is the following: a customer comes into
yesterday, a friend who's watched this issue with me. "A stewardess came
into my store yesterday," he says, "and she said we think Y2k is a
non-event, but she described four problems just in the last few days: one
plane was loaded twice, on one plane they didn't get the meals put on, on
one plane the baggage went somewhere else, and on one plane *they "forgot"
Expert information says "this is not y2k related"
or "this didn't happen"
or "you're crazy for listening to this".
Y2k causality is a tricky thing. We are now once again into
when, as a number of people have said for years, "these [dangerous] things
happen all the time." In the last couple of years, they said this in order
to say Y2k wasn't a problem. Thankfully, they were ignored by the majority
of folks working on the issue - the causality was relevant, and led to the
correction of a number of problems that would have caused the "dangerous
things" event level to spike much higher during the century rollover.
Now the identified causality is probably more related to who
when, and how much. As we discussed months ago, plenty of
non-mission-critical systems weren't fixed. Were those systems related to
people who will object strongly when they discover they're gone? How
strongly will they be able to object?
Y2k as a cause for the demise of government or institutional
commercial programs might only be demonstrably relevant in proportion to
the need the injured party can prove for it, and that will probably be a
matter of purchasing power - retrieving archived material,
programmer/executive depositions, legal fees, etc. Barring repeat Bhopals
or Chernobyls, the types of failures will probably be so diverse that
class action momentum will be difficult to generate in the short term, if
I'm certain there are still a lot of folks working in the FOF
failure) mode. FOF was primarily in question because of the potential for
infrastructure breakdowns that would have complicated the FOF strategies
dependent upon supply chain, finance, communications and energy. Since we
didn't have a severe break in continuity, FOF strategies are much more
The risk-level that FOF strategists exposed themselves, or
accountable, to may be inexcusable in many peoples' eyes. The gamble is
still not over for those folks. If their company is in FOF mode now, and
doesn't make it, they'll lose their job, if not their company. If they
make it with strong FOF strategies, they'll be heroes - for many
organizations, it seems that FOF was the only option. The risk level I
pose to my world community for my FOF choices is vastly different than the
one the Federal Government poses to citizens, the environment, and the
groups it is chartered to monitor or regulate.
Meeting the Y2k event horizon was rather like playing Chicken
on a country
road. Are you with your drunken pals on an isolated highway? Are your kids
in the car? Are you on the Interstate? Is the Pope headed toward you,
oblivious to your game? If you don't know, you shouldn't play Chicken. Yet
lots of people, governments and corporations did, and still do. And over a
lot more than "just" Y2k.
"Y2k Preparedness" is over. We had work to do up
til the last minutes of
the year, if only to stand in the roles we had chosen - the "as if" places
that our level of responsibility taking called us to. If you were an
emergency services provider, you *had* to be on-call. Likewise for
technical folk, medical people, and governance. The risk was appropriate
to acknowledge, and the civility of most folks worldwide gives me hope.
As a citizen, I could only contribute my analytical and communication
skills, and my ability to be one more person looking ahead and thinking
through "what ifs". The hindsight analysis will be done by others, but
I'll take some of the perspectives I've honed and try to apply them well
in my future endeavors.
The collaborative web that's emerging on the heels of this
project is fascinating to me. I hope to become even more involved in the
work of your group, the Co-Intelligence Institute, over the next few
years. The essays and links you've posted there over the last two years
are incredible, and in reviewing them I'm convinced that the primary paths
to greater community resilience can be found there.
A number of folks I've "met" in the Y2k Preparedness
Movement are now
looking at ways to continue the portions of their work that have seemed
most beneficial to them. Sustainability, Social Responsiblity, Technical
Awareness, Freedom Issues, Participatory Governance,
Diversification of Infrastrucutre Service Providers, Self-Reliance, and
Ethical Action seem to be high on the list future endeavors. If this is
what we visibly achieve as a result of this work we've done "together",
then I'd say it was all time, money, and credibility well-spent.
Lane County, Oregon