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Bill Dale on Numbers Schmumbers
Subject: Bill Dale on Numbers Schmumbers - "If you're local, you may
52 QUESTIONS ABOUT THE 92 PERCENT
Bill Dale responds to our being distracted from the important stuff that
isn't going to work...
Here's the problem with those questions, the problem with this whole aspect
of this thing. Everyone's being insane about it. Everyone's all wrapped
up in the button, button, who's got the button, "They're lying, come
on, what are the REAL numbers and percentages you liars, liars, liars!!!"
game, and wasting their time.
Numbers schmumbers. What do they mean? This is all so stupid I can hardly
stand it anymore. Doesn't anyone get it? What good would it do anyone if
they had the exact, accurate, totally honest and real, real, real number
of "mission critical systems," and what percentage of them were
"compliant" or about to explode?
That doesn't tell anyone anything, yet everyone's busting their brains going
around and around the bush about it.
Here. Let's just make up a number and a percentage and pretend this is the
absolute accurate truth. Let's pretend the Department of Agriculture has
721 mission critical systems and 598 of them are really and truly compliant
- tested and working. That's 83% (I think).
Okay. There we go. We know that now, and it's been certified and verified
by ITAA and the Pope.
What does that tell us about the future?
Here are the questions no one's even close to asking, and that they'll never
get an answer to. And this is just the "top" layer.
Which systems are not compliant, what do they do, and what will happen if
they're not fixed?
If somebody could get the answers to those questions then somebody might
be able to get a clue as to what might be the actual real world impact of
whatever systems won't be working.
"Oh. I see. That's the system that tracks set-aside acres and which
farmers have credits coming. Okay. That would mean that a farmer participating
in the set-aside program is probably going to find that aspect of things
screwed up, is that right? So he or she should maybe talk to whoever they
have to talk to so they can sort of plan on that, right? Okay. Thanks."
But I guess that'd make too much sense or something. Apparently, it's more
important to just about everyone under the y2k sun that, by God, we get
the accurate count on those mission critical systems and their overall remediation
rates, and that those responsible for feeding us the misinfo. be made to
admit it right now!
Or how 'bout this one, seeing's how we DID actually seem to get some kind
of numbers that meant something last week. What was it? 9% of the water
systems in America are projected to not be working? 30 million people are
maybe in thirsty and sewage-laden trouble?
Now. That's better. But tell me. What's wrong with THAT picture?
That's right. It's too big. Are you one of those 30 million? Is your community
one of the ones that made the report say that?
Who knows? (See panic speculation below.)
Is it because "no one knows?" I don't think so. How could those
numbers been derived without someone knowing which communities have the
soon to be faulty systems?
So there's a report released that says 9 or so percent of the water systems
in America won't work and 30,000,000 people may not have water, but nobody
seems to notice they neglected to say anything about WHICH 30,000,000 people.
I mean. If you lived wherever it is that may not have water 9 months from
now, wouldn't you rather know that than how many of your country's or community's
mission critical systems are compliant? Obviously, the mission critical
systems out at the water plant would be part of the non-compliant percentage,
but as long as everyone's all hung up on the numbers only, who's going to
find out about a little thing like that?
I'm constantly amazed at the amount of energy that's spent trying to get
some kind of fix on the big numbers picture. It wouldn't be so weird if
it would mean something concrete when they were arrived at, but unfortunately,
it doesn't. (It's like the fortune being spent to try to figure out how
old the universe "really" is. Is it 8 billion or 12 billion years
old. Let's pretend it turns out to be 11. Okay. Now what? It's always explained
away as having something to do with figuring out "where we came from"
or something along those lines. I'm pretty sure if anyone ever figures that
one out it won't have a lot to do with how old the universe is or isn't.
Another one just like this is the very slick, "Local disruptions only"
thing that's been sliding right by all the questions askers lately too.
In January that became the "party line." It was there again yesterday
in that FCC report. "We are guardedly optimistic about the major communications
systems, but we are not nearly as confident about smaller, local companies."
And who knows? It could be true. AT&T, US West, MCI, etc., may indeed
be getting there, and there may be a national dial tone. But there could
be "local disruptions" in phone service. In a way that's logical,
makes sense, could actually be about the way it is. But again: Without knowing
WHICH smaller local companies make the FCC say that, what good does that
information do anyone?
For example: AT&T could be your long distance provider, but your local
carrier is New Tech Communications which is Bob LeBoine and his cousin Earl
who decided to get into the phone biz when they broke up AT&T. But while
AT&T's been busy spending 86 billion to ferret out faulty packet switchers,
fix code, and replace boxes, Bob and Earl have been saving and making money
by driving around from lunch to lunch talking about how they think the y2k
thing's a buncha hype put out by computer consultants who want to get rich.
So (pretending for a moment that what the FCC is saying is true), you don't
have a dial tone or access to AT&T January 1 because Bob and Earl dropped
the ball a couple years ago. But you didn't know that because Bob and Earl's
lawyer told them what to say when you called to check. And because Earl
told the newspaper reporter who called to check the same thing, and he or
she didn't know any better, and because you don't get on the Internet and
read notes like these, you don't know you're supposed to make a "personal
contingency plan" which means getting a cheap phone that doesn't need
electricity to work, and calling US West (or some other local carrier),
to ask a few questions and maybe switch your service over to them.
So even though "all disturbances" actually did turn out to be
"localized," you get stuck without a phone (and maybe a few other
things), because you didn't have a clue local meant you because when was
the last time anything anyone in Washington said had anything to do with
the place *you* live. It's always meant someplace else.
"Several local areas were hit by tornadoes last night."
"The bombing raids were localized and amazingly accurate."
Okay. More than enough out of me for tonight. Except this. I have no idea
if "they" know they're doing it or not, but if you wanted to keep
people distracted you could hardly find a more effective way of doing it
than getting everyone to try to figure out which of all these huge numbers
and percentages is "accurate," or "What's going on here,
anyway!?" I have no idea if it's conscious or just working out that
way. All I know is anytime you write to anyone who could tell you *which*
systems might not get fixed and what that might mean - anytime you contact
anyone who could tell you *which* water systems or communities are likely
to suffer local disturbances - you don't get any replies at all (not even
I suspect it's related to the panic factor. That's a tough issue that has
a whole lot to do with that powerful little thing called "Fear of Death."
Nothing like having 30 million people trying to call you up to ask about
stuff like that. I believe the average citizen is out of the loop, and is
mostly going to remain so until whatever's going to get sprung gets sprung
(if anything's going to be). At the same time, I'm sure some heavy duty
phone conversations and a few personal visits to "the authorities"
are happening behind the scenes in those places where those lives are at
risk. No doubt some kind of emergency/contingency plans are being made.
But that's a whole 'nother story, and it's way past my supper time.
Until next time, Bill