Let's Talk 2000
"The heartbeat of 2000 A.D. from cyberspace"
January 1, 1998, Volume
4, Issue 1, a monthly bulletin
Topics covered in this issue:
The Millennium Doctor Speaks
News from the Field:
Talk from the Forum:
New Millennial Sites:
The Millennium Doctor Speaks:
the pulse of 2000 A.D."
It looks like 1997 was the year the millennium became marketable. Thousands
of Y2k computer programmers were hired, people began to buy millennium books,
countdown merchandisers released lifestyle products, and travel brokers
floated regional millennial tours. On-line, millennium web sites proliferated
and upgraded, while off-line, strategic partnerships between various civic
and commercial enterprises took hold.
Yet the advent of the third millennium for John and Suzie public still remained
fuzzy. Will 1998 witness the emergence of a front-running millennial company
or coalition, whether from Main Street or Wall Street. Will millennial reformers
in 1998 tap into mass public sentiment--to arouse us that our best times
lie before us?
With 730 days, or two years to go to the year 2000, the bimillennial scene
remains very much a work in progress. This issue of Let's Talk 2000 profiles
an up and coming effort, which will definitely leave its mark on New Year's
2000 and 2001-- First Night International with their sober pursuit to become
the kick-off civic celebration for the year 2000 in hundreds of communities
across North America. In addition, this issue brings you news about plans
for a millennial "Humanity 3000" Symposium and our own Talk 2000
discussions on "By the year 2000 goals" this last month.
This edition marks the 36th issue ofLet's Talk 2000 and the third year of
our daily Talk forum. If you are would like to review past issues of this
bulletin or read our archives, visit our site at http://www.talk2000.org
Happy New Year '98 to millennialists everywhere. As Tennyson says: "How
dull it is to rest, to make an end - not to shine in use. Come for it is
not too late to seek a newer world."
News from the Field:
"Here is the
latest news on year 2000 efforts."
FIRST NIGHT POSITIONED FOR 2000
More than five million people in 190 cities will ring in the New Year's
98 by celebrating the arts in a non-alcoholic setting. For 23 years, First
Night has been about cultivating a sense of community, bring families together,
revitalizing the downtown on New Year's Eve. Now they are working to double
in size by the year 2000 and become the official millennium kick-off celebration
for the communities they serve.
As a public alternative to private parties, First Night International is
well informed about developments toward 24-hour millennial spectaculars
and parties at Times Square. But in response to millennial hype, founder
Zeren Earls asks, "Why would anyone want to spend New Year's 2000 sitting
in front of a TV screen, when you could really enjoy it in a shared cultural
way, with your community focusing on people and the arts?"
Among First Night alliance cities, planning for the millennium began about
two years ago at their annual conference. City coordinators began to discuss
year 2000 goals, millennial themes and regional links among sister cities.
Some First Night organizations, including St. Petersburg and Hartford have
received designations from their city councils as "Official Millennium
Celebrations," kicking off year-long civic events with First Night
2000 and ending with First Night 2001.
Other First Night cities, such as Boston are working closely with Millennial
Commissions appointed by their Mayor to mobilize artists in millennial projects,
such as the making of quilts. Earls considers the millennium a "major
passage for humankind" and with it, a time to discard the old, and
to look ahead with hope and optimism.
Typical in format to most First Night celebrations is Colorado Springs.
Button sales for entry to First Night Pike Peak '98 events went on sale
earlier this month for $6.00 adults, $3.00 for children. Local coordinators
expect about 8,000 people to attend the some 100 music, craft and performance
events for children, teenagers and adults (double from last year). The celebrations
take up a five-block by two-block area of downtown, begin at 5 p.m. and
run to midnight. For kids the highlight will be making masks, and constructing
a giant T-Rex at the YMCA followed by a countdown and a parade of people's
art in the city park at 8 p.m.
After he spoke to students in my department, I went up to talk to him. He
First Night International is holding its next annual conference from March
12 - 16, 1998, in Saratoga Springs, New York, and a good deal of the program
is focused on millennial planning. For information on registration or about
First Night in your area and their millennial plans, check out: http://www.firstnightintl.org
Source: Talk 2000 email@example.com
"HUMANITY 3000" SYMPOSIUM SET
In an effort to identify those factors which will improve the quality of
life during the coming millennium, "The Foundation for the Future"
has announced a "Humanity 3000" Symposium will be held at its
Seattle-based headquarters from July 12-16, 2000.
The Symposium will be an international gathering of a 100 of the world's
most prominent scholars-scientists, philosophers, humanists, historians,
technologists, and futurists. Factors for humanity's future will be examined
during the Symposium in five categories: biological/genetic, environmental,
scientific/technological, cultural/religious and political/economic.
The Foundation for the Future is the outgrowth of space inventor and corporate
leader, Mr. Walter Kistler. Established in 1996, the Foundation has begun
its work to promote scholarly research into the long-range future of humanity
"As we approach the year 2000," Walter Kistler states, "it
is appropriate to bring together the best minds on planet Earth to contemplate
the next thousand years, indeed, the next several thousand years, of the
cultural and biological evolution of the peoples of the earth."
Beginning in the Spring of 1999, the Foundation will sponsor one seminar
a quarter to prepare for the Humanity 3000 Symposium in 2000. Each preparatory
seminar will invite 20 select scholars to discuss and debate topics such
as cosmic evolution, human evolution, cultural evolution or future evolution.
Both presentations and working papers from each planning seminar will be
distributed to scholars planning to participate in the Humanity 3000 meeting,
and also published for the benefit of the research community, public policy
makers, and the general public.
The Foundation invites scholars interested in creating a "Humanity
3000" action agenda to contact them at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Source: Talk 2000 email@example.com
WEB SITE TO EXPOSE Y2K COVER-UPS
Peter de Jager firstname.lastname@example.org,
the co-author of _Managing 00_ and lead millennium complient consultant
to industry, announced this past week that his firm has rolled out a "Project
Damocles" service, which will "hold a sword over the heads of
corporations that choose to cover-up their Y2K problems." (http://www.year2000.com/y2kdamocles.html)
According to de Jager, a problem is growing. Example: a chemical plant manager
identifies an embedded chip which, if not fixed, will cause explosions on
Jan. 1, 2000 involving Chlorine gas, but his employer turns a deaf ear.
Or a Y2K manager advises its Airline not to fly on Dec. 31st 1999 and seven
days following, but Senior Management resists. Or a list of some 30 medical
devices, including model numbers, and a description of how they will fail
in 2000 appears, but the manufacturer refuses to confirm the alleged problems.
Year2000.com encourages employees or the public, who are aware of a non-Y2k
compliant system or software application in which the manufacturer refuses
to fix the problem to submit a "Damocles Report." The Project
will then contact the firm in a private manner about the alleged failure
of their systems and determine if a commitment exists from the firm to fix
the 'issues' before it becomes a problem on Jan. 1, 2000.
If the reports turn out to be true, and the affected company choses to keep
quiet and failures occur in 2000 accompanied by lawsuits, Project Damocles
files will be made available to lawyers as part of the discovery process
in any class action suit.
"Project Damocles" is a free public alert service by the Year
2000 Information Center (http://www.year2000.com/),
a Web site dedicated to providing information about the pending computer
crisis. The site receives 160,000 visits monthly and is a joint venture
between Year 2000 expert Peter de Jager and The Tenagra Corporation.
Talk from the Forum:
"Here is a recap
of recent conversations"
BY THE YEAR 2000 GOALS
Admist an international push toward a Global Warming Treaty in Kyoto, Talk
2000 hosted its own discussions this month on the state of humanity and
the rhetoric or "hot air" which doomsayers and anti-alarmists
float. Discussions in part were based on the following sources:
1. Julian Simon's book _The State of Humanity_.
This Univ. of Maryland economist writes: "This is my long-run forecast
in brief: The material conditions of life will continue to get better for
most people, in most countries, most of the time, indefinitely. Within a
century or two, all nations and most of humanity will be at or above today's
Western living standards....
"I also speculate, however, that many people will continue to *think
and say* that the material conditions of life are getting *worse.* This
assessment will only become more cheerful when (or if) humanity invents
or evolves or stumbles into an invigorating set of new challenges that will
capture peoples' imagination and hearts and wills..
Some of Simon's anti-alarmist writings are online at:
2. Tony Judge _Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential_
This Union of International Associations volume lists some 10,000 world
problems and some 29,000 solution strategies (global goals) which NGOs are
following to tackle that goal. For an example of a world problem or action
strategy, see the UIA web site at: http://www.uia.org
3. "Facts Verse Fears: A Review of the 20 Greatest Unfounded Health
Scares of Recent Times" by Adam Lieberman.
The American Council on Science and Health has been dedicated since 1978
to separating out real, proven environmental/health risks, such as cigarettes,
from unfounded health scares based on questionable, hypothetical, or even
nonexistant scientific evidence such as Cellular Phones and Cancer--1993,
or Alar in apples--1989, to The Cranberry Scare of 1959. http://www.acsh.org/publications/reports/factsfear.html
On December 13th, after extensive discussion, Millennium Watch Institute
director, Ted Daniels, Ph.D., email@example.com
reached these conclusions about eco-prophets and their efforts to curb the
behavior of others:,
What prophets in general and millenarian ones in particular do is warn the
rest of us of dire consequences of our actions unless we mend our ways.
They do this based on special knowledge not revealed to the mass of humanity,
except through their words and perceptions. I submit that this is what many
environmentalists have been doing at least since Rachel Carson.
Notice that this says nothing about the relative accuracy of those who base
their assertions on computer models versus others who rely on the word of
God or, in the case of Roman augurs, chicken guts. It only draws a structural
comparison that seems to me beyond argument.
In fact I am persuaded of the general accuracy of many environmental predictions,
even though some of them have been conspicuously, not to say flagrantly,
wrong. Here I refer in particular the Club of Rome report from the '70s
and I might be able to summon others if pressed.
It seems to me that the conrucopianism of people like Julian Simon is utterly
vacuous. Of course there are limits to the earth's carrying capacity. He
jeers at environmentalist predictions of disaster, pointing at statistics
that appear to discredit their forecasts, leaving entirely out of his calculations
the environmentalists own apparent success in getting some of us to, in
fact, convert to projects like recycling and, for a while, driving lite,
so to speak.
This problematic success is another element that environmentalists share
with other kinds of prophets: success (getting people to change their ways)
looks like failure (their predictions of God's wrath don't materialize).
But a wise prophet can always say "We saved you. We prayed real hard
[or whatever] and God relented".
Carol Geary wrote:
>Although science can be used to fool us one way of the other, I've had
> the feeling that the named environmental groups are ones of some
> integrity that are trying to help with our future without being blinded
> by short term financial interests.
As indeed they are, IMO. The fact that they're behaving like prophets just
means they're doing their jobs; there's nothing inherently discreditable
about the comparison either way, as far as I'm concerned. But lots of environmentalists
I know react with outrage when I point it out, apparently in the belief
that religious prophets are all frauds.
A MILLENNIUM EVE FABLE
In anticipation of the arrival of the year 2000, millennial pilgrim, Austin
offers this excerpt from his millennium fable:
"It was like every other New Year's Eve, and yet like no other. We made our peace with each other, pledged our love to those who were dear to us until almost without our knowing we gradually drifted back into silence, then fell away into that solitaire vigil known to every sentinel at the gate, known by everyone at the moment of their dying.
"At that moment each of us stood alone, saw our limitations, felt our mortality, knew that the world we had grown up in was coming to an end, and yet despite the sadness at the passing of all that we clung to, there was simply a sense beyond description of the privilege of having lived. It was almost like a near-death experience; for when I came out of the private place of my own vigil, I was returned to life with different eyes. When I looked about me I was filled with an overwhelming feeling of tremendous gratitude for the gift of life, and this changed everything.
"Then, with the dawning of the first day of the new millennium, the beloved Pilgrim appeared on our television screens for the last time. Dressed in a shimmering white garment, she beckoned to us, `Come, let us enter together this new millennium.' The camera stayed with her as she walked over to a chorus of young people singing that old spiritual 'Morning has broken.' Afterwards they shared their vision of the future. Each of them had that in-your-face promise of just watch what I'm going to do. But it was tempered by a knowledge of the world; they knew life - we had taught them well by example. Old far beyond their years they knew full well the so-called lessons of life, but they were not bitter. Angry at us, yes, but not damning of us. I could live with that.
"Then one young woman, with that peculiar blend of defiance and insight, stepped forward like the voice of the new millennium herself. `We will handle the problems of the future. We ask you to take responsibility for the past.' Another youth came forward asking that our wisdom be passed on to them. Another begged us not to stay within our safe and comfortable little worlds. He wanted us to come out and build with them this new millennium. He quoted directly from a poem by Tennyson (who would have thought that he'd even know such a poem)
How dull it is to rest, to make an end - not to shine in use.
Come for it is not too late to seek a newer world.
(The full text of the Millennium Fable can be found at: http://hcol.humberc.on.ca/html/milvigil/fable.htm)
New Millennial Sites:
new sites in cyberspace"
COUNTDOWN TO APOCALYPSE: Let the End Times Roll!
Comedian James Finn Garner offers his own (humorously slanted) take on the
future in this web site, including "6 Reasons The World Is Ending Soon,"
"Ancient Guaranteed Fortune-telling Methods," and "Apocalyptic
and Apoplectic Links."
"Your link to
the third millennium"
Talk 2000 Forum Home Page: http://www.talk2000.org
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Publication keywords: agendas, millennium, groups
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