Let's Talk 2000

"The heartbeat of 2000 A.D. from cyberspace"

July 1, 1998, Volume 4, Issue 7, a monthly bulletin

Topics covered in this issue:

The Millennium Doctor Speaks
News from the Field: New Millennial Sites: Contact Information

The Millennium Doctor Speaks:
"Taking the pulse of 2000 A.D."

Unless you have been off-planet the last four weeks, you have no doubt noticed TV news and newsweeklies speaking of the Year 2000 computer crisis. Referred to at first as "The Millennial Bug," increasing sensitivity to the magnitude of crisis has escalated it to "The Millennial Bomb." In keeping with this alert, I am highlighting Y2K issues in this issue of "Let's Talk 2000."

Building on the "Independence Day" movie tradition launched two years ago, "Armaggedon" is premiering in movie theaters today. My brother-in-law is twisting my arm to go with him to see it. He is a petroleum engineer, and in the flick, actor Bruce Willis portrays an off-shore rig worker who is drafted to do the world's dirty work as astronauts. If you see flick the next week, please post your thoughts to the daily Talk 2000 forum at 2000ad-l@usc.edu

I had a great time with at Berkeley in early June with college kids. I just began doing a new 2-6 hour lecture series entitled, "The Journey of 2000." If your community or library distict is hosting any millennium series, keep me in mind. Email me at jgary@rmi.net and I will send you an outline. I will be in Chicago from July 19-21 at the World Future Society annual conference. If you are attending this year, I would love to meet you. Drop me an email before July 15th.

News from the Field:
"Here is the latest news on year 2000 efforts."

FUTURISTS TO LOOK AT NEW MILLENNIUM STRATEGIES
From July 19-21, more than 1,000 participants are expected at the World Future Society annual conference at the Chicago Hilton Hotel and Towers to consider "Strategies for the New Millennium." The opening session starts on Sunday evening, July 19th at 7 pm. Between then and when the conference closes 5:30 pm Tuesday, participants can choose some 20 of the 100 sessions being offered, on a host of topics, including emerging technologies, global agendas, futures research, ethics, education, work trends, health, creativity, and much more. One session, led by Joseph Coates, will focus on "The Year 3000: A Fresh Look at Humanity's Future." Selected sessions will also be led by Talk 2000 participants, such as Jay Gary, Jerome C. Glenn and David Woolfson.

The World Future Society (WFS) was formed in 1966 to allow forward-looking scholars an effective means to bring their research to the attention of educators, scientists, governmental officials and business leaders. It is a nonprofit, neutral clearinghouse for forecasts and ideas about the future. Today the membership includes 30,000 people in more than 80 countries. The flagship publication of the Society is The Futurist--a magazine published ten times a year. Articles discuss topics from automation to nanotechnology, and authors have included such names as Al Gore, Gene Roddenberry, Alvin Toffler and Richard Lamm.

Ed Cornish, WFS president, emphasizes that the future doesn't just happen, it arises out of the present, as a result of people's action or inaction. Therefore, by studying the future, people can better anticipate what lies ahead and and actively make better choices today. Registration for the Chicago "FutureQuest" conference at this time is $410, or less for members. Call the Society at (301) 656-8274, or see the conference program and submit your registration on-line, at http://www.wfs.org/wfs/chicago.htm

FUTURE STUDIES CD AVAILABLE
Australian futurists, Sohail Inayatullah and Paul Wildman, have released a CD-Rom text entitled, Futures Studies: Methods, Emerging Issues and Civilizational Visions - A Multimedia Reader, Brisbane: Prosperity Press, ISBN: 1-875-603-131 The Future Studies CD addresses critical questions such as: What is the long term future of humanity? of our planet? Will civilizations violently clash or are we on the verge of planetary governance? What is the future of world capitalism? Will robots have legal rights? Should we consciously create the future or is the future best left to market forces? Will the new communication technologies liberate us or create a technocratic prison? Can patriarchy be transformed and a peaceful partnership society be created? Is there one future or alternative futures? How can we decolonize the future, keeping open the plurality of dissent? The Futures Studies CD is of invaluable use to planners, educators, policymakers, academics, activists and students of futures research. The first section presents methods futurists use to forecast and interpret the future; the second speculates on emerging issues that have the potential to dramatically alter how we work, love, live and learn; and the third section explores how different civilizations imagine the future. An annotated bibliography of the Futures field is also included. A Futures galleria presents futures-oriented artworks that visually represent authors' texts and a section on fractals explores the frontiers of science, art and learning. Each chapter includes an introduction by Inayatullah and Wildman as well as study-guide questions. Some twenty authors' profiles and interviews - their life stories, passions, forecasting methods and visions of the future - illuminate the text along with their articles. The CD-ROM also opens up to a futures internet conference, thus allowing you to engage in interactive conversations with other readers as well as the editors and selected authors. The cost $50 (both inclusive of postage and handling). Orders can be placed directly through: http://www.powerup.com.au/~pwildman/

COALITION AIMS TO DEMOCRATIZE U.N. BY 2000
In anticipation of millennium events at the United Nations, the San Francisco based, Action Coalition for Global Change (ACGC), gathered some 120 activists from more than 10 countries on June 20-21 to consider how the United Nations might be "democratized by increasing citizen input."

According to organizer, Dr. Lucile Green lucigreen@aol.com, discussions at the summit focused on the form of a People's Assembly at the UN; although details of such a body in terms of representation, or degree of decision-making power, were left open for future dialogue. Green reported that some activists prefer a Permanent People's Assembly with legislative authority, to best represent the world's public. Others see the People's Assembly as a forum to provide grassroots input to the UN, perhaps through nongovernmental organizations (NGOs).

Green's coalition has established a Millennium People's Assembly Network (MPAN) ListServ as well as a web site for those interested in tracking developments, http://www.netreaction.com/mpan

The coalition will also conduct a series of meetings on different continents leading up the U.N.'s Millennium Assembly in 2000, as called for by Secretary-General Kofi Annan. Some see Annan's mini-summits, held as part of the UN General Assembly as the climax of the most far-reaching reforms in the history of the world body. The grassroot proposal to create a "Peoples Assembly" has yet to be put on the UN agenda. Source: Joanie Misrack jmisrack@worldpeace.org

COMPUTER CRASH SONG RELEASED
To draw attention to "the day the world crashes," Club 2000(r) impresario, Dr. George Heiner has released a playful single, "Midnight Millennium" on a "Computer Crash 2000" CD-Rom. Following the song, the CD features an interview with Canadian Y2K computer consultant, Peter de Jager.

Arranged in "big house" music style, the song proclaims, "It's midnight millennium, time to bury the past, midnight millennium, we're gonna have a blast. Midnight millennium, three zeros all around. Midnight millennium, my computer's gone down." Later in the song a chorus cries, "de Jager de Jager, What are we gonna do? de Jager de Jager, Technology's lost its screw!"

Heiner george@club2000.net claims the Computer Crash 2000 CD has been a popular item among radio-talk hosts doing Millennium Bug shows, but will entertain and inform any year 2000 enthusiast. An instrumental version is included on the CD for Karaoke fun. The CD can be ordered on-line for $15.45 from http://www.club2000.com/midnight.html Source: Let's Talk 2000.

FUTURIST OFFERS PERSPECTIVE ON Y2K
"As the sun moves westward on January 1, 2000, as the date shifts silently within millions of computerized systems, we will begin to experience our computer-dependent world in an entirely new way. We will finally see the extent of the networked and interdependent processes we have created. At the stroke of midnight, the new millenium heralds the greatest challenge to modern society we have yet to face as a planetary community. Whether we experience this as chaos or social transformation will be influenced by what we do immediately." So claims professional futurists John Petersen and Margaret Wheatly in a forthcoming October '98 "Futurist" Magazine article. If you read only one Y2K this month, don't miss "The Year 2000: Social Chaos or Social Transformation?" a 48,000 word feature at the World Future Society web. http://www.wfs.org/wfs/year2k.htm

THE MILLENNIUM IN THE MEDIA
The media discovered the Millennium Bug this month, big time. Only half of the Y2K related articles that came across our Talk 2000 desk are listed below:

"In search of the first millenium. (the forthcoming third millenium marked by the year 2000 versus the second millenium or year 1000)," by Allen Abel. Saturday Night, May 1998 v113 n4 p48(10).

"Germ warfare (beauty business exploits millenarian fears)," by Mary Tannen. The New York Times Magazine, May 31, 1998 p56 col 1 (13 col in). Summary: The beauty industry is marketing products that speak to a prevailing fear of doom and germs. As an example of germ-fear, seventy-five percent of the $400 million liquid soap business is in antibacterial soap. The reason behind the germ-fear and sense of doom is the upcoming millennium.

"Wanted: ideas for avoiding the millennium celebrations and keeping the crowds, noise, theme parks and domes at bay," by Sean French. New Statesman, May 1, 1998 v127 n4383 p35(1). Summary: The coming of the millennium is inevitable so people are advised to just have fun. It would be better, however, if there are ways to avoid it such as going to faraway islands or to Muslim countries with their own calendar.

"A chance that comes once in a millennium," by Mary Beth Regan, Business Week, Jun 29, 1998, n3584, p.134, 4/5 pages

"Y2K problem--boom or bust?" by Ed Whitman, Popular Electronics. Aug 1998, v15 n8, p. 4, 2/3 pg.

"Watch out! Y2K bug gonnat git you!" by Mark Hollands, World Press Review. Jul 1998, v45 n7, p. 14. 2 pp.

"Consultants shunning work on year 2000 (Legal Beat)," by Elizabeth MacDonald, The Wall Street Journal, June 29, 1998 n128 pB2(W) pB3(E) col 3 (17 col in). Summary: consultant arms of accounting firms, and computer consultants are reluctant to work on the year 2000 computer problems fearing lawsuits.

"Apocalypse not (Year 200 computer glitch)," Time, June 15, 1998 v151 n23 p62(4). Summary: Corporations are quietly correcting the Year 2000 problems in their computer systems, and dire predictions about the glitch are unlikely to materialize. However, the federal government is far behind the corporate world in debugging its programs.

"News you can't use (little impact that the Year 2000 conversion will actually have on stock market (Brief Article)" by Kenneth L. Fisher. Forbes, July 6, 1998 v162 n1 p280(1).

"Many small businesses cross their fingers over Year 2000 (Update on Small Business)" by Rodney Ho. The Wall Street Journal, June 2, 1998 n109 pB2(W) pB2(E) col 3 (11 col in).

"Utilities say outages are possible in 2000 (if computer transition problems aren't fixed in advance). The New York Times, June 13, 1998 v147 pA24(N) pA16(L) col 1 (5 col in)

"'Y2K' is scarier than the alarmists think (estimating the impact of the year 2000 problem for computers around the world)" by Bruce D. Berkowitz.The Wall Street Journal, June 18, 1998 n121 pA18(W) pA18(E) col 3 (21 col in).

"Looking Forward to the Millennium (the computer industry should be optimistic about the coming of the year 2000)" by Jake Kirchner (Column). PC Magazine, June 9, 1998 v17 n11 p28(1). Summary: The personal computing revolution has been fueled by equal parts innovation and enthusiasm. Asks why the industry now is down in the dumps about the millennium.

"Feds warn firms to get on Y2K stick," by Matt Hamblen, Computerworld, Jun 8, 1998, v32n23 p.91 Summary: Federal agencies, including the FDIC and SEC, are circling the wagons around banks and other firms that haven't adequately prepared for year 2000 problems. The FDIC has sent warnings to 163 banks.

U.S. government gets failing grade over Y2K," by Nancy Weil, InfoWorld, Jun 8, 1998, v20n23, 22 pp. Summary: The handling of the year 2000 problem by the Social Security Administration and other government agencies is discussed. Many governmental agencies do not expect to finish until after the 2000 deadline.

"The Y2K Watch (statistics on how federal agencies are faring at fixing Year 2000 computer problem)" Newsweek, June 22,1998 v131 n25 p12(1). Summary: A week ago the OMB released a report on how federal agencies are faring against the Y2K Bug. A peek at how a few are progressing with their critical-system fixes. Social Security 92% systems compliant... Defense 29%, etc.

"Be careful what you say on Y2K (the legal implications of year 2000 surveys for IS)." by Kathleen Melymuka. Computerworld, April 27, 1998 v32 n17 p1(1). Summary: Many companies are asking their business partners to complete surveys about their systems' year 2000 compliance, but the information IS managers provide on those surveys could be the basis of future legal action against their companies.

"Can engineers be liable for Y2K problems?" by C Roy Vince, et al. Civil Engineering, Jun 1998, v68n6, 50pp., Summary: If equipment in engineering projects fails to operate because embedded computer systems are not Year 2000 compliant, engineers who specified the equipment could be exposed to legal liability.

"The Year 2000 Bug: Will it 'Byte' Real Estate?" by Kevin Shepherd. Probate and property : the magazine of the Real Property (ABA), Jul 1, 1998, v12n4, 32 pp.

"Y2K costs still underestimated (Brief Article)" PC Week, June 1, 1998 v15 n22 p88(1). Summary: 85% of companies have underestimated the cost of becoming year 2000 compliant, according to a recent survey.

"Y2K worries for DSS," PC Week, Jun 1, 1998, v15n22,14pp, Summary: Decision support applications at some companies are being ignored while workers scramble to make operational systems year-2000 compliant. Flawed data could end up being sent to decision makers.

New Millennial Sites:
"Here are new sites in cyberspace"

MILLENIO: "A New Year's 2000 Peace Festival"
Organizers at the University for Peace in Costa Rica are planning a "Global Forum for the Practice of Peace" and a festival to mark the arrival of the new millennium.
http://www.milenio.org

SOUTHLAND MILLENNIUM: "Be the first golfers to 'tee' off in the year 2000"
Promoter invites golfers to enjoy New Zealand as the new millennium arrives, plus other attractions.
http://www.southlandmillennium.com
http://www.es.co.nz/~hyphen/2000/

Contact Information:
"Your link to the third millennium"

Talk 2000 Forum Home Page: http://www.talk2000.org

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Submissions of newsworthy items: 2000ad-l@usc.edu
Editor: talk2000@rmi.net
Jay Gary, aka The Millennium Doctor
author, The Star of 2000
(719) 636-2000 Phone
Publication keywords: millennium, events, groups, books
This issue of "Let's Talk 2000" is copyright © 1998 by Bimillennial Press, Inc.
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