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: Contact Information

The Millennium Doctor Speaks:
"Taking 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."

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 talk2000@rmii.com

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 (http://www.futurefoundation.com/)

"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: info@futurefoundation.com
Source: Talk 2000 talk2000@rmii.com

Peter de Jager pdejager@year2000.com, 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"

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., mpred@pipeline.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.

In anticipation of the arrival of the year 2000, millennial pilgrim, Austin Repath millenniumvigil@hcol.humberc.on.ca 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:
"Here are new sites in cyberspace"

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."

Contact Information:
"Your link to the third millennium"

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

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Editor: talk2000@rmii.com
Jay Gary, aka The Millennium Doctor
author, The Star of 2000
(719) 636-2000 Phone
Publication keywords: agendas, millennium, groups
This issue of "Let's Talk 2000" is copyright © 1998 by Bimillennial Press, Inc.
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