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1998-04-24 19:54:24


Programmer Says Rotary Clubs Can Solve Y2K's Worst Effects



William Ulrich is the author of a book on y2k. He is now convinced that is a much greater threat to society than y2k: Gary North.

I wish he were right. Can you imagine the ransom I could charge just to go away and leave everyone alone? A bundle. I could afford to hire Bill Gates to work as my press agent.

Mr. Ulrich expressed his views to the NETLY NEWS, which did him a great disservice. They quoted him verbatim. (That's the risk you take when you talk to the press.) The April 24 NETLY NEWS writes:

"But according to Bill Ulrich, author of 'The Year 2000 Software Crisis, Challenge of the Century' and president of Tactical Systems Group, a Y2K consulting company, irresponsible fearmongers are stoking the fires of Y2K panic. The computer bug is the perfect plot device for millennialists [a link to my Web site], survivalists and end-of-the-world types who use it to whip up hysteria. 'Unfortunately, fear-mongers always seem to be better at using the Net than voices of moderation,' he says.

"Indeed, Ulrich believes that The Panic could be worse than The Bug, unless trusted societal institutions take a more active role in educating the public on what the actual, less life-threatening dimensions of the Y2K crisis really are: 'Large companies -- for example, Boeing -- have a lot of influence regionally, and they need to reach out at the community level, to hold workshops for small business, the Rotary Clubs and small local governments to educate them on what needs to be done so that communities can band together at the grassroots level.'"

Let me get this straight. The Rotary Clubs can be mobilized by giant (and highly respectable) 2000-noncompliant corporations and noncompliant governments, and this will reduce the threat of . . . what? Millennialists or y2k? Anyway, Boeing can do it.

Right. Boeing: the most obvious ruptured duck in the corporate world. IBM has told the FAA that its aging computers won't work. The FAA is not anywhere near compliant.

Would you get on a commercial jet in 2000 if you knew that the people in the air traffic control towers were using paper and ink to track your flight? Would any insurance company insure a 747 full of passengers under such conditions? I don't think so.

Airlines will not be flying in 2000. They will also not be buying planes. Boeing is dead in the water if the FAA can't get compliant, and no one outside the FAA (or maybe even inside) thinks for a minute that the FAA will be compliant on Jan. 1, 2000.

But, says Mr. Ulrich, if Boeing can just hold enough Rotary Club meetings, things will be so much better. He expects Boeing to go public on the y2k threat. Just what Boeing needs: publicity on the looming crisis that threatens to bankrupt the company. Yes, sir: Boeing executives will warn the investing public about y2k and how it's not all that great a threat compared to millennialists. As George Goebel used to say, "Suuuuure, they will."

By the way, just for the record, I'm a POSTmillennialist. Postmillennialism teaches that the world will not end until Christianity has been voluntarily accepted and applied worldwide for 1,000 years (or longer). Thus, the postmillennialist defends the only eschatology (doctrine of last things) that categorically says that y2k cannot possibly be a prelude to the end of the world.

I hope Mr. Ulrich is a more informed programmer than he is a theologian. If he isn't, then he had better stick to writing scary -- but not as scary as my Web site -- books on y2k.

I would continue along these lines, but I have to go line up another speech at a Rotary Club. (Yes, I have spoken on y2k before a Rotary Club, in early 1997. They were completely unfazed. But, then again, you could tell a Rotary Club audience that a nuclear missile was on its way, and they would wait to head for the bomb shelter until after the chairman had handed out the pins for years of consecutive attendance.)


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