Warning - another reason to be prepared!

by Byron Kirkwood

Original publication date Oct/Nov 1997

In case you didn't already have adequate reason to prepare for the upcoming times, we can now add another to the list--and this one's pretty scary.

Have you heard about the new bug that's coming? It's not the flu, it's not a virus, but it's going to bite us in a place we've never anticipated a bug biting us--in our pocketbooks!

While this sounds like the start of an old worn-out "knock-knock" joke, it's really quite serious--it's called the "Millennium Bug" also known as the "y2k" (meaning the year 2,000). It's a technology mistake, an oversight, that we are about to pay for, dearly.

The bug is a computer glitch caused by poor foresight on the part of computer programmers, since the modern computers have come into being. All (or nearly all) of today's computers use a two digit code to represent the year, the last two digits of the year. Thus the year 1997 is represented internally in the computer as "97" with the "19" assumed. Now we are about turn the century mark with the year "2000" which most computers will think of as the year 1900.

When I first heard about it, I didn't think this was a particularly big deal. But thanks to one of our newsletter readers I am now becoming aware of what this means to us as individuals, to the country, and to the world. I'll skip a few steps here because I don't claim to be an expert on the subject and go to what affect this will have on us.

Nearly all computer systems, from the largest mainframe computer to the small personal computers, have this problem built into their hardware. The application (software) programs written for these computers also have this problem. From what I've read there are hundreds of millions of lines of computer code to be checked and changed. And if I understand the preliminary information there's not enough computer programmers working full-time in the world to be able to solve the problem in the next two years.

Why do we care so much about the date being correct? Because computer application programs use the date and time to determine what should be done, when. Large mainframe computers control our railroads, airways, and waterways. Just imagine what would happen if an FAA flight control computer ignored a plane on a collision course because it assumed the plane had been in the air a hundred years ago, instead of now. Sound far-fetched?--it's not!

Our banking industry is completely dependent on computers, as are the stock and futures markets. What's going to happen in the year 2000 when you need to use a credit card and the credit card or ATM computer hiccups? If you write a check and it can't be processed, or worst yet, if your paycheck can't be processed because the bank's computer is down, or if all the bank's records just got gobbled because the computer's data was corrupted by a programming error. Maybe the computer's programming told itself to delete the 100 year old stuff!

What happens if all of a sudden your utilities go off, because the utility company's computers hit a glitch. Or maybe the power company's computers were properly programmed to handle the new millennium, but the railroad's computers didn't allow the trains to bring the needed coal to the power plant?

Can these things happen? Yes, most every major company is aware of it and beginning to try to do something about it before the deadline--but this deadline doesn't grant any extensions. Can this problem be fixed? Yes, with enough time. But these large computer programs have hundreds of thousand (if not millions) of lines of programming code, all which has to be corrected and tested. Testing on these programs can take years. All it might take to bring the computer down is one missed spot where the correction was overlooked.

One man in particular is trying to bring this problem to awareness, a Dr Gary North, the author of the newsletter, "Remnant Review." If you believe what Dr North is predicting--chaos starting at midnight January 1, 2000, then: banks won't be able to process checks and credit cards, utility systems may fail, rail and air travel will have problems. A result of this chaos may occur in larger cities when people can't buy or otherwise obtain food, when communication systems are down, and all the problems related to shutdowns.

Actually the problem may start earlier than New Year's Day 2000. Dr North informs us how the government realizes that bank runs may start in 1998 or 1999, as people try to get their money out of the banks while they can, and the government will enact emergency powers and procedures to prevent it. It's understandable that no one can afford for our banking system to collapse as a result of a massive national or international bank run. But what does the individual do? Do they hoard their money, which could become useless by a governmental decree, or leave it in the bank and not have access to it, or run the danger of the bank going out of business? I don't know the right answer, even for our purposes.

What does Dr North recommend? Basically to prepare for an economic collapse of goods and services. To become as independent and self-reliant as possible. In his case, he's bought property in a rural area (from his newsletter it sounds like he may be a neighbor of ours in northeastern Oklahoma or northwestern Arkansas). Basically just do the same things you would if you were preparing for earth changes, only now you have a deadline that's not going to be extended.

Why am I telling you this? The intent is not to scare you by creating fear, but to inform you of what may be our greatest challenge in this era, and to give you time to plan and act while there is still some time left. Also as Mother Mary has told us, awareness is a form of prayer and can lessen the impact of this event.

For more information you can write to: Gary North's Remnant Review, 1217 St Paul Street, Baltimore, MD 21202 (410)234-0691 or check his Internet Web Page at: http://www.garynorth.com
Another good source of information is Jim Lord's book, A Survival Guide for the Year 2000 Problem and the Jim Lord's Year 2000 Survival Newsletter. You can contact Jim at: J Marion Publishing, 1322-C Crain Hwy, Ste 335, Bowie, MD 20716, phone 1-888-Y2K-2555. And check out his web page at: http://www.survivey2k.com

Sincerely -- Byron


UPDATE
On New Year's Day (Jan 1, 1998) CNN had a couple minute segment on the upcoming "Millennium Bug" (y2K). As an example it mentioned that FAA traffic controller computers and oil production could be interrupted. It didn't go so far as to go into the consequences of what might happen if these events had a computer failure--I guess they just wanted to leave that to our imagination. At least they are beginning to help create an awareness of the problem so people can prepare for it--thanks CNN.
Now's the Time! -- if this statement struck a nerve, read this information.

The "y2k/Millennium/Computer Bug" is in the Bible Code (the book) as shown on this web page.

Other related information:
Byron's interviewed and on the FRONT page of the Tulsa World, July 19, 1998

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Original date: Sept 15, 1997
Last updated: July 19, 1998
Copyright 1997, 1998, 1999