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Quote from here.
I'm not the only one who knows the truth of it ... by a long shot. After you've looked at this page look here for more information a bit of a different slant on the issue.
You wouldn't celebrate your country's 100th birthday (or 200th or whatever) a year early would you? The good folks in the US celebrated their 200th anniversary on July 4, 1976 not July 4, 1975! Similarly, here in Canada, we celebrated our 125th birthday on July 1, 1992 *not* 1991. The 1st millennium of Great Britain will be celebrated in 2066, not 2065, right? Then why in the world would you do this silly type of thing for the upcoming millennial change?
You don't need a telescope to figure it out. All it really takes to
figure this out is some simple counting skills. Unfortunately, from my
vantage point as a lecturer in university level chemistry this is a dying
skill. I don't know exactly why this is. Maybe it's like the late Frank
Zappa said: "where they's comin' from is keepin' people dumb". If counting is not your forte
then look here for a quick review.
How is it that the year 2000 is not the first year in the new millennium you ask. Well, using your (perhaps) newly acquired counting skills let's take a look at the first few years in the Western (Gregorian) calendar. (Yes, yes, I know the Gregorian calendar wasn't in use then but that is entirely irrelevant). Specifically, lets look at the first decade. We start at the year one which was the first year of the first decade/century/millennium. The year two was the second, the year three the third and so on .... Now here is the really important one. The year ten. Was it the last year of the first decade or the first year of the second decade? Well, of course it was the last year of the first decade. Otherwise the first decade would only have had nine years in it! A decade got to have ten of 'em.
Now lets take it a step further. When did the second decade end? Well, by the same reasoning as for the first decade it was at the end of the year 20. So the first year of the second decade was the year 11 and the last year of the second decade was the year 20. Ten full years, right? Are you lost yet? Count them on your fingers. Eleven, twelve, thirteen, fourteen, fifteen, sixteen, seventeen, eighteen, nineteen, twenty. Ten full years. Remember, a decade just got to have ten of 'em.
What about the end of the first century? Was the last year of the first century the year 99 or the year 100? By the same reasoning as before the tenth decade was finished at the end of the year 100, not the year 99! Do you see a pattern emerging here? Time for a quiz. When was the first millennium over? Was the year 999 the last year of the first millennium or was it the year 1000? Answer: the year 1000 was the last year of the first millennium. One thousand years. A millennium got to have a thousand of 'em. ('nother pattern here)
Now the biggie. When will the second millennium be finished? At the end of the year 1999 or the end of the year 2000? 10 marks for the correct answer.
Here's another way to look at it. The first year in our calendar was the year one. The beginning of that year (and the first decade/century/millennium) would have been on January 1, 1. Exactly 1000 years later would be January 1, 1001. 2000 years later is January 1, 2001. Simple arithmetic folks! This is like figuring out when the centenary of your nation is. Take the US for example. Nation born on July 4, 1776. Exactly one hundred years later is ... yep, you got it .... July 4, 1876. Good for you! No doubt you arrived at this by doing 1776 + 100.
I sometimes get the odometer arguement hurled at me. It goes something like: When and odometer rolls over to 2000 you have travelled 2000 miles therefore when the year turns to 2000 AD, 2000 years will have passed since the beginning of 1 AD. What I hurl back is the fact that odometer rolls over at the end of each mile but the years are named at the beginning of the year. Thus, in thinking of the years as a type of odometer, when 2000 AD is reached it will be the start of the 2000th year, not the end as in the automobile odometer.
Still not convinced? Look here for the coup de grace.
Still not convinced? Wow! Try this explanation. If this one doesn't slap you in the face with the truth, I give up!
If you feel like celebrating the beginning of the new millennium on New Year's Day, 2000 it's ok by me. I don't care when you party. A year-long party from January 1, 2000 to December 31, 2000 sounds like a blast. Just don't tell me that the new decade/century/millennium starts then. If you believe this then you have given yourself over to numerology and superstition, no matter how worldly and sophisticated you believe yourself to be. I admit that the temptation to say the new millenium begins on January 1, 2000 is *very* strong. There are valid arguments for the new millennium beginning on January 1, 2000 but they also apply to any date in time which trivializes the argument. Using our current (Gregorian) calendar the official start of the new millennium is on January 1, 2001, period. This is why Arthur C. Clark chose the name 2001 for his famous science fiction novel. The story was supposed to take place in the first year of the new millennium. This is also what clued me into this in the first place many years ago (I wish this web stuff had existed in 1989!). Thanks, Arthur. I've read all of your odyssey books by the way (2001, 2010, 2061, 3001 and all of the Rama series!)
Also from Craig:
People keep saying TWO THOUSAND.. the proper way to say 2000 is TWENTY HUNDRED.
Think back in history... 1500 1600 1700 1800 1900.... fifteen hundred, sixteen hundred, seventeen hundred... see the pattern!
There is a very good reason for saying TWENTY HUNDRED. When you indicate a year you indicate it as CENTURY YEAR or CCYY and the two numbers are said separately... thus 19(CC)99(YY) is NINETEEN(CC) NINETY NINE(YY) and 20(CC)00(YY) is TWENTY(CC) HUNDRED(YY).
Another thing to keep in mind is that TWO THOUSAND would be written as
2,000 not 2000. Notice the comma? When writing a number you use a comma
every third digit from the right. When was the last time you used a
comma when writing out the year? So, hopefully you can clearly see why
there is a difference between 2,000 (TWO THOUSAND) and 2000 (TWENTY
HUNDRED). For another more comical explanation please go
The only computer systems that could really be affected are ones that use the date calculation for something that will directly affect you ... the calculation of how much you still owe on your house for example. What will not be affected by the "Y2K bug" is the ability of an aircraft to fly, the electrical power grid and the stability of the nuclear arsenals. Look at it this way. On January 1, 2000 a 737's computer (with the "bug") begins to think that it is 1900. So what? The current date cannot (or at least, should not) have anything at all to do with the plane's ability to fly. If the plane does crash as a result of the date rollover this is not a bug but sabotage on the part of the programmer. The only way that this can happen is if it is intentionally put into the computer's software. I've been programming computers for many, many years now and know this to be so. Trust me, I'm a doctor!
Here are a few other pages with some related information on this issue: