Concerned About Freedom on the Internet?
Click on the IACT Image.

Concerned about privacy issues on the internet? Look here

Numbers have no special magic about them. Friday the 13th is no more bad luck than Saturday the 13th. Turning 40 isn't any more significant than turning 39 or 41. The year 2000 is no better or worse than 1997, 2010 or 1561. There are no astronomical, cosmic or terrestrial events to make 2000 significant. But superstition, like a foolish consistency, is the hobgoblin of little minds (to paraphrase Emerson), so people ascribe all sorts of silly notions and attributes to numbers.
Superstition, however, is merely ignorance of the way the world functions. Numerology isn't a science: it's an excuse for not learning real science.
The only real meaning the year 2000 has is in the computer world, where dire warnings have threatened worldwide computer crash when the numbers tick over, because computer twinkies only used two digits to program dates when they started building mainframes (computers can't tell the difference between 1900 and 2000). The practice was carried over into microcomputers until fairly recently. But that has nothing to do with the millennial madness, the antichrist, the age of Aquarius or any other such silliness.

Quote from here.

Main Course

There seems to be some confusion about when the new decade/century/millennium will begin, especially among the executives of large companies that are hyping it to death. After some deliberation on the subject I've come to the conclusion that those who *insist* that the next millennium begins at the end of 1999 are either ignorant or have something to lose (money, job or face) if the truth gets out (or maybe just never bothered to figure it out). How embarrassing to advertise your special millennium countdown clock for only $19.95 on national tv only to find that it is counting down to the wrong time! The new millennium (and decade/century) does not begin until New Year's Day, 2001. This is not simple supposition on my part but the *official* change date of the decade/century/millennium as given by the good folks at the US Naval observatory and the Royal observatory of Greenwich, England. These folks are continually monitoring the skies and charting the positions of various celestial objects which is the equivalent of keeping track of time. They ought to know.

Now, lest you think that I'm some jerk out to stir up the pot for no reason take a look at this and then tell me that all the folks in the media know what they're talking about. If you can't spot what's wrong then you deserve to be taken in.

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!)


Taken from Webster's New World Dictionary, Second College Edition, page 231:
"Century: any period of 100 years reckoned from a certain time, esp. from the beginning of the Christian Era [1801 A.D. through 1900 A.D. is the 19th century A.D.]"

Taken from The World Almanac (1995), page 288, Julian and Gregorian Calendars; Leap Year; Century:
"A century consists of 100 consecutive calendar years. The 1st century AD consisted of the years 1 through 100. The 20th century consists of the years 1901 through 2000 and will end Dec. 31, 2000. The 21st century will begin Jan. 1, 2001."

Taken from The Book of Calendars (Frank Parise, Editor), page 295, Julian and Gregorian Calendar Conversions: The century ends with 00 not 99. The new century begins with the year 01."

Speling 'n Pronuncation

Also, for the journalists among you, it is millennium, not millenium (two n's).

Thanks to Craig for pointing this one out to me.

If you arrived at this page by typing "http://..../millenium.html, its not that I have mispelled the web page. Millenium.html is actually a pointer to millennium.html. I put this in for those who mispell the word.

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 here.

Millennium Bug???

There is no millennium bug. There is a Y2K bug (potentially) or perhaps we should say Y20E^2, in light of the previous remarks. See this page. The Y2K (or Y20E^2 which means Y twenty times ten squared or simply Y 20 hundred) bug will manifest itself in unprepared computer systems on January 1, 2000 and, as we have seen, this is not the beginning of the new millennium. There is, however, millennium bug hysteria.

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!


Did you know that the first day of the first year of the first millennium was a Saturday? I wonder what Saturday morning kid's cartoons were like then.

The person that created the calendar in the 6th century was one Dionysius Exiguus which means Denis the Small. Now, when someone asks "who was the *^&%$*&^ runt that developed the stupid calendar" you'll be able to look at them with a knowing glance and say "Dionysius Exiguus".

The calendar was advanced by 11 days in September of 1752. If you look (in a unix shell type 'cal 1752') you'll see that September 2 is followed by September 14. Many people at the time were outraged by this, thinking that they had had 11 days of their lives taken from them. Isn't ignorance wondeful?

Other Calendars

Calendars other than the Gregorian in use around the world:


By the way, there are some legal issues connected with this issue. For example, suppose DooDoo Diapers offers a year's supply of baby stuff to the mother of the first baby of the new millenium. Who wins, the first one born after midnight, Dec. 31, 1999 or the first born after midnight Dec. 31, 2000? Since the official millenium change is at midnight Dec. 31, 2000 it would be the second. Even if the prize is awarded to the first the second has a very strong claim to it. Moral: watch out all you DooDoo Diaperoid companies. Trouble's comin'!

Related links

Here are a few other pages with some related information on this issue:


Don't agree? Want to flame us? Agree with us Want to send money? Want to send beer? Want to have my child (Just joking folks .... Craig and his wife have already got one on the way and I already have enough to last for a while)? Send email to or to Craig.
I have had many comments ranging in tone from very polite to downright nasty concerning this subject but all are welcome. I should indicate that I have a PhD in chemistry and learned to count many, many years ago (although speling 'n grammer is nother thing altogether, eh Craig?). If this page just isn't enough to convince you then look here (US Naval Observatory) and here (Royal Greenwich Observatory).

Your Hosts

The whacko nitpickers who have brought this crazy message to you are: