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Countdown to New Millennium. When does the New Millennium Begin?.
The "Endollennium" Solution to Millennium-Confusion Problem.
Graphic Illustration. Human Age Analogy. Box Land Analogy. Journey of 3,000 Steps. Cheers/Jeers_to_USA_Today.
Year 2000 Thanks from the Many to the Few:
It's quite a relief, yet strains our belief: 2,000 arrived with no grief
We know that fanatics had planned to attack us but good-guys prevented the fracas
From Churchill take cue, his words to renew, there's much owed by many to few
Predictions for 21st Century
To read predictions for the 21st Century by the Focus Editor, click here.
Before a human-being's birth, his age is zero because until he's born alive, he's not a "person." (Just for the pleasure of being sexist, I'm using the male pronoun.) The time between conception and birth is his pre-birth existence. Such pre-birth existence occurs during the first year preceding his birth. Absent the extreme unlikelihood of a pregnancy lasting more than 12 months, such pre-birth existence is always less than a year. Therefore, such pre-birth existence always occurs within the first year before birth (i.e., within one year BB). Thus, with respect to a gestating human being, if one were to ask the year of his "age" at any given moment, the correct answer would be that he's in his first year before birth-- i.e., 1 BB. At the instant of birth, he begins his first year since birth-- i.e., 1 AB -- not "0 AB." In recognition that he actually exists, we do not follow the mathematical "rounding down" method to say that his age is "zero" during the time between birth and the end of six months (i.e., half-a-year), and it's only by custom that we describe his first year of existence in months rather than describing his age as "in his first year"-- i.e., 1 AB. (There is no such thing as a Zero Year. Zero year means no year-- a concept of non-existence-- an oxymoron similar to George Carlin's "jumbo shrimp," "honest politician," etc.)
He does not commence his second year of life until the instant following his first birthday. Although he's then in his second year of life (i.e., 2 AB), we customarily describe his age as "one year old" meaning that he has lived one complete year but not yet a second complete year. Manifestly, no person's second year of life can start until the end of his first year of life-- i.e., year 2 AB can't start until the end of year 1 AB, which he celebrates on his first birthday..
Just as the moment of birth starts the first year of life, it also starts the first decade of life. Just as the second year of life can't commence until the end of the first year (which occurs on the first birthday), the second decade of life can't commence until the end of the first decade (i.e., the end of ten years of life, which occurs on the tenth birthday.) Thus, a ten-year old is in his second decade (i.e., the eleventh year) of his life. Just as his third year of life can't start until the end of his second year (i.e., on his second birthday), his third decade of life can't start until the end of his second decade-- i.e., the end of 20 years which occurs on his 20th birthday-- NOT on his 19th birthday. Thus, a person's 20th birthday (i.e., the date of the end of his 20th year) starts his 21st year and also starts his third decade of life. On his 21st birthday, he's celebrating the end of his 21sth year, which is also the end of the first year of his third decade of life.
By virtue of the birth of Christ having been selected as the beginning of a new calendar system, the instant of His birth started his first year of life. The year before his birth was 1 BC and any date less than 12 months before his birth was within the first year BC (i.e., during 1 BC).
Just as the moment of His birth started his first year (i.e., the year 1 AD), December 31 of His first year marked the beginning of His second year-- i.e., the beginning of the year 2 AD. (The fact that we celebrate the date that would mark the end of his first year of life a week early on December 25 rather than December 31 is irrelevant to the mathematical concept being illustrated here. Thus, this illustration treats December 31, 1 AD rather than December 25 as his first birthday.) His 20th birthday (December 31, 20 AD) marked the end of His 20th year and the end of His second decade of life. Thus, His third decade of life began immediately upon the end of his 20th year-- i.e., his 20th birthday (December 31, 20 AD)-- NOT upon his 19th birthday (December 31, 19 AD), which merely marked the end of his 19th year.
Just as the moment of His birth marked the beginning of his first decade, it also marked the beginning of the First Century AD as well as the beginning of the First Millennium AD. Just His third decade of life could not have begun until the end of His second decade-- i.e., at the end of his 20th year on December 31, 20 AD (His 19th birthday)-- the Third Millennium since His birth cannot begin until the end of the Second Millennium -- i.e., after the end of the first 2000 years, which will occur on December 31, 2000-- NOT on December 31, 1999.
The Box-Land Analogy:..
Imagine a world comprised entirely of an infinitely long row of boxes with no space between any two boxes. You can only enter this world by stepping into box #1. You cannot step into box #2 until you walk to the end of box #1 and pass through the doorway into box #2. At the moment you reach the doorway to box #2, you celebrate having traveled through box #1, and when you enter box #2, you tell everyone you've traveled through box #1. They say, "Ah, you're 1 Box Old." Of course, if they ask, "Where are you now," you say, "I'm in box #2."
When you enter box #100, someone asks, "How many boxes have you been through?" (Bad grammar is okay in Box Land.) You can't say you've been through 100 boxes because you're still in box #100, so you tell them you've been through 99 boxes and that your progressing through box #100 with the hope of entering box #101 so you can start on you second set of 100 boxes. When you enter box #101, someone asks, "How many boxes have you been through?." You say, "I've been through 100 and now I'm starting my second hundred-boxes set."
When you're in the 999th box, if someone asks how many boxes you've been through, you say, "998, but I'm in my 999th box and hope to soon enter my 1,000th box," As you enter the 1,000th box, if someone asks how many boxes you've been through, you say, "999, but I'm in my 1,000th box and hope to soon enter my 1,001st box." When you enter box #1,001, if someone asks how many boxes you've been through, you say, "I've been through a Thousand Boxes and now I'm starting on my Second Thousand Boxes.
When you enter Box #1999, you encounter a fellow traveler who, unfortunately, received his education in the late-20th Century in the United States. The fellow traveler tells you how excited he is that he's about to enter his third thousand-box set when he enters the 2,000th box. Fortunately, you were educated in the early-to-middle part of the 20th Century in the United States, so you carefully and slowly explain to him that since he (and you) are still in the 1999th box, you've only been through 1,998 boxes and are about to enter the 2,000th box, at which time you (and he) will have only been through 1,999 boxes. He adamantly insists that when he enters the 2,000th box he will be thereby starting his third thousand-box set. He quickly rounds-up a bunch of other travelers in box #1,999, who call themselves reporters and media representatives who are experts in reporting the facts. They've all wearing festive clothing to celebrate entry into the 2,000th box as their entry into their third thousand-box-set. Sensing that at least some of them are too intelligent to really believe that to be correct, you pull them aside and explain the truth to them, but they insist that it doesn't really matter because the change of the first two digits from "19" to "20" makes them feel as though they're entering the third thousand-box set.
In utter frustration, you say to yourself, "Beam me up, Scotty."
Some premature-millennium apologists attempt to place a mathematical-analysis imprimatur on the currently popular contention that the Third Millennium starts on Jan.1, 2000 (rather than Jan. 1, 2001) by asserting that the "Roman" numbering system did not contain a number for "zero," and that the first year really should have been "zero" so that the end of 1999 would be the end of 2,000 years. The graph below illustrates the absurdity of such illogic masquerading as mathematics. The proponents of this theory obviously don't understand that year "1" would be the correct starting year even if the Roman numbering system were to have included a symbol for "zero." There could not be a "zero" year, which means "no year" -- not a year preceding Year 1. The year preceding Year "1" was Year "-1" (i.e., 1 BC). The line-graph below "graphically" illustrates this:
The non-space occupied by the red bar is zero. The space between the red bar and the first black bar to the right is the space occupied by the unit "+1" (including fractions of it), and the space between the red bar and the first black bar to the left is the space occupied by the unit "-1." Zero is not a unit-- it's the absence of a unit..
Journey of 3,000 Steps:.
For convenience, I'm addressing this explanation to "you," the reader. Perform this experiment: Prepare to take one step forward by first standing still with both feet side-by-side. Before moving, state how many steps you have taken. If you have at least a rudimentary understanding of math, you'll say "none" (or "zero"). Take one step forward, and as your leading foot is moving forward, state what you're doing-- i.e., "I'm taking my first step" -- i.e, "I'm 'in' my first step." When your leading foot strikes the ground, place your trailing foot beside it and state the number of steps you've taken-- i.e., "one step." Then, step backward to your starting point, and while stepping backward, state what you're doing -- i.e., "I'm taking one step backward from my first step, but I'm still 'in' what was my first step forward." When you complete this step backward, stand still with both feet together and state where you are-- i.e., "Having taken one step backward to erase my one step forward, I am now at my point of origin"-- i.e., "I'm now zero steps from my starting point." Now take another step backward and state what you're doing-- i.e., "I'm taking my first step backward" --i.e., "I'm 'in' my first step backward from my point of origin." When you complete this step backward, stand still with both feet together and state where you are--i.e., "I'm now one step behind my starting point" --i.e., "I'm at minus 1 step from my point of origin." Now, erase the backward step by stepping one step forward and state where you are--i.e., "I'm back to my starting point." Now perform the next part of this experiment.
Take 10 steps forward. Count each step aloud and pause for a moment with both feet together upon completion of each step. During the time between completion of your 9th step and completion of your 10th step, state what step you're "taking" -- i.e., "I'm taking my 10th step"-- i.e., "I'm 'in' my 10th step." Now, take ten more steps (i.e., a second 10-steps set of steps) in the same direction. While you're taking your 11th step, state how many 10-steps sets of steps you've taken-- i.e., "I've taken one 10-steps set of steps." Also, while still taking your 11th step, state which 10-steps set of steps you're "in"-- i.e., "I'm now 'in' my second 10-steps set of steps. As you begin your 20th step, state what 10-steps set of steps you're "in" -- i.e., "I'm taking my 20th step, so I'm still 'in' my 20th step, so I'm still 'in' my second 10-steps set of steps." Now, state when you will be "in" your third 10-steps set of steps-- i.e., "When I start my 21st step, I'll be 'in' my third 10-steps set of steps."
Now, perform a thought experiment. Assume you will continue your journey until you've taken 3,000 steps. What is the last step you can be taking while still remaining within the first thousand-steps group? Can you say, "1,000"? What is the first step you can commence that will be within the second thousand-steps set? Can you say, "1,001"? What is the last step you can be taking while remaining within the second thousand-steps set of steps? Can you say, "2,000"? What is the first step you can take that will be within the third thousand-steps set of steps? Can you say, "2,001"? Now, contact every business which sold you a product commemorating the beginning of the year 2,000 as the beginning of the new millennium, explain this example slowly and then demand a refund.
Cheers & Jeers to USA Today:
At its "Millennium" site (http://usatoday.com/2000/2000.htm) USA earns cheers and jeers for getting the "Millennium" issue half-right. The site says,
After correctly stating that the "third millennium officially begins Jan.1,
2001," USA incorrectly implies that such assertion isn't really correct by
virtue of Exiguus having counted the first year as "1" rather than
"zero" since he established the new calender system "before the
invention of the zero." The author of this USA site obviously
doesn't understand that year "1" would be the correct starting year
even if "the zero" had been "invent[ed]." There could
not be a "zero" year, which means "no year" -- not a year
preceding Year 1. The year preceding Year "1" was Year
"-1" (i.e., 1 BC). See the line-graph in the "Graphic