Skip to comments.Pssst! 2010 does not kick off a new decade
Posted on 12/31/2009 2:36:00 PM PST by La Enchiladita
As we approach the end of the year 2009, we are seeing a repeat of the innumeracy that was so prevalent as we came to the end of 1999.
To wit, the first of January 2010 is not the first day of a new decade, but the first day of the last year of the first decade of the 21st century, which began Jan. 1, 2001.
Ours is a decimal system, based on the numbers 1 through 10, and when you count things be they apples, fingers, cars or years you begin with 1.
This is because if you dont have at least one, you have nothing to count. Calling 2009 the end of the decade is akin to telling a child to count his fingers as follows, 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and telling him: You have 10 fingers.
As final emphasis, in our decimal system any number ending in zero is the final number in a group of 10. A number ending in two zeroes is the final number in a group of a hundred, whilst three zeroes is the last in a group of a thousand, etc.
Why is this hard for otherwise intelligent people to grasp?
Oh, and in passing, saying that most people think this is the end of the decade is of no import whatsoever. Numbers, arithmetic, mathematics is not subject to what people think.
The only way a year ending in 0 can be the beginning of a new decade, century, or millennium is if the very first year on that calendar is 0. Since the Gregorian calendar begins with the year 1, only years ending in 1 can mark the beginning of a new decade, century, or millennium.
But if you are a C or C++ programmer, the first year was 0 A.D., and 2000 was the start of the decade.
this did not escape people in 1901 which was correctly celebrated instead of 1900..
but we enlightened folks in 2000 celebrated the millenium and now we are celebrating a new decade...go figure???
Weren’t you just griping about this? ;)
Yeah, but who really cares except for the math snobs and elitists. :)
Buzzkill! They just can’t stand people partying like it’s 1999!
People like congruity and even numbers to mark milestones. I know the decade does not technically start until next year, but who cares?
I'm happy to see that I am not alone in thinking the same thing. It really has put my teeth on edge to hear the news commentators say over and over again during the past week, "2010 marks the beginning of a brand new decade!" What a bunch of boobs!
No one cares.
But people seem predispositioned to celebrate things with zeroes on the end of them.
I remember this same discussion occurring ten years ago (amidst all of those dire Y2K warnings.) ;-)
Funny how people have to keep talking about this as if the argument hasn’t been made 57 billion times already.
So I guess 1990 wasn’t part of the 90’s decade?
It certainly does. Maybe not an ordinal decade (passing from the first decade of the century to the second), but certainly a cardinal decade in the popular understanding: the 80s ran from 1980 to 1989, the 90s ran from 1990 to 1999, the noughties ran from 2000 to 2009, the teenies (?) will run from 2010 to 2019, etc.
If you’re just counting the math yes, but really that makes for inconvenient definitions, that makes the 1970 part of the 60s, and 2000 part of the 1900s and that’s just goofy. I say the first decade/ century/ millennium got short sheeted a year so that 2010 is the beginning of the 2010s.
It’s like the 21st Century didn’t start until 2001. I remember discussions leading up to 2000 on that.
The 60’s run from 1960 to 1969. The 70’s, in your example, ran from 1970 to 1979.
>> Why is this hard for otherwise intelligent people to grasp?
Computer scientist Edsgar Dijkstra was quite intelligent. He argued vociferously for numbering things beginning at zero.
Besides, we couldn’t wait until 2001 to have the “why two kay” crisis. “Why two thousand and one” crisis just wouldn’t have had the same marketing appeal. :-)
Not according to the math guys, because there was no year 0 a decade runs from 1 through 0 instead of 0 through 9. Either that or the 1970s wasn’t a decade.
But that's an ordinal definition of century: first century, eleventh century, eighteenth century, etc.
As far as informal, colloquial definitions of cardinal decades, it is ridiculous to say the eighties did not start until 1981.
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