Not this nonsense again. Marc Thiessen writes at NR‘s Corner that “2010 is the last year of the decade. The new decade begins in 2011!” Thiessen is reviving the who “there was no year zero” gotcha that killjoys employed in 1999 to try to ruin celebrations of the coming millenium. And they are right— there was no year zero. But what they don’t realize is that there was no year one either. The Western mode of dating isn’t some mathematically precise system, it’s more of a political/religious/cultural concept. If Wikipedia is to be believed, the Anno Domini system was created in A.D. 525, hundreds of years after the birth of Christ. My whole life, new decades started in a year ending zero: the 1980s started in 1980, the 1990s started in 1990, etc. Now they are supposed to begin in a year starting with a one.
This is all trivial. Nothing changes because it is a new decade or century or millenium A good guide to its importance is a car odometer. My Dad would always have me look when all the nines were rolling over into zeros. If he had waited, all I would see is one zero becoming a one. How lame is that?
Update: Here’s another NR perspective on the issue. “if the length of a day, a month, and a year can vary, why not the length of a decade? Why not define the first decade A.D. to be nine years long, ending in the year 9, and follow the natural 0-to-9 pattern from then on? That way, both sides can have their cake and eat it too, and the other side’s cake as well.”