By the way, RobH is right: watch the news about Y2K fizzle at the
beginning of next year the way all of the worries about the Euro went
away a few days ago.
And there's not going to be a 70% correction of the U.S. stock market
this year. 10-20% maybe, 70% no way. Man, I hate how alarmist the news
is nowadays... as if, for example, there's any doubt what's going to
happen in the ongoing federal trials of the world's two most powerful
Bills (Clinton and Gates)...
> From firstname.lastname@example.org Thu Jan 7 00:17:02 1999
> Subject: The results are in ...
> THE MILLENNIUM CONUNDRUM
> Susan Lemerande
> Anyone who knows me knows that I am often and easily confused. My one
> redeeming feature is that I did earn an A once in a college course
> called Logic.
> I loved that class, it was so ... well ... logical. "If point A is
> true and point B is also true, then it follows that the conclusion, C,
> is also true. BUT, if B is not true then your conclusion could be
> messed up," or something like that.
> Anyhow, I am amazed and confused by the recent flood of news stories
> expressing dismay concerning ways to celebrate properly on December
> 31, 1999 to welcome the new millennium.
> Vintners are lamenting they may not have enough champagne ready for
> the big night, Times Square is preparing a fabulous new ball to drop
> at midnight and in cities all across the country millennium clocks
> tick away. But why so soon?
> If the year 1 was the first year, hence the name "1," then the year 2
> pretty much must have been the second year. That makes 1999 the (let's
> guess) 1,999th year, and since 1,999 years is not quite the same as
> 2,000 years why oh why are we celebrating a new millennium so soon?
> And since when is time so arbitrary?
> If I was born on March 20, 1951, which I was, I wasn't born 1 year
> old. I wasn't called or considered 1 year old till I'd been a pain in
> the butt to my parents for one full year (this is what we call a
> birthday). I became 1 on March 20, 1952, 10 in 1961, 20 in 1971, and
> 21 in 1972. Up until that moment I could not sit down in a bar and
> drink a Bloody Mary because I had not completed my 21st year. I was
> not 21.
> The first millennium began at the start of the year 1 and ended at the
> close of the year 1000 (that's 1000 years, hence the name millennium),
> the second millennium began at the start of the next year, which was
> 1001, and ends at the CONCLUSION of 2000.
> If you think I'm wrong, please tell me why. And don't just say,
> "Because it starts with 20 and not 19," or "Because that is the rule."
> Now, lest you think this is just my own addle-brained opinion, I want
> you to know I launched a massive search for the brightest minds
> available and am pleased to tell you that I have irrefutable input to
> support my theory, thanks to: local genius Jeff Edlund and a little
> book he owns entitled "Uncle John's Indispensable Guide to the Year
> 2000"; Bill Bush, the treasurer for Community Pantry and a man who
> knows his numbers; Dr. Michael J. Flynn, Professor of Electrical
> Engineering at Stanford University; my cousin Linda in Kane, PA;
> Richard E. Stearns, Distinguished Professor in the Computer Science
> Dept. at University of Albany; Jimmy Chen, Hemet High School senior
> and future PhD in Applied Mathematics; Lawrence S. Husch, Professor of
> Math at the University of Tennessee; my sister, Marbel, and her
> husband, Cris, who is a genius and works at Intel; John Lipski from
> the Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences at Caltech;
> Professor Michael W. Chamberlain of the Mathematics Dept. at the
> U. S. Naval Academy; our own Jordy Lemerande, future Caltech
> Biochemist; The U.S. Naval Observatory staff; Adam (aka "I Find
> Karma") who appears to have no last name and is in the Computer
> Science Dept. at Caltech, and Dr. Bill Appelbe, head of the Computer
> Science Dept. at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia.
> Oh, but our favorite local geek, Vincent Polhemus, insists it's 2000
> for the partyers and 2001 for the purists.
> In conclusion this purist will just say "Hey guys. Don't get your
> panties in a bunch, there's plenty of time to cook up more bubbly! You
> have one extra year!"
> I wish you a very happy 1,999th year and eagerly await your opposing
> (Susan Lemerande lives in Hemet and her column appears Fridays.
> Comments are welcome at email@example.com or 791-4959.)
Society has long been hostile to intellectuals, suspecting them of
everything from moral weakness and dangerous scepticism to communist
conspiracy and venereal disease, but never has it been quite so explicit
in pursuing the opposite prejudice, the moral elevation of
simple-mindedness. We North Americans find ourselves, on the brink of
the third millennium, living in a high-tech society in which,
paradoxically, stupidity is our brightest badge of goodness.
-- Mark Kingwell, Dreams of Millennium