Wednesday, March 10, 2010

A numberline with no 0

I just finished reading my January 18, 2010 Fortune Magazine. Yes, I'm a little behind, but that's nothing compared to my Businessweek situation. The last column in Fortune was The Decade that Was by Stanley Bing.

Except he has it all wrong. Not his assessment. Just that the decade hasn't ended yet. 2009 is not the last year of the decade. In fact, no year that ends in "9" ever is the last year of the decade. Yes, yes, I drew numberlines in grade schools. But with timelines, there's no year 0. When was Jesus born? Right. Year 1 on our calendar. What was the year before that? Year 1 BC.

Every ten years or so this issue comes up. On one side are the people like me, who are right, and on the other side are the people who think my side is nuts, and that it's more fun to party like it's 1999, or '09, or '19, than to worry about random quirks of time.

And you know what, it doesn't really matter. Time only moves forward, so it's not like any of us are ever going to see a scenario in which there might be a year 0 (although I bet the problems that would cause would be way more interesting than the decade that was, or was not yet, depending on your point of view).

But I'm still right.

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