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Ursus Maior
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The year 2000: Still part of the second millenium

Wed 19 May 2021, 14:30

I found no real place where to put this in the existing errata threads, so I'm opening a new thread. I welcome moderators to move this posting and its matter is quickly presented. In several instances, e. g. Referee's Manual p. 9 and 10., the reader is given the impression that the year 2000 is part of a new century or millennium. This is a common mistake, but factually wrong. Years, as other numbers too, are counted starting with "1" and shifting into new decade every 10, new centuries every 100 and new millennia every 1000 years. Adding this up gives us 2001 as the start of the first decade in the first century of the third millennium, and the year 2000 is the last year of the old millennium.

Note, speaking of a new millennium, century or decade uses a calendaric approach to counting years. This is not the same as speaking of "the 90s" or "the Twenties" for the ten years that have their Cardinal numbers show a "2" or "9" in the tens. This is a more colloquial form of counting, so the year 2000 starts the "2000s", but certainly not a third millennium.

This should be changed before publication to a wider audience, as it is a basic mathematical concept without grey areas.

Nota bene: On p. 10 of the Referee's Manual we find the following sentences: "Take away the entirety of the repressive communist regime, and you’re left with less than five years. Five years of hope before Poland once again became the flashpoint for another world war." This seems to be a leftover from Alpha edition. In fact, Poland had its first free elections in November 1990. Since Beta edition notes "[t]he Soviet attack occurs in the middle of the presidential primaries in the US [of 1996]", peace would have lasted almost six years. I would advise to change the whole paragraph, since its beginning ("Fifty years. Five decades. Well within a human lifetime. That’s how long Poland went without foreign powers warring for their territory, terrorizing their people, or bombing their cities") plays neatly into the five-years-theme (also: nice, but probably involuntary pun/hint on Soviet 'five-year-plans'), but only makes sense as a whole wordplay on the number "5".
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Re: The year 2000: Still part of the second millenium

Mon 24 May 2021, 17:11

Mmh. This was a favourite nit to pick back around the real Y2k...

Simply put: there is no "Year Zero", even though people often refer to one.

The first year of the CE is 1, meaning that the first decade ends with year 10 and the second begins with year 11; the first century ends with year 100, the second begins with 101...
The first year of the second millennium is thus 1001; and ergo the third millennium begins with 2001, not 2000.


However, this still doesn't change the fact that colloquially, the "New Millennium" starts with the year 2000. Likewise, the 19th century is generally considered ending 1899, not 1900, and so forth.
This is, as noted, formally and mathematically strictly incorrect, but our culture nevertheless seems to have accepted this as standard usage, at least informally.

However formally incorrect it may be, it seems that most people mentally equate "the nn hundreds" with "the nnth century". I'm not sure it's the rulebook's job to try to rectify that.
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