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RE: The Millennium Hoax

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Title: RE: The Millennium Hoax

I was in Europe a few months ago, and the New Millennium is a REALLY BIG DEAL over there.  Perhaps that is because their ancestors were there celebrating one thousand years before.  Of course, the argument could also be made that Europeans (except Calatrava) tend to live in the past.

For those of us living in North America, who cares whether or not the New Millennium is upon us?  Few of us, if any, can claim that our ancestors were celebrating here one thousand years ago!  Mine, for example, were celebrating in Scotland and Ireland.  Also, most of us would (or should) claim that we are more interested in the future than in the past.

As far as I can determine, nobody knows with any certainty exactly what happened on or about 2000 years ago.  For those that believe that something happened, there is no agreement as to when it happened, at least not to within five to ten years.  As engineers, and especially as those like me who started their careers with slide rules, we should know that nothing is reliable beyond three significant digits.  Can we simply agree that we are currently living in the year 199X, and by mutual worldwide agreement are about to change it to 200X?  Does it really matter what millennium 200X is a part of, as long as everyone uses the same calendar?

I do agree with Bill that the main thrust behind the New Millennium hype is the media.  After all, if you can't find a good story then create one!  Democrats will celebrate the New Millennium in two days, and then again a year later, figuring that two parties are better than one.  Republicans will celebrate only once, if at all.  Of course, they will be strongly divided as to which event to celebrate (just like pro-life vs. pro-choice).

There is a perfectly good engineering solution to this dilemma.  If you can't decide which of two numbers is correct, why not use their average and cut the potential error in half?  I therefore advocate celebrating the New Millennium on July 1, 2000.  Just don't tell the Democrats, because three parties would truly be excessive!

Best regards,

Stan Caldwell in Dallas
Rooting for Bucky to Pummel Stanford  

Statistics are no substitute
for judgment.
        ...Henry Clay, c1830