Fascination with year2000 


The fascination with the year 2000 as the end of a millennium, the year of the second coming, Armageddon, etc. (daterelated bugs in nonMacintosh software notwithstanding) is more than just plain silly.
There is nothing special about the number 2000, as the table to the left shows. It happens to be a nice “round” number only in base10, the one that most of humanity is accustomed with (presumably since most of us have 10 digits). In the binary (base2) system, it is a pretty randomly looking number, as it also is in almost any other base. Shown here are the values up to base32, that being a base for “binary” way of counting on the digits of one hand). For comparison, the third column shows the next integer, 2001, which is the first year of the third millennium. Personally, I like base7 and base13, and in both of these year2000 has an interesting representation: 5555 and bab (the latter of which, in Hungarian, means “beans”). Note also that the precision of knowing when this millennium ends crucially depends on knowing when it (and the previous one) began. And this, supposedly, should coincide with the birth date of Jesus of Nazareth. Which, however, is celebrated on the eve of December 24th, not 31st. Besides, some say, Jesus may have been born in 4 B.C., so that Armageddon must have happened four years ago. Oh, and of course, leap years were invented quite a while after that initial event  without which Armageddon ought to appear quite a few days sooner! But, seriously: why should the instantaneous vanishing of the Universe (as we know it) be timed in revolutions of an insignificant planet around an insignificant star, and by a number that appears significant only in a handful of number systems? Now, isn't that quite preposterously obnoxious? 
Oh, and just by the way: in computer parlance, the suffix “k” denotes 1024fold, not 1000fold (since 1024=2^{10}). So, “Y2k”, in reference to computers, should really mean year2048, shouldn't it?