Thirty Days Hath February 2000?
By sheer force of popular belief, the new millennium will begin on January 1, 2000. Technically, it doesn't arrive until 2001, but this point has been belabored beyond all usefulness. The party arrangements have already been made.
It's heartening to realize we can still distracted by such trivia even as millennial madness crowds in around us. Dire predictions of world catastrophe and societal collapse circulate with ever-increasing fervor as the event so unpoetically christened "Y2K" slouches near. Fearing the worst, suburbanites debate the prudent course of action in the face of a rumored worldwide shortage of champagne for New Year's Eve while stockpiling emergency food and weaponry to survive the months of bestial anarchy to follow.
Hype, or reality? Best set aside a case of Korbel, just to be sure. You might even live to enjoy it.
One matter still under heated discussion is what to call the coming decade in everyday conversation. Contrary to popular expectation, there is no prescribed formula. We refer to the present decade as "the nineties." Proposals for the one to follow range from "the oh-ohs" to "the zeroes" to "the aughts" to "the naughties."
In a poll taken several years ago, respondents clearly favored the construction "two-thousand-and-one" to "twenty-oh-one," though "double-aught-one" was a popular write-in alternative. It's hard to anticipate what the actual usage will be, nor is there any official body to decide the matter for us.
We wouldn't trust what they said, anyway.
Robert J. Sandler's massive Year 2000 FAQ disputes a "myth" that has already sprung up concerning the coming leap year, to wit: "The year 2000 will be a 'double leap year' or 'super leap year.' February will have 30 days and the year will be 367 days long."
Humbug, says Sandler.
There are only two rules governing the determination of leap years:
- A year which is evenly divisible by 4 is a leap year, except for years ending in 00.
- A year ending in 00 is a leap year if it's divisible by 400.
Thus, 1900 was not a leap year, but 2000 will be. It's as simple as that.
Aw, but some people just won't let well enough alone. Versions of the following alert have been circulating on the Internet since last year:
Subject: Fwd: FW: Stop the Presses!!! More stuff to contemplate on Y2K. 30 days have February???
The Year 2000
This is a news article from today's gulf news. February 2000 will have 30 days!!
There are some number of seconds that are accumulated every day which make up to become an extra day once in every four years and that is why we have the leap year. In the same manner there are some number of seconds which are accumulated from the leap years which form to become an extra day once in every 400 years and that is why in the year 2000 there will be 30th feb 2000.
So the child born on that day will never be able to celebrate his/her birthday until 30th Feb 2400.
The computer industry are talking about Y2K problem and now with the 30th Feb problem, all the electronic products with calendars will be dumb. It is a new threat to the entire world.
What will we call the year when Feb has 30 days?!
How about we call it a hoax? It's been labeled a "myth" and an "urban legend," but I find it hard to believe this misinformation grew out of any legitimate confusion over the facts.
Looking back in history, 1600 was divisible by 400, yet February of that year did not feature 30 days. 1600 was a leap year, pure and simple, with 29 days in the second month and a total of 366 days in the year. Just like the year 2000 will be.
Whatever real problems Y2K may hold in store, a "double leap year" will not be one of them. Let's turn our attention instead to the important things, like hoarding Cheez Whiz and stockpiling semi-automatic weapons. Armageddon is right around the corner!
For more information, see:
- Leap Years
A concise explanation of their history and function
A lengthy and technical primer by L. E. Doggett
- Center for Millennial Studies
A clearinghouse of millennarian information
- Millennium Madness
A treasure trove of nutty Net Links
- The Y2K Bug