01:02:03 04/05/06

As Francis and the BBC rightly pointed out, tonight marks a special occasion from a time perspective.

At a little after two minutes past one tomorrow morning, it will be 01:02:03 04/05/06. I will be waking up to mark the occasion, although its significance is questionable.

Let’s work from back to front. The year (AD 2006) is calculated from the birthday of Jesus of Nazareth. However, more recent estimates suggest that he/He was born between 8 BC and 4 BC, as his birth is known to have preceded Herod’s death in 4 BC. So, we should have been celebrating the Millennium somewhere between 1992 and 1996, and the momentous second on which this post was founded actually took place between four and eight years ago. So this puts a big question mark over the ’06’.

The Gregorian calendar was introduced on 24 February, 1582, making it 424 years, two months and nine days old today. It succeeded the ten month Julian calendar which was slightly inaccurate in its year length. There doesn’t seem to be any logic for there being twelve months (although it’s nice that they divide into quarters, thirds and halves), nor is there any real logic for the first day of the year falling on 1 January. It’s always struck me as odd that it didn’t fall on one of the equinoxes, or else a solstice, given that these dates have a natural beauty. This puts pay to the ’04’ and the ’05’.

Now to the time. It’s claimed that the Egyptians were responsible for dividing the day into two twelve-hour chunks, while the Babylonians claim the 60s used for seconds and minutes. Both are thought to be arbitrary units, chosen more for their mathematical beauty than their worldly significance. So, the ’01’, ’02’ and ’03’ are pretty arbitrary too.

The UK celebrated this momentous secound a little over an hour ago. I’ll be celebrating the event in four hours’ time using Eastern Daylight Time. That’s a concept that was conceived by Benjamin Franklin in 1784 and first seriously advocated by William Willett in 1907.

Despite these countless flaws, it’s certainly worth waking up for!

As an aside, the magazine 4-4-2 wasted an opportunity four years ago to sponsor 4 April, 2002 as a national day of football.


2 Responses to “01:02:03 04/05/06”

  1. Number Freak on May 3rd, 2006 12:36

    10:09:08:07:06:05:04:03:02:01:00….I am going to explode!

  2. Crowdsourcing lunacy : Tangential Ramblings on January 13th, 2011 23:22

    […] and will next happen in 2032.  *That* would be something worth writing about, were it not for the lunacy that is the Gregorian calendar. January 13, 2011 | Filed Under General, Numbers and […]

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