Letter: Confusion over the millennium

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The Independent Online
Sir: Thank you for your clear exposition (Technoquest, 3 June) of the firm arithmetical reasons for the 21st century and third millennium to begin on 1 January 2001.

When Julius Caesar initiated the Julian calendar in 46BC, he found it necessary to declare that that year should have 445 days, which earned for it the title of the Year of Confusion. Those who wish for something to celebrate on 1 January 2000 could hail the start of the Second Year of Confusion.

Not only will it be the year widely but mistakenly believed to be the start of the millennium, it will also be the year in which much of the world's computer software, short-sightedly written to accept dates only up to 1999, will cause widespread commercial and other disasters.

Dr J M WILLIAMS

Chichester,

West Sussex

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