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Tuesday, 31 December 2019 06:07

Hold on, the decade still has another year to run Featured

Hold on, the decade still has another year to run Pixabay

Earlier this year, an OECD report revealed that Australian 15-year-olds are well behind their peers in other parts of the globe in reading, mathematics and science. Recent developments have shown that many people in Western countries simply cannot count.

It should be easy for even a five-year-old to count from one to ten, but many cannot do that; else, why would people start raving about the end of the decade when we have yet another year to go?

The first decade in this era began in 1AD and ended in 10AD. Similarly, the 2010s, as some are inclined to call this decade, will end on 31 December 2020. Not tomorrow.

If UNIX geeks had started the count, then the decade would have ended in 9AD, for they would have called the first year 0AD. But they weren't around at the time. Tracking the beginning of time was done by people who counted in the traditional way.

Similar silliness and stupidity was exhibited in the run-up to the millennium, with many claiming that 1999 was the last year of the previous millennium. This was fanned even more by the impending sense of doom that many felt in the face of the Y2K problem, with proclamations aplenty that the "new millennium" would see mass chaos as computers around the world could no longer track dates properly.

This splurge of "end of the decade" stories does not come from just some outliers. No, major media outlets which should arguably know better are up there leading the queue.

This morning, the ABC's Radio National had a report which it claimed was about the political instability of the decade. One wonders what this august taxpayer-funded organ will do if the current Australian prime minister is toppled next year. Going by the correct way of counting — and there is no other way, though the ABC may have one of its own — any political chicanery of 2020 would be part of the current decade.

But "best of the decade" and "worst of the decade" stories continue to arrive by the dozen. And no doubt this rank stupidity will continue on the morrow.

One is sure, however, that many of those who are spreading the lie that the decade ends tomorrow will next year accuse others of spreading fake news.

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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