While countries across the world welcomed in 2010 one week ago, were some people jumping to conclusions thinking it was the start of a new decade?
While countries across the world welcomed in 2010 one week ago, were some people jumping to conclusions thinking it was the start of a new decade? GARRIGE HO AFP

Is it really a new decade?

IT could be one of the biggest controversies of the decade. Or was that last decade?

Debate has been raging in The Morning Bulletin’s SMS the Editor column this week as texters argue about whether the first decade of the 21st century has ended or is still going.

CQUniversity lecturer Dr Noel Patson yesterday waded into the debate, saying it was hard to find the right answer.

Dr Patson, a lecturer for the School of Computing Sciences, said it didn’t take a mathematician to figure out the quiz, rather a historian.

This is what Dr Patson thinks:

“From a historical perspective the first year AD was called year 1 and there was no year zero. So the year 2000 was the 2000th year and the new millennium began in 2001.

“So if we counted decades (10 years) from year 1, we would get a decade beginning in 2001 and ending in 2010.

“However, common usage of the term decade corresponds to phrases like “back in the ’60s, the hippie movement...” where it is understood that the “sixties” or the “nineteen sixties” is the 10 years that began on January 1, 1960 and ended on December 31, 1969.

“Under this more common understanding the previous decade began on January 1, 2000 and ended on December 31, 2009.

“So under this usage we have now boldly lived only a few days into the new decade, the twenty tens.”



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