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Wednesday, 30 December 2009

It's a matter of time.

If I am a musician in an orchestra and have a 100-bar phrase to play, the conductor will not be pleased if I stop at the end of the 99th bar. If I take out a 10-year loan agreement and, at the end of the ninth year, inform the lender that I have completed my payments, then I may well end up in a Civil Court. If I allow someone ten minutes to complete a particularly difficult task, and then stop the clock at the beginning of that tenth minute I will be considered as having acted most unfairly. I was not able to draw my State Pension at the beginning of my 65th year of life, but only when that year had been completed.

None of this is quantum physics/mechanics; it isn't even calculus. It is, in fact, very simple and basic mathematics. So, on the last stroke of midnight, tomorrow, we will not enter the second decade of the third millennium - we will enter the final year of that decade. The decade will be completed at the end of that year.

Let us not succumb to media hype and, lest I do not have time to post tomorrow, or Friday, I wish each and all a peaceful, prosperous, and very happy new year.


CannuckCol said...

Over here too they were talking about the end of the decade, so I just presumed that they were talking of the ten years 1999-2009 After all in THAT respect EVERY year will be the end of a 'decade' Just a matter of deciphering which decade they mean.

Brian Ross said...

The difference is in the article!! 'A' decade may be any ten-year period starting at any time - and, indeed, any date! 'The' decade is a specific decade that, in my understanding (and in the current 'Western' calendar), commences with the first of January of the year 01,11, ..., 101 201, ..., 1001, 2001, etc. I cetainly wasn't able to claim my State pension until my 65th year had ended (indeed, because it ended on a Friday, I didn't receive my pension entitlement until the following Monday - two days of destitution!!).