Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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Title text: If our current civilization lasts another 8,000 years, it's probably fair to assume the Long Now Foundation got things right, and at some point we started listening to them and switched to five-digit years.
|| This explanation may be incomplete or incorrect: The existing explanation has been updated with wiki links etc. But is the 10,000 year clock relevant at all? Should it maybe just be a trivia item?|
If you can address this issue, please edit the page! Thanks.
Some people make a big deal about special dates with patterns in the digits, such as 2000-01-01 or 2011-11-11. Many people, for instance, choose these more "unique" days to get married, even though the day may not fall on a weekend. One example is 2007-07-07 - a summer day that was very popular.
This comic, however, points out that every date is equally unique.
The Mayans had a repeating circle of years, which made it very difficult to record the dates of events far into the past as a given date was not unique! To prevent this, the ISO 8601 states that the Gregorian calendar should be used (i.e. our system), which has no limit on years - but "only" uses four digit years.
Cueball thinks that it is interesting that we have an infinite number of years; it never starts over again. This means that today's date will never be applicable again. It is one of his many hobbies to point this out every day. This would be incredibly annoying to Megan and everyone else!
The title text is referring to the Long Now Foundation who uses five digit year (the date of this comic would be written as 02014-03-10 by the foundation). They are for instance designing a 10,000-year clock that should be able to run for this long - and in principle it could display every date up to 99999-12-31 with its five digits.
As we currently use four-digit years this may cause a Y10K problem. Randall remarks that by the year 10,000, we will probably have switched over to a larger number of digits realizing that 'the Long Now Foundation got things right'.
A previous comic on date formats was 1179: ISO 8601
- [Cueball speaking to Megan and another person.]
- Cueball: Whoa, it's 2014-03-10! Under our system, this day will NEVER HAPPEN AGAIN!!
- My Hobby: Pointing this out every day.
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