The World Celebrated the New Millennium One Year Too Early

There are many topics which provoke debate and even hostility, such as politics and religion. Wise barbers and taxi drivers avoid such topics for fear annoying or disturbing their customers. Better to stay with talk about the weather or sports, but even talk about football or baseball can be sensitive subjects. In my articles, I don’t avoid topics which can be minefields of controversy such as subjects of political thought, economic theory, religion and philosophy. Hopefully readers will find much to stimulate thought and even find some discussions to be educational.

The Puzzle of New Millennia, New Century, and New Decade:

Contrary to political and religious topics which are important and controversial, there are some which, although somewhat trivial, provoke much dispute. One of this was the question that some of us posed before the turn of the century: When does the new millennium really begin? As most of you recall, the world in general celebrated the start of the new millennium on January 1, 2000. But this bothered a few of us. We took on the role of spoil sports and pointed out that the world was premature in their celebration by one year. The new millennium did not start until January 1, 2001, we argued. People were annoyed, even irritated, by this reasonable dissent to the popular opinion. Personally I annoyed and irritated a few friends and colleagues by arguing that the transition to the new millennium was the transition from the year 2000 to 2001, not the transition from 1999 to year 2000, as most people thought. Along with other knit-pickers like myself, I argued that when we count decades (or ten of any countable items, e.g., coins in my pocket, beans in a bag, people in a room) we start with the first item and recite “one,” add 1 for each year, and finish with the tenth year (tenth item) and recite “ten.” In other words, the decade runs from 1 through 10, the century runs from 1 through 100, and the millennium runs from 1 through 1000. So, 10, 100, and 1000 are the numbers that indicate the end of the decade, century, and millennium respectively (not the numbers 9, 99, and 999 respectively). The logical conclusion is that years 11, 101, and 1001 mark the start of the succeeding decade, century, or millennium. From which it follows logically that year 2001, not year 2000, was the start of the new millennium ten years ago. The new millennium should have been celebrated on January 1, 2001!

But notwithstanding the logical validity of these arguments, the world celebrated the new millennium on January 1, 2000. My analytical, logical friends and I marveled at what appeared to us as a nearly universal confusion. Was this general confusion just a phenomenon connected with the excitement of the new millennium? Added to this great anticipation of the imminent new millennium was the general apprehension, even fear, about how our computer systems would handle the change of year designation from ‘1999’ to ‘2000’ (called the “Y2K” crisis). People feared that computer systems would crash and many vital functions disrupted. But, as most will recall, computer specialists prepared early for the transition and things went smoothly for most companies and government agencies. The world as we know it did not end on January 1, 2000! But getting back to the premature observance and celebration of the new millennium, let’s ask again: Was this error one that was unique to the transition to the new millennium?

After some reflection and brief study, I found that this general error and confusion was not limited to the transition to a new millennium at years 1999-2000-2001. It has occurred also with respect to transitions between centuries and decades. Newspaper and history book accounts from the year 1899 indicated that folks back then also celebrated the transition to the new century prematurely, on January 1, 1900. They did not wait for the correct start of the twentieth century, January 1, 1901. Were they simply too impatient? Likewise, most people think that this current year of 2010 marks the start of the second decade of the twenty-first century (as indicated by my informal, unscientific polling of relatives, friends and neighbors). But when we apply the logical arguments stated above, we see that the start of the second decade does not happen until the year 2011. Our high school graduating class of 1960 recently held a reunion. Most of my old classmates held that our graduating class was the first of the 1960 decade. But, again, simple logic shows that 1960 was the final year of the 1950 decade, not the start of the 1960s.

Grouping numbers with other numbers that look the same.

So what is happening here? Surely people are not that illogical. Are they simply too impatient and prematurely mark transitions from one decade, century, or millennium to the next, mistaking the transition from 1999 to 2000 for the correct transition from 2000 to 2001? My initial diagnosis relies on simple folk psychology: People tend to group numbers with sets of numbers that look the same, rather than consider what those numbers signify. For example, the year 1960 looks like the years 1961 – 1969. These are the sixties, after all! The year 2010 looks like the years 2011 – 2019, and therefore belongs with that group. And the year 1900 looks like the years 1901 through 1999, and belongs with that group. Finally, anyone can see that year 2000 resembles years 2001 through 2999, and therefore belongs with the new millennium! Most people are prone to this natural way of thinking; and are not too impressed by logical arguments that demonstrate that our natural inclination to group numbers by appearance results in error. Most of those friends and colleagues that I approached on this question of the correct transition time, either laughed at me or expressed annoyance that I spent any time on such a trivial topic. The transition to the new millennium happens when the world agrees that it happens, and we don’t have time for the technical dissent (on a triviality) of a few mathematicians and logicians!

Yes, they’re surely correct. This is surely not a crucial issue which can affect what happens in our world. People observe and celebrate transitions when they think it appropriate. “Let us move on to more interesting and important issues,” seems to be the prevailing attitude. I agree; there are more interesting and interesting issues to discuss. But before wrapping this one up, let me see whether we can find a significant philosophical point behind all this disputation about the start of the next decade, century or millennium. Hopefully the reader will exercise a little more forbearance and stay with me for a few more paragraphs.

Numbers as Labels Versus Numbers as Counting Numbers:

A curious fact about our use of numbers is that we use them in two very different ways, often without noticing this difference. A number can function as a label or name for something; and a number can function as a member of series of numbers. Examples of the use of numbers as labels or names are easy to find: the street number ’15’ may be used to identify a particular city street; the number ‘2502’ may identify a specific property; or the number “18” a particular floor in a high-rise building. In each case, the fact that the street may not really be the fifteenth street in the city (there are only fourteen streets), or that there aren’t 2501 properties lined up prior to property 2502, or that the high-rise building omits the thirteenth floor, going from floor 12 to floor 14, does not affect the identification of 15th street, or address 2502, or the identification of floor 18 on our high-rise. Here the numbers function as labels or names; they are simply identifiers. They could just as well be names using only alphabetical characters. The number ’15’ for our street functions the same as the name “Elm” in identifying a specific Avenue. The number ‘2501’ functions the same as a name — e.g. the James place – would work to identify a specific property. This use of numbers (as labels or identifiers only) can apply to our telephone or cell phone numbers, to our social security numbers and other numbers that are assigned to us at various stages of our lives. In earlier years of the telephone, telephone identifiers included words or letters along with numbers. The numbers were not counting numbers.

With the second use of numbers, the function of the number is not limited to identifying the item at issue. If I tell you correctly that the new Chevrolet parked outside my house is the eighth car I have owned, the number ‘8’ could identify the car as car number 8. But the number ‘8’ also tells you that if you count the number of cars I have owned starting with my first as ‘1’, the Chevrolet would be number ‘8’; in other words ‘8’ is part of a series of numbers (counting numbers) representing a series of cars that I have owned. Along the same line, if I tell that I was the fourth child born to my parents, I not simply labeling myself as the “fourth child,” although this label would be accurate enough. I would also be telling that, counting each child from the first to me, assigning a number to each, you would arrive at the number ‘4’. Child number 4 indicates ‘4’ as a usable label, but more importantly, it indicates my birth as occurring fourth in line. In short, ‘4’ functions as a member of a counting series of numbers. Likewise, if I tell you correctly that this year marked my 41st wedding anniversary, I’m not simply naming or labeling this year as marriage number ’41’; I’m telling you that 41 years have passed since my wife and I were wed. Count them, one by one, starting with year 1969, and you get ’41’. The same is true for the use of numbers to indicate our age. This year I am 50 identifies this year as year ’50’ for me; but it also tells you that if you count the years from my birth starting with ‘1’ and adding ‘1’ for each year until the current year, you will derive my age. The number ’50’ is part of a series of counting numbers, 1 through 50.

Now let us apply this distinction between numbers as labels and as counting numbers to the question of new millennia, centuries, and decades. The number 2010 is not just a label for the current year; it also functions as a counting number (count the number of years since the start of the decade at year 2001, adding ‘1’ for each year and the total is ’10’ and you arrive at number ‘2010.’ Hence, 2010 marks the end of the first decade. The number 1900 is not just a label assigned to a specific year. It represents a number in a counting series; in principle, were you to count years from 1 through 1900, adding ‘1’ for each year, after 1900 additions you would arrive at year 1900. But 1900 divided by 100 yields 19, with 0 remainder. So ‘1900’ marked the end of 19 centuries, with the year 1901 marking the start of the 20th century. Likewise, the year 2000 was not just a label for that year ten years ago. It also indicated that 2000 years had passed since our conventional start of the Julian calendar at year ‘1’. Now when we divide 2000 by 100 we get the answer ’20’ with 0 remainder; so 2000 marked the end of 20 centuries, year 2001 as the start of the new twenty-first century. The case for correct identification of the new millennium is easier. Divide 2000 by 1000 and you get ‘2’ with 0 remainder. So the year ‘2000’ marked the end of the second millennium, with year ‘2001’ marking the start of the new millennium. Hence, when we take into account the use of the numbers ‘2000’ and ‘2001’ as counting numbers, and not simply labels, it follows that January 1, 2001 was the start of the new millennium, and the general observance of the new millennium on January 1, 2000 was an error. Observing the new millennium at the start of year 2000 betrayed a general failure to distinguish between two distinct functions of numbers. This is moderately offensive to anyone who likes to see things done rationally and cleanly.

Does this matter to anyone besides people like me who dwell on these oddities? Does it ever matter whether we understand when a number used as a label and when as a counting number? Probably not, but one can imagine situations in which it would matter. Suppose that a person on floor fifteen of a high rise needs emergency attention and the paramedics are sent to floor fourteen instead, because someone did not notice the difference between ’15’ used as name or label and its use as part of counting series, a straight count of floors from 1 to 15. Or imagine a stranded soldier who is told that the third platoon will rescue him, but counts only two platoons passing his position and fails to signal his presence and is not rescued. The second platoon passing by was really the ‘third’ platoon. Does this ever happen? I imagine that it does happen and has happened in the past.

At any rate, those readers with an analytical, philosophical bent of mind should find it interesting to consider the difference between number used as a label and as a counting-number.

The Enchanting, Alluring, Captivating Beauty of Goa – Its Beaches

God, in his infinite wisdom, took special pains in creating some truly beautiful places on Earth. You can think of Bali as a beautiful destination; of islands in the Mediterranean and Aegean Seas; of the Bahamas and a dozen other places. Goa is one such paradise on earth.

Goa owes its attraction to its beaches spread along the sunny coastline. The weather is barmy. If it is snowing in Europe and up there in the North, here in Goa it is warmth and cool breezes in winter. If it is hot in the plains, summer breezes are refreshing on the windy coastline of this lovely tourist state of India. Even in the rains, Goa takes on a different hue and charm. If the coastal beaches and weather form two bases of the triangle of attraction, the warm hospitality of its people undoubtedly occupies the apex, with its rich legacy of Portuguese culture and cuisines blended into local Konkani styles. Together they leave a deep impress on your soul, making you want to return again and again.

The beaches draw tourists so much that they often tend to ignore the beauties to be found in the green clad hills and forests, water bodies and undulating landscapes. If beaches are what you are after, Goa has its fair share. From North to South, you will come upon a succession of beaches, each with its unique identity, contributing as a whole to the beauty of Goa. Arambol, the Northernmost, comprises of two beaches about 50 kilometers from the capital city of Panaji. This is a rather quiet area with cashew groves in the background and rather rocky outcrops. Tourists visit Arambol to bathe in the hot springs here and then explore possibilities of paragliding or a boat trip to watch Dolphins cavort. Anjuna Beach in the North stretches to a distance of 30 kilometers and its outstanding feature is a backdrop of craggy rocks, white sand and the flea market as well as innumerable food stalls. At one time, when flower power was at its height, Anjuna really rocked. Baga and Calangute are still further south and perhaps the most popular of beaches with crowds of tourists thronging the area, reminding you of the Cote d’Azur. Get away from it all and go for parasailing or windsurfing or jet skiing.

At night you meander along and join an open dance, drink Feni, the cashew liquor or simply sprawl. After Calangute, Benaulim Beach comes as a pleasantly quiet change where you can relax in total serenity. Candolim is just as serene, if a bit more populated so you can consider another beach, the Cavelossim. It is pristine, clean and delightful. Then you go on to Colva and to the South of Goa with its distinctive culture and lifestyle. Colva is close to Margao and a very well known beach famous for coconut palms, white sand, sea food and a vibrant night life. While here tourists make it a point to visit the Our Lady of Mercy Church dating back to the 1600s. There are dozens of other beaches such as Dona Paula, famous for water sports; Majorda for its scenic beauty and cleanliness as well as sea foods and Miramar, a 2 kilometer long stretch of white sand with waves gently caressing the coastline and coconut fronds swaying in the breeze. Birds–the feathered kind–are the chief attraction at Miramar.

Goa wears its beaches like a necklace, each one sparkling and coruscating, inviting and beckoning and so tempting you will want to linger here.

A Brief History of the Necklaces

The necklace has been around as an expression of adornment or ‘piece of jewellery’ for a great deal longer than most people would imagine. The first usage of an item recognisably created solely for the purposes of adornment, is believed to date to approximately 40,000 BC. These early ‘necklaces’ were fashioned from easily accessible organic materials, such as wood, shell, bone and stone. As more complicated structures and materials were discovered and the development of knowledge and methods by which to create and craft materials, such as gold and precious gemstones became available, jewellery and adornment item design grew and evolved.

Both men and women wore necklaces, in fact, the first bead necklaces were known as the “Adam and Eve of Jewellery”. Such has been the popularity of bead and later pearl necklaces that there are no fewer than seven different types depending on the length as well as the number of strands and even the size of the beads or pearls.

· A bib necklace, so called as the multiple strands and design array form a bib. The beads or pearls can be graduated or stepped.

· A choker, as its name indicates, sits high on the neck and exhibits its design feature often as an integral part of costume rather than simply an accessory.

· A princess necklace is approx. 10 cm longer than a choker. and has a correspondingly lower drop and feature design placement.

· A matinee necklace adds a further 10 cm in drop length.

· An opera necklace would have an overall design length in the range 75 to 90 cm. This would allow for particular specifications in both design and material selection to be accommodated and maximised in display.

· A sautoir (sometimes knows as a rope necklace) is even longer than an opera necklace.

· A uniform necklace is crafted with beads, pearls or gemstones specified in the same size and sitting in arranged ‘ranks’ or parallel series.

Necklaces have captured the imagination of designers and jewellery lovers the world over. Today, there is an almost unlimited choice of pendants and chokers to accentuate or compliment an outfit or the personality and taste of the wearer. Some credit invention of the ‘pendant’ or a ‘focus adornment’. to the Phoenicians, as their culture is known to have favoured the wearing of gold, utilising structures that would today still be recognised, as ‘chain-like’ in form. Once the ‘chain’ became established it enabled a proliferation of fixtures, adenda and applications such as medals, medallion, gemstone mounts and pendants. Early examples are hollow and are thought to have been used as vessels, carrying objects of symbolic importance upon the person of the wearer. Pendants and lockets would also have been utilised as covert personal receptacles for religious relics, talismans, charms or medicines (possibly poison!).

Pendants have been suspended on many different materials, from simple animal leather laces to exquisite intricate weaves of precious metals. The impact and pure beauty of a simple gold chain mounted with a cut diamond or other gemstone pendant, will never fail to impress but the history behind its creation and the selection of such a piece, is deeply routed in the far beginnings of civilisation.

Fashion Tights for Festivals

Weather is always the main issue with festivals – will it rain or not? Tights are the best piece of clothing to take to a festival for so many different reasons. This is because whether it rains or not, tights are both comfortable and stylish. Also, tights being a product that naturally dry quickly, it means that your fashion tights will be ready to wear almost the whole weekend. However, even if it doesn’t rain you could still to wear a 10 or 15 denier pair and still not be too hot, comfortable, and able to party all weekend.

Fashion tights can look fantastic under cute summer dresses that are just a bit too cold for the festival or even teamed with the festival favourite of the staple denim shorts.

Another benefit of wearing fashion tights at a festival is that if they rip in the conditions you will be even more on trend. Ripped tights are becoming a key trend for the season being seen on the high street in various retailers. Tights that are ripped can provide both a grunge look but with undertones of glamorousness. However if this is not for you, if they do become damaged because of the conditions, you can easily whip them off and carry on partying. Fashion tights are available to buy at great value prices. With such good prices, it is a great idea to take a few pairs of tights to festivals rather than ruining a few pairs of your favourite tights. Once the festival is finished and it is time to go home, tights are can be easily machine washed and you can then continue to wear them on a day to day basis.

Fashion tights that have mock suspender detailing are the perfect tights for a festival to create an individual look and help create the illusion that the legs are longer than they seem. Fashion tights for festivals offer a great alternative to everyday black opaque tights. Teamed with your favourite wellies and a cute festival dress, they are a key accessory that can be worn over and over again.

This summer, Katy Perry was seen sporty some ripped fashion tights at a festival in America and many other celebrities were seen sporty fashion tights at festival up and down the country including Jessie J at Wireless Festival in July and Gemma Cairney at Hackney weekend in June.

The key to wearing tights is all about confidence, legs of all shapes and sizes can look fantastic in tights. They enhance the natural womanly shape of legs and can bring glamour to the muddy surroundings of whichever festival you may be at.
Just because a pair of tights may have a low price tag does not mean they encompass any less luxury than that of the luxury priced tights

Why not try fashion tights at your next festival and see how many compliments you get!