Lack of precision about start of new millennium

As a part-time lecturer and full-time engineer, I am amazed at the lack of precision displayed by people in or associated with my profession when talking about the `start of the new millennium’.

I refer to the BT article on page five of your journal (May), which indicates that the new millennium starts at the same time as the year 2000. The same article tries to impress us with how fabulously accurate the caesium clock is but neglects the simple fact that the next millennium does not begin until 00.00hrs January 1st 2001, ie one full year later.

It’s bad enough listening to employers, politicians and the rest complaining bitterly about the lack of numerical skills in the younger generation when the vast majority of these critics are themselves obviously unable to count. (They are more interested in jumping on the politically motivated and media perpetrated bandwagons than in rational arguments). However, it is far worse to see such nonsense reiterated in journals aimed at the engineering fraternity – we should know better.

I don’t mind people celebrating the year 2000 if that’s what they are doing but to call that year the beginning of the next millennium and not the end of the present millennium is to deny the truth. Surely as educated people we should not allow the unenlightened to be the arbiters of fundamental concepts such as this because they have the ear of the public. At the rate things are going we shall soon be burning people at the stake because they happen to have used the number 666.

John Wood, Eltex UK