Thomas G. Lammers lammers at FMPPR.FMNH.ORG
Wed May 27 15:18:44 CDT 1998

At 10:36 AM 05-27-98 -0500, Tom DiBenedetto wrote:

>As I understand things, the beginning of the twentieth century was widely
accepted to be 1/1/01

No, this problem crops up every 100 years.  There were plenty of
"nit-pickers" (to quote somebody else [so I don't get yelled at]) in 1899, too.

>I wonder why there is such a fascination with the changing numbers rather
than the actual time span. Is it a function of  having a few generations of
automobile riders who get excited when the odometer turns over at 100,000 etc?

No.  At the last millenium, Europe went really bonkers, figuring the Second
Coming was nigh.  Big spate of church building.  It's human nature to look
for milestones, however artificial.

Thomas G. Lammers

Classification, Nomenclature, Phylogeny and Biogeography
of the Campanulaceae, s. lat.

Department of Botany
Field Museum of Natural History
Roosevelt Road at Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, Illinois 60605-2496 USA

e-mail:    tlammers at
office:          312-922-9410 ext. 317 (voice-mail)
home:     630-759-4280
fax:                312-427-2530


"Our schools are scared to tell students to sit down and shut up and learn;
drill it, memorize it, because you must master it, whether it's fun or not.
Children pay the price for our educational cowardice."
                              --- David Gelernter

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