Tuesday, February 19, 2002

IT'S A FACT! My Idiot pal Barry Brooks posts this bit of interesting trivia to the Idiot's Delight Digest today...

February 20 this year will be a historic moment in time.

It will not be marked by the chiming of any clocks or the ringing of bells, but at that precise time, on that specific date, something will happen which has not occurred for 1,001 years, and will never happen again.

As the clock ticks over from 8.01pm on Wednesday, February 20, time will, for sixty seconds only, read in perfect symmetry 2002, 2002,2002, or to be more precise:

20:02, 20/02, 2002

This historic event will never have the same poignancy as the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month which marks Armistice Day, but it is an event which has only ever happened once before, and is something which will never be repeated.

The last occasion that time read in such a symmetrical pattern was long before the days of the digital watch and the 24-hour clock at 10:01am on January 10, 1001.

And because the clock only goes up to 23:59, it is something that will never happen again.

UPDATE: Wrong again. Kathy Kinsley sets me straight -- "It will happen again! Unless you insist on zeros in the middle" -- and cites this example:

21:12 21/12 2112 (9:12pm Dec 21, 2112)

This evening, NPR also rattled off a short list of palindromic dates yet to come.

All of which serves to reminds me of another useless factoid: The year 1961 could be read as the same number when viewed both upside-up and upside-down. You won't be able to do that trick again until the year 6009.

MISDEMEANOR PLAGIARISM UPDATE: Apparently, almost simultaneously, Mark Evanier posted the exact same piece of trivia at POVonline. I plead not guilty.


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