My Special Birth Date – A Palindrome

Today is my birthday and I’m again overdue for updating the blog. It’s a great problem really. It just means that I’ve been too busy living to sit and write about it. I have lots I want to share and hopefully I’ll do some of that soon.  In the meantime, my mother-in-law, Gayle, sent me a really cool fact about today’s date.  Since it’s also my birthday I found it particularly special:

Today is only the second palindrome day of the 21st century, meaning that if you flip the day over it reads the same: 01/02/2010.

The word palindrome is from the Greek palindromos, derived from “palin,” meaning “again,” combined with “drom,” meaning “run” – so, literally, running back again.

Palindrome days, at least in the long run, are rarer than visits by Halley’s Comet, which swings by the green planet once every 75 or 76 years. Yes, the last palindrome date wasn’t that long ago, on Oct 2, 2001 – 10-02-2001, but the one before that came a full 620 years earlier, on Aug. 31, 1380, in the year Charles VI, the French king, declared no taxes forever.

The next palindrome day, which will be the third out of 12 in the 21st century, will be on 11-02-2011. The 36th and last palindrome date of this millennium will occur on Sept. 22, 2290. The next one after that will be Oct. 3, 3001. A bit spooky to think of, that.

“Palindrome dates are notably rare. They only occur in the first few centuries of a millennium,” Aziz Inan, an electrical engineer at the University of Portland, told the Columbian newspaper in Vancouver, Washington.

Since most of the rest of the world puts the day at beginning of their numerical date (so, 02/01/2010), they won’t be sharing this palindrome day. But no worries. Those countries will get 60 palindrome days this millennium.

Happy New Year, dear readers!