So, the Earth has successfully made it once more around the Sun, just like it has over 4 billion times before. This particular trip is marked by a peculiar form of measurement instigated by a bizarre highly evolved species of that planet called Humans, where a period of 10 trips around the Sun is packaged up into a neat little unit called a Decade. Some people confuse the finer points of this unit of measurement with others like a Century and a Millennium, but this is wholly understandable due to the human's own ambiguity surrounding it.
Somewhere in this picture it is a Happy New Year!
In contrast to the billions of trips around the Sun that the Earth has made itself, the humans have a more humble measuring system in place that on the face of it seems like they have only made 2,010 trips around. The numbering system begins with the birth of a special human over two millennia ago, and causes arguments amongst various human sects due to it being 1 based. The first trip around the Sun was called Year 1, so major milestones like centuries are complete at the end of the year the major digit rolls over - eg the 1st century ended on the last day of year 100, and the 2nd century began on the first day of year 101.
Decades however are not measure in the same way, instead being given a nickname that is based on their major digit. For example, the 80's - a 10 year period spanning from the beginning of the 1980 to the end of the 1989. This is markedly different from the 8th Decade of the 20th Century, which began on the 1st day of 1981 and ended on the last day of 1990.
The 21st century is still in its 1st decade, which ends on the last day of 2010, but with the passing of 2009 we entered the 2nd nicknamed decade. The first decade was, for me at least, called the 'Noughties', which comes from the old English word for nothing, Nought. I haven't decided yet what to nickname the 2nd, but suggestions range from; the 'Teenies', to the boring old 'Tens'. We'll yet see what popular culture ends up calling it, but for now, the Noughties were a very interesting decade for me, how were they for you?
Happy Decade, Spacers!
Image credit: NASA