Y2K Minus 2000

While browsing through some dust-covered archival material in the recesses of the Roman Section of the British Museum, a researcher recently came across a tattered bit of parchment. After some effort he translated it and found it was a letter from a man called Plutonius with the title "magister factorium", or keeper of the calendar, to Emperor Cassius. It was dated, strangely enough, 2 BC, December 3, more than 2,000 years ago. The text of the message follows:

Dear Cassius,

Are you still working on the Y zero K problem? The change from BC to AD is giving us a lot of headaches and we haven't much time left. I don't know how people will cope with their calendars working the wrong way around. Having been working happily downwards forever, now we have to start counting upwards. You would think that someone would have thought of it earlier and not left it to us to sort it all out at the last minute. I spoke to Caesar the other evening. He was livid that Julian hadn't done something about it when he was sorting out the calendar. Caesar said he could see why Brutus had turned nasty. We called in the consulting astrologers, but they simply said that continuing downwards using minus BC won't work. As usual the consultants charged a fortune for doing nothing useful. As for myself, I just can't see the sand in an hour glass flowing upwards. We have heard that there are three wise men in the East who have been working on the problem, but unfortunately they won't arrive until it's over. Some say the world will cease to exist at the moment of transition. We're continuing to work on the Y zero K problem and I'll send you a parchment if anything develops.

Best regards, Plutonius

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