It’s simple maths, not a once in a 1000 year phenomenon

(Photo: Pixabay)

There is a Facebook post going around at the moment that says:

Today, if you add your age + the year you were born you will get 2017.

This only happens once every 1000 years!

Beside that fact that the statement is wrong for anybody who hasn’t had their birthday yet this year, the idea that it only happens once every 1000 years is ludicrous.

It is actually the case on 31 December every year. It also works for anybody on any day of the year after their birthday. (Ok you won’t always get 2017, but you’ll get the year you are in.)

By definition, if you add the number of years you’ve lived to the year you were born, you will get the current year.

The main lesson from this is how easily things circulate on Facebook and how fake news can spread quickly!

Its very easy to read something like this, try it, see that it works, and decide to share it. Or there is a post that reinforces a message we like, so we don’t check it out too closely and pass it on.

A statement like the one being shared at the moment doesn’t matter—it makes no difference to anyone (except maybe maths teachers). Unfortunately there are also many examples where people share misinformation about important issues.

Of course I worry most about the misinformation circulated by people I disagree with (e.g., people who want to prevent action on climate change or marriage equality) but I also recognise that people who support things I’m passionate about, do the same thing.

Advocates for social change, have a responsibility to act with integrity, and to base their arguments on the best available evidence.

At least it isn’t a scam. As I was about to post this Cathy got a text message saying she had won GBP 1,750,000 from Coke!

But there is a link. Posts like this one about our birthdays, or ones that say only 1 in 20 people get the right answer, are often click bait trying to get people to click on a link to drive people to their webpage.

Please don’t support them!

If you liked this post please follow my blog, and you might like to look at:

  1. Hmm, that’s an evil plan!
  2. Beware of the Magic Seven Travel scam
  3. Write4Fun – maybe it’s not just about fun
  4. My background in peace and environment groups
  5. In some countries (and USA states) our marriage is illegal
  6. 12 principles of a problem solving approach to conflict resolution

If you find any problems with the blog, (e.g., broken links or typos) I’d love to hear about them. You can either add a comment below or contact me via the Contact page.

About Graeme Stuart

Lecturer (Family Action Centre, Newcastle Uni), blogger (Sustaining Community), environmentalist, Alternatives to Violence Project facilitator, father. Passionate about families, community development, peace & sustainability.
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