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

(Photo: Pixabay)

[Updated 5 October 2018 to include 2018 Facebook posts]

Last year a Facebook post was going around saying:

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

This only happens once every 1000 years!

It’s happening again this year. For some reason, some of the posts have added “We are all 2018 today”

We are all 2018

or happy birthday.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO EVERYONE TODAY!!!! You age plus year of birth equals 2018!!!

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.

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

It is actually the case on 31 December every year. It also works for anybody on any day of the year after their birthday.  So I guess this year you could say that 31 December will be the only day EVER when everybody in the world will get 2018 if they add their age plus year of birth. (And next year, 31 December will be the only day EVER when everybody in the world will get 2019 if they add their age plus year of birth.)

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.
This entry was posted in Social change and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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

  1. Jeremy David says:

    Our son is 17 and his DOB is 28 12 2000 how’s that going to work?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. François says:

    If the American school level has dropped so low that some people can now think that one’s birth year + age = current year happens every 1000 years, I now understand why they were able to elect such a President.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. smaneli says:

    I think it is pretty funny about the age and year. This every thousand year event is every year, at the end of the year of course,, Amazing simple mathematics stumps a majority of people out there.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Martine says:

    Thank you …. my sentiments entirely… only these fb posts often include and perpetrate child and animal abuse because the masses are so passionately against it … so it is engineered clickbait for advertising! Disgusting! And thats just one! Pass them all by and dont absorb the information they want you to absorb … pure evil!


  5. Anonymous says:

    I thank you for your valuable and honest information.Your time is greatly appreciated and Yes I am a very eager easily misled person but GREAT ENTERTAINMENT! Sincerely,Chrys AKA/Lisa Faye

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Anonymous says:


    Liked by 1 person

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