Even the palindromes are helping us celebrate Canada’s 150th.
Let’s start with some examples of palindromes, which are words that read the same forwards and backwards:
- The aforementioned “huh”
Similarly, a palindromic phrase or sentence reads – except for word breaks – the same forwards and backwards:
- Some of these make sense – A man, a plan, a canal: Panama.
- Some maybe not so much – Never odd or even.
Palindromic numbers are, of course, also the same fore and aft, a concept that applies regardless of the meaning of the digits:
Palindromic dates are tricky to achieve, because they have three elements, and to agree on, because they depend on the format you use:
- If you write your dates as m-dd-yyyy, then today – July 10, 2017 – is palindromic (7102017) but not tomorrow (7112017).
- But if you write your dates as m-dd-yy, then you can enjoy palindromic dates from today (71017) to July 19th, 2017 (71917).
I have friends who use yyyy-mm-dd to align with the international standard based on computer time, where you can just keep specifying time to the right as long as you please (hours, minutes, seconds, and so on). I see no palindromic dates in this format for the foreseeable future.
In my former professional life I was focused on avoiding confusion, so I usually used formats with three letters for the month and four digits for the year:
- dd-mmm-yyyy for certainty in proposal text (To clearly signal, “No, we didn’t miss a digit on the day.”)
- yyyy-mmm-dd for quick comprehension of the schedule when a list of tasks extended across a calendar year-end
My father once told me that D-Day was scheduled for June 6 to avoid any confusion between the Allies on different date formats: It was 6-6, no matter what order you used. True? Dunno.
Not wanting to exhibit a foolish consistency, I’m good to set aside my usual practice where it seems worthwhile, and this is one such occasion.
So . . . may we have the drum roll, please . . .
Welcome to this year’s 10-day stretch of palindromic dates,
— 71017 to 71917 —
occurring in the same month as our national holiday,
no doubt as one of the first celebrations of Canada’s 151st year.
Read more here about palindromic dates.