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The Ship That Existed in Two Centuries at Once

The SS Warrimoo was ferrying passengers between Canada and Australia in December of 1899. En route, Captain John Phillips realized he had the opportunity to do something extraordinary, so he commanded that the ship head for the point where the equator crosses the International Date Line. The ship arrived in time to straddle that point as the clock struck midnight on December 30, 1899.  

The forward part of the ship was in the Southern Hemisphere and in the middle of summer. The rear part of the ship was in the Northern Hemisphere and in the middle of winter. Half of the ship was on 30 December 1899, while the forward half skipped a day ahead and into 1 January 1900.

This ship was therefore not only in two different days, two different months, two different years, two different seasons and two different hemispheres but also in two different centuries all at the same time.

But what happened to 31 December 1899? You might ask. Recall that the ship was going from Canada to Australia, thus travelling west, and anytime you cross the International Date Line going west, you automatically move forward by 24 hours because the time zones on either side of the International Date Line have a difference of 24 hours.

Did it really happen? Who knows! But it is certainly possible. You can imagine the experience would be thrilling only if you knew what was happening at the time. Read more about the SS Warrimoo and the New Year's Eve that wasn't at Amusing Planet. -via Strange Company 


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Still going to have to disagree with you, Andrew. :) ISO 8601 is merely a format. In that format the year 1BC/BCE is written as 0000. You wouldn't say that 01 is the name of a month. It is a digital way to represent the month of January. ISO 8601 isn't a way to keep time, it is an internationally accepted way to write it. Decades, centuries and millennia are measurements based on the passing of calendar years, not of formats. Now, some enterprising individual could put out a calendar based ISO 8601. It might be a million dollar idea.....or nine hundred and ninety-nine thousand, nine hundred and ninety-nine dollar idea if you start with zero.
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I suppose you could make that argument but ISO 8601 is a format and not necessarily a calendar. Actually, ISO 8601 doesn't use the year 0. It uses the 0000. It's a great way to keep times and dates strictly numerical. No AM/PM, BC/AD, or BCE/CE.
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Funky Freya is correct. Since there was no year 0, the first century was from year 1 to year 100 and the second century would start in the year 101. The 20th century would have begun in 1901 and all those folks who celebrated the new millennium in 2000 were a year early
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