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Historical Dates

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Evidence suggests the 1899 transactions occurred as part of a global event centered around a deity associated with the lotus flower.
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ghafarkkali
63 days ago
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popular
70 days ago
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JayM
71 days ago
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Hahaha. Yep.
Atlanta, GA
Screwtape
71 days ago
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An explanation, for those as puzzled as I was:

Unix-based systems traditionally represent timestamps as "seconds since 1970-01-01". If some program requires a modification timestamp for some file and no accurate value is available, it will commonly use the value 0 as a default. When other systems carefully preserve that value, it leads to files with 1970-01-01 timestamp.

Spreadsheets traditionally represent timestamps as "(fractional) days since 1900-01-01". In the same way, asking for a timestamp when no valid information is available will often get the value 0 as a default. Since businesses run on Excel, there's a lot of transaction records with a 0 timestamp in Excel spreadsheets out there.

One last wrinkle: The first wildly popular spreadsheet, Lotus 1-2-3, had a bug: it assumed that the year 1900 was a leap year, so it assumed 1900-02-29 existed, and so every date timestamp after that point was off by one. When Microsoft created Excel, they carefully reimplemented that bug for compatibility's sake, but if you're a historian looking at the data, you might reasonable assume that spreadsheets stored timestamps as "(fractional) days since 1899-12-31". If you're storing timestamps in some different format, it might not be obvious that those are zero dates - you might assume there's just a lot of transactions processed on that day.
martinbaum
71 days ago
Staggeringly thorough, thank you!
rraszews
69 days ago
I knew the 1970 thing but didn't understand the provenance of the 1899 one; I assumed it had something to do with the Y2K bug (as a colleage of mine put it, "1899 and 1999 were two very different years, but they had one thing in common: the next year would be 1900")