AN INTERESTING FACT: August 2010 is entirely unremarkable.

You may remember I was fairly unimpressed with the claim that

At exactly 06 mins and 07 seconds after 5 o’clock on Aug 9th 2010, it will be 05:06:07 08/09/10. This won’t happen again until the year 3010.

Well. I’ve just been told

AN INTERESTING FACT ABOUT AUGUST 2010. This August has 5 Sundays, 5 Mondays, 5 Tuesdays, all in one month. It happens once in 823 years.

And while the first claim was mostly unimpressive and only slightly false, this one is just false. Massive, shovel-loads of false. Honestly, this may be the falsest (earnest) statement I’ve read all year.

August contained five Sundays, five Mondays and five Tuesdays in 1999. It will happen again in 2021. Okay, so that’s still quite a while, but I can’t imagine how anyone arrived at the figure of 823 years. August is 31 days long. It necessarily has five of three days of the week in it. Why on Earth would it be these three so rarely? How can people not see how implausible that is? Quite aside from anything else, the calendar loops every 400 years. Nothing could possibly happen every 823 years any more than Wednesday could happen every nine days.

It fascinates me how these stories come around. It’s everywhere. This may be my favourite example, for this paragraph:

In 1187, or 823 years ago, the Gregorian calendar hadn't existed yet (it was introduced in 1582) so there was no ado about this strange happenstance.

And it’s not just this year. August 2009 (which started on a Saturday) was just as special. It’s beginning to look like 816/823 years just don’t have an August. And look, here’s a version with the ridiculous 05:06:07 08/09/10 ‘fact’ glued onto the bottomThis version (quite aside from trying to credit God with the whole thing)

August 2009 is a unique month which has 5 Sundays and 5 Saturdays.  Experts says to see another month with 5 Sundays and 5 Saturdays, we need to live another 823 years. We are blessed to go through and experience this unique month.  Now we have to wait for generations to see another month with 5 Sundays and 5 Saturdays. Let us thank God for allowing us to see this unique month.

even ignores the Mondays, so this amazing, once-in-823-years freak of nature actually rolls round after only five years. In fact it doesn’t even specify that the month must be August, by which standard it happened again the following January. I especially like the use of the word “experts”, in this case to mean “people who own calendar software”, as if somehow predicting what dates will occur in the future is some kind of complex science that us mere mortals can’t be expected to follow. It’s nice to see that in many of the discussion threads someone eventually does bother to sit in front of Google Calendar and click through checking.

I keep being told people aren’t interested in maths. Clearly they are. This stuff is pure mathematics, and it’s capturing people’s imaginations.

Just a shame it’s total bullshit.