Just now catching up to The Stuff of Thought, the third of Steven Pinker's books looking at the brain and the way they work. Awesome stuff. It's amazing how much great research is being done on the brain, and yet how much remains completely unknown. If you ever meet a neurologist at a party, ask them why we need to sleep just to watch them stammer a bit before asking you where the bathroom is.
Pinker's work is great, and this isn't really related to the mind, but the thing that caught my eye is that Pinker asked a question that I've been asking for at least 10 years now: What are we going to call this decade that we are now 4/5ths done with?
No one yet knows what to call it. The zeroes? The aughts? The nought-noughts? The naughties?
I've been arguing for the last one since the last millennium, but it just hasn't caught on. Those crappy radio stations that are trying to hoodwink 47-year-olds into believing that they are still hip still say, "Playing the best of the 80s, the 90s and today!" The reality is that "today" means Norah Jones from an album that is now six years old, and then they quickly they get back to playing Synchronicity or some other music that seemed so cool back when you were playing it on the cassette player in your Tercel.
But what do we call this decade? As we all know, the 60's didn't really start until '65 or so, maybe even '68, and they ended in... '74? When Nixon resigned? It took the 80s a while to get rolling. The Tech-crash in April of 2000 luckily came only four months after the 90s, helping to punctuate that decade.
The naughties, I would submit, overlapped the 90s a bit, and started with the day Bill Clinton said, "I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky."
When will the decade end? Given that the Clintons seem incapable of letting go of our attention... well... it could be a long long long decade of naughtiness.