Offbeat — 21 January 2014

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Have you ever noticed different date formats that people use around the world? In fact, there are multiple formats to write a date. While most of the countries use a date format in which the day is written before the month, it is written differently in the United States. Americans prefer to write it the other way round and use the month before the day. People have given various reasons to describe this deviation from the group behavior. However, these reasons do not agree with each other.

One common reason that many people have suggested to describe this condition is called middle endianness. This term comes from the field of computer science. In computer science, size is usually the major determinant for the arrangement of bytes. If larger ones are at the front in an order, the condition is called big endian and it is the same case with places that use a date format in which the year is used first. Some people also suggest that the inspiration to follow the endian condition originally comes from the story, Gulliver’s Travels. In this story, people of Lilliput used to break eggs at the smaller end, while it was opposite with people of Blefuscu.

Thus, it is believed that people of Lilliput were small endians and it was vice verse with Blefuscudians. Thus, both the computer science and the story suggest having a system to organize random things. Even though it may be trivial to follow one of the systems, it is important to choose one of these ways to avoid anarchy. However, Americans have chosen to remain in the middle and people do not have any answer to this choice of their system. It is still a debatable issue as to why they follow a middle path instead of going for the big endian or the small endian system.

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Written by Anupam Jolly

With a bachelor’s degree in technology and over five years of experience in online content generation and distribution, Anupam Jolly has been creating and editing content spanning across a variety of domains. An avid environmentalist, Anupam Jolly believes that if humans can degrade the environment, they can save it from disaster too.

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Anupam Jolly

With a bachelor’s degree in technology and over five years of experience in online content generation and distribution, Anupam Jolly has been creating and editing content spanning across a variety of domains. An avid environmentalist, Anupam Jolly believes that if humans can degrade the environment, they can save it from disaster too.

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