Today is a Palindrome Day for those who use the standard ISO date format of “yyyymmdd”. Enjoy it because there will not be another one for more than 8 years.

This date format, with or without delimiters, is the most sensible way to write the date because it is monotonically increasing with time. Try sorting dates stored in the silly American format of “%m %d %y” and you will be quickly frustrated by the fact that January appears at the top of the list regardless of year. The “yyyymmdd” format makes the most logical sense because the outermost digits denote the longest time span, with successive fields responsible for ever shorter durations of time. To make a timestamp from a datestamp, simply append “hh:mm:ss” following the same logic.

In the 20th Century, Palindrome Days were nonexistent due to the difficulty of finding days or months numbering 91. Prior to Oct 2, 2001, the most recent Palindrome Day was Dec 31, 1321. Remember that one? Wow, how time flies, eh? After today, the next Palindrome Day will not occur until Feb 2, 2020, followed shortly thereafter by another on Dec 2, 2021, and then 1 per decade until 2101.

For those who adhere to slightly more accuracy in the resolution of time, there will be a brief opportunity to observe a Palindrome timestamp during the minute of 8:11pm at exactly 11.02 seconds into the minute.

You won’t have much of a window of opportunity to see this, but if you’re especially punctual, the following command will give you the results:

$ date +"%F %H:%M:%S.%N" | cut -b-22

2011-11-02 20:11:11.02

If you miss it, don’t panic, just sleep for 260,413,740 seconds and try again.