The Dawn of Yawn: 11/11/11


This story was published on 11/11/11 at 11:11 a.m. to reveal just how the number 11 adds up.

There won’t be another opportunity to see a such a string of date and time 11s or extol the lack of the number 11′s virtues for another 100 years.

So here goes.

Veterans Day ceremonies, held each year on Nov. 11, began today in Arlington National Cemetery, precisely at 11 a.m.

And that’s pretty much the number 11′s claim to fame.

Unless you are celebrating your 11th birthday today – and that’s too cool – eleven is the Rodney Dangerfield of numbers.

Oh sure, numerologists, metaphysicians, psychics, occultists, conspiracy theorists and other kooks will talk in hushed tones about some great cosmic shift, a harmonic convergence, or some crack in the portal to hell, but there’s really little significance to the numerically auspicious date and time nor for the number 11 itself.

Medieval numerologists who believed in a mystical significance to numbers, thought all numbers had both positive and negative aspects, except for 11. Writes Petrus Bungus, 16th century scholar 11 “has no connection with divine things, no ladder reaching up to things above, nor any merit.”

That’s left the number virtually cast out of the numbers game and more often associated with evil or sinners.

Eleven is a lonely number, lonelier than the number 1.

It is overshadowed on both sides by “top” tens and “dirty dozens.” Even the biblically, mythologically, spiritually, culturally and mathematically significant number 9 and feared number 13 have greater appeal.

Ironically and coincidentally, “triskaidekaphobia,” an unreasonable fear of the number 13, is a word that was coined the last time 11/11/11 made headlines, in 1911.

There’s something foreboding about that numerical connection – the 9/11 date, 911 emergency calls – but, number 11? This is your story, so let’s stick to it.

Eleven more points of trivia about number 11

• Number 11 is the first number you can’t additively count to on your fingers. Well, for the vast number of people.

• If a number is divisible by 11, reversing its digits will result in another boring multiple of 11. Try it.

• Number 11 is the sixth prime number and the fifth smallest prime number with some mathematical peculiarities; 11 x 11 = 121; 111111 x 111111 = 12345654321; 111111111 x 111111111 = 12345678987654321.

• The binary number 111111 converts to the decimal number 63.

• Thousands of couples are flocking to Vegas wedding chapels today for a wedding date they’ll never forget, but may regret.

• Speaking of Vegas, the number 11 is a favorite among blackjack and crap players.

• A new movie from the netherworld of the Netherlands, ’11-11-11′ premiers today in limited release from the director of Saw I, III and IV. “On the eleventh day of the eleventh month of the eleventh year, a gateway will open … and on this day, innocent blood will spill,” says a voiceover in the trailer.

• In addition to Veterans Day, November 11th each year is Corduroy Appreciation Day. Corduroy enthusiasts say the 11|11 date most resembles the lines of corduroy fabric. The group is also hot for 1/11 every year.

• Ellen DeGeneres has a record label aptly named eleveneleven. Ironically, it records lesser-known artists.

• The domain name belongs to an obscure cover band from Philadelphia. We don’t care why.

• Don’t bother looking up other domain names with a string of “11s” or “elevens”. Too many zeros.

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