11 Elevens Worth Remembering

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On 11/11/11, here are 11 of the most important 11s to ever 11.

1. The maple leaf on the Canadian flag has 11 points.

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Officially adopted in 1965, the current design of the Canadian flag is the first in the country's history to not include the Union Jacks. It's commonly thought that the 11 points on the flag represent 10 provinces and one country. They don't. The reasoning behind the 11 points is much more practical. When the flag was being designed tests showed that with an 11-point design the leaf would remain recognizable when the flag was blowing in the wind. A more realistic 23-point leaf would look like a big blur.

2. Apollo 11 was the first manned flight to reach the moon.

After six unmanned and five manned launches for the Apollo mission, Apollo 11 was the first manned flight to reach the moon on July 20, 1969. The mission took Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin to the surface of the moon as Michael Collins remained in orbit. After the lunar module Eagle spent 21 hours and 31 minutes in the Sea of Tranquility, Aldrin and Armstrong met back up with Collins and returned to earth heros.

3. Spinal Tap's amps went to 11.

In 1984's This is Spinal Tap, the band’s guitarist Nigel Tufnel shows off extra-loud Marshall guitar amps that "go to 11." The movie inspired real life guitar genius Eddie Van Halen to request amps that go up to 11 and in 2002 the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary added the phrase, defining it as a "up to maximum volume."

4. The phrase "at the 11th hour" comes from the bible.

Now the name of things like a '60s medical drama and a Leonardo DiCaprio documentary, "the 11th hour" comes from a biblical parable relayed in the book of Matthew. In the story a man hires laborers to work in his vineyard in the morning, promising them a penny of pay. He continues to bring in workers throughout the day and at the "eleventh hour" brings in another batch, who get paid the same penny as those who worked all day.

5. Venus William's clothing line is called EleVen.

In August 2007, tennis superstar Venus Williams launched EleVen, a clothing line named after her childhood address. Four months later she received her associate degree in Fashion Design from the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale. Generously, the school did not revoke her degree when she wore this to Wimbledon three and a half years later.

6. There are only 11 minutes of action in the average football game.

According to a study by the Wall Street Journal, the average televised NFL game includes only 11 minutes of actual football action, falling behind the 17 minutes devoted to replays and 67 minutes of "players standing around."

7. M-theory says the universe consists of 11 dimensions.

After researchers developed string theory, and then several more versions of string theory, a unifying theory called M-theory was proposed. The assumption was that rather than exist separately, these theories are all different ways of looking at the same thing. Along with M-theory came the proposal that spacetime has 11 dimensions.

8. The word eleventy means 110.

Thank J.R.R. Tolkien for this one. At the beginning of Lord of the Rings, Bilbo Baggins celebrates his eleventy-first birthday. And on January 6, 2003, Tolkien himself would have celebrated his eleventy-first if he had the longevity of a hobbit. Unfortunately he died in 1973.

9. 7-11 originally closed at 11pm.

Now known for being open 24 hours, the convenience store 7-11 was so named because it opened at 7am and closed at 11pm. In 1962 the company first tried the 24-hour schedule, 16 years after the first 7-11 opened.

10. The most Oscars won by a single film is 11.

And it’s happened three times. The first was Ben-Hur, which won its 11 awards in 1959, followed by Titanic in 1997 and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King in 2003.

11. Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” has 11 stars.

Though he was much more religious as a young man than when he painted this beloved dorm poster at the age of 36, Van Gogh’s decision to include 11 stars in the sky of “Starry Night” is widely regarded as a reference to a Genesis 37:9. In that verse Joseph says, “'Look, I have had another dream' he said, 'I thought I saw the sun, the moon and eleven stars, bowing to me.'”

For 11-11-11, we'll be posting twenty-four '11 lists' throughout the day. Check back 11 minutes after every hour for the latest installment, or see them all here.

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November 11, 2011 - 7:11am
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