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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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6 Radiant Facts About Irène Joliot-Curie
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Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Though her accomplishments are often overshadowed by those of her parents, the elder daughter of Marie and Pierre Curie was a brilliant researcher in her own right.

1. SHE WAS BORN TO, AND FOR, GREATNESS.

A black and white photo of Irene and Marie Curie in the laboratory in 1925.
Irène and Marie in the laboratory, 1925.
Wellcome Images, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY 4.0

Irène’s birth in Paris in 1897 launched what would become a world-changing scientific dynasty. A restless Marie rejoined her loving husband in the laboratory shortly after the baby’s arrival. Over the next 10 years, the Curies discovered radium and polonium, founded the science of radioactivity, welcomed a second daughter, Eve, and won a Nobel Prize in Physics. The Curies expected their daughters to excel in their education and their work. And excel they did; by 1925, Irène had a doctorate in chemistry and was working in her mother’s laboratory.

2. HER PARENTS' MARRIAGE WAS A MODEL FOR HER OWN.

Like her mother, Irène fell in love in the lab—both with her work and with another scientist. Frédéric Joliot joined the Curie team as an assistant. He and Irène quickly bonded over shared interests in sports, the arts, and human rights. The two began collaborating on research and soon married, equitably combining their names and signing their work Irène and Frédéric Joliot-Curie.

3. SHE AND HER HUSBAND WERE AN UNSTOPPABLE PAIR.

Black and white photo of Irène and Fréderic Joliot-Curie working side by side in their laboratory.
Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

Their passion for exploration drove them ever onward into exciting new territory. A decade of experimentation yielded advances in several disciplines. They learned how the thyroid gland absorbs radioiodine and how the body metabolizes radioactive phosphates. They found ways to coax radioactive isotopes from ordinarily non-radioactive materials—a discovery that would eventually enable both nuclear power and atomic weaponry, and one that earned them the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1935.

4. THEY FOUGHT FOR JUSTICE AND PEACE.

The humanist principles that initially drew Irène and Frédéric together only deepened as they grew older. Both were proud members of the Socialist Party and the Comité de Vigilance des Intellectuels Antifascistes (Vigilance Committee of Anti-Fascist Intellectuals). They took great pains to keep atomic research out of Nazi hands, sealing and hiding their research as Germany occupied their country, Irène also served as undersecretary of state for scientific research of the Popular Front government.

5. SHE WAS NOT CONTENT WITH THE STATUS QUO.

Irène eventually scaled back her time in the lab to raise her children Hélène and Pierre. But she never slowed down, nor did she stop fighting for equality and freedom for all. Especially active in women’s rights groups, she became a member of the Comité National de l'Union des Femmes Françaises and the World Peace Council.

6. SHE WORKED HERSELF TO DEATH.

Irène’s extraordinary life was a mirror of her mother’s. Tragically, her death was, too. Years of watching radiation poisoning and cancer taking their toll on Marie never dissuaded Irène from her work. In 1956, dying of leukemia, she entered the Curie Hospital, where she followed her mother’s luminous footsteps into the great beyond.

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Live Smarter
You Can Now Order Food Through Facebook
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After a bit of controversy over its way of aggregating news feeds and some questionable content censoring policies, it’s nice to have Facebook roll out a feature everyone can agree on: allowing you to order food without leaving the social media site.

According to a press release, Facebook says that the company decided to begin offering food delivery options after realizing that many of its users come to the social media hub to rate and discuss local eateries. Rather than hop from Facebook to the restaurant or a delivery service, you’ll be able to stay within the app and select from a menu of food choices. Just click “Order Food” from the Explore menu on a desktop interface or under the “More” option on Android or iOS devices. There, you’ll be presented with options that will accept takeout or delivery orders, as well as businesses participating with services like Delivery.com or EatStreet.

If you need to sign up and create an account with Delivery.com or Jimmy John’s, for example, you can do that without leaving Facebook. The feature is expected to be available nationally, effective immediately.

[h/t Forbes]

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