Today really is very Eleventy. How ’bout that?

Posted: November 11, 2011 in Popular Culture et al
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

For some in Hollywood and the blogosphere, today’s date, 11/11/11 heralds the end of the world or some other apocalyptic vision.


11-11-11 - does it have any significance or not?

Today at 11:11.11 on 11/11/11, the time and date will be a perfect palindrome, reading the same backwards as forwards including hours, minutes and seconds, an event which Yahoo says can only happen on one day every 100 years.

Maybe they meant a November palindrome. Because next year we will see a moment which is 12:12:12 12:12:12, which is a lot less than a hundred years away. If anyone can see the flaw in my logic, please let me know. After that, the next one (if my logic isn’t fuzzy) will be 1:1:1: 1:1:1 which is a very long time from now. Anyhow, it’s a very rare day today.

Last time it happened on November 11 1911, a bizarre, cold snap hit the US, causing record temperature drops, blizzards and tornadoes.

In Kansas City, it was 24C in the morning but by evening, an arctic front had come through dropping the temperature -12C.

In reality, of course, there is no significant meaning behind 11/11/11 and is merely a classic example of ‘apophenia’, the human urge to see patterns in random events. Isn’t that an interesting word? Apophenia. I am going to try and work Apophenia into conversations at least five times today, and I urge you to do the same.

Don’t be surprised if I back a few horses numbered 11 or running from barrier 11 today. Superstitious? Me? Perish the thought …

The Royal British Legion still sell paper poppies every year

The Royal British Legion still sell paper poppies every year

Most significantly, today is the anniversary of the end of World War I and everyone is urged to wear a poppy in memory of those who died in Flander’s fields, and to pause for a minute’s silence at 11am to mark Remembrance Day.

I have since I was a little boy.

In the old days, I remember people would pull their cars over, stand still wherever they were, pause conversations at home or at work. I wish they still did, as a courtesy to our fathers and grandfathers – and to the dead and dying of today’s conflicts.

The end of the First World War war came on 11th November 1918, which wasn’t a deliberately chosen date, however the decision to end the war at 11am was.

Fighting continued right up until the official end, as Canadian Private George Lawrence Price was shot at 10.57am and died at 10:58am.

In Flanders fields the poppies grow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

                                                               John McCrae, 1919

  1. […] There is even an obscure word for this strange human predilection for ascribing significance to otherwise insignificant numbers, which is “Apophenia”. There you are, you see: the whole article wasn’t a complete waste of time, now was it? What a useful word to know. I first mentioned it when I rambled about the complete irrelevance of the date being 11.11.11. If you missed the article, enjoy it here: […]


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