Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

What would you think

  1. Nov 14, 2007 #1
    Being rational, sound-minded individuals,,, what would you think if on 11/11 at around 11pm you got a phone call informing you that your father was in room 111 of the ICU suffer from a stroke? Upon arrival you find your mother staring at, among other things, a blood pressure reading of 111/4x and then commenting to you about all the 11's and why she paid $1.11 for lunch that day??? Hold on,,, there's more... Keeping with the theme, a couple of months earlier she had moved into a new house with the address beginning 1111. After spending a bit more than 11 hrs at the hospital, you finally make it home for a night's rest just to find in the morning that the executor of the will has a phone number ending in 1111. Then, intrigued by all the 11's, you decide to browse around the net for a meaning to 11 and end up tallying the digits to YOUR house only to find they add to 11 (what else?). And just playing around you momentarily buy into the numerology mumbo long enough to find your name also reduces to 11. Would you pronounce yourself insane and nay tell a soul or find a physics board somewhere in hopes to find solid ground? (Do you really think I could make this up?) Anyone?
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 14, 2007 #2


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor

    But you posted on 11/14 at 4:20 am (my time).

    My point? You can try to find a pattern anywhere if you simply focus on it and ignores the rest that do not fit in. People seem to find the image of the "virgin Mary" in the darndest thing (assuming they know what the Virgin Mary is supposed to look like). If this number is so meaningful, how come the rest of what you do do not fit into such pattern? Was your dad on the 11th floor? Did you get to the hospital with a vehicle that has a number 11? Does the hospital have an 11 in its address? Were there 11 nurses at work at the hour that you arrived? Etc... etc. In other words, our brain has been trained to spot patterns, but we must also be aware that some time it can work overtime to spot a pattern that actually do not exist beyond must a coincidence.

  4. Nov 14, 2007 #3
    Prior to 11/11 I never noticed a pattern similar and its only been a couple of days since so I am not sure if the number 11 will or will not continue to show up.

    The hospital did not have 11 floors. If it had, it would not have been likely since the logical place for ICU is down the hall from the ER and that will always be on the 1st floor (111 = 1st floor, 11th room)

    The vehicle does not have an 11 nor anything that sums to 11 (I just went out and looked, lol). Although I was getting worried for a minute.... :)

    There is an 11 in the hospital zip code, now that you mention it.

    I have no idea how many nurses.

    So, what are the odds of such a coincidence? Its not like I was straining to make out a virgin mary from a oil spill under a car on a rainy day. Its also not like a casual look at a clock to see 11:11. These numbers are largely thrust upon me at seemingly high odds against chance.
  5. Nov 14, 2007 #4


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    ZZ has already proven to you that it has not and will not shown/show a meaningful pattern. Heck, you've largely shown it yourself:
    But you said in the OP:
    You are forcing the patterns.

    By the way, was the hospital 11 miles from your house and did it require 11 left turns to get there?

    [edit] I hope your father is doing ok. It occurs to me (after I've had a chance to process it) that this may be part of an internal defense mechanism that helps soften the blow of a traumatic event by providing a distraction that slows processing of the event. Just please don't let it distract you too much at a time when your father and your family needs you.
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2007
  6. Nov 14, 2007 #5


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    How much longer than 11 hours?!
  7. Nov 14, 2007 #6
    Its tough to say... I didn't look at the clock when I arrived.
  8. Nov 14, 2007 #7
    What are the odds? It seems it is harder to believe this is coincidence than something else. I have no idea what it would be if not a coincidence.... Its looking like most of you guys would call it coincidence no matter how unlikely coincidence is, if for no other reason you don't know what else to call it. To me though,,, that attitude doesn't help.

    I haven't understood a proof given by Zz. It looks like a paragraph of assumptions and questions to me. But I'm not the brightest bulb in the box... Especially in these times.
  9. Nov 14, 2007 #8
    I think the date, 11/11, primed you to be aware of the number eleven in particular. Your day was as equally full of every other number from 1-12 but you dismissed all but those that corresponded to the date. If you pay attention, on 12/12 your day will be packed full of twelves, multiples of 12, and things that add up to 12. It's garden variety mental filtering.
  10. Nov 14, 2007 #9


    User Avatar
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member

    You are asking what are the odds of you being at a hospital for some time that was somewhat larger than eleven hours?!

    What I am trying to point out is that this is, as others have pointed out, an example of you fitting things into a pattern when there is no real pattern. You were NOT at the hospital for 11 hours, but some time over that. This does not fit the pattern. It is much more likely that this whole situation is something you yourself are creating because you are trying to find patterns. It sounds to me, from what you said above that you want a pattern to exist. As russ said, you may be trying to subconsciously distract yourself from the stress of having your father in the hospital. This probably isn't a good idea. Try to focus on what is important since your family probably needs you now.
  11. Nov 14, 2007 #10


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    You didn't recently watch that stupid Jim Carey movie, did you? :rolleyes:

    As ZZ said, you can find any pattern that you want to in anything if you edit your input appropriately. Numerology is total bull****.
  12. Nov 14, 2007 #11

    I think you are right about me being primed by the date at the time of the phone call. I remember thinking that. But I think that would have been the end of it IF it were merely blood pressure readings, clocks, etc... But what gets me is the following knowledge of the lunch ticket, the address, and the phone number.

    I surely doubt I will think anything of 12/12 or any other number sequence. I would have to ask someone normally to even know what day it is. I rarely pay attention to time or dates. I really don't have a schedule for anything.
  13. Nov 14, 2007 #12
    I want the odds of a my father having a stroke on 11/11 and being in room 111 and having 1111 for an address and his executor of the will having 1111 for a phone number. You can dismiss everything else I have pointed out about 11's as trying to find a pattern. Although, the lunch ticket coming to $1.11 seems odd too and it is not a result of me trying to find a pattern... My mom just brought it up after seeing the blood pressure reading of 111/4x. Since then I have admittedly been "investigating" a little for 11's. I'm still curious though how many house addresses and names also add to eleven. That sounds like a problem more for the math crowd around here.

    There is not much I can do at the moment. Mom signed the papers and they pulled the plug on him a couple hrs ago and I'm awaiting instructions.
  14. Nov 14, 2007 #13
    Haven't seen the movie, but I'm going to rent it sometime.

    I struggled to find an 11 in many of the names of my friends and family and no matter how I arranged the names with nicknames, middle names, etc, I could not find a combo that worked. Therefore, I cannot find a pattern for anything I want, regardless of how I edit my input. I want everyone's name to add to 11 so I can easily dismiss all this crap.

    I lump numerology, astrology, etc as BS too. But I don't quite know what to make of my situation.

    Btw, I have a friend that thinks everytime the wind blows it means something. True, wierd stuff does manifest at times when he is around, stuff you just can't explain easily, but I've always thought he was a bit coo coo myself. I spend much of the time arguing with him about why the hawk flying over doesn't mean anything. I don't want to be thrown in the same pile as guys like that.
  15. Nov 14, 2007 #14
    I'm trying.
  16. Nov 14, 2007 #15


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    I'm sorry for your loss.

    And, I suspect that Russ has hit on the most logical explanation...you're trying to seek some form of comfort, and this was just something to hang onto for it. Don't get carried away with it rather than confronting your loss and coping with it.

    Especially once you start looking for patterns, you will keep finding them. They mean nothing. Focus on a different number for a day and see how many examples you find of that. For example, had you picked the number 3, your mom's lunch price would have been just as meaningful because the numbers would have added to three. If you manipulate numbers enough, you'll find the number you're looking for.

    How often could you find the number 11 associated with a house number? More often than once every 11 houses...every 11 is going to be a multiple of 11 (11, 22, 33, 44, 55...), about every 9 you can add to 11 (29, 38, 47, 56, 65...), as you get to higher numbers, you will add to that count by having two ones in the number somewhere (110, 111, 112, 113...)...once you noted the date and that it was something traumatic enough happening to remember the date, it would be very easy to start finding patterns to fit the date. Perhaps it's a way to do just that, get the date to stick in your mind strongly enough to remember. Being November, even if it was a different date, there are still 30 days of the 11th month that you still could have made that association.

    And, you're already forcing the association. You didn't look at the clock when you arrived at the hospital, so don't really know how long you were there, but decided it was 11 hours. It might have been closer to 12 hours, but you've latched onto 11. You started out saying it was about 11:00 that you got the call, and your story has become more embellished since then to say it was 11:11. You also could have decided all that added up to the number 2 and found patterns of 2 in everything. That's what shows you it's just a trick of your mind, that you can keep playing with numbers you've encountered during the day to find any pattern you want to find.

    Go out tomorrow with the thought on your mind, "It's a sign from Moonbear if I encounter the number 4." Report back on how many instances of 4 you encounter. :wink:
  17. Nov 14, 2007 #16


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Randy, I owe you an apology. I got so caught up in the numerology aspect of your post that I overlooked the main point. My condolences for your loss, and my apologies for not conveying them the first time. I'm sorry if my response seemed cavalier. :redface:
  18. Nov 14, 2007 #17
    Thanks a lot Moonbear! I appreciate that! Let me start off by saying its funny you should mention 4 because he was on the 4th floor of the hospital that he was transfered to (thus would have a 4 in the room number) and today is the 14th, LOL. That's meant to be funny so all you serious guys don't jump all over me.

    It appears that my post is less being studied and more being skimmed over. I never said the time was 11:11. I said its not like I casually looked at a clock that said 11:11. (11:11 is an inside poke at the crowd that buy into the 11:11 stuff on the net - type in 11:11 in google for kicks). I still wouldn't say I'm forcing the association because I know how long the drive is and I know what time I left and it amounts to somewhere around 11hrs. Anyway, I'm totally sorry I even brought up this part about how long I was there because it has turned into a red herring, throwing off from the real juicy issues of the house number, phone number, room number, etc and given everyone a foothold to argue that I'm creating all this for myself. I challenge anyone to try and find a sequence like this in their lives. I've never seen this before. I don't know anyone that this has ever happened to.

    I understand that I bought a soda that night for $1.25 and thought nothing of it. I understand that I bought a biscuit from the vending machine for $1.35 and nuked it for 1:11 by my pressing the button 1 3 times and thought nothing of it. I understand I drove 60-65 mph about 30 miles to get there and thought nothing of 3, 5, 6, 10.... Even though they are a big part of my birth date. 3 points define a trend. 11/11, 111, 1111, and 1111 are 4 solid points I neither looked for or manipulated to fit my predefined pattern. A date, a room #, a house #, and a phone number all being the same. What are the odds?

    I'm not a religeous man. I may have certain beliefs and a bunch of stuff I'm undecided about, but I think it is very close minded to suggest there is nothing out there because you cannot prove that it is. You can't prove that it isn't either. Is that logic flawed? Why would my logic be in danger of becoming flawed because I've noticed a trend? For that to happen, one would have to assume that there is nothing else in the universe with intelligence... something we can neither prove or disprove. At this point, it is just a matter of opinion, not fact and therefore has nothing to do with logic.

    The original question was "what would you think?" So far, a few have responded and from what I can tell they would ALL think it is a coincidence. I highly doubt that if it really happened to them they would ALL really be thinking along those lines. Its easy to say what you think you would do when something happens to someone else, but its quite another thing when when it lands on YOUR doorstep. The question has basically reduced to "Is it easier to believe it is all coincidental or is it easier to believe it is not?" To believe it is not it would be necessary to believe in "something else" and, considering where I'm posting, it would be easier to poke butter up a wildcat's azz with a hot screwdriver than to get a concession that there is another entity in the universe that we don't understand. Not that it is a bad thing, that is just the way it is. I'm not out to change anyone's mind about anything. If you don't believe in God (or whatever) then that is a good thing by me. If you do then that is good as well. It makes no difference to me until you start forcing your opinions on me. And I guess I expect everyone else to afford me the same respect... and they usually do... usually. So far, everyone here has been out to change my thinking and/or suggesting I have some sort of problem with my thinking when all I asked was "what would you think/do?" My memory is not so good at this time, but I don't recall anyone starting their reply by saying, "I would...."

    I still welcome all replies even if they are meant to "fix" me... I know the intentions are good and they give me food for thought.
  19. Nov 14, 2007 #18

    Thank you! Its ok, I understand you guys have to deal with all sorts that come here posting who knows what in an effort to change the world. Thanks again!
  20. Nov 14, 2007 #19


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    The odds of getting any string of consecutive numbers is just the next big number full of zeros. Ie, the odds of getting 4 1s' in a row (1111) is 10,000:1. 5 is 100,000:1.

    But what you are not accepting here is that you did not get an unbroken string of 1's! You saw a lot of 1's, 2's, 3's, 4's, etc. and discarded everything except the 1's. You also made up a bunch of 1's that you didn't actually see.
    Since "somewhere around 11 hours" is not 11 hours, that means you are forcing the association. If your dad was in room 1212, you would have likely said it was somewhere around 12 hours.
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2007
  21. Nov 14, 2007 #20
    Boy Russ, of all things to comment about in my last post your still stuck on the amount of time I spent at the hospital? :)

    But first,,, 10x10x10x10 = 10,000. 10,000(address)x10,000(phone)x800(date)x20?(rooms)=1,600,000,000,000. But that's not the true odds because there are many other factors involved. (So what if nobody can have a 0000 address or phone number - its still a huge number - and that doesn't even count all the xxxxxx, xxxxx, xxx, xx, x digit addresses in the world - the number should be way more than 10,000).

    Yep, I got a lot of other numbers that day, but none with significance and none that defined a trend. Therefore, I didn't make a "bunch of 1's that I didn't actually see."

    If dad was in room 1212, I would have had just the address, phone number, etc as a trend and not the room number. If the phone number and the room number were different from the 11's, then I might not have made anything of it other than "huh, that's weird" and you would not be talking to me now.

    But you're right about one thing (with a hitch)... If dad was in 1212 I would have said somewhere around 12 hrs ONLY in the context of mom's address being 1212, the executor having a phone number of 1212, the date being 12/12, etc, etc. Or at least some other significant numbers being 1212, if not phone numbers and addresses.

    Maybe you're just trying to pick at that one little point because anything else would be something you can't understand, that's my opinion, and that makes it hard for me to not feel like you are attacking me personally. Like I said in the last post, "I'm totally sorry I even brought up this part about how long I was there because it has turned into a red herring." Ok, so you've found one point that is a bit outside a straight line and use that to argue that the line isn't straight??? Ignoring the other points? I think you're missing the forest for the one tree. But if it makes you feel better, I'll say I'm forcing the association that the amount of time I was there was close to 11 and therefore I illogically concluded that close enough was just as good. Hopefully, we won't be beating the dead horse now and we can ride on and get to the bottom of this. :) :)

    Btw, what would you have said if I had originally said everything happened at exactly 11 and took precisely 11 hrs? Just curious. Also, how many 11's will it take before you say, "Gee, I don't know, that's weird!".
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?

Similar Discussions: What would you think
  1. What do you think? (Replies: 6)