A Computer Scientist Once Calculated "The Most Boring Day In History"

What was the most boring day in history? Image credit: andrey_l/Shutterstock.com

It feels like every day in this century has had events crammed into it, like rabbits up Mary Toft or eggs back into a hen. However, it hasn't always been like this, and one scientist once took it upon himself to investigate what exactly was the most boring day in history. He came up with an answer: April 11, 1954.

In 2010, computer scientist William Tunstall-Pedoe decided to use run a program that would crawl his now-defunct fact-indexing website True Knowledge. True Knowledge, which listed over 300 million facts at the time of his analysis, is now a company called Evi owned by Amazon and is "an integral part of Amazon Alexa."

"It occurred to us that with over 300 million facts, a big percentage of which tie events, people and places to points in time, we could uniquely calculate an objective answer to the question 'What was the most boring day in history?' For fun, we wrote a script to scan all days (from the beginning of the 20th century) and set it going," he wrote in a blog post on the website.

Of course, boring isn't the most objective term you can use – so in order to calculate the most "boring" day in history they were really looking for the most uneventful day when virtually nothing of importance happened. 

There are plenty of candidates, including April 18, 1930, when the UK's BBC news announcer announced "there is no news" and then played piano music for the next 15 minutes.

However, the date that Tunstall-Pedoe's analysis picked out was April 11, 1954.

"Lots of famous people are born, famous people die, there are events happening," Tunstall-Pedoe told NPR. "This particular day was extremely notable for having almost nothing happen."

The only notable events pulled out as occurring on that day by the analysis was that Oldham Athletic footballer Jack Shufflebotham died, and Turkish academic Abdullah Atalar was born. 

"The irony is though, that having done the calculation, the day is now interesting for being exceptionally boring," the team wrote at the time. "Perhaps we need to calculate the second most boring day..."

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