Was April 11, 1954, Really 'The Most Boring Day'? : The Two-Way Nobody famous died. Nobody famous was born. Nothing much happened, says the creator of a new search engine.

Was April 11, 1954, Really 'The Most Boring Day'?

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/131701307/131704340" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript


From Cambridge, England, comes this audacious judgment: The most boring day in modern history was April 11th, 1954. That is the conclusion of William Tunstall-Pedoe, a computer programmer and founder of trueknowledge.com, also known as the Internet answer engine. He joins us from Cambridge.

And Mr. Tunstall-Pedoe, first of all, how did you arrive at this completely unsupportable conclusion that 4/11/54 was the least notable day in modern history?

Mr. WILLIAM TUNSTALL-PEDOE (Founder, trueknowledge.com): Well, we scanned a knowledge base we've built, of over 300 million facts. So we have huge amounts of knowledge about the world. So we wrote a computer program that analyzed it, and worked out that that was the least interesting day in recent history.

SIEGEL: What happened - or I guess, more to the point, what sorts of things didn't happen on April 11th, 1954?

Mr. TUNSTALL-PEDOE: Well, typically, lots of famous people are born; famous people die; all sorts of things happen on any typical day. This particular day was extremely notable for having almost nothing happen.

SIEGEL: You do note on the website the birthday of Abudullah Atalar(ph), a Turkish author. He was born on April 11th, 1954.

Mr. TUNSTALL-PEDOE: That's right.

SIEGEL: And there was an election in Belgium, I believe.

Mr. TUNSTALL-PEDOE: That's also true.

SIEGEL: I dug out a clip from the New York Times the following day - that there'd been dinghy races in Largamente, New York, the day before. So something happened there.

Mr. TUNSTALL-PEDOE: It's not that nothing happened. It's that it was spectacularly unnotable in terms of the events that happened that day. So it was the most boring day in recent history.

SIEGEL: Well, perhaps someone in our audience knows of something that happened on April 11th, 1954, that might lead to some revision of this judgment.

Mr. TUNSTALL-PEDOE: I'm totally up to the challenge.

SIEGEL: You're up to the challenge.

Mr. TUNSTALL-PEDOE: Up to the challenge, yeah. A lot of people have tried already in the last few days. So but yes, absolutely.

SIEGEL: There was, I think, an exhibition baseball game between the then-New York Giants and Cleveland Indians, who would go on to play in the World Series later that year.

Mr. TUNSTALL-PEDOE: And you think that counts as...

(Soundbite of laughter)

SIEGEL: Well, Mr. William Tunstall-Pedoe, thank you very much for talking with us.

Mr. TUNSTALL-PEDOE: My pleasure.

SIEGEL: Mr. Tunstall-Pedoe is the founder and CEO of trueknowledge.com. His computer has determined that the most boring day in modern history was April 11th, 1954.

Copyright © 2010 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.