01 December 2010

May you live in uninteresting times

Plenty of things seem to have happened while I was away, particularly the Wikileak exposures – although most of what was said in the cables should come as little surprise.

One thing that has caught my eye (and has absolutely nothing to do with Wikileaks) is a search to find the most boring day in history…. According to the Telegraph the prize goes to 11 April 1954 when the earth learned the shattering news of a general election in Belgium, the birth of a Turkish academic and the death of Oldham Athletic footballer Jack Shufflebotham died. Apart from that nothing much happened.

This is according to William Tunstall-Pedoe who developed a computer programme, True Knowledge. The programme determined the dullness of the day after being fed some 300 million facts about "people, places, business and events" that made the news.

Using complex algorithms, such as how much one piece of information was linked to others, True Knowledge determined that particular 1950s Sunday to be outstanding in its obscurity.

Mr Tunstall-Pedoe said: "Nobody significant died that day, no major events apparently occurred and, although a typical day in the 20th century has many notable people being born, for some reason that day had only one who might make that claim –
Abdullah Atalar, a Turkish academic.

"The irony is, though, that - having done the calculation - the day is interesting for being exceptionally boring. Unless, that is, you are Abdullah Atalar.

That said plans for a coup d'etat in Yanaon, then a small French colony in India, were also believed to have been hatched on the evening of April 11 1954 but nothing actually happened that night.

So there you have it… What is there to say but wish that there were a few more days like that one!

NB - Professor Abdullah Atalar researches atomic force microscopy and digital integrated circuit design at Bilkent University.


Claude said...

Yesterday would have been another uninteresting day. But Omnium leaked all around the world, on his blog, that it was December. I was perfectly happy in November, and would gladly have stayed there forever. As it is, I jumped into January, and bypassed December. I hope you had a good Holiday.

SnoopyTheGoon said...

If it were a personal day, I would know the answer immediately: when I decided to stay a day in Heathrow instead of leaving to the city and coming back before the next flight.

No more.

jams o donnell said...

Ah Claude, Sean's revelations are utterly disturbing. I fear that he will be hunted down for his audacity!

Gah now that is a season in Hell in a single day Snoopy!

Anonymous said...

I contest the results of the "complex algorithm". Did it go back far enough? I am fairly sure that the 11th of April 1.64 billion years ago (or thereabouts) was mainly just all about the slimy things being slimy. A real slow news day (although nobody guessed at where its events would lead, much as now, I expect). Much of today's news is still about slimy things of course, though with arms and legs and heads (and business suits).

jams o donnell said...

Ah now that is true but even then I daresay a lack of action by two slimy things was more interesting than that day in 1954!