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Was April 11, 1954, the most boring day in history?

Published: Tuesday, April 12 2011 1:13 a.m. MDT

A screen capture shows pages 10 and 11 of the Deseret News' April 12, 1954, edition.

SALT LAKE CITY — Was April 11, 1954, the most boring day in history?

That's the claim of a British computer scientist, based on the results of running 300 million facts through a search engine he designed.

National Public Radio host Robert Siegel was skeptical when William Tunstall-Pedoe, who holds a computer science degree from the University of Cambridge, told him that Palm Sunday was "spectacularly un-notable."

A minor Turkish writer was born, and an election was held in Belgium, Tunstall-Pedoe said, but nothing else even remotely important happened.

The Deseret News, then an afternoon paper, did not publish on Sunday at the time. The next day's paper notes a few minor events in Utah.

A fire destroyed Cluff's Feed Mill, on Provo Canyon Road about three blocks north of the BYU field house. The blaze caused $50,000 in damage, but firefighters rescued 1,000 baby chicks.

In a Sunday evening address at the South Davis Stake, LDS Church President David O. McKay issued "a warning against slander, backbiting and deceit."

"The tongue spreads wickedness, hatred, envy, bitterness, gossip, lying and slander," President McKay said. "The damage and destruction caused by the H-bomb is microscopic when compared to the damage done by the tongue."

Meanwhile in Salt Lake City, President McKay's wife, Emma Ray Riggs McKay, was honored as the "Utah Mother for 1954" in special services at the Garden Park Ward chapel, 1150 E. Yale Ave. Gov. J. Bracken Lee called her the "perfect symbol of fine Utah motherhood."

That weekend, Walt Disney's "Living Desert" set a new continuous-run record of nine weeks at the Tower Theater.

And students at South High School were preparing to take part in an exchange program to switch places with students at the Intermountain Indian School in Brigham City, which Utah State University is now buying for use as a branch campus after it lay dormant for years.

The Salt Lake Bees, then a farm club for the Philadelphia Phillies in the Pioneer League, were rained out on a trip to North Carolina. Ben Hogan and Sam Snead vied for the Masters golf tournament in a playoff after tying on Sunday.

National wire stories of the day offer a window into a bygone era. A Washington University scientist speaking in Chicago claimed that smoking "cigarets" for at least 30 years would cause lung cancer, while another doctor countered that stopping smoking would cause weight gain, leading to other diseases.

The paper also carried whimsical items about a Florida beauty queen refusing to come down from a 30-foot pole and a two-headed baby in Indiana who was recovering from a bout of pneumonia.

The Library of Congress archives don't mention any significant events on April 11, 1954. And since Wikipedia agrees, it must be true.

E-mail: pkoepp@desnews.com Twitter: pbkdn

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