Social Sciences

The Boring Conference Finds Fascination In Dull Topics

Excited for the August 21 eclipse? Visit our Eclipse 2017 page to explore the science, history, and myths of the event. The Curiosity team will be viewing the eclipse alongside NASA in Carbondale, Illinois. Follow us on Facebook for live videos, trivia, and interviews on the big day.

Most conferences are at least a little boring. The Boring Conference, contrary to its title, tries not to be. Established in 2010, after the founder of the "Interesting" conference announced its cancellation, the Boring Conference bills itself as "a one-day celebration of the mundane, the ordinary, the obvious and the overlooked." The challenge of the conference is not to find the most boring topic, but to distill the most interesting parts from a boring topic and share them with the audience. "...most things," founder James Ward told The Guardian, "if you look at them in enough detail, can become fascinating. There's almost always something there." Past speakers have expounded upon topics including sneezing, the history of lampposts, German film titles, Eric Clapton's bookshelf, and how to cook meals with the equipment found in hotel rooms. Learn more about how the conference got its start in the videos below.

The Origin Of The Boring Conference

Hear about the historic tweet that began James Ward's trailblazing project.

Here's Why We Get Bored

Does boredom serve a purpose?

Share the knowledge!

Key Facts In This Video

  1. Arthur Schopenhauer said, "If life possessed in itself a positive value in real content, there would be no such thing as boredom." 01:36

  2. When bored, your brain activity only drops about 5%. 02:38

  3. The ganzfeld effect is the hallucinations that occurs when people are exposed to random noise and an unchanging monochromatic field. 06:35

Is Zoning Out Good For You?

There's plenty of talk about the benefits of mindfulness. Hear the benefits of mindlessness.

If you liked this you'll love our podcast! Check it out on iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play Music, SoundCloud, search 'curiosity' on your favorite podcast app or add the RSS Feed URL.