Time does not exist. It is simply an illusion of our mind created by our own biological and cultural evolution. ~David Lewis Anderson
1917 – Jeannette Rankin of Montana becomes the first female member of the United States House of Representatives.
Jeannette Pickering Rankin was the first woman in the United States Congress, elected in Montana in 1916 and again in 1940. After being elected in 1916 she said, “I may be the first woman member of Congress but I won’t be the last.”
A lifelong pacifist, she was one of fifty members of Congress who voted against entry into World War I in 1917, and the only member of Congress who voted against declaring war on Japan after the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941.
1918 – The USS Cyclops departs from Barbados and is never seen again, presumably lost with all hands in the Bermuda Triangle.
USS Cyclops (AC-4) was one of four Proteus-class colliers built for the United States Navy several years before World War I. Named for the Cyclops, a primordial race of giants from Greek mythology, she was the second U.S. Naval vessel to bear the name. The loss of the ship and 306 crew and passengers without a trace within the area known as the Bermuda Triangle some time after 4 March 1918 remains the single largest loss of life in U.S. Naval history not directly involving combat. As it was wartime, there was speculation she was captured or sunk by a German raider or submarine, because she was carrying 10,800 long tons (11,000 t) of manganese ore used to produce munitions, but German authorities at the time, and subsequently, denied any knowledge of the vessel. The Naval History & Heritage Command has stated she “probably sank in an unexpected storm” but the cause is unknown…
In addition, two of Cyclops’s sister ships, Proteus and Nereus were subsequently lost in the North Atlantic during World War II. Both ships were transporting heavy loads of metallic ore similar to that which was loaded on Cyclops during her fatal voyage…
Sir Patrick Alfred Caldwell-Moore CBE, FRS, FRAS was an English amateur astronomer who attained prominent status in that field as a writer, researcher, radio commentator and television presenter.
Moore was president of the British Astronomical Association, co-founder and president of the Society for Popular Astronomy (SPA), author of over 70 books on astronomy, and presenter of the world’s longest-running television series with the same original presenter, the BBC’s The Sky at Night. As an amateur astronomer, he became known as a specialist in Moon observation and for creating the Caldwell catalogue. Idiosyncrasies such as his rapid diction and monocle made him a popular and instantly recognisable figure on British television.
Moore was also a self-taught xylophone, glockenspiel player and pianist, as well as an accomplished composer. He was a former amateur cricketer, golfer and chess player. In addition to many popular science books, he wrote numerous works of fiction. Moore was an opponent of fox hunting, an outspoken critic of the European Union, supporter of the UK Independence Party and served as chairman of the short-lived anti-immigration United Country Party. He served in the Royal Air Force during World War II; his fiancée was killed by a bomb during the war and he never married or had children.
LZ 129 Hindenburg was a large German commercial passenger-carrying rigid airship, the lead ship of the Hindenburg class, the longest class of flying machine and the largest airship by envelope volume. It was designed and built by the Zeppelin Company on the shores of Lake Constance in Friedrichshafen and was operated by the German Zeppelin Airline Company. The airship flew from March 1936 until destroyed by fire 14 months later on May 6, 1937, at the end of the first North American transatlantic journey of its second season of service. Thirty-six people died in the accident, which occurred while landing at Lakehurst Naval Air Station in Manchester Township, New Jersey, United States.
Google Code Blog: Google PowerMeter API introduced for device manufacturers – looks like the Google PowerMeter will finally work with the very popular Tweet-a-Watt we sell. Now we’ll just need to wait for someone to glue it all together and post some code
Today we’re excited to introduce the Google PowerMeter API on code.google.com, for developers interested in integrating with Google PowerMeter. This API will allow device manufacturers to build home energy monitoring devices that work with Google PowerMeter. We’re launching this API in order to help build the ecosystem of innovative developers working towards making energy information more widely available to consumers.
In today’s launch of the API on code.google.com we are highlighting the core design principles towards integrating with Google PowerMeter. In particular we outline the underlying data model and the accompanying protocols to ensure that Google PowerMeter provides consumers access to their energy consumption with utmost care in maintaining the user’s privacy and control on access to the information. We also highlight, with code samples and client implementations, how to easily start building your PowerMeter-compatible device.
Greetings! When I visited Adafruit a couple of weeks ago to tape an “Ask an Engineer” about the iRobot Create, Phil and Ladyada generously invited me to do some guest blogging.
I’m excited to have the opportunity to talk with you about the cool stuff that’s going on in the world of educational robotics. As the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Outreach Program Manager at iRobot, it’s my job — I run iRobot SPARK, our educational outreach initiative.
When I was little, I was pretty sure I was going to grow up to be either a librarian, an actress or the President. I finally decided in high school that of all the things I spent my time doing, I loved working with computers the most. I earned my undergraduate degree in Computer Science with a minor in Anthropology followed by my Master’s and Ph.D. in Robotics from Carnegie Mellon University. I’ve worked on projects ranging from robots that roam the desert to Mars rovers in miniature. Some of you might have seen the marriage proposal my husband wrote me in Perl (either the code or the comic strip version).
It’s nice to meet you all, and thanks again to Phil and Ladyada for having me! I look forward to sharing more about what I’m up to at iRobot and news about other awesome robotics programs.
Time is a sort of river of passing events, and strong is its current; no sooner is a thing brought to sight than it is swept by and another takes its place, and this too will be swept away. ~Marcus Aurelius Antoninus
1836 – Samuel Colt is granted a United States patent for the Colt revolver.
Samuel Colt was an American inventor and industrialist from Hartford, Connecticut. He founded Colt’s Patent Fire-Arms Manufacturing Company (today, Colt’s Manufacturing Company), and made the mass production of the revolver commercially viable.
Colt’s manufacturing methods were at the forefront of the Industrial Revolution. His use of interchangeable parts helped him become one of the first to exploit the assembly line. Moreover, his innovative use of art, celebrity endorsements and corporate gifts to promote his wares made him a pioneer in the fields of advertising, product placement and mass marketing, although he was criticized during and after his life for promoting his arms through bribes, threats and monopoly.
1866 – Miners in Calaveras County, California, discover what is now called the Calaveras Skull, human remains that supposedly indicated that man, mastodons, and elephants had co-existed.
The Calaveras Skull was a human skull found by miners in Calaveras County, California which was purported to prove that humans, mastodons, and elephants had coexisted in California. It was later revealed to be a hoax. Coincidentally, “calaveras” is the Spanish word for “skulls”.
On February 25, 1866, miners found a human skull in a mine, beneath a layer of lava, 130 feet (40 m) below the surface of the earth, which made it into the hands of Josiah Whitney, then the State Geologist of California as well as a Professor of Geology at Harvard University. A year before the skull came to his attention, Whitney had published the aforementioned belief of humans, mastodons, and elephants having coexisted and the skull only served as proof of his convictions. After careful study, he officially announced its discovery at a meeting of the California Academy of Sciences on July 16, 1866, declaring it evidence of the existence of Pliocene age man in North America, which would make it the oldest known record of humans on the continent.
However, its authenticity was immediately challenged. In 1869 a San Francisco newspaper reported that a miner had told a minister that the skull was planted as a practical joke. Thomas Wilson of Harvard ran a fluorine analysis on it in 1879 (the first ever usage of such on human bone), with the results indicating it was of recent origin. It was so widely believed to be a hoax that Bret Harte famously wrote a satirical poem called “To the Pliocene Skull” in 1899.
1933 – The USS Ranger, the first ship to be built solely as an aircraft carrier, is launched.
USS Ranger (CV-4) was the first ship of the United States Navy to be designed and built from the keel up as an aircraft carrier. Ranger was a relatively small ship, closer in size and displacement to the first US carrier—Langley—than later ships. An island superstructure was not included in the original design, but was added after completion. Of the eight pre-war US aircraft carriers CV-1 through CV-8, Ranger was one of only three to survive World War II, the others being Enterprise and Saratoga. Deemed too slow for use with the Pacific Fleet’s carrier task forces, the ship spent most of the war in the Atlantic Ocean.
Ranger was laid down on 26 September 1931 by the Newport News Shipbuilding & Drydock Co., Newport News, Virginia, launched on 25 February 1933, sponsored by Lou Henry Hoover (the wife of the President of the United States), and commissioned at the Norfolk Navy Yard on 4 June 1934, with Captain Arthur L. Bristol in command.
Pickering Nuclear Generating Station is a Canadian nuclear power station located on the north shore of Lake Ontario in Pickering, Ontario. The facility derives its name from the City (originally Township) of Pickering in which it is located. It produces 15-20% of Ontario’s power.
Co-located at the Pickering station is a single 1.8 MWe wind turbine named the OPG 7 commemorative turbine.
If you want to try your own hand at creating a computerized, electronic glow, Adafruit Industries, a New York company that makes and sells kits and components, will soon introduce a small, wearable microprocessor called Flora to control LEDs or other electronic adornments. Becky Stern, who leads the company’s wearable electronics group, will develop projects and kits based on it for crafters. “Pop stars have costumes made by ateliers at huge cost,” Ms. Stern says, adding that her company’s products would “let you make these electronic wearables at home for a fraction of that.”…
Ms. Fried at Adafruit says she looks forward to a time when people will routinely modify the style of their shoes, jackets, T-shirts or handbags with circuitry. Then, she says, Bill Cunningham, the fashion photographer for The New York Times who has long roamed the streets for the latest looks, will have a new trend to cover: LED fashions.
In his ongoing effort to make New York City a technological powerhouse, Mayor Michael Bloomberg today revealed the 20 middle schools and high schools picked for the city’s new Software Engineering Pilot (SEP) program.
As part of the program, the schools will get “comprehensive computer science and software engineering curriculum” for around 1,000 students. The program will launch this September and is expected to grow to 3,5000 students by 2016.
Alessandro Giuseppe Antonio Anastasio Volta was an Italian physicist known for the invention of the battery in the 1800s…
The battery made by Volta is credited as the first electrochemical cell. It consists of two electrodes: one made of zinc, the other of copper. The electrolyte is either sulfuric acid mixed with water or a form of saltwater brine. The electrolyte exists in the form 2H+ and SO42−. The zinc, which is higher than both copper and hydrogen in the electrochemical series, reacts with the negatively charged sulfate (SO42−). The positively charged hydrogen ions (protons) capture electrons from the copper, forming bubbles of hydrogen gas, H2. This makes the zinc rod the negative electrode and the copper rod the positive electrode.
1838 – Ernst Mach, Austrian physicist and philosopher is born.
Ernst Waldfried Josef Wenzel Mach was an Austrian physicist and philosopher, noted for his contributions to physics such as the Mach number and the study of shock waves. As a philosopher of science, he was a major influence on logical positivism, American pragmatism and through his criticism of Newton, a forerunner of Einstein’s relativity…
Mach’s main contribution to physics involved his description and photographs of spark shock-waves and then ballistic shock-waves. He described how when a bullet or shell moved faster than the speed of sound, it created a compression of air in front it. Using schlieren photography, he and his son Ludwig were able to photograph the shadows of the invisible shock waves. During the early 1890s Ludwig was able to invent an interferometer which allowed for much clearer photographs. But Mach also made many contributions to psychology and physiology, including his anticipation of gestalt phenomena, his discovery of the oblique effect and of Mach bands, an inhibition-influenced type of visual illusion, and especially his discovery of a non-acoustic function of the inner ear which helps control human balance.
1911 – The first official flight with air mail takes place from Allahabad, United Provinces, British India (now India), when Henri Pequet, a 23-year-old pilot, delivers 6,500 letters to Naini, about 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) away.
The world’s first official airmail flight came the next day, at a large exhibition in the United Provinces of Agra and Oudh, British India. The organizer of the aviation display, Sir Walter George Windham, was able to secure permission from the postmaster general in India to operate an airmail service in order to generate publicity for the exhibition and to raise money for charity. Mail from people across the region was gathered in at the local church and the first airmail flight was piloted by Henri Pequet, who flew 6,500 letters a distance of 13 km (8.1 mi) from Allahabad, to Naini – the nearest station on the Bombay-Calcutta line to the exhibition. The letters bore an official frank “First Aerial Post, U.P. Exhibition, Allahabad. 1911″. The aircraft used, was a Humber-Sommer biplane with about fifty horsepower (37 kW), and it made the journey in thirteen minutes.
Elm Farm Ollie (known as “Nellie Jay” and post-flight as “Sky Queen”) was the first cow to fly in an airplane, doing so on 18 February 1930, as part of the International Air Exposition in St. Louis, Missouri, United States. On the same trip, which covered 72 miles in a Ford Trimotor airplane from Bismarck, Missouri, to St. Louis, she also became the first cow milked in flight. This was done ostensibly to allow scientists to observe midair effects on animals, as well as for publicity purposes. A St. Louis newspaper trumpeted her mission as being “to blaze a trail for the transportation of livestock by air.”
Happy 3rd Birthday to our Proto-Screwshield (Wingshield) Kit!
Proto-Screwshield (Wingshield) kit! The next generation Proto-ScrewShield is a dual-purpose prototyping shield. Now only does it have a large 0.1″ grid prototyping area but it also extends the Arduino pins to sturdy, secure, and dependable screw terminal blocks. You even get a few bonus terminals for extra GND and four ‘free’ terminals for whatever connections you wish!
…And our Ultimate GPS Logger Shield turns 1 year old today. *Sniff* They grow up so fast!
Brand new and better than ever, we’ve replaced our Adafruit GPS shield kit with this assembled shield that comes with an Ultimate GPS module. This GPS shield works great with either UNO or Leonardo Arduinos and is designed to log data to an SD card. Or you can leave the SD card out and use the GPS for a geocaching project, or maybe a music player that changes tunes depending on where you are in the city.
The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot. ~Michael Althsuler
1808 – Jesse Fell burns anthracite on an open grate as an experiment in heating homes with coal.
Anthracite was first experimentally burned as a residential heating fuel in the US on 11 February 1808, by Judge Jesse Fell in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, on an open grate in a fireplace. Anthracite differs from wood in that it needs a draft from the bottom, and Judge Fell proved with his grate design that it was a viable heating fuel.
Josiah Willard Gibbs was an American scientist who made important theoretical contributions to physics, chemistry, and mathematics. His work on the applications of thermodynamics was instrumental in transforming physical chemistry into a rigorous deductive science. Together with James Clerk Maxwell and Ludwig Boltzmann, he created statistical mechanics (a term that he coined), explaining the laws of thermodynamics as consequences of the statistical properties of large ensembles of particles. Gibbs also worked on the application of Maxwell’s equations to problems in physical optics. As a mathematician, he invented modern vector calculus (independently of the British scientist Oliver Heaviside, who carried out similar work during the same period).
In 1863, Yale awarded Gibbs the first American doctorate in engineering. After a three-year sojourn in Europe, Gibbs spent the rest of his career at Yale, where he was professor of mathematical physics from 1871 until his death. Working in relative isolation, he became the earliest theoretical scientist in the United States to earn an international reputation and was praised by Albert Einstein as “the greatest mind in American history”. In 1901 Gibbs received what was then considered the highest honor awarded by the international scientific community, the Copley Medal of the Royal Society of London, “for his contributions to mathematical physics”.
Thomas Alva Edison was an American inventor and businessman. He developed many devices that greatly influenced life around the world, including the phonograph, the motion picture camera, and a long-lasting, practical electric light bulb. Dubbed “The Wizard of Menlo Park”, he was one of the first inventors to apply the principles of mass production and large-scale teamwork to the process of invention, and because of that, he is often credited with the creation of the first industrial research laboratory.
Edison was a prolific inventor, holding 1,093 US patents in his name, as well as many patents in the United Kingdom, France, and Germany. More significant than the number of Edison’s patents, are the impacts of his inventions, because Edison not only invented things, his inventions established major new industries world-wide, notably, electric light and power utilities, sound recording and motion pictures. Edison’s inventions contributed to mass communication and, in particular, telecommunications. These included a stock ticker, a mechanical vote recorder, a battery for an electric car, electrical power, recorded music and motion pictures.
His advanced work in these fields was an outgrowth of his early career as a telegraph operator. Edison developed a system of electric-power generation and distribution to homes, businesses, and factories – a crucial development in the modern industrialized world. His first power station was on Pearl Street in Manhattan, New York.
1898 – Leó Szilárd, Hungarian-American physicist is born.
Leó Szilárd was a Hungarian-American physicist and inventor. He conceived the nuclear chain reaction in 1933, patented the idea of a nuclear reactor with Enrico Fermi, and in late 1939 wrote the letter for Albert Einstein’s signature that resulted in the Manhattan Project that built the atomic bomb. He also conceived the electron microscope, the linear accelerator (1928, not knowing Gustav Ising’s 1924 journal article and Rolf Widerøe’s operational device) and the cyclotron. Szilárd himself did not build all of these devices, or publish these ideas in scientific journals, and so credit for them often went to others. As a result, Szilárd never received the Nobel Prize, but others were awarded the Prize as a result of their work on two of his inventions.
Science fiction first appeared on a television program during the Golden Age of Science Fiction. Special effects and other production techniques allow creators to present a living visual image of an imaginary world not limited by the constraints of reality; this makes television an excellent medium for science fiction, which in turn contributes to its popularity in this form…
In February 1938, a thirty-five minute adaptation of a section of the play was broadcast on BBC Television – the first piece of television science-fiction ever to be broadcast.
“If time travel is possible, where are the tourists from the future?”
― Stephen Hawking, A Brief History of Time
1789 – George Washington is unanimously elected as the first President of the United States by the U.S. Electoral College.
George Washington was the first President of the United States (1789–1797), the commander-in-chief of the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War, and one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. He presided over the convention that drafted the United States Constitution, which replaced the Articles of Confederation and which remains the supreme law of the land.
1902 – American aviator, author, inventor, explorer and social activist Charles Lindbergh is born.
As a 25-year-old U.S. Air Mail pilot, Lindbergh emerged suddenly from virtual obscurity to instantaneous world fame as the result of his Orteig Prize-winning solo non-stop flight on May 20–21, 1927, made from Roosevelt Field in Garden City on New York’s Long Island to Le Bourget Field in Paris, France, a distance of nearly 3,600 statute miles (5,800 km), in the single-seat, single-engine purpose-built Ryan monoplane Spirit of St. Louis. As a result of this flight, Lindbergh was the first person in history to be in New York one day and Paris the next. Lindbergh, a U.S. Army Air Corps Reserve officer, was also awarded the nation’s highest military decoration, the Medal of Honor, for his historic exploit.
Clyde William Tombaugh was an American astronomer. Although he is best known for discovering the dwarf planet Pluto in 1930, the first object to be discovered in what would later be identified as the Kuiper belt, Tombaugh also discovered many asteroids; he also called for the serious scientific research of unidentified flying objects, or “U.F.O.s”.
1936 – Radium becomes the first radioactive element to be made synthetically.
On 4 February 1936, radium E (bismuth-210) became the first radioactive element to be made synthetically in the United States. Dr. John Jacob Livingood, at the radiation lab at University of California, Berkeley, was bombarding several elements with 5-MeV deuterons. He noted that irradiated bismuth emits fast electrons with a 5-day half-life, which matched the behavior of radium E.
Kenneth Lane Thompson, commonly referred to as ken in hacker circles, is an American pioneer of computer science. Having worked at Bell Labs for most of his career, Thompson designed and implemented the original Unix operating system. He also invented the B programming language, the direct predecessor to the C programming language, and was one of the creators and early developers of the Plan 9 operating systems. Since 2006, Thompson works at Google, where he co-invented the Go programming language.
Other notable contributions included his work on regular expressions and early computer text editors QED and ed, the definition of the UTF-8 encoding, his work on computer chess that included creation of endgame tablebases and the chess machine Belle.
Facebook is an online social networking service. Its name comes from a colloquialism for the directory given to students at some American universities. Facebook was founded in February 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg with his college roommates and fellow Harvard University students Eduardo Saverin, Andrew McCollum, Dustin Moskovitz and Chris Hughes. The founders had initially limited the website’s membership to Harvard students, but later expanded it to colleges in the Boston area, the Ivy League, and Stanford University. It gradually added support for students at various other universities before it opened to high-school students, and eventually to anyone aged 13 and over. Facebook now allows anyone who claims to be at least 13 years old to become a registered user of the website.
In a January 2014, during the week previous to the company’s tenth anniversary, chief operating officer of Facebook, Sheryl Sandberg, clarified: “He [Mark] always said Facebook was started not just to be a company, but to fulfill a vision of connecting the world.
Expolorer Henry Morton Stanley was sent on a journey to find the Scottist missionary and explorer David Livingstone and found him after a long and hard 700 mile journey.
Stanley travelled to Zanzibar in March 1871 and outfitted an expedition with the best of everything, requiring no fewer than 200 porters. This 700 mile expedition through the tropical forest became a nightmare. His thoroughbred stallion died within a few days after a bite from a tsetse fly, many of his carriers deserted, and the rest were decimated by tropical diseases.
Stanley found Livingstone on 10 November 1871, in Ujiji near Lake Tanganyika in present-day Tanzania, and may have greeted him with the now-famous, “Doctor Livingstone, I presume?”
1885 – A locomotive on the Panama Canal Railway runs from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean for the first time.
On a rainy midnight on January 27, 1855, lit by sputtering whale oil lamps, the last rail was set in place on pine crossties. The final spike was held in position, and chief engineer George Totten, in pouring rain with a nine-pound maul, drove the spike that completed the railroad. The next day the first locomotive with freight and passenger cars passed from sea to sea. The massive project was completed.
In 1885, Akroyd Stuart accidentally spilt paraffin oil (kerosene) into a pot of molten tin. The paraffin oil vaporized and caught fire when in contact with a paraffin lamp. This gave him an idea to pursue the possibility of using paraffin oil (very similar to modern-day diesel) for an engine, which unlike petrol would be difficult to be vaporized in a carburetor as its volatility is not sufficient to allow this.
Hot bulb engines were produced until the late 1920s, often being called “semi-diesels”, even though they were not as efficient as compression ignition engines. They had the advantage of comparative simplicity, since they did not require the air compressor used by early Diesel engines; fuel was injected mechanically (solid injection) near the start of the compression stroke, at a much lower pressure than that of Diesel engines
Holley’s research on RNA focused first on isolating transfer RNA (tRNA), and later on determining the sequence and structure of alanine tRNA, the molecule that incorporates the amino acid alanine into proteins. Holley’s team of researchers determined the tRNA’s structure by using two ribonucleases to split the tRNA molecule into pieces. Each enzyme split the molecule at location points for specific nucleotides. By a process of “puzzling out” the structure of the pieces split by the two different enzymes, then comparing the pieces from both enzyme splits, the team eventually determined the entire structure of the molecule.
The structure was completed in 1964, and was a key discovery in explaining the synthesis of proteins from messenger RNA. It was also the first nucleotide sequence of a ribonucleic acid ever determined. Holley was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1968 for this discovery, and Har Gobind Khorana and Marshall W. Nirenberg were also awarded the prize that year for contributions to the understanding of protein synthesis.
1958 – The Lego company patents the design of its Lego bricks, still compatible with bricks produced today.
Legos were patented 56 years ago to this day!
In 1958, the modern brick design was developed, and it took another five years to find the right material for it, ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) polymer. The modern Lego brick was patented on 28 January 1958, and bricks from that year are still compatible with current bricks.
1885 – Happy Birthday to Umberto Nobile, Italian aeronautical engineer and Arctic explorer
Umberto Nobile’s story is truly incredible, so much so that they made a movie about it called The Red Tent starring Sean Connery.
Nobile was a developer and promoter of semi-rigid airships during the Golden Age of Aviation between the two World Wars. He is primarily remembered for designing and piloting the airship Norge, which may have been the first aircraft to reach the North Pole, and which was indisputably the first to fly across the polar ice cap from Europe to America. Nobile also designed and flew the Italia, a second polar airship; this second expedition ended in a deadly crash and provoked an international rescue effort.
USS Nautilus (SSN-571) was the world’s first operational nuclear-powered submarine. She was the first vessel to complete a submerged transit to the North Pole on 3 August 1958. Sharing names with the submarine in Jules Verne’s Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, and named after another USS Nautilus (SS-168) that served with distinction in World War II, Nautilus was authorized in 1951 and launched in 1954. Because her nuclear propulsion allowed her to remain submerged far longer than diesel-electric submarines, she broke many records in her first years of operation, and traveled to locations previously beyond the limits of submarines. In operation, she revealed a number of limitations in her design and construction. This information was used to improve subsequent submarines.
The Little Joe 1B was a Launch Escape System test of the Mercury spacecraft, conducted as part of the U.S. Mercury program. The mission also carried a female Rhesus monkey (Macaca mulatta) named Miss Sam in the Mercury spacecraft. The mission was launched January 21, 1960, from Wallops Island, Virginia. The Little Joe 1B flew to an apogee of 9.3 statute miles (15.0 km) and a range of 11.7 miles (18.9 km) out to sea. Miss Sam survived the 8 minute 35 second flight in good condition. The spacecraft was recovered by a Marine helicopter and returned to Wallops Island within about 45 minutes. Miss Sam was one of many monkeys used in space travel research.
The now retired aircraft has its introduction to commercial service in 1976 and continued to fly until it was retired in 2003 due to a downturn in the aviation industry after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Aérospatiale-BAC Concorde is a retired turbojet-powered supersonic passenger airliner or supersonic transport (SST). It is one of only two SSTs to have entered commercial service; the other was the Tupolev Tu-144. Concorde was jointly developed and produced by Aérospatiale and the British Aircraft Corporation (BAC) under an Anglo-French treaty. First flown in 1969, Concorde entered service in 1976 and continued commercial flights for 27 years.
A total of 20 aircraft were built in France and the United Kingdom; six of these were prototypes and development aircraft. Seven each were delivered to Air France and British Airways. Concorde’s name reflects the development agreement between the United Kingdom and France. In the UK, any or all of the type—unusually for an aircraft—are known simply as “Concorde”, without an article. The aircraft is regarded by many people as an aviation icon and an engineering marvel.
Did you know there’s a company in Texas making these again?
The DeLorean DMC-12 (commonly referred to simply as The DeLorean as it was the only model ever produced by the company) is a sports car manufactured by John DeLorean’s DeLorean Motor Company for the American market in 1981–82. Featuring gull-wing doors with a fiberglass “underbody”, to which non-structural brushed stainless steel panels are affixed, the car became iconic for its appearance as a modified time machine in the Back to the Future film trilogy.
The first prototype appeared in October 1976, and production officially began in 1981 in Dunmurry, a suburb of south west Belfast, Northern Ireland (with the first DMC-12 rolling off the production line on January 21). During its production, several features of the car were changed, such as the hood style, wheels and interior. Approximately 9,000 DMC-12s were made before production halted in early 1983.
Our tiny little buddy Gemma turns 1 year old today!
Love Flora but want a bite-sized version? Look no further, Gemma is a tiny wearable platform board with a lot of might in a 1″ diameter package. Powered by a Attiny85 and programmable with an Arduino IDE over USB, you’ll be able to realize any wearable project!
The noted American astronomer, historian, oceanographer, meteorologist, cartographer, author, geologist, and educator was born today in 1806.
He was nicknamed “Pathfinder of the Seas” and “Father of Modern Oceanography and Naval Meteorology” and later, “Scientist of the Seas,” due to the publication of his extensive works in his books, especially The Physical Geography of the Sea (1855), the first extensive and comprehensive book on oceanography to be published. Maury made many important new contributions to charting winds and ocean currents, including ocean lanes for passing ships at sea.
Explorer Roald Amundsen led the first expedition to the south pole on this day in 1911.
For early Antarctic explorers seeking to reach the South Pole, the Ross Ice Shelf became a starting area. In a first exploration of the area, Robert Falcon Scott made a significant study of the shelf and its surroundings from his expedition’s base on Ross Island. These findings were presented at a lecture entitled “Universitas Antarctica!” given 7 June 1911 and were published in the account of Scott’s expedition.
Both Roald Amundsen and Scott crossed the shelf to reach the Pole in 1911. Amundsen wrote: “Along its outer edge the Barrier shows an even, flat surface; but here, inside the bay, the conditions were entirely different. Even from the deck of the Fram we were able to observe great disturbances of the surface in every direction; huge ridges with hollows between them extended on all sides. The greatest elevation lay to the south in the form of a lofty, arched ridge, which we took to be about 500 feet high on the horizon. But it might be assumed that this ridge continued to rise beyond the range of vision”.
The record breaking NASA astronaut turns 71 today!
At one time, she held the record for the longest duration stay in space by an American, as well as by a woman. She has flown in space five times including a prolonged mission aboard the Mir space station.
The Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-17 is a high-subsonic fighter aircraft produced in the USSR from 1952 and operated by numerous air forces in many variants. It is an advanced development of the very similar appearing MiG-15 of the Korean War.
The MiG-17 first saw combat in 1958 over the Straits of Taiwan and was used as an effective threat against supersonic fighters of the United States in the Vietnam War. It was also briefly known as the “Type 38″, by U.S. Air Force designation prior to the development of NATO codes.
This atmospheric entry probe was the first ever spacecraft to land on Titan.
The combined Cassini–Huygens spacecraft was launched from Earth on October 15, 1997. Huygens separated from the Cassini orbiter on December 25, 2004, and landed on Titan on January 14, 2005 near the Xanadu region. This was the first landing ever accomplished in the outer solar system. It touched down on land, although the possibility that it would touch down in an ocean was also taken into account in its design. The probe was designed to gather data for a few hours in the atmosphere, and possibly a short time at the surface. It continued to send data for about 90 minutes after touchdown. It remains the most distant landing of any man-made craft.
Today marks the anniversary of the Rutan Model 76 Voyager’s flight around the world. It was the first aircraft to fly around the world without stopping or refueling. From wikipedia:
The flight took off from Edwards Air Force Base’s 15,000 foot (4,600 m) long runway in the Mojave Desert on December 14, 1986, and ended 9 days, 3 minutes and 44 seconds later on December 23, setting a flight endurance record. The aircraft flew westerly 26,366 statute miles (42,432 km; the FAI accredited distance is 40,212 km) at an average altitude of 11,000 feet (3,350 m). This broke a previous flight distance record set by a United States Air Force crew piloting a Boeing B-52 that flew 12,532 miles (20,168 km) in 1962.
The aircraft was first imagined by Jeana Yeager, Dick Rutan, and Dick’s brother Burt Rutan as they were at lunch in 1981. The initial idea was first sketched out on the back of a napkin. Voyager was built in Mojave, California, over a period of five years. The Voyager was built mainly by a group of volunteers working under both the Rutan Aircraft Factory and an organization set up under the name Voyager Aircraft.
In front of 55,000 spectators and a large press contingent, including 23 live feeds breaking into scheduled broadcasting across Europe and North America, the plane safely came back to earth, touching down at 8:06 a.m. at the same airfield 9 days after take-off. The average speed for the flight was 116 miles per hour (187 km/h). There were 106 lb (48 kg) of fuel remaining in the tanks, only about 1.5% of the fuel that had been loaded.
Today marks the 248th birthday of American inventor Eli Whitney. Best known for inventing the cotton gin, Whitney was a major contributor to the Industrial Revolution. Via about.com
Eli Whitney’s invention of the cotton gin revolutionized the cotton industry in the United States. Prior to his invention, farming cotton required hundreds of man-hours to separate the cottonseed from the raw cotton fibers. Simple seed-removing devices have been around for centuries, however, Eli Whitney’s invention automated the seed separation process. His machine could generate up to fifty pounds of cleaned cotton daily, making cotton production profitable for the southern states.
Eli Whitney failed to profit from his invention because imitations of his machine appeared and his 1794 patent for the cotton gin could not be upheld in court until 1807. Whitney could not stop others from copying and selling his cotton gin design.
On December 2, 1942 the first nuclear-chain reaction was initiated under the supervision of Enrico Fermi. The reaction took place in Cook County, Illinois with the Chicago Pile-1, the world’s first nuclear reactor, built as a part of the Manhattan Project. The site is now a U.S. Historic Landmark. From wikipedia:
On 2 December 1942, CP-1 was ready for a demonstration. Before a group of dignitaries, George Weil worked the final control rod while Fermi carefully monitored the neutron activity. The pile “went critical” (reached a self-sustaining reaction) at 15:25. Fermi shut it down 28 minutes later.
After the chain reaction was observed, Arthur Compton, head of the Metallurgical Laboratory, notified James Conant, chairman of the National Defense Research Committee, by telephone. The conversation was in an impromptu code:
Compton: The Italian navigator has landed in the New World.
Conant: How were the natives?
Compton: Very friendly.
Unlike most reactors that have been built since, CP-1 had no radiation shielding and no cooling system of any kind. Fermi had convinced Arthur Compton that his calculations were reliable enough to rule out a runaway chain reaction or an explosion. But, as the official historians of the Atomic Energy Commission later noted, the “gamble” remained in conducting “a possibly catastrophic experiment in one of the most densely populated areas of the nation!”
Road? Where we’re going, we don’t need roads. – Dr. Emmett Brown.
Here’s a look back at the maker world and beyond!
1956 – The Birth of the First Female Spaceship Pilot
Eileen Collins, the first American woman to command a spaceship, turned 57 today. Happy birthday!
1872 – The First Patented + and – Machine that Printed Totals
In 1872, the first U.S. patent (#133,188) for an adding machine capable of printing totals and subtotals, called a “calculating machine,” was issued to E.D. Barbour of Boston, Mass. However, it was not practical to produce. As Mr. Barbour declared on his patent filing, though:
Be it known that I, EDMUND D. BARBOUB, of the city of Boston, county of Suffolk and State of Massachusetts, have invented a new and useful Improvement in Calculating-Machines; and I do declare that the following is a full, clear, and exact description of the same, reference being had to the accompanying drawing forming part of this specification, in which Figure 1 is a plan of case A and of device for moving the registering-slide; Fig. 2 is a section of device for moving the registeringslide; Fig. 3 is a section of case A on line a a of Fig. 1, and of the registering-slide on line Z) Z) of Fig. 4:; Fig. 4 is a plan of the registering-slide, Fig. 5 is an elevation of case A and front plate of the registering-slide on line 0 c of Figs. 3 and l; and Fig. (3 is an elevation of lever for carrying from one denomination to another.
Road? Where we’re going, we don’t need roads. – Dr. Emmett Brown.
Here’s a look back at the maker world and beyond!
1992 – Oldest “homebrew” comes of age
Photo by Landon Nordeman showing the array of ingredients used to make ancient alcoholic beverages, including dates, oregano, grapes, yeast and ancient varieties of wheat.
In 1992 archeologists uncovered the oldest chemical evidence of beermaking known to man in Godin Tepe, in the Zagros Mountains, in present-day Iran. And today that evidence just turned 21 year old (at least 21 years uncovered), meaning it’s old enough for consumption! Too bad alcohol is now entirely illegal in the land where it was invented. The earliest known archeological and chemical evidence of wine production was also found nearby in the Zagros Mountains.
1884 – Greenwich Mean Time is Standardized, 129th Anniversary of Springing Forward/Falling Back
On November 1st 1884, the International Meridian Conference in Washington D.C. agreed to designate an International Date Line and establish Greenwich Mean Time, thereby establishing the first international time-keeping system to which all nation-states adhered (or most). Some rogue counties, cows and states don’t adhere, but generally if you want to catch a plane anywhere, you’d better set your watch. Time zones have changed little since the map was first created 129 years ago.
1879 – Oskar Barnack inventor of first
Oskar Barnack would have turned 134 on the first of this month, if medicine and snake oil ever fulfilled its long-term promises. At any rate, in 1912, while the head of development for the German camera company Ernst Leitz Optische Werke (often shortened to Leitz) in Wetzlar, Germany, he was able to develop the first fully portable, 35mm camera. World War I stymied Leitz’s ability to manufacture or distribute Barnack’s invention, though, and it wasn’t until 1925 that the first Leica (an abbreviation of “Leitz Camera) was available to the public. Intended as a portable camera for outdoor photography. Instead of exposure plates, the Leica borrowed from film reels, using 35mm strips that could be enlarged to full size in a dark room. An immediate success, the Leica transformed photography as we know it.
iRobot CEO talks about the Kinect (hacks) for robots. “The second is the video gaming industry. The Xbox game sensor made by PrimeSense is an incredibly disruptive sensor because now for a very low cost–under $100–your robot can have a gestural interface. The multibillion-dollar game industry is investing in gestural interfaces at a scale of investment inaccessible to the robot industry at this point.”
Our Kinect arrived and we proceeded to hack it. “Microsoft does not condone the modification of its products”…
In 1939 (just in time for the WWII silk shortage), Dupont rolled out the world’s first nylon stockings, just a few months after they began selling the world’s first commercially viable synthetic textiles. Hydrophobic, strong, elastic and mothproof, they quickly replaced silk and rayon as the material of choice for stockings.
1797 – First Parachute Jump Results in First Case of Airsickness
Today marks the 216th anniversary of the first parachute jump, made by Monsieur André-Jacques Garnerin in Parc Monceau, Paris. His parachute lacked a hole for air to escape from, resulting in a wildly spinning ride and a somewhat nauseous passenger. The image above shows him with his wife, Madame Jeanne Geneviève Labrosse, who controversially took a highly publicized ride with him as the first female parachutist in 1798.
Road? Where we’re going, we don’t need roads. – Dr. Emmett Brown.
Here’s a look back at the maker world and beyond!
1914 – Explorer Makes First Trip, Leaves Mother’s Womb
Thor Heyerdahl, anthropologist, naturalist and adventurer was born was born 99 years ago this week, making his first of many explorations when he clamored out of his mother’s womb. He became famous in 1947 when he crossed the South Pacific aboard the Kon-tiki, setting out to prove that Easter Islanders and Polynesians were able to cross the ocean on small raft-boats that may have originated from South America. Further explorations later in life led him to Egypt, Azerbaijan, the Canary Islands and Turkey (among many other places).
Charles Cros, an often forgotten inventor (since he’s not credited for much), contributed many important elements that led to the invention of, among other things, recorded sound/the phonograph, color photography and improvements in the telegraph. He was a well-regarded poet and writer, and astronomer. Later in life, he also attempted to convince the French government to build a giant mirror to communicate with what he believed was life on Venus and Mars from the spots of light he could see from his night observations. The mirror was never built, but he died believing that life on other planets must exist, a thoroughly radical idea at the time.