This Day in Geek History: August 25
Galileo Galilei first demonstrates his telescope to government officials of Venice.
Richard Adams Locke blurs the line between science and science fiction when he publishes his week-long serial “Moon Hoax: Great Astronomical Discoveries Lately Made” in the New York Sun newspaper under in the name of Sir John Herschel, the real-life astronomer who discovered of Uranus. Read more at History.com.
Constantin Perskyi presents a paper at the first International Electricity Congress at the Paris Exposition in Paris, France. In the paper, he describes a device he refers to as a “television” which makes use of the specific magnetic properties of Selenium. It is the first recorded use of the term “television” in history. The International Electricity Congress votes to endorse the term over the term “radiovision.”
The opening ceremony of the seventeenth Olympic Games in Rome is transmitted live via the Eurovision link. CBS shows video recordings that have been flown to the U.S., at a cost of US$700,000 for the U.S. television rights. This is the first time that the Olympic Games have been shown so extensively in the U.S., thanks to the advent of the videotape since the previous Olympics.
The first Computer Assisted Tomography (CAT) scan is taken.
LEGO releases its first minifigure. It has yellow skin and a pleasant expression on its face, which is how it will continue to be produced until 1989 when the company releases its first pirate minifigures. Read more at the official LEGO website.
Microsoft announces that it will be making the Xenix Version 7 Unix operating system available for the 16-bit microcomputer market. Microsoft purchased a license for the system from AT&T in 1979. This version of Xenix incorporates elements of BSD, and it will soon have the most widely installed user base of any Unix variant due to the popularity of the inexpensive x86 processor.
The NASA Voyager 2 spacecraft makes its closest approach to Saturn, passing within 63,000 miles of Saturn’s cloud cover in order to return photos and data about the ringed planet and its moons. Read more at NASA.
Sony reveals a prototype of its first still video camera, the Mavica. The device’s name is an amalgam of “Magnetic video camera.” It records images for playback on television monitors on two-inch floppy disks with less than a megabyte of capacity. The release of the Mavica marks the beginning of a new era in photography. Still video cameras will be the forerunners of digital cameras – their analog equivalents. In time, development of technologies behind such cameras will allow Sony to seize an early lead to the digital camera market that will emerge in the nineties.
The U.S. District Court, District of Massachusetts begins hearing a suit brought by Atari, Inc. against the General Computer Corporation. The suit alleges trademark and copyright infringement of Atari’s Missile Command by General Computer’s game Super Missile Attack.
The U.S. spacecraft Voyager 2 passes within sixty-three thousand miles (100,000km) of Saturn, successfully returning photographs of the ringed planet during its closest approach, revealing thousands of rings and six new moons. It will then use Saturn’s gravity to slingshot it onto a course to Uranus, where it will arrive in five years. The space probe was launched on August 20, 1977, and it visited Jupiter on July 9, 1979, before passing Uranus on January 24, 1986.