This Day in Geek History: August 30
Charles Darwin replies to the letter from Reverend Henslow, telling him of the offer to sail on the HMS Beagle. Darwin had learned natural history from Henslow, who had recommended him for the unpaid position as a naturalist. Darwin told Henslow that his father would not permit him to leave on such a the voyage. Meanwhile, his father had written to his brother-in-law, Josiah Wedgwood II, about his concerns regarding the proposed two-year voyage.
The NBC network broadcasts the first compatible color TV program to have been publicly announced, “St. George and the Dragon,” on the “Kukla, Fran, and Ollie Show.”
A new telephone hotline connecting the Pentagon in Washington D.C. and the Kremlin in Moscow is first activated and tested. It will provide a direct two-way communications channel between the American and Soviet governments in the event of an international crisis. The hotline is installed in the wake of the Cuban Missile Crisis, one year earlier. During the incident, messages sent between President Kennedy and Soviet Premier Khrushchev required five or six hours each way for transcription, transmission, translation, and delivery. This new hotline could cut down the delays in sending messages from hours to minutes, but it will only be used for emergencies. It is modeled after an emergency command system used to connect seventy U.S. Air Force bases around the world. It consists of one full-time duplex wire telegraph circuit, routed through Washington, London, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Helsinki, and Moscow, for the transmission of messages and one full-time duplex radiotelegraph circuit routed through Washington, Tangier, and Moscow used for service communications and for coordination of operations between the two terminal points. Teletype machines are used at each end of the ten thousand mile circuit, not telephones. A tape encryption system is used to keep messages secure. The hotline will be active twenty-four hours a day.
The first prototype Interface Message Processor (IMP), sent by BBN, arrives at the UCLA Network Measurements Center, and, within hours of its arrival, it and the Sigma 7 computer begin passing data back and forth. On September 2nd, it will be connected to the first network host. BBN signed a one-year contract with ARPA to develop and deliver a backbone network of four IMP units, which were the first packet routers. The resulting ARPANET will be the first wide area packet switching network, a forerunner of what will later evolve into the Internet.
The Astronomische Nederlandse Satelliet (“Astronomical Netherlands Satellite”), the first Dutch satellite, is launched from the Vandenberg Air Force Base, in the United States. ANS is an orbital X-ray and ultraviolet telescope.
The Comet Howard-Koomen-Michels (SOLWIND I) becomes the first comet in recorded history to collide with the Sun. The event is recorded by coronographs taken on August 30th and 31st by satellite P78-1, which is monitoring solar corona activity, and it will be discovered in Septemebr 1981 by Russ Howard, who examines the coronographs. The impact produces the equivalent energy of one million hydrogen bombs.
According to Twin Galaxies, John Bismuti scores a record-setting 4,111,000 points on Atari’s BattleZone after playing the game for four hours and fifty minutes at 4 Quarters arcade in Tumwater, Washington. Visit the official Twin Galaxies website.
According to Twin Galaxies, Mike Baird scores a record-setting 12,311,126 points playing the Atari arcade game Centipede at the Phil’s Family Center arcade in Lakewood, California. Visit the official Twin Galaxies website.
According to Twin Galaxies, Mark Robichek scores a record-setting 442,330 points playing the Konami arcade game Frogger at the Phil’s Family Center arcade in Lakewood, California. Visit the official Twin Galaxies website.
According to Twin Galaxies, Sterling Ouchi scores a record-setting 3,195,329 points playing the Bally Midway arcade game Tron at the Phil’s Family Center arcade in Lakewood, California. Visit the official Twin Galaxies website.