This Day in Geek History: December 5
Phi Beta Kappa, America’s first academic honor society, is founded at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. Organized by a group of enterprising undergraduates, members meet regularly to debate, socialize, and write. They institute an oath of secrecy, a code of laws, mottoes in Greek and Latin, and an elaborate initiation ritual. When the Revolutionary War will later forces William and Mary to close in 1780, newly-formed chapters at Harvard and Yale direct Phi Beta Kappa’s growth and development.
The first U.S. patent for an automatic telephone switching system is issued to Daniel Connolly of Philadelphia, Thomas A. Connolly of Washington, D.C., and Thomas J. McTighe of Pittsburgh. (US No. 222,458) The system consists of a single-line wire, a battery of cells located at each telephone, and a dial switching mechanism for each line.
The first electric car is built in Toronto, Canada. It can travel fifteen miles between charges.
The Battleship Potemkin, directed by Sergei Eisenstein, premieres in New York City, but it’s initially only seen by small audiences of film aficionados and trade unionists. Battleship Potemkin will later become one of the most renowned films in the history of cinema. The film’s “Odessa Staircase” sequence will become the best known and most studied sequences in film history. The film can be downloaded as a 64Kb MPEG4 (83 MB) or a 256Kb MPEG4 (190 MB) format from the Internet Archive. 64Kb MPEG4 (dialup) or 256Kb MPEG4 (broadband) streaming videos are also available.
German-born Swiss physicist Albert Einstein is granted an American visa, making it possible for him to travel to the United States.
The first push button-controlled garage is opened in Washington, DC by Parking Services Inc. at a cost of US$325,000. A single attendant, without entering the vehicle, could automatically park or return a car to or from the “Park-O-Mat” in less than a minute. The apparatus’ two elevators can park up to seventy-two cars that occupies a lot twenty-five by forty feet with sixteen floors above ground and two below.
Dutch regulations governing pirate radio come into effect.
Richard L.Wexelblat becomes the first candidate in a computer science program to complete a doctoral dissertation. Many doctorate candidates had previously performed computer-related research, but Wexelblat’s diploma, presented by the University of Pennsylvania will be the first to carry the designation “computer science.”
The first four nodes of the ARPANET are connected. The four nodes are located at the UCLA Network Measurement Center (with an SDS Sigma 7 being the first computer attached to it), the Stanford Research Institute Augmentation Research Center (with an SDS 940 named ‘Genie’, being the first host attached), the University of California, Santa Barbara (with the Culler-Fried Interactive Mathematics Centre’s IBM 360/75, running OS/MVT being the machine attached), and the University of Utah Graphics Department (with a DEC PDP-10 running TENEX). The first link was established on October 29, 1969, between UCLA and SRI.
The Space probe Pioneer Venus I begins to return data and pictures from an orbit around Venus to scientists in Mountain View, California.
The last known reliable Atari Software ROM Report is generated; thought to have been originated on an Atari 8-bit computer. The nine-page report comes from a database maintained by Larry Brown, the “Purchasing Guy” at Atari Corporation and itemizes 425 cartridge-based video games and applications for Atari 8-bit game consoles and computers. It begins with CX2601, a 16K ROM cartridge named Combat for the Atari 2600 video game system in 1978 and ends with RX8114, a 256K ROM cartridge named Into the Eagles Nest for the Atari 8-bit computer series.
The Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “Elementary, Dear Data” first airs. (No. 203) In it, the Enterprise computer creates a sentient holodeck character inside Data’s Sherlock Holmes program. Memory Alpha entry
Pages: 1 2