The philosopher Socrates, who will widely be credited with the laying the foundations of Western philosophy, is sentenced to death.
Ferdinand Braun publishes a paper in the journal Annalen der Physik und Chemie describing his “Braun tube”, which is the first cathode-ray oscilloscope. He developed the oscilloscope as a method to record and study the time dependence of alternating currents. Cathode-ray tubes had previously been characterized by uncontrolled rays. Braun produced a narrow stream of electrons, guided by means of alternating voltage, that could be traced on a fluorescent screen. A coil wrapped around the Braun tube produces a vertical deflection of the electron beam. Horizontal deflection of the image to create a “time” axis is achieved by a small rapidly rotating mirror placed in front of the CRT. The development of this first CRT is the culmination of many centuries of research and many integral discoveries, including: the first manmade phosphor (1603), the first gas discharge tube (1751), the first production of light by exciting a phosphor with an electrical discharge (1768), and the first magnetic (1859) and electrostatic (1876) deflection of cathode-rays. Along the way, discoveries by such famous names as Bernoulli, Faraday and Hertz contributed to the sum of knowledge which allowed Karl Ferdinand Braun to combine them in what became known as the Braun tube (1897).
The first teddy bear is introduced in America. It is made by two Russian immigrants, Morris and Rose Michtom, who own a toy and novelty store in Brooklyn, New York. In the US, it is widely believed that they derived the name “teddy bear” from President Theodore Roosevelt’s nickname, “Teddy.” While bear hunting in Mississippi in 1902, Roosevelt decided to spare the life of a bear cub which had been orphaned during the hunt. The event was the subject of a cartoon in the Washington Post seen by the Michtoms. Inspired by the cartoon, Mrs. Michtom made a toy bear which became enormously popular with the public.
The first Dracula movie is released. Watch the entire movie at the Free Movies and Documentaries website.
John Mauchly and J. Presper Eckert dedicate the much-anticipated Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer (ENIAC), the world’s first digital electronic computer, at the Moore School of the University of Pennsylvania. The ENIAC performs calculations at five thousand operations per second, one thousand times faster than its contemporaries. The system occupies over fifteen hundred square feet of space, weighs thirty tons, and uses 17,468 vacuum tubes, working at a speed of 100,000 pulses per second each. The computer is programmed by plugging or unplugging hundreds of wires in specific ways that will become known as a true “stored-program” computer. The heat generated by the tubes would raise the room temperatures to up to one hundred twenty degrees. The ENIAC team will grow to include fifty people. The system is used for scientific calculations through the mid-fifties.
The first atomic reactor to be used in medical therapy, is first used on a human patient at the Brookhaven National Laboratory, in Upton, New York. The Brookhaven Graphite Research Reactor (BGRR) begins the experimental treatment of brain cancer using neutrons from the reactor. In the next two years, ten patients will be treated with boron neutron capture therapy (BNCT). The reactor, the first to be dedicated to peaceful exploration of atomic energy will be operated from 1950 until 1968, and is used for a wide variety of research.
The General Electric Company announces their successful synthesis of sixteenth inch diamonds using the first successfully reproducible process. The GE Super Pressure Project research team had been working since 1951 to create a special pressure vessel to subject carbon compounds to pressures of up to one and a half million pounds per square inch at temperatures of up to five thousand degrees Fahrenheit. They created the first diamonds on December 16, 1954, beginning GE’s man-made industrial diamond business. Manufactured diamonds are used as abrasives in masonry saws, mining drill bits, polishing machinery, and cutting tools. On 16 Feb 1953, a Swedish scientist was the the first to create diamonds in an experiment that was not repeated, and held secret prior to GE’s announcement.
Magnavox settles its television game patent infringement suit against Mattel Electronics and five other companies. Mattel will pay a settlement fee, and be licensed to continue producing and selling Magnavox systems.
Kevin Mitnick is arrested by the FBI and charged with breaking into some of the most “secure” computer systems in the United States, including the California DMV, NORAD, and PacBell. During the course of his hacking, Mitnick had also stolen twenty thousand credit card numbers.
Thursday, February 15, U.S. District Judge Ronald L. Buckwalter blocks enforcement of the new law signed by President Clinton punishing anyone who makes indecent material available to minors over computer networks. The temporary restraining order remains in effect until attorneys present their case pursuant to a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and nineteen other groups. The crux of the matter rides on the definition of “indecent”.
In the Thursday, February 15 issue of Computer Entertainment News, David Gerding publishes an article discussing Atari’s recent layoffs. The article, entitled “Atari Raises Suspicions; Is the Industry Pioneer in … or out of … the Video-Game Business?”
The AOL Court TV site with news on the OJ Simpson trial is anonymously hacked.
The Fox Broadcasting Company airs an episode of The Simpsons in the US. In the episode, two characters are stranded on a desert island. One character tells another to “draw up plans for a coconut radio and, if possible, a coconut Nintendo system.”
The Fox Broadcasting Company airs an episode of The Simpsons in the US, featuring a personal computer which is used to access the Internet over a 28.8kbps modem. Bill Gates appears, offering to buy out a competing Internet company. Instead of actually buying the company, two of his goons trash the office.
About one hundred programmers march on Microsoft’s offices in Foster City, California demanding a refund for unused copies of the Windows operating system bundled onto computers they had purchased. According to Microsoft’s licensing terms, if the user does not wish to abide by the terms of the license, they may return the software to the retailer for a refund. Users found that the process to obtain a refund is difficult if not impossible when the Windows operating system comes bundled with the system at the time of purchase.
A fifteen year old from Vienna hacks into Clemson University.
At the Intel Developer’s Forum, Intel demonstrates the upcoming 32-bit processor, code-named Willamette, which runs at 1.5 GHz.
The Indian Point II nuclear power plant in New York vents a small amount of radioactive steam when a steam generator fails. No mutant superheroes are created, but the incident does raise serious concerns over the safety of such facilities.
President William Jefferson Clinton meets with computer executives to discuss strategies to deter web hacking. Clinton’s is accompanied by Peiter C. Zatko, aka “Mudge“, a member of the high profile hacker think tank, the L0pht. Referring to a recent wave of “denial of service” attacks on a number of prominent Web domains, Clinton states, “I think it was an an alarm. I don’t think it was Pearl Harbor.”
Ray Torricelli hacks into JPL computers and steals credit card numbers and passwords.
An hacker group calling themselves the “Sm0ked Crew” adds a page to the New York Times stock quote page stating: “Well…I’m sorry to say but you just got Sm0ked by Splurge. Don’t be scared though, everything will be all right, first fire your current security adviser.”
Checkout.com releases an email to its past customers announcing that they have, effective immediately, stopped taking orders and will be closing their site within four days.
CNBC cut its news portal operation by twenty-six percent as part of a company-wide move to streamline their financial situation. The cut at CNBC.com affects about nineteen of their five hundred twenty employees.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reveals that a Georgia court has issued a restraining order against a company that duped web-site owners by charging a aeventy dollar fee to circumvent bogus web-site name registrations. According to the FTC, Darren J. Morgenstern whom is named as the defendant victimized more than twenty seven thousand consumers.
Well-known grayhat hacker Adrian Lamo, age 20, hacks the New York Times internal network with nothing more than an ordinary web browser, acquiring information on three thousand high profile op-ed writers, including former President Jimmy Carter. Read more at the Security Focus website. Lamo will enter a guilty plea federal computer crime charges in January of 2004.
YouTube, a popular video-sharing website, is established by Chad Hurley, Steve Chen, and Jawed Karim, all of whom are early employees of PayPal. On October 9, 2006, it Google will announce the acquisition of YouTube for US$1.65 billion in stock.