This Day in Geek History: February 22
Popcorn is introduced to the Pilgrims by an Indian named Quadequina, who delivered it to them in deerskin bags as his contribution to the first Thanksgiving dinner. Indians had been growing popcorn for more than a thousand years before the arrival of European colonists.
The English House of Lords rules that authors do not have perpetual copyright.
German biochemist Friederich Wohler informs Jakob Berzelius that he has synthesized the organic chemical, urea, which was formerly found only in urine. This marks the first time that a chemical produced only by living organisms has ever been synthesized.
National Cash Registers (NCR) becomes the first company ever prosecuted under US antitrust laws. When the company is found guilty of having violated the Sherman Antitrust Act, its top executive, including Thomas J. Watson (who will later found IBM), are sentenced to a year in prison. Antitrust laws will later play a significant role in the computer and telecommunications industries. Visit the official NCR website.
The first presidential radio address, broadcast from the White House, is delivered by Calvin Coolidge. The address is carried on five stations, with an estimated five million listeners.
The Soviet Union launches Kosmos 57 into Earth orbit.
Seventeen American and Japanese companies form a group to support a three inch floppy disk and drive, with a capacity of 500,000 bytes.
The Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “Home Soil” first airs. (No. 118) In it, the crew encounters a microscopic lifeform that is endangering the inhabitants of a planet undergoing terraforming. Memory Alpha entry
US President Bill Clinton returns the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) back to its original name, the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) in his strategy paper, “Technology for America’s Economic Growth, A New Direction to Build Economic Strength.” The agency’s name was first changed on March 23, 1972. Visit the original DARPA website.
The made-for-television movie Babylon 5: The Gathering, directed by Richard Compton and starring Michael O’Hare, Tamlyn Tomita, Jerry Doyle, and Mira Furlan, premieres. The movie will serve as the pilot episode of the science fiction television series Babylon 5. IMDB listing Running time: 1 hr 29 mins
The Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “Birthright (Part 1)” first airs. (No. 616) In it, Worf is told that his father is alive, living as a captive of the Romulans. As he travels to discover the truth, Data experiences his first dream. Memory Alpha entry
The Space Shuttle Columbia is launched on its nineteenth mission. (STS-75) During the mission, it conducts experiments involving the second flight of a tethered satellite. During the course of the experiment, the tether breaks and the satellite is lost.
In Roslin, Scotland, scientists announce that they have successfully cloned an adult sheep named Dolly from an adult somatic cell, using the process of nuclear transfer. Read more about Dolly at the website of the Roslin Institute.
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