At 10:58am PST, scientists conduct what they term a “controlled excursion,” launching a nuclear rocket in Jackass Flats, Nevada and burning off a portion of its radioactive core. The resultant radioactive close drifted over Los Angeles before It produced a radioactive cloud over Los Angeles. Documents released in 1994 will reveal that the cloud was an “intentional accident” designed to test the possible effects of a malfunction aboard a rocket. While the population’s exposure to radiation was negligible, far less than the 25 millirad danger level, the incident will spark controversy when it comes to light in 1994. Read more about the incident.
The television series Batman debuts on the ABC network with the episode “Hi Diddle Riddle“. The series will run two half-hour episodes a week for two and a half seasons, for a total of 120 episodes. The series is a lighthearted comedy based on the DC comic book character Batman, created by Bob Kane. IMDB listing
Engineers stop using mortar and begin using the original method of interlocking blocks that was used by the ancient Eygptians to restore the pyramids. The international panel charged with overseeing the restoration of the Great Pyramids in Egypt abandoned modern construction techniques, which turned out to be destructive when water in modern cement split adjacent limestone. The restoration effort had been frustrated by the problem, but after returning to the ancient methods, the project continued without complications.
International Business Machines (IBM) introduces the Personal Computer Interactive Executive operating system, a UNIX system licensed from AT&T and developed to IBM specifications by Interactive Systems Corp. The software will be available in April. Price: US$900
Sinclair Research announces the Sinclair 16/32-bit QL (Quantum Leap) microcomputer, featuring a 7.5MHz Motorola 68008 microprocessor, 128KB RAM, two tape drives, and the Sinclair QDOS ROM-based operating system. It is notable for being the first home computer based on a 32 bits CPU, preceding Apple Computer’s release of the Apple Macintosh by mere days. Price: US$500 Weight: 3 pounds
Ben S. Gilmer, president of AT&T, announces the Bell System’s adoption of the “911″ as a nationwide emergency services telephone number. Huntington, Indiana will become the first city to activate the number on March 1.
Version 1.1, the second release of the Line Mode Browser is released via FTP. The first version of the line-mode browser was written in 1990 by Nicola Pellow, who was working as an intern at CERN when Tim Berners-Lee recruited Pellow to write a cross-platform browser.
Apple Computer announces that it will post a US$68 million first quarter loss. It also announces a restructuring plan that reduce the company by 1,000 employees. Later reports will increase this estimate to somewhere between 1,300 to 3,000 people, or approximately a quarter of the company’s workforce.
The first Malaysian satellite, Measat 1, is launched.
New Line Cinema releases the science fiction film Lawnmower Man 2: Beyond Cyberspace, directed by and starring Farhad Mann, Matt Frewer, and Austin O’Brien to 1,589 US theaters. It will gross US$1,428,658 domestically in its opening weekend. IMDB listing MPAA Rating: PG-13 Running Time: 1 hr 32 mins
Scott Morris, sysop of the Assassin’s Guide BBS, agrees to a settlement with Microsoft and Novel following an April 19th raid and the companies’ subsequent civil suit.
In the science fiction novel 2001: A Space Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke, this date marks the activation of the HAL 9000 computer. “I am a HAL 9000 computer, Production Number 3. I became operational at the HAL Plant in Urbana, Illinois, on January 12, 1997.” In the 1968 film based on the novel, the year of the computer’s activation is changed to 1992.
The website of BASS Consulting is hacked by “Magica de Bin”. View an archived version of the defaced website.
The United States Postal Service issues a 33-cent postage stamp depicting popular video games.
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) releases Antitrust, directed by Peter Howitt and starring Ryan Phillippe, Rachael Leigh Cook, Claire Forlani, Tim Robbins, and Richard Roundtree, to 2,433 US theaters. In it, a young computer programmer named Milo who discovers that the CEO of the tech startup that he has just landed a dream job with is bent on ruthlessly dispatching those who interfere with his company’s market domination. The company that the film’s main character comes to work for and the CEO he attempts to thwart are thinly-veiled allusions to Microsoft“>Microsoft and Microsoft’s CEO, Bill Gates. Audiences will give the film a reception similar to that of the 1995 film Hackers – with a great deal of ridicule. It will gross US$5,486,209 domestically in its opening weekend. IMDB listing MPAA Rating: PG-13 Running Time: 1 hrs 48 mins
Jeffrey Brett Goodin, age 45, who will become the first person to be convicted under the Can-Spam Act is arrested for running a phishing scam on AOL users. Goodin will be convicted on January 17, 2007.