This Day in Geek History: January 5
The first edition of the first issue of the first scientific journal in history, Journal des Sçavans (“Journal des Savants”), is published as a twelve page quarto pamphlet in Europe. The journal, founded by Denis de Sallo, appeared only weeks before the publication of the first issue of the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London.
American rocket pioneer Robert Goddard receives a five thousand dollar grant from the Smithsonian Institution to develop rockets for the purpose of studying the upper atmosphere.
Edwin Howard Armstrong demonstrates FM radio to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for the first time. The new medium’s principal advantage is that it is free of static and interference, especially during thunderstorms, which almost completely disable AM radio. In 1941, the first FM transmitter will be established.
Warner Brothers-Pathe plays the very first color newsreel, which includes footage of the Tournament of Roses Parade shot on New Years Day, in theaters. The footage was produced with the Cinecolor process.
The first reference to Simula, one of the first object-oriented programming languages, is made in writing.
The Star Trek episode “The Galileo Seven” episode first airs. (No. 16) In it, Spock commands a team aboard an Enterprise shuttlecraft that has crashed on the surface of an unexplored planet which is inhabited by aggressive aliens. Memory Alpha entry
The Venera 5 spacecraft is launched, becoming the second spacecraft to return data from the atmosphere of Venus. Venera 5 will arrive at Venus on May 16, 1969. It will return data indicating that the planet’s atmosphere is composed of 93-97% Carbon Dioxide, 2-5% Nitrogen, and less than 4% Oxygen. The probe will return data until it comes within twenty-six kilometers of the surface, where it will be lost when it’s crushed by the pressure of Venus’ atmosphere.
President Richard M. Nixon announces that NASA will develop a reusable, “low cost” space shuttle system, and he signs a bill allocating US$5.5 billion towards its creation. Read a transcript of President Nixon’s 1972 Announcement.
I have decided today that the United States should proceed at once with the development of an entirely new type of space transportation system designed to help transform the space frontier of the 1970s into familiar territory, easily accessible for human endeavor in the 1980s and ’90s.
This system will center on a space vehicle that can shuttle repeatedly from Earth to orbit and back. It will revolutionize transportation into near space, by routinizing it. It will take the astronomical costs out of astronautics. In short, it will go a long way toward delivering the rich benefits of practical space utilization and the valuable spinoffs from space efforts into the daily lives of Americans and all people.
In South Africa, television service is introduced. It’s the first system in the world to provide color service from its inception.
A year and a half after announcing the technologies to the world, Texas Instruments (TI) releases a prototype of Extended Basic and a 32KB Memory Expansion to select users of the TI-99/4 home computer for beta testing, six months in advance of their release to retailers. The tests are generally criticized by industry insiders as “too little, too late”, since most of Texas Instrument’s competitors have already made similar expansions standard.
The Winter Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is held in Las Vegas, Nevada, over two days. At the show, Atari and Commodore both introduce landmark computer systems, and Nintendo first introduces the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) in the US.
At the Winter Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Atari introduces the Atari XE and Atari ST lines of computers. These lines include: the Atari 65XE computer, with 65xx processor and 64kB RAM for US$120; the Atari 65XEM, which is an Atari 65XE with a built-in music synthesizer, for US$150; the Atari 65XEP, which is a portable Atari 65XE with a built-in monitor and 3.5-inch disk drive; the Atari 130XE, which is an Atari 65XE with 128KB RAM, for US$140; the Atari 130ST, featuring 128KB RAM, 192KB ROM, Digital Research’s GEM operating system, 32KB screen RAM, a MIDI interface, and a mouse for U$399; the Atari 260ST, featuring 256KB RAM for US$499; and the Atari 520ST, featuring 512KB RAM, 192KB ROM, Digital Research’s GEM operating system, 32KB screen RAM, a MIDI interface, and a mouse for U$599. Dubbed the “Jackintosh” by media outlets, the 520ST is marketed as a system as powerful as a Macintosh for half the price.
At the Winter Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Commodore unveils the Commodore 128 personal computer. It features a 8502 processor, Z80 processor, 128KB RAM, and a ROM cartridge port for US$300. Commodore also introduces the Commodore LCD laptop computer with built-in software, a modem, and a flip-top screen, and the 1571 Disk Drive for the Commodore 128.
Nintendo of America files a countersuit against Tengen Games, a property of Atari Games Inc., in response to an anti-trust suit Atari brought against Nintendo accusing the company of improperly controlling the supply of game cartridges. In its countersuit, Nintendo alleges that Atari has violated federal and state trademark laws, engaged in fraudulent inducement of their licensing agreement, and had made and sold unauthorized cartridges.
Version 0.12 of Linux kernel is released. The next release will be named version 0.95 in recognition of the kernel’s development into a full-featured operated system. Visit the official website of the Linux Kernal.
Texas Instruments (TI) releases the PS-6300, PS-6400 and PS-6500 personal organizers featuring 32K, 64K, and 128K RAM configurations. Price: US$80, US$90, US$120, respectively
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