This Day in Geek History: June 18
Charles Darwin receives an academic paper from Alfred Russel Wallace that draws conclusions regarding evolution nearly identical to those Darwin made himself. The concurring opinion prompts Darwin to publish his own theory of evolution.
A short, precise letter published in the journal Nature written by A.A. Campbell Swinton describes the essential characteristics of an all-electric television system. However, it will take over three decades for the idea to come to fruition.
The first large solid-fuel rocket, a Titan 3C, is launched into orbit. Compared to previous liquid-propelled rockets, the solid-propellant rocket requires fewer parts, making it significantly more reliable, while its fuel provides more thrust than a liquid-propellant rocket of a similar size.
The Space Shuttle Challenger is launched on its second flight. (STS-7) It is the seventh U.S. shuttle mission, and it carries the first American woman into space, mission specialist Sally K. Ride. During the six day mission, the crew will deploy two communication satellites (ANIK C-2 for TELESAT Canada and PALAPA-B1 for Indonesia). They also conduct a number of experiments, including a study of effects of zero gravity on the social behavior of a colony of ants. Read more about Sally Ride at NASA.
The Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “The Best of Both Worlds (Part 1)” is first aired. (No. 326) In it, Picard is abducted by the Borg, who are on a course to Earth. The episode is the finale of season three. It will be regarded as one of the most significant and highly regarded episodes of the entire series. Memory Alpha entry
The Los Angeles Times runs a story on Kevin Chang, a high school senior who took the top prize in an area computer science competition with a program designed to improve traffic flow by automatically controlling acceleration and braking using an infrared sensor to monitors the distance between a car and obstacles.
The board of directors of Apple Computer appoints Michael Spindler as CEO of the company to replace John Sculley, who the board feels has spent too much of the company’s assets developing Newton, which ultimately became a commercial failure. With the change of management, Apple abandons its “Star Trek” project, which had been aimed towards porting the Mac OS to Intel processors in order to compete directly with Microsoft. In order to put the best face on the situation, Sculley, like Jobs before him, will retain the title of chairman.
Ted Kaczynski, alleged to be the Unabomber, is indicted on ten criminal counts. Kaczynski, a former former child prodigy and mathematician, allegedly conducted a bombing campaign to advance a neo-Luddite agenda.
Version 4.01 of Netscape Communicator is released. The Communicator suite consists of the webbrowser Netscape Navigator, the email client Netscape Mail, the newsreader Newsgroups, Netscape Address Book, and the HTML editor Netscape Composer. Visit the official Netscape Communicator website..
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