William Herschel discovers the planet Uranus, but mistakes it for a comet. It is the first planet discovered with the aid of a telescope. By 1787, Herschel will also discover the Uranian satellites Titania and Oberon (Jan 11, 1787), which are later named by his son, John Herschel.
The zoopraxiscope, an optical apparatus invented by Eadweard J. Muybridge to exhibit photographs of moving animals, is demonstrated at the Royal Institution to the Prince of Wales. The zoopraxiscope projects images from rotating glass disks in rapid succession to give the impression of motion. It is essentially the first movie projector, with a sequence of stop-motion silhouette images hand-painted around the edge of a circular glass disk, which is then loaded onto the projector’s side vertically position. In 1893, Muybridge will present his invention at “Zoopraxigraphical Hall” during the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago.
A law in Tennessee prohibits the teaching of the theory of evolution in any state-funded institution. The law will result in the Scopes Trial.
The discovery of a ninth planet is announced by Clyde W. Tombaugh at Lowell Observatory. It is only one-tenth the size of Earth and four thousand million miles away. The planet will be named Pluto on May 24, 1930.
BBC Television shows its first foreign-language short film without subtitles but with an English commentary. The broadcast is sponsored by Air France.
The fifty millionth Bell telephone is installed in the home of C&P of Maryland employee James S. Russell. Russell has the longest service (53 years) of any Bell System employees.
A young woman, Kitty Genovese is murdered in front of multiple witnesses, all of whom fail to help her, in an incident which shocks the world and prompts investigation into the bystander effect.
The PDP-11 minicomputer is introduced by the Digital Equipment Corp.. It will remain in active production until 1996, and during the course of its production, it will be one of the most popular 16-bit minicomputers ever produced.
The Brookhaven Bulletin publishes a story on employee William Higinbotham, speculating that his game, Tennis for Two, may have been the first video game. Tennis for Two was a game played on an oscilloscope, simulating a game of tennis or ping pong. It was based on analog, rather than digital technology.
Ten years after the company’s founding, the Microsoft Corporation makes its initial public offering (IPO) on the New York Stock Exchange, selling stock to the public at US$25.75 per share. By the end of the day, the value of the shares rose to US$27.75 and 2.5 million shares are sold. The initial public offering raises US$61 million. The same day, Microsoft holds its first International Conference on CD-ROM technology.
The US FCC rules that companies can own up to thirty AM and thirty FM radio stations, an increase from the twelve that any one company could previously own.
In New York, Apple Computer and Bandai demonstrate the Pippin Atmark multimedia system, to recruit software developers.
In Phoenix, Arizona, the Phoenix Lights, one of the most widely witnessed UFO sightings, takes place.
The Net Book Agreement, under which publishers could dictate the price at which UK booksellers could sell books, is ruled anti-competitive by the Restrictive Practices Court and is banned.
Sega Enterprises announces plans to reduce the prices of five Sega Saturn games by about fifty percent.
A Next Generation Online expose reports that Sega has formally decided to discontinue the sale of Saturn hardware and software in the United States.
Although representatives of Hasbro and JTS Corp. issued flat denials just days prior, at 5:00PM, JTS issues a press release admitting that they had sold Atari assets to HIACXI, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Hasbro Interactive, for five million dollars. On February 20, 1999, JTS will file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection.
ScanSoft, based in Peabody, Massachusetts, acquires Caere, maker of Omnipage, a competing small systems software product for optical character recognition (OCR). ScanSoft’s OCR products, including OmniPage, TextBridge, and PaperPort, are marketed through partnerships with Apple, Brother, Canon, Epson, Fuji, Fujitsu, Hewlett-Packard, IBM/Lotus, Microsoft, Mustek, Primax, Sharp, Symantec Corporation, Visioneer, and Xerox. The only significant competitor left in the small systems OCR market, after the acquistion is Russian Abbyy’s FineReader.
Yahoo! Argentina launches.
Yahoo! FinanceVision launches.
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment releases Bedazzled on DVD. The 2000 remake of the 1967 film stars Brendan Fraser and Elizabeth Hurley and becomes the first DVD to include Nuon interactive features.
Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) releases the Athlon XP 2100+ processor. Price: US$420 in 1000-unit quantities
The journal Nature reports that 350,000-year-old human footprints, made by an upright-walking man have been found in Italy.
The first DARPA Grand Challenge is held by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in the Mojave Desert near Las Vegas, Nevada. The DARPA Challenge is a 150 mile (240 km) race for robotically navigated vehicles built by academic groups for a one million dollar prize. None of the competitors complete the course. The Carnegie Mellon University team, “Red Team,” travels the furthest, breaking down at 7.36 miles (11.78 km). Visit the official website of the DARPA Grand Challenge.
Malaysia deploys two sniffer dogs, Black Labradors named “Flo” and “Lucky,” specially trained to detect the smell of the polycarbonate used in optical disks being smuggled through customs in hidden compartments or shipments in an attempt to rein in pirates as it negotiates a free-trade pact with the United States. In so doing, Malaysia becomes the first country in the world to use animals to hunt for pirated disks. The trial is a joint effort of the Malaysian authorities and the Motion Picture Association (MPA), which groups six major Hollywood movie companies. The dogs were trained at a cost of roughly seventeen thousand dollars by a trainer in Northern Ireland with a long history of training bomb sniffing dogs. By the month’s end, one of the leading criminal organizations behind the nation’s largest pirate rings will offer a bounty for the deaths of the two dogs.