This Day in Geek History: November 1
First railway bookstall is opened at the Euston station, in London by W.H. Smith.
Thomas Edison patents the electric lamp.
Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) is adopted universally at a meeting of the International Meridian Conference in Washington, DC. The International Date Line is then drawn up and the twenty-four time zones are created.
Eleven years after the phone was invented, the first differentiation between day and night long distance rates goes into effect, with night rates in most, but not all, instances lower than day rates.
The first United States Library of Congress building opens to the public. The Library had been housed in the Congressional Reading Room in the U.S. Capitol.
E.M. Forster publishes the science fiction short story “The Machine Stops” in The Oxford and Cambridge Review. The story explores the consequences of a complete technological break down on a society dependent on information technology. In the later preface to his Collected Short Stories anthology in 1947, Forster will write that “The Machine Stops is a reaction to one of the earlier heavens of H. G. Wells.” The story will turn out to be remarkably prophetic, predicting a number of social and technological developments, including television and videoconferencing, which Foster dubbs “cinematophote,” and the social phenomena of excessive participation in virtual communities in a manner that foreshadows the later advent of the internet and social networking. Read “The Machine Stops” online.
Werner von Braun was named head of German liquid-fuel rocket program.
The first animal, a rabbit, to be conceived by artificial insemination is exhibited in the U.S. at the 12th Annual Graduate Fortnight at the New York Academy of Medicine. Dr. Gregory Pincus, an American biologist, removed an egg from the ovary of a female rabbit and fertilized it with a salt solution. The egg was then transferred to the uterus of a second rabbit, which functioned as an incubator. Dr. Pincus, of Clark University conducted his experiments at Harvard University.
The first atomic explosion witnessed by troops occurs at Yucca Flat, Nevada. Members of the first Battalion, 188th Airborne Infantry Regiment from Ft. Campbell, Kentucky, are the first unwitting test participants to be sent to that facility by the Atomic Energy Commission and The Department of Defense in a series of nuclear tests. Code-name: “Buster-Jangle”
The British computer LEO I (Lyons Electronic Office I), built by J. Lyons and Co., first goes into operation. The computer, which is an adaptation of EDSAC (Electronic Delay Storage Automatic Calculator ), will be used by the company to run routine business applications.
The United States successfully detonates the first large hydrogen bomb, codenamed “Mike,” in the Eniwetok Atoll of the Marshall Islands, three thousand miles west of Hawaii. The bomb has a yield of ten megatons, a force a thousand times more powerful than the bomb that destroyed Hiroshima, and when it explodes, it results in a fireball more than three miles across, completely obliterating Elugelab and leaving an underwater crater 6,240 feet wide and 164 feet deep where an island had once been. Eighty million tons of soil were kicked into the air by the blast. The “mushroom” cloud rose to 135,000 feet and will eventually spread to 1,000 miles in width. It is the first time fusion occurs on Earth.
The Industrial Development Engineering Associates (IDEA) Corporation begins selling the first commercial transistor radio, the Regency (TR-1). The radio was designed and built by Texas Instruments, Inc. (TI). The radio uses a 22 ½ volt battery which outlives the two “B” or ten “A” batteries which are used in conventional vacuum tube portables. The first transistor radio produced is presented to Patrick Eugene Haggerty, vice president of TI, along with a certificate acknowledging him for his “vision, judgment and untiring efforts.” Price: US$49.95
The Soviet space probe Mars 1, which will later make the first successful flyby of Mars, is launched.
The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) rating system goes into effect with the G (general), M (mature), R (restricted, no unaccompanied children) and X (over 16 only) ratings. The system was introduced October 7, and the PG-13 and NC-17 will be introduced later.
The third Interface Message Processor (IMP) node is installed at the University of California at Santa Barbara, establishing a third ARPANET node. The fourth node will be established at the University of Utah in December, and by 1971, fifteen nodes will be linked in total. Read more at UCLA.
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