This Day in Geek History: November 13
French engineer Paul Cornu flies the first helicopter. The “flight” carries the vehicle roughly one foot off the ground and only lasts twenty seconds, but it will nevertheless be marked as the first flight of a helicopter.
Vladimir Zworykin is granted a patent for a color television imaging tube that employs cathode ray tubes and a screen composed of a mosaic of squares in the three primary colors. Several later biographers will call him the “true inventor of television.”
Harvard’s Paul Zoll becomes the first to use an electric shock to treat cardiac arrest. In a later publication, he will describe using cardiac resuscitation via electrodes on the bare chest with 2ms duration pulses of 100-150 volts across the chest, at 60 stimuli per minute.
The first television program originating in a noncontiguous foreign country to air live in the United States, an episode of the documentary series Wide Wide World, is broadcast from Havana, Cuba.
Gordon Gould, a doctoral research student at Columbia University and a former member of the Manhattan Project, completes the design of a light-emitting version of the microwave emitting maser, which he names Light Amplication by the Stimulated Emission of Radiation (LASER).
The American space probe, Mariner 9, becomes the first space probe to orbit another planet when it enters into orbit around Mars. The probe’s mission is to return photographs that will map seventy percent of the surface while conducting a study of the planet’s atmosphere. Analysis of the data returned by the probe will reveal that the planet is covered in dried river beds.
Atari releases Touch Me to arcades. In 1977, the game will inspire the Simon handheld game. The game features four colored buttons, which players must select in a sequence identical to the one shown to them.
Robert Jarvik is granted a patent for an artificial heart.
Microsoft holds its second annual meeting in the Seahawks Room of the Ramada Inn across Lake Washington from Seattle.
According to Twin Galaxies, Scott Safran, age 15, of Cherry Hill, New Jersey sets a world record by scoring 41,336,440 points playing the Atari arcade game Asteroids after playing the game for fifty-three hours and four minutes at the All-American Billiard Company in Newton, Pennsylvania. The record is especially significant due to the difficulty of the game, for having wrested the high score from famed gamer and local actor Leo Daniels, and, later, for standing as a record for twenty-five years. Twenty years after the winning game, the April 22, 2002 edition of Newsweek magazine will carry a story about Walter Day, official scorekeeper of the arcade game world and the founder of Twin Galaxies, and his search for Safran following his record breaking game entitled, The Disappearing Asteroids Ace. In it, Day chronicles his search for the boy, which, at one point had lead to “Wanted” poster being hung in arcades around the nation and a thousand dollar reward for information. However, the search ends in Day’s discovery that Safran had died in March 1989 in a fall from his family’s roof while trying to rescue his cat. “I must say, I was crushed,” Day said. “Here I was thinking that we’d be able to have a great ceremony with him smiling and accepting all the accolades that he so richly deserved. And then I find out that he’s no longer with us.” Visit the official Twin Galaxies website.
The Viking 1 Mars Lander ceases communications.
One of the earliest transistorized computers ever designed, the MIT TX-0, is re-activated for the third and final time at The Computer Museum in Marlboro, Massachusetts. Designed at the MIT Lincoln Laboratory, the machine was reconstructed by John McKenzie and MIT Professor Jack Dennis.
Atari announces that it has begun shipping the STacy computer, a portable version of the 1040ST, featuring a 8MHz Motorola MC 68000 CPU, 1 or 4 MHz RAM, a backlit monochrome Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) display, a keyboard, a trak-ball mouse, a built-in 3.5″ double-sided drive, and a 20 or 40MB hard drive. Weight: 15lb
Atari introduces the 1040STe, the latest generation in the 1040ST line of computers. The system features “Enhanced Capabilities for Home, MIDI Applications,” including a 4,096 color extended palette, 8-bit digital stereo sound, and exceptional hardware-based scrolling technology. The system is expected to ship during the first quarter of 1990.
Atari introduces a True 32-bit Bus System, the TT 030, featuring an 16MHz Motorola 68030 CPU, two serial ports, resolutions of up to 640 x 480 in color or 1280 x 960 in monochrome. The system is announced to be available during the first quarter of 1990. Price: US$2,995 (2MB RAM, 50MB hard-drive)
The Fall COMDEX tradeshow is held in Las Vegas, Nevada, over five days. At it, International Business Machines (IBM) strongly endorses Microsoft Windows for low end computers and Microsoft publicly endorses OS/2 as a platform for higher-end computers. They also announce that they have entered into an agreement to jointly develop a range of software offerings for personal computer using Intel 386 and 486 processors through the nineties, including improved versions of MS-DOS, Microsoft LAN, and Microsoft OS/2.
Someone using the name Dave Rhodes uploads the Make Money Fast pyramid scheme letter to Usenet for the first time. The electronic chain letter will become so infamous that the phrase “Make Money Fast” will become synonymous with the word scam. It’s uncertain whether or not Dave Rhodes is real person, but some people will later claim that he was a student at Columbia Union College.
The Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “The Price” first airs. (No. 308) In it, Troi falls in love with a charismatic negotiator who vies for rights to a wormhole, but several different groups are bidding for right to the wormhole as it may be the only known stable wormhole in existence. Memory Alpha entry
Pages: 1 2