This Day in Geek History: November 25
The first U.S. advertisement for a radio receiver is published in the journal Scientific American by Hugo Gernsback of The Electro Importing Company. The one-inch advertisement promotes the Telimco as a “Complete Outfit comprising 1-inch Spark Coil, Strap Key, Sender, Sensitive Relay, Coherer, with Automatic Decoherer and Sounder, 4 ex. Strong Dry Cells, all necessary wiring, including send and catch wires, with full instructions and diagrams.” It’s price is US$8.50. This system is capable of transmitting Morris code.
The first triode is ordered by Lee de Forest who instructed New York automobile lamp maker H. W. Candless to make a glass bulb containing a “grid” wire between a filament and an electrode plate. These specifications extended design previously published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society. The third element, the grid wire, which regulates the flow of electrons between the filament and the anode plate, represents a significant improvement over the Fleming two-element diode valve. This third element amplifies the variations in whatever signal voltage is applied to the grid. De Forest will name the new component the “Audion tube.”
The first transatlantic broadcast from England to American is transmitted.
The first atomic reactor for research and development goes into operation in Richland, Washington. The primary purpose of the reactor is to determine the suitability of recycled Plutonium that had resulted from weapons production as a reactor fuel.
The first U.S. patent for a whole-body X-ray scanner is issued to Robert S. Ledley. (US No. 3,922,552) The Automatic Computerized Transverse Axial (ACTA) diagnostic X-ray scanner can take a three-dimensional image of the body in a series of cross-section images using thin X-ray beams analyzed by computers. Read more about Ledley’s invention at the American Physical Society.
According to Twin Galaxies, Eric Ginner scores a record-setting 740,070 points playing the Williams Electronics arcade game Moon Patrol at the Golfland USA arcade in Sunnyvale, California. Visit the official Twin Galaxies website.
Playboy Enterprises files a lawsuit against Russ Hardenburgh, the SysOp of the Rusty n Edie’s BBS, and Edwina Hardenburgh in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio. The lawsuit comes in response to the 412 images the BBS hosts which infringe on Playboy’s copyright. Later, Hardenburgh will be ordered to pay damages in the amount of US$310,000. Read more about the case.
Sega announces that The Sega Channel for Genesis will be discontinued. Nearly twenty million homes had access to the service, but only 150,000 of those users subscribed to the service.
Toshiba announces that it will be discontinuing the Infinia line and pulling out of the consumer desktop computer market.
Bill Gates, chairman of the Microsoft Corporation, and his wife, Melinda, announce intentions to contribute US$20 million to the Seattle, Washington Public Library. It will be the single largest contribution ever made to a public library in the United States.
The final episode of the science fiction television series Babylon 5, Sleeping In Light, first airs on TNT. (No. 522) The series ran for one hundred ten episode over five seasons. It was best known for having been developed, written, and executed as a single story rather than a series of brief, inter-related stories, as with most series. It was often described as a “novel for television.” During the course of its run, it won two Hugo awards for Best Dramatic Presentation and two Emmy awards, one for makeup and one visual effects.
Interplay Entertainment announces that the name of its VR Sports division will be changed to Interplay Sports.
The United States Department of Commerce signs a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), recognizing ICANN as the “Newco” entity referred to in amendment eleven of the United States government’s June 1998 Statement of Policy on the Management of Internet Domain Names and Addresses, commonly known simply as the “White Paper.” The White Paper calls upon the global Internet community to create “a new, not-for-profit corporation formed by private sector Internet stakeholders to administer policy for the Internet name and address system.” Visit ICANN’s official website.
The private biotechnology clinic Advanced Cell Technology of Worcester, Massachusetts, announces that it has successfully created the first human embryos ever produced by cloning, which they let grow for only a few hours.
In Emeryville, California, Apple opens its fiftieth retail store. Read the official Apple press release.
Version 7.0 of the Intel C++ Compiler is released.
New FCC regulations allowing cell phone users to transfer their phone numbers to a different carrier goes into effect.
Reverse engineer Jon Lech Johansen, better known as “DVD Jon,” releases a proof of concept program that allows Linux users to play video encoded with Microsoft’s proprietary WMV9 codec using the VLC media player. The release comes as a significant blow to Microsoft, as the company has been aggressively lobbying the movie industry to use the company’s codec as the next DVD standard. Visit Jon Johansen’s blog.
Astronomers at NASA publish an analysis of photos taken with the Spitzer space telescope that suggests that the photos may contain light from the very first generation of stars produced by the Big Bang.