This Day in Geek History: November 9
The first U.S. design patent is issued for printing typefaces and borders to George Bruce of New York City. (US No. D1) This new form of patent was authorized by Act of Congress on August 29, 1842.
The first airplane flight longer than five minutes occurs.
Albert Einstein is awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for his work on the photoelectric effect.
Electronic Numerical Integrator And Computer (ENIAC) is shut down for refurbishment and a memory upgrade. It will be transferred to the Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland in 1947.
Gordon Gould records conjecture on the principles of what he calls a laser in a notebook on a sleepless Saturday night. The following Wednesday, he will have a notary witness and date his notebook in which he describes what he calls “light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation,” or, the “laser.” However, it will take more than thirty years of litigation before Gould will receive recognition for his concept.
U.S. Air Force Major Robert M. White achieves a record speed of 4,093 mph (Mach 6.04) and reaches an altitude of 101,600 feet (19 miles) in the X-15 rocket plane. To save fuel, the X-15 was air launched from a B-52 Stratofortress bomber aircraft at an altitude 45,000ft.
United Nations passes resolution 2916. The resolution agrees on the necessity of reaching an agreement regarding the specifications of international direct broadcasting satellite (DBS) service. When the United States delegate calls for a vote to suppress the issue for fear of restricting DBS, the U.S. loses 101 to 1.
The NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command) computer alerts the United States Defense Command of inbound Soviet missiles. Jet fighters are scrambled, but when they reach the point at which they should be able to detect the missiles on their airborne radars, they discover that the incident is a false alarm. It will later be concluded that the incident was precipitated by a “war game” tape that had accidentally been loaded onto the computer system.
Apple Computer announces a revised model of the Apple III computer to address the reliability issues of the initial model that was released in May 1980. The company maintains that the issues with the original were due to quality-control procedures during manufacturing and not with the model’s underlying design, however, largely due to market advances, the new Apple III features an entirely different set of hardware sockets along and an optional 5MB Seagate ProFile hard drive with its updated software. The US$3,495 hard drive is an important leg-up on the market-dominating IBM PC that was released in August, as IBM is not yet offering a hard drive for its systems. Price: US$3,495
According to Twin Galaxies, Dan Cook scores a record-setting 983,430 points playing the arcade game Jungle King at the Golden Dome arcade in Woodbridge, Virginia. Visit the official Twin Galaxies website.
According to Twin Galaxies, Joel West scores a record-setting 119,340 points playing the Stern Electronics arcade game Berzerk at the Twin Galaxies arcade in Kirksville, Missouri. Visit the official Twin Galaxies website.
The Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation announces that it will phase out its video game division.
Garry Kasparov, age 22, of the Soviet Union becomes the youngest undisputed World Chess Champion in history by beating Anatoly Karpov of the Soviet Union. He will hold the official FIDE world title until 1993, and in that time, many will come to consider him to be arguably the greatest chess player of all time. However, he will be best remembered for being the first world chess champion to lose a match to a computer, after his 1997 loss to Deep Blue. Re-enact the match at Chessgames.com.
The web domain Marble.com is registered. It is only the ninety-sixth .com domain.
The Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “Justice” first airs. (No. 108) In it, Wesley faces a death sentence for breaking an idyllic world’s law by accidentally stepping on flowers. Memory Alpha entry
In Durham, North Carolina, it’s discovered that a computer error caused eight precincts’ votes to be counted twice in a city council race, resulting in false results. The precinct-by-precinct breakdown given to the media was correct, even though they did not match the totals. The mistake was discovered in a later hand check of the results by the City’s Board of Elections. The unspecified “glitch” will never be described in-depth by officials, but Jo Overman, chairman of the County Board of elections, will state that the “errant terminal was an extra unit put on election duty as part of a last-minute effort to process returns faster.”
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