This Day in Geek History: October 24
British astronomer William Lassell discovers Ariel and Umbriel, satellites of Uranus. Both satellites names are featured in Alexander Pope’s Rape of the Lock. Ariel has a diameter of approximately 1,160 km, an orbital period of 2.52 days, and an orbital radius of 191,240 km from Uranus. Umbriel has a diameter of 1,170 km, an orbital period of about four days, and an orbit radius of 266,000 km.
Western Union completes the first transcontinental telegraph line across the United States, bringing an abrupt end to the legendary Pony Express, which was established just eighteen months earlier and which will close just two days later. The connection is inaugurated with the first transcontinental telegraph message, sent by Justice Stephen J. Field of California to President Abraham Lincoln. The final connection between the east coast and the west coast is made at Salt Lake City, Utah. Prior to the connection, it took ten days for a letter to sent from Sacramento, California to arrive in St. Joseph, Missouri.
The first comic strip, Yellow Kid, appears in the Sunday color supplement of the New York Journal.
During one of twenty test flights, Orville Wright remains in the air nine minutes and forty-five seconds in a glider at Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina setting a new world record that will stand for another ten years.
Henry Ford awards equal pay to his female employees.
Gimbel Brothers in Philadelphia holds the first public demonstration of a television set at a department store.
At an altitude of 65 miles, a camera aboard The White Sands rocket (V-2 No. 13) takes the first photograph of Earth from space with a 35mm black-and-white camera.
The United States Air Force (USAF) starts the X-20 Dyna-Soar program to develop a spaceplane that can be used for a variety of military missions, including reconnaissance, bombing, space rescue, satellite maintenance, and sabotage of enemy satellites. The program will be discontinued on December 10, 1963, before construction of the first craft had been completed.
NASA test pilot Bill Dana makes the 199th and final flight of the X-15 rocket-propelled research aircraft. The X-15-1 is the first of three aircraft to participate in a series of tests that spanned a decade and resulted in major advances for America’s space flight program. The vessel will be considered by many to be the most successful research aircraft of all time.
The first Czechoslovak satellite, Magion 1, is launched.
On page five in the Wednesday, October 24 issue of the Wall Street Journal, writer Laura Landro, reports that Warner Communications has announced higher profits for the third quarter than analysts predicted. “Warner’s profit in the third quarter was $24.4 million, or 36 cents a share, compared with earnings from continuing operations of $4.9 million, or eight cents per share, a year earlier.” Warner cites the success of the blockbuster films, such as Gremlins, Purple Rain, and Tightrope, along with the profits made in the recording and publishing divisions as key contributors since “discontinuing” Atari, which had been turned over to Jack Tramiel just months prior. The article concludes by noting that Warner carries warrants from Tramel Technology, Ltd but also noting that there are doubts as to whether Atari’s future cash flow will ever allow Warner to collect on them.
Apple Computer agrees to allow Microsoft to incorporate a number of Mac technologies into Windows in exchange for delaying its releases of the Windows version of Excel, in order to give Apple an opportunity to better position itself in the business market.
Craig Newmark, a former software architect for Charles Schwab, begins compiling an email distribution list of messages from local San Francisco Usenet users advertising and seeking apartments, events, and jobs publicly accessible. In September 1997, Newmark will post launch his project online as Craigslist.org, and the classified site will grow to become enormously popular.
The Federal Networking Council (FNC), which coordinates networking among U.S. Federal agencies, unanimously passes a resolution defining the term “Internet.” The resolution reads, “Resolution: The Federal Networking Council (FNC) agrees that the following language reflects our definition of the term “Internet”. “Internet” refers to the global information system that – (i) is logically linked together by a globally unique address space based on the Internet Protocol (IP) or its subsequent extensions/follow-ons; (ii) is able to support communications using the Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) suite or its subsequent extensions/follow-ons, and/or other IP-compatible protocols; and (iii) provides, uses or makes accessible, either publicly or privately, high level services layered on the communications and related infrastructure described herein.” The FNC is composed of representatives from the United States Department of Defense (DoD), the National Science Foundation (NSF), and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), among others.
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