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The Sinking of the H.L. Hunley

The Sinking of the H.L. Hunley

On the night of February 17, 1864, the submarine H.L.Hunley of the American Confederate Army sank the steamship USS Housatonic with a torpedo and became the very first submarine to attack and sink an enemy vessel. The Hunley was lost at some point following her successful attack and all crewmen were lost. Although the Hunley only played a small part in the American Civil War, it was a large role in the…
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Plumbing the Nature of American Myth-Making – Hollywod Director John Ford

Plumbing the Nature of American Myth-Making – Hollywod Director John Ford

On February 1, 1894, American film director John Ford was born. John Ford is renowned both for Westerns such as Stagecoach (1939), The Searchers (1956), and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962), as well as adaptations of classic 20th-century American novels such as John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath (1940). Until today his four Academy Awards for Best Director remain a record. “I don’t give ’em a lot of film to…
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Who remembers Apple’s Lisa?

Who remembers Apple’s Lisa?

On January 19, 1983, the Apple Lisa was introduced, the first personal computer to offer a graphical user interface in an inexpensive machine aimed at individual business users. Although a commercial failure, the Lisa paved the way for the famous Apple MacIntosh released in 1984 [4]. I don’t know if you are old enough to remember the early 1980s. But the era of personal computers had just began, which means there were small…
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Carl David Anderson and the Positron

Carl David Anderson and the Positron

On January 11, 1991, American physicist Carl David Anderson passed away. He is best known for his discovery of the positron in 1932, an achievement for which he received the 1936 Nobel Prize in Physics, and of the muon in 1936. “The atom can’t be seen, yet its existence can be proved. And it is simple to prove that it can’t ever be seen. It has to be studied by indirect evidence — and…
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Melvil Dewey and the Dewey Decimal System

Melvil Dewey and the Dewey Decimal System

On December 10, 1851, Melvil Dewey, librarian and inventor of the Dewey Decimal classification system for libraries, the DDC, was born. Early Years Melvil Dewey was born as Melville Louis Kossuth Dewey into a rather poor family in the upper New York state. After a school-fire, he was told to live only for one more year and became obsessed with efficiency, wherefore he gained his interest in simplified spelling early. Dewey left…
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Joseph Conrad and the Heart of Darkness

Joseph Conrad and the Heart of Darkness

On December 3, 1857, Polish-British writer Joseph Conrad was born. He is regarded as one of the greatest novelists to write in the English language. Though he did not speak English fluently until his twenties, he was a master prose stylist who brought a non-English sensibility into English literature. “A work that aspires, however humbly, to the condition of art should carry its justification in every line. And art itself may be…
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Douglas Engelbart and the Computer Mouse

Douglas Engelbart and the Computer Mouse

On November 17, 1962, U.S. American computer pioneer Douglas C. Engelbart has been granted a patent on the world’s first computer mouse. Using the computer mouse has become as normal as eating with knife and fork these days. But this has not always been the case, since the first computers had no graphical interface and every command had to be typed in via a traditional keyboard, which made the use of computers quite sometimes rather complicated. It…
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The Story of the Morris Worm – First Malware hits the Internet

The Story of the Morris Worm – First Malware hits the Internet

On November 2, 1988, Cornell student Robert T. Morris launched the very first computer worm on the internet – and subsequently becoming the first person convicted under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. Today his programme is referred to as “Morris Worm” and he is a tenured professor in the department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “There may be a virus loose on the internet.”…
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To be or Not to be a Planet – Eris, the planet of Discord

To be or Not to be a Planet – Eris, the planet of Discord

On October 21, 2003, a photograph of the nocturnal sky was taken, where almost 2 years later, in January 2005, evidence was raised that there might be a 10th planet at the borders of our solar system: Eris, located in the Kuiper Belt and named after the Greek goddess of discord. And discord it should be, because Eris as a planet is rather small and astronomers were arguing, whether it is a…
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The Mysterious Death of Edgar Allan Poe

The Mysterious Death of Edgar Allan Poe

On October 7th, 1849, the great American author and poet, Edgar Allan Poe, best known for his stories of the mysterious and macabre, died under mysterious circumstances. With his short stories and poems, Edgar Allan Poe succeeded to capture the imagination and interest of readers around the world until the present day. With his creative and imaginative he even started completely new literary genres, earning him the nickname “Father of the Detective Story“.…
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