Tag Archive | Technology

On this day June 26, 1974

The Universal Product Code is scanned for the first time to sell a package of Wrigley’s chewing gum at the Marsh Supermarket in Troy, Ohio.Barcode

Wallace Flint proposed an automated checkout system in 1932 using punch cards. Bernard Silver, Franklin Light, and Norman Joseph Woodland developed a bull’s-eye style code, patented it (filed in 1949 and received in 1952).

In the 1960s railroads experimented with a multicolor barcode for tracking railcars, but eventually abandoned it. Read More…


On this day June 21, 1948

The Manchester Small-Scale Experimental Machine (SSEM), nicknamed Baby, was the world’s first stored-program computer. It was built at the Victoria University of Manchester by Frederic C. Williams, Tom Kilburn and Geoff Tootill, and ran its first program on 21 June 1948.

The machine was not intended to be a practical computer but was instead designed as a testbed for the Williams tube, an early form of computer memory. Although considered “small and primitive” by the standards of its time, it was the first working machine to contain all of the elements essential to a modern electronic computer. Read More…

On this day June 16, 1963

Aboard Vostok 6, Soviet cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova became the first woman in space.

After watching the successful launch of Vostok 5 on 14 June, Tereshkova began final preparations for her own flight. On the morning of 16 June 1963, Tereshkova and her back-up Solovyova were both dressed in spacesuits and taken to the launch pad by bus.

After completing her communication and life support checks, she was sealed inside the Vostok. After a flawless two-hour countdown, Vostok 6 launched faultlessly, and Tereshkova became the first woman to fly into space. Her call sign in this flight was Chaika (English: Seagull; Russian: Ча́йка), later commemorated as the name of an asteroid, 1671 Chaika. Read More…

Private rocket soars into space on first flight

Space Exploration Technologies, also known as SpaceX, successfully launched their Falcon 9 rocket for the first time at 1845 UTC ( 2:45 pm EDT) of Friday from Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral, Florida, United States.

Musk at Mission Control

SpaceX (Space Exploration Technologies Corporation) is an American space transport company founded by PayPal co-founder Elon Musk.

It has developed the Falcon 1 and Falcon 9, both of which are partially reusable launch vehicles.

The Falcon 9, second in the Falcon series of rockets, has a first stage that is powered by nine Merlin 1C engines, and a second stage powered by one Merlin vacuum engine.

Today’s inaugural launch carried the Dragon Spacecraft Qualification Unit (DSQU), a boilerplate version of the Dragon capsule.

The Dragon is intended to take cargo — and possibly people — to the International Space Station through NASA’s COTS program. The program is intended to help develop commercial space transportation, a goal that fits with President Obama’s recent change of direction for NASA. Under President Obama’s new plan, NASA would hand over the mundane task of Low Earth Orbit (LEO) launches to private companies, and instead concentrate on new technology development. Read More…

On this day May 25, 1961

During a speech to a joint session of the United States Congress, U.S. President John F. Kennedy announced his support for the Apollo space program, with “the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth”.

Kennedy_Moon_speech_25_May_1961On April 12, 1961, Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first man to fly in space, reinforcing American fears about being left behind in a technological competition with the Soviet Union.

At a meeting of the U.S. House Committee on Science and Astronautics held only one day after Gagarin’s flight, many congressmen pledged their support for a crash program aimed at ensuring that America would catch up. Read More…

On this day May 22, 1980

Pac-Man (パックマン, ), an arcade game that became virtually synonymous with video games and an icon of 1980s popular culture, made its debut in Japan.

Original arcade version

Original arcade version

Developed by Namco and licensed for distribution in the U.S. by Midway, was immensely popular in the United States from its original release to the present day, Pac-Man is universally considered as one of the classics of the medium, virtually synonymous with video games, and an icon of 1980s popular culture.

Upon its release, the game—and, subsequently, its derivatives—became a social phenomenon that sold a bevy of merchandise and also inspired, among other things, an animated television series and music. Read More…

Controversial US scientist announced again is artificial life form

American biologist Craig Venter has announced that he has created the first ever “artificial life form” on Earth at the J. Craig Venter Institute, a U.S. laboratory and research center.

Craig Venter in 2007

The Guardian Unlimited reports in 2007 that Venter may announce the discovery within a few weeks. Despite the reports, a spokeswoman for the offices where Venter works states that the Guardian Unlimited “jumped the gun” in reporting the event. AFP publish the news too.

In 2007 Pat Mooney, director of the Canadian bioethics organization ETC Group, told the paper that Venter was creating “a chassis on which you could build almost anything.

“It could be a contribution to humanity such as new drugs or a huge threat to humanity such as bio-weapons.”

A genome was created using synthetic chromosomes made from bottles of chemicals, the chromosomes sequenced to create a genome using as a template an existing bacterium. A bacterium from different species then had its own genome removed and the synthetic one transplanted in its place. Venter’s achievement is that the new genome switched on and the new cell replicated to create new cells. A process likened to the booting of a computer with a new operating system.