Today in Geek History for December

December 10

1815: Lady Lovelace was born. Ada Lovelace, the daughter of Lord Byron, is considered by many to be the first computer programmer. She worked alongside Charles Babbage and wrote the first program for his Difference Engine (automated mechanical calculator). In the 1970s, the computer language ADA was developed and named after Lady Lovelace. It is based on the language PASCAL, and is a general-purpose language designed to be readable and easily maintained. In 1980, plans were made to have the ADA programming language be the sole programming language for all U.S. Defense Department programs; however, that plan was never fully realized.


1903: The Nobel Prize for Physics is awarded to Pierre and Marie Curie and fellow physicist Henri Becquerel for their work with radioactivity. Together they demonstrated the radioactive properties of Thorium and Uranium and discovered two other radioactive elements. They also demonstrated how radioactivity causes particles to be electrically charged. You may be wondering…why this entry? Well, there was a movie released in 1988 called Young Einstein. It starred Yahoo Serious (yes, that is his name) and it had one of my favorite depictions of young Marie Curie and was hilarious, to boot. It is hard to find but definitely worth watching; however, you must have a twisted sense of humor to “get it.”


1955: Saturday morning cartoons were launched with the Mighty Mouse Playhouse on CBS. Saturday morning cartoons were one of the best things about being a kid in my day. Why, in my day we only had three channels, see, and that was on a clear day with plenty of tin foil on the rabbit ears. And then you only had TV from 5 in the morning until midnight…… blah, blah, blah….yes, I know I’m wandering….I’m allowed at this age!


1993: iD Software releases the first-person shooter Doom for MS-DOS via an ftp site on the U. of Wisconsin computer network. It is the grand-daddy of first person shooters tied to multi-player networking. Doom-on!


**Which reminds me….honorable mention to Wayne’s World 2 which was released on this day in 1993. “Party on, Wayne…..Party on, Garth”

December 28

1922: Stan Lee was born. What can I say here? Iron Man, Thor, Hulk, The Fantastic Four, X-Men….. Mr. Lee has given us superheroes with human tendencies of bad tempers, melancholy, boredom, jealousy, etc. and I love them all. Yes, I am a Marvel Comics person.


1933: Nichelle Nichols was born in Robbin, IL. Most know her as Lt. Uhura of the USS Enterprise but did you know that she also sang with the likes of Duke Ellington and Lionel Hampton before she became one of the first African American woman to be portrayed on TV in a power role?


1969: Linus Torvalds was born in Helsinki, Finland. He cut his teeth on a Commodore Vic-20 and went on to change the world with Linux in the 1990’s. My Champion!


1982: Roger Mangum hits the record-setting high score of 2,326,350 on Zaxxon at the Outer Limits Arcade in Durham, North Carolina. The score is registered with Twin Galaxies. Zaxxon was the first game using axonometric projection (this is also how the game got its name). The isometric projection simulated 3D from a third-person viewpoint. Any of you who were asked to make a perspective drawing in junior high art class (remember the horizon line and a point on the horizon?) practiced with this method of construction. The game was also the first to display shadows and an altitude meter.


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