Stories tagged On this day

Tell us about something that happened today in history, and make it relate to current science.

Well, I already missed 9:09:09am, but let me tell you tonight at 9:09:09pm I am celebrating this numerologically unique coincidence of numbers. I'll probably make some ice-9.

Scroll down to the Math Magic section of this article on today's event for some highlights the annals of math. Even Google is celebrating.

Apollo 11 video restored

by Anonymous on Jul. 20th, 2009

Mission patch for mankind's first lunar landing
Mission patch for mankind's first lunar landingCourtesy NASA
It's hard to imagine but somehow in the 40 years since it happened NASA lost or recorded over the original high-rez video tapes taken on the Moon during what was arguably mankind's greatest achievement in the 20th century. However, a restoration team from Hollywood has been working to clean up the images that were broadcast back to Earth, and here are the results. Hooray for Hollywood!

The Sony Whatnow? Yes, geezers, it was 30 years ago today that Sony introduced the portable, personal tape player. Greg Beato argues that this now-obsolete device paved the way for all future programmable, customizable technology, essentially changing forever the way we interact with media and culture. Not bad for a clunky hand-sized gadget. Meanwhile, a teenager in England put down his MP3 player for a week and went roughing it, using his Dad's old Walkman. Stories of walking ten miles to school, through the snow, uphill both ways, turn out to have been exaggerated, but only slightly.

The catalpa trees are blossoming

I think they are a few weeks later this year.

The WHO has raised the swine flu pandemic alert to the highest level. (A/H1N1 is the first flu pandemic in 41 years.) This doesn't mean the disease is more dangerous, just that it's in more places and continuing to spread. As of this morning, 28,774 confirmed A/H1N1 cases have been reported in 74 countries, with 144 deaths. (These counts are not precise anymore, however, because many people who catch this flu are recovering at home without being tested.)

Watch/listen to the press conference

Map of the outbreak

BBC coverage

Thor posted a few days ago about the Discovery Channel show Time Lapse and its use of high-speed cameras to catch super fast stuff and slow it down so it is visible.

We recently experimented with the opposite here. The Titanic exhibit has a two-ton piece of the ship's hull on display, and we did a time-lapse video of the installation - seeding up a slow process, the opposite of Thor's post. Check it out.

And if you are interested in this kind of stuff, check out the web site for our exhibit Playing With Time which gives visitors the tools to speed up or slow down time to allow us to see stuff that is usually too fast or too slow to perceive.

The last survivor of the Titanic died today. Millvina Dean was 97 years old. Although she did not remember the disaster (she was only nine weeks old when her family boarded the ill-fated ship), her story intrigued many. She was the ship's youngest passenger. Her mother and brother also survived, but her father did not. This short video features Millvina telling a bit of her story. You can read the full story here.

First "Flaked Cereal" patent

by Anonymous on May. 31st, 2009

Corn Flake Cereal with Blueberries
Corn Flake Cereal with BlueberriesCourtesy TheBusyBrain
On this date in 1884, Dr. John Harvey Kellogg applied for a patent for "flaked cereal". Kellogg was a health-food fanatic, and was trying to improve the diet of patients at his hospital. His search for a digestible bread-substitute led him to boiling wheat and by accident letting it stand too long and become somewhat hardened. Despite the mistake, Kellogg put the concoction through a rolling process that turned each grain of wheat into a flake, which he then baked into a crispy and light breakfast product. Kellogg's brother Will helped improve the process, began marketing it to the general public, and the rest is cereal history.

Kellogg's Company History Timeline

Jay Last and Gordon Moore were honored at the Computer History Museum for their roles in creating the modern structure of the integrated circuit that today powers everything from the pocket-size iPhone to Google's giant server farms. cnet news

Moore is also known for Moore's Law which in 1965 predicted that the number of transistors per square inch on integrated circuits would double every year for the foreseeable future.

I'm throwing down the gauntlet and challenging Buzzers to contribute spring science haikus.

You know the rules: three lines (5 syllables, 7 syllables, 5 syllables), and it has to be, in some way, both about science and spring. Other than that, you're on your own.

Lilacs: This is what I'm waiting for...any day now...
Lilacs: This is what I'm waiting for...any day now...Courtesy Adam Kuben