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Why America Beat The Russians At Building The Internet

From the late 1950s until the late 1980s, scientists in both the United States and the Soviet Union were working on computer networking in one form or another. Why did the US succeed where the Russians failed? That’s the subject of a new book titled How Not to Network a Nation: The Uneasy History of the Soviet Internet by Benjamin Peters.


The Best Gizmodo History Stories From 2015 You Swore You'd Read Later

The internet is a big place. There’s so much to read and watch and listen to that it can be overwhelming. We all have those stories that we start, get distracted for one reason or another, and promise ourselves we’ll finish later. Well, here’s your second chance — with a special focus on Australia.


This 1985 RAND Paper On The Future Of Email Is Still Relevant Today

Never say anything in an electronic message that you wouldn’t want appearing, and attributed to you, in tomorrow’s front-page headline in the New York Times. That was the advice of Colonel David Russell, head of the IPTO at DARPA in the mid-1970s and it still holds true today.


The Patron Saint Of The Internet Is Isidore Of Seville, Who Tried To Record Everything Ever Known

In 1997 Pope John Paul II declared Isidore of Seville the patron saint of the internet. Saint Isidore died in the year 636, long before the first host-to-host ARPANET connection in 1969. But Isidore did try to record everything ever known in an encyclopedia that was ultimately published after his death.


The Secret Project To Turn The Internet Into An Anti-Soviet Spy Network

In 1973, Norway became the first nation outside the US to get online through DARPA’s packet-switched network, the ARPANET. Americans had decided to connect the proto-internet to such a distant country for one reason. They were trying to keep tabs on Soviet nuclear tests.


Remember How The First Thing Ever Sold Online Was A Baggie Of Weed?

Online drug sales gained notoriety thanks to the Silk Road market, but the buying and selling of illegal mood-altering substances through computers goes a lot farther back. In fact, the very first online transaction was a drug deal.


1975 Article On Internet Spying Not Written By Time Traveller, Probably

People often think about internet spying as relatively new. But the internet was used for spying before we even called it the internet — and when we look back at news articles from the era, we can’t say we weren’t warned.


US Federal Reserve's Cold War Bunker Had $US4 Billion Cash For After The Apocalypse

New York and DC are piles of ash, but at least your cheques are clearing. That was the idea behind the Culpeper Switch, a sprawling bunker built by the US Federal Reserve to keep the banks running after nuclear apocalypse. But even some Cold War-era politicians thought it was silly.


A History Of Internet Spying, Part 2

How long have intelligence agencies been keeping tabs on the internet? And what role did these agencies play in creating the internet we use today? For the most part, these kinds of questions have been relegated to comments sections on random blogs and the occasional tweet from researchers. So we’re hoping to remedy that in whatever small way we can, starting with a look at the 1960s and 70s.


Happy 45th Birthday, Internet!

Happy birthday, internet! You may be turning 45 today, but we swear you don’t look a day over 30. And not to embarrass you, but we thought we’d celebrate by sharing some of your baby photos. Or, more accurately, perhaps some of your sonograms.


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