Harry Potter turned 20 yesterday. (Technically, because of how the publishing world works, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone turns 20 next year, on September 1, when the US version came out.) Pottermania is so well-entrenched that all you need to see is a red and gold scarf to instantly know a lot about the person wearing it. Hogwarts is the preeminent fictional school.
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Exactly 10 years ago, Google uploaded an announcement to its press page: Google Launches Free 3D Mapping and Search Product!
Google Earth turns 10 today, and to celebrate, the engineering team added 1500 new images to its great Earth View project, where it collects the most compelling images recorded by its source satellites.
On the 20th of December, 1939, the second laboratory of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) was founded. The facility at Moffett Field in Sunnyvale, California, would later be known as NASA's Ames Research Center after the founding chairman of NACA, Joseph S. Ames -- but no one could foresee how iconic Ames would become.
Image Cache: NASA has revealed spectacular, newly reprocessed images of four of the most amazing supernovas ever captured by a human science instrument -- the Crab Nebula (top), Tycho, G292.0+1.8, and 3C58 -- to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the Chandra observatory. I decided to go one step further and collect them all.
Buckle that nostalgia-seatbelt: Weezer's debut, The Blue Album, came out 20 years ago today. And in the two decades since, being geeky has gone from socially crippling to almost cool. Listening back through this album, it's easy to understand why Weezer boomed when they did. The songs are so damned catchy and energetic, you can't help but air-guitar along. There's genuine earnestness here that must've been an absolute breath of fresh air compared to the grunge everyone else was trying to make at the time.
Computer coding ability has gotten especially hip recently. People who can't code revere it as 21st century sorcery, while those who do it professionally are often driven to fits by it. It was 50 years ago today two Dartmouth professors debuted a coding language designed to be easy enough for anyone to use. The language that made that all possible. They called it the Beginner's All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code -- BASIC.
Today is the anniversary of brave Felix Baumgartner's space jump. His heart was racing at 185 beats per minute when he jumped from an altitude of 127,852 feet, then started to spin at 60 revolutions per minute and kept spinning for 13 seconds after jumping, reaching a maximum vertical speed of Mach 1.25. An incredible feat.
For better or worse, Apple has been peddling digital wares for 10 years through its iTunes store. What started as a 99-cent, iPod-centric music seller has evolved into the billion-dollar behemoth we know today.
Try and tally up all the text messages you have ever sent in your life. Every single one. From the very first time you recharged your Nokia 3315 with credit, to the terrible way you broke up with your high-school sweetheart, right through to the one you sent this afternoon telling that gambling site to stop spamming you. Those three messages count towards the total of eight trillion text messages sent every year, and today is the anniversary of the very first. So what did it say?
This is unforgivable. With all the hoopla about yesterday's crazy supersonic space jump, we didn't celebrate yesterday's 65th anniversary of the first man to go faster than the speed of sound, a true American hero: the now retired Brigadier General Chuck Yeager.
30 years ago today, workers in a factory outside of Hanover, Germany played host to executives from Polygram, Sony and Philips. These executives were here to see something they knew was going to be special. After a while, they were handed a small, circular disc. These executives were holding the first Compact Disc ever pressed. 30 years have passed since that day, and now, on the technology's 30th birthday, we take a look back at how it became one of the world's most popular formats.
Wikipedia turned 10 years old today and to celebrate the wonderful crowdsourced, potluck of information, here's a look at their awkward (and sometimes, wild) past. Their first six weeks of existence, all 10,000 entries, are logged right here.