Looking Back…

In case you were wondering about notable science events that occured the week of August 8…

On August 8 of 1876, Thomas Edison patented the mimeograph. When I first read this I was secretly hoping it was some technology involving mimes, but I was not so fortunate. The mimeograph is actually like an early version of the photocopier. The image is transfered using a wax mulberry paper (rice paper). Because the mimeograph uses no electricity to operate, it is still used in developing countries.

Also on August 8, but in 1908, Wilbur Wright made his first public flight in France. The Wright brothers faced deep scorn and were thought to be “Bluffeurs.” Although Wilbur’s flight only lasted 105 seconds, he was able to fly in a circle and woed the crowd. The brothers gained world fame overnight. Newspapers that had posted doubts about the Wright brother recanted their early statements and issued apologies. This is a video of the Wright brother’s early flights.
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On August 12 of 1981, the IBM Personal Computer was first released. The PC was IBM’s attempt to get into the small computer market which was currently dominated by the Atari 8-bit family and the Tandy Corporation TRS-80′s.

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Creative Commons License photo credit: cjmaru

On August 12, 1990, the dinosaur Sue was discovered in Faith, South Dakota. Even today, Sue remains the best preserved and most complete Tyrannosaurus rex ever uncovered. The dinosaur resides in Chicago’s Field Museum. The skeleton is 42 feet from tail to nose, and is 12 feet tall at the hips. The bones are anywhere from 67 to 65.5 million years old.

Looking Back…

In case you were wondering about notable science events that occured the week following July 25…

On July 25, 1909, Louis Bleriot made the first airplane flight across a body of water, crossing the English Channel in 37 minutes. The Wright brothers had invented the plane only six years before. Bleriot is also credited with inventing the first working monoplane (the Wright brothers’ plane was a biplane.) The following is footage and photos of Bleriot testing his plane in 1907.
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On July 26, 1866, the first successful Transatlantic telegraph cable was completed. Although there had been five previous attempts to send telegraphs, (including a letter of congratulation in 1958 from Queen Victoria to President James Buchanan) the cable was destroyed when the operator used too much voltage in an effort to increase the speed at which messages were sent. The cable was finally repaired and put into use in July of 1866. While it would normally take ten days for a letter to travel across the ocean by ship, the telegraph cable cut this time down to mere minutes.

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Creative Commons License photo credit: ragesoss

On July 28, 1998, in Kennewick, Washington, a controversial fossil skeleton was discovered. Named after the location where it was found, the Kennewich Man was determined to have lived roughly 9,300 years ago. The fossil is about 68 inches tall, and the man it originally belonged to is thought to have died while in his fifties. Interestingly, the skeleton had part of a stone projectile lodged in its pelvic bone. This skeleton, and others like it, fuel the debate of whether people crossed into the Americas via the Bering Straight Land Bridge or the watercraft migration theory.

Ony July 31, 1790, the U.S issued its first patent. Signed by George Washington, it was issued to Samuel Hopkins for developing a new potash production method. There were only two other patents that were approved that first year – one for a new candle-making process and one for a flour-milling machine.