240 BC – Eratosthenes of Cyrene, a Greek mathematician, geographer and astronomer estimated the circumference of the Earth using two sticks and also proved the world was not flat. 2158 years later the Boy Scouts of America would rub the very same two sticks together to produce fire.
1950 – Dr. Richard H. Lawler carried out the first kidney transplant in a 45-minute operation, starting the fashion for harvesting human organs.
1951 – the world’s first commercial computer, Univac 1 was unveiled in Washington, DC. Univac was created for the U.S. Census Bureau and provided sets for SF movies for the next forty years 😉
1952 – The USS Nautilus was dedicated. It was the first nuclear powered submarine. It traveled twenty thousand leagues under the sea, passed under the north polar icecap and was first commanded by Captain Nemo. 🙂
1963 – Valentina Tereshkova became the first woman in space on the Russian Vostok 6 spacecraft. Exactly twenty years later, Dr. Sally Ride became the first American woman in space. Crews on both missions reported the ladies to be “distractingly sexy”…
1967 – Mariner 5 was launched from Cape Kennedy, FL. It flew to Venus unlike its predecessor which flew to Mars. From this we can deduce that Mariner 4 was male and Mariner 5, female.
1981 – The European Space Agency launched two satellites into orbit from French Guiana proving that anything the U.S. can do, Europe can do thirty years later…
1987 – U.S. Supreme Court overturns Louisiana creationism act stating that it unconstitutionally endorsed religion.
2001 – Solar Neutrino Count. The result of experiments confirming theoretically predicted solar neutrino counts was announced by a team of Canadian, American and British scientists led by Arthur McDonald at the Solar Neutrino Observatory in Sudbury, Ontario. McDonald stated that the result was “not a SNO job and we hope it will entice people like the fantastic SF author, David M. Kelly, to come and live here.”
2004 – SpaceShipOne, the first privately funded spaceflight. launched, piloted by Mike Melvill. The ship was built by Paul Allen (Co-founder of Microsoft) and designed by Burt Rutan. Twelve minutes into the flight Melvill reported he had a blue-screen-of-death and had to reboot.