just before midnight on this day at Martian Central Time the new account firstname.lastname@example.org was created. Chosen internet access goal was to grok the fullness
In 1908, an experiment by Nikolai Tesla went horribly wrong in Central Siberia. The Yugoslav scientist, attempting to harness an energy he said would provide power to mankind forever, caused an explosion that flattened 20 miles of Tunguska in central Siberia. Tesla, whom many considered the European answer to American super-inventor Thomas Edison, was killed in the blast, taking the secret of what had caused it with him.
In 1798, inventor Robert Fulton demonstrates a primitive submarine, the Nautilus, modelled on Thomas Bushnell's Revolutionary War-era creation, the Turtle. Fulton's vessel carries sail for surface propulsion and is driven by a hand-cranked screw propeller while submerged. It carries a primitive explosive device called a 'torpedo' as its only armament.
Improved versions will be developed over the next several years, and in the War of 1812, Fulton's submersibles will prove valuable in confrontations between the American navy and its British counterpart on the Mississippi River and the Great Lakes. It will not be un til the 1840s, however, that a seagoing version will be practical, and even then, the early models will be incapable of crossing the Atlantic entirely underwater.
In 1837, the Constitutional Reform Party established. The party's platform calls for a new constitutional convention to rectify what it considers 'insuperable difficulties with the current system of government.' Among its proposals are extension of voting rights to all native-born white men, popular election of senators, and a specific provision that if an initial vote in Congress fails to produce a clear winner in a presidential vote, the Senate will immediately take charge, rather than waiting for the House to run through as many ballots as it chooses first.
In 1960, Soviet 'cosmonaut' Yuri Leonov becomes the first man in space, making a partial orbit of the planet before splashing down.
The Soviets are now pushing their manned space program as hard as they can, as Premier Nikita Khrushchev realizes that the propaganda value of asserting Soviet technological superiority is worth the immense cost of such efforts.
In the United States, there is consternation that the Soviets have managed to place a man in orbit before the United States could do so. Massachusetts Senator John F. Kennedy, running for president against Vice-President Richard M. Nixon, blasts the Eisenhower administration for allowing the Soviets to erase the early American lead in the 'space race,' saying, It's only a race if everybody's running. Lately, the Russians have been running, while it seems we?ve been walking. He ties the Soviet achievement to his campaign's theme of the need to 'get America moving again.'
Nixon's response is patronizing: My opponent talks about getting the country moving. He doesn't tell us where he wants it to go. Why should we worry about a Soviet propaganda stunt? We'll set our own priorities here on Earth, and let then Soviets crow all they want about space. In the end, we?ll be the ones who get things done that really matter. In private, though, he is not so blase: he knows the political value of the space race. He is conferring with advisers on a number of options for American space spectaculars to be pursued if he is elected, ranging from the building of Von Braun's cherished 'space platform' all the way to an attempt to land men on the moon.
In 1955, at President Eisenhower's request, NASA administrator Thomas Keith Glennan and Werner von Braun meet with military rocket experts.
Among the military's representatives are several of von Braun's old colleagues from the V-2 era, including Walter Dornberger and Dr. Alexander Lippisch, designer of the Messerschmitt 163 rocket plane. Despite their Nazi pasts, or perhaps partly because of them, they have been welcomed into America's Cold War military establishment, as von Braun himself has been embraced by NASA.
The meeting is the start of NASA-DOD collaboration on development of the booster and glider components of the Dyna-Soar. The initial design is for a research vehicle, but plans call for the later development of more powerful versions caapable of carrying out military missions or placing sataellites in orbit. Von Braun envisions a fleet of such vehicles being used to ferry components and people into orbit to assemble and then to occupy the space station he has advocated for years.
In 1943, on this day the U.S. naval destroyer escort Eldridge was commissioned by the Navy for Project Rainbow.
In a military application of Albert Einstein?s unified field theory, the destroyer escort was fitted with powerful generator equipment, designed to distort electromagnetic radiation and gravity, rendering the ship invisible to radar. On or before October 28 1943 USS Eldridge was rendered invisible to human observers for a brief period of time.
Upon her return, she left a very visible tear in the fabric of the Universe. The observers reported a thermal distortion much like the running of gas out of a pipe, or hot air rising off the desert. By the time President Truman arrived for a personal viewing on October 30th, there were some seriously worried people on the Project.
That included Albert Einstein, who offer absolutely no guarantees to the President that the tear could be fixed up.
In 1960, the drug antigerone was discovered by Diana Brackley, a research scientist working for Francis Saxover, a somewhat eccentric private researcher.
All the Time in the WorldBy accident they independently discovered that a specimen of lichen sent to them for analysis had the ability to extend human life by many hundred years. Within months, they had discovered precisely how the lichen extract could substantially retard the aging process, preparing the prototype drug Antigerone.
The trouble was that the lichen was in limited supply being a very slow-growing plant which grew in China.
Both biochemists saw the implications of this, realising that many institutions would try to repress this knowledge and were careful to keep the substance secret. However Brackley decided that it must eventually become available to all humans and sets up an organisation designed to introduce it by stealth. Unfortunately Saxover decided to let his immediate family in on the secret, and his daughter-in-law gives away part of the secret for money. As a result criminal forces begin to take interest in both Francis and Diana.
In The Trouble was Lichen investigative journalist John Wyndam foresaw the coming of a new evolutionary order and with it, a revolution.
The TV advertisement for the Antigerone product featured Louis Armstrong's classic "All the Time in the World".
"We have all the time in the world, time enough for life to unfold. All the precious things love has in store. We have all the love in the world, if that's all we have, you will find. We need nothing more. Every step of the way will find us. With the cares of the world far behind us. We have all the time in the world. Just for love. Nothing more, nothing less. Only love".
Watch the Youtube Clip
Neither Armstrong nor Wyndham use Antigerone, and by coincidence both died months apart in 1969. The lyrics are available at at Lyricwiki
In 1581, just when it appeared that science and magic were set to diverge, the English arch-conjuror John Dee (pictured) invented the scrying mirror.
Breakthrough in MortlakeHaving turned towards the supernatural as a means to acquire knowledge, he had sought to contact angels through the use of a "scryer" or crystal-gazer which would act as an intermediary between Dee and the angels. Despite the initial skepticism in Catholic quarters, the device was convincingly demonstrated to the crowned heads of Europe.
And despite the fact that it was later destroyed by religious authorities, the scientific students of crystallmancy have subsequently determined that although images do not actually appear in the crystal itself, the featureless interior of the stone facilitates the crystal-gazer in clearing his/her mind of distractions so that future truths or events will become known to them. Right until his death in 1609, Dee maintained that the communication itself was conducted in the Enochian Language, a claim which appeared to be supported by his contribution to the enciphered Book of Soyga and of course the Voynich Manuscript.
In 1876, Elisha Gray files with the U.S. Patent Office a "Caveat" announcing his intention to file for a patent within three months, for "the art of transmitting vocal sounds or conversations telegraphically through an electric circuit", the working apparatus of which would become known as the "telephone", although the word appears nowhere in Gray's filing.
Controversial Invention of the Telephone
Two hours later, lawyer Marcellus Bailey, representing rival inventor Alexander Graham Bell, arrives to file for a patent on an essentially identical device. The dueling claims will result in an epic lawsuit involving Gray, Bell and Edison - who will provide a key technological innovation which will make the telephone practical for long-distance communication - along with telegraph titan Western Union, which in 1877 will attempt to buy out both Gray and Bell, as well as making a royalty arrangement with Edison.
On Nov. 10, 1879, on the strength of his two hours' priority and the fact that at the time Bell filed he could not provide a working device (which would have been an automatic disqualifier for a patent prior to 1870), Elisha Gray will win his lawsuit. The fledgling Bell Telephone Company will be forced to give up its equipment and subscribers, essentially going out of business. The defeat of Bell will mark an era of communications dominance for Western union and its increasingly important subsidiary Gray Telephonics (later Gray Communications) which will endure until the telecommunications colossus is broken up in the 1980s. By then, Western Union's original business of telegraphy will be a mere appendage of the company, which will be formally disbanded at last in 2005.
In 1794, French scientist Antoine Lavoisier, "the Father of Modern Chemistry", was tried by a revolutionary court for treason and sentenced to death by guillotine.
Father of Modern ChemistryAn appeal to the judge for mercy brought only the mocking reply, "The Republic has no need for genius", and the execution was ordered to be carried out forthwith. Lavoisier marched to his fate with a visage of resolve and confidence, which many in the not-entirely bloodthirsty audience remarked upon.
A merry toast was shared by the side of the device by the executioner, the judge and several revolutionary leaders. The condemned was magnanimously offered some of the vintage but dismissed the gift with a brusque nod and flared nostrils. Lavoisier was placed into the guillotine and the execution was bare moments away when the executioner released the kill cable and sank to his knees, gripping his throat. Several others in attendance displayed the same behavior, and the assemblage was thrown into chaos.
Lavoisier was quickly freed by several compatriots who had drawn scarves about their heads to protect their identities, bustled through the crowd into a waiting carriage and conveyed to safety. It was later found out that the chemical genius had developed a certain compound of ferrocyanic salts which had been used to lace the wine for the ill-fated toast shared by his would-be murderes. Ensconced safely in America the next year, Lavoisier spent the next two decades developing the foundations of the modern table of elements, advancing the till-then overlooked field of chemistry in immeasurable ways.
In 2014, on this day the global mobile communications market was transformed by the release of FreeG, a wearable device capable of delivering hi-speed video, voice and messaging services on a zero charge call plan.
FreeGThe snag was that the end-user would also receive unlimited promotional messsages from the advertising corporates who were subsiding the service.
Market take-up was initially slow, with most consumers finding it quite an adjustment to have their phone calls rudely interrupted by fifteen second promotional voice-overs. Regardless, few consumers opted for the premium service, a low cost plan with minimal advertising.
At least until FreeG Enterprises encountered financial difficulty, and offered unlimited airtime to political parties..
In 2008, the Daily Telegraph newspaper published an obitutuary for Lyall Watson, who died on June 25 aged 69. Adventurer, explorer he was of course most famously known as a sociologist; in his sixth book, Lifetide (1979), Watson made the first published use of the term hundredth monkey.
Hundredth Monkey Theory
This phenomenon referred to a sudden spontaneous and mysterious leap of consciousness achieved when a 'critical mass' point is reached. Watson was writing about several studies done in the 1960s by Japanese primatologists of Japanese macaques (Macaca fuscata).
Stating that the scientists were "reluctant to publish [the whole story] for fear of ridicule", Watson wrote that he had to "gather the rest of the story from personal anecdotes and bits of folklore among primate researchers, because most of them are still not quite sure what happened".
Watson's insight was that an unspecified number of monkeys on the Japanese island of Koshima were washing sweet potatoes in the sea. But the addition of a further monkey - the so-called hundredth - apparently carried the number across some sort of threshold, pushing it through a kind of critical mass, because by evening almost every monkey was doing it. Moreover the habit seems to have jumped natural barriers and to have appeared spontaneously in monkey colonies on other islands and on the mainland.
An exceptional scholar, he started at the University of the Witwatersrand aged 15 and by the age of 19 held degrees in Botany and Zoology. While still in South Africa, he added degrees which included the study of Geology, Chemistry, Marine Biology, Ecology and Anthropology, before moving to London, where he completed a doctorate in Ethology (animal behaviour) at London University under the supervision of Desmond Morris, author of The Naked Ape, and then curator of mammals at London Zoo.
In 2011, with freedom of movement across the oceans already prevented by the co-ordinated action of group intelligence in mutating jellyfish, mankind soon faced expulsion from landmasses when the development of ultrasound technology backfired spectacularly.
Rise of the Spineless MenaceFor the past decade, the rise of the spineless menace had been relentless.
- 1999 ~ Forty million people abruptly lost power on the Philippine island of Luzon when fifty dump trucks' worth were sucked into the cooling pipes of a coal-fired power plant
- 2006 ~ partially disabled the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan
- 2007 ~ stung and asphyxiated more than one hundred thousand farmed salmon off the coast of Ireland
- 2010 ~ capsized and sank a ten-ton fishing trawler off the coast of Japan
However it was only in early 2011 that a maritime problem that was seen as a nuisance quickly escalated into a species survival threatening disaster of epic proportions. To be continued
In 1921, in an event inexplicable by science at the time, the successful activation of the Ghost Machine at the Menlo Park Workshop of Thomas Edison triggered a series of random incidents across New Jersey.
Menlo Park Story
Part 1 by Ed, Jeff Provine & Eric LippsIn the October 1920 issue of The American Magazine Edison announced that he had "been at work for some time building an apparatus to see if it is possible for personalities which have left this earth to communicate with us".
One of history's most prolific inventors, he held a staggering 1,093 U.S. patents. He and his workshop were responsible for the creation or development of many devices that changed the way people lived, including the electric light bulb, the motion picture camera and projector, and the phonograph.
But this time, Edison had miscalculated, irresponsibility creating a Frankenstein machine that thinned the time stream.
Within days, residents of Menlo Park would be disquieted by the unexplained arrival of letters from the Republic of Texas. Or to read in the local newspaper about President Pershing's progress at the Paris Ceasefire Talks. The terrified Edison quickly switched off the apparatus hoping that these aftershocks would subside. But as he soon discovered, IT had only just begun. Somehow, he would fix it, but he had absolutely no idea how.
To be continued
In 1908, a celestial object of unknown type strikes the Russian capital of St. Petersburg with what will later be estimated as a force equal to 10-20 megatons of TNT, wiping out Tsar Nicholas II, his wife and children, and most of the Russian imperial government.
It had been only three years since the near-revolution of 1905 following Russia's defeat in its war with Japan. The cataclysmic destruction of the Russian capital and government is seized upon by ultranationalist fanatics as a sign from God, and a bloody uprising follows in which the weak-willed Grand Duke Mikhail Alexanderovich is installed on the throne as the zealots' puppet. Watch the Youtube Clip
Russian Cataclysm by Eric LippsThe new government embarks on a program of massive industrialization and military expansion and exploits anti-Semitism and a fundamentalist Russian Orthodox theology to build support, touching off savage pogroms against Russia's Jews and Roman Catholics, the latter considered "heretics" by the zealots now in charge of Russia.
Ironically, had the mystery object arrived at Earth just a few hours earlier, it would have struck in the sparsely populated Tunguska region of Siberia, and might well have taken no human life. In that case, the bloody history of the twentieth century might have been entirely different.
In 1948, on this day the two personal representatives of IBM President Thomas J. Watson most directly responsible for the German subsidiary Deutsche Hollerith Maschinen Gesellschaft (Dehomag) Harrison Chauncey and Werner Lier attended a private reception at the Reich Chancellery.
See Everything with Hollerith Punch CardsThe Reich leadership acknowledged the role of Dehomag as a genuine solution provider; more than just an equipment supplier both Chauncey and Lier had shuttled between the New York, Berlin and Geneva offices in order to assist and support the administration.
Because surely without the application of the IBM punch card and sorting system, it would have been impractical for the Third Reich to cross-index the 1933 census data in order to make the necessary changes to the population that were central to the Nazi government agenda.
IBM was founded in 1898 by the German inventor Herman Hollerith.
In 1938, even as Hitler dreamt of world domination by an all-conquering aryan master race, the research of two Germanic scientists slowly began the process of biological uplift for the sentinient mammals who would eventually fight alongside humans in the decades-long war with the Nazis.
SuperweaponThe English mathematician, logician, cryptanalyst and computer scientist Alan Turing had been completing his PhD dissertion on mechanized thought at Princeton. But a visit from Austrian-born mathematician and polymath John von Neumann encouraged him to return to Cambridge where he had studied in the early to mid thirties.
Also studying at Cambridge was Ludwig Wittgenstein whose study of higher order cognitive functions had earned him the Chair of Philosophy at the age of just forty.
Von Neumann's true intentions were now revealed. Working together collaboratively they radically changed direction to focus on biological uplift. And with atomic fusion going nowhere fast, the application of their research became the Allies best hope of developing a war-winning superweapon.
© Today in Alternate History, 2013-. All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.