This Week in Geek History: Birth of Twitter, 10th Anniversary of OS X, and The Longest Space Stay Comes to an End
Every week we bring you interesting trivia and milestones from the archives of Geekdom. Today we’re taking a peek at the birth of Twitter, ten years of Mac OS X, and the longest space stay in history.
Twitter Turns Five
Twitter officially launched in July of 2006, but the first tweet went out on March 21, 2006 when Twitter chairman Jack Dorsey sent out the first tweet, “just setting up my twttr”. Initially the reaction to Twitter was lukewarm and the service received heavy criticism multiple fronts as being frivolous and downright useless; jokes about people tweeting what they were eating and consequently excreting abounded. While Twitter has never quite shook off that criticism (and in fairness, a significant number of tweets are painfully banal) it has grown to become a big player in the dispersal of real time information. When dictators feel the need to block your service because too many people are using it to transmit real time updates to the outside world, you know you’re doing things right.
10th Anniversary of Mac OS X
On March 24, 2001 Apple released the 10th iteration of their Mac OS, dubbed Mac OS X. It was the first release to use a Roman numeral in place of an Arabic number and it would retain the X designation through five major upgrades. OS X was a sweeping upgrade from prior Mac OS versions and included more effective multitasking, memory protection, and a layered architecture for more efficient and stable execution of code. The most visible change was the introduction of the Aqua theme which, with it’s soft edges and translucent colors, is one of the most recognizable aspects of the OS X experience. You can read more about OS X and the changes between versions here.
Longest Space Stay Comes to an End
On March 22, 1995 Russian Cosmonaut Valeri Polyakov returns to Earth after an amazing 437 days in space aboard the Mir space station. Not only had Polyakov set a record for the longest uninterrupted stay in space but over all he has spent more time in space than any other person (almost two years in total). His stay aboard Mir was closely monitored and scientists were eager to study him when he returned. Polyakov had volunteered for the extended stay to show that the human body was capable of surviving the extended time in space required to get from Earth to Mars. Astonishingly, despite being in zero gravity for over a year he was able to walk out of his space capsule upon landing on Earth thanks to his daily workout routine aboard the station and adequate nutrition.
Other Notable Moments from This Week in Geek History
Although we only shine the spotlight on three interesting facts a week in our Geek History column, that doesn’t mean we don’t have space to highlight a few more in passing. This week in Geek History:
- 1905—March 24, Death of Science fiction icon Jules Verne.
- 1916—March 20, Albert Einstein publishes the General Theory of Relativity.
- 1931—March 22, Birth of William Shatner, made famous by his role as Captain Kirk.
- 1931—March 26, Birth of Leonard Nimoy, made famous by his role as Spock.
- 1995—March 22, Sci-Fi show Sliders premiers on Fox.
- 2005—March 24, Sony releases the Playstation Portable in the US.
Have an interesting bit of geek trivia to share? Shoot us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with “history” in the subject line and we’ll be sure to add it to our list of trivia.
Jason Fitzpatrick is warranty-voiding DIYer and all around geek. When he's not documenting mods and hacks he's doing his best to make sure a generation of college students graduate knowing they should put their pants on one leg at a time and go on to greatness, just like Bruce Dickinson. You can follow him on Google+ if you'd like.
- Published 03/24/11