Friday, November 23, 2007

This Week in Geek History: Nov 18-24

Mickey Mice, Aliens, Physics, and Pirates!

Still stuffed from Thursday's feast? Fret not friends, I have the perfect thing to wash down those leftovers-History! Sorry for the lack of post last week-but to be honest, not all that much happened (other than this internet-friendly nonsense in 1970, and this holiday gem in 1978). But now to the important matter at hand... This week's history lesson!

First stop: Nov 18th, 1928. On this day Disney released it's famous short, "Steamboat Willie" before the now forgotten movie, "Gang War." It is remembered by historians as the first sync-sound animation; though not technically true (there were others before that had timed soundtracks) "Steamboat Willie" was the first to incorporate music, dialogue, and sound effects. This was also the third appearance of corporate fave, Mickey Mouse. This short put Disney ahead of the animation curve and created a international icon of that obnoxious high-pitched rodent; leaving the former animation front-runner, Fleischer Studios, in its dust. Disney even celebrates this date as Mickey's birthday. Despite all that, this is one of those cartoons that Disney is none too proud of today-the kinda thing they usually keep locked up in the Disney Vault... I guess its all that ritualistic animal abuse... buncha babies.

More Histories after the jump!

On Nov 20th, 1984, the SETI Institute was founded. As all good nerds should know, that stands for the "Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence." So yes, there are serious science-type nerds out there who actually spend their days scanning the heavens for alien life-And they get paid to do it! There's hope for us all! Too bad google maps already beat them to the punch.

On Nov 21st, 1905, Uber-Nerd Albert Einstein published his paper "Does the Inertia of a Body Depend Upon Its Energy Content?" Great question, I've often found myself pondering that very same thing... anyhow, this is a big deal because this is where he reveals the famous formula E = mc². I'll explain it when you're older.

Also on the 21st; in 1990, Nintendo released the Super Nintendo in Japan (released as the silly sounding Super Famicom). It outsold all other consoles and two years later, Nintendo redesigned it as the Super Nintendo we know and love, and released it world wide. For some stupid reason, I was a Sega loyalist back in those days, and I never had this console... I'm still bitter.

Now, for you internet meme watchers, here's a bit of Pirate lore. On Nov 22nd, 1718, Edward Teach (the dread pirate Blackbeard!) was killed by buzzkill (and possible ninja) Lieutenant Mayndard. Shove that in your pirates-vs-ninjas pipe and smoke it!

And for a taste of modern piracy on the same day, in 1987, two Chicago television stations are hijacked by a pirate dressed as 80's icon Max Headroom. Leave it to 80's nerds for broadcast spankings and excited ramblings... I bet these guys are a hoot on XBox Live. Ironically, they hijacked one of the broadcasts of nerd favorite, Dr. Who...

And speaking of Dr. Who, on the 23rd of 1963, the very first episode aired on the BBC! Dr. Who was wearing that goofy scarf decades before Harry Potter-so suck it Potter trend setters.

Well, that's about it this week... in real history, JFK was assassinated and the Gettysburg address was given... *YAWN*. See you next week geek history geeks!

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