John von Newmann was a child prodigy who could divide eight-digit numbers in his head by age six and learned calculus by age eight. He developed the computer architecture that virtually all computing devices use today. He became a US strategic adviser and his game theory led to the MAD doctrine. content.time.com/time/mag…
The main cause of "soft errors" in computer memory is cosmic rays. Systems buried in caves have a negligible rate of cosmic-ray induced soft errors; computers on mountains have a far higher error rate than at sea level; and the rate of errors in aircraft can be over 300 times the sea level rate en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sof…
The title of the Radiohead album "OK Computer" comes from a line in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: "OK, computer, I want full manual control now." The song "Paranoid Android" refers to "Hitchhiker" character Marvin, the Paranoid Android. vice.com/en/article/ev4ga…
In 1987, an engineer used a new computer program β€œrwall” to send a message to his university server. Instead, the program broadcasted the message to every user on the internetβ€”including the Pentagon. catless.ncl.ac.uk/Risks/4…
Ajay V. Bhatt, an Indian-born American computer architect who led the Intel team that invented the USB (Universal Serial Bus), regrets not making it reversible. It would have doubled the cost, which was a hard sell at the time, "[b]ut in hindsight, we blew it." He holds 132 patents and counting. pcworld.com/article/29998…
Today I learned of Martin Pistorius, a man who fell into a coma at age twelve. He was trapped in his body for 12 years. When he showed signs of recovery, his mum quit her job and worked with him for two years, teaching him to speak with a computer. He went on to get a degree, learn to drive, and get married. npr.org/sections/health-s…
The computer chips that are put into spacecraft are not state of the art, but are so old as to be obsolete. Their known reliability makes up for it. arstechnica.com/science/2…
β€œsmart” toilets identify users through their fingerprint and distinctive features of their anoderm to analyze excreta using computer vision and deep learning. The data is then encrypted and stored in the cloud. nature.com/articles/s4155…
Today I learned about Ada Lovelace, an English mathematician born in 1815, regarded as one of the first computer programmers. She was the first to write a set of instructions - "notes" - intended to be carried out by a machine. She was a friend with Charles Babbage and other important scientists of the time. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ada…
Learned that in 1985 a guy programmed his computer to call Jerry Falwell Sr's toll free prayer line every 30 seconds for 8 months. It clogged up the lines and cost them over $750k in reverse charges. content.time.com/time/mag…
The first song Joshua Radin ever wrote and recorded (on his roommate’s computer) was β€˜Winter’, which was featured at the end of arguably the best Scrubs episode, β€˜My Screw Up’. He was friends with Zach Braff because they went to Northwestern together. It launched his music career. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jos…
Today I learned of a device called Stentrode that functions as a brain–computer interface (BCI). It allows people with paralyzed or missing limbs to use their neural signals or thoughts to control computers and other devices. Human trials using the implanted device have begun. abc.net.au/news/2020-10-2…
Today I learned of Kay Antonelli. Her official civil service title, as printed on her employment documentation, was "computer". During her work as a computer, she invented the subroutine (a sequence of computer instructions which can be used repeatedly). Today, the subroutine is essential programming for all. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kat…
Apple Corp, holding company for the Beatles' record company, settled legally with Apple Computer five known times after repeated breaching of an agreement stating that Apple Computer would not enter the Music business en.wikipedia.org/wiki/App…
The human eye is capable of seeing the polarity of polarized light. You can teach yourself to look at the light on an overcast day when the sun is hidden and see where the sun is by using Haidingers Brush. The effect is also visible on the white portion of phone and computer screens. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hai…
Christopher Nolan believes that "audiences can sense when things are actually there instead of just being all computer generated", which is why he prefers to build practical sets whenever possible. cinemablend.com/new/10-In…
The movie Alien had such a big influence on the video game Metroid that two of the bosses in Metroid were named Ridley and Mother Brain, after the movie's director (Ridley Scott) and the ship's computer (Mother). en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ali…
The first person killed on 9/11 was computer science expert Daniel Lewin. Levin was stabbed to death by hijackers on American Airlines Flight 11. The company he founded, Akamai Technologies, is now worth almost $3 billion. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aka…
Alan Turing didn't invent the first computer. When the first computer models were being designed in the 1940s, scientists didn't yet understand the relevance of his work to computer science. It can be argued that Turing only founded computer science retroactively. cacm.acm.org/magazines/20…
Today I learned of a Russian analog computer built in 1936 that ran by a careful manipulation of water through a room full of interconnected pipes and pumps en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wat…
Creeper was the first ever computer virus and it was designed to move between DEC PDP-10 computers running TENEX OS using the ARPANET. While it wouldn't cause any damages, it would print out a message on the connected teletype that says "I'm the creeper, catch me if you can". And this was 1971. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cre…
The term "bug" in programming originates from the earliest massive computers getting actual, literal bugs in them causing small mechanical relays to break. youtu.be/LN0ucKNX0hc?t=19…
The Space Shuttle never flew on New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day before 2006 because its computers couldn’t handle a calendar year rollover. Instead, it was believed a date counting discrepancy between the shuttle clock and its backup would force a shutdown of all systems while in space. abcnews.go.com/Technology…
Chess engines use what are known as bitboards, 64-bit numbers that represent the chess board. Since most computers use 64-bit registers and since a chess board has 64 squares, they can use several 64-bit numbers where each bit represents a square on the board. chessprogramming.org/Bitb…
In 1961 the cost per GFLOPS for computer performance was US$145.5 billion dollars adjusted to US 2013 inflation. As of 2017, the cost per GLOPS was US$0.03 cents. This enormous difference in cost comes out to be a %99.999999999979 decrease in cost per GLOPS over 56 years. aiimpacts.org/wikipedia-h…
In 2004 the computer worm "Slammer" almost took down the entire internet in 15 minutes. The malware was very small (404 bytes) and once it infected a server it would send millions of copies to random IP addresses. It caused over $1 billion in damages and the creator has never been identified. virus.wikidot.com/slammer
A computer beat the best chess player on earth in '97, but it would take 20 years before one beat the best "Go" player, due to the incredibly complex nature of the game. The program - AlphaGo - is so complex even the programmers themselves can't fully explain how it creates strategy. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alp…
Today I learned of hypercomputers, abstract machines capable of solving problems that were proven to be unsolvable by general-purpose computers. Some theorized cases of hypercomputation include the Universe itself, certain quantum mechanical events, and the human mind, but their existence has not been proven. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chu…
Russia built a computer that ran on water in 1936 en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wat…
During an interview with Stephen Hawking, the camera operator yanked a cable causing an alarm and Hawking to slump forward. Worried they had killed him, everyone rushed over to find Hawking giggling at his own joke. The alarm was from an office computer losing power. biography.com/news/stephe…
The Time person of the year 1982 was the computer. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tim…
Today I learned about computational trinitarianism, the idea that a proof of a proposition (in logic), a program with output of some type (in type theory and computer science), and a generalized element of an object (in category theory) are all equivalent. ncatlab.org/nlab/show/com…
As Apollo 8 was on its way back to Earth, astronaut Jim Lovell accidentally erased some of the guidance computer's memory, leading the computer to think the spacecraft's current orientation was what it had been on the launchpad. He would spend the next 25 minutes correcting it. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apo…
Hospital staff were stunned when Bill Gates made an unexpected visit in 2010 to the death bed of Dr. Ed Roberts, his first employer and developer of the first commercially successful personal computer. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ed_…
The Playstation 2's Exterior Design was based on an early 90s Atari home computer that got canceled; the Falcon Microbox. techspot.com/trivia/110-s…
In 1987, a squirrel chewed through a power line near NASDAQ’s computer center and shut trading down for 87 minutes. Another squirrel repeated the event in 1994, shutting trading down for 34 minutes. cantechletter.com/2013/08…
The RCA "Dimensia" was the first TV model line to have a built-in computer and make use of multichannel sound ("in stereo where available") en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RCA…
A ternary computer is a computer that uses ternary logic (three possible values) instead of the more popular binary system ("Base 2") in its calculations. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ter…
The original purpose of screensavers was to prevent phosphor burn-in on older computer monitors, by automatically changing the images on the screen during inactivity. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scr…
During production the second transformers movie, the increased resolution of the characters for new IMAX footage nearly exhausted ILM's render farms: After one hard night of rendering computer-generated footage, some of the hardware actually exploded. syfy.com/syfywire/how-gia…
Deep Blue versus Garry Kasparov was a pair of chess matches between the then world chess champion Garry Kasparov and an IBM supercomputer called Deep Blue played in 1996 and 1997. The 1997 match was the first defeat of a reigning world chess champion by a computer under tournament conditions. independent.co.uk/sport/g…
The ILOVEYOU virus was one of the world's most destructive computer viruses. Created by Filipino college student Onel de Guzman, this computer worm caused US$5.5–8.7 billion in damages worldwide. This led the Pentagon, CIA and other corporations to shut down their mail systems. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ILO…
A California man got 'NULL' as a personalized license plate hoping that 'NULL' would confuse the computer system. Instead, when cops left the plate number info empty on a ticket or citation, the fine went to him. He got over $12k fines sent to him his first year. arstechnica.com/cars/2019…
Today I learned of the Remote Encoding Center (REC) for the US Post Office in Utah which employs over 1000 employees to decipher the addresses of some 4+ million pieces of mail each day that are so poorly written that USPS computers cannot read them. It runs 24 hours a day. postal-reporter.com/blog/…
John Carmack (founder of "id Software" known for his work in the development of Doom, Quake and Wolfenstein) was arrested at the age of 14 for helping a group of children steal Apple || computers using a mixture of thermite and Vaseline to melt the windows to break into the building. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joh…
SIM card is not just an ordinary piece of read-only memory. It's a separate micro-computer with its own environment capable of running Java Card applets en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jav…
Computers are incapable of producing randomness so when perfoming tasks like procedural generation they use outside sources like the mouse position or the fan noise as a starting point or even use "pseudorandom" generation algorithms using pre-made numbers. howtogeek.com/183051/htg-…
The first general purpose computer was invented in 1822, called the Difference Engine. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dif…
In 2006, because of curiosity. Anne Bras from Netherlands started collecting retro computer games with his first purchase of Day of the Tentacle for 2.50 EUR. Now, he is holding Guinness World Record for largest collection of Big Box PC games (over 2000 in total) genesistemple.com/a-long-…

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