Posts Tagged ‘IBM

10
Feb
09

On This Day, February 10: Deep Blue

February 10, 1996

Kasparov loses chess game to computer

On this day in 1996, after three hours, world chess champion Gary Kasparov loses the first game of a six-game match against Deep Blue, an IBM computer capable of evaluating 200 million moves per second.  Man was ultimately victorious over machine, however, as Kasparov bested Deep Blue in the match with three wins and two ties and took home the $400,000 prize. An estimated 6 million people worldwide followed the action on the Internet.

Kasparov had previously defeated Deep Thought, the prototype for Deep Blue developed by IBM researchers in 1989, but he and other chess grandmasters had, on occasion, lost to computers in games that lasted an hour or less. The February 1996 contest was significant in that it represented the first time a human and a computer had duked it out in a regulation, six-game match, in which each player had two hours to make 40 moves, two hours to finish the next 20 moves and then another 60 minutes to wrap up the game.

Kasparov, who was born in 1963 in Baku, Azerbaijan, became the Soviet Union’s junior chess champion at age 13 and in 1985, at age 22, the youngest world champ ever when he beat legendary Soviet player Anatoly Karpov. Considered by many to be the greatest chess player in the history of the game, Kasparov was known for his swashbuckling style of play and his ability to switch tactics mid-game.

In 1997, a rematch took place between Kasparov and an enhanced Deep Blue. Kasparov won the first game, the computer the second, with the next three games a draw. On May 11, 1997, Deep Blue came out on top with a surprising sixth game win–and the $700,000 match prize.In 2003, Kasparov battled another computer program, “Deep Junior.” The match ended in a tie.

Kasparov retired from professional chess in 2005.

“Kasparov loses chess game to computer.” 2009. The History Channel website. 10 Feb 2009, 07:04 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=52362.

 

Mississippi Fred McDowell:

 John Henry

On This Day

1763 – The Treaty of Paris ended the French and Indian War. In the treaty France ceded Canada to England.

1846 – Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints began their exodus to the west from Illinois.

1934 – The first imperforated, ungummed sheets of postage stamps were issued by the U.S. Postal Service in New York City.

1967 – The 25th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified. The amendment required the appointment of a vice-president when that office became vacant and instituted new measures in the event of presidential disability.

1989 – Ron Brown became the first African American to head a major U.S. political party when he was elected chairman of the Democratic National Committee.

2005 – North Korea publicly announced for the first time that it had nuclear arms. The country also rejected attempts to restart disarmament talks in the near future saying that it needed the weapons as protection against an increasingly hostile United States.February 10, 1962

Soviets exchange American for captured Russian spy

Francis Gary Powers, an American who was shot down over the Soviet Union while flying a CIA spy plane in 1960, is released by the Soviets in exchange for the U.S. release of a Russian spy. The exchange concluded one of the most dramatic episodes of the Cold War.

Powers had been a pilot of one of the high altitude U-2 spy planes developed by the United States in the late-1950s. Supposedly invulnerable to any Soviet antiaircraft defense, the U-2s flew numerous missions over Russia, photographing military installations. On May 1, 1960, Powers’ U-2 was shot down by a Soviet missile. Although Powers was supposed to engage the plane’s self-destruct system (and commit suicide with poison furnished by the CIA), he and much of the plane were captured. The United States at first denied involvement with the flight, but had to admit that Powers was working for the U.S. government when the Soviets presented incontrovertible evidence. In retaliation, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev called off a scheduled summit with President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Powers was put on trial, convicted of espionage, and sentenced to 10 years imprisonment. In February 1962, the Soviet Union announced that it was freeing Powers because of a petition from the prisoner’s family. American officials made it quite clear, however, that Abel was being exchanged for Powers-a spy-for-a-spy trade, not a humanitarian gesture on the part of the Soviet Union. The U.S. government announced that in exchange for Powers, it would release Col. Rudolf Abel, a Russian convicted of espionage in the United States. On February 10, Abel and Powers were brought to the Gilenicker Bridge that linked East and West Berlin for the exchange. After the men were successfully exchanged, Powers was flown back to the United States.

In an announcement, the Soviet Union declared that its release of Powers was partially motivated by “a desire to improve relations between the Soviet Union and the United States.” U.S. officials were cautious in evaluating the Soviet overture, but did note that the action could certainly help lessen Cold War tensions. The exchange was part of the ongoing diplomatic dance between Khrushchev and President John F. Kennedy. Both men seemed earnestly to desire better relations, and the February 1962 exchange was no doubt part of their efforts. Just a few months later, however, the Cuban Missile Crisis, in which the Soviets helped construct missile bases in Cuba, erased the memory of these diplomatic overtures and brought the two powers to the brink of nuclear conflict.

“Soviets exchange American for captured Russian spy.” 2009. The History Channel website. 10 Feb 2009, 07:04 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2573.

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12
Aug
08

On This Day, 8-12-2008: The Berlin Wall

East Germany begins construction of the Berlin Wall

In an effort to stem the tide of refugees attempting to leave East Berlin, the communist government of East Germany begins building the Berlin Wall to divide East and West Berlin. Construction of the wall caused a short-term crisis in U.S.-Soviet bloc relations, and the wall itself came to symbolize the Cold War.

Throughout the 1950s and into the early 1960s, thousands of people from East Berlin crossed over into West Berlin to reunite with families and escape communist repression. In an effort to stop that outflow, the government of East Germany, on the night of August 12, 1961, began to seal off all points of entrance into West Berlin from East Berlin by stringing barbed wire and posting sentries. In the days and weeks to come, construction of a concrete block wall began, complete with sentry towers and minefields around it. The Berlin Wall succeeded in completely sealing off the two sections of Berlin. The U.S. government responded angrily. Commanders of U.S. troops in West Berlin even began to make plans to bulldoze the wall, but gave up on the idea when the Soviets moved armored units into position to protect it. The West German government was furious with America’s lack of action, but President John F. Kennedy believed that “A wall is a hell of a lot better than a war.” In an attempt to reassure the West Germans that the United States was not abandoning them, Kennedy traveled to the Berlin Wall in June 1963, and famously declared, “Ich bin ein Berliner!” (“I am a Berliner!”). Since the word “Berliner” was commonly referred to as a jelly doughnut throughout most of Germany, Kennedy’s improper use of German grammar was also translated as “I am a jelly doughnut.” However, due to the context of his speech, Kennedy’s intended meaning that he stood together with West Berlin in its rivalry with communist East Berlin and the German Democratic Republic was understood by the German people.

In the years to come, the Berlin Wall became a physical symbol of the Cold War. The stark division between communist East Berlin and democratic West Berlin served as the subject for numerous editorials and speeches in the United States, while the Soviet bloc characterized the wall as a necessary protection against the degrading and immoral influences of decadent Western culture and capitalism. During the lifetime of the wall, nearly 80 people were killed trying to escape from East to West Berlin. In late 1989, with communist governments falling throughout Eastern Europe, the Berlin Wall was finally opened and then demolished. For many observers, this action was the signal that the Cold War was finally coming to an end.

“East Germany begins construction of the Berlin Wall.” 2008. The History Channel website. 11 Aug 2008, 11:51 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2757.

 

On This Day

1656 – “King Phillip’s War” came to an end with the killing of Indian chief King Phillip. The war between the Indians and the Europeans lasted for two years.

1865 – Disinfectant was used for the first time during surgery by Joseph Lister.

1867 – U.S. President Andrew Johnson sparked a move to impeach him when he defied Congress by suspending Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton.

1877 – Thomas Edison invented the phonograph and made the first sound recording.

1898 – Hawaii was annexed by the U.S. Hawaii was later given territorial status and was given Statehood in 1959.

1898 – The Spanish-American War was ended with the signing of the peace protocol. The U.S. acquired Guam, Puerto Rico and the Philippines. Hawaii was also annexed.

1944 – Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. was killed with his co-pilot when their Navy plane exploded over England. Joseph Kennedy was the oldest son of Joseph and Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy.

1953 – The Soviet Union secretly tested its first hydrogen bomb.

1960 – The balloon satellite Echo One was launched by the U.S. from Cape Canaveral, FL. It was the first communications satellite.

1981 – IBM unveiled its first PC.

1988 – “The Last Temptation of Christ” opened.

1990 – The first U.S. casualty occurred during the Persian Gulf crisis when Air Force Staff Sergeant John Campisi died after being hit by a military truck.

1992 – The U.S., Canada, and Mexico announced that the North American Free Trade Agreement had been created after 14 months of negotiations.

 

 

Hitler institutes the Mother’s Cross

On this day in 1938, Adolf Hitler institutes the Mother’s Cross, to encourage German women to have more children, to be awarded each year on August 12, Hitler’s mother’s birthday.

The German Reich needed a robust and growing population and encouraged couples to have large families. It started such encouragement early. Once members of the distaff wing of the Hitler Youth movement, the League of German Girls, turned 18, they became eligible for a branch called Faith and Beauty, which trained these girls in the art of becoming ideal mothers. One component of that ideal was fecundity. And so each year, in honor of his beloved mother, Klara, and in memory of her birthday, a gold medal was awarded to women with seven children, a silver to women with six, and a bronze to women with five.

“Hitler institutes the Mother’s Cross.” 2008. The History Channel website. 11 Aug 2008, 11:52 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=tdihArticleCategory&id=6548.

Soviets test “Layer-Cake” bomb

Less than one year after the United States tested its first hydrogen bomb, the Soviets detonate a 400-kiloton device in Kazakhstan. The explosive power was 30 times that of the U.S. atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, and the mushroom cloud produced by it stretched five miles into the sky. Known as the “Layer Cake,” the bomb was fueled by layers of uranium and lithium deuteride, a hydrogen isotope. The Soviet bomb was smaller and more portable than the American hydrogen bomb, so its development once again upped the ante in the dangerous nuclear arms race between the Cold War superpowers.

“Soviets test “Layer-Cake” bomb.” 2008. The History Channel website. 11 Aug 2008, 12:02 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=tdihArticleCategory&id=5255.

29
Apr
08

On This Day, 4-29-08: Eva Braun

Adolf and Eva marry

Eva Braun met Hitler while employed as an assistant to Hitler’s official photographer. Of a middle-class Catholic background, Braun spent her time with Hitler out of public view, entertaining herself by skiing and swimming. She had no discernible influence on Hitler’s political career but provided a certain domesticity to the life of the dictator. Loyal to the end, she refused to leave the Berlin bunker buried beneath the chancellery as the Russians closed in. The couple was married only hours before they both committed suicide.

“Adolf and Eva marry.” 2008. The History Channel website. 29 Apr 2008, 10:49 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=6437.

1429 – Joan of Arc lead Orleans, France, to victory over Britain.

1861 – The Maryland House of Delegates voted against seceding from Union.

1862 – New Orleans fell to Union forces during the Civil War.

1913 – Gideon Sundback patented an all-purpose zipper.

1941 – The Boston Bees agreed to change their name to the Braves.

1945 – The German Army in Italy surrendered unconditionally to the Allies.

1945 – In a bunker in Berlin, Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun were married. Hitler designated Admiral Karl Doenitz his successor.

1946 – Twenty-eight former Japanese leaders were indicted in Tokyo as war criminals.

1952 – IBM President Thomas J. Watson, Jr., informed his company’s stockholders that IBM was building “the most advanced, most flexible high-speed computer in the world.” The computer was unveiled April 7, 1953, as the IBM 701 Electronic Data Processing Machine.

1974 – U.S. President Nixon announced he was releasing edited transcripts of secretly made White House tape recordings related to the Watergate scandal.

1975 – The U.S. embassy in Vietnam was evacuated as North Vietnamese forces fought their way into Saigon.

1984 – In California, the Diablo Canyon nuclear reactor went online after a long delay due to protests.

 

Dachau liberated

On April 29, 1945, the U.S. Seventh Army’s 45th Infantry Division liberates Dachau, the first concentration camp established by Germany’s Nazi regime. A major Dachau subcamp was liberated the same day by the 42nd Rainbow Division.

Established five weeks after Adolf Hitler took power as German chancellor in 1933, Dachau was situated on the outskirts of the town of Dachau, about 10 miles northwest of Munich. During its first year, the camp held about 5,000 political prisoners, consisting primarily of German communists, Social Democrats, and other political opponents of the Nazi regime. During the next few years, the number of prisoners grew dramatically, and other groups were interned at Dachau, including Jehovah’s Witnesses, Gypsies, homosexuals, and repeat criminals. Beginning in 1938, Jews began to comprise a major portion of camp internees.

Prisoners at Dachau were used as forced laborers, initially in the construction and expansion of the camp and later for German armaments production. The camp served as the training center for SS concentration camp guards and was a model for other Nazi concentration camps. Dachau was also the first Nazi camp to use prisoners as human guinea pigs in medical experiments. At Dachau, Nazi scientists tested the effects of freezing and changes to atmospheric pressure on inmates, infected them with malaria and tuberculosis and treated them with experimental drugs, and forced them to test methods of making seawater potable and of halting excessive bleeding. Hundreds of prisoners died or were crippled as a result of these experiments.

“Dachau liberated.” 2008. The History Channel website. 28 Apr 2008, 01:55 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=6882.

Riots erupt in Los Angeles

In Los Angeles, California, four Los Angeles police officers that had been caught beating an unarmed African-American motorist in an amateur video are acquitted of any wrongdoing in the arrest. Hours after the verdicts were announced, outrage and protest turned to violence, as rioters in south-central Los Angeles blocked freeway traffic and beat motorists, wrecked and looted numerous downtown stores and buildings, and set more than 100 fires.

“Riots erupt in Los Angeles.” 2008. The History Channel website. 28 Apr 2008, 01:56 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=4960.

24
Apr
08

On This Day, 04-24-08: With Us or Agin Us

Hostage rescue mission ends in disaster

On April 24, 1980, an ill-fated military operation to rescue the 52 American hostages held in Tehran ends with eight U.S. servicemen dead and no hostages rescued.

With the Iran Hostage Crisis stretching into its sixth month and all diplomatic appeals to the Iranian government ending in failure, President Jimmy Carter ordered the military mission as a last ditch attempt to save the hostages. During the operation, three of eight helicopters failed, crippling the crucial airborne plans. The mission was then canceled at the staging area in Iran, but during the withdrawal one of the retreating helicopters collided with one of six C-130 transport planes, killing eight soldiers and injuring five. The next day, a somber Jimmy Carter gave a press conference in which he took full responsibility for the tragedy. The hostages were not released for another 270 days.

“Hostage rescue mission ends in disaster.” 2008. The History Channel website. 24 Apr 2008, 11:58 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=4948.

1519 – Envoys of Montezuma II attended the first Easter mass in Central America.

1547 – Charles V’s troops defeated the Protestant League of Schmalkalden at the battle of Muhlburg.

1800 – The Library of Congress was established with a $5,000 allocation.

1877 – Russia declared war on the Ottoman Empire.

1884 – Otto von Bismarck cabled Cape Town that South Africa was now a German colony.

1898 – Spain declared war on the U.S., rejecting America’s ultimatum for Spain to withdraw from Cuba.

1915 – During World War I, the Ottoman Turkish Empire began the mass deportation of Armenians.

1916 – Irish nationalist launched the Easter Rebellion against British occupation forces. They were overtaken several days later.

1948 – The Berlin airlift began to relieve the surrounded city.

1961 – U.S. President Kennedy accepted “sole responsibility” following Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba.

1968 – Leftist students took over several campus buildings at Columbia University.

1970 – The People’s Republic of China launched its first satellite.

1981 – The IBM Personal Computer was introduced.

1989 – Thousands of students began striking in Beijing.

1990 – The space shuttle Discovery blasted off from Cape Canaveral, FL. It was carrying the $1.5 billion Hubble Space Telescope.

1997 – The U.S. Senate ratified the Chemical Weapons Convention. The global treaty banned the development, production, storage and use of chemical weapons.

 

General Orders No. 100 issued

The Union army issues General Orders No. 100, which provided a code of conduct for Federal soldiers and officers when dealing with Confederate prisoners and civilians. The code was borrowed by many European nations, and its influence can be seen on the Geneva Convention.

The orders were the brainchild of Francis Lieber, a Prussian immigrant whose three sons had served during the Civil War. One son was mortally wounded while fighting for the Confederacy at the Battle of Williamsburg, Virginia, in 1862. Lieber’s other two sons fought for the Union. Lieber was a scholar of international law who took a keen interest in the treatment of combatants and civilians. He wrote many essays and newspaper articles on the subject early in the war, and he advised General Henry Halleck, general-in-chief of the Union armies, on how to treat guerilla fighters captured by Federal forces.

Halleck appointed a committee of four generals and Lieber to draft rules of combat for the Civil War. The final document consisted of 157 articles written almost entirely by Lieber. The orders established policies for, among other things, the treatment of prisoners, exchanges, and flags of truce. There was no document like it in the world at the time, and other countries soon adopted the code. It became the standard for international military law, and the Germans adopted it by 1870. Lieber’s concepts are still very influential today.

“General Orders No. 100 issued.” 2008. The History Channel website. 24 Apr 2008, 11:49 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2183.

The Bandung Conference concludes

The Afro-Asian Conference–popularly known as the Bandung Conference because it was held in Bandung, Indonesia–comes to a close on this day. During the conference, representatives from 29 “non-aligned” nations in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East met to condemn colonialism, decry racism, and express their reservations about the growing Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union.

The United States government was generally appalled by the Bandung Conference. Although invited to do so, it refused to send an unofficial observer to the meetings. Secretary of State John Foster Dulles was already on record as equating neutralism in the fight against communism as close to a mortal sin. For the United States, the issue was black and white: join America in the fight against communism or risk being considered a potential enemy. This unfortunate policy brought the United States into numerous conflicts with nations of the underdeveloped world who were struggling to find a middle road in the Cold War conflict.

“The Bandung Conference concludes.” 2008. The History Channel website. 24 Apr 2008, 11:52 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2647.

Westmoreland makes controversial remarks

At a news conference in Washington, Gen. William Westmoreland, senior U.S. commander in South Vietnam, causes controversy by saying that the enemy had “gained support in the United States that gives him hope that he can win politically that which he cannot win militarily.” Though he said that, “Ninety-five percent of the people were behind the United States effort in Vietnam,” he asserted that the American soldiers in Vietnam were “dismayed, and so am I, by recent unpatriotic acts at home.” This criticism of the antiwar movement was not received well by many in and out of the antiwar movement, who believed it was both their right and responsibility to speak out against the war.

“Westmoreland makes controversial remarks.” 2008. The History Channel website. 24 Apr 2008, 11:56 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=1803.

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http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/ops/iraq_casualties.htm




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