Arrow-right Camera

The life and work of Alan Turing

While others were working on computing machines before Alan Turing’s heyday before and during World War II, Turing was one of the first to consider computers more than just souped-up calculating machines and more of a way of solving real human problems.

What’s gone wrong with Brexit?

Five years ago Wednesday, the British people shocked the world and the European community – and a large part of themselves – by voting to leave the European Union. What came to be called Brexit would take four years to pull o and, even now, there are still aspects of the union that have yet to be dissolved.

All-time highest-grossing video game franchises

Thirty years ago this week, Sonic the Hedgehog made his debut – or, at least, he did for gamers who used the Sega Genesis as opposed to the brand-new Super Nintendo. And 40 years ago next month, Donkey Kong first appeared in video games around the world. The result of all this would be an awful lot of gaming fun.

The sometimes questionable art of album covers

Growing up in the 1970s, I became fascinated with what appeared to be a wonderfully creative field: Rock and roll album cover design. Some album covers featured photos of the artist. Some used abstract art. Some were amusing. Some were deadly serious. They all had one thing in common, though: To entice a music buyer into picking up the album and then buying it. Which brings up the question: How on Earth did any of these albums sell a single copy?

History of Apartheid in South Africa

In America, it was called Jim Crow. In South Africa, the term was apartheid: strict racial segregation enforced by law that began in the late 1940s and early 1950s and didn’t end until, under tremendous pressure from the international community, South African leaders decided apartheid had to go. That happened on June 17, 1991: Thirty years ago today.

The career of golfer Phil Mickelson

Last month, Phil Mickelson stunned the golf world by winning the PGA Championship at Kiawah Island, South Carolina – the oldest golfer to win a major tournament. Today, Mickelson turns 51.

The most powerful volcanic eruptions

Thirty years ago today, Mount Pinatubo – a peaceful unassuming mountain 50 miles northwest of Manila in the Philippines, erupted in what would be the second-largest volcanic event of the 20th century.

History of computing

Seventy years ago today, the first electronic computer built specifically for commercial purposes was put to use by the customer that bought it: the U.S. Census Bureau.

The Pentagon papers: the true extent of U.S. involvement in Vietnam

Fifty years ago Sunday, the New York Times began publishing a series of reports culled from a top-secret analysis compiled for the Pentagon regarding the true extent of U.S. involvement in Vietnam and in the Vietnam War. The report embarrassed a number of career politicians and leaders. At one point, the series would be shut down for 15 days by a court order.

How George Lucas and Steven Spielberg created Indiana Jones

Forty years ago Saturday, two of America’s most beloved filmmakers – George Lucas and Steven Spielberg – teamed up to revive a style of action film that hadn’t been in vogue since before World War II. Instead of a secret agent or a private detective, the hero was a college professor and archaeologist. And he wasn’t after riches or revenge or a way to travel in space. He hunted for objects to put in a museum.

Carole King plays her first live show at Carnegie Hall

Fifty years ago next week, master songwriter Carole King – who had released her classic solo album “Tapestry” earlier that year – gave her first concert performance in front of a live audience at New York’s Carnegie Hall. That show would be well-received – and, in fact, would be released on CD a quarter-century later. But in order to truly understand King and her work, you need to also consider her songwriting output for other artists in the 1960s.

U2 makes its U.S. TV debut

On this date 40 years ago, the Irish band U2 made its national TV debut in the U.S. on Tom Snyder’s late-night talk show, “Tomorrow.” For many of us, it was our first look at what would soon become one of the biggest acts in rock.

How Henry Ford’s Quadricycle impacted America

125 years ago Friday, Henry Ford introduced what he called a Quadricycle – an early automobile. It didn’t have a steering wheel or rear-view mirrors or turn signals or Bluetooth so he could connect his audio system to his smartphone. Still, his Quadricycle and its descendants would profoundly impact the lives of every American.

The AIDS epidemic

Forty years ago Saturday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a report on a lung condition found in previously healthy gay men in Los Angeles over the previous months. This paralleled growing rumors of a “gay cancer” that was quietly spreading through the gay communities in New York and San Francisco. Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome – or AIDS – didn’t yet have a name. But it would soon become a household word.

A Spokane icon: the Steam Plant

Avista – known once upon a time as the Washington Water Power Company – announced last week it was selling the Central Steam Plant it bought 102 years ago to a local developer. Over the past century, the plant went from being a source of heat and electricity for downtown residents and businesses to a high tech commercial and dining hub and an icon of the Spokane skyline.

The massacre in Tulsa

One hundred years ago Monday, arguably the worst racial conflict in U.S. history broke out in Tulsa, Oklahoma – in a section of town called the Greenwood District, where Black folks lived and prospered. Booker T. Washington himself coined a nickname for the area: Black Wall Street. For decades, what happened in Greenwood was referred to as a race riot, but no longer – what happened that day was no riot. It was an attack on the Black community by an armed and organized white mob.

The career of baseball legend Willie Mays

On this Friday, 70 years ago, the man who would become one of the greatest Major League Baseball players of all time, Willie Mays, hit his first home run. What’s more: The 20-year-old slugger for the New York Giants hit that dinger off the all-time left-handed wins leader, Warren Spahn.

Invasion of the cicadas

Over the next few weeks, residents on the East Coast will find themselves tree trunk deep in thousands of loudly chirping cicadas. This is the red-letter year for “Brood X” – that’s the Roman numeral 10, not the letter “X” – which is the largest of the groups of cicadas that emerge once every 17 years. And just how do the cicadas know its been 17 years? Experts don’t know, exactly. The cicadas know. But they’re not talking ...

Birth of the Moon Shot

Sixty years ago today, President John F. Kennedy informed a joint session of Congress of his intention to put an American on the moon before the end of the decade. It seemed like an impossibly brash goal, given how the Soviet Union had beaten the U.S. at putting a satellite and then a man into orbit. But sometimes, it pays to dream big. Here’s how NASA followed through on Kennedy’s promise.