April 15, 1892
The General Electric Company (GE) is founded. It was formed by the merger of Edison General Electric (started by Thomas Edison in 1890) and the Thomson-Houston Electric Company. GE was one of the original 12 companies listed on the Dow Jones Industrial Average and in 2010 was ranked by Forbes as the world’s second largest company.
April 14, 1912
The RMS Titanic strikes an iceberg four days into its maiden voyage. Over 1,500 passengers drown when the ship sinks early the next morning. The Marconi wireless equipment on board is used to call for help, effectively saving 700 people. It was stated that, “Those who have been saved have been saved through one man, Mr. Marconi and his wonderful invention.”
March 31, 1999
The hugely successful motion picture, The Matrix, is released on this day. Many call it a classic (ok, that’s me), many call it influential (ok, me again), but no one can deny that the impact it had on many aspects of our society from the emerging tech culture, to the movie industry, to science-fiction, to political thinking. The Matrix won 4 Oscars, on a budget of $63 million grossed over $463 million, and was the first DVD to sell over 3 million copies. And who could forget some of the great quotes from this movie, including “Free … your … mind”, “Dodge this”, “There is no spoon”, “Don’t think you are – know you are”, “Welcome … to the real world”, “I know kung fu”, and “You take the red pill – you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes.”
March 31, 1880
Wabash, Indiana becomes the first city in the world to be completely illuminated by electric lighting. And the light was good.
March 22, 1960
The first patent on a laser is issued to Arthur Leonard Schawlow and Charles Hard Townes, who assign it to Bell Telephone Laboratories. Still, no one has figured out how to attach these “lasers” to the heads of sharks. Throw me a frickin’ bone here!
March 11, 1986
The NFL adopts a limited instant replay system. This system was dropped, however, in 1992 before the current instant replay system was instated in 1999. In effect, you could say the current system is an instant replay itself!
March 2, 1969
The Concorde supersonic transport (SST) jet makes its maiden flight. The Concode is only the second supersonic passenger airliner to have been commercially operated. The Concorde fleet flew until November 26, 2003.
February 28, 2002
Disney CEO Michael Eisner testifies at a Senate Commerce Committee hearing in Washington, D.C., on the protection of digital content from piracy. Eisner lobbies for sterner enforcement of copyright laws, claiming that Apple Computer advertisements for the iPod encourage copyright violations. “Rip. Mix. Burn. … they can create a theft if they buy this computer.”
A little over 3 years later, Eisner was later replaced as CEO by Robert Iger, who quickly arranged the buyout of Pixar Animation Studios, of which Steve Jobs was CEO. This move made Steve Jobs Disney’s largest shareholder and a member of Disney’s board. I guess it’s a small world after all!