Feb. 2, 1935: You Lie
In the Image: Leonarde Keeler performs interrogation techniques. Courtesy Stanford University
1935: A polygraph machine (sometimes known as the “lie detector”) is used for the first time by its co-inventor to bring a conviction in court.
Criminal justice systems in many societies have long believed that you can spot a liar based on several physiological reactions to questioning. An increase in blood pressure and heart rate, dry mouth, perspiration — all are believed to suggest the likelihood of guilt. All these factors are present in someone feeling anxiety and, well, why would you feel anxiety unless you were lying?
The polygraph measures and records these reactions, but of course the method is not exactly foolproof. Some people get anxious easily and fold at the knees without any real provocation. Others are as cool under duress as the proverbial cucumber.
Nevertheless, on Feb. 2, 1935, Leonarde Keeler, a detective and co-inventor of the Keeler polygraph, tested his invention on two suspected criminals in Portage, Wisconsin. The results of these tests were admitted as evidence in court and both suspects were convicted of assault.
This article first appeared on Wired.com Feb. 2, 2007.
A crowd blocks the passage of Soviet tanks on a road near Ganja, formerly Kirovabad, in Soviet Azerbaijan, on January 22, 1990. Troops sent into the area last week to quell ethnic violence met both armed and peaceful resistance.
Famous in Black and White
Part of the crew of the television series Star Trek attend the first showing of America’s first Space Shuttle, named Enterprise, in Palmdale, California, on September 17, 1976. From left are Leonard Nimoy, George Takei, DeForest Kelly and James Doohan.(AP Photo) #
1. First Full-View Photo of Earth
Photograph courtesy NASA Johnson Space Center
This famous “Blue Marble” shot represents the first photograph in which Earth is in full view. The picture was taken on December 7, 1972, as the Apollo 17 crew left Earth’s orbit for the moon. With the sun at their backs, the crew had a perfectly lit view of the blue planet.
2. New Blue Marble
Image courtesy Norman Kuring, Suomi NPP/NASA/NOAA
North and Central America star in a new “blue marble” picture of Earth. The high-resolution composite was made with data collected January 4 by a NASA satellite.
The National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System Preparatory Project, or NPP, launched on October 28, 2011, to become NASA’s next-generation Earth-monitoring probe. The satellite was designed to help improve short-term weather forecasts and increase our understanding of long-term climate change.
The 2012 blue marble was released this week to mark the announcement of the probe’s new name—Suomi NPP—in honor of the late Verner E. Suomi of the University of Wisconsin, a pioneer in satellite meteorology.
Milestones in Photography
1.World’s First Photograph
2.First Color Photograph
3. First Photos of Movement
4. Oldest Known Photograph of a Tornado
Sept. 15, 1916: All Disquiet on the Western Front
1916: The tank makes its debut as a battlefield weapon, attacking the Germans as part of a British assault near Bois d’Elville, or Delville Wood, on the Western Front.
The crude, 14-ton monster that breasted the German trenches that day was the culmination of an idea 145 years in the making.
Gandhi with textile workers at Darwen, Lancashire, 26 September 1931.
Small Town Shows Scars of Economic Struggle
Jan. 26, 1906: Fred Marriott Lets Off Some Steam
1906: A mechanic in the seat of a steam-powered automobile sets a land speed record of 127.66 mph. Fred Marriott’s milestone isn’t bested until four years later, when a Blitzen Benz uses a gasoline engine to reach 141.7 mph.
His vehicle was a modified “Stanley Steamer,” a popular consumer model that the Stanley Motor Carriage Company produced from 1897 to 1924. Such steam-powered automobiles, which were at one point manufactured by 125 different firms, could take up to a half hour to light the pilot, fire up the boiler, and build the requisite pressure to move. (See an excellent demo, complete with a disproportionally dramatic soundtrack by Philip Glass, here.) Nevertheless, they remained a cleaner, more reliable alternative to gasoline-powered cars until Henry Ford perfected his assembly line and captured the market.
Oct. 3, 1947: Birth of Palomar Giant Eye
1947: After 13 years of grinding and polishing, the Palomar Observatory mirror is completed at Caltech.
It was, at the time, the largest telescope mirror ever made in the United States, measuring 200 inches in diameter. Following its completion, the disk was mounted in Palomar’s Hale Telescope and first used in January 1949 to take pictures of the Milky Way. Edwin Hubble was the first astronomer to make images using the new scope.
Africa’s Past Landscapes Revealed in Historical Travel Accounts
June 15, 1667: First Human Blood Transfusion Is Performed
1667: The first blood transfusion involving a human being is performed.
Jean-Baptiste Denys, personal physician to France’s Louis XIV, is generally credited with performing the first human blood transfusion, although some sources award that distinction to Englishman Richard Lower. What is not in dispute is the year — 1667 — and the patient — a 15-year-old boy who had been bled so much by his doctor that he required an infusion of blood.
The source is also not under dispute: Whoever the physician was, he used a sheep’s blood. And, somehow, the kid recovered.
Subsequent transfusions using sheep’s blood were not as successful, however, and the practice was eventually banned. Science was unaware of the danger not only of interspecies transfusions but of the fact that human beings possessed different, generally incompatible, blood types.
The four major blood groups were not identified until the first decade of the 20th century.
Another discovery that advanced the science of blood transfusions occurred in 1901, when Viennese physician Karl Landsteiner demonstrated the presence of agglutinins and iso-agglutinins in the blood. Landsteiner’s work earned him a Nobel Prize.
Image: Valentina Petrova/AP
This article first appeared on Wired.com June 15, 2007.
April 1, 1960: First Weather Satellite Launched
1960: NASA launches the first weather satellite, TIROS-1, from Cape Canaveral, Florida.
TIROS, for Television Infrared Observation Satellite, sent the very first TV images from space to the ground station at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey. The pictures clearly showed the New England coast and Canada’s Maritime Provinces north to the St. Lawrence River. The photos were airlifted pronto to Washington, D.C., to be presented to President Eisenhower.
TIROS-1 was an aluminum-and-stainless-steel drum measuring 42 inches in diameter, 19 inches high and weighing 270 pounds. An array of 9,200 solar cells powered its two TV cameras: one high-res, one low-res. One antenna received control signals from ground stations, and another four transmitted TV images back to Earth. Two video recorders stored images when the satellite was out of range of ground stations.
The polar-orbiting craft was not constantly pointed at earth and could only operate in daylight, so coverage was not continuous. It functioned for just 78 days, but it sent back thousands of pictures of cloud patterns forming and moving across the face of the planet. And it proved the theory that satellites could effectively survey global weather from space.
The Environmental Science Services Administration (predecessor of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) launched more TIROS satellites with NASA in the next few years. But it wasn’t until TIROS-9 in 1965 that the program achieved complete daily coverage of the entire sun-illuminated side of the planet.
April 1 has further import in the history of meteorology. It was this day in 1875 that Francis Galton (cousin of Charles Darwin) published the first newspaper weather map in The Times (London). Galton’s chart of conditions in northwestern Europe on the previous day had virtually all the elements of a modern weather map: isobars (lines of equal atmospheric pressure), temperatures, wind speed and direction, and sky and sea conditions.
How the Airplane got its Shape
Modern aviation arguably has its roots in Sir George Cayley. In 1799, he sketched the overall design of a fixed wing flying machine that used “flappers” to provide lift and a movable tail as a rudder for directional control. Although the design is awkward and ungainly, it’s striking to note that this is the first time the control forces of flight were treated separately – the rudder moved independent of the wings. Made of wooden support and treated fabric, Cayley did achieve moderate success with his designs, though his flights were more like short hops and the vehicle often stayed tethered to the ground.Really, he created gliders that relied on sufficient wind for lift. (Right, a series of Cayley’s glider designs.)