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Pawn to King 4 and the Soul of a New Machine

This year the UNIX clock begins its count. There are no microprocessors. A personal computer must be custom built using Transistor-Transistor-Logic (TTL). Mainframes, such as the IBM 360, have a whopping 4 K of memory. NASA uses people (mostly women with slide rules) as human "computers". Computers are complex and ornery beasts that often break down. One time a computer programmer "debugged" a problem by pulling out a dead moth that had shorted out a logic circuit. Xerox has established a new research center that will develop Ethernet, laser printers, the Graphical User Interface (GUI) and the mouse. Carnegie-Mellon has poured its research dollars into a speech recognition machine. It is a military-sponsored project, so when the General asks for a demonstration, they set up a chessboard and a microphone to catch the General's voice. The machine will challenge the General to a game of chess, but as he clears his throat, the computer interprets the General gurgling as a chess move. The computer responds, "Pawn to King 4". This is going to take some time. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
Building computers in the 1970s was not easy. Even the early microprocessors required a lot of support circuitry. Memory was bulky, slow and ran hot. People could imagine pocket computers. After all, they saw them on Star Trek... but those were blinking lights, sound effects, and the voice of Mrs. Roddenberry responding "Data not found. Cannot comply". Real computers didn't work that way, but those of us growing up with Star Trek WANTED them to work that way. We poured our souls into a new machine, and brought it to life. Designing and building computers is a special kind of crazy. My decent into insanity began after I read the book, "The Soul of a New Machine" by Tracy Kidder. I have not been the same since. [6] [7] [8]

We're from the government, and we've come to help

Contributed by Southpaw Ben

On December 2nd, the EPA was formed in response to the many ecologically damaging practices of many in the US, which had been publicized and criticized in the growing environmental movement of the 1960s. Many in industry thought the environmental protection movement was merely a fad, which caused William Ruckelshaus, the first administrator to the EPA, to establish the fact that the EPA had the power to effectively combat pollution and punish those found guilty of pollution. This year, the groundwork for the creation of OSHA is laid, with the signing of the Occupational Safety and Health Act by President Nixon on December 29th. The same environmental movement that created the EPA also pushed for OSHA, which would allow the Federal Government to impose and enforce regulations on workplace safety.[9][10][11]

My Take by Southpaw Ben
During the summer of 2015, my youth group was working with the Mennonite Disaster Service in Crisfield Maryland helping to rebuild some houses that had been damaged by Hurricane Sandy in 2012. Being from a largely farming congregation, most of us were familiar with the proper use of power tools, and the first day had been making great progress, as we had everyone that was capable using power tools. However, the next day an administrator realized that, since most of us were under 18, we weren't allowed to use power tools, because it would be an OSHA violation. Needless to say, it slowed down our work considerably, as according to OSHA, we couldn't safely use the power tools, because we were "too young".

As for the EPA, I read "Folks, this Ain't Normal" by Joel Salatin this weekend, and agree with him that we could simply use trespassing laws and sue and prosecute those actually responsible for pollution, rather than using the EPA, which doesn't end up punishing the large companies that are the cause of pollution, and instead uses it's overreaching powers to further the various political agendas of whichever moron is in power.

The Sky Marshals Are at Your Service

Contributed by Alex Shrugged

"All we can do is hang our heads and admit that what we did was wrong even though it felt right at the time. We were idealistic students who wanted to change the world and challenge a USA determined to wage war."
-- Emiko Kaneko, co-conspirator with the Yodo-go skyjackers, on trial 32 years later. [12]

These days communist sympathizers want to hijack a plane and fly to Cuba, but the Yogo-do hijackers cannot fly a 727 from Japan to Cuba without multiple fuel-stops, so they head for North Korea where they are granted asylum. (32 years later North Korea will return them to Japan in exchange for economic aid.) Usually, passengers are safe as long as they remain calm, but this is Black September. Passengers be damned. Palestinian PFLP terrorists have skyjacked 4 international flights. Three flights land in Jordon, and a 4th lands in Egypt. The terrorists take over the airfield in Jordon as a direct challenge to the King. Eventually, the passengers are released in exchange for Palestinian prisoners. The planes are blown up, and a civil war erupts between the Palestinians and the Jordanian kingdom. The "Black September" movement will lead to further violence throughout the Middle East. [13] [14] [15] [16] [17] [18]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
FYI, an attempt to skyjack an El Al flight was foiled when Israeli sky marshals dutifully shot the terrorists. President Nixon stepped up the US Sky Marshal program in reaction. Now... I'm going to say something that will cause many people to roll their eyes... but have you ever noticed that whenever society is going to hell in a hand-basket that the communists are often supplying the hand-baskets? In this case, The KGB supplied weapons to the Palestinian (PFLP) skyjackers. The Soviet Union funded terrorist groups around the world in order to challenge the USA. Chairman Mao of communist China did the same. Communists are not under the bed, but these days they are often paying for the buses, the platform and the microphones so that protestors can disrupt the capitalist state. This makes communism look like a reasonable alternative. I could say something about lipstick on pigs, but I'll leave it there.[19] [20]

Notable Births

  • Melania Trump: First Lady of the United States, and 2nd foreign-born First Lady. The first was Louisa, wife of John Quincy Adams. [21] [22]
  • Paul Ryan: Speaker of the House (R) and VP candidate. [21]
  • Ted Cruz: US Senator (R) and Presidential hopeful. [21]
  • Gabrielle Giffords: Congresswoman (D) was shot by an assassin and lived. The assassin got life-plus-140 years. [21] [23]
  • Nicole de Boer: Ezri Dax on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. She played the "Trill" symbiont. [21]
  • -- In Comedy: Tina Fey and Sarah Silverman. [21]
  • -- In Movies: Matt Damon, Heather Graham, and Rachel Weisz (Evelyn in The Mummy). [21]

This Year in Film

  • Love Story: "Love means never having to say you're sorry." (I love my wife, so why am I saying "I'm sorry" every frickin' day?--alexshrugged) [24] [25]
  • Airport: A guy, down on his luck, blows up the plane, so his wife can collect the insurance money. (Very exciting.--alexshrugged) [24]
  • Patton Beginning with an amazing pep talk from General Patton. [24] [26]

This Year in TV

  • The Partridge Family: Shirley Jones launches her TV family on a musical career. David Cassidy is her real son. [29] [30]
  • NFL Monday Night Football: Howard Cosell pokes fun at Don Meredith while Keith Jackson does the play by play. [29]

This Year in Music

  • Bridge over Troubled Water: Simon & Garfunkel. [31]
  • Whole Lotta Love: Led Zeppelin. [31]
  • Let It Be: The Beatles. NOTE: Paul McCartney leaves the Beatles, and puts out his own album. [31]

In Other News

  • Apollo 13: "Houston, we have a problem.": An exploding oxygen tank strands moon-bound astronauts in space. Against all odds they return to Earth. [14] [32] [33]
  • Earth Day is celebrated... NOAA is created... PBS is here.: ... and on and on... [14] [34] [35] [36] [37]
  • Vietnam War protests turn violent: Kent State students are shot. And the Weather Underground bombs the University of Wisconsin at Madison, killing a physics researcher. [38] [39] [40] [41] [42]
  • Finally, the Ford Pinto and Chevy Vega are introduced: As if we didn't have enough problems. [14]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1970, Wikipedia.

See Also


  1. Pinker, Steven. The Language Instinct: How the Mind Creates Language. New York: HarperPerennial. 2007. ISBN 9780062032522. (BOOK) Quote: "In the 1970s a team of artificial intelligence researchers at Carnegie-Mellon University headed by Raj Reddy designed a computer program called HEARSAY that interpreted spoken commands to move chess pieces. Influenced by the top-down theory of speech perception, they designed the program as a 'community' of 'expert' subprograms cooperating to give the most likely interpretation of the signal. There were subprograms that specialized in acoustic analysis, in phonology, in the dictionary, in syntax, in rules for the legal moves of chess, even in chess strategy as applied to the game in progress. According to one story, a general from the defense agency that was funding the research came up for a demonstration. As the scientists sweated he was seated in front of a chessboard and a microphone hooked up to the computer. The general cleared his throat. The program printed 'Pawn to King 4.'"
  2. Raj Reddy - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  3. Hearsay: Speech Recognition 1973 CMU - YouTube. Computer Science Department of Carnegie Mellon University. 2014 [last update] (VIDEO)
  4. PARC (company) - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 20 March 2017. “Founded in 1970 as a division of Xerox Corporation, PARC has been in large part responsible for such developments as laser printing, Ethernet, the modern personal computer, graphical user interface (GUI) and desktop paradigm, object-oriented programming, ubiquitous computing, amorphous silicon (a-Si) applications, and advancing very-large-scale integration (VLSI) for semiconductors.”
  5. Transistor–transistor logic - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 27 March 2017. “Transistor–transistor logic (TTL) is a class of digital circuits built from bipolar junction transistors (BJTs) and resistors. It is called transistor–transistor logic because transistors perform both the logic function (e.g., AND) and the amplifying function (compare with resistor–transistor logic (RTL) and diode–transistor logic (DTL)).”
  6. Magnetic-core memory - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 20 March 2017. “The basic concept of using the square hysteresis loop of certain magnetic materials as a storage or switching device was known from the earliest days of computer development. Much of this knowledge had developed due to an understanding of transformers, which allowed amplification and switch-like performance when built using certain materials. The stable switching behavior was well known in the electrical engineering field, and its application in computer systems was immediate.”
  7. Majel Barrett - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 20 March 2017. “She provided the regular voice of the onboard computers of Federation starships for Star Trek: The Original Series, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Star Trek: Voyager, and most of the Star Trek movies. She reprised her role as a shipboard computer's voice in two episodes of the prequel series Star Trek: Enterprise, thus making her the only actor to have a role in all six televised Star Trek series.”
  8. Kidder, Tracy. Soul of a New Machine, The. Avon. ISBN 038071115X. 
  9. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Environmental_Protection_Agency
  10. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occupational_Safety_and_Health_Act_(United_States)
  11. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occupational_Safety_and_Health_Administration
  12. Japanese hijackers go home after 32 years on the run - The Guardian (September 2002). Retrieved on 21 March 2017. “'The wives were at the heart of Yodogo group's international operations,' said a Japanese prosecution lawyer last week, during the trial of Emiko Kaneko, the wife of Shiro Akagi, who returned to Japan last September. 'They threatened national security and the standing of Japan in the international community.' Despite these allegations, the only charges that the government has been able to press on Ms Kaneko are lying on a job application form and failing to return her passport when requested. 'It is a political trial,' said Ms Kaneko. 'But I accept it. All we can do is hang our heads and admit that what we did was wrong even though it felt right at the time. We were idealistic students who wanted to change the world and challenge a USA determined to wage war.'”
  13. Japan Airlines Flight 351 - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 20 March 2017. “Japan Airlines Flight 351 was hijacked by nine members of the Japanese Communist League-Red Army Faction (a predecessor of the Japanese Red Army) on March 31, 1970”
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 1970 - Wikipedia (2017).
  15. Dawson's Field hijackings - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 20 March 2017. “In September 1970, four jet airliners bound for New York City and one for London were hijacked by members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). Three aircraft were forced to land at Dawson's Field, a remote desert airstrip near Zarka, Jordan, formerly a British Royal Air Force base, one that then become PFLP's 'Revolutionary Airport'. By the end of the incident, one hijacker had been killed and one injury reported. This was the second instance of mass aircraft hijacking, after an escape from communist Czechoslovakia in 1950.”
  16. Black September - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 19 March 2017. “The civil war determined if Jordan would be ruled by the Palestine Liberation Organisation or the Hashemite monarchy.”
  17. Movements of the Japanese Red Army and the "Yodo-go" Group (PDF). NPA (OFFICIAL SITE). National Police Agency (2003). Archived from the original on March 23, 2011. Retrieved on 2007-03-15.
  18. Boeing 727 - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 21 March 2017. “The range of flights it could cover (and the additional safety added by the third engine) meant that the 727 proved efficient for short- to medium-range international flights in areas around the world. Prior to its introduction, four-engined jets or propeller-driven airliners were required for transoceanic service.”
  19. Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 21 March 2017. “The PFLP had a troubled relationship with George Habash's one-time deputy, Wadie Haddad, who was eventually expelled because he refused orders to stop attacks and kidnapping operations abroad. Haddad has been identified in released Soviet archival documents as having been a KGB intelligence agent in place, who in 1975 received arms for the movement directly from Soviet sources in a nighttime transfer in the Sea of Aden.”
  20. Sword and the Shield: The Mitrokhin Archive and the Secret History of the KGB, The. Basic Books, 379-380. ISBN 9780465003105. “The precedent set by the previous use of Sandinista guerrillas against American targets in central and north America encouraged both Andropov and Department V to consider the use of Palestinian terrorists as proxies in the Middle East and Europe. The man chiefly responsible for exporting Palestinian terrorism to Europe was Dr Wadi Haddad, deputy leader of the Marxist-Leninist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), headed by Dr George Habash. In 1968-9 Haddad had attracted favorable attention in the Centre with a spate of aircraft hijackings and attacks on Israeli offices and Jewish businesses in European capitals.” 
  21. 21.0 21.1 21.2 21.3 21.4 21.5 21.6 1970 Births - Wikipedia (2017).
  22. Melania Trump - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 19 March 2017. “First Lady of the United States, married to President Donald Trump. Born in Slovenia, then part of Yugoslavia, she became a permanent resident of the United States in 2001 and an American citizen in 2006. Prior to marrying Donald Trump, she worked as a model; by 2016 she considered herself a 'full-time mom.'[3] Melania Trump is the second foreign-born First Lady of the United States, following Louisa Adams in 1825.”
  23. Jared Lee Loughner - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 19 March 2017. “an American mass murderer who pleaded guilty to 19 charges of murder and attempted murder in connection with the January 8, 2011 Tucson shooting, in which he shot and severely injured U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords, his target, and killed six people, including Chief U.S. District Court Judge John Roll, as well as a nine-year-old bystander, Christina-Taylor Green. Loughner shot and injured 13 other people, and one man was injured while subduing him.”
  24. 24.0 24.1 24.2 24.3 1970 in film - Wikipedia (2017).
  25. Love Story (1970 film) - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 17 March 2017. “The comedy What's Up, Doc? (1972), which stars O'Neal, refers to this line at the end, when Barbra Streisand's character coos 'Love means never having to say you're sorry', while batting her eyelashes. O'Neal's character responds, 'That's the dumbest thing I ever heard'.”
  26. Patton Speech - George C. Scott - 1970 - YouTube (2017). Retrieved on 27 March 2017. “
    Now, I want you to remember that no bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country.
    Men, all this stuff you've heard about America not wanting to fight, wanting to stay out of the war, is a lot of horse dung. Americans, traditionally, love to fight. All real Americans love the sting of battle.
    When you were kids, you all admired the champion marble shooter, the fastest runner, the big league ball players, the toughest boxers. Americans love a winner and will not tolerate a loser. Americans play to win all the time.
    Now, I wouldn't give a hoot in hell for a man who lost and laughed. That's why Americans have never lost and will never lose a war. Because the very thought of losing is hateful to Americans.
    Now, an army is a team. It lives, eats, sleeps, fights as a team. This individuality stuff is a bunch of crap. The bilious bastards who wrote that stuff about individuality for the Saturday Evening Post don't know anything more about real battle than they do about fornicating.
    Now, we have the finest food and equipment, the best spirit, and the best men in the world. You know, by God, I actually pity those poor bastards we're going up against. By God, I do. We're not just going to shoot the bastards. We're going to cut out their living guts and use them to grease the treads of our tanks. We're going to murder those lousy Hun bastards by the bushel.
    Now, some of you boys, I know, are wondering whether or not you'll chicken-out under fire. Don't worry about it. I can assure you that you will all do your duty. The Nazis are the enemy. Wade into them. Spill their blood. Shoot them in the belly. When you put your hand into a bunch of goo that a moment before was your best friend's face, you'll know what to do.
    Now there's another thing I want you to remember. I don't want to get any messages saying that we are holding our position. We're not holding anything. Let the Hun do that. We are advancing constantly and we're not interested in holding onto anything -- except the enemy. We're going to hold onto him by the nose, and we're gonna kick him in the ass. We're gonna kick the hell out of him all the time, and we're gonna go through him like crap through a goose!
    Now, there's one thing that you men will be able to say when you get back home, and you may thank God for it. Thirty years from now when you're sitting around your fireside with your grandson on your knee, and he asks you, 'What did you do in the great World War II?' -- you won't have to say, 'Well, I shoveled shit in Louisiana.'
    Alright now you sons-of-bitches, you know how I feel. Oh, I will be proud to lead you wonderful guys into battle anytime, anywhere. That's all.”
  27. Suicide is Painless (M.A.S.H Theme) - YouTube (2017). Retrieved on 17 March 2017.
  28. MASH funeral scene (Suicide is painless) - YouTube (2017). Retrieved on 17 March 2017.
  29. 29.0 29.1 1970 in television - Wikipedia (2017).
  30. The Partridge Family - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 17 March 2017. “The Partridge Family is an American musical-sitcom starring Shirley Jones and featuring David Cassidy. Jones plays a widowed mother, and Cassidy plays the oldest of her five children who embark on a music career.”
  31. 31.0 31.1 31.2 1970 in music - Wikipedia (2017).
  32. Apollo 13 - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 19 March 2017. “The craft was launched on April 11, 1970, from the Kennedy Space Center, Florida, but the lunar landing was aborted after an oxygen tank exploded two days later, crippling the Service Module (SM) upon which the Command Module (CM) had depended. Despite great hardship caused by limited power, loss of cabin heat, shortage of potable water, and the critical need to make makeshift repairs to the carbon dioxide removal system, the crew returned safely to Earth on April 17.”
  33. Apollo 13- Original Theatrical Trailer - YouTube (1995). Retrieved on 27 March 2017. “The original theatrical trailer for the 1995 film 'Apollo 13,' courtesy of the website www.movie-list.com”
  34. Gaylord Nelson - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 20 March 2017. “A Democrat, he was the founder of Earth Day, which launched a new wave of environmental activism.”
  35. Earth Day - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 20 March 2017. “In 1969 at a UNESCO Conference in San Francisco, peace activist John McConnell proposed a day to honor the Earth and the concept of peace, to first be celebrated on March 21, 1970, the first day of spring in the northern hemisphere.”
  36. March equinox - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 20 March 2017. “Neopagans observe the March equinox as a cardinal point on the Wheel of the Year. In the northern hemisphere some varieties of paganism adapt vernal equinox celebrations, while in the southern hemisphere pagans adapt autumnal traditions. International Astrology Day”
  37. PBS - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 20 March 2017. “Founded by Hartford N. Gunn Jr., PBS began operations on October 5, 1970, taking over many of the functions of its predecessor, National Educational Television (NET), which later merged with Newark, New Jersey station WNDT to form WNET.”
  38. Tom Hayden - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 20 March 2017. “In 2016, Hayden ran to be one of California's representatives to the Democratic National Committee.”
  39. Kent State shootings - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 20 March 2017. “The guardsmen fired 67 rounds over a period of 13 seconds, killing four students and wounding nine others, one of whom suffered permanent paralysis.”
  40. Hard Hat Riot - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 20 March 2017. “The Hard Hat Riot occurred on May 8, 1970 in New York City. It started around noon when about 200 construction workers mobilized by the New York State AFL-CIO attacked some 1,000 college and high school students and others who were protesting the May 4th Kent State shootings, the Vietnam War, and the April 30th announcement by President Richard Nixon of the U.S. invasion of Cambodia.”
  41. Sterling Hall bombing - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 20 March 2017. “The Sterling Hall Bombing that occurred on the University of Wisconsin–Madison campus on August 24, 1970 was committed by four young people as a protest against the university's research connections with the US military during the Vietnam War. It resulted in the death of a university physics researcher and injuries to three others.”
  42. Weather Underground - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 20 March 2017. “In 1970 the group issued a 'Declaration of a State of War' against the United States government, under the name 'Weather Underground Organization'. The bombing campaign targeted mostly government buildings, along with several banks. The group stated that the government had been exploiting other nations by waging war as a means of solidifying America as a greater nation. Most were preceded by evacuation warnings, along with communiqués identifying the particular matter that the attack was intended to protest. No people were killed in any of their acts of property destruction, although three members of the group were killed in the Greenwich Village townhouse explosion.”

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