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Today in Geek History

Today in Geek History: United States Congress Establishes Time Zones

Time zones don't bother us too terribly much in our everyday lives -- in fact, they make a lot of sense -- except when people fly across the planet and appear to arrive before they left. Or when folks in California complain about their New York friends spoiling the ending of the latest The Walking Dead episode because they saw it three hours earlier. But did you know time zones have been around in the U.S. for less than a hundred years? That's right. On this day in 1918, Congress gave us our time zones and established the much-vaunted, yet often-ranted-about daylight saving time.

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Today in Geek History: Alexander Graham Bell Acquires Patent for the Telephone

Phones are so ubiquitous that we screen our calls, hang up on telemarketers, and send stupid pictures to friends and family with our mobiles. Google Glass is on its way, for better or for worse, and it's just getting harder to imagine how we used to call households, not individuals. Crazier still, we used to have to dial the operator first to get connected to other lines -- back in the days when the world was black and white. All of this was possible because of a long soup-can-phone string of inventors, which culminated in this day in 1876, when Alexander Graham Bell received the patent (No. 174,465) for what was to become the telephone.

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Today in Geek History: Nabisco Introduces the Oreo

In the distant future, when alien archaeologists dig through Earth's sediment and uncover traces of our glorious existence, they will inevitably unearth our most iconic product. They shall find the Oreo, the ubiquitous "chocolate sandwich cookies," which was introduced on this day in 1912 by the National Biscuit Company (aka Nabisco). That's right, Oreos are 101 years old. What did you do for its centenarian birthday last year?

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Today in Geek History: Secret Service Raids Steve Jackson Games

You probably figured our Today In Geek History series would cover only science events. You figured wrong! The gaming world has a colorful history, too. For example, on this day in 1990, armed Secret Service agents raided the Austin, Texas offices of Steve Jackson Games, the game company that published GURPS (Generic Universal RolePlaying System) but is perhaps best known in the community for the card game Munchkin. So why the raid? They were looking for a hacker. Sound familiar?

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Today in Geek History: Watson and Crick Discover DNA

60 years ago today, one of the most important discoveries in the history of modern science was announced, as is right and proper, at a bar. On February 28, 1953 in the Eagle Pub, James Watson and Francis Crick first spoke publicly about their discovery of the structure of the most fundamental building block of life, deoxyribonucleic acid -- or DNA if that's too much of a mouthful.

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Today in Geek History: The Neutron’s Discovered

It was only 81 years ago back on February 27, 1932 when Sir James Chadwick (not pictured above) published a letter announcing his discovery of the neutron. Besides giving students a new particle to memorize, Chadwick's discovery also helped lead the world into the nuclear age by allowing science to split the atom. The atomic bomb would not have been possible without Chadwick's work, so... thanks?

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Today in Geek History: The First Flying Car Took Off

Remember when we didn't have flying cars? Remember when all we could do is zoom around in two dimensions like suckers? Life was simpler then. Anyway, that's the wistful reality that inventor/aviator Waldo Waterman was hoping for us. You see, today in 1937, the first "flying car" left the ground.

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Today in Geek History: The Mir Space Station Enters Orbit

The International Space Station is pretty tops, hosting all sorts of events like Google Hangouts and jam sessions that make you feel like you're really there. But for as cool as it is, it's a Johnny-come-lately on the space station scene, and geeks of a certain age -- yours truly included -- can be forgiven for having a special place in our heart for the space station we grew up with. On February 20th, 1986, Russia's Mir space station was launched into orbit, where it remained an orbital center for science and research until it plummeted back to Earth in 2001.

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