1876 – Carleton Ellis, American inventor and chemist is born.
Carleton Ellis was an American inventor and a pioneer in the field of organic chemistry. He is the forgotten father of margarine, polyester, anti-knock gasoline, paint and varnish remover, and holder of 753 patents. A native of Keene, New Hampshire, he was the valedictorian of his high school class, and later a graduate of MIT. He then set up the Ellis Laboratories in Montclair, New Jersey.
1893 – Charles Duryea and his brother road-test the first American-made gasoline-powered automobile.
On September 20, 1893, the Duryea Brothers road-tested the first-ever, working American gasoline-powered automobile in a portion of Springfield, Massachusetts that is now located in another town. The Duryea’s “motor wagon” was a used horse drawn buggy that the brothers had purchased for $70 and into which they had installed a 4 HP, single cylinder gasoline engine. The car (buggy) had a friction transmission, spray carburetor and low tension ignition. Frank Duryea test drove it again on November 10 — this time in a prominent location: past their garage at 47 Taylor Street in Springfield. The next day it was reported by The Republican newspaper with great fanfare.
This particular car was put into storage in 1894 and stayed there until 1920, when it was rescued by a former Duryea engineer Inglis M. Uppercu and presented to the United States National Museum.
He was inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame in 1973.
1945 – Laurie Spiegel, American composer is born.
Laurie Spiegel is an American composer. She has worked at Bell Laboratories, in computer graphics, and is known primarily for her electronic-music compositions and her algorithmic composition software Music Mouse. She also plays the guitar and lute.
Spiegel was seen by some as a pioneer of the New York new-music scene. She withdrew from this scene in the early 1980s, believing that its focus had shifted from artistic process to product. While she continues to support herself through software development, Spiegel aims to use technology in music as a means of furthering her art rather than as an end in itself. In her words, “I automate whatever can be automated to be freer to focus on those aspects of music that can’t be automated. The challenge is to figure out which is which.”
Spiegel’s realization of Johannes Kepler’s “Harmonices Mundi” was chosen for the opening track on the “Sounds of Earth” section of the golden record placed on board the Voyager spacecraft in 1977. Her piece called “Sediment” was used in the cornucopia scene of the 2012 movie The Hunger Games.
1956 – Jennifer Tour Chayes, American mathematician and computer scientist is born.
Jennifer Tour Chayes is Managing Director and Distinguished Scientist at Microsoft Research New England in Cambridge, Massachusetts, which she founded in 2008, and Microsoft Research New York City, which she founded in 2012. Chayes has been with Microsoft Research since 1997, when she co-founded the Theory Group. She received her Ph.D. in mathematical physics at Princeton University. She is Affiliate Professor of Mathematics and Physics at the University of Washington, and was for many years Professor of Mathematics at UCLA.
2011 – The United States military ends its “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, allowing gay men and women to serve openly for the first time.
“Don’t ask, don’t tell” (DADT) was the official United States policy on military service by gays, bisexuals, and lesbians, instituted by the Clinton Administration on February 28, 1994, when Department of Defense Directive 1304.26 issued on December 21, 1993, took effect, lasting until September 20, 2011. The policy prohibited military personnel from discriminating against or harassing closeted homosexual or bisexual service members or applicants, while barring openly gay, lesbian, or bisexual persons from military service. This relaxation of legal restrictions on service by gays and lesbians in the armed forces was mandated by United States federal law Pub.L. 103–160 (10 U.S.C. § 654), which was signed November 30, 1993. The policy prohibited people who “demonstrate a propensity or intent to engage in homosexual acts” from serving in the armed forces of the United States, because their presence “would create an unacceptable risk to the high standards of morale, good order and discipline, and unit cohesion that are the essence of military capability”.
The act prohibited any homosexual or bisexual person from disclosing his or her sexual orientation or from speaking about any homosexual relationships, including marriages or other familial attributes, while serving in the United States armed forces. The act specified that service members who disclose that they are homosexual or engage in homosexual conduct should be separated (discharged) except when a service member’s conduct was “for the purpose of avoiding or terminating military service” or when it “would not be in the best interest of the armed forces”. Since DADT ended in 2011, persons who are openly homosexual and bisexual have been able to serve.
The “don’t ask” part of the DADT policy specified that superiors should not initiate investigation of a service member’s orientation without witnessing disallowed behaviors, though credible evidence of homosexual behavior could be used to initiate an investigation. Unauthorized investigations and harassment of suspected servicemen and women led to an expansion of the policy to “don’t ask, don’t tell, don’t pursue, don’t harass”.
Legislation to repeal DADT was enacted in December 2010, specifying that the policy would remain in place until the President, the Secretary of Defense, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff certified that repeal would not harm military readiness, followed by a 60-day waiting period. A July 6, 2011, ruling from a federal appeals court barred further enforcement of the U.S. military’s ban on openly gay service members. President Barack Obama, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen sent that certification to Congress on July 22, 2011, which set the end of DADT to September 20, 2011.
2011 – Google announces “On Air” broadcasting feature for G+ Hangouts
Google+ users already use Hangouts to create intimate onscreen experiences—with family members, prayer groups, even people with certain medical conditions. But sometimes you want to speak to a large audience, or alternatively, view as a spectator. In these cases a public broadcast is what’s needed, so today we’re introducing Hangouts On Air.
The setup is simple enough: just start a normal hangout, and you’ll have the option to broadcast and record your session. Once you’re “On Air,” up to nine others can join your hangout (as usual), and anyone can watch your live broadcast
We’re starting with a limited number of broadcasters, but any member of the Google+ community can tune in. In fact: we’ll be hosting our very first On Air hangout with will.i.am on Wednesday night, September 21. For more information visit will.i.am’s or my profile on Google+.