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At age 22, Charles Darwin embarks from Plymouth harbor aboard the British Naval ship HMS Beagle on what will become a groundbreaking voyage of scientific discovery. The Captain, Robert FitzRoy will sail to the southern coast of South America to conduct an official government survey. Just out of university, Darwin took an unpaid position as the ship’s naturalist. He plans to be at sea for two years, but the voyage will last five years, making stops in Brazil, the Galapogos Islands, and New Zealand. From the observations he will make during the voyage, Darwin will develop his theory of evolution through natural selection, which he will publish twenty-eight years after the Beagle leaves Plymouth.
The world’s largest cinema Radio City Music Hall, which boasts 6,200 seats, is opened by NBC in New York. Over a hundred thousand people wait outside the cinema, waiting for admission.
France concludes a series of nuclear weapons tests in the South Pacific after French President Jacques Chirac lifted its moratorium on nuclear weapons testing. While most nations restrain themselves to nuclear weapon computer simulations rather than physical detonations, France claims that the tests that had been suspended several years earlier left scientists without sufficient data to conduct meaningful simulations.
Sun Microsystems discontinues versions 4.1.3 and 4.1.4 of the SunOS operating system.
Version 1.3.1 of PHPMyAdmin, an open source tool written in PHP for the administration of MySQL over the Internet, is released. It is the first version of the application to feature multi-lingual support.
Time magazine names Jeff Bezos Man of the YearJoshua Quittner publishes an article in in Time magazine entitled, An eye on the future: Jeff Bezos merely wants Amazon to be Earth’s biggest seller of everything. The article is the magazine’s cover feature, and Jeff Bezos is named the magazine’s Person of the Year. You can read the full text of the article at Time magazine’s Internet archives. The stock market value of Microsoft peaks at US$600 million.
Yahoo!and HotJobs announce an agreement in which Yahoo!will acquire 98.6 percent of all HotJobs outstanding stock for US$10.50 per share (which will ultimately be paid with 0.3045 shares of Yahoo stock and US$5.25 in cash), or a total of US$436 million. When the acquistion is complete, the online job search engine will be known as Yahoo!HotJobs. Read the original press release. Visit the official Hotjobs website.
Version 4.3.0 of the PHP programming language is released.
AOL announces that it’s customers have experienced a significant reduction in the amount of spam received. The average number of daily spam messages the company blocks dropped from 2.4 billion in 2003 to 1.2 billion in late 2004. In November 2004, the company reports receiving 2.2 million complaints regarding spam, down from 11 million in November 2003. AOL attributes the reduction to a combination of recent anti-spam legislation and the effectiveness of its own spam filtering tools. Other Internet service providers (ISPs) have not reported a similar decrease.
CERNET 2, the first backbone IPv6 network in China, is launched by the China Education and Research Network (CERN) to connect twenty-five universities in twenty cities at speeds of 1 - 10Gbps.