In celebration of Wikipedia Day
, we’ve rounded up eight tech-related pages you won't want to miss. From one of the first open-world fantasy video games to a 2,000-year-old analog computer, these fascinating nuggets will either leave you feeling inspired, puzzled or ready to conquer a really bizarre round of trivia. Here they are, in no particular order.
Appearing online for the first time in January 2012, and then again in the same month in 2013 and 2014, Cicada 3301 is the name given to one of the Internet's greatest recent mysteries. A series of puzzles for "intelligent individuals," it's believed the clues are a recruitment tool for a clandestine organization, hacker collective, or even a cryptobank. No individual or group has stepped forward to claim responsibility, and neither have those who have purportedly "won." As of yet no 2015 puzzle has appeared online, but speculation exists that this is due to the fact that last year's puzzle has yet to be solved.
If you’ve ever felt like technology has a special way of going haywire around you, you’ll empathize with this one. The Pauli effect is a term inspired by Austrian theoretical physicist Wolfgang Pauli, who was believed to have a negative effect on technology. It’s said that when Pauli was around technical equipment, it would suddenly present problems or was rendered useless. Feel free to use this term around the office the next time something goes kaput.
In 1979 Atari released one of the very first open-world fantasy video games. The game, a huge hit for Atari, revolutionized the burgeoning video game industry. It also happened to be the title that introduced the first widely-known Easter egg
. In a black castle, developer Warren Robinett, frustrated by Atari's refusal to credit it's game designers, posted his name in one of the castle's secret rooms. Developers have been inserting Easter eggs in games ever since.
Horace Lawson Hunley, the inventor of the combat submarine drowned in a... you guessed it, submarine. William Bullock, inventor of the rotary printing press, was crushed to death by a rotary printing press. Fred Duesenberg died in the crash of his own designed Deusenberg car. No explanation required here. This eerie list will make you think twice before volunteering as the test subject for any of your own inventions.
Chances are you haven’t heard of Walter Shaw, but he was one of the most important modern American inventors of his time. He revolutionized the telecommunications industry as an engineer for AT&T, coming up with call-forwarding, conferencing, and the speaker phone, among other inventions. But because AT&T, a monopoly at the time, didn’t want to give Shaw the credit and money he rightly deserved, the genius inventor was blacklisted, eventually having to go work for the mob. Shaw died penniless and forgotten, but his innovations endured, and may have even helped make companies such as Apple a reality.
Initially founded in 1949 in the newly created state of Israel as a refuge for boys orphaned by the Holocaust, Boys Town Jerusalem is today one of that country's most important tech training centers. In addition to religious and secular studies, boys ranging in age from 12 to 20 are educated in electronics, computer science and engineering. In fact, the school, offering several college degree programs, is partnered with the Israeli military to place boys in specialized positions immediately upon graduation.
Discovered at the turn of the last century amid an Ancient Roman shipwreck, the Antikythera mechanism is a 2,000-year-old analog computer built by the Ancient Greeks. Believed to be a device used to predict astronomical positions and the cycle of the Olympic Games, it's design was centuries ahead of its time. Much about the mechanism still remains a mystery, but hundreds of theories abound. One thing's for certain, the technological expertise behind the mechanism means it was not the only ancient machine built by the Greeks, which leaves us wondering, what happened to all the rest?
You know all about Ada Lovelace
and you’re the first to celebrate women in tech, but are you familiar with Hedy Lamarr? This Austrian bombshell was well known for her acting, but she was also smart as a whip, co-inventing the technology for spread spectrum and frequency hopping communications. Pretty important stuff, considering America’s military used it in controlling torpedoes during World War II. Lamarr’s inventions have also been incorporated into Wi-Fi, CDMA and Bluetooth technology. It took a while, but she was finally inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2014.