Monday, May 01, 2006

World Wide Web Facts

Edited/supplemented excerpts from The Word magazine.

The Russian launch of Sputnik in 1957 influenced the creation of the internet. In the wake of this demonstration of Soviet power, US President Dwight Elsenhower sanctioned the creation of the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) to keep the US at the forefront of technological innovation. The system developed there, known as ARPANET, was the forerunner of today's internet.

The military origins of the inter net are reflected in its intrinsic architecture. Using a brand-new computer technology called "packet switching", ARPANET connected Californian universities in such a way that no one network node relied on any other, ensuring that the system could withstand a nuclear attack. The design also meant that control of content on the internet would become almost impossible.

Pierre Omidyar created eBay as a way for his girlfriend to sell her collection of Pez dispensers.

In 1994 a spam email that announced Microsoft was buying the Catholic Church gained sufficient credence to force the software giant to issue an official denial.

Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia, funded the world's largest online encyclopaedia through a search portal selling erotic photography. 'Wiki' is the Hawaiian word for 'quick'.

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