From the late 1950s until the late 1980s, scientists in both the United States and the Soviet Union were working on computer networking in one form or another. Why did the US succeed where the Russians failed? That’s the subject of a new book titled How Not to Network a Nation: The Uneasy History of the Soviet Internet
The internet is a big place. There’s so much to read and watch and listen to that it can be overwhelming. We all have those stories that we start, get distracted for one reason or another, and promise ourselves we’ll finish later. Well, if any of those stories were on Paleofuture, here’s your second chance!
Never say anything in an electronic message that you wouldn’t want appearing, and attributed to you, in tomorrow’s front-page headline in the New York Times. That was the advice of Colonel David Russell, head of the IPTO at DARPA in the mid-1970s and it still holds true today.
In 1973, Norway became the first nation outside the US to get online through DARPA’s packet-switched network, the ARPANET. Americans had decided to connect the proto-internet to such a distant country for one reason. They were trying to keep tabs on Soviet nuclear tests.
Online drug sales gained notoriety thanks to the Silk Road market, but the buying and selling of illegal mood-altering substances through computers goes a lot farther back. In fact, the very first online transaction was a drug deal.
People often think about internet spying as relatively new. But the internet was used for spying before we even called it the internet—and when we look back at news articles from the era, we can’t say we weren’t warned.
New York and DC are piles of ash, but at least your checks are clearing. That was the idea behind the Culpeper Switch, a sprawling bunker built by the Federal Reserve to keep the banks running after nuclear apocalypse. But even some Cold War-era politicians thought it was silly.
How long have intelligence agencies been keeping tabs on the internet, and what role did these agencies play in creating the internet we use today? For the most part, these kinds of questions have been relegated to comments sections on random blogs and the occasional tweet from researchers. We’re hoping to remedy that…
Happy birthday, Internet! You may be turning 45 today, but we swear you don’t look a day over 30. And not to embarrass you, but we thought we’d celebrate by sharing some of your baby photos. Or, more accurately, perhaps some of your sonograms.
Random starburst embroidery? No, that's a map of ARPANET, the early predecessor of the internet as we know it, from 1983. The late-in-life network was immortalized in yarn by the artist and designer Debbie Millman.
Thanks to recent confirmation that your every online move is being monitored, trust in the internet seems like it's at an all-time low. In fact, as we can see from an article published in 1973, we were acutely aware that the future of our interconnected world depended on confidence in the privacy and security of the…
"Once upon a time computers were for thinking... That's no longer true. Computers are for communicating now, and networks allowed that to happen."
Imagine a world where nearly every book ever published could be delivered to you electronically in the blink of an eye. Imagine a world where all of your banking is done without having to visit a bank teller. Imagine a world where paper doesn't need to be shuttled around to exchange ideas. I know, I know, I'm…
Once upon a time, you could draw a map of the known Internet. Here's what the world of networked computers looked like in 1977 when ARPANET was still just a huge government-funded science project. It's actually incredible that the network proliferated this much in the eight years after the first four-node network was…
In 1969, internet pioneer Paul Baran predicted that by the year 2000, computer programmers may very well be the richest people in the world. Remember, this is when Bill Gates was just a 14-year-old nerd in Seattle.
Email is something many of us have only been using for the past 20 years, but its roots go back much much further than that. The earliest traces of email even date back to the 1960s. And according to Wired, computer engineer Ray Tomlinson was responsible for many of email's earliest innovations, including the use of @…
This is Arpanet. The internet before Google. Before Flickr, before YouTube, before Chat Roulette, before BitTorrent. Before pictures of your ex-girlfriend on Facebook. An internet that you could draw a map of with only a few lines and some dots. 1972.