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The First Time News Was Fit To Print, XV

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Every Monday, mental_floss ventures into the archives of The New York Times to find first mentions worth mentioning. If you have a suggestion for next week's installment, leave us a comment.

George Clooney

July 1, 1990

Popular Films Are Feeding The Series Maw
clooney.jpg This season's spinoffs...are likely to have a certain familiarity about them, especially after the producers and the networks get through tinkering with the movie premises. In ABC's Baby Talk, for example, the father substitute, a cab driver played in the film by John Travolta, becomes a handyman, played by George Clooney. This gives him a reason to hang around the house "“ and pursue a romance "“ with the single mother, played by Kirstie Alley in the movie and Connie Sellecca in the series. Ms. Sellecca's character also gets a time-honored foil, another single mom who lives next door.

Bill Maher

February 28, 1982

A Rising Star At Pace
maher.jpgBill Maher, a student at Cornell University who has been described as an "observation comic" will entertain at 9 P.M. Friday in the Campus Center of Pace University in Pleasantville. Mr. Maher, who has performed at Catch-a-Rising-Star, a Manhattan nightclub that showcases new comedians, will be joined by two other emerging comedians, Adrienne Tolsch and J. J. Wall.

The evening is one of two yearly showcases at Pace initiated by Dr. Nicholas Catalano, director of performing arts, who is a part-time nightclub producer in New York...."Bill Maher is one of the best talents I've seen in years. He will be a major comedy star one day," he predicted.

Admission is $3, no reservations are required and beer and soft drinks are provided free.

Keep reading for the Golden Gate Bridge, Toyota Prius, Pervez Musharraf, The Tube Bar Tapes, Andrew Sullivan and Slashdot.

Golden Gate Bridge

December 28, 1922

Plan Golden Gate Bridge, To Be World's Largest Span
goldengate.jpgJ.B. Strauss, one of Chicago's best known civil engineers, made public today his plans for the erection of a bridge across the Golden Gate at San Francisco....Hitherto the bridge, the central span of which will be no less than 4,000 feet in length, has been looked upon as a wild flight of imagination, but recent advances in engineering and bridge design have been so great that the proposed construction is now a practical proposition.

Toyota Prius

November 5, 1995

Tokyo Auto Show Explores New Frontiers
prius.jpg Nissan has come up with the AA-X, a concept car that can change from a two-person sporty convertible into a four-person wagon. The two-part roof and the interior seating can be arranged in five combinations.

There is also new technology under the hood. Several manufacturers are pushing direct-injection gasoline engines, which promise to save fuel without sacrificing power. Toyota is showing a sedan of the future called Prius that should be able to get 70 miles per gallon. It has an energy management system that cuts fuel use by, among other techniques, regenerating braking energy and turning off the engine when the car is stopped.

Pervez Musharraf

October 20, 1998

Pakistani Premier Prevails In Clash With General
musharraf.jpgIn the welter of events unfolding here, one remarkable episode stands out: after the chief of the powerful Pakistani Army got in hot water for publicly criticizing the Prime Minister and proposing a stronger military role in making policy, it was the general who lost his job, not the Prime Minister.

There was no coup, although generals have ruled Pakistan for almost half of its 51-year history, and prime ministers have been dismissed in earlier clashes with the army.

Instead, Gen. Jehangir Karamat quietly resigned on Oct. 7, and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif immediately replaced him with another army commander, Pervez Musharraf. Last week, in a smooth transition, the new Chief of the Army Staff installed his own team of top officers.

Slashdot

February 1, 1999

logo.jpgAngry Internet Jousting Over Simulated Warfare
Computer programmers were busy spewing vitriol last week on Slashdot, an Internet site (www.slashdot.org) that proclaims itself as specializing in "news for nerds," over another Internet patent.

The patent, assigned to Rtime, of Seattle, covers certain aspects of playing three-dimensional games on the Internet. One aspect is a type of real-time data filtering that insures that only relevant data is distributed to participants. Another is a global time base that keeps different users synchronized within milliseconds.
* * * * *
Some of those weighing in on Slashdot wondered whether Rtime would try to extract a licensing fee each time someone tried to play private sessions of Doom or Quake or other three-dimensional games over the Internet.

Andrew Sullivan

April 20, 1983

Weinberger Drops Debate At Oxford
sullivan.jpg Defense Secretary Caspar W. Weinberger has withdrawn from a debate on foreign policy at Oxford University after a warning from his British counterpart that his participation "might not be advisable" because of the approach of a general election.

Andrew Sullivan, president of the Oxford Union, which had hoped to stage the debate on May 27, said Mr. Weinberger telephoned last Friday to say he could not take part. The American had agreed some time ago to oppose E.P. Thompson, the leader of the British nuclear disarmament movement, on the motion: ''There is no moral difference between the world policies of the U.S. and the U.S.S.R.''
* * * * *
Mr. Sullivan, the union president, is a 19-year-old student of history and French who describes himself as a supporter of the Government. He reported that Mr. Weinberger said on Friday that he thought a debate might be an "inappropriate" forum for a person in his position and that he did not want to seem to intervene in the British domestic political process with an election in the offing.

Update: Mr. Sullivan responds.

The Tube Bar Tapes

March 7, 1999

Giving Jerseyana A Voice
tubebartapes.jpgMr. Sceurman and Mr. Moran also scattered excerpts from "The Tube Bar Tapes" throughout the CD [Weird New Jersey's "The Sounds of Weirdness"]. These legendary prank-call recordings -- containing classics like "Can I speak to Al Coholic?" and "Is this the party to whom I am speaking?" (borrowed from Lily Tomlin) -- have circulated on bootleg tapes for years.

The location of the Tube Bar and the identities of the callers has been a mystery for two decades, but Weird New Jersey broke the story last May in its 10th issue. The calls were made in 1975 and 1976 to the Tube Bar in Jersey City, which was near the Journal Square train PATH station; the callers, Jim Davidson and John Elmo, now live in Florida, driven out of state not by irate tavern owners, but by high taxes.

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Space
Can’t See the Eclipse in Person? Watch NASA’s 360° Live Stream
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Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images

Depending on where you live, the historic eclipse on August 21 might not look all that impressive from your vantage point. You may be far away from the path of totality, or stuck with heartbreakingly cloudy weather. Maybe you forgot to get your eclipse glasses before they sold out, or can't get away from your desk in the middle of the day.

But fear not. NASA has you covered. The space agency is live streaming a spectacular 4K-resolution 360° live video of the celestial phenomenon on Facebook. The livestream started at 12 p.m. Eastern Time and includes commentary from NASA experts based in South Carolina. It will run until about 4:15 ET.

You can watch it below, on NASA's Facebook page, or on the Facebook video app.

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Art
Cephalopod Fossil Sketch in Australia Can Be Seen From Space

Australia is home to some of the most singular creatures alive today, but a new piece of outdoor art pays homage to an organism that last inhabited the continent 65 million years ago. As the Townsville Bulletin reports, an etching of a prehistoric ammonite has appeared in a barren field in Queensland.

Ammonites are the ancestors of the cephalopods that currently populate the world’s oceans. They had sharp beaks, dexterous tentacles, and spiraling shells that could grow more than 3 feet in diameter. The inland sea where the ammonites once thrived has since dried up, leaving only fossils as evidence of their existence. The newly plowed dirt mural acts as a larger-than-life reminder of the ancient animals.

To make a drawing big enough to be seen from space, mathematician David Kennedy plotted the image into a path consisting of more than 600 “way points.” Then, using a former War World II airfield as his canvas, the property’s owner Rob Ievers plowed the massive 1230-foot-by-820-foot artwork into the ground with his tractor.

The project was funded by Soil Science Australia, an organization that uses soil art to raise awareness of the importance of farming. The sketch doubles as a paleotourist attraction for the local area, which is home to Australia's "dinosaur trail" of museums and other fossil-related attractions. But to see the craftsmanship in all its glory, visitors will need to find a way to view it from above.

[h/t Townsville Bulletin]

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