CLOSE
Original image

The Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company Turns 100

Original image

One hundred years ago, The International Time Recording Company, Computing Scale Company, and Tabulating Machine Company merged to become the Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company. Apparently, people one hundred years ago loved naming companies with a confusing collection of impressive sounding, quasi-scientific words assembled in seemingly random order. And if those company names could include hyphens, well—the more the better.


Today, that company is better known as IBM (the company changed its name to International Business Machines in 1924). It employs 450,000 people globally with revenues of nearly $100 billion annually. The media is awash these days with feature stories covering the company's history. Some truly magnificent innovations came out of the company whose motto was, simply—"Think."

In the 1930s, IBMs punch card machines kept track of the first Social Security Card recipients, keeping records of tens of millions of people. The company invented lots of other stuff along the way that simplified our lives, including:

• IBM co-developed the first computer—the Mark I, the Automated Sequence Controlled Calculator

• The first commercial hard disk drive

• The first bar code, making automated commercial check-out possible

• Improved high-speed processing to allow ATM transactions

• Magnetic strip technology for credit cards

• IBM put Microsoft's operating system on its computers

Basically, the technology, machinery, and data collection and storage capabilities created at IBM allowed for the rise of corporations themselves. Their ideas became the plumbing and heating of the corporate building structure, essential to success. The Atlantic has a great illustrated timeline that charts the company's history. (Absent from the timeline is anything related to the role of IBM and its subsidiaries in Germany in the 1930s.)

Original image
FRED TANNEAU/AFP/Getty Images
arrow
Animals
Fisherman Catches Rare Blue Lobster, Donates It to Science
Original image
FRED TANNEAU/AFP/Getty Images

Live lobsters caught off the New England coast are typically brown, olive-green, or gray—which is why one New Hampshire fisherman was stunned when he snagged a blue one in mid-July.

As The Independent reports, Greg Ward, from Rye, New Hampshire, discovered the unusual lobster while examining his catch near the New Hampshire-Maine border. Ward initially thought the pale crustacean was an albino lobster, which some experts estimate to be a one-in-100-million discovery. However, a closer inspection revealed that the lobster's hard shell was blue and cream.

"This one was not all the way white and not all the way blue," Ward told The Portsmouth Herald. "I've never seen anything like it."

While not as rare as an albino lobster, blue lobsters are still a famously elusive catch: It's said that the odds of their occurrence are an estimated one in two million, although nobody knows the exact numbers.

Instead of eating the blue lobster, Ward decided to donate it to the Seacoast Science Center in Rye. There, it will be studied and displayed in a lobster tank with other unusually colored critters, including a second blue lobster, a bright orange lobster, and a calico-spotted lobster.

[h/t The Telegraph]

Original image
Courtesy Murdoch University
arrow
Animals
Australian Scientists Discover First New Species of Sunfish in 125 Years
Original image
Courtesy Murdoch University

Scientists have pinpointed a whole new species of the largest bony fish in the world, the massive sunfish, as we learned from Smithsonian magazine. It's the first new species of sunfish proposed in more than 125 years.

As the researchers report in the Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, the genetic differences between the newly named hoodwinker sunfish (Mola tecta) and its other sunfish brethren was confirmed by data on 27 different samples of the species collected over the course of three years. Since sunfish are so massive—the biggest can weigh as much as 5000 pounds—they pose a challenge to preserve and store, even for museums with large research collections. Lead author Marianne Nyegaard of Murdoch University in Australia traveled thousands of miles to find and collected genetic data on sunfish stranded on beaches. At one point, she was asked if she would be bringing her own crane to collect one.

Nyegaard also went back through scientific literature dating back to the 1500s, sorting through descriptions of sea monsters and mermen to see if any of the documentation sounded like observations of the hoodwinker. "We retraced the steps of early naturalists and taxonomists to understand how such a large fish could have evaded discovery all this time," she said in a press statement. "Overall, we felt science had been repeatedly tricked by this cheeky species, which is why we named it the 'hoodwinker.'"

Japanese researchers first detected genetic differences between previously known sunfish and a new, unknown species 10 years ago, and this confirms the existence of a whole different type from species like the Mola mola or Mola ramsayi.

Mola tecta looks a little different from other sunfish, with a more slender body. As it grows, it doesn't develop the protruding snout or bumps that other sunfish exhibit. Similarly to the others, though, it can reach a length of 8 feet or more. 

Based on the stomach contents of some of the specimens studied, the hoodwinker likely feeds on salps, a jellyfish-like creature that it probably chomps on (yes, sunfish have teeth) during deep dives. The species has been found near New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, and southern Chile.

[h/t Smithsonian]

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios