The Severe Local Storms Warning Service

Weather BulletinFormerly the Weather Bureau-Army-Navy Severe Weather Unit, the recently-renamed Severe Local Storms Warning Service (SELS) relocates from Washington D.C. to Kansas City, Missouri. The new location puts the SELS closer to the American midwest, a hotbed of severe weather during the spring months, as well as placing it in close proximity to a major telecommunications hub (at this point, the SELS is reliant almost entirely on teletype transmissions). Additionally, precise definitions of what constitutes a severe thunderstorm (winds in excess of 50mph, wind gusts in excess of 75mph, and hail in excess of an inch in diameter) are established, as well as a concerted effort to target its weather bulletins to more precise geographic regions.

The day video games were born

Ralph BaerIn a hand-written design document, Ralph Baer, an engineer working for defense contractor Sanders Associates, sketches out his ideas for a device he calls a TV Gaming Display. The design proposal lays out a concept to take television from being a passive form of entertainment to an interactive one in which two players can manipulate simple on-screen displays to play various games. Management at Sanders recognizes the potential of the invention, and Baer proceeds with development of the first video game prototypes, one of which becomes the basis for the first home video game console, the Magnavox Odyssey, six years later.

Pioneer 11: first visitor to Saturn

SaturnThe unmanned space probe Pioneer 11 makes its closest approach to the planet Saturn, the first man-made object to visit the ringed planet. Scientists pay careful attention to Pioneer’s transmissions as it passes between Saturn’s clouds and its rings, watching for signs of damage (or worse) resulting from collision with the tiny particles that are predicted to exist there; Pioneer 11 slides past Saturn at a distance of only 12,800 miles from the planet’s cloudtops. This is Pioneer 11’s last planetary stop.

Doctor Who: Devils’ Planets soundtrack

album coverCelebrating 40 years of Doctor Who, Doctor Who: Devils’ Planets – The Music Of Tristram Cary is released, including the complete underscores from The Daleks (1963/64), The Daleks’ Masterplan (1965/66) and The Mutants (1972); the marks the release of the earliest episodes of Doctor Who for which the complete music score still exists. The album quickly sells out and becomes a coveted collectors’ item; this is also the final Doctor Who archive music release from the BBC’s in-house label, and the last Doctor Who television soundtrack music to be released prior to the new series soundtracks.

More about Doctor Who soundtracks in Music Reviews

Doctor Who: Asylum Of The Daleks

Doctor WhoThe 787th episode of Doctor Who airs on BBC1 (the 89th episode since the series’ revival). Asylum Of The Daleks opens the seventh season of the revived show, and features a surprising first appearance by new series regular Jenna-Louise Coleman, whose new companion character was originally announced as debuting in the 2012 Christmas special. (The most surprising thing about this is that preview audiences keep this secret from the entire internet for several weeks.)

More about Doctor Who in the LogBook

Radiation Belt Storm Probes find new belt

Radiation Belt Storm ProbesThe Radiation Belt Storm Probes mission launched by NASA begins activating sensors just a few days after liftoff, weeks ahead of schedule, just in time to reveal a finding that forces a rethink of over half a century of widely-accepted science. The probes find that, in response to the recent eruption of a solar prominence, the two Van Allen radiation belts discovered in 1958 by Explorer 1 have expanded to include a third belt, which traps and repels additional solar radiation back into space. The third radiation belt dissipates after four weeks, and scientists begin rethinking their theories on Earth’s magnetosphere.