Almanac – January 19

1809 – Edgar Allan Poe born. American author, poet, editor and literary critic, considered part of the American Romantic Movement.

Best known for his tales of mystery and the macabre, Poe was one of the earliest American practitioners of the short story and is considered the inventor of the detective fiction genre, and is also credited with contributing to the emerging genre of science fiction.

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1915 – World War I: German zeppelins bomb the towns of Great Yarmouth and King’s Lynn,  killing more than 20, in the first major aerial bombardment of a civilian target.

Over the course of World War I, the Zeppelins were mainly used in reconnaissance missions for the Navy. Bombing missions, especially those targeting London, captured the public’s imagination, but, in the end, proved to have only psychological value, and were not a military success.

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1943 – Janis Joplin born. American singer-songwriter. Joplin first rose to prominence in the late 1960s as the lead singer of the psychedelic-acid rock band Big Brother and the Holding Company, and later as a solo artist with her more soulful and bluesy backing groups, The Kozmic Blues Band and The Full Tilt Boogie Band.

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1946 – Dolly Parton born. American singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, actress, author, and philanthropist, best known for her work in country music. She is one of the most successful female country artists of all time, indeed,  with an estimated 100 million in album sales, she is also one of the best selling artists of all time in any genre.

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1983 – Ham the Chimp died. Also known as Ham the Astrochimp, he was the first chimpanzee launched into outer space in the American space program. Ham’s name is an acronym for the lab that prepared him for his historic mission — the Holloman Aerospace Medical Center.

On January 31, 1961, Ham was secured in a Project Mercury mission labeled MR-2 and launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on a suborbital flight, and had his vital signs and tasks monitored using computers on Earth.The capsule suffered a partial loss of pressure during the flight, but Ham’s space suit prevented him from suffering any harm.

Ham’s lever-pushing performance in space was only a fraction of a second slower than on Earth, demonstrating that tasks could be performed in space.His capsule splashed down in the Atlantic Ocean and was recovered by a rescue ship later that day,  suffering only a bruised nose. His flight was 16 minutes and 39 seconds long

After the flight, Ham lived for 17 years in the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., then at the North Carolina Zoo before his death at the age of 26. His body was turned over to the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology for necropsy and it was decided that the AFIP would retain his skeleton for further study – his body was cleaned of soft tissue and. whatever remained, minus the skeleton, was buried at the International Space Hall of Fame in Alamogordo, New Mexico.

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1986 – The first IBM PC computer virus was released into the wild. A boot sector virus dubbed (c)Brain, it was created by the Farooq Alvi Brothers in Lahore, Pakistan, reportedly to deter piracy of the software they had written.

When the brothers began to receive a large number of phone calls from people in United States, United Kingdom and elsewhere, demanding that they disinfect their machines, they were stunned and tried to explain to the outraged callers that their motivation had not been malicious. The brothers with another brother Shahid Farooq Alvi are still in business in Pakistan as Brain NET Internet service providers with a company called Brain Telecommunication Limited.

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2006 – Wilson Pickett died.  American R&B/Soul singer and songwriter, and a major figure in the development of American soul music. Pickett recorded over 50 songs which made the US R&B charts, and frequently crossed over to the US Billboard Hot 100. Among his best known hits are “In the Midnight Hour” (which he co-wrote), “Land of 1,000 Dances”, “Mustang Sally”, and “Funky Broadway”.

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