If Six Was Nine

OR Licklider's Revenge.
 
This article is named after the song recorded by Jimi Hendrix in 1967 on his first studio album. "If 6 was 9" is lyrically all counter-culture and instrumentally a combination of Hendrix's signature feedback-laden guitar and (due to the magic of double-tracking) his soprano recorder playing. Historical periods collide here - the recorder was developed during the Renaissace period and Hendrix added a new language to the vocabulary of the electric guitar, invented just 36 years earlier. What's more, I have sheet music for the Bass Recorder of a song written during the Renaissance period that sounds just like the opening riff for "Foxy Lady" - another Hendrix song.
 
History is happening all the time. Sometimes, we don't recognize an historical event until long after it occurs. Sometimes the event is noteworthy or has lasting effect. Sometimes it is both and sometimes the event is not noted yet its effects ring down the ages. 
 
Just think: as I write, the Hostess company is closing its doors and twinkies will go out of production.  Since twinkies can last for a long, long time due to preservatives, can we expect twinkies to be bought and sold like bottles of fine wine? Could this be history in the making? Stranger things have happened.  Check out that uber ugly $75 million Mark Rothko painting called "Royal Red and Blue". 
 
Let's think of this as a historical treasure hunt for one the most significant, yet little-known historical events.
 
With the title in mind I'm going to pick the year 1969 for our search  and let's see what history we find.  Let's start at the beginning of the year. Our pick will come at the end of this article.
 
Jan 3rd - John Lennon's "2 Virgins" album was declared pornographic in New Jersey.  The cover of this album had a full frontal nude photo of Lennon and his wife, Yoko Ono.  Frankly, I thought Yoko looked sexier in a mini skirt, and many Beatle fans probably wished John had left a little to the imagination. History? Not.
 
Jan 9th - the Concorde jetliner's first test flight in Bristol England. The Concordes were engineering marvels that provided trans-atlantic flight at supersonic speeds and transatlantic crossing in half the time of conventional jetliners. The most noteworthy thing about the Concordes are (in my opinion) that they were retired and not replaced by anything so fast. So much for progress!  As to a lasting aggregate historical effect - I doubt that many people's lives were changed.
 
Jan 17th - The debut album of Led Zeppelin released in the US. Led Zeppelin introduced a louder genre of Rock 'n' Roll. They were the progenitors of Heavy Metal.  Yes, lives were changed. Especially those who have had to listen to Led Zeppelin and their imitators being played on obnoxiously loud car radio systems.
 
Apr 24th - Paul McCartney says there is no truth to rumors he is dead. Living proof of stupid rumors that don't go away. Can you say "Birthers"? But really, no history was made.
 
May 10th - The Band the Turtles play at the White House, singer Mark Volman falls off the stage 5 times. Not noteworthy, but perhaps of some historical value. Progenitor to mosh pit perhaps?  Lasting influence on young men that think it is cool to get drunk and fall down?
 
May 16th - Venera 5 lands on Venus, returns data on atmosphere. Venus's atmosphere was found to have a temperature of over 800 F with 220 MPH winds, to contain caustic chemicals, and have a air pressure more than 90 times greater than that of the Earth. So much for a tropical, earthlike Venus.  Science Fiction was changed forever.
 
July 20th - the first moon landing was made by Apollo 11 with Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong. Landing on the first world outside of the Earth has got to be one of the greatest moments in history. Many believe that photos of the earth taken from the moon are iconic views that have influenced both environmental and peace movements. Sadly, less than three and a half years later, the last moon landing was made. As with the Concorde, progress is not always onward and upward.
 
July 27th - the Pioneer 10 space probe was launched. The probe was expected to stay functional and send information back for 21 months. Instead, it stayed in communication for almost 34 years and the last anyone heard from it, it was headed for Aldeberan, the red eye of the constellation Taurus the Bull. It should get there in a couple of million years or so. Pioneer 10 expanded enormously mankind's knowledge of the Solar System. I am of the opinion that the extraordinary durability of Pioneer 10 should have been studied intensively, if that were not done.  It is as important to understand what goes right as what goes wrong.  Deep space communication protocols would change the world. Hint! Hint!
 
August 16th - the Woodstock rock festival began in New York with 300,000 stoners in attendance. What is extraordinary about this event is that there was little or no violence. Some attribute such good fortune to the beginning of the Age of Aquarius and asserted that a new time of non-violence, love and peace was about to begin.  And end.
 
October 22nd - Paul McCartney again denied rumors of his death. The Beatles had released Abbey Road, the cover of which showed McCartney out of step with his bandmates.  This was taken as another signal of his continuing deadness.  Goes to show you how being out of step with others can be a bad thing and cause talk.
 
December 6th - the Altamont Rock Concert was held near Livermore California.  Billed as a follow-up to Woodstock it turned out just the opposite - a paragon of chaos and violence. Four people were killed, one allegedly while about to shoot someone on stage. It is too bad that whatever went right at Woodstock could not have been analyzed and bottled before Altamont as Altamont was hailed as the end of the Woodstock Era.  Short Era - about one hundred days. I don't see either Woodstock or Altamont ringing down the ages.
 
December 13th - Arlo (son of the Great Woody) Guthrie was featured in the movie "Alice's Restaurant." The movie was derived from the album of the same name. The title song of the album (released in 1967) was a musical and ironic account of Arlo's rejection by the Draft Board because in 1965 he had been convicted of and fined $50 for littering. Because of that, he was considered too criminal to kill. Can't beat that one for irony, but I still can't enshrine it in our historical temple. What to do?  We've about run out of time for the year!
 
Remember, these above are taken from some web sites. I'm going to add my own entry which is not found there but it is hinted at with Pioneer 10: I am nominating The Licklider Protocol. Say what? Licklider what? I'm serious. In 1969 the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), a branch of the Department of Defense, under the supervision of the computer scientist J. C.  R. Licklider developed a process of long-range communication with satellites and deep-space probes like Pioneer 10. The Licklider Protocol then led to conventions of connectivity that led to the Internet as we know it now. These conventions are better known as TCP - for Transmission Control Protocol.
 
By 1969, computer-to-computer connectivity had been in place for almost 20 years, used mostly by the military and the scientific community. Licklider codified it. A few years later, Raymond Samuel Tomlinson used the Licklider protocol as a starting point for a way to send digital mail between two different computers. Email was born and the rest is history. It would be 20 more years before Tim Berners-Lee brought the Internet to a state that could be exploited by the average citizen with a PC.
 

I'm going to contend that 1969 was a watershed year for communications technology. Indeed, because of the internet we have seen that the world changed in ways that we could barely imagine a short time ago and we will see the world changed in ways that we can't imagine now as the future progresses. 

Next - The Ultra And The Enigma