ROBERT SIEGEL, host:
This date, 40 years ago, was a key one in the development of the Internet, although at that moment, only a few scientists realized that. A lot has happened with our interconnectedness since then, of course, and commentator Andrei Codrescu can only make sense of all that massive change by remembering the other big events that happened as the Internet was coming to life.
ANDREI CODRESCU: On July 20, 1969, on a California beach, I mourned the last virgin moon before man landed on it. On September 2nd, 1969, two computers exchanged meaningless data in the first test of ARPANET, an experimental military network.
In 1970, my first book of poetry entitled "License to Carry a Gun" was published. ARPANET got its first East Coast node in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
In 1972, New York City was on the verge of collapse. In 1972, Ray Tomlinson created email for the network.
In 1974, I met the Angels of Light, a group of street performers who communicated telepathically with one another. In 1974, Vint Cerf and Bob Kahn developed TCP, a communication system whereby multiple networks understood each other.
In 1983, I started the journal of arts and letters, Exquisite Corpse. In 1983, the Domain Name System of .com, .edu and .gov were proposed.
In 1989, Communism started giving way in Eastern Europe, thanks in part to uncensored information from the Internet.
In 1990, Tim Berners-Lee created the World Wide Web.
In 1993, we were still working hard, laying out Exquisite Corpse on a light table, each issue a huge manual effort. In 1993, at the University of Illinois, Marc Andreessen and colleagues created Mosaic, the first Web browser to combine graphics and text on a single page.
In 1995, Exquisite Corpse became an online only magazine, one of the first literary publications on the Web. In 1995, Amazon.com set up the first major Internet book business. I had the fleeting thought that I might get rich if I bought stock in Internet startups. I didn't.
In 2000, the dot-com boom went bust. I was glad I hadn't bought stock.
In 2005, Katrina flooded New Orleans. The Internet was the chief means of keeping track of one's friends and the wild Diaspora that followed. 2005 saw the launch of YouTube video sharing site.
In 2009, I retired from teaching after 25 years, hoping to make some extra cash writing freelance articles for newspapers. In 2009, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer became the first major daily newspaper to move entirely online. Goodbye, extra cash. See you on Facebook.
SIEGEL: Andrei Codrescu is also online at corpse.org, a journal of life and letters.
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