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TODAY IN HISTORY

    CALIFORNIA GOLD RUSH
    January 24, 1848 - Sutter's Mill, Coloma, California

    This initiated the California Gold Rush and during the next few years, thousands of people flocked to the area to search for gold. Some nuggets of gold in the native metallic form were simply lying on the ground. More were found by panning streambeds, and later, increasingly technological mining methods were employed. John A. Sutter was building a sawmill at Coloma on the American Fork River, to provide lumber for construction projects. His contractor, James W. Marshall made the first discovery of specimens of gold, which he showed to Sutter, who chemically identified it was gold. Further samples were found in the grave of the tail-race of the mill. As recently as 2011, the discovery in northern California of a 100-ounce gold nugget was reported.

    EARLY COMPUTER
    January 24, 1948 - New York City, U.S.A.

    The Selective Sequence Electronic Calculator handled both data and instructions using electronic circuits made with 13,500 vacuum tubes and 21,000 relays. It occupied three sides of a 30-ft x 60-ft room. On the back wall, three punches and thirty readers provided paper-tape storage. Banks of vacuum tube circuits for card reading and sequence control and 36 paper tape readers comprising the table-lookup section occupied the left wall. Most of the right wall was filled by the electronic arithmetic unit and storage. In the center of the room were card readers, card punches, printers, and the operator's console. It was visible to pedestrians on the sidewalk outside.

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