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In this issue:
Thirty-six Years Ago This Month: The November Revolution
Construction at Parking Lot A
Mike Saleski Captures Kinetic Sculpture Title

SLAC Today

Thursday - November 4, 2010

Thirty-six Years Ago This Month:
The November Revolution

(Photo)
Transfer of IBM System 360/75 to SLAC on July 6, 1967. The man on the right is then-SLAC director of computing, Bill Miller. (Photo courtesy the SLAC Archives and History Office.)

This photo, pulled from the SLAC archives, invites a trip back in time to the "November Revolution" of 1974 and beyond. The image is in black and white. The SLAC computing director is wearing a tie and a pocket protector. But what really dates the scene is the massive computer in the background. You can just make out its name, inscribed on a black panel above the machine: IBM System 360. In the 1970s, the 360 series would play a vital role in the Nobel Prize-winning science happening at SLAC.

When the System 360 was released in 1964, IBM Board Chairman Thomas Watson Jr. called the product announcement the most important in the company’s history. The computer was the first to be designed with a standard instruction set for use in both scientific and business applications.

In 1967, SLAC purchased its own IBM 360/75 (the 75 was the model number), upgrading to a model 91 machine in 1968. The computer was retired in 1981, and its console, which measures nearly six feet across, is now housed at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View.  Read more...

Construction at Parking Lot A

Please prepare for changes in traffic and parking during construction of the new Security Department office building at the east side of Parking Lot A. Closure of parking at the construction site and intermittent closure of one lane of Loop Road nearby will begin next week.  Read more...

(Photo)
Piloted by Saleski, the canopy bed emerges from the water at Ventura. (Photo courtesy Mike Saleski.)

Mike Saleski Captures Kinetic Sculpture Title

SLAC Quality Control Manager Mike Saleski piloted a large canopy bed to a Grand Champion finish in the 13th Annual Kinetic Sculpture Race in Ventura on Saturday, October 23. The queen-sized bed was a new façade for a veteran vehicle― formerly costumed as a Tiki Bar―that carried Saleski to victory in previous races.

"Actually, with the bed we were going back to the original vision," said Saleski, who noted that he had conceived of the bed design before the chance use of a thatch-covered umbrella for sun protection inspired the Tiki Bar theme.

(Photo)
Saleski and his "horseless carriage" at Burning Man 2010 (Photo courtesy Mike Saleski.)

The physical challenge of piloting a human-powered vehicle, combined with the technical and artistic challenges of designing and building it, keep Saleski competing in kinetic sculpture races year after year.

"Basically it's everything I like to do, rolled into one sport," he said. Saleski is already busy perfecting the design of his newest vehicle, the horseless carriage. Its large, narrow wheels will facilitate faster speeds on the miles of pavement that are par for the course at longer races. Optimizing the design for the sand, mud and water that are also part of the races will require some creativity. Saleski is up for the challenge.

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