April 07, 2022

#ThrowbackThursday – 7 April

From the dawn of a technological era to the dusk of a once-golden sporting career, take a look at these three events that went down in history on 7 April:

1832 – Take My Wife, Please

Imagine getting so fed up with your spouse, that you decide to put them on the market with the same ease as selling your house.

That’s what (allegedly) happened in 1832 when a farmer named John Thompson decided to offload his wife, Mary, to another man.

Going down to Carlisle, England, Thompson presented his wife by way of a public auction; Mary was seated in an oak chair with a rope around her neck. With thousands of people gathered, Thompson proceeded to explain her finer (as well as negative) points:

“She has been to me only a bosom serpent. I took her for my comfort, and the good of my house, but she has become my tormentor, a domestic curse, a night invasion, and a daily devil … she can make butter and scold the maid, she can sing Moore’s melodies, and plait her frills and caps: she cannot make rum, gin, or whisky, but she is a good judge of the quality from long experience in tasting them.”

Initially priced at 50 shillings, Mary was ultimately sold to one Henry Mears, who paid Thompson 20 shillings and gave him his Newfoundland dog.

The new couple departed Carlisle to live out the rest of their lives in bliss, while Thompson – accompanied by his new dog, whose neck bore the same rope that had been around Mary’s neck – spent the rest of the day (and his newfound wealth) at a public house.

Whether or not the story is true, at least Thompson and his wife both got what they wanted!

1969 – Happy Birthday, Internet!

Today marks the 53rd birthday of the Internet!

At least, 7 April probably marks its birthday – if you had to ask the Internet when its birthday actually is, it would come up with a myriad of answers. Nevertheless, in some technological circles, 7 April is considered the official date on which the Internet was born.

Why? Because on this day 53 years ago, engineers published documents of the first request for comments (RFCs).

Per History 101, an RFC is “a publication that contains research, proposals, and methodologies applicable to many aspects of Internet technology”, and that “engineers review the RFCs to develop new concepts.”

Computer scientist Joseph Licklider said of the RFCs: “The aim was to create a network of computers, connected to one another by wide-band communication lines providing the functions of present-day libraries together with anticipated advances in information storage and retrieval and other symbiotic functions.”

In other words, the Internet!

Since then, engineers have made leaps and bounds in Internet technology, and we can only but hope it will continue to go strong for another 53 (or more!) years.

2000 – The Fall of Hansie Cronje

He was the golden boy of South African cricket, a hero among his countrymen for his heroics on the field – unfortunately, it was a mighty fall from grace for Hansie Cronje when it was revealed that he had been involved in match-fixing.

On this day 22 years ago, Cronje, who was the-skipper of the South African national cricket team, was charged by the police authorities in Delhi, India for fixing the one-day matches played against India in March, which India won 3-2.

According to the confession that he made at the King Commission of Inquiry later that year, Cronje took bribes from an Indian bookmaker named Sanjay Chawla in exchange for match information. He then conspired with team-mates Herschelle Gibbs and Henry Williams (both of whom accepted $15 000) to underperform during the ODIs against India.

Cronje kept in contact with Chawla, whose calls were recorded and monitored by the Delhi police force. These calls formed the basis for the cricketer’s charge; he initially denied his involvement in match-fixing, but later he confessed his wrongdoings which dated all the way back to 1996.

Cronje was banned from playing cricket for life in October 2000; he tried to challenge the ban, but it was unsuccessful. Two years later, he would die in a plane crash at the age of 32.

In spite of the underhanded dealings that were committed while he was alive, Cronje was – and still is – regarded as a hero in the minds of many South Africans and cricketing fans around the world.

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