The Thing About Today – January 30

January 30, 2020
Day 30 of 366


January 30th is the thirtieth day of the year. It begins the commemoration of the Martyrdom of Mahatma Gandhi. Related observances include Martyrs’ Day in India, the School Day of Non-violence and Peace in Spain, and the start of the Season for Nonviolence which runs from January 30th to April 4th.

In the United States, it is “celebrated” as National Croissant Day.


Historical items of note:

  • In 1648, the Treaty of Münster and Osnabrück was signed, ending the Eighty Years’ War between the Netherlands and Spain.
  • In 1703, the Forty-seven rōnin, under the command of Ōishi Kuranosuke, avenged the death of their master by killing Kira Yoshinaka.
  • In 1835, the first assassination against a President of the United States was attempted. Richard Lawrence failed in his attempt to shoot President Andrew Jackson and was subdued by a crowd including several congressmen and the president himself. Lawrence was later found not guilty by reason of insanity and spent the rest of his days in asylums.
  • In 1847, Yerba Buena, California was renamed San Francisco, California.
  • In 1862, the first American ironclad warship, the USS Monitor was launched.
  • In 1882, Franklin D. Roosevelt, American lawyer and thirty-second President of the United States, was born.
  • In 1933, Adolf Hitler was sworn in as Chancellor of Germany.
  • In 1937, actress Vanessa Redgrave was born.
  • In 1948, Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated by Hindu extremist Nathuram Godse.
  • In 1951, musician and Miami Vice staple Phil Collins was born.
  • In 1966, actress Daphne Ashbrook was born. She was a guest star on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and a Doctor Who companion.
  • In 1968, the Tet Offensive (The General Offensive and Uprising of Tet Mau Than 1968) was launched by the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese Army against South Vietnam, the United States, and their allies. It was a campaign of surprise attacks against military and civilian command and control centers throughout South Vietnam and served to demoralize the United States forces and public.
  • In 1969, the Beatles staged their last public performance. It was held on the roof of Apple Records in London and was broken up by the police.
  • In 1972, British paratroopers opened fire on anti-internment marchers in Derry, Northern Ireland. Thirteen people died during the Bloody Sunday event, and another person died later from injuries sustained.
  • In 1974, actress Olivia Colman was born.
  • In 1975, the Monitor National Marine Sanctuary was established as the first United States National Marine Sanctuary.


In 1982, the first personal computer virus code was written. It was authored by Richard Skrenta, was 400 lines long, and was disguised as an Apple boot program called “Elk Cloner”.

Elk Cloner spread using the Apple DOS 3.3 operating system using what is now known as a boot sector virus attack. It was attached to a game that, after the 50th time it was started, would blank out the screen and display a simple poem.

Elk Cloner: The program with a personality

It will get on all your disks
It will infiltrate your chips
Yes, it’s Cloner!

It will stick to you like glue
It will modify RAM too

Send in the Cloner!

If the computer was booted from an infected floppy disk, the virus would be copied to the computer’s memory. When an uninfected disk was inserted into the drive, the entire operating system was cloned to the disk, ready for transmittal to the next unsuspecting victim.

Richard Skrenta was a known prankster and wrote the virus as a joke. The virus did not cause deliberate harm, but it did overwrite the reserved tracks of disks without standard images.


The Thing About Today is an effort to look at each day of 2020 with respect to its historical context.

For more creativity with a critical eye, visit Creative Criticality.




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