10 YEARS AGO — DECEMBER 9, 1999
Computerized Pen Records What You Write: The SmartQuill computer, developed by BT Laboratories in England, has no keyboard. Instead, it stores in memory what users write and then downloads the data to a printer, mobile phone, modem, or PC via an electronic “inkwell.” Accelerometers monitor hand movements to determine what is being written, even if there is no paper or the user is writing vertically in midair. Developers believe the computer will be beneficial to users writing in languages, such as Chinese, which give traditional keyboards difficulties. BT hopes to have the pen on the market in two years.

30 YEARS AGO — DECEMBER 6, 1979
More Success for Harpoon: Patrol Squadron 23, which flies 12 P-3C aircraft, recently became the first Navy air unit to be equipped with McDonnell Douglas Harpoon antiship missiles. Harpoon was previously operational on 54 Navy ships and 13 submarines. During subsequent Atlantic Fleet exercises, a Squadron 23 aircraft, a guided-missile cruiser, and a submarine all launched Harpoons at a decommissioned destroyer target. Three hits were recorded. The missile’s success is about 90%.

50 YEARS AGO — DECEMBER 10, 1959
The Engineer — Paragon or Paradox? Part 1– His Personality: Psychologists are intrigued by the engineer. Their tests show they’re only moderately imaginative ... tactless ... impersonal ... yet they team with coworkers to create machines that make the world go around. Here’s the picture psychologists paint ... The first of a three-part series, this article paints a picture of the “typical” engineer’s personality. Subsequent articles will cover his intelligence, abilities, and interests.