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Happy birthday, Internet! Here are your lamest lifetime moments

Susie Ochs, Mark Sullivan | Oct. 30, 2013
Yes, the Internet has brought us closer together, but sometimes it's felt like surfing in a sea of dumb.

internet

It all began on October 29, 1969, when a host computer at UCLA sent a few packets of data to another host computer at Stanford. The plan was for Leonard Kleinrock, who oversaw the ARPANet lab at UCLA, to send a message containing the word "log" to his colleagues at Stanford, who would then respond with the word "in."

Unfortunately the system crashed right after Kleinrock had sent "lo," but the deed had been done, and the Internet concept proved.

From that garbled first word, the Internet grew into the world's connective tissue. That's been a great thing for the most part—but even on the occasion of its 44th birthday, the Internet is still young, still having growing pains, and still capable of all manner of foibles and folly. Here are our favorite dummheits from the Internet's history so far. (You probably have your own ideas about the Internet's lamest moments, and we'd love to hear them, so please put them in the comments.)

The day of the dot-bomb
It's not easy to pin it down to a specific day, but if there was a 24-hour period when the dot-com bubble turned into the dot-com bomb, it was March 11, 2000. The day before, the NASDAQ (where the vast majority of tech stocks live) had peaked at 5046.86 points, meaning that the stocks in the index were then worth about twice what they had been selling for just a year before. But on March 11, share prices began to fall, and they continued to fall so sharply that just 10 days later the NASDAQ had lost 10 percent of its total value.

This proved to be the beginning of a sustained decline, as the BS detectors of investors finally snapped back into operation, and the market realized that many of the dot-com companies had no discernible path toward making a profit, or even a product. On October 9, 2002, the NASDAQ finally bottomed out at 1114.11 points, having endured a 78 percent loss in value from the height of the boom days 30 months before.

Chief excitable officer
Poor Steve Ballmer. He's retiring from Microsoft...sometime soonish, but even after someone else moves into his office and takes the business over, the Ballmer meme-ories will live on.

Let's run down the hits: In September 2000, Steve Ballmer took the stage at Microsoft's 25th anniversary event, before a friendly audience of employees, and proceeded to bug the eff out, running around at top speed to the strains of Gloria Estefan's "Get On Your Feet," screaming his shiny head off. It's glorious.

The "Developers" video, featuring Ballmer chanting "developers" to a crowd of...developers, is shorter but sweatier (much sweatier), and the two episodes have been remixed and given the YTMND treatment time and time again. Is this an embarrassing moment for the Internet as a whole? Or just an excuse for us to embed this video one more time?

 

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