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This Happened

This Happened—November 10: Hello Windows! When Geeks Change The World

On this day, Microsoft founder Bill Gates (then just 28 years old!) unveiled the original Windows operating system, a piece of software whose name and window-pane logo have become synonymous with modern computing.

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How did Windows come to be?

In the early 1980s, the competition was ripe in the blossoming computer market, and Bill Gates and his Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen wanted to take the throne by creating an operating system that would be applicable for all PC users.

Gates announced in 1983 that Windows would feature drop-down menus, have mouse support, the ability to run several applications at once, and a host of other attractive features. It would be updated countless times over the years, eventually claiming some 1 billion users worldwide.

Was Windows always successful?

Regardless of the company’s early struggles, Windows became a major success. At the time of the Windows release, Bill Gates predicted that 90% of all IBM computers would be running the software. This was not the case at first, but today 75% of computers run on Windows as the software continues to evolve to meet modern demands.

How different is Windows today?

Similarly to today’s desktop and mobile operating systems, Windows 1.0 offered dropdown menus, tiled windows, mouse support, device-independent graphics, and the ability to run multiple applications at the same time. As of 2021, Microsoft is on version 11 of its now-famous system, with much more bells and whistles to offer its users.

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Society

In Northern Kenya, Where Climate Change Is Measured In Starving Children

The worst drought in 40 years, which has deepened from the effects of climate change, is hitting the young the hardest around the Horn of Africa. A close-up look at the victims, and attempts to save lives and limit lasting effects on an already fragile region in Kenya.

Photo of five mothers holding their malnourished children

At feeding time, nurses and aides encourage mothers to socialize their children and stimulate them to eat.

Georgina Gustin

KAKUMA — The words "Stabilization Ward" are painted in uneven black letters above the entrance, but everyone in this massive refugee camp in Kakuma, Kenya, calls it ya maziwa: The place of milk.

Rescue workers and doctors, mothers and fathers, have carried hundreds of starving children through the doors of this one-room hospital wing, which is sometimes so crowded that babies and toddlers have to share beds. A pediatric unit is only a few steps away, but malnourished children don’t go there. They need special care, and even that doesn’t always save them.

In an office of the International Rescue Committee nearby, Vincent Opinya sits behind a desk with figures on dry-erase boards and a map of the camp on the walls around him. “We’ve lost 45 children this year due to malnutrition,” he says, juggling emergencies, phone calls, and texts. “We’re seeing a significant increase in malnutrition cases as a result of the drought — the worst we’ve faced in 40 years.”

From January to June, the ward experienced an 800 percent rise in admissions of children under 5 who needed treatment for malnourishment — a surge that aid groups blame mostly on a climate change-fueled drought that has turned the region into a parched barren.

Opinya, the nutrition manager for the IRC here, has had to rattle off these statistics many times, but the reality of the numbers is starting to crack his professional armor. “It’s a very sad situation,” he says, wearily. And he believes it will only get worse. A third year of drought is likely on the way.

More children may die. But millions will survive malnutrition and hunger only to live through a compromised future, researchers say. The longer-term health effects of this drought — weakened immune systems, developmental problems — will persist for a generation or more, with consequences that will cascade into communities and societies for decades.

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