The fridge-sized computer that sent the very first email 40 years ago but crashed after just two letters were received

The very first message to be sent between two computers - a breakthrough that helped usher in the internet and Mail Online - was sent exactly 40 years ago.

And to mark the occasion, celebrities, computer experts and entrepreneurs joined the man behind that first message for a bit of a party.

UCLA professor Leonard Kleinrock said: 'It's the 40th year since the infant internet first spoke.'

Kleinrock, who led the team that first got two computers to communicate online via a network called ARPANET, added: 'The internet is a democratising element; everyone has an equivalent voice. There is no way back at this point. We can't turn it off. The Internet Age is here.'

The computer expert could never have imagined that the fledgling internet would one day give rise to Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

He referred to spam emails, online scams and malicious software spread by crooks as an unexpected dark side of the internet.

'The net is penetrating every aspect of our lives,' Kleinrock told a gathering of about 200 people in Los Angeles.

'As a teenager, the internet is behaving badly, the dark side has emerged. The question is when it grows into a young adult, will it get over this period of misbehaving?'

On October 29, 1969, Kleinrock led a team that got a computer at UCLA to 'talk' to one at a research institute.

'It feels to me like the alumni meeting of the framers of the US Constitution,' Electronic Frontier Foundation co-founder John Perry Barlow said as he addressed the gathering.

'There are a lot of people in this room who are honest to God uncles and aunts of the internet. What you did is conceivably the most important technological event since the capture of fire.'

Barlow, whose non-profit legal organisation fights for online freedom, maintained that internet access is on the verge of becoming an inalienable human right.

Kleinrock was driven by a certainty that computers were destined to speak to each other and that the resulting network should be as simple to use as telephones.

US telecom colossus AT&T ran lines connecting the computers for ARPANET.

A key to getting computers to exchange data was breaking digitised information into packets fired between on-demand with no wasting of time, according to Kleinrock.

Engineers began typing 'LOG' to log into the distant computer, which crashed after getting the 'O.'

'So, the first message was 'Lo' as in 'Lo and behold',' Kleinrock recounted. 'We couldn't have a better, more succinct first message.'

Kleinrock's team logged in on the second try, sending digital data packets between computers on the ARPANET because funding came from the US Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) established in 1958.

ARPANET grew into what is known today as the internet.

Kleinrock, 75, sees the internet spreading into everything.

'The next step is to move it into the real world,' Kleinrock said. 'The internet will be present everywhere. I will walk into a room and it will know I am there. It will talk back to me.'

How the internet was born

The first message ever sent over the ARPANET occurred at 10.30pm on October 29, 1969.

It was sent by UCLA student programmer Charley Kline and supervised by Prof Kleinrock.

The message was sent from the UCLA SDS Sigma 7 Host computer to the SRI SDS 940 Host computer.

Like most systems of the era, the latter machine had a tiny core memory allowing between 16 and 64 kilowords.

This was backed up by a variety of secondary storage devices, including a 1,376 kWord drum, or hard disk.

The SDS machines also included a paper tape punch and reader, line printer, and a real-time clock.

They bootstrapped from paper tape.

The first permanent ARPANET link was established on November 21, 1969, between the IMP at UCLA and the IMP at SRI.

By December 5, 1969, the entire 4-node network - UCLA, Stanford, UC Santa Barbara and the University of Utah - was connected.

When this happened, multiple thousands of connections were opened, beyond the amount of people at the time who could possibly connect.

The contents of the first email transmission (sent in 1971) have long since been forgotten; in a FAQ on his website, the sender, Ray Tomlinson (who sent the message between two computers located side-by-side) claims that the contents were 'entirely forgettable, and I have, therefore, forgotten them', and speculates that the message was most likely 'QWERTYUIOP' or something similar.

Britain first road map - printed in 1675

Showing a network of just 73 major highways, this is the first ever road map of Britain – printed in 1675.

The atlas depicts 7,500 miles of road and shows how their condition was so poor, it would have taken more than two weeks to travel from Newcastle to London.

Britannia Volume The First Or An Illustration Of The Kingdom Of England And Dominion Of Wales is expected to fetch up to £9,000 at auction next Thursday.

Experts hailed the 17th-century work by John Ogilby, which contains 100 double pages of routes split into parallel vertical strips, a ‘landmark’ in road-mapping.

Charles Ashton, an auctioneer at Cheffins Fine Art, Cambridge, said: ‘What's unusual about this book is that it is complete.

‘This is one of the original printing batch from 1675 and there are probably about 100 out there across the world - mostly in university and library collections.

‘From the outside it looks like nothing - the plain board cover is quite beaten up and unornamented, not elaborate at all – you would never guess how special this book is.

‘But once you open it, its full glory is revealed. It doesn't look much like a modern road map.

‘It set a new standard for map making in England as the first attempt at a serious road map in England.’

The road map, which has been in the same family for generations, was the first time in England an atlas was prepared on a uniform scale, at one inch to a mile, based on the statute of 1,760 yards to the mile.

Ogilby claimed that 26,600 miles of roads were surveyed in the course of preparing the atlas, but only about 7,500 were actually depicted in print.

Oxford University’s Dr George Garnett said: ‘The roads would have been pools of mud. The stone that Romans used to build roads had been removed for building houses.

‘It meant people travelled little unless they had to. Newcastle to London could take weeks.’

Starfish with record eight legs is found off British coast

A starfish thought to be the first in the world with eight legs has been found off the British coast, it emerged today.

The bizarre creature, which has three more limbs than normal, was discovered inside a Cornish fisherman’s crab pot.

Sea life experts at the Blue Reef Aquarium in Newquay – where it is on display – believe it may be two spiny starfishes in the form of conjoined twins.

Curator Matt Slater explained: ‘Starfish have the ability to re-grow lost limbs and the general consensus is that starfish with extra legs are caused by some kind of accidental genetic mutation.

‘However with this particular starfish it has three extra legs and it also has two special openings - known as madreporites - through which water is pumped into their fluid filled skeleton.

‘An individual starfish would normally only have one of these.

‘As a result we believe this starfish may have a rare doubling of its genetic material,’ he added.

The 10in-wide creature, which is around an inch bigger than average, has left experts across Britain stunned.

Douglas Herdson, a marine biologist, said: ‘I’ve never seen a spiny with eight legs. It should have five. I have seen them with one, four, or six, as well as five.

‘I think it’s probably conjoined twins. It is quite feasible that it is a conjoined twin due to the first fertilised egg not completely separating. I have never heard of one before.’

The starfish, which has been put in a the Octopus tank so is with fellow eight-legged creatures, was found by Newquay-based crabber Gary Eglington in a pot off St Agnes.

The creature appears to be in excellent health and the fact that he was found inside the vessel would also suggest that he has no problem finding food.

The spiny starfish gets its name from the lines of bulbous spines that run along each of its arms.

At the end of each of these arms are photosensitive cells that can detect movement.

It is one of the most voracious members of the starfish family and feeds on a variety of both living and dead food including fish, shellfish, molluscs and other starfish.

It lives on rocky bottoms from surface to depths up to 600ft and is found in the Atlantic Ocean, the English Channel, the North Sea and the Mediterranean Sea.

Often blamed for attacks on mussel and oyster farms, fishermen would historically cut them up and throw them back into the sea, not realising this would actually result in more starfish as a single leg and part of the starfish’s central disc can replicate into a new animal.

Roadkill: Tourists left stunned as lioness attacks buffalo - right in the middle of a traffic jam

This stunning series of pictures shows the moment a water buffalo becomes a road-hog.

But the tourists driving through Kruger National Park in South Africa could hardly blame the poor creature, who was more concerned with the tail-gating lioness than other traffic on the road.

The convoy of cars came to a halt to watch - but the passengers then found themselves part of the action as the two beasts lumbered onto the road, oblivious to their watchers.

The incredible fight took place near the national park's Phelwana Bridge, as tourists noticed a buffalo standing alone by a tree just ten metres from the road.

At first the rest of the countryside seemed desolate, and then passengers began to see lion heads popping up out of the foliage a further 20 metres away.

It seemed the convoy had missed act one of the battle, as the buffalo seemed injured and was staggering on the spot.

Eyewitness 'Mgdonny', who posted this incredible series of photos on picture-sharing site Flickr, said: 'We sat there for about an hour and nothing happened.The buffalo then tried to lift itself up, with great difficulty, and after some time managed to get on its feet.

'As it stood up this female lioness came walking towards it and jumped onto the buffalo's back trying to pull it down.

'The female lioness was injured in the back leg and looked as if it had tried to attack the buffalo previously and was injured in the process.

'The buffalo started snorting and walking with the lioness on its back trying to escape.'

It came towards the roads and hit a car in the rear bumper and the lioness couldn't hold on and jumped off.'

At this point, the tourists became uneasy as two male lions began to pad their way over.

Luckily, they were content to stay on the side of the road and watch their lady friend bring home the dinner.

Mgdonny continued: 'The buffalo - still on the road - hit another car in the front bumper with its horn.

The two huge male lions came walking towards the road and just sat down in the distance.

After a some time again the female tried two more times to bring down the buffalo but with no success.'

Luckily for the buffalo -and the passengers - the buffalo proved too much for the lioness, and she padded off, leaving the buffalo free to roam another day.