Tag Archive: 1978


The New York Stock Exchange or NYSE began at 68 Wall Street under a buttonwood tree on May 17, 1792 with the signing of the Buttonwood Agreement by 24 stock brokers.  The signing of Buttonwood marked the birth of what would later become New York’s largest trading floor and exchange.  

By 1975 the NYSE had survived two world wars and the Great Depression.  The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA), established as a measure of industrial sector performance, hovered around $800.  And Congress enacted new legislation governing the electronic collection and reporting of all NYSE stocks.  Implementation of this legislation marked the introduction of computers on the trading floor.  

In 1978 the NYSE implemented the ITS or Intermarket Trading System which used computers to connect the NYSE with other markets.  The intelligent technology behind the ITS spawned new markets including the NASDAQ in 1982, replacing the old “over the counter” or OTC market.  Today, computers are used for everything from automated trades to podcasts broadcast from the trade-floor.  People can now trade stock at four in the morning from the comfort of their own home.     

Not only do the computers provide valuable information, they also do some of the thinking for us and offer an “emotionless” and objective view of the market.  Today computers auto-generate one third of all trades.

As the DJIA began to fluctuate amid fears over the state of our economy, humans began to sell.  As people sold and stock prices came crashing down, the computers began buying, stock prices rose slightly, then fell again amid more worries.  While computers may have prevented a dramatic market crash (worse than the $777 loss two weeks ago), they may have also indirectly contributed to the overall losses. 

Could it be our system wasn’t designed to handle the enormous influx of real-time information disseminated by individual investors and the subsequent trading of stocks based on this information?  In other words, do computers aide in the crime of wide-spread market panic?

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Today is the last day of my twenties; tomorrow I turn 30.  I used to dread growing old, but in life post-cancer, growing old is a goal.  I thought the urge to reminisce would catch me off guard last minute; threatening to enact some hint of regret, but instead I feel content and satisfied in reaching my thirties.  

I’m also very glad to be in Michigan at this time in my life.  Two years ago on my birthday we took a trip to Mackinac Island.  I looked out over the bow of the boat at rainbows forming in the freshwater spray.  The wind whipped through our hair and out over the straits of Mackinac, the iron bridge took on a soft look in the bright sunlight.  It was a moment so well-engrained that while my body was secretly host to a silent mutation, I dreamed of my good-byes to family.  Each time I said goodbye in dreams, I walked into the spray and knew then I was passing into a new realm, though at the time I didn’t even believe in Santa Clause.  I discovered the lump two days later and my life was forever changed.  

In a way, being up here feels like the closing of some loop.  Like I’ve been here before, but my path has changed.  Left untreated, NHL kills within two-years.  Most recurrences take place within the first two years into remission.  Whatever the significance, this experience has completed a two-year cycle.  At a time when I believed I would regret the turning of a decade, I am elated to put my twenties behind me; to embark full-throttle on a new adventure; to leap into the next phase of my life uninhibited; to count rainbows on the spray and to take on the softer look wisdom grants us as we age.