Tag Archive: 2008


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?

Advertisements

Obama in Charlotte, NC


It was like the line for the iPhone on steroids with an estimated twenty- to forty-thousand people filling the streets of Uptown Charlotte to see Sen. Barack Obama.  The speech was well worth the four-hour wait: Once again the young senator from Illinois delivered inspiration, energy and best of all a plan and a path to success as a nation.  He wasted little time rolling up his sleeves and getting to work talking with the people (us/you) about his energy policy, taxes and the economy, health care, education, and the war.  And each time he offered real solutions – Solutions implementable in the immediate future; including a near-term draw-down of troops in Iraq.  

Sen. Obama also talked again about his plan to offer money for school to those who volunteer in their communities or for their country – a plan that resonates with a country in need of unity.  

Looking behind us during the speech, it was a sea of supporters into the horizon.

The girls were tired and couldn’t see unless we lifted them above the crowd, but they were amazingly patient and eager to listen to the speech.

The Wachovia tower is reaching it’s upper levels.  Still much work to do, but by this time next year, the project should be close to finish.

Obama girls!

This day out in Uptown was also a reflective time for all of us.  We leave Friday for MI.  I’ll miss the architecture and the vibrance of the city, or better, I appreciate it. 

The Ratcliffe building sits atop (literally) a two-hundred year old building that once housed “Ratcliffe Flowers” in the 1950s.  The flower-shop is now a restaurant and the buildings style is preserved and protected by the larger condos that now surround it.  

This afternoon we drove out to Grandfather Mountain and did some exploration in the rain.  It was a **beautiful** trip and I hope to return sometime soon.  At the peak, Grandfather is over one mile high and there’s a suspension bridge leading to the peak that spans a forty-foot gorge one mile deep!  The girls enjoyed the wildlife – cougars, an eagle, bear, an otter, some deer and a muskrat that crossed the road while we were leaving.  Celli accompanied us and seemed to enjoy the mountain as much, if not more than anyone. 

Driving to the peak was exciting.  Our back wheels slid against the sharp inclines, and our truck was far too big for some of the 180-degree turns, but we managed and made it to the top with time to spare before the storm.

The storm hit hard some time after Hickory and seemed to be firing water and lightning at anything that moved.  In the city, the thunder roared and ricocheted between buildings – like War of the Worlds, only really wet. The rivers were swollen to twice their size – I guess this happens quickly down here.  Everyone drove with their hazards because the water was so deep on the roads and you couldn’t make out the other cars very well.  One of the things I love about this region is the rains storms – they last for hours, unlike Michigan where it seemed we would get bursts of a storm, but they would quickly fizzle (except in the winter when the snow seemed never-ending).  

We’ve enjoyed some fireworks in the city – reminds me so much of Harbor Days back home.  What a wonderful end to such an adventurous trip.  Tomorrow we hope to see the ocean!

Happy holiday everyone!  Have a safe, adventurous weekend.

The girls take a break beneath split-rock – One serious bolder.

Okay, they weren’t really wild like I told my mom.  They were as tame as could be and waiting for hand-outs from visitors.  

Popo and I take a break in the rain for one quick photo 5000+feet in the air.  Photo by Wolfy.

The Mile-high “swinging bridge”

 

The storm was raging by the time we reached Charlotte.  Cars, trucks and motorcyclists especially crowded under overpasses to wait for a clearing.  Visibility was crap and here you can see the hazards on the car ahead of us.  

My favorite stop along 321.  The only truly affordable and fun, hand-made locally shop I’ve found.

I love the drive into the mountains for all of the old farmsteads and homesteads, fruit-stands and the views!

In the heat, Celli cools off by lying on any concrete surface she can find:

Erick and I were having an argument earlier over time-travel.  I was arguing that one cannot go back in time prior to the exact moment the time-machine was turned on, but Erick countered that if one could travel about time it would not matter when the time-machine was built because at any moment you would be present inside the time-machine whether in 1988 or 2008.

If testing my time-machine, I would travel first to 1984.  Great year, good music, good movies and fun fashion – plus it’s a safe distance from the present and yet with many modern conveniences.  Following a visit to 1984, I’d pull back to 1884 for a reference and then I’d come back to the 1940s and bounce back and forth down the space-time continuum until I found a prehistoric animal or Atlantis or something that couldn’t be outdone.  

Erick is obviously bored with coming home from work and not working, so he’s now reading about wormhole propulsion and bending space-time:

Special relativity only applies locally. Wormholes allow superluminal (faster-than-light) travel by ensuring that the speed of light is not exceeded locally at any time. While traveling through a wormhole, subluminal (slower-than-light) speeds are used. If two points are connected by a wormhole, the time taken to traverse it would be less than the time it would take a light beam to make the journey if it took a path through the space outside the wormhole. However, a light beam traveling through the wormhole would always beat the traveler. As an analogy, running around to the opposite side of a mountain at maximum speed may take longer than walking through a tunnel crossing it. You can walk slowly while reaching your destination more quickly because the length of your path is shorter.

That said, my mind has wondered to another wormy topic…  Has anyone been reading about these feet washing up on shore in British Columbia?  I blame Ogopogo.  Would you eat sneakers?