Milestones: Wednesday, November 15, 2023
REVOLUTIONIZED STOCK MARKET — THE FIRST STOCK TICKER WAS UNVEILED IN NEW YORK CITY ON NOV. 15, 1867, revolutionizing the stock market by instantly communicating up-to-the-minute stock prices and bridging the gap between Wall Street and Main Street, America. Previously, floor traders at the New York Stock Exchange, which had been founded 75 years earlier (in 1792), had to depend on information conveyed by mail or messenger. The stock ticker’s inventor was Edward Calahan, who had reconfigured a telegraph machine to print stock quotes using streams of paper tape and was named “ticker” for the sound of the type wheel. This mechanical stock ticker became a hit with investors of the time and lasted through at least the last two decades of the 20th century when computerized and electronic displays gradually replaced the older models.
The popular ticker-tape parades to welcome home champion sports teams like the Yankees are named for the paper streams, which are sometimes cut up into confetti.
OUTSPOKEN CONDUCTOR-PIANIST AND CONDUCTOR DANIEL BARENBOIM WAS BORN IN ARGENTINA OF JEWISH PARENTAGE, ON NOV. 15, 1942, and turns 81 today. Barenboim was the general music director of the Berlin State Opera from 1992 until earlier this year and was “staatskapellmeister” of its orchestra, the Staatskapelle Berlin. Barenboim previously served as music director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestre de Paris and La Scala in Milan, but repeatedly turned down invitations to direct the New York Philharmonic. Notably, Barenboim has collaborated with Palestinian American scholar Edward Said and with the West–Eastern Divan Orchestra, an ensemble of young Arab and Israeli musicians. As a Jew who holds citizenship in Argentina and Spain and who is the first person to hold both Israeli and Palestinian citizenship, he has been an outspoken critic of what he calls the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories and has been criticized for his views as well.
Addressing Israel’s refusal to play Richard Wagner’s works because of that German composer’s antisemitism, Barenboim told the news outlet Der Spiegel in 2012, “….since the Six-Day War, Israeli politicians have repeatedly established a connection between European antisemitism and the fact that the Palestinians don’t accept the founding of the State of Israel. But that’s absurd! The Palestinians weren’t primarily antisemitic. They just didn’t accept their expulsion.”
‘THE KING’S ASTRONOMER’ — WILLIAM HERSCHEL (Sir Friedrich Wilhelm Herschel), born Nov. 15, 1738, (old calendar) in Hanover, Germany, was the most renowned astronomer of his time. He discovered the planet Uranus — which made him instantly famous — its two moons, more than 2,000 nebulae and star clusters, and Jupiter’s moons. He gained the moniker ‘The King’s Astronomer’ and was knighted by King George III, who granted him a stipend with which Herschel built a 20-foot reflecting telescope so he could study the sky, as he was not content to limit himself to studying the nearby heavenly bodies. Herschel was the first to observe sunspots and confirm the sun’s nature as a gaseous body. Thanks to the telescope’s range, he was able to theorize that the nebulae were individual stars and not part of a “luminous fluid.” Herschel became a member of the Royal Society.
Herschel, whose father had been an army musician, made a living initially by playing in the Hanoverian bands. Then, in England, he rose within the musician ranks, teaching, performing and composing before his passion for music theory led him to astronomy.
A ‘LOOSE FEDERATION’ — THE CONTINENTAL CONGRESS, OPERATING FROM YORK, PENNSYLVANIA DURING THE REVOLUTIONARY WAR, finally adopted the Articles Of Confederation And Perpetual Union on Nov. 15, 1777. The Patriot leaders were determined to not infringe on individual states’ rights to govern themselves with autonomy. The Articulates of Confederation provided for a loose federation of states to unite on matters of common need and interest. It provided also for a unicameral Congress (only one house) and gave each state one vote. The president functioned as chair. The Articles gave Congress authority over foreign affairs, a national army and the right to declare war and peace. Amendments required unanimous approval by all 13 states.
Maryland was the holdout and, in March 1781, became the 13th state to ratify the Articles of Confederation. It would be another six years before the Founding Fathers began drafting the Constitution.
US-IRANIAN FRIENDSHIP — DURING A TIME OF FRIENDLY DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS BETWEEN THE UNITED STATES AND IRAN five decades ago, President Jimmy Carter on Nov. 15, 1977, welcomed Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the shah of Iran, and his wife, Empress (or “Shahbanou”) Farrah, to Washington. The two world leaders held several discussions, including further improvement of relations between their two nations, combatting the energy crisis of the 1970s, peace prospects in the Middle East, particularly between Israel and Egypt, and nuclear non-proliferation talks with the then-Soviet Union. The President and First Lady Rosalyn Carter also held a state dinner for the shah and his wife. However, President Carter’s hospitality would have repercussions two years later when a group of radicalized Islamic fundamentalists overthrew the shah and installed the Ayatollah Khomeini as Iran’s leader.
When Carter invited the deposed shah back to the States for cancer treatment, a group of radicalized Iranian students stormed the U.S. embassy and took 66 hostages. Carter’s failure to secure the hostages’ release contributed to his defeat in the 1980 Presidential election. The captors chose President-elect Ronald Reagan’s inauguration day, Jan. 20, 1981, to release the hostages.
BAKE A BUNDT CAKE — GET THOSE SPECIAL BAKING PANS OUT. NOV. 15 IS NATIONAL BUNDT DAY, a time for launching the holiday baking season. The time-honored Bundt pans that Nordicware originally introduced, now come in ornate designs, enabling bakers to turn out cakes that resemble cathedrals, chiffons or even braids.
Some cooks also use Bundt pans for decorative gelatin and cranberry-sauce molds.
See previous milestones, here.
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