Fun Stuff

November 15, 1867: First stock ticker debuts

This Day in History - Fri, 11/14/2014 - 11:00pm

On this day in 1867, the first stock ticker is unveiled in New York City. The advent of the ticker ultimately revolutionized the stock market by making up-to-the-minute prices available to investors around the country. Prior to this development, information from the New York Stock Exchange, which has been around since 1792, traveled by mail or messenger.

The ticker was the brainchild of Edward Calahan, who configured a telegraph machine to print stock quotes on streams of paper tape (the same paper tape later used in ticker-tape parades). The ticker, which caught on quickly with investors, got its name from the sound its type wheel made.

Calahan worked for the Gold & Stock Telegraph Company, which rented its tickers to brokerage houses and regional exchanges for a fee and then transmitted the latest gold and stock prices to all its machines at the same time. In 1869, Thomas Edison, a former telegraph operator, patented an improved, easier-to-use version of Calahan's ticker. Edison's ticker was his first lucrative invention and, through the manufacture and sale of stock tickers and other telegraphic devices, he made enough money to open his own lab in Menlo Park, New Jersey, where he developed the light bulb and phonograph, among other transformative inventions.

The last mechanical stock ticker debuted in 1960 and was eventually replaced by computerized tickers with electronic displays. A ticker shows a stock's symbol, how many shares have traded that day and the price per share. It also tells how much the price has changed from the previous day's closing price and whether it's an up or down change. A common misconception is that there is one ticker used by everyone. In fact, private data companies run a variety of tickers; each provides information about a select mix of stocks.

Categories: Fun Stuff

Ernie Kovacs

Quotes of the Day - Fri, 11/14/2014 - 6:00pm
"Television � a medium. So called because it is neither rare nor well done."
Categories: Fun Stuff

Fletcher Knebel

Quotes of the Day - Fri, 11/14/2014 - 6:00pm
"Smoking is one of the leading causes of statistics."
Categories: Fun Stuff

Maurice Chevalier

Quotes of the Day - Fri, 11/14/2014 - 6:00pm
"Old age is not so bad when you consider the alternatives."
Categories: Fun Stuff

Edgar Wilson Nye

Quotes of the Day - Fri, 11/14/2014 - 6:00pm
"Wagner's music is better than it sounds."
Categories: Fun Stuff

devise

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day - Fri, 11/14/2014 - 12:00am

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for November 14, 2014 is:

devise • \dih-VYZE\  • verb
1 a : to form in the mind by new combinations or applications of ideas or principles : invent b : to plan to obtain or bring about : plot 2 : to give (real estate) by will

Examples:
The author's childhood home was devised to the city and the Historical Commission will turn it into a museum devoted to her life.

"Students at the Ilead Charter School devised three ways to bash pumpkins into pieces. One method used rubber surgical tubing to create an Angry Birds-style slingshot to propel the squash through the air. A more direct device crushed the pumpkins with a weight and a bowling ball." — Kevin Lillard, Juneau County Star-Times (Wisconsin), October 15, 2014

Did you know?
There's something inventive about devise, a word that stems from Latin dividere, meaning "to divide." By the time devise appeared in English in the 1200s, its Anglo-French forebear deviser had accumulated an array of senses, including "to divide," "distribute," "arrange," "array," "digest," "order," "plan," "invent," "contrive," and "assign by will." English adopted most of these and added some new senses over the course of time: "to imagine," "guess," "pretend," and "describe." In modern use, we've disposed of a lot of the old meanings, but we kept the one that applies to wills. Devise traditionally referred to the transfer of real property (land), and bequeath to personal property; these days, however, devise is often recognized as applying generally to all the property in a person's estate.

Categories: Fun Stuff

Daily Puzzle - November 13

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Thu, 11/13/2014 - 11:18pm
BrainBashers Daily Puzzle

I have a machine which has four sequential cog wheels in constant mesh.

The largest cog has 21 teeth and the others have 17, 12 and 10 respectively.

What is the fewest number of revolutions the largest cog must make so that all of the cogs are back in their starting position?

[Copyright: Kevin Stone]

Categories: Fun Stuff

Daily Sudoku - November 13 - Easy

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Thu, 11/13/2014 - 11:18pm
BrainBashers Daily Sudoku



Complete the grid such that every row, every column, and the nine 3x3 blocks contain the digits from 1 to 9.

[Copyright: Kevin Stone]

Categories: Fun Stuff

Daily Game - November 13

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Thu, 11/13/2014 - 11:18pm
BrainBashers Daily Game

Boring Game
   Test your avoiding skills.
[Played on the BrainBashers Games website]

Categories: Fun Stuff

November 14, 1851: Moby-Dick published

This Day in History - Thu, 11/13/2014 - 11:00pm

On this day in 1851, Moby-Dick, a novel by Herman Melville about the voyage of the whaling ship Pequod, is published by Harper & Brothers in New York. Moby-Dick is now considered a great classic of American literature and contains one of the most famous opening lines in fiction: "Call me Ishmael." Initially, though, the book about Captain Ahab and his quest for a giant white whale was a flop.

Herman Melville was born in New York City in 1819 and as a young man spent time in the merchant marines, the U.S. Navy and on a whaling ship in the South Seas. In 1846, he published his first novel, Typee, a romantic adventure based on his experiences in Polynesia. The book was a success and a sequel, Omoo, was published in 1847. Three more novels followed, with mixed critical and commercial results. Melville's sixth book, Moby-Dick, was first published in October 1851 in London, in three volumes titled The Whale, and then in the U.S. a month later. Melville had promised his publisher an adventure story similar to his popular earlier works, but instead, Moby-Dick was a tragic epic, influenced in part by Melville's friend and Pittsfield, Massachusetts, neighbor, Nathaniel Hawthorne, whose novels include The Scarlet Letter.

After Moby-Dick's disappointing reception, Melville continued to produce novels, short stories (Bartleby) and poetry, but writing wasn't paying the bills so in 1865 he returned to New York to work as a customs inspector, a job he held for 20 years.

Melville died in 1891, largely forgotten by the literary world. By the 1920s, scholars had rediscovered his work, particularly Moby-Dick, which would eventually become a staple of high school reading lists across the United States. Billy Budd, Melville's final novel, was published in 1924, 33 years after his death.

Categories: Fun Stuff

Peter Ustinov

Quotes of the Day - Thu, 11/13/2014 - 6:00pm
"In America, through pressure of conformity, there is freedom of choice, but nothing to choose from."
Categories: Fun Stuff

Indira Gandhi

Quotes of the Day - Thu, 11/13/2014 - 6:00pm
"You cannot shake hands with a clenched fist."
Categories: Fun Stuff

Henny Youngman

Quotes of the Day - Thu, 11/13/2014 - 6:00pm
"When I read about the evils of drinking, I gave up reading."
Categories: Fun Stuff

Segal's Law

Quotes of the Day - Thu, 11/13/2014 - 6:00pm
"A man with a watch knows what time it is. A man with two watches is never sure."
Categories: Fun Stuff

threnody

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day - Thu, 11/13/2014 - 12:00am

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for November 13, 2014 is:

threnody • \THREN-uh-dee\  • noun
: a song of lamentation for the dead : elegy

Examples:
Christina wrote the poem as a threnody for her grandmother, who had died the previous spring.

"Ian Hobson will lead the Sinfonia strings in Strauss' 'Metamorphosen,' his threnody on the destruction of German musical monuments at the end of World War II." — John Frayne, The News-Gazette (Champaign, Illinois), September 11, 2014

Did you know?
Threnody encompasses all genres. There are great threnodies in prose (such as the lines from Charles Dickens’ Bleak House upon the death of Little Jo: "Dead, your Majesty. Dead, my lords and gentlemen. Dead…."), in poetry (as in W. H. Auden’s "Funeral Blues": "The stars are not wanted now: put out every one, / Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun…."), and in music (Giovanni Pergolesi’s "Stabat Mater," for one). Threnody, which we borrowed from the Greek word thrēnōidia (from thrēnos, the word for "dirge"), has survived in English since the early 1600s. Melody, tragedy, and comedy are related to threnody through the Greek root that forms their ending—aeidein, which means "to sing."

Categories: Fun Stuff

Daily Puzzle - November 12

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Wed, 11/12/2014 - 11:04pm
BrainBashers Daily Puzzle

A mother recently arranged a children's party and had 187 sweets to give out equally to the children.

Each child had more than one sweet and there were more children than there were sweets per child.

How many sweets did each child end up with?

[Copyright: Kevin Stone]

Categories: Fun Stuff

Daily Sudoku - November 12 - Easy

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Wed, 11/12/2014 - 11:04pm
BrainBashers Daily Sudoku



Complete the grid such that every row, every column, and the nine 3x3 blocks contain the digits from 1 to 9.

[Copyright: Kevin Stone]

Categories: Fun Stuff

Daily Game - November 12

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Wed, 11/12/2014 - 11:04pm
BrainBashers Daily Game

Seascape
   A scuba diving game with beautiful 3D graphics.
[Played on the BrainBashers Games website]

Categories: Fun Stuff

November 13, 1982: Vietnam Veterans Memorial dedicated

This Day in History - Wed, 11/12/2014 - 11:00pm

Near the end of a weeklong national salute to Americans who served in the Vietnam War, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial is dedicated in Washington after a march to its site by thousands of veterans of the conflict. The long-awaited memorial was a simple V-shaped black-granite wall inscribed with the names of the 57,939 Americans who died in the conflict, arranged in order of death, not rank, as was common in other memorials.

The designer of the memorial was Maya Lin, a Yale University architecture student who entered a nationwide competition to create a design for the monument. Lin, born in Ohio in 1959, was the daughter of Chinese immigrants. Many veterans' groups were opposed to Lin's winning design, which lacked a standard memorial's heroic statues and stirring words. However, a remarkable shift in public opinion occurred in the months after the memorial's dedication. Veterans and families of the dead walked the black reflective wall, seeking the names of their loved ones killed in the conflict. Once the name was located, visitors often made an etching or left a private offering, from notes and flowers to dog tags and cans of beer.

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial soon became one of the most visited memorials in the nation's capital. A Smithsonian Institution director called it "a community of feelings, almost a sacred precinct," and a veteran declared that "it's the parade we never got." "The Wall" drew together both those who fought and those who marched against the war and served to promote national healing a decade after the divisive conflict's end.

Categories: Fun Stuff

Michael Crichton

Quotes of the Day - Wed, 11/12/2014 - 6:00pm
"Whenever you hear the consensus of scientists agrees on something or other, reach for your wallet, because you're being had."
Categories: Fun Stuff