Monday, December 21, 2015


I have an odd relationship with this year - so I collected some big events that happened then. This list will grow.


The OPEC oil embargo on the United States.

The Nixon administration began negotiations on what came to be known as "the petrodollar recycling system". Under the arrangement Saudis would only sell their oil in US dollars, and invest the excess of their oil earnings in US banks, capital markets. The IMF would then use this money to facilitate loans to oil importers who could be having difficulty in covering the increase in oil prices. The arrangement kept the price of dollar high which allowed US to print money and buy anything it wants. It is claimed making sure most oil is sold in dollars is at the root of most American wars after the 70s.

The Standard Model of Physics was finalized which unified the three fundamental forces in one framework. Particle physics came to its peak (no significant development took place since then).

Syria and Egypt launched the Yom Kippur War against Israel, and lost. Also, this war was not as much off a slam-dunk as the previous Six Day War had been during 1967, and probably would not have been won if US had not supplied Israel heavily.  Egypt also become an American client-state right afterwards, dumping the Soviets.

Britain entered the European common market: Funny story here is GCHQ hacked the communications and intercepted messages between other European countries to get a leg-up in the negotiations. What is it with Brits and Europe? And what is it with Brits and this hacking?

Roe vs Wade Supreme Court decision on abortion.

On April, the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) was formed to trade options on common stocks. This marked the first time an option was traded on an exchange.

World Trade Center in New York becomes the tallest building in the world.

The U.S. helped the overthrow of the elected government of Allende and put in place a military dictatorship under General Pinochet, on September 11. This is basically 9/11 for Chileans.

The Sears Tower in Chicago is finished, becoming the new world's tallest building in the world, beating WTC's record, in the same year.

Akaike Information Criteron discovered (Aight, little geeky).

Nixon was inaugurated for his second term in office. Just two days later, his predecessor, former President Lyndon Johnson, suffered a heart attack and died.

Vietnam War ended, Paris Piece Accords signed.

Watergate hearings begin.

Nixon abandoned price controls at the start of the year.

The S&P fell 2 percent during September and a shocking 41 percent the following year.

Student-led rebellion, demonstrations against the military junta in Greece.

Newly created Bangladesh elects first Prime Minister.

Sydney Opera House is opened.

Bruce Lee dies.

The Bosporus Bridge is completed joining Europe and Asia in Istanbul, at the 50th anniversary of the republic's foundation, a few weeks after a new government was elected (the gov, comprised of largely leftists, partly Islamists, did not last long, and its only important decision would be to invade Cyprus next year, which in turn, helped trigger the fall of the junta in Greece, kinda like British invasion of the Falklands triggering the fall of the junta in Argentina).

Wage increase started to slow, a situation that lasted until today.

Black and Sholes published their seminal paper on pricing options. 

Leonid Brezhnev visits Bonn - first time a Soviet leader ever set foot in West German territory.

Denis Ritchie published his research paper on the famous computer language called C. "The development of the C programming language was a huge step forward and was the right middle ground - C struck exactly the right balance, to let you write at a high level and be much more productive, but when you needed to, you could control exactly what happened" says Bill Dally, chief scientist of NVIDIA and Bell Professor of Engineering at Stanford. "[It] set the tone for the way that programming was done for several decades."

Clifford Cocks, working in secrecy at the United Kingdom’s Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) discovered a public-key based cryptosystem, three years before Ronald Rivest, Adi Shamir, and Leonard Adleman publicized the same approach called RSA.

Thompson, Ritchie, and others at AT&T Bell Labs began developing a small operating system on a little-used PDP-7. The operating system was soon christened Unix, a pun on an earlier operating system project called MULTICS. In 1972-1973 the system was rewritten in the programming language C, an unusual step that was visionary: due to this decision, Unix was the first widely-used operating system that could switch from and outlive its original hardware [..] The name Unix  (originally Unics) is itself a pun on Multics. The U in Unix is rumored to stand for uniplexed as opposed to the multiplexed of Multics, further underscoring the designers' rejections of Multics' complexity in favor of a more straightforward and workable approach for smaller computers.

With the Smithsonian Agreement, most of the world's currencies switched to a floating exchange rate joining United States who had switched two years previously.

The government agency ARPA funds the outfitting of a packet radio research van at SRI to develop standards for a Packet Radio Network (PRNET). As the unmarked van drives through the San Francisco Bay Area, stuffed full of hackers and sometimes uniformed generals, it is pioneering wireless, packet-switched digital networks, including the kind your mobile phone uses today. 

Professor Lighthill was asked by the UK Parliament to evaluate the state of AI research in the United Kingdom. His report, now called the Lighthill report, criticized the utter failure of AI to achieve its "grandiose objectives.". This is the beginning of the so-called AI Winter where funding for the field were substantially reduced.

The Criticize Lin (Biao), Criticize Confucius campaign was started by Mao Zedong which lasted until the end of the Cultural Revolution.

The War Powers Act is passed which attempts to define when and how the US president could send troops to battle by adding strict time frames for reporting to Congress after sending troops to war, in addition to other measures.

First movie based on Star Trek was released, not in US, but in Turkey - Tourist Omer Travels in Space is the first movie based on ST universe.

Famous books: The Princess Bride, Rendezvous with Rama.

Famous movies: Soylent Green, The Exorcist, American Graffiti, The Sting. Oh and Magnum Force (poster is hilarious).

Q&A - 21/5

Question How do you empirically prove interest rates do not cause increase or decrease in GDP growth? There is a test for that Data ,...