Scenario planning is about now…and then. Some things that happened now, back then.
1618: Kepler discovers his Third Law of Planetary Motion, that the square of the orbital period is proportional to the cube of the semi-major axis of its orbit, which started out to be Accounting but then switched at the last minute to English, causing the orbit's father to wonder aloud what he's spending all this tuition money for.
1655: John Casor becomes the first (or second?) legally recognized slave in the English colonies of North America, in Northampton County, Virginia. John Punch, another African-American, had been sentenced to a lifetime of servitude fifteen years earlier in York County, directly across the mouth of Chesapeake Bay from Northampton, but some scholars consider Punch not to have been a slave because he was sentenced to his servitude as a result of the "crime" of having tried to escape. (Punch was determined in July 2012 as the result of genealogical and DNA research most probably to be an ancestor of President Barack Obama, on the "white" side of his family.)
1817: The New York Stock Exchange is founded, and reporters tell us for the first time that indices are off as a result of profit-taking.
1862: The first iron-clad warship, the CSS Virginia, formerly the USS Merrimack, is launched at Hampton Roads, VA (ironically, just a few miles from both York and Northampton Counties), and has a good, good day against the wooden ships of the U.S. Navy, destroying two of them, the USS Cumberland and the USS Congress. The Virginia retires after trying to take on the USS Minnesota, which escapes due to its shallower draft (the Virginia has a draft of 22 feet), thinking that it will have a free hand to break the U.S. Navy's blockade the next day, but that very night, the U.S. Navy's own iron-clad, which the Confederates had no idea they were working on, the USS Monitor, pulls into Hampton Roads, ending perhaps the shortest period of naval technological dominance in maritime history. The Monitor is, like the Virginia, still technically and furiously under construction. It also almost foundered several times on the high seas while racing down from the Brooklyn Navy Yard to head off the Virginia's threat to the Northern wooden fleet. (See tomorrow's entry for what happened next.)
1917: The U.S. Senate votes to adopt the cloture rule to limit filibusters, thus sparing future generations from controversy over the filibuster for all time.
1979: Philips demonstrates the compact disc publicly for the first time. And audio snobs for the first time are able to say that it does not capture the full richness of their scratchy 33 1/3s.