Friday / Weekend Open Lines


There’s an excellent chance that today is an occasion deeply revered by young children and the nation’s candy makers. According to ancient Celtic tradition, Halloween — the evening before All Saints Day — is a time of haunting by ghosts. Halloween has come a long way from pagan practices to “trick or treat!” Today’s prank and costume-filled observance goes back about a century in the U.K., and giving the disguised young visitors to the doorstep some candies has been a major part of the ritual. This in an important boost to the nation’s nearly 72,000 retailers with candy displays, including more than 3,300 confectionary and nut stores. Candy sales amount to about $5.5 billion annually. You can find more facts about America’s people, places and economy, from the American Community Survey, at http://www.census.gov.

Saturday, November 1st. On this date in 1848, the first medical school for women opened in Boston. At the time, it had a faculty of two and 12 students. By 1874, the school had graduated almost 100 doctors. That year, the Boston Female Medical School merged with the Boston University School of Medicine to form the world’s first coed medical learning facility. Today in the U.S., some 58 percent of all college students are female, and around 48 percent of medical doctorates awarded each year are earned by women. Of the nearly 900,000 active physicians in the U.S., 590,000 are men, and 285,000 women. Female doctors make up the great majority in the specialties of obstetrics, gynecology and pediatric medicine. You can find more facts about America’s people, places and economy from the American Community Survey at <www.census.gov>.

¬†Sunday, November 2nd. Even with all of our electronic diversions, many of us listen to radio at some point every day. The wide variety of formats means we can choose our favorite type of music, and radio keeps us up to the minute on news and weather. The presidential election held 94 years ago this month saw the first scheduled, commercial radio broadcast. Station KDKA in Pittsburgh carried the results, in which Warren G. Harding defeated the ticket of James Cox and his vice-presidential nominee Franklin Roosevelt, whose famous radio days lay ahead. Just two years later, that first station was joined by 400 others as the popularity of radio swept the nation. Today, there are some 6,700 radio broadcast stations, employing over 100,000 people. You can find current data on the country’s economy by downloading the America’s Economy mobile app at www.census.gov/mobile.