Someone in Chicago used a FTL drive to play the market (or cheated)

Last Wednesday's Fed announcement that it would not taper its bond-buying program triggered huge orders on exchanges everywhere. Several of those orders on Chicago exchanges were placed 2-3 milliseconds after the announcement, which is a good 7 milliseconds faster than the speed of the light-cone emanating from DC, suggesting that either someone in Chicago has a time-machine, or can travel faster than the speed of light, or is a crooked son-of-a-monkey.

In a related vein, let's talk a bit more about this 7 millisecond figure. That might very well be how long it takes a signal to travel from Washington DC to Chicago via a fiber optic cable, but in fact the two cities are only 960 kilometers apart. At the speed of light, that's 3.2 milliseconds. A straight line path would be a bit less, perhaps 3 milliseconds. So maybe someone has managed to set up a neutrino communications network that transmits directly through the earth. It couldn't transfer very much information, but if all you needed was a few dozen bits (taper/no taper, interest rates up/down, etc.) it might work a treat. Did anyone happen to notice an extra neutrino flux in the upper Midwest corridor at 2 pm last Wednesday? Perhaps Wall Street has now co-opted not just the math geek community, and not just the physics geek community, but the experimental physics geek community. Wouldn't that be great?

Somebody Stole 7 Milliseconds From the Federal Reserve [Kevin Drum/Mother Jones]