By Matt DellingerPosted 04.25.2011 at 1:00 pm 8 Comments
Traders used to all buy and sell stocks in the same crowded room. Everyone received information at the same time, and the first guy to shout or signal got the sale. Today, using algorithms that exploit slightly different prices changing at slightly different speeds, and computers connected to exclusive fiber-optic lines that can buy and sell stocks within fractions of a second, high-frequency traders are able to buy low and sell slightly higher in virtually the same instant.
Monstrous tsunami waves, like the one that killed over 200,000 people in the Indian Ocean in 2004, create an electric field as they form. This field could possibly be sensed by a network of underwater sensors. Such a network would be extremely valuable but also prohibitively expensive to build. Researchers at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) propose, however, that the existing large network of undersea communication cables could be used instead. That finding could lead to early warnings that may complement existing tsunami warning systems.